Will Kashmir and Kabul kindle the old India-Pakistan flames?

July 11, 2008

Soldier salutes on Siachen/2003 photo by Pawel KopczynskiAre tensions over Kashmir and Afghanistan returning to haunt relations between India and Pakistan?

At first glance, it looks unlikely. The two countries have more or less managed to hold to a ceasefire agreed at the end of 2003 on both the Line of Control (LoC) dividing Kashmir and on Siachen, and they have a slow-moving peace process which at least has India and Pakistan talking rather than fighting each other. India is far too interested in winning itself superpower status to let itself be distracted by some embarrassing fighting on its border. And Pakistan has enough problems dealing with al Qaeda and the Taliban on its western  border with Afghanistan, without having to cope with trouble on its eastern border with India as well.

On the Indian side of the LoC in Drass/2007 photo by Fayaz KabliBut there have been signs of a new strain in relations this week. The two armies exchanged fire across the LoC  in a violation of the ceasefire. That in itself might not be too troubling, were it not for the fact that long-simmering resentment in Kashmir against Indian rule has burst into the open again. A decision, subsequently reversed, by the state government to transfer land to the Hindu Amarnath Shrine Board sparked some of the biggest protests since the Kashmir separatist revolt erupted in 1989 and has now brought down the state government.

At the same time, the bombing of the Indian embassy in Kabul has exposed the rivalry between India and Pakistan over Afghanistan. Afghan authorities hinted that Pakistan’s Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) was behind the attack — prompting Indian analysts to say that the ISI was sending India a message to get out of Afghanistan. Before the fall of the Taliban in 2001, Pakistan regarded Afghanistan as its own preserve — a place that would offer it “strategic depth” against India.  Since 2001, it has been forced to watch in frustration as India builds economic and political ties  with the government of President Hamid Karzai in Kabul.

So will Kashmir and/or Kabul become the slow burning fuse threatening relations between India and Pakistan? Or is the peace process well enough entrenched to douse the flames?

(Update: Thanks to readers for pointing out the obvious error in the original post which wrongly said that Afghanistan was on Pakistan’s eastern border and India on its western border. I have now corrected above).


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I think it’s not to strong to stop this, it will be a conflict, but maybe it will have a management over it.And Kabul is already a flame, i wonder about Kashmir and the evolution there!
i would like to see what somebody else has to say about this!
The people that comment on this blog creat a constructive debate, and build the hole concept on real things around!

Posted by Burca Alice Larisa | Report as abusive

I think your fear of ”Kabul and Kashmir becoming the slow burning fuse threatening relations between India and Pakistan” is correct and justified.

Pakistanis shall not forget that Afghanistan, despite her conflict over the Pashtunistan issue with Pakistan, stayed neutral when India and Pakistan went to war three times during the past 60 years. If a war breaks out between India and Pakistan over Kabul or Kashmir this time, the world can rest assured that Afghans will not be mere spectators and remain neutral. Pashtuns, who are the best fighters in the Paki army, will not support Pakistan this time.

So a big conventional confrontation is becoming an unavoidable imperative in South Asia, involving AF, PK and India. Pakistan will be the loser.

Posted by kabura | Report as abusive

the pashtun terrorists in pakistan should be deported to there hell hole in afghanistan 2 million refugees of afghan background begged pakistanis to save them and we did now its time for deporting the traitors and shoot them if they misbehave

afghanistan is a lost cause let it rot and die slowly and india is full of cowards

Posted by Bilal | Report as abusive


Posted by Bilal | Report as abusive

Mr.Bilal,let me tell you first that pashtoons are not terrorists,Pakistani so called Talibans are employees of Pakistani ISI and ALQUIDA is ”B” team of Paki ARMY,IT WAS CRUEL Dictator ZIA who imposed AFGAHN REFUGEES on peaople of puktoonistan(NWFP),Paki army is still supporting Talibans and training them,action against talibans recently was just another show off of MUSHARRAF regime and paki army.Pakistani ARMY AND ISI is palying an ugly role in destabilizing AFGHANISTAN,Pakistan is taking billions of dollars from USA to fight ALQUIDA but corrupt ARMY GENERALS AND POLITICIANS are stealing that money,I agree with you they should shoot all thos TALIBANS who are involved in suicide attacks and crimes against humanity but is your ARMY willing to do tha???Answer is ”NO” because TALIBANS AND ALQUIDA are ”B” team of pakistani ARMY.I think NATO should attack those ignorant TALIBANS and just kill them.

