WASHINGTON: A US intelligence report warns that India, led by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, could respond with military force to any perceived or genuine provocation by Pakistan.
According to the Dawn newspaper, the 2021 annual threat assessment report has been prepared by the US Director of National Intelligence and sent to Congress.
The report cites China’s “efforts for world power” as the number one threat to US interests, followed by Russia’s provocative actions and threats to Iran.
In an introductory note, DNI Director Aurel Heinz wrote that the report provides a critical, independent, and simple overview of policymakers, warlords, and local law enforcement agencies.
Assessing the potential threats from South Asia, the report warns that “India, under the leadership of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, is more likely to respond to Pakistan’s perceived or real provocations with military force than in the past.”
The report said that tensions in the region have increased the risk of conflict between the two nuclear-armed neighbors, including violent instability in Kashmir or possible military strikes in India.
At the same time, the report said that a “general war” between India and Pakistan is unlikely in 2021, but the crisis between the two could escalate, leading to a cycle of tensions.
Earlier, another US intelligence report sent to Congress warned that there could be a war between India and Pakistan over the next five years over real or perceived provocation.
The report estimates that the chances of a peace deal between the Afghan government and the Taliban in 2021 are slim.
It also said that Kabul would face setbacks on the battlefield and that the Taliban were confident they could achieve a military victory.
The DNI said Afghan forces would retain major cities and other strongholds of the government but would remain attached to defense missions and strive to re-establish or recapture abandoned areas in 2020.
Commenting on Iran’s role in Afghanistan, he said that Iran has publicly supported the Afghan peace process but is concerned about the long presence of the United States in Afghanistan.
As a result, Iran is forging ties with both the Kabul government and the Taliban to take advantage of any political outcome.