In its annual threat assessment report, the Office of the Director of National Intelligence highlighted increasing tensions between India and its two neighbours: Pakistan and China.
‘Pakistan supports anti-India terror groups’
The report, which has been submitted to the US Congress, stated that crises between India and Pakistan are of particular concern because of the risk of an escalatory cycle between the two nuclear-armed states.
“New Delhi and Islamabad probably are inclined to reinforce the current calm in their relationship following both sides’ renewal of a cease-fire along the Line of Control in early 2021. However, Pakistan has a long history of supporting anti-India militant groups, and under the leadership of PM Modi, India is more likely than in the past to respond with military force to Pakistani provocations,” it said.
The intelligence community highlighted that violent unrest in Kashmir or a militant attack in India could be potential flashpoints.
‘India, China conflict may require US intervention’
The reported also noted that while India and China have engaged in bilateral border talks and resolved some border points, relations between the countries remain strained in the wake of the Galwan clash in 2020.
India has maintained that its ties with China cannot be normal unless there is peace in the border areas.
“The expanded military postures by both India and China along the disputed border elevate the risk of armed confrontation between two nuclear powers that might involve direct threats to US persons and interests, and calls for US intervention,” the report said, adding that previous standoffs have demonstrated that persistent low-level friction on the Line of Actual Control (LAC) has the “potential to escalate swiftly”.