Originally published in Global Times, 1995.
Susmit Kumar, Ph. D.
For centuries Kashmir was a place noted for its adherence to the gentle Sufi form of Islam. Kashmir was the only place where no communal riot and killing took place during the partition of India. But since 1989, India has been fighting Pakistan-sponsored infiltration in Kashmir.
India and Pakistan fought two full-scale wars over Kashmir. Since 1989 India is fighting Pakistan-sponsored aggression in Kashmir. In last ten years, more than 25,000 people have died in Kashmir. Since 1996, India has lost more than 2,000 soldiers in Kashmir and several thousands are being wounded every year. More than one third of the Indian Army, about 450,000 troops, is tied down in Jammu and Kashmir to fight a couple of thousands of irregulars. India is spending thousands of crores of rupees every year to fight them.
After getting control of more than 90% of Afghanistan, the Pakistan army is sending the irregulars to Kashmir to fight the holy war. According to intelligence sources, about 8,000 to 10,000 Islamic fundamentalists, mostly Arabs and Afghans and trained in Afghan war universities, are in Pakistan-controlled Kashmir ready to enter India to fight the Islamic holy war. The Line of Control (LOC) in Kashmir is about 780 kilometers long and it is quite impossible to stop the infiltration of these mercenaries. Right now, the situation in Kashmir is worse than that in 1965 when Pakistan’s dictator Ayub Khan infiltrated guerrilla units on mass scale that led to a full-scale war.
People in India think that the best solution of the Kashmir problem is to convert the LOC to an international border, but no government in Pakistan can ever agree for it because it will not be acceptable to either Pakistani Army or Pakistani people. There are several factions in the Pakistani army which work independently of each other. People in India and elsewhere praised the Bus Diplomacy and subsequently signing of the Lahore Declaration by Indian and Pakistani prime ministers in February this year. Although Nawaz Sharif got a huge political mandate in the last election and has been able to ease out other power centers, the president and chief justice, the Kargil Operation by Pakistani army clearly shows that who has the final control over the power in Pakistan. Nawaz Sharif did not fully understand the magnitude of Kargil crisis till it was full blown. Just few weeks ago the US State Department issued a stern warning to the Pakistani generals not to overthrow the Nawaz Sharief government.
Even if the Kashmir problem is solved, the Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) of Pakistan (Pakistan’s equivalent of the US’s CIA) is not going to stop its terrorist activities in India. ISI’s sponsorship is not limited to Kashmir only. It is funding, training and supplying arms to militants and separatists all over India – as far as in Assam and its neighboring states. In the hills of Bangladesh and deep forests of Bhutan and Myanmar, ISI is operating 30 to 40 training centers for separatists operating in the Northeast states. Pakistan is supporting Islamic agressors not only in India, but also in countries like Egypt, Tunisia, Algeria, Tajikstan and Dagestan. ISI and Pakistani army are rouge organizations. They think that they can inflict heavy casualty on India by their low-cost war like Kargil operation and India will not increase the intensity of war because of their nuclear blackmail, i.e. they will use nuclear weapons if India will go for full-scale war. But there is a limit of patience of India. India will have to go for a war with Pakistan in very near future to end its sponsorship of aggression. As predicted by noted US thinks tanks, this war will end with the use of nuclear bombs by both the countries. In this article, we will discuss the history of the Kashmir and why India will have to invade Pakistan to solve the activities.
