Since the partition of British India in 1947 and creation of the modern republics of India and Pakistan, the two South Asian countries have been involved in four wars.

Relations between India and Pakistan have been complex due to a number of historical and political events.

The Kashmir conflict is a major territorial dispute between India and Pakistan that dates back prior to independence.

There have been numerous attempts to improve the relationship, notably, the Shimla summit, the Agra summit and the Lahore summit. But all of them have been ineffective for betterment of relations.

Involvement of other nations:

  1. United States:
    Both countries are big markets for the weapon companies in the USA. The USA has used both countries strategically for its market and for playing a 'Big Brother' role in Asia (with competition from China on many fronts).

  2. Russia:
    One of the old allies of India in several areas, also has good relations with Pakistan.

  3. China:
    One of the old allies of Pakistan in several fields, also has a competitive relationship with India and has border disputes.

  4. Japan:
    Technological partner of India. Favours India over Pakistan.

  5. Europe:
    Just sees Both countries as a Market for their products.

Present Day: both the countries have a nuclear capability.

  1. The nuclear doctrine of Pakistan states a 'first strike' or 'pre-emptive strike' policy.

  2. India has declared a policy of 'no first use' of nuclear weapons.

We have a scenario in which war has been going on between these two Nuclear Powers for 1 month.

What will be the roles of big countries like the USA, China, Russia, Japan, and Europe, and the other neighbors of both countries? Is there any chance of another world war?


Military power of India
Military power of Pakistan

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    $\begingroup$ Welcome to the site, this question does seem like one with good intentions. However, your question appears to be broad, with each of your sub-questions belonging as their own question. Instead of asking 1 question with 6 questions in it, your should ask 6 separate questions instead. I hope you are able to trim and edit your question to a form more favorable for this community. $\endgroup$ – grimmsdottir Mar 27 '15 at 9:40
  • $\begingroup$ @grimmsdottir , Thank you very much.. i was thinking that no one going reply at my post instead i got negative vote.. i will try to trim my question. but the problem is that i am not so good in English language, but i will try. $\endgroup$ – Explorer Mar 27 '15 at 9:42
  • $\begingroup$ Your welcome, unfortunately, I don't think I am much for answering these kinds of question. Best of luck though $\endgroup$ – grimmsdottir Mar 27 '15 at 9:57
  • $\begingroup$ @Explorer I've edited your question to improve the clarity. You should check my edits to see what changes I've made. You can roll them back if you think it's necessary $\endgroup$ – ArtOfCode Mar 27 '15 at 16:33
  • $\begingroup$ An edit that I just rejected made me wonder: In your conflict, have one of them used their nuclear weapon or are they relying only on conventional weapons? If they do, well it changes everything. $\endgroup$ – Vincent Mar 27 '15 at 18:56

Yes, it could happen but it seems highly improbable. This is for a conventional war (without nuclear weapons).

  • A world war would require a lot of countries to get involved. Past conflicts between these two countries did not result in large confrontation and I don't know why it would be different in the future. Even on the local scale, the conflicts where not full scale war, it was pretty much limited to Kashmir (correct me if I'm wrong).
  • In your question, you used the term allies, but commercial partners would be more appropriate. I should add that friendship as no meaning in Realpolitik. Anyway, very few countries have alliances outside of NATO. And it's not sure that the members will honor their alliance if one of them is attacked. The article 5 has never been tested yet.

