03:37 GMT01 December 2020
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    Conflict Between India, Pakistan Escalates Over Exchange of Airstrikes in Kashmir (106)
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    Strategists and security analysts are decoding this week’s escalation of hostilities initiated by Indian airstrikes against terror camps in Pakistan-administered Kashmir. They still think India should explore wider avenues for diffusing tensions, but at the same time opine that terror-sponsoring should stop.

    New Delhi (Sputnik) — Defence experts have welcomed the decision to release Indian Airforce Pilot Wing Commander Abhinandan by the Pakistan government, but believe that more must be done, especially from the Pakistani side, to ensure that there is a de-escalation of the ongoing hostilities. In the wake of the prevailing India-Pakistan situation, Sputnik talked to Group Captain Ajay Lele (Retd.) who is a senior fellow at the Institute for Defence Studies and Analyses (IDSA) and heads its Centre on Strategic Technologies.

    READ MORE: PM Modi Urges Citizens to ‘Stand as Rock’ as Indian-Pakistani Standoff Escalates

    Sputnik: Things seems to be easing out in the last twenty-four hours in the Indo-Pak standoff. What are your observations and comments on the situation?

    Ajay Lele: The fact that Pakistan has decided to release the IAF pilot is a welcome step and must be a tangible step in the de-escalation of the ongoing stress between India and Pakistan. We hope the release of the pilot will further give way to more fruitful interaction across the table.

    Sputnik: What is your reaction to the confrontation which took place in the last couple of days?

    Ajay Lele: The recent confrontation could have been avoidable yet necessary. There are also many who feel that the engagement of such nature was not needed and could have been dealt in a different way.

    But the underlining factor in this engagement is that the Indian action has sent in a message to its neighbour [Pakistan] that India cannot tolerate any more non-action with regards to the people responsible for the terror act across the border. There will be people who will have to be accountable for it.

    READ MORE: Indian Military Confirms to Press That IAF MiG-21 Shot Down Pakistani F-16

    Sputnik: As an analyst, do you completely agree with the Indian government view that the Pulwama attack was the handiwork of Pakistan-based elements.

    Ajay Lele: Yes, we do believe that Pulwama cannot be the result of a domestic homegrown terror module.

    The magnitude of the terror attack cannot be managed and executed without multiple chains of handlers helping and guiding the whole attack. And that the master handler must have been from across the border is a fact that cannot be refuted nor has it yet been refuted by anyone.

    READ MORE: India Has Right to Fight Terrorists in Pakistan Just Like US Does — Minister

    Sputnik: Have the tension completely eased out? Do you see a replaying of the situation in the near future or you think this thaw is sustainable?

    Ajay Lele: There has to be tangible action from Pakistan on the terror modules and the use of its soil for terror purposes.

    The fact that terror camps operate from the Pakistani soil is an open secret and unless Pakistan takes stern action against these elements the risk of the present circumstances repeating cannot be written off.

    READ MORE: India Ships Fuel to Kashmir Airfields as Tensions With Pakistan Spike — Reports

    Sputnik: Does the role of the media concern you in the whole scenario which developed and escalated to a confrontation with offensive actions from both sides?

    Ajay Lele: Yes, the shrill voices of the Indian media are worrying.

    Especially worrying is the fact that many of the media platforms are resorting to dedicate their screen time to discuss the so-called war strategies in the comfort of the studio. We should be more concerned because these channels are talking to former defence officers who were in strategic positions to discuss these things. This issue has to be addressed.

    The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the speaker and do not necessarily reflect the position of Sputnik.

    The views and opinions expressed in the article do not necessarily reflect those of Sputnik.

    Conflict Between India, Pakistan Escalates Over Exchange of Airstrikes in Kashmir (106)


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