1. Kashmir – History of Conflict
When the British left India in 1947, British-controlled states, also called British India, were divided between India and Pakistan in plebiscite along religious lines. Twelve million Hindus and Muslims fled from one area to another and half a million people lost their lives in the ensuing communal riots. Under the Indian Independence Act of 1947, the paramountcy of the British over about 600 princely states lapsed and they were free to join India, Pakistan or become sovereign (i.e. the sovereignty of each of these states was to revert to the ruler). The Indian National Congress had demanded the two-nation theory to be applied to these princely states too. According to the Indian National Congress, these princely states should not be allowed to become independent and they should join either India or Pakistan on the basis of geographical contiguity and wishes of the population. But the Muslim League opposed it. On June 13, 1947, Jinnah said that the princely states were sovereign for every purpose. Again when the British formulated the draft instrument of accession for the states on defense, external affairs and communications, Jinnah opposed it and said that he would guarantee the independence of the states in Pakistan and publicly reiterated it on July 18, 1947. In order to accommodate Jinnah’s point of view, the British enacted article 7(b) of the Indian Independence Act of 1947.
Within few months of the independence, Sardar Patel, the Indian home minister, integrated 561 princely states, having 800,000 square kilometers and population of 86 million, with India. For this very reason Patel is often compared with Bismarck of Germany who unified Germany in the late 19th century. But his work was much harder than Bismarck who used both “blood and iron” to integrate a dozen states, whereas Patel integrated 561 states without shedding any blood. Jinnah thought that after the lapse of paramountcy many princely states would stay out of India. He tried his best to persuade Bhopal, Hyderabad, Jaisalmer and Travancore to become sovereign states. He even accepted the accession of Junagarh, which had a Hindu majority, to Pakistan in utter violation of the two-nation theory. But Sardar Patel dealt firmly with all these states.
Jammu and Kashmir (J&K) was a princely state. Had it been a part of British India, it would have gone to Pakistan as Muslims constituted about 77% in the state. In 1846 the British sold Kashmir to Raja Gulab Singh of Jammu for a payment of seventy five thousand Nanakshahi rupees under the Treaty of Amritsar. During that period, there was nothing unusual in selling territories. In 1804, Napoleon sold the state of Louisiana to the USA against a payment of fifteen million pounds. After the lapse of the paramountcy in August 1947, Maharaja Hari Singh of J&K, the great grandson of Maharaja Gulab Singh, was not interested in joining either India or Pakistan. Within a week of getting independence, Pakistan planned an operation codenamed Gulmarg to invade J&K on Oct. 22. On August 20, the details of the plan marked “Top Secret”, signed by the then Pakistani Commander-in-Chief Field Marshal Claude Auchinleck, a British, fell into the hands of an Indian Army officer Major Onkar Singh Kalkat who informed about this plan to the Indian defense ministry. But the Indian defense ministry did not take any measures. On October 22, 1947, about 5,000 tribesmen led by Pakistani Army regulars attacked J&K, and quickly captured large parts of J&K. Instead of exploiting their initial success, the tribesmen stopped to loot, rape the women, kill the inhabitants, burn the houses and abduct young women to take back to Pakistan. Maharaja made a desperate appeal to India to come to his rescue, but India took the stand that it was not in position to send troops to rescue Maharaja. On October 26, the intruders massacred about 11,000 out of the 14,000 residents in Baramullah and destroyed the Mohra power station that supplied electricity to Srinagar. In panic, Maharaja Hari Singh signed the Instrument of Accession on the same day. The raiders were just five kilometers from Srinagar.
On October 27, India airlifted massive army to Srinagar in the nick of time and captured Baramulla and major parts of J&K within two weeks. The intruders were on the run and the Indian army would have captured the entire J&K territory. But against the advice of Sardar Patel, Prime Minister Nehru took the matters to the UN Security Council on January 1, 1948. India accused Pakistan for sending its regular troops and tribesmen. It led to the establishment of a Commission, UN Commission in India and Pakistan (UNCIP) by the Security Council to assess the claims and counter-claims of the two countries. Although Pakistan initially denied any involvement, later on it accepted that its army was involved. The chairman of the UNCIP was Dr. Josef Korbel, father of the US secretary of state Ms. Madeline Albright. On August 13, 1948, UNCIP passed a resolution asking Pakistan to withdraw its troops and tribesmen from the entire state of J&K. “Once Pakistan withdraws them, the administration by the local authorities needs to be restored, India will reduce its troops to the barest minimum and then a plebiscite will be held to ascertain the wishes of the people of the state.” The cease-fire came in effect on January 1, 1949 and the cease-fire line became the Line-of-Control (LOC) in J&K.
