Neither Pakistan nor India want a war, but both want to appear dominant

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Sun, 03 Mar 2019 - 10:43 GMT

Pakistani rangers (wearing black uniforms) and Indian Border Security Force (BSF) officers lower their national flags during a daily parade at the Pakistan-India joint check-post at Wagah border, near Lahore November 3, 2014. REUTERS/Mohsin Raza/Files

Pakistani rangers (wearing black uniforms) and Indian Border Security Force (BSF) officers lower their national flags during a daily parade at the Pakistan-India joint check-post at Wagah border, near Lahore November 3, 2014. REUTERS/Mohsin Raza/Files

CAIRO – 3 March 2019: “War does not determine who is right—only who is left,” Philosopher and social thinker Bertrand Russell is believed to have once said. Whether he really said that or not? The rationale behind the statement remains true.

It would be a miscalculation if we were to assume that all those who win wars are morally just, and that karma, or whatever other power, let them win because of their morally just opinion. This is not the case. Wars are won based on sheer force and brutality, and the power one of the parties has over the other—in whatever sense of the word that may be.

Wars are destructive and rely on dominance. However, this dominance does not have to be based on firepower alone for wars can also be fought in economic spheres, technological circles and through fourth generation practices.

Only 10 days ago, everything was as normal as can be—given the tension between these two countries since 1971—but this peace was cut short when India launched a strike, which officials call non-military and pre-emptive to avoid attack on India, on a camp in Pakistan. Indian Officials and media personnel have argued that this attack targeted terrorists and did not come close to any Pakistani military bases, adding that the camp was training suicide bombers to attack India, according to The Economic Times.

Despite what may seem like a just cause, Pakistan has held that they were not notified of such actions, arguing that this was an attack on Pakistani soil. In response, Pakistan’s army sent India a message, according to The Guardian, “It is your turn now to wait and get ready for our surprise.” Leaving the world to wonder what comes next, and it was another air strike.

Yet, shortly after said strike, Pakistani Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi said that Pakistan does not want to go to war and would rather negotiate. “Today's strike demonstrates our right, will and capability to defend ourselves. We do not want war. We hope India will come to the table to resolve all outstanding issues,” Qureshi said.

“We do not want escalation, we do not want to go towards war,” Major General Asif Ghafoor, Pakistan’s military spokesman, told a press conference in the garrison city of Rawalpindi, calling for talks with New Delhi, adding that two Indian pilots have been captured.

But it seems that its not just India and Pakistan who do not want another way. Michael Kugelman, Deputy Director and Senior Associate for the South Asia programme at the Wilson Center, the Washington, DC-based think-tank, said, “Washington has to carry out a very delicate diplomatic dance. It will want to give robust backing to India, but without jeopardising Pakistan's cooperation in Taliban peace talks.”

Surprisngly, Kugelman continued, “Let's be clear: If Washington wasn't in the midst of the most encouraging effort yet to negotiate an end to the war in Afghanistan, US support to India -- in terms of rhetoric and action -- would be even stronger.”

Despite this, only Thursday did Pakistan reject India’s request to send back its India Air Force Pilot by air, leading Indian officials to argue that the state has the right to respond to Pakistan’s aggression on its land.

Despite the events, a look at the comparison in arms between the two countries suggests that not only should the two countries not want to go to war with each other, the whole would should actively work towards ensuring that they do not go to war.

In fact, China’s Foreign Ministry told Pakistan and India to “maintain self-restraint and focus on regional peace and stability.” But why is that? Well, simply put, the two super powers are also nuclear powers, meaning that a war between the two would mean the demise of a big part of the world and the descendance of an important number of people into war-ridden societies and war-related issues.

This would also have a huge affect on the international economy, society and political sphere. A whole shift would be seen in the world.

But also, a lot of people would die.

Comparing their power

Both nations are stubborn and have, between them, more than 700,000,000 manpower, according to Global Firepower. India ranks fourth out of 136 countries, while Pakistan ranks 17th on the list. The former has a PwrIndx rating of 0.1417 (0.0000 being the perfect score), while the latter has a PwrIndx rating of 0.3689.

Countries are judged on diversity of weapons, manpower, geographical location, logistical capacity, natural resource abundance and use, and the status of the local industry. The total number of weapons are not taken into account when ranking.

Furthermore, the ranking is working to ensure that all countries are ranked equally by ensuring that land-lock countries are not penalized for not having a standing navy; still, naval powers were categorized based on the diversity of available assets.

India’s available manpower is at 616,000,000 and those who are actually fit-for-service stand at 489,600,000, and this number is expected to significantly increase over the next few years dues to an impressive 22,900,000 individuals reaching military age on an annual basis.

With a total aircraft strength of 2,185, translating to 590 fighters, 804 attack, 708 transports, 251 trainers, and a total helicopter strength of 720, India’s air righters are widely known for their seniority among other fighters.

Pakistan’s aircraft strength, given the fact that it’s manpower is significantly smaller than that of India due to a smaller population, is more than impressive. With 320 fighters, 410 attack, 296 transports and 486 trainers, total aircraft strength stands at 1,281. Meanwhile, the total helicopter strength stands at 328.

While Pakistan has more attack helicopters, 49, and self-propeller artillery, 307, and India only has 15 and 190, accordingly, according to Global Firepower, India has 4,426 combat tanks, 3,147 armoured fighting vehicles, 4,158 towed artillery and 266 rocket projectors, which is significantly more that Pakistan’s 2,182 combat tanks 2,604 armoured fighting vehicles, 1,240 158 towed artillery and 144 rocket projectors.

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