The relation between India and Pakistan has always been a complex one. Since the partition of British India, the Indo-Pak relationship has been plagued by suspicion and hostility. The peace talks, proposals and other noticeable steps taken in order to increase the harmony between the two nations allow us to believe that an Indo-Pak war is highly unlikely. Nevertheless, if the unthinkable happens, the damages will be catastrophic on both the sides.
India, with a GDP eight times more than that of Pakistan, has a much healthier, steady and rising economy. In case of the outbreak of a prolonged war, the economic stability of India would allow it to put up with the cost of war for a longer duration than Pakistan – provided they are the only belligerents.
India ranks 4th in the Global Firepower (GFP) ranking. India has an upper hand over Pakistan above the sea and also in air. Pakistan (ranked 17th in the GFP ranking) has no aircraft carriers. On the other hand, India has two aircraft carriers, one of which was recently commissioned. The Su-30 MKIs and soon to be purchased AH-64D Apache Helicopters secure air superiority over Pakistan.
3. Nuclear Power:
Pakistan, with an estimated 100-120 warheads, has a greater nuclear stockpile as compared to India (estimated 90-110 warheads). If the situation ever boils down to a nuclear war, India has a strict policy of “No First Attack.” India has boosted its nuclear triad – nuclear-armed strike aircraft, land-based inter-continental ballistic missiles (ICBMs) and sea-based submarine-launched ballistic missiles (SLBMs) – and now has a stronger nuclear deterrence capability.
India has been a steady democracy pretty much since her independence. Unlike Pakistan, there has never been a tug of war between the Government, Military and the Intelligence Agencies about who really runs the country.
India has a healthy relation with Russia and Israel, who in the scenario of war, will most likely provide India with appropriate weapons. Pakistan’s relation with US has suffered a lot since the killing of Osama Bin Laden. On the other hand, India and the US share an extensive cultural, strategic, military, and economic relationship. So, in the scenario of a war, US may support India or have a neutral stand, but is most likely to get the UN involved to arbitrate. Pakistan may have a support from China, which can cause India problems on its eastern side. India has a stronger arm in this matter, as it has an Ally in Afghanistan on the other side of the Pakistani border.
Since her partition, India and Pakistan have had three wars fought between them, in 1965, 1971 and 1999. In all the three wars, India emerged victorious, although damages were suffered by both the sides. Although Pakistan has never been able to overpower India, neither has India been able to completely neutralize the terrorist threat from Pakistan.
If India were to use its superiority in ground forces to seize a sizeable amount of Pakistani territory, Pakistan could respond with nuclear weapons. In case a war breaks out between the two countries, there is an assured loss of innocent lives and economic stability in both India and Pakistan.
So let us remember this saying:
“In war, whichever side may call itself the victor, there are no winners, but all are losers.”
– Neville Chamberlain