In fact it was wrong on the part of Nehru to take the Kashmir issue to the UN. It is said that had he given few more days to the army, the entire J&K would have been recaptured. 50 years later, the nation is still paying the price of his blunder. By taking the matter to the UN, he internationalized the issue and made Pakistan a party in J&K issue. After signing the Instrument of Accession by Maharaja Hari Singh, J&K became a part of India. It was completely legal under the Indian Independence Act, 1947, signed by both India and Pakistan, which gave the sovereignty of J&K to Maharaja Hari Singh after the lapse of the British paramountcy. There was no provision of plebiscite in the Indian Independence Act 1947 to ascertain the wishes of the people of the princely states. In fact on February 4, 1948, the US representative, Warren Austin, said in the Security Council, “With the accession of J&K to India, this foreign sovereignty (of J&K) went over to India.” On September 15, 1950, Justice Owen Dixon clearly stated in his report to the Security Council that Pakistan violated the international law by crossing the boundary. Hence it was completely wrong on behalf of Nehru to agree for a plebiscite on a territory that was an integral part of India. However the plebiscite was conditional upon Pakistan withdrawing its troops and tribesmen from the state and restoration of administration to the local authorities. In last 50 years, Pakistan has not fulfilled the first two conditions and hence is responsible for the stalemate. In fact, in 1957 the UN Security Council adopted a resolution on the basis of the UN mediator Ambassador Gunnar Jarring of Sweden who wrote in his report: “In dealing with the problem under discussion as extensively as I have during the period just ended, I could not fail to take note of the concern expressed in connection with the changing political, economic and strategic factors surrounding the whole of the Kashmir question, together with the changing patterns of power relations in West and South Asia. The council will further more be aware of the fact that implementation of international agreements of an ad hoc character which has not been achieved fairly speedily, may become progressively more difficult because the situation with which they were to cope has tended to change.”
2. Indo-Pak Wars
India, Pakistan and China control 45%, 35% and 20%, respectively, of the original J&K territory. China got about 35,000 square kilometers in Aksai Chin in 1962 war and another 5,000 square kilometers in Balistan ceded by Pakistan under a treaty signed in March 1963. Had Pakistan been able to get Kargil heights, it would have suited China too as it would have caused problems for India in deploying troops in LOC along Indo-China border in Aksai Chin. Indian Kashmir has three regions: Kashmir Valley (hereafter called India-Administered Kashmir Valley or IKV), Jammu and Ladakh. IKV, Jammu and Ladakh have Muslim, Hindu and Buddhist, respectively, majorities. Pakistan-Administered Kashmir (PAK) has Muslim majority. The bone of contention is just IKV, a one hundred mile long valley, which is about 9% of the original J&K territory.
India and Pakistan fought three wars, in 1947-48, in 1965 and in 1971, and two out of these were over Kashmir. Apart from these three wars, India has been fighting a covert war since 1989 in Kashmir. This year both the countries came close to a full-scale war when Pakistani Army regulars occupied the peaks in Kashmir overlooking the important Indian highway linking Srinagar to Leh, the capital of Ladakh.