Posted by Mwaqar | Report as abusive

Pakistani jounalists returning from TRIBAL areas are telling that so called action against TALIBANS was only on TV,In reallity there was no action.

Posted by Mwaqar | Report as abusive

I hate to pick nits, but Paksitan’s border with Afghanistan is in the west, not the east. India border’s Pakistan’s east.

And thinking the bombing will impact the Kashmir process is a bit premature. Right now, nothing is more than allegation or speculation. And if the ISI can be conclusively fingered as the culprit — and not some over-zealous militant commander angry at the prevalence of Bollywood films on Kabul’s TV networks (let’s not forget that is a major issue as well), then it could just as easily be used as a bargaining chip against Pakistan.

Posted by Joshua Foust | Report as abusive

Small glitch in first paragraph. India is on Pakistan’s eastern border and Afghanistan on its Western border, not the other way round.

Posted by Sanjay | Report as abusive

I feel pakistani people are very foolish people. Earlier I used to consider them literate but on American TV, they are considered back stabbers (by being deceitful to USA). Taking billions of dollors in aid from our tax money and then instead of counter terrorism they used to buy weapons to fight India. USA has to maintain it’s troop level and alertness then why we are paying pakistan that money. We do not have interest in pakistan like a cat trying to match a big elephant like India.

Intelligent pakistani should immediately start Canada USA type negotiations with India and seek welfare of whole of South Asia.
Infact Afganistan is doing better in this with India being fourth largest investor working at grassroot level.
Maybe pakistan will also get lot of help from India.

So instead of encouraging ISI and terrorist , make friendship with India. This is required if pakistan want to remain united as a country otherwise all disgruntled jobless brainwashed ( product of USA pakistan nexus against Soviets in Afgan ) will break and destroy pakistan.

Posted by Gus | Report as abusive

Pakistan is losing its directions except for ISI and the army. I think Musharaf will get his powers back again otherwise the country is going to pieces. ISI and army have a direction of destroying India whether with the help of Taliban or Al queda since for them India is the enemy. But dilemma is US may stop the aid if ISI continues its destabilisation activities. If funds are drained ISI may loose its strength. Pakistan is always lives on the funds of USA else it may collapse.

Posted by Shridevi | Report as abusive

A wrong fact :

Quoting this “Pakistan has enough problems dealing with al Qaeda and the Taliban on its eastern border with Afghanistan, without having to cope with trouble on its western border with India as well.”

Actually Pakistan eastern border is with India and western border is with Afghanistan. So the writer (The big fundoo in Geography) should correct it.

Posted by Kanchan | Report as abusive

We all know that the ISI was behind the Taliban rule in Afghanistan although Saudi money and Wahhabi fundamentalism played a role. Remember, before 9/11, Iran massed troops on its Afghan border after Talibarbarians slaughtered Shia Muslims in Afghanistan. In London, Afghan refugees detest Pakistan. In regard to Pakistan and various Muslim peoples in the region, remember this. The original Pakistan had a Bengali majority in the East but Paksitan is dominated by Muslim Punjabis, over the Baluchis, Sindhis and Mohajirs, especially in the army. This army committed genocide and mass rape on the muslim Bengalis towards whom they also held racial hatred. It was India that liberated the Muslims of Bengal. Similarly the Afghan Muslims recognise Pakistan as Punjabi Muslim feudalism and much prefer to have progress and democracy in league with Hindu India. India has been around 5,000 years, the failing pakistani enity only 60.

Posted by Sutapas Bhattacharya | Report as abusive

Even if the skirmishes occur on Indian and pakistani border, and if one out there believes in the clash of civilisations, then Afghansitan in no way would confront pakistan.

And when we talk about Karzai governemnt, it administers only the Kabul circle, rest of the Afghan melon is cut and fought over by sundry warlords and Talibans.

I feel Afghanistan is still the pakistan’s “strategic depth” against India and any eventuality would have serious impact only on this side of the Radcliff line.

(South Asia)

Posted by Umar | Report as abusive

I have advocated before that Pakistan adopt a policy of massive retaliation with nuclear weapons as a “last resort” against nations whose military attacks threaten its existence, and possibly against other targets as well.

Pakistan should adopt a stated policy to destroy the entire sub-continent if its existence is threatened, Not just India but also Nepal, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, Burma, Bhutan, Maldives, Afghanistan et al.

If Pakistan goes, All South Asia goes with it!

