Comments on: Kashmir gunbattle underscores India-Pakistan tensions http://blogs.reuters.com/pakistan/2010/01/07/kashmir-gunbattle-underscores-india-pakistan-tensions/ Perspectives on Pakistan Thu, 01 Oct 2015 19:31:05 +0000 hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=4.2.5 By: RajeevK http://blogs.reuters.com/pakistan/2010/01/07/kashmir-gunbattle-underscores-india-pakistan-tensions/comment-page-1/#comment-27339 Fri, 15 Jan 2010 15:16:55 +0000 http://blogs.reuters.com/pakistan/?p=4498#comment-27339 Myra:

In search of peace By Kuldip Nayar
http://www.dawn.com/wps/wcm/connect/dawn -content-library/dawn/the-newspaper/colu mnists/16-kuldip-nayar-in-search-of-peac e-510-hs-10

“It was a welcome coincidence that both Bangladesh and Pakistan figured in the recent discussions in New Delhi. Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina Wajed was on her first official visit after a landslide electoral victory last year. Top Pakistan lawyers, academicians and human rights activists sat in the capital with their counterparts to find ‘A Road to Peace’.”

“Sheikh Hasina will not allow Bangladesh’s soil to be used by anti-India groups. When Dhaka handed over to Delhi ULFA (United Liberation Front of Asom) leaders, the insurgents from Assam, it was the beginning of a new chapter.

“In fact, during the talks between Manmohan Singh and Sheikh Hasina, when the latter assured the Indian prime minister that no terrorists would be allowed to function from her country the entire scenario changed. She had a long list of demands.

“But even before she could name the first, Manmohan Singh reportedly said that she did not have to ask for anything. India would go to any extent to meet Bangladesh’s needs.

“The proposed $600m credit to Dhaka was doubled. India gave an undertaking that it would not take any step regarding the Tipaimukh hydroelectric project without the consent of Bangladesh, which is a controversial issue. Nor did New Delhi ask for any transit facility which again is a sensitive issue in Dhaka.

“The resolve to eliminate terrorism is what the region wants, from Kabul to Dhaka. Islamabad would like New Delhi to join the operation but India is in no mood to listen to Pakistani’s argument for the resumption of a composite dialogue.”
“”Islamabad has not yet understood how the system works in New Delhi. Otherwise, it would not have overreacted to the statement made by Indian army chief Gen Deepak Kapoor that India may have to prepare for war against China and Pakistan. However irresponsible the statement, it does not pose any threat to Pakistan.

The systems in the two countries are different. Gen Kapoor or the army has no say in India’s political affairs. He is due to retire after serving his tenure. The government will soon be naming his successor. Making a mountain out of a molehill gives the impression that Pakistan is trying to score a point, however weak.””

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By: RajeevK http://blogs.reuters.com/pakistan/2010/01/07/kashmir-gunbattle-underscores-india-pakistan-tensions/comment-page-1/#comment-27316 Wed, 13 Jan 2010 00:34:16 +0000 http://blogs.reuters.com/pakistan/?p=4498#comment-27316 Myra:
Thanks for the link.

@I don’t think these comments were directed specifically “at” Pakistan at all. They seem to be more based on concerns that in the event of a future conflict, China and Pakistan would work together.”

–True; not directed specifically at pakistan but it includes Pakistan as well. China may or may not worry that much but Pakistan will.

@The big question is how to break a vicious circle in which India adopts a military position in response to China, and Pakistan – because it is focused on India – assumes that position is directed at it.”

—Pakistan can do what India has done—No first attack nuclear policy. I cannot see why not. If India can, sitting next to China, why not Pakistan? One reason is that they want to solve territorial disputes by proxy wars under nuclear overhang.

As long as no one is getting hurt, such assumptions are OK to have. Pakistan has about India, India might be having about China, and China has about US and US used to have about Russia and vice-versa. If one is not paranoid about them it is OK. So far I do not see India is paranoid about Pak plus China angle, which is an obvious and valid point, missing from the arguments of common Pakistanis and sometimes also by well known Pakistan columnists that India has 2 unfriendly nuke-carrying neigbours.

The link you gave has some basic idea of 4 countries in win-win situation. I do not know how that’s going to be possible. It is asking for the moon but why not?

India and Pakistan need to sit for peace but currently Pakistan is too busy with itself—terrorism and politically instability. Zardari is not trusted by anyone in Pakistan. I like that guy–whatever his image is. He gave several India-friendly statements when he became President–never ever happened in Pakistan history before. But soon he found that he is finding where he belongs.

