India launches Israeli-made satellite for eyes in the sky

April 20, 2009

India launched an Israeli-made spy satellite on Monday that will help it keep a close eye on its borders stretching from Pakistan in the west to China in the north and east.

The launch is significant for several reasons. First off, the all-weather advanced satellite that the Israelis themselves use for surveillance on nations such as Iran is an eye in the sky that Indian security planners have been demanding for long. India has its own sophisticated satellite imaging programme that gives pretty high resolution pictures, but, as a defence scientist once told me, they tended to go a bit blind in bad weather, especially during the monsoon.

The Israeli satellite is supposed to be an all-seeing all-weather platform that at a height of 550 kms lets you see things like a motorbike on the street. New Delhi apparently asked the Israelis to speed up the satellite after the Mumbai attacks in November when gunmen arrived on the shores of the country’s financial capital in boats.

The idea obviously would be to watch the borders, both land and sea on the west. But satellites such as these can also tell you about troop movements. Logically any big movement on the border with China would fall under its footprint.

Secondly, the launch underscores the tightening defence links between India and Israel, which, in the space of 17 years when India gave diplomatic recognition to Israel, stand transformed. Israel is India’s second biggest defence supplier, behind Russia which had long enjoyed a virtual monopoly.

For Israel, India is the biggest arms market.

Israel is also giving India the Phalcon Airborne Warning and Control System, a force multiplier seen as so strategic that the Americans leaned on Tel Aviv to abort a similar deal with China.

It is not just a one-way street. Last January, the Israelis wanted to launch their military satellite like the one that went up on Monday. They chose the Indians to launch it, in a show of confidence  in the Indian rocket. More significantly reports at the time said the Israeli satellite was meant for reconnaissance over Iran, causing irritation in Tehran which has had long standing ties with New Delhi.

But the ground has been shifting since the mid 1990s, especially after India’s Hindu nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party  took power and reached out to Israel, seeking its expertise in a range of areas especially high-tech capabilities to fight militants.

For years India, home to one of the world’s biggest Muslim populations, had shunned any public dealings with Israel, and stood firmly behind the Arab bloc in its long running dispute with the Jewish state.  But the BJP said India and Israel were natural allies and set about making up for the lost decades.

The Congress, which had traditionally followed a pro-Arab posture, continued the policy of deepening engagement with Israel when it took power five years ago and indeed has fast-tracked arms supplies from that country to meet the security challenges.

There also seems to be a great deal of public support for closer ties with Israel. A poll said to have been ordered by the Israeli Foreign Ministry found that Israel enjoyed the greatest support in India, ahead of the United States, Russians and Mexicans

[India launches Israeli-made satellite on Monday and file picture of protest in Kashmir against Israeli strikes in Gaza]






There is no doubt that the West (not just the US) made mistakes in the post-Soviet era. But what’s happening today has a much bigger Pakistani hand in this. Care to explain this map: tan/NWFP_redmap_04142008.php

How can your government, security services and military allow an insurgency to grow to the point where it effectively controls one eighth of your country? This is what frustrates us in the west. I don’t doubt the professionalism of the PA but its will to engage the threats that Pakistan faces today is an entirely different matter. You cannot argue that the US has not helped in the post 9/11 era. What happened to the 12 billion Pakistan received? The US alone puts in more aid into Pakistan than the international community puts into Afghanistan every year. Surely, you can’t say that the west is not doing enough to help Pakistan.

On the issue of whether Pak generals would co-operate if Pakistan falls apart. They certainly would. The rank and file maybe nationalistic but that does not mean your generals want to live under the Taliban. And by the time it reaches that point there will be no Pakistan Army to talk about. The more fanatical soldiers will be serving the Taliban. And the moderates (including most of the Generals) will be lined up outside the US, UK, Canadian and Aussie embassies. And it’s not just them. Most middle class Pakistanis already have visas and homes in the west. You may disagree but that’s reality. Those generals can certainly be turned. They are corrupt. How else you explain Musharraf’s fortune? Even the US CJCS is not as rich as Musharraf. Anyway, let’s just hope that such a day never comes where the CIA is flying out ex-PA generals just so they can give us coordinates to nukes in the desert.

Posted by Keith | Report as abusive

I guess the CIA can do some pretty nasty things than merely giving safe passages to rogue military commanders divulging classified national secrets.
I think Pakistan Army has a professional command structure. However, let me tell you it is pretty unlikely scenario.
Also, the ISI might have learned a thing or two from its boss the CIA during the Afghan war.

However, you are a new entrant on this blog and have come up with some good arguments. It was nice interacting with you and learning your views.

Posted by Umair | Report as abusive

Exactly six years ago I published a book on Pakistan, and the last sentence concluded: “Before writing Pakistan off as the hopelessly failed state that its critics believe it to be, Washington may have one last opportunity to ensure that this troubled state will not become America’s biggest foreign policy problem in the last half of this decade.”…..

Stephen Cohen spoke before the International Development Research Centre in Ottawa, Canada. 409_pakistan_cohen.aspx

Posted by Umair | Report as abusive


At the point we are talking about (where there is a scramble for the nukes) there will be no Pak Army (as constituted today). That’s what the world worries about. Those generals who cooperated would not be considered rogue by the rest of the world if the country is falling apart and they handed over the nukes. At that point, Pakistan and the Army would have a lot more to worry about (country falling apart), then worry about bombs in the desert. We can agree to disagree.

But I would like your thoughts on the map I posted. I would like to hear a Pak perspective on the spreading insurgency.

In the West, it has ruined Pakistan’s image. For most Westerners, Pakistan = Afghanistan when it comes to national image and it’s mostly because of this failure to tackle the insurgency and the AQ and Afghan Taliban safe havens in the FATA. It has made Pakistan look so bad that most Pakistanis who live in the west are often quite ashamed. I have Pakistani friends and neighbours who often won’t admit to anyone they are Pakistani when they first meet anyone.

