American think tanks in a report, published by the Atlantic Council in November 2017, have highlighted the possibility of a nuclear war in South Asian region by stating that West’s nuclear ‘sky is falling’ in South Asia. The report came after a series of seminars were conducted by the council in the capital of India, Pakistan and China. The report has pointed out the following three main reasons for the outbreak of nuclear war in the region.
(A) Guarding Institutions
According to the report, the greatest threat to the stability of the region comes not from the development of new age nuclear weapons but from the instability of the institutions guarding them. The region of South Asia may face a deadly nuclear war if the control of these weapons falls into the hands of an incompetent person or group of people.
(B) Aggressive Nationalism
The report has also highlighted an increase in the trend of aggressive nationalism especially in China and India, as another possible factor that may lead to a nuclear war anytime between these two countries. Though the world has witnessed many furious wars based on nationalism but a war based on such propaganda in modern world would be far deadly than previous as it will annihilate millions of lives in matter of no time.
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(C) Decision Making
The third factor that the report has highlighted is civilian dominated nuclear decision making structures in all the three countries, that is, Pakistan, China and India. In such decision making setup, military is only a partner, relatively a junior one in these countries.
(D) Other Factors
Aside from these three factors, there are a number of other elements that may result in the escalation of a nuclear war among these countries. Some of these elements have been discussed below.
(1) Kashmir: Bone Of Contention Between India And Pakistan
Kashmir, no doubt is a bone of contention between the two neighbouring countries, India and Pakistan, since their independence and it is due to this reason, this issue has always been marked as one of the major reasons of a possible nuclear war between the two hostile states. The solution of Kashmir issue is in the best interest of both the countries.
(2) Increased Ceasefire Violations Over The LoC
An increase in ceasefire violation over the Line of Control (LoC) on Indian side, especially during Narrendra Modhi’s government has also raised the possibility of escalation of war, either conventional or nuclear, between the two countries.
(3) Water Issue
Both Pakistan and India shares water and sometimes water blockade and unauthorised construction of water reservoirs by India on shared water bodies raised this issue to an alarming level. Though both the countries have signed a treaty called Indus Water Treaty but still the issue seemed unsolved due to the hegemonic attitude of India.
(4) State Sponsored Terrorism Of India In Pakistan
India has also been several times found involved in sponsoring terrorism in both Pakistan and China. This may also cause some trouble.
(5) Border Issues Between China And India
Border disputes that arises from time to time between China and India is also an area of major concern in this regard.
(6) Race For Power Between India And China
The nature of contention between India and China is different from that of India and Pakistan. Both India and China are competing each other for becoming a major player in the region and this is a major reason of tense relations between the countries because both the countries have fast growing economies.