After watching the helplessness of Indian Army in 1962 Indo-China War, Pakistan’s dictator Ayub Khan devised a plan codenamed “Operation Gibraltar” under which Pakistani Army infiltrated guerrilla units on mass scale in Kashmir Valley thinking the Muslims would revolt en masse against the Indian Union which did not happen. Then the regular Pakistani troops crossed the LOC in J&K. In 1965, the UN military observer group Brigadier General Nimmo reported to the UN about the massive infiltration by guerrilla units from Pakistan side. This infiltration was a deliberate violation of all the UN resolutions on Kashmir. But the UN did not take any action. Pakistan thought that Indian Prime Minister Lal Bahadur Shastri would limit the war to J&K. But the Indian Army crossed the international border in Punjab and Rajasthan to relieve the pressure in J&K. They had encircled Lahore from three sides when the cease-fire occurred. In fact, the US had prior knowledge of the “Operation Gibraltar.” In early 1965, Sidney F. Giffin published a book titled The Crisis Game which was based on two war game exercises conducted by the Institute for Defense Analyses, Washington DC, a Pentagon think tank along with Harvard University. One game was titled “Kashmir 1966: As a fictional crisis” and the second was on Cuba. According to the wargame, the fictional war between India and Pakistan over Kashmir would start on September 1, 1966. They were right about the date, but the war started on September 1, 1965, i.e. one year earlier. According to the war game, Pakistani Army attacked in J&K and reached the outskirts of Srinagar. Then Russia advised India to counter attack East Pakistan (the present day Bangladesh), but the Indian prime minister did not do so. In the meantime, China attacked India in Sikkim, which caused the US to intervene, and in turn, US asked India to hold a plebiscite in J&K. But they were wrong about Indian prime minister’s decision to order the counter-attack on Lahore. Although India won some strategic areas, like Haji Pir Pass and the Uri-Punchh bulge, in Kashmir, it returned all of them under the Tashkent Agreement signed in January 1966.
The massacre of hundreds of thousands of Bengali speaking Muslims in East Pakistan by the Urdu speaking West Pakistani Army in 1971 and subsequent creation of Bangladesh clearly demolished the two nation theory of Jinnah based on religion. In fact, Jinnah himself drank, ate pork and did not say his prayers, and could therefore not be described as a Muslim. In the Pakistan’s general election held in early 1971, Avami League, headed by Sheikh Mujeeb, father of the prime minister of Bangladesh Sheikh Hashina, won the majority. But instead of handing him the power, West Pakistani leaders arrested him and unleashed a reign of terror in East Pakistan. In his book The Betrayal of East Pakistan Lt. General Amir Abdullah Khan Niazi, who was the head of the Pakistani Eastern Command and surrendered to the Indian forces on December 16, 1971, wrote, “On the night of March 25-26, 1971, General Tikka Khan (the then head of the Pakistani Eastern Command) turned the peaceful night into a time of wailing, crying and burning…The military action was a display of stark cruelty, more merciless than the massacres at Bukhara and Baghdad by Changez Khan and Halaku Khan, or at Jallianwala Bagh by the British General Dyer.” India missed a golden opportunity to solve the Kashmir problem when it had 93,000 Pakistani troops as prisoners of war and about 5,000 square kilometers of territory in the Pakistani Punjab from where a million people had fled. In magnanimity, Ms. Indira Gandhi gave all these up under the Shimla Agreement, signed in 1972, on the promise by Z. A. Bhutto that he would convert the LOC into international border. He pleaded that it would take time for him to mould public opinion in his country for this; otherwise it would lead to a weakening of the nascent democracy that had emerged after 14 years of army rule.