Posted by Keith | Report as abusive

Exactly six years ago I published a book on Pakistan, and the last sentence concluded: “Before writing Pakistan off as the hopelessly failed state that its critics believe it to be, Washington may have one last opportunity to ensure that this troubled state will not become America’s biggest foreign policy problem in the last half of this decade.”…..

Stephen Cohen spoke before the International Development Research Centre in Ottawa, Canada. 409_pakistan_cohen.aspx
- Posted by Umair

And in my sidebar meeting with Dr. Cohen I asked him straight out if he considered Pakistan a failed state. He told me that he thinks of Pakistan has a perpetually failing state where singular aspects fail serially, ie. the government fails then recovers, then the economy fails then recovers, then security fails, etc. By any classical definition if all those things happened at once we would call that a failed state. That was Dr. Cohen’s view of the situation. He started the meeting by joking that when we left the room we would be a lot gloomier about Pakistan. After hearing that he thinks Pakistan is bordering on failed state status I was pretty gloomy for sure.

Posted by Keith | Report as abusive


You really should read Dr. Cohen’s book: The Idea of Pakistan.

You might be surprised to see what the image is of Pakistan in the rest of the world. And he’s actually a Pakistan booster. Some of the more pessimistic writers have already started calling Pakistan a failed state that breeds jihadism…and they aren’t even Indian!

Posted by Keith | Report as abusive

Dr. Cohen’s book is here online: QfkC&dq=the+idea+of+pakistan&printsec=fr ontcover&source=bn&hl=en&ei=caDvSeuLNpnf lQfVy4Ax&sa=X&oi=book_result&ct=result&r esnum=4#PPP1,M1

I would consider his views quite important, especially since the Obama administration seems to take him quite seriously.

Posted by Keith | Report as abusive


Pakistan was close to be declared a terrorist state before 9/11 under Clinton Adm/Sec Albright. It is just the geographical location that saved Pakistan.

Nearly 10yrs later Pakistan is still there.

Despite all the -ve policy etc of the West, if Pakistan–the whole nation– is here bec of the West, then it sure is the problem of Pakistan. Pakistan does not have leaders & the plitical system & the accountability….West could do all that because Pakistan allowed that. An economically independent and progressive Pakistan would not have been in this bad state. I always hear from pakistanis that Jinnah/Liaqat Ali Khan passed away soon after partition and that sealed the deal. The fact is Army never allowed a politician to emerge until now. Corruption is everywhere in the world, it is the system that Jinnah wanted never happened—Dream is not enough. 100 Zardaris et al cannot hurt Pakistan if there is a system in place.

Posted by rajeev | Report as abusive

“But I would like your thoughts on the map I posted. I would like to hear a Pak perspective on the spreading insurgency. ”

Keith, personally i tell you we are pretty badly shaken up here in Islamabad. The Marriot Hotel bombing was a real shock to me personally, as it was next to our office building.

Also, I was only able to grasp the situation after having a look at the map. We need to turn the red areas into green for sure. But it is very difficult to tell Army officers to fight their own people. I have many friends and class mates who serve at the rank of Captain in the PA. Last year I spoke to one, I got an impression the PA is very pro-American, the junior officers have litrelly been brain washed, they understand its important to have a close US relationship.

Pakistan shouldnt have gone this way, I myself have travelled worked and live abroad in a small stint right after college. I know what overseas Pakistanis might go through sometimes. But what can we do?
I saw the red Mosque siege and Benazir assassination literally infront of my eyes. Last couple of years were pretty disastrous. If only there was a magical formula to turn things right. But real problems need real solutions.
Pakistan has shown persistently failing symptoms and yet managed to come back from the brink everytime somehow.

But I would like to state, despite all this when you come across audiences, let people know there are still Pakistanis who believe in their country. Who are willing to show 100% committment to Pakistan, and who have hope. We will not let Pakistan fail at any costs, my hope is we Pakistanis pull ourselves together and are able to tackle the challenges ahead.
Also, thanks for suggesting the book, I am into reading and will certainly grab it and read.

Posted by Umair | Report as abusive

Also Keith one more thing you asked me to explain the map you posted:

Just see the following article:
Pakistan and the myth of Islamic Terrorism …by Rakesh Saxena istan-the-myth-of-islamic-terrorism

He argues, the problem is social and that those Taliban are no global threat or not waging any sort of “Jehad” or holy crusade against America. I hope he is right, than with social investment we could stem the problem.

Posted by Umair | Report as abusive


I get that it’s difficult for the Pakistani Army to fight its own people. As a military officer myself I understand that. That’s the hard part for any country that has an insurgency. It’s difficult for the Indians with the Naxalites. It was difficult for the Brits in Ireland. It’s been difficult for the Georgians (S. Ossetia), the Russians (Chechnya), etc.

That it’s difficult is understandable. But that can’t be an excuse. Can you imagine the reaction in the UK if the British Army had turned around and said that it was too difficult to fight their own people and withdrawn from Northern Ireland? What about if the Sri Lankan Army said, ‘Screw it. Let the Tamils have their homeland.’ That’s essentially what the Pakistan Army is doing right now in the NWFP and FATA. Clinton is bang on when she says that Pakistan has given up.

Normally, the world would not care. However, the PA’s abrogation of its responsibility to ensure the security and stability of Pakistan has had a global impact. By directly ceding control to groups like the TTP, TNSM, etc. the government of Pakistan has essentially agreed to allow safe havens for AQ and the Afghan Taliban on Pakistani soil.

I can’t see the Americans tolerating this for very long. I have met US officers operating in RC (East) who know exactly where their enemy is. They can seem them through the binos sometimes. And they can certainly see them through Predator feeds, satellite imagery, etc. How long do you think they’ll tolerate insurgents killing their soldiers and then running back across the border?

