Suffolk University

The Ethics of War: Regional Tension Flares up between India and Pakistan by Emily Betancourt

Although going to war is controversial, many countries deem it necessary. However, war tends to be more destructive than beneficial. What is war? How are wars caused? Why go to war? Is war beneficial? These are philosophical and political questions that a country must generally ask before thinking of war. Some countries deem war necessary depending on how they look at a certain situation. For instance, when a country goes to war, some people see it as a threat to democracy, but others view it as a way to save democracy from being attacked. No one can judge or answer those questions but rather ethically outweigh the pros and con of war. 

Many philosophers have examined the topic of war but, Thomas Hobbesdefinition seems to be the most adequate description of India’s position. “…War is also an attitude: “By war is meant a state of affairs which may exist even while its operations are not continued”. India has been on the brink of war with Pakistan for decades. The bases for India’s democratic backsliding started when wars began to spread over regional tension in the early 1960s. Continuously, India had three wars with Pakistan between the late 1940s to early 1970s. Therefore, the tension between the two countries existed but the wars did not continue.On the other hand, in an article on Kashmir newstension has reached an all-time high after a suicide attack was placed on an Indian paramilitary convoy in February. After the deadliest suicide attack that India has seen in over 30 years, Pakistan claimed responsibility. Concurrently, an Indian fighter jet bombed a camp in Pakistani territory. While tensions are high, India is trying incredibly hard to ease up tension with Pakistan because they do not want to go to war. In an article on India news, it states “India and Pakistan have retreated from the brink of possible war but an information conflict still rages over their tit-for-tat air strikes and an aerial dogfight between the nuclear-armed arch rivals” (Al Jazeera). Pakistan has tried to meet some of India’s demands by cracking down on groups who are linked to violent organization and they have managed to arrest many individuals who were associated to those groups. China has even stepped in to praise Pakistant’s control and to offer help to ease tension between both countries. What does war mean for India and Pakistan? Is it ethical for both countries to go to war? The answer is no.   

War can ultimately have an impact on India’s democratic backsliding and can have an even greater impact on South Asian countries because both countries have nuclear powers. In an article on Quora, researchers predict that India will win a war against Pakistan. But that is not the problem, the problem is the effect a war will have on both countries along with surrounding countries. “If India and Pakistan fought a war detonating 100 nuclear warheads (around half of their combined arsenal), each equivalent to a 15-kiloton Hiroshima bomb, more than 21 million people will be directly killed”(Quora). A chunk of the worlds population will vanish. Not only will a lot of lives be taken in the process, monsoons and agriculture will cripple worldwide.  There will be “severe starvation due to the climatic effects of the nuclear-weapon use in the subcontinent…” (Quora). Therefore, the standard of living will definitely decrease from the levels that they are currently at and death rates will increase in both India and Pakistan as well as their surrounding neighbors. 

Although India might have resources to win Pakistan in a war, their democracy is unstable. An unstable democracy is not capable of withholding a war even if they have the power to win the war. India is facing democratic backsliding primarily because electoral corruption which results in an increase of mistrust, rebellion, and chaos. India faces political and electoral instability because there is not one or two but multiple parties that have risen over the years. If India begins another war with Pakistan, the damages democracy will face are unpredictable given the electoral corruption. Going to war would require a lot of spending for weapons and preparations. That type of spending should be put towards infrastructure and health care to better assist with overpopulation and standard of living. Moreover, India survived three wars with Pakistan decades ago, but researchers have predicted that a war today will cause extraordinary damages that are unrecoverable. Pakistan’sMainly because both countries now have nuclear power. In an article on The National Interest, Sebastien Roblin states “…full-scale nuclear war has never occurred before, though it has come close to happening”.Not knowing the impact, a nuclear war can have on a country should continue to stay unknown because we do not know the consequences that a nuclear war holds. 

Photo by: Saleem Akhtar Malik

Leave a Reply