things going from bad to worse in the neighbourhood, the minister said Pakistan was in the throes of instability.
“Threat of nuclear weapons falling in wrong hands remains an area of serious concern and consequences of such a situation are unimaginable,” Mr Antony said while addressing a seminar, Changing Nature of Conflict: Trends and Responses.
Army chief General Deepak Kapoor, who spoke at the same event, echoed the minister’s statement and said that south Asia along with west Asia has emerged as “one of the epicentres of conflict and instability”.
The General also said the situation could “worsen since there was neither any political or diplomatic unity nor any common ground to build a consensus to fight this new war”. Elaborating this, the Army chief said “territorial disputes, provocation by proxy wars, religious fundamentalism, radical extremism, ethnic tensions and socio-economic disparities are the hallmarks of south Asia”.
General Kapoor said other nations would be forced to intervene if the situation worsens in these countries. “Nations may be forced to undertake interventions on purely humanitarian grounds if the Diaspora is under threat, sovereignty of nations being questioned such as attacks on missions abroad and national assets and foreign soil being used constantly for attack by state and non-state actors.”
In a reference to the situation in Pakistan, the Army chief said: “In some countries, conflict has reached almost every household and is no more restricted to borders or traditional war zones.” Citing example of Afghanistan and parts of Pakistan, the Army chief said battlefields were merging as “going after the poppy cultivator and heroin smuggler may go concurrently with a war on militant fundamentalist groups, in an era when drug money finds its way into terrorist wars”.
Coming back to the defence minister’s address, he said there was a need for nations to initiate forward-looking responses and to be unified and collective in their fight against terror.