The worst case scenario for Pakistan would be another 9/11 that originates in the FATA. What do you think the consequences of that would be? And with pretty much all of the NWFP in Taliban hands, that attack could originate from settled areas. Heck, Fazlullah is asking Bin Laden to set up shop in Swat.

Any Pakistani who is truly patriotic will understand that the immediate and largest threat to Pakistan is the Taliban wave that is sweeping through the country. Even if you perceive India to be an existential threat (which most of us in the west are pretty skeptical about by the way), it can wait. Your fight here and now should be with the Talibs.

If you do not take on this scourge, there will be no Pakistan to glorify. What good will all the nuclear bombs be if the Taliban take over? Do you really think Pakistan will be turning out F-16 pilots and nuclear scientists with the type of education that the Taliban will be implementing? The Taliban will stop educating half your population (women), destroy the middle class, destroy your culture (arts, music, sufi shrines, etc.), destroy your fledgling democracy, etc. Is that the Pakistan that you will want to live in? Is that what Jinnah had in mind?

Umair, if you care for your country you will post that map on your fridge, in your office, in your morning tea/coeffee shop, etc. so that people start talking about it. What frustrates me and all those in my line of work is to look at Pakistan and see the potential that’s wasted. That map says it all. And yet every time I venture across these blogs all I see is that many, many Pakistanis are in denial.

I don’t doubt that there are many good Pakistanis who are fighting for their country. I have had the chance to meet General Talat Masood, Ayesha Siddiqa, producers at Geo TV, etc. These are people who truly care for you country. They see the chance for a westernized muslim country like Turkey to emerge. But even they concede that all that is wasted when Pakistanis focus on India. Talat Masood told me a few months back in a discussion that he thought fomenting insurgency in India was the biggest mistake the Pakistan Army ever made. I wonder if there are any other Pakistanis courageous enough to admit that.

Posted by Keith | Report as abusive

All we can discuss about are the various possibilities based on the current situation. No one can predict for sure how things will change. There are many factors involved. Here are what I think are possible scenarios.

1. Taliban fights the Pakistani establishment by means of terrorizing the population with assassinations and suicide attacks. Then Al Qaeda moves in big time. Consulates of many countries like US, UK, India are closed and blown up. Hostages are held for ransom and deals. US begin to prepare for a large scale war to settle Af-Pak region. There is absolute dog fight to get the nukes. A full scale war erupts where the goal is to dismantle the Taliban and eliminate the nukes. Just like Iraq, the ground realities become a lot worse than predicted and it leads to utter disaster for all parties involved.

2. Pakistani establishment decides to draw India into a conflict by unleashing one of its terror groups like LeT big time. India has no choice but to retaliate. This unites everyone in Pakistan and buys time for them to deflect off the internal strife. This can even turn the US against India because it can damage American led efforts.

3. Taliban takes over Pakistan and then does nothing. The US is facing more financial crisis and wants to get out. They make a deal with the Taliban not to allow Al Qaeda on their soil and the US leaves the region. Nation building, maintaining everything and eliminating threats is proving to be too expensive. Once the US leaves, Taliban turns around and takes over Afghanistan. Now it has two nations under its thumb. India will face them next and it will lead to a bloody nuclear war the world has never seen.

4. US led coalition plans a pre-emptive strike to save Pakistan from Taliban. This time Pakistan turns a blind eye allowing the US to mow down FATA and NWFP. Taliban is trapped from all sides and surrenders.

I like option 4 because I am sure most sensible Pakistanis do not want Taliban running them. Also, Pakistanis will get a chance to learn how not to live after this. They may now avoid going the path they have been before. Terrorism does not pay whether it is directed at others or not. It always comes back to bite everyone back.

My long term suggestion is to split the region up into smaller states and manage them to safety. This will ensure that terrorism and Islamic radicalism do not spread fast. Some states might progress much faster than others providing barriers to evil tendencies. Today’s Pakistan resembles an alcoholic with severely damaged liver. It needs new transplanted liver with the bad one removed (ISI/military/Jihadist nexus) and helped to live on support equipment.


Just see the following article:
Pakistan and the myth of Islamic Terrorism …by Rakesh Saxena istan-the-myth-of-islamic-terrorism

He argues, the problem is social and that those Taliban are no global threat or not waging any sort of “Jehad” or holy crusade against America. I hope he is right, than with social investment we could stem the problem.
- Posted by Umair

I agree that the problem is socio-economic which is why the problem is one that only Pakistan can solve. We in the west cannot do anything about it. Pakistanis are going to have to make some hard choices. If you don’t start addressing these socio-economic concerns soon, the Taliban will start migrating into Punjab. South Punjabis have very similar grievances as the Swatis.

As a first step, land re-distribution is a must. It’s difficult but absolutely necessary. If India can pull it off, I am sure that Pakistan can do it. The step after that should be a re-invigoration of your public school system. Madrassas are inadequate. We in the west taught kids to read using the bible, in one room schools. But that was over a century ago. It’s time for Pakistan to catch up. The third step would be the re-invigoration of your civic court system. The reason Pashtuns are clamoring for Sharia courts is because the civic court system in Pakistan can’t deliver. Fix it.

The West can’t help you with these problems. This will take leadership and effort from within. Nor can you blame the west here. We didn’t create your land ownership problem. We didn’t decimate your public school system. Sure, the US meddled with madrassas, but they didn’t tell you guys to virtually shut down the public school system. And we didn’t create the mess that are your civic courts. These problems are all Pakistani creations. And it’s high time Pakistanis started working on them…for the good of Pakistan and the world.