3. Covert War Since 1989
For centuries Kashmir was a place noted for its adherence to the gentle Sufi form of Islam. Kashmir was the only place where no communal riot and killing took place during the partition of India. Prior to 1989, more than 600,000 tourists used to visit every year the lakes and houseboats on these lakes in Kashmir. But since 1989, India has been fighting Pakistan-sponsored terrorism in Kashmir. It all started by the fateful decision by the V.P. Singh government in releasing five jailed terrorists in exchange of Rubaiya Sayeed who was kidnapped by the Jammu and Kashmir Liberation Front (JKLF). Although JKLF received supports from Pakistani authorities, their goal was an independent country. In early 1990s, Militants attacked and killed Hindus in the Valley that caused Hindus to flee from the Valley. Now there is no Hindu left in the Valley. There are army bunkers at every major intersections in Srinagar. By 1995, Indian authorities crushed the JKLF movement. Also people in Kashmir have become fed up with violence and they are yearning for peace. But in last couple of years, the ISI started sending Islamic fundamentalists trained in Afghanistan’s terrorist universities into Kashmir Valley. Now the Kashmiris, who fought against the Indian authorities, have been siding with Indian forces to fight these non-Kashmiri Islamic fundamentalists. In an article titled “Kashmiris Militants Join the Mainstream”, published in The Washington Post dated July 3, 1998, Molly Moore wrote, “Many of the same Muslim separatists who spent much of the past decade blowing up military convoys and extorting money from the shopkeepers of Srinagar have used the proceeds to join the mainstream – building expensive new homes, opening private businesses and running for public office. The transformation of some former rebels is part of a dramatic shift in the 9-year-long guerrilla war in this Himalayan state. Self-described former militant commander Javaid Hussain Shah said he felt euphoric when he joined the militancy in 1989. Shah said, “We believed it was a holy jihad. Once we jumped into it, we realized that was mirage. When I saw innocents being killed, I switched sides.” Many of his followers have re-armed and are preparing to launch their own assaults against militants. In mid-1997, work at HMT, ITI and other plants were resumed. In late 1997, India’s winter game was held near Srinagar and resort hotels were opened for the first time since 1989.
In 1996, ISI created Talibans (meaning madarsa students) and within couple of years got control of 90% of Afghanistan. Pakistani Army regulars fought along with the Talibans in Afghanistan. They manned all the infrastructures like fighter planes, tanks, communications, etc. It is unthinkable that students from madarsas would fly modern fighter planes. Islamic fundamentalists from countries like Jordan, Syria, Tunisia, Yemen, Libya, Sudan, Saudi Arabia, Algeria and Egypt fought in Afghanistan in the name of Jihad, the Islamic holy war. They received training in training camps established by the CIA for fighting the ex-Soviet troops in Afghanistan in 1980s. Now the ISI has been using same terrorists in Kashmir and also in places like Chechnya, Dagestan and Egypt. In May this year, The Washington Times reported that many members of the Kosovo Liberation Army (KLA) were trained in Afghanistan’s terrorist universities. Recently Russia has captured several Islamic fundamentalists, trained by ISI, in Dagestan where it has been fighting a bitter battle with Islamic separatists. ISI has been getting several billion dollars in illegal drugs deals from poppy cultivated in the Pak-Afghan border area and hence, it is not dependent on any funding from Pakistan’s civilian government.
Early this year Pakistani army gambled by occupying heights in Kargil overlooking the strategic highway connecting Srinagar and Leh, the most populous city Ladakh. For last more than a quarter century, the Indian forces used to leave the bunkers at those heights during the harsh winter. But this year they found Pakistani Army troops and Islamic fundamentalists mostly Arab mercenaries, when they went to their bunkers after the snow started melting. In the ensuing battle, India had to use its airpower to dislodge the intruders. This led to worldwide condemnation of Pakistan. It was because of Indian restraints in not crossing the LOC that it did not turn into a full-scale war. The seriousness of the problem can be judged from the fact that despite having hectic schedule on the US Independence Day, President Clinton talked to Pakistan’s Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif for several hours on 4th of July, which led to withdrawal of Pakistani troops from Indian territory. In Kargil, India lost close to five hundred troops.
