Islamabad - Ceasefire violations along the Line of Control (LoC) and Working Boundary (WB) have heightened tension between Pakistan and India; however, the experts believe that there are little chances of the increased confrontation escalating out of control.

At a seminar on ‘India’s Aggressive Posture and Dangers of Escalation’ organised by Strategic Vision Institute (SVI), the defence and strategic experts analysed the factors behind India’s aggressive attitude, the skirmishes along the LoC and WB, and the chances of a cascading incident that could trigger full-scale hostility or a nuclear conflict.

The speakers feared that India would continue with its coercive attitude in an attempt to be more assertive in the region.

Former Defence Secretary Lt Gen (Retd) Naeem Khalid Lodhi while speaking at the seminar said, “India is not likely to escalate beyond manageable levels till US presence in the region.” India, he said, could, meanwhile, further increase its influence in Iran and Afghanistan to increase pressure on Pakistan.

Gen Lodhi said that continuing terrorism in the country and failure to address the issue of terrorist safe havens would add to Pakistan’s problems. The former defence secretary suggested that the government should pursue active diplomacy for improving relations with the United States and the neighbours, particularly Iran and Afghanistan, besides completing counterterrorism operations in tribal areas.

Dr Adil Sultan, an expert with Strategic Plans Division (SPD), too believed that the present crisis on the LoC and WB might not lead to conventional or nuclear confrontation. He said increased posturing by India could have been because of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s strategy to project himself as India’s strongman.

Dr Sultan said past history of crises between India and Pakistan suggests that nuclear deterrence has worked well.

The SPD expert worried that continued rhetoric could, at some point in future, push Prime Minister Modi into a “commitment trap” that might compel him commit a major mistake.

Dr Zulfiqar Khan, who heads department of strategic and nuclear studies at the National Defence University, said, “India is postured to a strategy of deliberate escalation as an instrument of foreign and security policy in order to enforce its primacy over the region, particularly Pakistan.”

Uncertainty in the region and escalatory contours of their bilateral relationship, he opined, could hurt rationality and strategic stability.

Dr Zafar Nawaz Jaspal, director School of Politics and International Relations, Quaid-e-Azam University, called for engaging India in “a constructive, calculated and vigilant” manner.

He warned that any uncalculated move, based on the whims of a politician, to embrace India would hurt the country’s interests. “When nations pursue the policy of appeasement, they end up in trouble,” he added. He said India’s domestic policies would dictate its geostrategic policies.

President SVI Dr Pervaiz Iqbal Cheema emphasised on resolution of Kashmir issue for normalisation of Pak-India ties. He, while opening the discussion, said though there was no immediate threat to Pakistan, the implications of Modi’s aggressive policy towards Islamabad needed to be studied. Chairman SVI Ross Masood Hussain in his concluding remarks said the takeaway from the seminar was that Pakistan would have to put its own house in order to deal with the challenges confronting it.