India and Pakistan have a long history of animosity, mainly concerning the status of Kashmir. The nuclear armed neighbours have been contesting the status of Kashmir ever since India gained independence and Pakistan was created in the partition of British India.
On Tuesday India launched an airstrike on a target in Pakistan, the most serious escalation in hostilities between the two countries in decades.
According to Indian officials, the strike’s target was the training camp of a Pakistan-based militant group that had claimed responsibility for a massive suicide bombing in Indian-controlled Kashmir on 14 February.
On Wednesday Pakistan followed the retaliation claiming it has shot down two India Air force jets and captured Indian pilots.
India has confirmed the loss of one MiG21 fighter and said its pilot was missing in action, confirming major escalation between the two South Asian countries.
Till now the two countries have fought three brief wars — in 1947, 1965 and 1971 — as well as a smaller conflict in 1999. Over the past two decades, there have also been numerous attempts at rapprochement: At one point, secret talks reportedly neared a final resolution on Kashmir.
Now, with the 14 February attack, India’s retaliatory strike, followed by Pakistan’s capture of India’s pilot tensions are once again on the rise. India believes the Kashmir attack is part of an ongoing concern in which Pakistan’s intelligence services have fostered and guided militant groups that carry out deadly attacks throughout India. Pakistan, meanwhile, views India as an occupying power in Kashmir that also seeks to undermine Pakistan’s stability. Pakistan denies supporting terrorism but says it gives political and moral support to Kashmiri “freedom fighters.”
The UK Indian and Pakistani diaspora has been taking to social media to express their feelings regarding the mounting tensions between the two nuclear countries.
Sunny Hundal Tweeted: “Day two of escalating military actions between India and Pakistan. This is not good at all.”
While former Conservative Party Chairman, Baroness Warsi tweeted for calm and peace:”To all my #Pakistani & #Indian brothers & sisters please don’t turn on each other or on #IAF #PAF Do not celebrate war Take action at the ballot box-vote out politicians who ratchet up hate &violence ÷ communities simply to win poll ratings &elections #NoToWar #NoToHate
Rupinder Kaur @RupinderKW “The political situation in India and Pakistan makes me feel sick. Politicians don’t care about anyone but themselves and their desire to remain. No religion teaches terrorism. I wish people had more humanity within them. Who looses out it’s the innocent people.”
BBC Asian Network’s Noreen Khan shared: “Seeing such ridiculous tweets from people cheering on the tension and almost wanting war with one another. Yes because killing each other will solve everything won’t it #SayNoToWar”
Bradford businessman Yas Qureshi shared to his twitter followers:
“Just a generation ago there was no #India or #Pakistan, We were friends & neighbours. Before partition my family came from the India side of #Kashmir & the grave of my great grandfather is in Mumbai. To attack each other is to attack your own, give #Peace a chance..”
While the debate continues Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan has offered for talks with India. In a recent speech Imran Khan said: “All wars in world history have been miscalculated, those who started the wars did not know where it will end. So, I want to ask India, with the weapons you and we have, can we afford miscalculation?”
Tensions are surely high, but it is clear from both Indian and Pakistani diaspora in the UK that the vast majority of are wanting peace and dialogue clearly saying that war is nt the answer
The burning question is will the governments of India and Pakistan see it this way?