Posted by Dr Idris Shah Ebrahimi | Report as abusive

For the first time in history, a people facing extermination while the world either cackles or looks away-unlike the Armenians, Tibetans, or Rwandans-have the power to destroy the world.

I find it revolting that some members here are calling for the destruction of the Pakistani state, Though this is a Indian wetdream. Pakistan should remind its belligerent neighbours that it has the power to destroy them.

Posted by Dr Idris Shah Ebrahimi | Report as abusive

Bilal and “Dr.” Idris Shah Ebrahimi:

Idris Shah is perhaps a graduate of one of the Paki Jihad universities. Your thesis of nuking the entire subcontinent of South Asia in case of Pakistan’s unavoidable demise doesn’t surprise me. Neither it is scarring me. Before you manage to use those weapons of mass destruction, somebody will make you eat them up.

Bilal: 95% of the terrorists caught around the world have a Paki-Punjabi background. Not a singel Pashtun/Afghan has been charged with terrorism anywhere in the world.

Pashtuns are not Pakistanis and can never have that colonial and feudal title. You can keep that “honor” to yourself. I’m a Pashtun from the Punjabi occupied Mohmand District. Your Punjabi army, with the help of Saudi Wahabis, have destroyed Islam and the good name of Pashtuns, who are now convinced about their real enemies and are determined to kick out the Punjabi and Arab terrorists back to where they belong.

Remember that Afghan/Pashtun refugees are not taking shelter in Punjab or Sind, but their own brothers and sisters in the Punjabi occupied Pakhtunkhwa/Afghania/Pashutnistan/Baluch istan, which are the home and lands of all Afghans, including the Uzbeks, Tajiks, Turkmen, Hazaras etc. Afghans in general are not strangers in their own Punjabi occupied lands, who must evacuate Pashtun/Afghan lands of NWFP and Baluchistan.

The Soviet war provide you with a historic chance not only to meddle in Afghanistan but make a lot of money. The same goes with the “war on terror”, where you milked Uncle Sam on Billion Dollars. That money was spent on killing Pashtun tribal leaders, financed the bombings of targets in Afghanistan, India, London, Madrid, Canada, U.S.A. and elsewhere.

If the world wish to see a peaceful and democratic South Asia, the most dangerous and destructive state sponsored terror organization of ISI must be neutralized and eliminated once and for all. Otherwise Pashtuns and Indians will squeeze and suffocate the terror entity of Pakistan.

Posted by kabura | Report as abusive

Kabura is a typical example of the uneducated saffron-class of Hindu extremist terrorists from India that pose a great threat to the peace of the sub-continent.

Such charachters have not reconciled themselves to the partition of British India and the creation of a seperate Pakistani nation, In thier hearts of hearts every Indian wants to undo the partition of British India which they see as a colonialist act against a divine Hindu state: Hindustan

The problem for Pakistanis is that this vision of Hindu revanchism is an anathema; It undermines our very existence as a nation-state. No country permits another to challenge its right to exist. The people of Pakistan have shown great courage and determination in upholding thier national cause for the past 60 years. Because of the numerous threats that Pakistan faces from hostile neighbours it has had to maintain a large military and develop a nuclear detterent.

Posted by Dr Idris Shah Ebrahimi | Report as abusive

Yo Ebrahimi, learn to read boy. kabura said he is pushtun – and a muslim. And you having fantasies of hindus talking to you.

And go look up the revanchism. the usage of the word is incorrect.

And what is the rationale for Pakistan? The Baluchis and Pushtuns don’t want to be a part of it. The Mojahirs – those who left India to go to the “muslim homeland” regret making the journey 60 years later. and oh India has more Muslims than Pakistan.

No wonder you have so many insecure and therefore angry and paranoid people come to places like this to vent.

But you also have great Pakistanis like Nusrat Fateh Ali Shah. People who understand what humanism and beauty mean. The ordinary pakistani is very much like the ordinary indian except more meat is seen in Pakistan and much less in India.

Hope someday the subcontinent is filled with more sense than nonsense.

Posted by Sam | Report as abusive

I read with interest all the comments people have posted. Mostly the prevailing idea in these writings is condemnation of ISI and Pakistan Army. These writers are presenting a mixture of facts and fabricated stories.
Please keep in mind, all those countries in the world who want to keep their influence in their surroundings, do so by hook or crook. Examples are all around us.
Take Talibans for example, a product of US, Pakistan and Saudia in a time of need. Now the same child has become “illegitemate”..Sheer hypocrisy. And please stop calling all Afghans who found refuge in Pakistan, terrorists.Most of them are innocents, common people.
Show respect to each other, tolerate and the world will no more be a living Hell for all of us.
In my opinion, the chance of any India/Pakistan confrontation is remote, both sides realize what is at stake.

