India-Pakistan Rivalry Takes a Dangerous Turn

(Bloomberg) --

Two of Asia’s fiercest rivals are at it again.

India said it launched airstrikes inside Pakistan’s territory today and killed more than 300 at a jihadist training camp. Pakistan, which called it a “grave aggression,” scrambled its jets in response but denied anything major was hit or that there were any casualties.

It’s the most serious military confrontation between the nuclear-armed arch-rivals in decades – and could sway votes in India’s upcoming general election.

Tensions have run high since a Feb. 14 suicide bombing in Kashmir killed 40 paramilitary troops in the worst attack on Indian forces since Prime Minister Narendra Modi came to power. New Delhi blamed that assault on its neighbor and the Pakistan-based group Jaish-e-Mohammed.

Modi promised to respond. With India’s general election just months away, many think he may have had no choice.

Launching airstrikes, though, is a dramatic escalation. Analysts suggest it’s the first time military aircraft have flown over the border since the 1971 Indo-Pakistani War, when India invaded what was then East Pakistan.

After Prime Minister Imran Khan today directed the armed forces and the public to “remain prepared for all eventualities,” everyone is waiting to see what Pakistan will do next.

India-Pakistan Rivalry Takes a Dangerous Turn

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What to watch 

  • Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari is leading in early returns from Saturday’s general elections. Final results are due later today or tomorrow.
  • The U.S. called for a United Nations Security Council meeting to discuss Venezuela today at 3 p.m. in New York.

And finally … Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif, who helped negotiate his country’s nuclear accord with world powers, posted a surprise statement to Instagram yesterday announcing his resignation. If accepted by President Hassan Rouhani, it would strip him of one of his key lieutenants at a time of growing confrontation. And while Iranian reformists and moderates may be disappointed by the news, Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu certainly wasn’t. “Good riddance,” he tweeted.

India-Pakistan Rivalry Takes a Dangerous Turn

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