December 31, 2008
ISLAMABAD, Pakistan (AP) — Pakistan claimed India had moved troops to their shared border Tuesday, days after Pakistan itself shifted soldiers to the frontier, but New Delhi insisted it had done nothing to add to tensions between the nuclear-armed countries.
Despite the charges, both nations also continued with remarks apparently aimed at mending frayed ties following the Mumbai terrorist attacks, suggesting that posturing and bluster — rather than aggressive intent — was behind any troop movement.
But analysts warned that the mistrust between the two countries, which have fought three wars over the last six decades, meant any troop deployment — even a minor one — raised the risk of inadvertent conflict and put back efforts to normalize their relationship.
Most observers say a fourth war between the countries is highly unlikely, not least because few can imagine a scenario where India would benefit from it. Any attack on Pakistan would destabilize the country’s new civilian government and strengthen its militant fringe, they say.
“When people talk of the military option, I don’t think they really mean it because it has unpredictable consequences,” said Lalit Mansingh, India’s former ambassador to the United States.