So, why would other countries intervene? Some personal opinion

  1. USA: Refuse to intervene in Ukraine despite calling it an ally and considering the Russian intervention in Crimea against the international law. The will commit more effort in Irak but it took them a lot to do so even if they are partially responsible for its problems. I personally think that the Obama government is weak in international politics but it might change if a Republican become president in the next election. Yes the USA is still the number 1 military power in the world and will still be for a couple of decades but it gets more difficult to maintain their influence with all these competitors (China, Russia, India, Iran : to name only a few). They have limited ressources and won't be able to bully everyone like they used to do in the past. They have little interests in the region. Their only goal would be to block China but they haven't done much with India yet.
  2. Russia : Already has some problems. The economy is not running well because it's archaic and the low price of the oil barrel lowers the revenue available. Russia is isolated from the West politically and has not concrete support form other large countries like China. The Shanghai Cooperation Organization is not a military alliance and I don't see this as a rival to NATO. China and Russia are competitors and are more likely to become rivals in the following years. Or Russia could become a client state for China. One author mentioned that but I forgot the name and it's pretty speculative anyway. They lack support of the countries and have no interests in the region.
  3. China: It might change in the future but China had a long history of non interventionism. During Imperial China, they did not try to conquer the world of colonize other places. China has a different way of interacting with the world and I doubt they would be inclined to participate in a war in the Indian subcontinent. China would not have much to gain in a war with India, their claims are mostly about Taiwan and Mongolia. China do have interests in the region. They don't see the area as their backyard like some US perceive Canada. They are mostly seen as economic partners and again, it's not enough to justify war.
  4. Japan: They cannot get into an offensive war because their constitution prohibit them to do so (article 9, I think). Although this could change in the future, there is little incentive to do so. With an aging population, serious dept problem and all the rest: I think Japan will be very far from the conflict.
  5. Europe: As with the others, they will not want a war because it's bad for the world economy. They have all the reasons to avoid such a conflict. They are likely to favor economic sanctions before using force especially if the conflict is far away.

Most of these countries have absolutely zero reason to get into the conflict.

WHY WW1 WAS SO BIG ? Because of alliances/treaties.

  • France and Russia had a military alliance. They committed to support each other if they were attacked.
  • Austria-Hungary, Italy and Germany had also a similar alliance. It was only defensive but since they were the attackers, Italy decided not to get involved in the beginning.
  • The United-Kingdom pledge to defend the independence of belgium.

Now, after the Austrian invasion of Serbia, everyone was on edge. Eventually, Wilhelm 2 took a decision.

Germany declares war to France and Russia after the rejection of the ultimatum. From a strictly diplomatic point of view, Germany started the war... Germany initiate the Schlieffen plan: one of the biggest military mistake of history. Invading France by marching across neutral Belgium. UK In response, they declare war to Germany and Austria...

We already have most of the European countries at war (France,UK,Russia, Belgium, Serbia, Austria, Germany, Austria) with their colonial Empires. Australia, New Zealand, Indochina, British India, 90% of Africa, Canada and some other countries are also automatically in the fray.

Other countries decided to get involved into the conflict but it was already a World War at that point.

*By the way, The Taping rebellion in China killed more people than WW1 but is not considered a World war because it was limited to China.

  • $\begingroup$ Although all the answers are good, but I think your answers first part is precise and to the point, also explains roles of Countries . so i am Accepting this one and going to post next question related to this one. thanks everyone.. $\endgroup$ – Explorer Mar 30 '15 at 8:32
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ Friendship has some meaning in Realpolitik. It would be nigh-impossible to create a plausible scenario where e.g. Canada or the UK turned on the USA, because the population wouldn't stand for it (a declaration of war would simply result in the army standing itself down); probably the reverse is also true. This was also the entire motivation for forming the EU: Germany and France cannot fight as long as their populations like each other more than their own leaders. $\endgroup$ – Leushenko Apr 3 '15 at 18:01

The existence of a "no first use" policy in India means that Pakistan will avoid engaging in it's "first strike" policy unless it was certain that India was willing to violate "no first use." For Pakistan, there is no political upside to initiating a nuke strike when there is no exigent threat - EVERYONE would turn against them, and it's unlikely that the first strike would remove India's ability to retalliate. India knows this. That's why they created the policy in the first place.

There would have to be some horrific circumstances for India to drop the no first use policy. Even if the threat of war extended farther than just the border conflict directly into undisputed territory, it would be more strategically sound for India to let Pakistan extend itself and then surround the invading force rather than escalate the conflict. India would need to be threatened with wide-spread destruction (or a threat of complete takeover, which Pakistan isn't big enough to handle) for them to reach for the nuclear option, which the majority of the world would certainly support.

Knowing that, it would be insanity for Pakistan to attempt a full takeover of India in order to justify a pre-emptive nuclear strike AGAINST THE COUNTRY THEY'RE INVADING which would certainly doom everyone on BOTH sides.

A far more probable tactic is, unsurprisingly, the one ("not") being used by Russia (and most likely learned from it's history of sponsorship of militants) - war by proxy.

