India and Pakistan Say No to War

Friday 1st March 2019 | Jake

Tensions flared between India and Pakistan recently, when Pakistani forces shot down an Indian wing commander who had flown over a ceasefire line in Kashmir on Wednesday. However, Pakistan’s prime minister, Imran Khan, has freed the pilot, Abhinandan Varthaman, as a “peace gesture.”

A long-lasting animosity between the two nations had been escalating in recent days, as the countries traded airstrikes, leading to the closure of several airports, and putting the region on red alert. Khan sought immediately to ease relations, noting that the two countries have considerable nuclear arsenals.

The hashtag #NoToWar started trending on social media after the initial incident in both countries, signalling the public wished to ease hostilities between the two nations. For over seventy years the countries have endured a bitter enmity over the contested region of Kashmir, which straddles the border between the two countries to the north of India and east of Pakistan. As Britain’s colonial rule over the region came to an end, a British civil servant, Cyril Radcliffe, was tasked with drawing up lines of partition. These lines, drawn up by somebody with a limited knowledge of the area, became the borders we see today.

Kashmir has been a hotspot for violence and diplomatic tension ever since. However, this gesture of peace by Khan could go some way to easing hostilities. The people of India and Pakistan hope so.