4. Solution of Kashmir Issue
Although Pakistan withdrew its troops and Islamic fundamentalists from Kargil, ISI has increased its activities in sending terrorists in Kashmir and in the Northeast states. This has led to a dramatic increase in terrorism in these areas. There are several cases of rocket attacks on Indian Army and paramilitary camps, and also their daring raids on these camps. Since Kargil crisis, hundreds of army and paramilitary troops have been killed. Recently, several ISI officials are captured in Assam and its neighboring states. During the Kargil crisis, there were several cases of rail sabotage in Northeast when Indian troops were being transferred from the eastern states to J&K. Between 1971 and 1991, population of Hindus in Assam decreased from 72.5% to 67%, and population of Muslims increased from 24.5% to 28.4%. This was due to illegal infiltration of Muslims from Bangladesh. Now ISI has started using them to create troubles in the Northeast. If infiltration is not checked, ISI may start to create a Kashmir like situation in the Northeast. India is bleeding in terms of both money and manpower. Hence, the next Indian government has to find a solution of Kashmir problem.
4.1. Repercussions of A Plebiscite in Kashmir – A situation may arise when India may have to agree to hold a plebiscite in Kashmir because of extreme terrorism by hardened Islamic terrorists. As Jammu and Ladakh regions are Hindu and Buddhist majority areas, respectively, India will allow the plebiscite in the Kashmir Valley only. Like East Timor, the plebiscite will be held under the UN supervision. Unlike IKV, the situation in PAK has completely changed since 1948. Under Article 370 of the Indian constitution, a non-Kashmiri Indian cannot buy any land in Kashmir and hence, original Kashmiri Muslims are in majority in IKV. But there is no restriction in PAK and at several places in PAK, the original Kashmiris are now in minority because of large-scale settlement by Punjabi Muslims. Pakistan will try its best to limit the plebiscite in IKV only. Under pressure from India, G-8 countries, and also Muslims in IKV, plebiscite will be held in both PAK and IKV. Also, Muslims in IKV will not opt to participate in the IKV plebiscite only as it will limit their options to only two – to remain in India or to become a part of Pakistan.
In the plebiscite, IKV and PAK people will have three options to vote for – United Kashmir as (i) a part of India, (ii) a part of Pakistan, and (iii) an independent country. First option is ruled out as Muslims in neither IKV nor PAK will opt to be a part of the Indian Union. IKV Muslims will think twice before going to Pakistan. Pakistan is a failed nation. During the Cold War, the US preferred for the army generals as the head of states rather than elected executive heads because it is easier to deal with one person (a dictator) than leaders of political parties as in the second case, executive heads change frequently. Hence, the US used to support military coups in the various countries, for examples – Pinochet in Chile, Marcos in Philippines, Military Govts. in South Korea, overthrow and killing of the elected president by the Military junta in South Vietnam during Vietnam War, Suharto in Indonesia, and Mobuto Sese Seko in Zaire. Pakistan is in this list too. In 1980s and thereafter the countries, having US backed dictators at the helm of affairs like South Korea, Indonesia and Philippines, were able to benefit from the US in economic terms. But Pakistan squandered this money in keeping its defense at par with India. Pakistan is too small a country in comparison to India. Its economy is in mess. For last several years, it is in the emergency ward of the IMF. The interest payment on its domestic and external loans takes a large share of the budget that leaves nothing for any other work. In this year’s budget, 45% of total expenditure is earmarked for debt servicing and 22% for defense. Last year the US had to waive its sanctions by allowing the IMF to grant a loan otherwise it would have led to a default on the external debts. US waived the sanctions because of the fear that it might start selling nuclear bomb technology to the Middle-east countries for hard currency. Pakistan is plagued by sectarian Shia-Sunni violence in which majority Sunni community is killing scores of minority Shias in riots. There is no law and order in its most populous city Karachi. Punjabi domination has become a bane of Pakistan federalism. Sindh is in the midst of a civil war and its leaders have started raising the demand of a separate country. Baluchistan has never forgiven Pakistan’s rulers for what they have done to it. North West Frontier Province (NWFP) and Baluchistan have never reconciled to the prolonged governance of the Punjab-dominated military and civilian establishment. Muslims in IKV will think twice to become a part of Pakistan which has not been able to provide a good living to millions of Muslims who went there in 1947 from the Indian Union.