Posted by Numan | Report as abusive

Hey Sam,
Do not forget that these are just comments posted by anyone with any name. Kabura can be anyone fom any religion and—from anywhere.

(Yo Ebrahimi, learn to read boy. kabura said he is pushtun – and a muslim. And you having fantasies of hindus talking to you.)

Posted by asif | Report as abusive

If kabura is hindu then Mr. Ebrahimi can be hindu too…enjoying the fun.
But can u change the facts …about instability of pakistan, notoriority of ISI and economic lagging of pakistan.?

Posted by Gus | Report as abusive

hi! guys,

we all know that there is plenty of food and shelter for all the people living on this good earth; of what use though,there are millions without food or shelter. but we do find enough time to fight over a useless identity based on religion which nobody is clear how it all got started, though everybody agrees it was created to make humans more socialized and civilized,and also the identity based on country or language.
iam waiting for that day when people will have no more misgivings about their religion, and one human being is able to see another as his own.

Posted by avaran | Report as abusive

Pakistan is here to stay, whatever said. All conspiracies to destabilize it will fail. This is not 1971. May I know in which period of History did a Country called ‘Pakhtunkhwa’ exist? Most of us living in the N.W.F.P are of Middleastern/Afghani origin. I would love to call it Arabia/Afghania. History tells us Afghanistan has never been stable and would continue to do so in futute. Karzai should not blame Pakistan, when he is himself surviving on borrowed crutches. The game being played in Afghanistan can be compared to “Buzkashi” and poor Afghans are the goat. India should stay away from this game, it must remember its destruction always came from Afghanistan. So lets learn to be friends and stop psychopaths at the CIA, RAW,ISI etc control the lives of peace loving people for their vision of the world. All exteremists around the world are their creation, do not blame Pakistan.

Posted by Pakistani | Report as abusive

I am calling on all of the world that stop ISI the mother
of terorism. Abdul Jabar/Kabul

Posted by Abdul Jabar | Report as abusive

As a person from Canada, I hope to give an outside perspective on this issue. The biggest issue is the terrorist genie near Afghan/pak border is out of the bottle and I dont think it is controlled by any state agency, be it CIA, ISI etc. They will continue to create instability by attacking state assets, be it afghan/pak/us/india to create rifts between the states which benefits them.
Unfortunately what I see is that border provinces of pak like baluch will become similar to afghan – with no state control and could also lead to an actual division of pakistan. Pak already has no proper leadership with the president and govt at loggerheads and the army / ISI playing its own game. Hence common pakistanis have the biggest to lose by not containing this genie monster. I hope it doesn’t come to that, but if this violence continues, it only takes a few years for the breakup like yugoslavia.

Posted by Andy Rebeiro | Report as abusive

Problems of South Asia can not be solved through finger pointing. Terrorism has become a business like any other business. Its owners will not give up unless forced. Common Pakistani, Indian or Afghani, all are equally affected. We all should join hands if we want to secure our future generations. Through force, neither India nor Pakistan or for that matter any country can solve problems. Let us treat each other as humans and not just Hindus or Muslims.

Posted by rajendra kumar | Report as abusive

To the Canadian Andy Rebeiro; Before you as a Canadian point the dirty end of the stick at Pakistan and begin rubbing your hands gleefully at the though of a Balkanization of the Pakistani state, Let me state categorically that the Pakistani people are most hardy, robust and resilient people in the world. If the past 60 years of the Pakistani state show anything, It is that no matter what obstacles are thrown in the path of Pakistan, The Pakistani state with the Pakistani people always overcome the obstacles thrown in her path, Ready to cross the next obstacle.

Posted by Dr Idris Shah Ebrahimi | Report as abusive

Hating Pakistan or the Pakistani people ie Anti-Pakistanism should be formally made illegal and akin to Anti-Semitism in Europe. It should be a crime to question the right of the Pakistani state and people to exist as a seperate sovereign nation state. All countries of the world should be made to sign an accord that condemns in the utmost Anti-Pakistan sentiment.

Posted by Dr Idris Shah Ebrahimi | Report as abusive

Idris Shah: Your country is no country in a political and historical sense. NWFP and Baluchistan are inseparable territories of Afghanistan, which will take them back sooner or later, with or without war.

