India Today

The deadly spiral

India and Pakistan are locked in a dangerous face-off that could escalate into a full-blown war. How can they step back from the brink?

War is the unfolding of miscalculations, Barbara W. Tuchman, a contemporary military historian, observed. If India and Pakistan find themselves on the brink of a major confrontation, you could add misadventures, misgivings and misunderstandings to the list. The leaders of the two countries tend to look at managing relations between them as akin to playing poker, apart from strategy and skill, they employ brinkmanship to win rounds.

Till Pulwama, Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan and the deep state that controls him believed they held all the high-value cards to challenge India. They had the Terror card, which they regularly used to bloody effect. The Kashmir card to create disaffection in the Valley. The Muslim card which they flaunted to keep the West at bay. The Nuclear card to prevent India from striking them hard whenever they made us bleed. The Afghan card to buy America's compliance. And the China card which they frequently used to trump Trump.

Since Prime Minister Narendra

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