If Muslims in IKV and PAK opt for an independent Kashmir country, then it will lead to a balkanization of Pakistan that will cause Sindh, Baluchista and NWFP to become free from the hold of Punjabis. In an ideal world, an independent Kashmir comprising of IKV and PAK is the best solution. But in the real world, an independent Kashmir will be a Talibanized Afghanistan where there will be no government at all and dozens of factions will fight with each other, and Kashmir will go behind several centuries.
Although some Westerners are predicting that if India will let Kashmir go, then it may lead to a balkanization of India too. But I have serious doubt about it. Pakistan has a history of secessionist movements. Pakistan’s Punjab-dominated army and civil establishment had to use airpower to crush the secessionist movements in Baluchistan and NWFP. Now there is a very strong secessionist movement in Sindh because of the neglect of Bihari Muslims (Muslims from the Indian Union who went to Pakistan after the partition) by the federal and local governments. On the other hand, India never has any secessionist movement barring in few Northeastern states like Nagaland, Mizoram and some parts of Assam. India can lose only these Northeastern states. In Balkan states there were sharp divisions among various religious groups for last several centuries. Although there were hundreds of states that comprised India before 1947 and it is said that it was the British who united India, Indians were bounded by the same culture. When Sheikh Mujeeb, a Bengali speaking East Pakistani, won the election in early 1971, the West Pakistani leaders refused to relinquish the power and instead they butchered hundreds of thousands of innocent Bengali speaking East Pakistani in seven month civil war in 1971. No one can think of a situation like this in India. Kargil crisis has clearly shown that it is the Pakistani generals who hold the main power and not the elected leaders.
But if India let IKV (Kashmir Valley) go, then it will be a doomsday for Indian Muslims. Hindu fundamentalists will butcher them in millions all over India and this massacre will go on for months and belittle the Hindu-Muslim riots that took place during the partition in 1947. We saw how some fanatic Congress party leaders spontaneously organized mass killing of Sikhs all over India after the killing of Indian Prime Minister Ms. Indira Gandhi by her two Sikh bodyguards although there was no prior history of any Hindu-Sikh riot.
5. India-Pakistan Nuclear War
After the Kargil crisis, there is a dramatic rise in terrorism in the Kashmir Valley. There have been several incidents of daring raids by terrorists on Indian army and paramilitary camps. There are several cases of rocket attacks on these camps. In the early years of separatist movements in the Valley, almost all militants were from the Valley and they were fighting for an independent Kashmir. But now almost all militants are non-Kashmiris. They are fighting in the name of Islamic holy war and also for money. ISI lures unemployed Muslims from Islamic countries, mostly from Arab countries, to Afghan terrorist universities. It gives $3,000 to every terrorist for his one month work in J&K. Almost one-third of Indian army’s regular troops is tied down in J&K in fighting couple of thousands of terrorists. Quoting US intelligence sources, US newspapers have reported that about 8,000 to 10,000 mujahideens are ready to enter J&K for the holy war. India has been bleeding for last ten years because of the terrorism unleashed by Pakistan. Now ISI is spreading its activities in the Northeast and elsewhere in India too.
Although Russia gave statements against the US missile attacks on terrorist camps in Afghanistan after its embassies were destroyed in bomb attacks in Nairobi and Dar-es-Salaam, now it is blaming the same Afghan terrorist universities and Pakistan when the graduates from these universities have been giving hard times to Russian troops in Dagestan. Similarly Russia said that the bombing of Yugoslavia by NATO would lead to a world war, but now it is itself bombing its breakaway region Chechnya for harboring Islamic terrorists who are fighting in Dagestan. Russia has given stern warning to Pakistan for giving training to these terrorists and Saudi Arabia for funding them in the name of holy war. Recently Indian and US officials had several rounds of extensive talks over the threat of terrorism originating from Afghanistan.