Posted by Keith | Report as abusive


I am impressed with your frank talks with Keith. I am sure you wouldn’t have entertained such a talk with Indians. And it is that attitude that has destroyed Pakistan. Your military leaders did not believe that democratic leaders will have the boldness to take on India. Remember how Musharraf ran the Kargil war without even consulting Nawaz Sharif. Or how Benazir Bhutto as a Prime Minister had no clue what was going in at Kahuta. The military did everything with a single minded plan – get at India. Every alliance, every action was done with strategic advantage over India. Even you reflect that myopic mindset. The way out is to disengage from this paranoia about India and begin to focus on the internal threat. Pakistan allowed to breed this monster in its belly just to unleash it at will and it is a potent weapon. But it took a major risk by assuming that this monster can also begin to eat the internal organs if trapped for any reason. Pakistan is being watched closely from every corner of the world now for the wrong reason. You might say that it is none of our business. But the events inside your country have to be monitored so that we are not affected by them in any way. I am already beginning to see rats leaving your ship. I see articles about Balochistan and Sindh wanting to go their own way. I saw one article which said MQM is run by India(!). It was written by an army officer of PA. I’ll find that reference and post it.



I fear scenario 2 is most likely. Most western analysts are betting that an attack is coming. There is no doubt that LeT or somebody else is prepping something. Maybe from Bangladesh or Nepal, etc. since they already used the sea route and Kashmir is pretty bottled up. I pray it is one that India can \’absorb\’ not one that will compel the Indians to respond.

Any catastrophic attack on India that prompts a response would have even worse consequences for Pakistan. They\’d pull the relatively meager forces they have on the western border and rush them eastward. That would be hell for us in Afghanistan. The TTP, TNSM, etc. would all get tons of time to rest, retrain, re-arm and once the India-Pak confrontation was over they\’d start making in-roads into Punjab….and that would be the end of Pakistan as we know it. I am sincerely hoping that the Paks understand this and have sufficient sense to keep their dogs on the leash. For their own sake.

Posted by Keith | Report as abusive


I bet you that the U.S. Fifth Fleet Central Command can respond heavily to the Taliban and even more so to a Rogue Pakistan Military that will one day betray the U.S. The betrayal has already begun as the Taliban make inroads into interior Pakistan Punjab, unchallenged by the Pakistani Army and especially unchallenged by the Pakistani citizens.

I doubt Mr. Choudari is going to open his mouth in front of the Taliban.

It is best if the Punjabi Pakistani army Fauji’s fully comply to make the Afghan mission a success, this is best for regional peace. But it seems more and more that Kayani and Pasha, the way they are resisting the states and not engaging the Taliban in a frontal assault, it seems that they are actually helping the Taliban, to ensure the U.S. is tied down in Pakistan and the Afghanistan mission fails.

I think this is what people were referring to during the American election, when they said that Barack Obama would be tested. The question is, do they have the bold muscle to punch Pakistan in the face and knock them senseless until they comply?

If Pakistan does not comply, it is time for Barack to make a style statement and Cruise Missile at once, each and everyone of the Kashmiri Mujahideen Terrorist Proxy Army Strategic Asset Training camps in Pakistan. Finish them all in one or two days. The whole point of this is to show through action, that the U.S. means business.

The time for treating Pakistan with kid gloves is over. If Pakistan does not comply, it is time to start disintegrating Pakistan, pieces at a time to contain the Taliban.

In the words of Sec. Hillary Clinton, Pakistan is becoming a mortal threat to the world, especially Israel.
The Israel Lobby AIPAC in the U.S. will never let the Taliban take over.

Posted by Global Watcher | Report as abusive


A nuclear war is not worth it no matter who gets to bear the brunt of the nukes. Pakistanis are human too. I will never sleep in peace if nukes are dropped on any population. Nukes don’t kill people. People kill people. May be a grander scheme to eliminate further tension in the region is to bring the parties involved – India, Pakistan and Iran and have them agree to remove the nukes voluntarily. They must be given nuclear umbrella protection. This effort must start right away. India will not easily give up the nukes because we have China sitting next to us. And there is some level of understanding in this regard. But if it can be accomplished somehow, we can set up the stage for a global effort on removing all nukes. Once the nukes are removed from the region, the terrorist threat will weaken. My feeling is that Islamic radicals seem emboldened by having the nukes with their country or any friendly islamic country. Is there any serious discussion going on in this regard? I want no nukes in this world for the sake of all humans. Even though we taunt many silly Pakistanis on this forum, in all seriousness, we want nukes out of our region. This includes China as well.



“JUI chief Maulana Fazlur Rehman on Wednesday made the startling disclosure on the floor of the National Assembly that the Taliban had reached near Mansehra and might soon reach Tarbela Dam.

“If the Taliban continue to move at this pace, they will soon be knocking at the doors of Islamabad as the Margala Hills seem to be the only hurdle in their march towards the federal capital,”” il.asp?Id=21689

Posted by chirkut | Report as abusive

It is equally important for Indians to understand the internal changes Pakistan have gone through last few years. In 2008 for the first time in history a General and President Musharraf had to resign due to the public pressure. The 2008 elections could be termed as the most transparent, Pakistan has returned to democracy, people fought for two years in the streets to restore the independent judicial system. There are many positives, even it is said during the Back channel talks with India the serving generals were asking questions like can my economy support me when I buy expensive arms for my Army, can my foreign mininstry and civilian government support me and provide political support when we make certain decisions. Today for first time, the Prime Minister, President and Army chief are united. The people of Pakistan are empowered, we have a free press and electronic media.
The only thing lacking is leadership and a cohesive approach to tackle the millitancy problem. I am sure we will get there, also the new generation doesnt see India as an enemy. India must reciprocate, India cannot become the kind of reginal power it is aspiring to be if it is bogged down with disputes with Pakistan.
Lastly, I believe the only approach that should work with the millitancy problem is education, providing healthcare and roads, job opportunities and better living standard in the FATA and NWFP region as well as Baluchistan. This is the only way people will shun the millitants and get along with their lives.

