Both India and Pakistan show no sign of dialling back the aggression at the border. With Modi out to prove a point and Pakistan adamant to fight fire with fire, the crisis may escalate out of control. With Zarb-e-Azb at the western front, Punjab and Sindh still floating in floodwater, a political saga in full flow and unrest in Balochistan, a conflict on the eastern front is the last thing the government needs. The government’s efforts to diffuse the conflict are most welcome at this time. Attempts are being made to involve the international community. Advisor on Foreign affairs and National Security, Sartaj Aziz held a meeting with ambassadors of the P-5 countries and called upon them to put diplomatic pressure on India to dial down the tension. He also wrote a letter to the Secretary General of the United Nations, Ban Ki-moon, where he asked him to take notice of the festering Kashmir issue. The Premier himself met with US congressmen to talk on similar lines. These are positive, pragmatic steps, even if they are slightly undercut by a rigid military response, but will they bear fruit? Will the UN and by extension the international community, take up this issue? Can they work around their infamous deadlocks? History would remind us not to be too hopeful.

Principally they should; the UN is mandated to mitigate conflicts, furthermore, decolonization and the right of self-determination are the cornerstones of the UN. The independence of Kosovo, the intervention in Libya and various resolutions on Palestine, all fiercely uphold these sentiments. Yet as the Palestinian situation demonstrates, real world politics always manages to rear their ugly head. On Kashmir, the odds are stacked against a peaceful solution. Now that the US is on the way out from Afghanistan, it has very little to gain from entertaining Pakistani causes. Russia and NATO are at loggerheads over Ukraine, and everyone is picking sides. The Middle east is busy tearing itself apart. All things point to a divided world, which means bipartisanship will stall any advance. The UN has only been able intervene in issues of disputed territories when both sides are willing to co-operate. Where they are not, the issue becomes complicated. Both India and Pakistan are nuclear states with numerous allies; the UN is hamstrung even before it starts. Although a ceasefire at the border might be within its reach.

Despite this, bilateral talks with India seem the bleaker option. It can easily be bullish without any serious consequences for them; their size guarantees them that; and with Modi at the helm, even more so.