The main problem with the current crisis is that there just isn’t enough in it for the powerful Western States to commit themselves to any significant intervention. The spoils just aren’t there (apart, of course, from arming both sides to the hilt with conventional weapons as the UK is still doing). Also, it is properly a matter for the United Nations, however, without the will of the ‘Big 5’ and particularly of the ever gung-ho United States the Security Council cannot do a great deal. This is a point of real concern given that the threat posed to international peace and security in this crisis is far greater than that posed by Hussain in Iraq or al-Quaida in Afghanistan. You may wish to question the true motivation for any intervention in foreign affairs past or present.
Sanctions (which the Security Council would have to authorise) would, as usual, be a mistake. Ensuring compliance is a costly and time consuming business and in any case the citizens of both nations would bear the impact not the elite groups causing the problem. Just look at Iraq - it still trades (legitimatly and otherwise), the “troublesome” leadership is still in place, still rich, still powerful and sanctions have only crippled the general population which is increasingly hungry and disease ridden. Sanctions are mainly a political tool used for “drawing lines in the sand” and suchlike, “you’re either with us or against us!” (yawn).
Should “we” step in and force dialogue? As mentioned it is a matter for the UN Security Council to determine and resolve all threats to international peace and security, the competence of which is compromised by political realities. However, it is worth reflecting upon the history of other nuclear States. Would the US or USSR have tolerated anyone “stepping in” during the Cuban Missile Crisis? At the time the threat of nuclear warfare was a greater possibility than that posed by India and Pakistan today. Moreover the US is the only State to have ever used such weapons (remember Japan? Not even an apology!" and furthermore the US has recently confessed that it is prepared to attack Iraq, Iran, Sudan and N. Korea (all non-nuclear powers) with pre-emptive nuclear strikes. Point is, who are we in the West to tell anyone anything?
If the Security Council isn’t strong enough to deal with it alone (and it isn’t) who should “step in”? Does anyone have that right? It is really a matter for those nations who are close enough to be caught up in the direct consequence of any nuclear strike more than it is any concern of the West, for whom foreign intervention has rarely had little to do with morality. Western intervention, should it become likely, will draw criticism from the developing world and be denounced by many in the muslim and Arab nations. Such nations are increasingly concerned about the self determined jurisdiction of powerful Western States and fear that their own day in the spotlight will come when it suits Western interests.
The real solution to the problem lies in denying both India and Pakistan any claim to Kashmir, which could, if only the outside world would support it become a small State in its own right. No one pushes this idea too far and the mainstream media passes over any real opportunity to discuss it.
Also, be wary of reports that focus heavily on issues of terrorism. This conflict has been going on for years and years but it is only recently that terrorism has become a significant issue. It is subtefuge aimed at drawing a line between acceptable terror and non-acceptable terror. Fact is, both States are terroristic and our governments and media will eventually come down in support of the side which is most congenial to Western interests. Attempts to bring in al-Quaida complicity should also be viewed with cation (though not necessarily dismissed).
Finally, I wouldn’t worry about it too much. There will be no nuclear war (unless, perhaps and only perhaps, Pakistan suffers devastating losses in a conventional war). Though some level of conflict is likely, if not certain, both countries (particularly India) want too much to be a part of the wider international community to let things get too out of hand. Also, though both countries have nuclear weapons they are not in the same league as those held by the US or any other nuclear State (even Israel). Devastation, while considerable at a local level, would not endanger the world at large.But things won’t go that far. It just won’t happen.