Basically, one side or another would sponsor "separatists" from the opposition to inspire local conflict to which they would provide material support. As you noted, China and Russia would be fine with this (more market for their weapons!), the rest of the world would be unhappy with the escalated aggression, but wouldn't actually DO anything for fear of further escalation (see: Ukraine). It's an "open secret" that the separatists/terrorists are directly sponsored by the enemy country. Eventually, one of two things will happen:

  1. While attempting to press their advantage, the sponsored terrorists will go too far.
  2. The defending country gets tired of world inaction, snaps, and launches an all-out assault on the sponsoring country.

This would coerce the world into broader military intervention. Whichever country is indirectly sponsoring the terrorists would fall out on their side, "arguing for mediation and localized conflict." If this works, it will probably will end up with the creation of an "independent state" under de facto control of the sponsor, effectively winning the war for them. If not, then they would send in material ground support.

The US and EU would probably end up on the side of the defenders, at the very least to put themselves in opposition against China and Russia. Any deployment of troops by them would be countered by US forces for the other side. We would end up in a "Warm War," not yet a full hotzone, and more actual military action than the Cold War.

The tipping point would come when the sponsored separatists/terrorists get ahold of a mini-nuke. Where it will come from is irrelevant. It might have been from a previously uninvolved country (such as Iran) trying to "stir the pot." With all the major world powers focused on the India/Pakistani border, a nuclear explosion at a military base containing foreign forces would throw everything into terrible, terrible conflict.

And here's why that's frightening: nuclear weapons, once used, broaden the field of war. The first use of nukes gives a "pass" to a retalliatory strike. And in this case, the retalliation will be against PEOPLE WHO DIDN'T EVEN USE OR SUPPLY THE NUKES, but no one at that point will believe them.

Why this is plausible: It could even be done intentionally by, say, a nuclear Iran (or any other middle eastern nuclear power) in hopes that the larger powers would rip each other apart, basically initiating their own eschatology via nuclear war!

Basically, the Far East will erupt into a war between all world powers, with the most of the middle east snickering at the side, glad to be left out of it this time.

In conclusion, I'll just leave this here: https://youtu.be/YDFqoReof6A?t=20s

  • $\begingroup$ Interesting answer. I don't like it (for humanitarian reasons), but it's hard not to accept that it is a good one. So: +1. $\endgroup$ – Burki Mar 27 '15 at 14:10
  • $\begingroup$ @Burki I don't like it either, but it's disturbingly plausible. We've had war by proxy happening pretty much since the UN was formed - the large powers didn't want to be seen in active war, so sponsored terrorism is the easiest way around that... $\endgroup$ – Isaac Kotlicky Mar 27 '15 at 14:12

To be honest, I have a hard time believing that very many of the Western countries would be willing to take sides in a war between Pakistan and India. I'm very sure that most in the US would say 'let them duke it out'.

You know what many here know about India is that they are the most populous country in the world (if they don't still think China is) and that is where all their service calls go to and they can't understand half of what they say.

Many think Pakistan is backward nation of thugs who are secretly Muslim Extremists.

Russia and China might egg on the fight, secretly supporting both sides, and waiting to move in and grab as much of both countries as they can to 'help police and clean up the situation'.

The only way the US would seriously get involved is if either China or Russia took a much more personal hand, by invading or lending troops to (most likely) Pakistan.

Most of Europe would sit on the side lines begging for peace talks.

  • 2
    $\begingroup$ I bet a they would say 'let them nuke it out'... $\endgroup$ – Maxime Lucas Mar 27 '15 at 12:57
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    $\begingroup$ @skysurf3000 that is probably more accurate... ;) $\endgroup$ – bowlturner Mar 27 '15 at 12:58

It really depends.

China has been ramping up its global military and logistics capabilities ever since the communist takeover in the late 1940's and early 50's. The rate of buildup seems to have rapidly increased as well as their technological prowess.

If China got directly involved then USA would. If the USA gets involved then NATO would. Generally if NATO gets involved the Russians will follow on the opposing side. With the Ukraine crisis and Russia disregarding NATO, I can see how an "Eastern Alliance" could ban together against a Western Alliance (NATO) over a Pakistan/India conflict. Since India is a Democracy it will (probably) follow the US, especially if China and Russia side with Pakistan.


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