The new Worldwide Threat Assessment by U.S. intelligence community, released by the Office of the Director of National Intelligence on 29th Jan, criticizes Pakistan as well as Indian ruling party for different reasons.
While talking about terrorism and Pakistan, the document states:
Militant groups supported by Pakistan will continue to take advantage of their safe haven in Pakistan to plan and conduct attacks in India and Afghanistan, including against US interests. Islamabad’s narrow approach to counterterrorism cooperation—using some groups as policy tools and confronting only the militant groups that directly threaten Pakistan—almost certainly will frustrate US counterterrorism efforts against the Taliban.
The document, while talking about India, criticizes the Indian ruling party Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and warns of the possibility of communal violence around the election season:
Parliamentary elections in India increase the possibility of communal violence if Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) stresses Hindu nationalist themes. BJP policies during Modi’s first term have deepened communal tensions in some BJP-governed states, and Hindu nationalist state leaders might view a Hindu-nationalist campaign as a signal to incite low-level violence to animate their supporters. Increasing communal clashes could alienate Indian Muslims and allow Islamist terrorist groups in India to expand their influence.
While talking about India-Pakistan tensions, the document predicts that India-Pakistan tensions will continue at least till May 2019 and Indian election and repeated cross-border exchange of fire between armies of both countries may further contribute to these tensions. Interestingly, it also mentions Pakistan’s view of U.S. as an Indian ally playing a role in tensions between both South Asian nuclear countries:
We judge that cross-border terrorism, firing across the Line of Control (LoC), divisive national elections in India, and Islamabad’s perception of its position with the United States relative to India will contribute to strained India-Pakistan relations at least through May 2019, the deadline for the Indian election, and probably beyond. Despite limited confidence-building measures—such as both countries recommitting in May 2018 to the 2003 cease-fire along the disputed Kashmir border—continued terrorist attacks and cross-border firing in Kashmir have hardened each country’s position and reduced their political will to seek rapprochement. Political maneuvering resulting from the Indian national elections probably will further constrain near-term opportunities for improving ties.
While talking about the threat of nuclear weapons in South Asia region, the assessment warns of new risks involving nuclear weapons of India and Pakistan:
The continued growth and development of Pakistan and India’s nuclear weapons programs increase the risk of a nuclear security incident in South Asia, and the new types of nuclear weapons will introduce new risks for escalation dynamics and security in the region. Pakistan continues to develop new types of nuclear weapons, including short-range tactical weapons, sea-based cruise missiles, air-launched cruise missiles, and longer range ballistic missiles. India this year conducted its first deployment of a nuclear-powered submarine armed with nuclear missiles.
The full Worldwide Threat Assessment by ODNI can be viewed here.