Under Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s leadership, India is more likely to respond with military force to any real or perceived provocations from Pakistan, a report by a United States intelligence panel has stated.

In the report that was released on Tuesday, the Office of the Director of National Intelligence said that “heightened tensions” between India and Pakistan increase the risk of a conflict. It added that the potential flashpoint could be “violent unrest in Kashmir or a militant attack in India”.

“Crises between India and Pakistan are of particular concern [to the US] because of the risk – however low – of an escalatory cycle between two nuclear-armed states,” it added.

The annual report assessed security threats to the US for the next year and is based on the insights of the country’s intelligence community.

“All [threats] require a robust intelligence response, including those where a near-term focus may help head off greater threats in the future, such as climate change and environmental degradation,” it said.

The report also contained an analysis of India’s relationship with China. It observed that the ties between the two countries will “remain strained” due to the border standoff in eastern Ladakh’s Galwan Valley in June 2020. Twenty Indian soldiers were killed in the clash. China put the number of casualties on its side at four.

“We assess that the expanded military postures by both India and China along the disputed border elevates 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.

Threats to US

The report said that competition and potential conflicts between other countries were a “critical national security threat” to the US.

“Beijing, Moscow, Tehran, and Pyongyang have demonstrated the capability and intent to advance their interests at the expense of the United States and its allies,” it said.

The report said that China was a near-peer competitor of the US and was challenging it in multiple areas, including economy, defence and technology. It said that Beijing was also attempting to change the global norms and threatening its neighbours.

The report also mentioned that Russia was pushing back against the US by using various techniques. “In Ukraine, we can see the results of Russia’s increased willingness to use military threats and force to impose its will on neighbours,” it said.

The report was based on inputs received till January 21, a month before Russia invaded Ukraine.