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By: Myra.MacDonald http://blogs.reuters.com/pakistan/2010/01/07/kashmir-gunbattle-underscores-india-pakistan-tensions/comment-page-1/#comment-27311 Tue, 12 Jan 2010 18:33:19 +0000 http://blogs.reuters.com/pakistan/?p=4498#comment-27311 @ Rajeev:

“Don;t you think that the flip side of the argument on the topic and Gen Kapoor’s intention is to present India with an aggressive Armed force so that even non-nuclear conflicts do not arise. This makes sense to me.”

I don’t think these comments were directed specifically “at” Pakistan at all. They seem to be more based on concerns that in the event of a future conflict, China and Pakistan would work together.

The big question is how to break a vicious circle in which India adopts a military position in response to China, and Pakistan – because it is focused on India – assumes that position is directed at it.

Dawn has an op-ed here asking how India, Pakistan and China (and the U.S.) can break out of this pattern:

http://www.dawn.com/wps/wcm/connect/dawn -content-library/dawn/news/world/19-quad rilateral-ties-hh-04

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By: RajeevK http://blogs.reuters.com/pakistan/2010/01/07/kashmir-gunbattle-underscores-india-pakistan-tensions/comment-page-1/#comment-27308 Tue, 12 Jan 2010 17:33:26 +0000 http://blogs.reuters.com/pakistan/?p=4498#comment-27308 Myra:
@You would have to go back to 2001/2002 to find a similar situation when the two countries did not talk to each other for such a long time at any level. In that kind of atmosphere misunderstandings flare up and fester – viz the reaction to Gen. Kapoor’s comments on a two-front war (which I’m told he did say, but they have been taken somewhat out of context).”

–There is another possibility which is that PA normally assumes that Indian Armed forces are defensive in nature and take time to retaliate (valid one), which perhaps is the reason that Pakistan sets out for wars knowing that India will not retaliate. Don;t you think that the flip side of the argument on the topic and Gen Kapoor’s intention is to present India with an aggressive Armed force so that even non-nuclear conflicts do not arise. This makes sense to me.

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By: RajeevK http://blogs.reuters.com/pakistan/2010/01/07/kashmir-gunbattle-underscores-india-pakistan-tensions/comment-page-1/#comment-27307 Tue, 12 Jan 2010 16:54:39 +0000 http://blogs.reuters.com/pakistan/?p=4498#comment-27307 Myra:

I agree peace talks do not achieve much but it is an indication that things have not gone to the point where even these little efforts stop. So these peace talks are important from the point that they are happening and will be conspicuous by their absence. Once these peace talks stop, they will become significant.

@You would have to go back to 2001/2002 to find a similar situation when the two countries did not talk to each other for such a long time at any level. In that kind of atmosphere misunderstandings flare up and fester – viz the reaction to Gen. Kapoor’s comments on a two-front war (which I’m told he did say, but they have been taken somewhat out of context).”
–Myra, I know that all this hot talk by the India and Pakistan generals is not going to hurt anyone; Kayani responded to please Pakistanis. But this will have no significant effect in terms of India-Pak relationship or create misunderstanding to push some war button; what Kapoor said is no surprise and is well known to Kayani. Even massive Operation Parakram did not hurt anyone and no one pressed any button, whatever may be the reasons for not going ahead with the war.

@Add to that an uptick in violence in Srinagar, on the LoC and the IB, combined with a precarious situation in Afghanistan, and you have a very difficult atmosphere.”
–Myra, situation has been bad since ever in Af-Pak and India. It is nothing new and not above threshold level to push panic buttton or pay too much attention. It is just that we start interpreting the whole dynamics of India-Pak relationship after few words are uttered.

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By: DaraIndia http://blogs.reuters.com/pakistan/2010/01/07/kashmir-gunbattle-underscores-india-pakistan-tensions/comment-page-1/#comment-27305 Tue, 12 Jan 2010 13:42:06 +0000 http://blogs.reuters.com/pakistan/?p=4498#comment-27305 Myra and Rajeev,

Though you may find this hard to believe, after some of my recent comments, I am an optimist about Indo Pak relations improving over time. However, given the way things are at the moment, I agree with Myra’s assessment about the amount of negativity prevailing.

There has also been a recent initiative by the media, from both sides, to give the movement some impetus and add to citizen efforts to normalise relations. These are all welcome and useful, in the long run. But I think without some official impetus, the current outlook is gloomy.

