After India last held state elections in Jammu and Kashmir in 2002, the Kashmir Valley witnessed a period of relative peace only to see it shattered when plans to give land to Hindu pilgrims triggered the biggest protests since the Kashmir separatist revolt erupted in 1989.
Pakistan: Now or Never?
Sheikh Hasina, the leader of an avowedly secular party, is set to return to power in Bangladesh, the
other end of South Asia’s arc of instability stretching from Afghanistan through Pakistan to India.
After a month of hurling insults across the border over the Mumbai attacks, newspaper editorials in both India and Pakistan are softening their rhetoric and asking — still quietly and tentatively for now — whether the two countries might perhaps be able to sort it out.
India is piling on the diplomatic pressure to convince the international community to lean on Pakistan to crack down on Islamist militants blamed by New Delhi for the Mumbai attacks.
There is a strange dichotomy in Delhi at the moment. If you read the headlines or watch the news on television, India and Pakistan appear headed for confrontation – what form, what shape is obviously hard to tell but the rhetoric is getting more and more menacing each day.
For Pakistan-watchers, I recommend reading this op-ed in the Daily Times calling on Pakistan to rethink its relationship with China, traditionally revered as an all-weather friend which will remain reliable even as other allies — like the United States — come and go.
The United States is aiming to send 20,000 to 30,000 extra troops to Afghanistan by the beginning of next summer, according to the chairman of the U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff. The plan is not unexpected, and from a military point of view is meant to allow U.S. and NATO troops not just to clear out Taliban insurgents but also to bring enough stability to allow economic development, as highlighted in this analysis by Reuters Kabul correspondent Jon Hemming.
Do read this piece by Gurmeet Kanwal, the head of the Indian Army’s Centre for Land Warfare Studies, about how India should respond to the Mumbai attacks with covert operations against Pakistan.