Posted by Umair | Report as abusive


Well put. Just like any AA program the first step is admitting that you have a problem. You have sort of done that. Now if you can get other 173 million people in your country to drop their conspiracy theories and come to the same understanding, we’ll be on the road to recovery.

If you want to know why the west is worried for Pakistan, read some of the suff coming out in our media: n+regresses/1524670/story.html

These are not people that the world considers responsible enough to run a country, let alone have nuclear weapons.

When it comes to India, let them worry about their problems. You’ve got far bigger fish to fry.

Posted by Keith | Report as abusive

So, we’re finally seeing some agreeing, on this blog. You are correct, Umair. Educating your population & providing basic services like health-care, would go a long way, in beating the radicalization, which is sweeping Pakistan today & changing the ideology of the country from being Indo-centric to socio-economic progressive, would be a good start. If you say that the younger generation of Pakistanis don’t see India as the enemy, that’s a good sign. I also agree that India, for it’s part, must certainly reciprocate, once Pakistan shows it’s sincerity, in becoming a genuine friend.

Currently, it seems to most of the world that Pakistanis are still in denial or haven’t grasped the grievousness of the current situation in Pakistan. You mentioned the recent long march & that was certainly commendable. But why aren’t moderate & liberal Pakistanis pretesting vigorously against the Taliban & extremism? Why aren’t there enough loud voices, asking your Government & the army, to fight extremist forces? Why aren’t there more long marches in Pakistani cities, protesting against the radicalism, that is threatening the moral fabric of your country & it’s very survival?

I hope Pakistanis wake up & realize the seriousness of the situation before it’s too late.

Posted by Mortal | Report as abusive


Until Mumbai attacks happened, Indians did not have Pakistan in their minds. Life was going in a progressive direction. IPL was going on. India had great cricket series at home. People were minding their business. The sudden occurrence of the Mumbai attacks turned everyone’s attention towards Pakistan. We knew right off the bat that this was a Pakistani sponsored militancy. And it was shocking when the Pakistani media, establishment denied everything outright. It was a good fortune that the Indian security managed to capture one of the terrorists alive and the pandora’x box was opened. Even if one accused the Indians for reacting emotionally in the initial stages, it was very painful to see the official government of Pakistan trying to cover up the whole thing with layers and layers of denial – Kasab is not a Pakistani, there is no Faridkot, it should be Indian terrorists, it is not LeT and so on. If only Indians had died in the attack, your country would have gotten away by washing it all off. The FBI and the British had to step in and tell your government to co-operate and the reluctance from Pakistan to work with India on this was even more frustrating. No they are delaying it by saying that the evidence is only information, it is not adequate, get us this, get us that, it is now a low priority and so on.

The Mumbai events, its aftermath, events in Pakistan have destroyed the goodwill in our people. I now want to know whether it is India that is playing the regional power or it is Pakistan. Sending in trained militants into a neighboring country boldly and acting defiant after the damage is done, blaming India for keeping two embassies in Afghanistan for terrorist activities in Pakistan with no proof, blowing up an Indian embassy and so on will not bring any trust. We have gone through the whole sequence of arguments with Pakistanis including you on various blogs in this forum. Kashmir cannot be wrested away by violent means. It will only make things worse. Despite all that you keep parroting the same thing telling us not to have regional power ambitions. Should you be telling us what we should do? We are a big country. Whatever we do will look big.

Your country should have known its measure and acted responsibly. It is now paying the price for its myopic view of India. In more than twenty odd blogs that I have seen you on this forum, I have seldom seen you treat Indians with any respect the way you are dealing with Keith or other Westerners. This double standard in not only in you, it is in literally all Pakistanis. That attitude is the core of the problem that has snowballed to the state today.

Hope that from here on I will see more mature response from you at least and we will reciprocate it if you do. Let us start at our level first before expecting our nations to do the same.


Pakistan sends troops to area grabbed by Taliban

•Pakistan sends troops to push back against latest Taliban advance f/04/23/pakistan.taliban.control.swat/in dex.html

Posted by Umair | Report as abusive

Pakistan’s ambassador to the United States, Husain Haqqani, told CNN on Wednesday that the situation was not as dire as Clinton described.

“Yes, we have a challenge,” Haqqani said. “But, no, we do not have a situation in which the government or the country of Pakistan is about to fall to the Taliban.”

Posted by Umair | Report as abusive

Haqqani compared the Swat peace deal to the deals U.S. commanders in Iraq made to peel insurgents away from Islamic jihadists blamed for the worst attacks on civilians there.

Prime Minister Syed Yusuf Raza Gilani said at a news briefing Thursday: “I want to explain to the West and Hillary Clinton about the agreement. … The agreement is actually a very good thing. … It brings two parties to an agreement based on mutual understanding.”
“If there is an effort of Taliban-ization, we have the right to review our policy.”

Posted by Umair | Report as abusive

Hillary Clinton on Pakistan f/04/23/pakistan.taliban.control.swat/in dex.html#cnnSTCVideo

Referring to Pakistani diaspora and their successes in US in different walks of life.

Posted by Umair | Report as abusive

Seems like a pretty weak response to me. They didn’t support the local lashkars who tried to fight off the Taliban. Then after the district is taken over they send in maybe 8 plattoons (according to Dawn) of lightly armed Frontier Consabulary with a mandate to protect police stations and infrastructure. The militants are still patrolling in the district.

‘Haqqani compared the Swat peace deal to the deals U.S. commanders in Iraq made to peel insurgents away from Islamic jihadists blamed for the worst attacks on civilians there.’
- Posted by Umair

With all due respect Umair, that’s BS and you know it. When the yanks made the deals it was with Arab/Sunni tribes to peel off Islamists. In Swat, your government made deals WITH the Islamists. The results speak for themselves. Violence went down in Iraq. In Pakistan it is going up. This is a Neville Chamberlain moment for Pakistan.