While the Indian PM is known to be very keen to get the relationship back on the rails, my impression is that there is a growing indifference in many sections of Indian society towards any intiative. I did cover this in some detail in a recent comment but it seems to have been lost or held back so I will leave it at that.

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By: Myra.MacDonald http://blogs.reuters.com/pakistan/2010/01/07/kashmir-gunbattle-underscores-india-pakistan-tensions/comment-page-1/#comment-27304 Mon, 11 Jan 2010 21:02:20 +0000 http://blogs.reuters.com/pakistan/?p=4498#comment-27304 @ Rajeev,

“These peace efforts are also happening and give a different perspective than that of your article.”

I’m aware of all these Track Two initiatives and follow them quite closely.

Here is a report on a Track Two conference in Bangkok:

http://ipcs.org/conference-report/india/ conflict-resolution-and-peace-building-a n-indo-pak-track-ii-24.html

And here is Maj Gen. Ashok Mehta on a separate series of Track Two talks:

http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424 052748704500104574651121915350060.html?m od=googlenews_wsj

But remember that these Track Two conferences have always taken place and have not really made much headway in the past. Some even argue they are counter-productive, by muddying the waters of the governments’ negotiating position, though given how little there is in terms of people-to-people contact, it’s hard to believe they don’t do some good in promoting understanding.

I also agree that there are a huge number of people in both countries who want peace — if you remember that is why I was so sceptical about claims last year that public opinion in India was solidly against talks with Pakistan.

But beyond the Track Two stuff, I don’t currently see anything else going on. No ministerial meetings, no backchannel diplomacy (at least not the last time I checked – it may have changed since) and no composite dialogue.

You would have to go back to 2001/2002 to find a similar situation when the two countries did not talk to each other for such a long time at any level. In that kind of atmosphere misunderstandings flare up and fester – viz the reaction to Gen. Kapoor’s comments on a two-front war (which I’m told he did say, but they have been taken somewhat out of context).

Add to that an uptick in violence in Srinagar, on the LoC and the IB, combined with a precarious situation in Afghanistan, and you have a very difficult atmosphere.

I see Gen. Mehta says in his article that the PM is keen to get talks with Pakistan started again. But even if talks are resumed at some level, for example via backchannel diplomacy, there is still a mismatch. Last year, it looked possible that India and Pakistan would resume backchannel talks on the Kashmir roadmap set out in 2006/7 under Musharraf. But the current situation in Pakistan — and Zardari’s language on Kashmir — suggests it will be much harder for Pakistan to make the kind of concessions required to get back to that roadmap.

So on the whole, the current outlook is negative – and far more negative than it was in the period between the Indian elections until right up to, and just after, the Sharm talks.

But who knows. Maybe diplomats are working away behind the scenes on some new approach. I am trying to find out and rest assured, if I see signs of progress, I will certainly write about it.

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By: RajeevK http://blogs.reuters.com/pakistan/2010/01/07/kashmir-gunbattle-underscores-india-pakistan-tensions/comment-page-1/#comment-27299 Mon, 11 Jan 2010 17:27:34 +0000 http://blogs.reuters.com/pakistan/?p=4498#comment-27299 Myra: One can all find all sorts of discussions on whether or not India is going to send troops in Afghanistan. It is obvious that discussions will happen but it is also important to keep in mind the political system of India and the way the decisions are taken. Currently, ITBP companies along with its commando units provide security to embassy/consulates and sensitive installations of Indian interest—-all in line with some of many functions of ITBP.

I do not see Indian troops being sent to Afghanistan “to help secure the peace there”. India, historically, has not sent troops just because another country wants it. Politicians decide that for India and Singh/Congress will not benefit from sending troops nor will India. That will be asking for a revival of BJP and communists. With 2 direct terms under its belt, Congress will need something special to continue into 3rd term. Congress not only has selfish interests but it is in the best interests of the country. Also, Indian politicians should be mindful that Pakistan can retaliate in India via push button terrorists (very possible scenario)—which means that opposition parties will have a just reason for criticizing any such move.

There is only one reason that India might send and that is training Afghan security force (not for fighting the Mullah Omar/terrorists). Unless this cannot happen in India there seems to be no need for sending the troops.

Good thing is India has democracy with its own checks and balances and the nation is not ruled by Army whose general can be arm-twisted into decision making like it happened for Musharraf.

