India-Pakistan: Blame The Foreigners

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December 3, 2013: India is alarmed that neighboring Bangladesh is planning to buy two submarines for its navy (which has never had subs before). Bangladesh is the largest customer for Chinese arms exports. India also suspects that Chinese subs have been operating in the Bay of Bengal. While China and India have been talking for months about reducing tension on their common border, China continues to claim Indian territory and establish bases in the Indian Ocean and Bay Of Bengal.

December 2, 2013: In Kashmir Indian troops clashed with Islamic terrorists, killing three of them. Elsewhere in Kashmir Islamic terrorists ambushed a police patrol, killing a policeman and wounding two others.

December 1, 2013: In eastern India (Bihar state) Maoists attacked a train and killed three policemen.

November 30, 2013: Indians are angry at China for protesting the visit of the Indian president to the Indian state of Arunachal Pradesh (which China claims as a part of Tibet). In 2012, China loudly protested the visit of the defense minister to celebrate the 25th anniversary of the establishment of the state of Arunachal Pradesh. In both cases the two countries made a big deal about the dispute in the media. This is just another escalation in a long-running border dispute. India's military preparations to defend Arunachal Pradesh make it more likely that there will be some violence along the disputed border. India is not only concerned about the land fighting but is building an aircraft carrier and submarine force to block Chinese attempts to control Indian Ocean trade routes. The tension over Arunachal Pradesh became more intense as Indians became aware that China has, since 1986, occupied 28 square kilometers of Indian territory. Part of the response was a 2010 announcement of an Indian five year plan to increase Indian abilities to deal with any Chinese aggression against Arunachal Pradesh. The Chinese claims have been on the books for decades, but in the last decade China has become more vocal about it. That's one reason India has been rapidly increasing its defense spending. But since both nations have nuclear weapons, a major war over Arunachal Pradesh is unlikely. But India fears that China might try to carry out a lightning campaign (a few days or a week) and then offer peace terms (with China keeping all or part of Arunachal Pradesh). Since neither country would be willing to start a full scale nuclear war over Arunachal Pradesh (a rural area with a population of about a million people, spread among 84,000 square kilometers of mountains and valleys), the "grab and parley" strategy has to be taken seriously, if only because China used it fifty years ago to grab some Indian territory on the Tibet border. In the meantime, China keeps finding ways to annoy India over this issue.

In eastern India (Jharkhand state) Maoist rebels failed in an attempt to blow up a highway bridge. Local civilians alerted police who arrived before the explosives could be detonated and the bomb was disarmed and removed.

In the Pakistani tribal territories (Khyber Pakhtunkhwa) Taliban attacked police escorting a polio vaccination team, killing one policeman and wounding another. The elected government in this areas is run by Islamic conservatives who are opposed to the UAV attacks and foreign troops in Afghanistan. The local government has organized a blockade of roads used by trucks going to and from Afghanistan.

November 29, 2013: The hard line army commander of the Pakistani Army, general Ashfaq Parvez Kayani, has retired. He was the first army commander to have also served as head of ISI (the Pakistani CIA). The new army chief is lieutenant-general Raheel Sharif. Kayani was a hard-liner who is believed responsible for the growing violence on the Indian border. Sharif is more moderate and a major proponent of Islamic terrorism being more of a threat to Pakistan than India. Despite that, Sharif is also very much an “army man” and dedicated to protecting the power and privileges of the military. Sharif may reduce army attacks against Indian border troops and concentrate more on the Islamic terrorist threat inside Pakistan (which he has long encouraged) but he will probably resist efforts by politicians to reduce the power of the military.  

November 28, 2013: In the Pakistani tribal territories (North Waziristan) an American UAV fired missiles at Islamic terrorists and killed three of them.

November 27, 2013: In eastern India (Chhattisgarh state) a Maoist ambush left three policemen dead and four wounded. This turned into a large battle when police reinforcements arrived and several Maoists were believed to have been killed as well. Maoists have also been threatening to attack trains, and that has led to the cancellation of some passenger trains.

In Pakistan ultra-nationalist politicians publicized the name of the CIA station chief, which is considered bad manners because the station chief will have to leave the country. This is the second time since 2010 that this has happened. In Pakistan corrupt politicians hang onto power by being very anti-American or anti-Indian and blaming all the country’s problems on foreigners, and not the corrupt and inept politicians and government officials who run the place. This doesn’t work as well as it used to, but it still works.

November 26, 2013: In the Pakistani tribal territories (Khyber Pakhtunkhwa) the Taliban was persuaded by tribal leaders to release eleven women who were kidnapped five days earlier while dispensing polio vaccinations. The eleven were also teachers at secular schools who had volunteered to distribute the vaccinations. Many Taliban believe the polio vaccination effort is really a foreign plot to poison Moslem children.

November 25, 2013: Pakistan announced that it had put the locally made Burraq and Shahpar UAVs into service. Pakistan has used some foreign (mostly Chinese) made UAVs in the last decade without much success. Burraq appears similar to the U.S. Army RQ-7B Shadow 200. The 470 kg (1,034 pound) Burraq has an endurance of 12 hours, while the smaller Shahpar can stay in the air 7 hours per sortie. The Burraq is very similar to the Chinese CH-3 and can carry a pair of Chinese missiles that are similar to the American Hellfire.

November 24, 2013: In the Pakistani tribal territories (North Waziristan) a roadside bomb killed two soldiers. Elsewhere in the area the body of a policeman (kidnapped three days ago) was found.

In eastern India (Jharkhand state) Maoist rebels killed three people in two incidents.

November 23, 2013: In Karachi, Pakistan two bombs went off in the financial district, killing seven and wounding more than twenty others. The Taliban later took responsibility.

November 21, 2013: In the Pakistani tribal territories (Khyber Pakhtunkhwa) an American UAV fired four missiles at a religious school run by Islamic terrorists (Haqqani Network) and killed six people including a Haqqani leader. In southwest Pakistan a bicycle bomb killed three people.

Pakistan has revealed that the American president recently told the Pakistani president that U.S. UAV operations over Pakistan would continue despite the growing protests inside Pakistan. The U.S. considers Pakistan responsible for much of the Islamic terrorism inside Pakistan, something Pakistan officially denies, despite considerable evidence to the contrary.

 

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