There is no dearth of social media trolls on both of the boarder that are, officially or informally, fighting what they have arbitrarily dubbed the “fifth generation war[fare]”. Perhaps these social (media) soldiers will now have to upgrade the level of warfare because India and Pakistan are literally, not virtually, at the brink of fighting their fifth conventional war with the potential to turn into a catastrophic nuclear one. The two sides have already fought four times: 1947-48, 1965, 1971 and 1999. Importantly, except the 1971 one, the remaining three wars were fought over and in the legally disputed state of Jammu and Kashmir (J&K). Now, the clouds of the fifth war are hovering essentially over the otherwise picturesque landscape of J&K that has been turned into a battlefield for last seven decades. The situation on the ground in the Indian-held Kashmir worsened for a common Kashmiri under the Modi-led BJP government that ontologically views the Muslims as subhuman and left no stone unturned to dehumanise them not just within India but also in the Indian controlled J&K where a quarter of Indian army is stationed for decades, killing and injuring the local population at will. Indeed, the latest round of state oppression committed under the racist and rightist regime of the RSS controlled BJP ignited the existing anti-India popular resentment and resistance among the Kashmiris who rightfully demand the right to self-determination, which has been denied to them essentially by India, which arbitrarily integrated the state- that it held illegally- with mainland India way back in 1957. The regional and international powers have a role to play in this regard. They must speed up diplomatic efforts and strongly urge the two sides to fully de-escalate with the emphasis to shun war (mentality) for good In the current context, the Modi Sarkar, mostly due to electoral reasons, has resorted to military means in terms of what India called the “pre-emptive non-military air strike”. Operationally, Indian fighter jets, MiG 21 included, crossed into Pakistan’s airspace, dropped what Pakistan called “payload” and, when challenged, hurriedly flew back. Since 1971, it is for the first time India illegally violated Pakistan’s territorial sovereignty, while committing an act of “grave aggression”. Pakistan responded back accordingly in order to undo this precedent of arbitrarily and illegally crossing into Pakistani (aerial) territory: it shot down two Indian jets one of which fell onto the Pakistani side of the Line of Control (LoC). Interestingly, one Indian pilot, Abhinandan, was rescued from a charged Kashmiri mob by the personnel of Pakistan army. The captured pilot, with Rajasthani style moustache, was treated fairly. Moreover, as a gesture of peace while taking the international opinion on ending the crisis into account, the Khan government acted in a peace-oriented manner by formally handing over Abhinandan to India at the Wagah border. The regional powers especially China and the international community particularly the US appreciated Pakistan’s stance of de-escalating the otherwise rapidly deteriorating situation at the LoC and beyond. The Modi Sarkar is expected to perceive it in the same fashion by extending a hand of friendship to his counterpart in Pakistan. Moreover, what Modi and team need to understand is Pakistan, historically, factored little in India’s electoral politics. It is purely domestic variables such as caste and economic issues. If the 2002 standoff of the Vajpayee era is any guide, the BJP then formed a weak coalition government post-standoff and lost to the Congress in the subsequent election. Even this time around, given the dynamics of domestic politics, it is likely the Modi-led BJP would lose the upcoming election. Hence, Mr Modi needs to focus on his election campaign socially and politically than taking on Pakistan militarily. It is time India hurriedly revisits its Pakistan strategy by factually taking due measures in terms of immediate ceasefire on the LoC, closing down the so called Cold Start Doctrine for good, respecting Pakistan’s territorial sovereignty currently and onwards, stopping state atrocities on innocent and unarmed Kashmiris, resolving the Kashmir conflict with Pakistan legally and, overall, building confidence by opening up diplomatic channels along with encouraging people-to-people contact. On its part, Pakistan ought to welcome any such move and take solid steps to consolidate bilateral confidence to move away from warfare and indulge in building long-lasting peace in the subcontinent. The regional and international powers have a role to play in this regard. They must speed up diplomatic efforts and strongly urge the two sides to fully de-escalate with the emphasis to shun war (mentality) for good. If India under Modi does not change its (dis)course and continues to further cross into Pakistan by any means, Pakistan is most likely to respond in the same manner and proportion. This will thus escalate into initially the fifth (conventional) war which, if not stopped bilaterally, would turn into a nuclear one where perhaps nobody would survive to write an op-ed on the irrationally and sheer stupidity of our collective leadership. The writer is Head, Department of Social Sciences, Iqra University, Islamabad. He is a DAAD, FDDI and Fulbright Fellow Published in Daily Times, March 3rd 2019.