Posted by Keith | Report as abusive

You know the stakes, US has been through the situation in Fallujah in 2004 and it took time to stabilize.
I am hopeful Pakistani security forces will take time but surely regain control.

Posted by Umair | Report as abusive

Even though I argue with Pakistanis like Umair, spitting venom, at a moment like this, I’d like wish you Pakistanis the very best in tackling the animals who have hijacked Islam and are inching towards taking over your country. I pray that they lose so that the world can return to normalcy. You do not deserve to live like slaves. Not even the ones that are under the control of Taliban right now. Do not worry about India, do not worry about anything else. Just fight this monster and come out of it. After defeating it, make sure that you never allow your country to be hijacked by selfish landlords and double dealing military leaders. They are the ones who led your country to the state it is facing today. I will always support efforts of this kind anywhere. Moderate people have to rule and fanaticism has to be nipped in the bud.


@Umair, Mauryan(comment if you wish)

Umair, where are your great champions of democracy in the face of the Taliban, who seek to destroy democracy? I am talking about Iftikhar Chaudhary the Chief Justic, Nawaz Sharif, Zardari and even Hamid Gul??

These guys have shown their true colours that they were out for their own selfish gain. They have not got a shred of true courage to fight the real fight, the demise of democracy in Pakistan and the rise of Radical Militant Islam.

Umair, is there even one amongst you in Pakistan who has the courage to admit that what you have done for the last 60 years was wrong and India is not the enemy? Is there one among you who has the courage to kill the Taliban leadership?

If there is not, consider this the starting of the disintegration of Pakistan, by the Taliban, the greatest threat to your statehood, NOT India.

Muslims will be beheading, slaughtering and maiming muslims from now on, NOT India.

It is high time that you finally admit you were wrong to antagonize India. What we have been saying to you Umair, does not mean much, I know and will not mean much until the Taliban takes away someone you love. Then you will feel the reality of how we feel outside of Pakistan towards the Taliban, when they murdered the young professional Ahadiyya couple, when they flog young girls and behead people. I hope you channel every bit of rage you can muster to fight this Islamic Radical Virus that is digesting Pakistan at an alarming rate.

Pakistan’s disintegration has begun, and still Pakistan is keep all eyes at India. India did nothing to Paksitan throughout all this. All separatists in Pakistan are going to try to get their day any time now. It is time to move all the troops away from the Eastern border and move them to places within Pakistan.

Your foolish ISI Pasha and Pak Army Kayani, whether you agree with me or not, the fact is that their inaction or deliberate support of the Taliban is disintegrating Pakistani society before your eyes. Your society is disintegrating as the under privileged, who live outside the Gated communities are joining the Taliban as paid soldiers.

We are tired of optimistic talk and inaction and want to see action and want to see more Pakistani’s, in civilian and military power challenge militant Islam head on.

If the U.S. sees constant foot dragging by Pakistan, they will step in, and this will further destablize Pakistan.

What are you going to do?

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Good luck. India is not your enemy, I hope you are beginning to realize that now. Kashmir is not an issue, I hope you realize that now. Radical Islam is the enemy of Moderate Islam, I hope you see that and realize that.

Before things get better, as the cancer spreads, have the courage to weather the coming 100 “Red Mosques” that are going to ravage Pakistan, once you Pakistani’s come to your senses to finally engage the Taliban.

Again, “good night and good luck”.

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This may in fact be an Islamic revolution in Pakistan like it was in Iran.

The key difference is that Pakistan has nukes, and this very fact will make Pakistan’s future struggle extremely bloody and slaughterous. The US and India will not tolerate a nuclearized Talibani Pakistan.

Foreign powers like the U.S. and Soviets may choose to intervene, if they feel their stablity is threatened.

The world will do what it has to do to and should do, denuclearize Pakistan if law and order in Punjab State collapses.

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Yesterday from Radio Netherlands:

And as the Taliban get closer to the capital Islamabad, Mr Hussain says there is a genuine feeling of alarm that echoes Ms Clinton’s own words.

“There is a sense of panic in Islambad and there is talk about how to stop the Taliban but also fears that it is too late. The government has yet to put its policy in place, they are under pressure from the international community and they haven’t mobilized public support.”

And as the government falters, the Taliban are continuing to grow in both strength and numbers. Mr Hussain continues:

“More and more unemployed youth are turning to the Taliban and many others are joining up out of fear. If the government has abdicated responsibility and the administration in the area has collapsed, then people will look to the Taliban for their own security.”

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Perhaps I am wrong, this is not an Islamic Revolution, but social human de-evolution, as fear is the large component and society is going backwards hundreds of years in Pakistan.

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“Even though I argue with Pakistanis like Umair, spitting venom, at a moment like this,”

On more than one occasion, I have accepted making our share of mistakes. I am entitled to let my opinion known and am not spitting venom. Most of the time, I have only talked back and defended Pakistan against someone who is simply bashing Pakistan. I repeat we have nothing to do with India. We are part of the muslim world an dour aspirations are different.
I restate what I stated before, normalization of relations with Pakistan is in India’s interest. India cannot attain its place it deserves in global arena if it gets bogged down in disputes with Pakistan. And I heartily accept your good wishes and am thank ful for that.
In Pakistan, whatever the problems are there are efforts underway to tackle those.

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Global watcher
With due respect please note that Kashmir certainly IS an issue which is outstanding and needs a lasting solution. Amid all the hue and cry of ‘Talibanization’ dont expect to brush aside and play down Kashmir. If you do it will come to haunt you later. Let the Indians be open and talk about Kashmir head on.

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Mullen is in Is’bad. Maybe he can get Kayani’s ass moving. You know it’s bad when Maulana Fazlur Rehman is worried: “If the Taliban continue to move at this pace they will soon be knocking at the doors of Islamabad. The Margalla Hills, appears to be the only hurdle in their march toward the federal capital.”