The Durand Line treaty between Britain and Afghanistan is already out of date since 1993. So you can continue using religious extremism and terrorism as instrument of destabilization against Afghanistan and India , but I assure you that it would take you nowhere. History and geography is your natural enemies. There never was and never will be a Pakistani state. Afghanistan and India don’t have to do much to destroy Pakistan. Your “genius” generals in our demoralized army and desperate ISI will do that.

And stop calling me a Hindu. I have no reason to hide my proud Pashtun/Afghan identity that is thousands of years older than your 60-years old, bloody, colonial, artificial and terror sponsoring entity called Pakistan.

Posted by kabura | Report as abusive

kabura my boy attack! :)

don’t worry when they collapse we three afg,Iran and India will divide the cake.
Pashtoonistan goes to afghanistan,balochistan becomes an independant country frieendly to all three of us.
And we will then treat the punjabis as slaves with mohajirs and sindhis as slave masters and take back paki kashmir and kick out the punjabis from there as well.

inshalah that day will come as pakistan has polluted the name the islam.

I am a hindu btw ,we believe there are many ways to god including islam just not terrorism.

Posted by Shantanu Chatterjee | Report as abusive

sir, this game of hindu and muslim is no good for both the sides. Let us call pakistan and indian .

Posted by mahendra | Report as abusive

india and pakistan have problems not hindu and muslim.

Posted by mahendra | Report as abusive

Pakistan was created as a home to muslims of undivided India. We all know that it did not serve that purpose. Most Muslims who migrated to Pakistan, are regretting as they see Muslims back in India doing much better. In India we have some of the richest of Muslims like Prem Ji, Nusli wadia ( by the way grand son of Jinah). Does Pakistan have any billionaire ? Let us accept that nations created on religious lines have always failed. Religion as a state policy is an outdated model. We are not against Pakistan. We are only against Pakistan which spreads hatred in the name of Islam and sending terrorists to kill others.

Posted by rajendra kumar | Report as abusive

Kabura, Let you as an Afghan or Hindu, Or anything else not have any doubt that the Pakistani nation has one singular motive alone: Keep Pakistan safe, No nation, No ethnic group, No organization, No individual will ever be allowed to question the right of our relgious homeland to exist. Pakistan was established on August 14th 1947 and she will live through the ages.

We will make you Afghan’s and your Indian friends the biggest most deperate beggers of the world. Remember the beggery of your historical Afghan state 1996-2001, Thats all the Afghan nation was, Thats all it will ever remain!

Long Live Pakistan!

Posted by Dr Idris Shah Ebrahimi | Report as abusive

Idris Shah: I have no doubt when you make threats against Afghans and Indians. I really do believe you and fully understand your mentality. Your dogs, the Taleban, and other terrorists are dying like ruts in the mountain cages of Afghanistan. All you cowards can do is to blow yourself up among women and children.

Afghans saved you “Pakistanis” many times in the recent past, against the Hindus and against the Soviet, but those mistakes will not be repeated by the Afghans, never again. And remember that my Islam is not the Islam of Pakistan and Saudi Arabia.

Before you make Afghans and Indians beggars, I would recommend you to have a look at your falling “stock market” in Karachi and your worthless Rupia, not to mention the 25% inflation and rising prices that are just accelerating slowly but surely. So keep an eye on these development, if your heart is strong enough to see the end of it, while I will revisit on this forum within a few months. It would be very interesting to see if you can make the same threats again.

So go milk your Saudi uncles in Riadh and Jedda. Take a few more slavery classes in Saudi Arabia and the Gulf.

Posted by kabura | Report as abusive

It appears to me that kabura and Shantanu Chatterjee are really hurting with the hammering that Taliban are giving them in Afghanistan,(massive IED in Kashmir, that’s a new development, isn’t it?). For all the huffing and puffing going on this blog, the future of Afghanistan will not be decided by kabura screaming over the internet, it will be decided by the illiterate, very conservative pashtun farmer. And that pashtun farmer doesn’t like foreigners, he didn’t like the British, not the Russians and certainly not the Americans. That’s the reality of things, any seasoned Afghanistan watcher will tell you this. As far as Pakistan is concerned, Pakistan will fire some bullets in the air in the Tribal Areas whenever America hurts really bad from the battering it gets but it won’t do anything more than this.

Posted by Muhammad | Report as abusive

oh my god what happend in India!this is much quicker then i i was thinking, like somebody is in a hurry to do something!

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