Indo-Pak conflict could escalate into ‘nuclear exchange': US Centcom commander

Published: March 10, 2017

A top US general on Thursday warned the Indo-Pak conflict could escalate into a “nuclear exchange.”

“India’s public policy to ‘diplomatically isolate’ Pakistan hinders any prospects for improved relations,” General Joseph Votel said at a hearing on the US Central Command before the Senate Armed Services Committee.

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The US general informed, “This is especially troubling as a significant conventional conflict between Pakistan and India could escalate into a nuclear exchange, given that both are nuclear powers.”

General Votel said the US continues to see “ongoing tensions between Pakistan and India” as “India remains concerned about the lack of action against India-focused militants based in Pakistan.”

“[India] responded militarily to terrorist attacks in India-held territory earlier this year,” he added. “These types of attacks and the potential reactions, increase the likelihood for miscalculation by both countries.”

The US general said that the requirement for an increased attention on Pakistan’s eastern border “detracts from its efforts to secure the western border with Afghanistan from incursion by Taliban and al Qaeda fighters.”

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“Security along the western border will nevertheless remain a priority for Islamabad, as the Pakistani military seeks to expand border control and improve paramilitary security,” General Votel added.

The Centcom commander also alleged that 20 US-designated terrorist organisations operate in the Pak-Afghan sub-region and that “seven of the 20 organisations are in Pakistan.”

“So long as these groups maintain safe haven inside of Pakistan they will threaten long-term stability in Afghanistan,” he said.

Despite recent constraints in relations between Pakistan and Afghanistan, the top US general appreciated “promising coordination” between militaries of the two countries.

General Votel reiterated that Pak-US relationship “remains a very important one”.

“We look forward to continuing our engagement with the Pakistani military leadership, to include the new Chief of the Army Staff General Qamar Javed Bajwa in the days ahead as we work together in pursuit of shared interests,” he said.

The US general maintained that new US government was encouraged by the military operation Radd-ul-Fasaad “in which they set up simultaneous multiple blocking positions along the Afghanistan-Pakistan border in order to reinforce ANDSF efforts to disrupt Islamic State-Khorasan activities.”

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Reader Comments (14)

  • Tyggar
    Mar 10, 2017 - 12:54PM

    [India] responded militarily to terrorist attacks in India-held territory earlier this year

    But Pakistan continues to deny Surgical strikesRecommend

  • kamal
    Mar 10, 2017 - 1:53PM

    Only one correct observation by the US General – nuclear exchange highly likely. Being a smaller country Pakistan suffer more absolute damage. It is therefore incumbent on our Nuclear strategy Mutually Assured Destruction (MAD) should be followed strictly and that a second a third strike capability exists. India must know that any nuclear escalation exchange will guarantee a massive response (say with 500 nuclear weapons) and that MAD is guaranteed. If not, then we lose.Recommend

  • Common sense
    Mar 10, 2017 - 2:07PM

    @tyggar where was the so called surgical strike mentioned? He’s talking about the on going military operation in IOK.Recommend

  • PrakashG
    Mar 10, 2017 - 2:07PM

    India has the conventional military capability to defeat Pakistan, and so will not be the first to use nukes in a conflict with Pakistan. It is Pakistan that has brought down the nuclear threshold with its plan to use strategic nukes against a conventional strike by India, and thus has turned into a major nuclear threat in the region.Recommend

  • bhaya
    Mar 10, 2017 - 2:22PM

    @ Tyggar
    You don’t know how to read ?
    [India] responded militarily to terrorist attacks in India-held territory earlier this year.
    India claims it did surgical strike in Azad Kashmir!Recommend

  • abreez
    Mar 10, 2017 - 2:22PM

    America knows that it is disturbing balance of power in South Asia and conventional war will quickly turn into nuclear conflict. Everything depends on laser weapon, how early laser weapon will retire nuclear weapon that’s important. If laser weapons will become a reality in one or two decades then one can expect a big war between India and Pakistan but if laser weapons will take four and five decades then one cannot expect a big war. India is an artificial elephant, and for Pakistan lucky thing is that artificial elephant is in bog. Pakistan’s strategy should be victory without war; more patience will give Pakistan more durable results.Recommend

  • Striver
    Mar 10, 2017 - 2:39PM

    PK denies it because Indians are lying and they know they are lying.
    PK narrative is not there because we don’t have a narrative we don’t have a policy on anything let alone a foreign policy.
    The reason we don’t have a foreign policy is. Reside it just too foreign a concept for the present government to understand. Recommend

  • Ali
    Mar 10, 2017 - 3:21PM

    Militarily means – use of heavy artillery which India used heavily last year. Recommend

  • Lolz
    Mar 10, 2017 - 3:32PM

    Eliminate the 13 organizations in Afghanistan first, Pakistan will deal with its 7 organizations afterwards. Russia and China understands the presence of US and India in Afghanistan and their inability to handle the 13 organizations. Recommend

  • Pnpuri
    Mar 10, 2017 - 3:46PM

    Both countries should accept LOC and no further trans border terrorism.Recommend

  • kamal
    Mar 10, 2017 - 8:26PM

    @PrakashG: Ha Ha. What a logic!! Only a desi mind can think it. Nuclear weapons have been developed to counter aggression, conventional or not. We are waiting for India to do lukewarm, cold freeze start. Don’t worry Prakash, city destruction will immediately start after a tactical nuclear state. Threshold will be crossed in hours. Come.Recommend

  • Sunny
    Mar 10, 2017 - 10:05PM

    We should stop listening US and act accordingly to our ground reality. India is a problem and everything should be used to neutralize India. Period!Recommend

  • PrakashG
    Mar 11, 2017 - 9:40AM

    You are kind of supporting the point that I am trying to make. So … thanks, buddy!Recommend

  • Dr. Ashraf KHAN
    Mar 13, 2017 - 3:23PM

    Indian should stop spitting venom towards Pakistan. They should clearly read message of General Joseph Votel, US Central Commander. General at hearing before Senate Armed Services Committee said that India’s public policy to ‘diplomatically isolate’ Pakistan hinders any prospects for improved relations between two nations. It is not obvious that USA and International community now understand whining habits of India to blame Pakistan for every evils including freedom fighting movement in Kashmir under disguise of terrorism.
    As for as Afghanistan is concern, no matter what India do in Afghanistan, our brethren always stand with us. India will never ever wins heart and souls of Afghans people, as Afghanistan is part and parcel of Pakistan by blood, religion and ethnicity. Recommend

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