Excellent piece from the New York Times: asia/23buner.html?pagewanted=1&_r=1&hp

and Time Magazine:  ,8599,1893370,00.html

Posted by Keith | Report as abusive asia/24pstan.html?hp

America’s patience is wearing thin with Pakistan. Check out the comments for this article, in the times, today.

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Global Watcher,

I can understand the impulse to engage in a little schadenfreude at the expense of the Paks. But surely you recognize that this threat is even more dangerous to India than the regime that’s there today. I would caution any Indian from feeling pleasure at the Paks troubles. We live in troubled times and India is not going to be immune from the developments in Pakistan. These black turbaned fanatics are tens of miles from bases that hold nuclear weapons. We in the west have been frustrated with Pakistani inaction for a while but now is not the time to take pleasure with their troubles. For the sake of the world and India, let’s wish them well.

Posted by Keith | Report as abusive

Umair writes: “I have only talked back and defended Pakistan against someone who is simply bashing Pakistan. I repeat we have nothing to do with India. We are part of the muslim world an dour aspirations are different.”

In the same vein, Indians are defending India’s stance when others are engaging in India bashing. Indian priorities are not Pakistan centric. We are simply part of the world and would like to contribute towards its progress in every way possible.


Keith writes: “These black turbaned fanatics are tens of miles from bases that hold nuclear weapons. We in the west have been frustrated with Pakistani inaction for a while but now is not the time to take pleasure with their troubles”

I fully agree. These lunatics will not think twice before “teaching a lesson to kaffirs.” If ordinary Pakistanis can feel empowered by the nukes and proudly mention it in every alternate sentence, I can imagine what a completely brainwashed fanatic will perceive India. Taliban will not try to spread into India, if it takes over Pakistan. It will simply give an ultimatum to clear Kashmir by a certain deadline. And then it will simply unleash the nuclear weapons loaded onto all the rockets and fighter planes that it has and dust off its hands. It may not even give a deadline. This is the only worry India must have. If Taliban’s rule becomes near certain, India should work with the US and the other powers to remove the nukes beyond the reach of Taliban. I do not know if that is possible or not. Right now, most Indian politicians are busy contesting in elections and planning for horsetrading. I don’t think there is much alertness about what is going on inside Pakistan. They usually wake up after a bunch of desperadoes cause havoc amongst general population.


You know the stakes, US has been through the situation in Fallujah in 2004 and it took time to stabilize.
I am hopeful Pakistani security forces will take time but surely regain control.

- Posted by Umair

Fallujah wasn’t within a hundred miles of a nuclear weapons complex or an operational fighter base.

What boggles my mind is that 500 militants managed to cower a district with a million residents. These aren’t terrorist. They are criminals with guns that are no bigger or better than that carried by most gangsters worldwide. The Pashtuns should grow a pair and chase them out with their chappals.

Posted by Keith | Report as abusive

Sanjeev, Keith ,Mauryan, Rajeev

In Washington, a New York Times report that Pakistan’s Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) agency is directly assisting militant groups fighting against U.S. and NATO forces in Afghanistan has barely raised an eyebrow. Veteran Pakistan watchers here have known — or suspected — as much for several years. “It confirms what a lot of us have been saying for a long time,” says Lisa Curtis, South Asia expert at the Heritage Foundation.

Thats the paper cutting.

Now,What options would US consider if the Taliban spread remains sluggish (means, not attacking Islamabad) but Swat and Bruner remain occupied under Sharia law for a longtime. In which case, Al Qaida has an official address and moreso freedom within a few hundred miles of NWPF area. For a while, the drone attacks will continue but Taliban will use the attacks as a pretext to continue its own spread of rule and challenges the writ of the fed govt. The Pak Admin will fall for it and as a result pressurizes US to ground the drones. Acceding to the demand essentially means a ceasefire with Al Qaida and leaving them alone in Pak; while the latter keep planning and advancing its agenda in Afghan and pushing US lead forces toward Kabul. A very clever strategy of Al Qaida and Taliban indeed. Pak army has no stomach to fight the Taliban as is obvious. I see the ISI written all over it. We are throwing our tax dollars into this snake pit if you will. How does Obama propose to end this *open blackmail*. Give more billions, I suppose.


The President of Pakistan has special powers to invoke under the constitution of Pakistan, he is the supreme commander of Pakistan Armed Forces. Today he met one on one with ANP(Awami National Part) Leader, Asfand Yar Wali the Pushtun moderate party in power in the NWFP. The President was of the view that If Taliban did not give peace in Swat, the peace deal could be reviewed. Pakistan has an option to scrap the peace, President can invoke special powers under the constitution and order the PA to move in. Also, the Northern Air Command of Pakistan Air Force is located in Peshawar, the capital of NWFP. The new chief of staff of the Air Force visited recently and JF-17 Fighter squadron will be fully operational at the end of this year. The Pakistan Military Academy, located in Kakul, Abbottabad is also in NWFP. Pakistan has enough fire power to deal with millitants in that region. The outside world has to keep its nerve and rely on Pakistani security forces and government to deal with it.
My point is, Secretary Clinton’s remarks yesterday undermine the government of Pakistan. When you incite the Pakistani diaspora and Pakistani people in large part to stand up against the policies of their government, it is interference in the internal matters of a soverign state. this kind of approach will simply backfire. The US must rather bolster the Islamabad government than to undermine it.
Also, the US military is already engaged with the PA at advisory level to prop up the Frontier Corps and PA in large part for counter insurgency training. You are right, as Rakesh Saxena’s column suggests, these are not Global Jihadis, these are just criminal thugs, but Pakistani government wants to exhaust all the options before we unleash an all out military campaign.
No doubt, Islamabad and Rawalpindi are important military hubs. The Chaklala Garrison near Rawalpindi and very close to Islamabad Intl Airport houses the SPD(Strategic Plans Division) H.Q with command and control of strategic nuclear forces. So does the GHQ, PA in Rawalpindi. But rest assured, Pakistan is in control of the situation.

