Los Angeles Times

Analysis: Why the next round of India-Pakistan hostilities could be even scarier

ISLAMABAD - When 35-year-old Indian fighter pilot Abhinandan Varthaman, wearing a sport coat and rakish gunslinger mustache, walked across the heavily armed Pakistani border into India on Friday, it calmed nerves across the subcontinent and beyond.

For three days, India and Pakistan, nuclear-armed rivals that have fought three wars and come close to several more, had engaged in their most serious military dust-up in nearly two decades over the disputed Kashmir territory.

An Indian airstrike aimed at militants deep inside Pakistan, followed by Pakistani forces shooting down Varthaman's Russian-made MiG jet and capturing him, risked escalating into a full-blown war - a terrifying prospect given that the countries have nearly 300 nuclear

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