Friday, December 26, 2008

India and Pakistan - stumbling towards war

Pakistan today reportedly moved thousands of troops to positions along their border with India in another sign of worsening relations between the two countries.

The most recent India-Pakistan crisis was sparked by the massive series of terrorist attacks in Mumbai last month. India blamed Pakistan for the attacks – India believes that Pakistan offers a safe haven for terrorists and that the Pakistani intelligence agency, the ISI, has helped to train them in the past. After the Mumbai attacks, India gave Pakistan 30 days to crack down on the terrorist organizations that India says organized the Mumbai attacks, or else they (India’s government) would take action on their own. Pakistan, in response, has said they can’t do much without more evidence, which they say the Indian side hasn’t provided.

The 30-day period ends today, December 26 (which probably explains why Pakistan is suddenly moving troops to the border).

I think that there is a good chance the people of India and Pakistan could push their two countries into their fourth war in the last sixty years. The population in India is getting more and more critical of their government for not taking decisive action against the terrorists that is why India gave Pakistan the 30-day ultimatum. India has talked about launching raids into Pakistan to take out what they suspect are terrorist training camps, but have held off so far, trying to cooperate with the Pakistani government instead. If India decides that Pakistan isn’t dealing with them fairly though, the pressure to take some decisive action will likely be too much for the Indian government to resist.

Of course if India attacks then the Pakistanis will want their country to retaliate, it will be hard for Pakistan’s already weak government to resist the wishes of an angry population, so they’ll likely strike back. And once that happens, it’s hard to see things getting any calmer.

The Mumbai attacks are already having the effect the terrorists hoped for – relations between India and Pakistan, after a growing thaw, have gotten much worse. Pakistan, apparently, is shifting troops from their border with Afghanistan to the border with India, meaning that there will be fewer around to patrol the Federally-Administered Tribal Areas (FATA) along the Afghan border, letting the extremists and terror groups already in the area operate even more freely. And wars always drive up extremist and nationalist feelings, providing new recruits for the terror groups.

The people in India, understandably, want to get the groups responsible for the Mumbai attacks; military strikes though are the wrong way to go.
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1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I have to appreciate your balanced view on this topic, But you have to understand from India's perspective i.e India is suffering this Pakistan's menace from last 20yrs one way or other ( so many pakistan terror cells operating in Kashmir with the help of Pakistan govt and ISI) and people of India expects to teach a lesson to Pakistan.