As far as India is concerned, it is very convenient for them to make loud hue and cry over Talibanization and deflect the focus from core issue between India and Pakistan, Kashmir.

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“But haven’t things changed since then ? Can Pakistan afford to buy such expensive systems especially when it is in financial difficulties? And is India stepping up the pressure on it by continuing with its arms imports even as the economy slows down tempting Pakistan down the same route ?”

Sorry for late response on this, but I wanted to revisit your questions and reply.

Indeed, the geo-strategic envirnment is evolving quickly, Paistan cannot afford to purchase expensive defense technologies at this stage. Even back as 2005 after the earthquake, the F-16 purchases were scaled back due to lack of funding. The Headquarter of Army was to be transferred from Rawalpindi to Islamabad and has also been postponed for now.
India is playing it very wise, we hyave to admit. It is making the right choice by going for technological upgrades needed to tackle the challenges. Also, India knows this will give an edge over Pakistan and advantage is with India. Between the countries, both of them consider themself vulnerable against each other. For now India is one “UP” with advantage.

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Here is more of the bad news about Pakistan. The world is beginning to know each and every district in Pakistan the bad way (unfortunately).  /22/zakaria.pakistan/index.html


Also, just consider that during recent elections the people of Pakistan overwhelmingly elected moderate parties to power. Even the conservative religious parties like Jamat-e-Islami didnt do better than previous elections. The people of Pakistan do not support Taliban and Taliban do not enjoy any local support.
Despite this, I still feel it is for only Pakistan to decide what is best in antional interest.

Posted by Umair | Report as abusive

Umair writes: “As far as India is concerned, it is very convenient for them to make loud hue and cry over Talibanization and deflect the focus from core issue between India and Pakistan, Kashmir.”

India has many issues and insurgency in the Kashmir valley is one of them. Here is what you and other Pakistanis have to know. The current generation in India does not consider Kashmir as a disputed territory. It believes that Kashmir is an integral part of India and it also acknowledges that Azad Kashmir part as a territory of Pakistan. It does not want to negotiate an inch beyond this point. No matter how much Pakistan tries to rattle India by indulging in insurgency, India is not going to yield. In fact, Pakistan’s militant efforts seem to have strengthened India and united its people a lot more than before. And Pakistan’s obsession with Kashmir has affected the psyche of its people so much that every critical decision in history has been made with Kashmir in mind. This has a direct correlation to today’s situation in Pakistan.

Having settled with the belief that Kashmir as its integral territory, Indians want to make the LoC as the official border. That is the only thing they can negotiate with Pakistan. And both countries have an agreement to resolve this bilaterally as per the 1972 Simla accord, which throws out the earlier UN resolutions.

Indians perceive Pakistan’s obsession with Kashmir only as an attempt to settle the scores for Bangladesh and its break up so that Pakistan is not threatened. And it does not make any sense, because the sympathy shown to Kashmiri Indians by the Pakistanis seems like crocodile tears. Indians know how ruthless Pakistan was with East Pakistanis and Blochis.

As far as Indians are concerned, the Kashmir case is closed. We argue with each other on who was wrong, what could have been done etc. But that is only an argument and nothing else is going to happen.

So India is focused on a myriad of critical issues and tackling cross border terrorism, maoist guerillas, Naxalites, gangsters, mafia, drug traders, poachers, corruption etc fall under the same set of priorities. India deals with Kashmir only in regards to cross border terrorism and nothing else. Other than that Kashmir issues are treated much like the issues of any other state inside the Indian union.

So I do not know what India is trying to deflect. The perspective is totally different from the Indian view point – protecting territorial integrity. Pakistan will not be able to sustain this insurgency anymore because of stringent economic aid conditions and the money involved in operations of this kind will bleed Pakistan terribly and accelerate its collapse. Kashmir should not even be an issue on the priority list for Pakistan. If your brethren stop their militancy, Kashmir will be a very peaceful place. India has many troops there because of two reasons – it is a border state and it has state sponsored insurgency and military support from Pakistan. The RISAT launched will begin to make it harder for the militants as the eye in the sky will alert our security system well in advance.

It is futile trying to take on India right now. I think you guys should focus on the problems inside your country and Indians only pay attention enough to make sure that its territory is not affected by what is going on inside Pakistan.

Thought I’d clarify that with you.



The hard reality of the world is that your sovereignty only matters insofar as what you do in your country does not impact what happens in mine. There’s an old saying that, ‘there will always be a navy in your waters. Yours or someone elses.’ The PA decided to leave these areas undefended and now the militants have taken over. It’s perfectly understandable how it happened. If Pakistan has virtually ungoverned areas where extremists can train from around the world then it’s obvious that Pakistan is doing a poor job of defending it’s sovereignty. Your government and military has followed the path of appeasement and given up Pakistan’s sovereignty to militants. And that’s why the world (not just the west) is concerned.

I fully agree that the Pakistani people do not deserve this. And I understand quite well that they do not support this trend and did not vote for it. However, we are where we are. In the last few days we’ve seen the trajectory of the Taliban. Al Qaeda’s potential sanctuary has nearly quadrupled inside out of the FATA. For the sake of Pakistan’s own people, and those of us who might face the consequences of Pakistani nuclear weapons if they fall into the wrong hands, your government and security services has to act.

And the truth of the matter is that it won’t take much. 500 militants in Buner. That’s not even a battalion’s worth. And you have entire Corps within a day’s drive nearby. I just can’t understand what Kayani is waiting for. Does he need militants to start waving through his bedroom window in Rawalpindi before he considers them a real threat?

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