@Also do remember that India already has forces from the Indo-Tibetan Border Police in Afghanistan to protect its existing interests there. (I’d have to check further to get the exact number, though published reports suggest there are around 1,000.) Any increase in the Indian presence in Afghanistan could also imply a rise in these paramilitary forces.”
Myra, I did not quit get your last sentence. Obviously, 500 more ITBP means increase one should be careful for labeling it with a tag. It is naïve to think that India has fixed ITBP at particular number and will not increase (or decrease) if the reason is as justified as saving Indian lives and interests.
Can you tell me whether US/NATO/ISAF troops are directly taking care of the security of projects/buildings of Indian interests?

Changing gears, we need to give space to some of the peace efforts in the region between Afghanistan/Pakistan/India at different levels as Kamran Shafi wrote in Dawn column on On 15 Dec, 2009:
http://www.dawn.com/wps/wcm/connect/dawn -content-library/dawn/the-newspaper/colu mnists/14-abracadabra-529-zj-02

“I had mentioned last week that I was in Kabul for three days attending an Afghan–Pakistan–India trialogue on ‘Finding Common Grounds for Peace’ conducted so admirably by Dr Radha Kumar trustee of the Delhi Policy Group, and director of the Mandela Centre for Peace and Conflict Resolution at the Jamia Millia Islamia University, Delhi.

We talked of the various ways in which the three countries could jointly take steps that could help in combating terrorism in the region. The conference was generally of the view that terror in one country could easily, over time, destabilise the whole region; and that the people of Afghanistan in particular had to be left well enough alone by Pakistan and India to make some sense of their country on their own.”

These peace efforts are also happening and give a different perspective than that of your article.

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By: DaraIndia http://blogs.reuters.com/pakistan/2010/01/07/kashmir-gunbattle-underscores-india-pakistan-tensions/comment-page-1/#comment-27295 Mon, 11 Jan 2010 14:13:28 +0000 http://blogs.reuters.com/pakistan/?p=4498#comment-27295 Myra, please don’t bother to ascertain the exact number of ITBP is Afghanistan. They are there. They are deployed to safeguard Indian workers on various projects being undertaken there by the Indian Govt. That too because neither the ANA or the coalition are able to provide adequate security on their own. I cannot see any Indian government agreeing to send troops there. Specially not at the behest of NATO or the US. There is a very slight possibility that it may do so in case the UN makes a specific request for India to send troops there. Even then I don’t think that either the Government or public opinion in India will favour such a move.

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By: DaraIndia http://blogs.reuters.com/pakistan/2010/01/07/kashmir-gunbattle-underscores-india-pakistan-tensions/comment-page-1/#comment-27293 Mon, 11 Jan 2010 14:04:37 +0000 http://blogs.reuters.com/pakistan/?p=4498#comment-27293 Myra, your thoughts on the Indian presence in Afghanistan, as also over the debate on it in India are perfectly clear. What I tried to bring out was that the debate, or what passes for it at the moment, is not so much on the kind of foot print India has there, but more on how Pakistan reacts to it. There is growing frustration over the frequent barbs by Pakistan on the subject. There is an acrimonious reaction to Pakistan treating Afghanistan as if it were its private preserve and a vassal state.

This also ties up with the impasse over relations between the two. Pakistan on the one hand has a single fixation; start talks, resume the dialogue; never mind about terror strikes, never mind our support to terror and militant groups, forget 26/11 that is old hat, brush it all under the carpet lets just talk. On the other hand it appears to be doing all it can, even going out of its way to alienate India.

The Indian Express front page caption this morning is an example. “Pakistan opposes India’s inclusion in a regional council on Afghanistan. Prime Minister Gillani told British Foreign Secretary Miliband that such a move was against Pakistn’s interests”. Now mind you, I do not know the details about this council. The point, however, is that all Pakistan has brought to the table so far is negativity. When Pakistan and Afghanistan are discussed, and it isn’t too often in casual discussions in India, what comes through most is a total anti-India bias trumpeted by the Pakistani establishment. The ordinary person, interested in the subject, is just about fed up with what is seen as a constant anti-India refrain. The result is people don’t care any more. There is much else happening in India – positive and negative – and they would rather discuss that.

The Guardian article quoted by you in the main text talks of Pakistan’s neurosis about India and I think that is a true reflection of what the average Indian to-day thinks about this present Pakistani establishment, if and when he thinks about it at all.

From an Indian view point, I think this is what underscores the real tension between the two countries.

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