Hence it is just question of time when India’s patience will ran out. In a conventional war, Pakistan would stand nowhere in comparison to India. India can thoroughly defeat Pakistan within two weeks. According to defense analysts, one of the reasons of surrender by Pakistani army in withdrawing its troops from Kargil heights was the threat of blockade of Karachi port by the Indian Navy. Pakistan gets all its essential items including petroleum, which is very vital for the Pakistani Army, through Karachi port, which is the only port for Pakistan. On the other hand, India has dozens of ports both on its western and eastern coasts. In the case of blockade of Karachi port, Pakistan will run out of petroleum in ten days.
After Kargil crisis, India has been giving warning to Pakistan for sponsoring cross-border aggression. For last 3-4 years, India had weak central governments and hence, it gave opportunity to Pakistan to increase the intensity of aggression both in Kashmir and in other parts of India, notably in Northeast. But according to the exit polls, the next central government in India will have majority support in the parliament and will be stable. As terrorism is on increase and after Kargil crisis hundreds of army troops and paramilitary forces are being killed every month, India’s next central government will have to find a solution, which is to eliminate the terrorist camps in Pakistan and in Afghanistan. India will have to bomb these camps and will go for hot pursuit across the LOC. This will certainly lead to a full-scale war as predicted by several of the world famous think tanks. Also if tens of thousands of Talibans enter IKV, then the only solution for India will be a war.
World famous US think tanks, like semi-official Rand Corporation and the US Army War College’s Center for Strategic leadership, have predicted a nuclear war between India and Pakistan over Kashmir in near future. According to Rand’s report published in early 1998, titled ‘Sources of Conflict in the 21st Century: Regional Futures and US Strategy’, the nuclear war will happen in 2006. According to this report, the insurgency in India Kashmir will become unmanageable. Pakistan’s involvement – never precisely subtle to begin with – becomes highly visible when two Pakistani soldiers, acting as trainers for Kashmiri insurgents, are captured in an Indian commando raid on a rebel-controlled village. Then India warns Pakistan to desist from supporting the insurgencies and threaten dire consequences, Pakistan initiates diplomatic efforts to isolate India, while increasing the levels of covert support for the insurgents. In the spring of 2006, India increases counter-insurgency operations in Kashmir and the rebels are pushed into precipitate retreat. Pakistan’s response is by infiltrating a number of special force teams. Then India launches major attacks all along the international border accompanied by an intense air campaign. Fearful that the Indian will use their air superiority to locate and destroy the Pakistani nuclear arsenal, Pakistan uses a small fission bomb on an Indian armored formation. India’s response is by destroying a Pakistani air base with a nuclear attack. Pakistan then attacks Jodhpur with a 20-kilotonne (kt) weapon. Then India strikes Hyderabad with a 200 kt weapon and threatens ten times more destruction if any more nuclear weapons are used. Pakistan then offers a cease-fire in place. This Rand’s report was published before the nuclear tests by the two countries in 1998. Rand’s report mentioned about active Pakistani army involvement in Kashmir in 2006, but Kargil crisis and recent arrests of several ISI officials in Northeast have shown that India-Pakistan war is going to be in very near future.
According to the war game played at the US Army War College’s Center for Strategic Leadership too, an India-Pakistan clash begins over Kashmir. India, worried that Pakistan could move tanks and armored personnel carriers east from the border city of Lahore and cut off the India-held part of Kashmir, pre-emptively attacks to secure its corridor to that disputed region, pushing deep into Pakistani territory. The Pakistanis, driven backward and fearful of losing their nuclear arsenal, launch a nuclear strike against the Indian force. The escalation to nuclear weapons happens within the first 12 days of the war. The Wall Street Journal published a full-page article on this war game on June 24, 1998. According to a report of the prestigious Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI) also, published in May 1998, Pakistan might be prepared to use nuclear weapons even if such an action seemed irrational.
Dr. Susmit Kumar is an Indian-born writer presently residing in USA. Blog: www.susmitkumar.net