“The air strike will not escalate into a war. The language that the Pakistani officials have used points to that. It has simply said that the Indian aircrafts intruded from Muzafarabad sector and the aircraft released the payload fell in an open area. They added that neither was any infrastructure hit, not were there any causalities,” says Rakesh Sood, a strategic affairs analyst and a former diplomat.
A distinguished fellow at the Observer Research foundation, Sood recently edited a book on Nuclear Order in the Twenty First Century. “There doesn’t seem to be anything confrontational about both the responses from the Pakistani side. They don’t amount to an immediate escalation. The foreign minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi’s statement that they reserve the right to an appropriate response was measured,” points out Sood.
On Tuesday early morning, Indian Air Force (IAF) had carried out retaliatory strikes across terror camps in Pakistan in response to the Pulwama attack where 44 CRPF soldiers were killed. Confirming the strike, foreign secretary Vijay Gokhale has said India struck the biggest Jaish facility in Balakot. “The selection of the target was also conditioned by our desire to avoid civilian casualties,” added Gokhale.
Even Gokhale’s statement was measured, explains Sood. “Gokhale mentioned specifically that it was a non-military pre-emptive action, which means that India had no intention of targeting any Pakistani military establishments. It was an attack on terror elements,”asserts Sood.
Sood firmly believes that the message from both the sides is that neither India nor Pakistan will escalate matters.