India-Pakistan: May 16, 2002

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Indian public opinion is demanding that either Pakistan, or the Indian armed forces, do something about Kashmiri rebels attacks on Indian civilians. The recent attack on soldiers families struck a popular nerve. Moreover, Indian military leaders have been vocal about being ready to "do something." The Indian army was mobilized on the Pakistan border after Kashmiri suicide commandos attacked the Indian parliament last December. It is feared that a third outrageous attack would force Indian political leaders to do something, like air raids on terrorist bases inside Pakistan. If Pakistan retaliated, this could escalate to nuclear war. 

Pakistan's problem is manifold. There are several different types of terrorist groups in the country. Many are Islamic sects fighting each other. Then there is Taliban and al Qaeda groups that preach Islamic government for Pakistan. Finally, there are Kashmiri liberation groups, which are widely popular in Pakistan. Widespread government and commercial corruption, plus many military and security troops being partisan's of one Islamic group or another, make attempts to crack down on terrorism difficult and risky. But failure to suppress the groups attacking India could lead to a nuclear war. This wouldn't be the first time things went out of control, even though everyone saw it coming. 

 

 

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