There is growing unrest in the northwestern Pakistani tribal territories because ten years of military operations against the Taliban has disrupted life for over two million people there. Travel is more difficult because of army roadblocks and Taliban attacks. Students are organizing a growing number of protests and demanding that the army end its operations in the territories. Before 2004 the army had rarely entered the territories and a special law governed how the territories were run. In effect, tribal laws prevailed but the tribal elders were unable to contain the Islamic terrorist groups in the territories.
Pakistani diplomats and trade officials blame the military in Pakistan (especially) and India for opposing increased trade between the two countries. The Pakistani generals see fear of India as a major asset, enabling the military to justify a large chunk of the national budget and control over many economic enterprises. Less tension with India would weaken that popular and financial support. Military intelligence (ISI) is particularly afraid of reduced hostility with India because the fear generated by that protects ISI members from prosecution for the many illegal operations they carry out inside Pakistan. The Indian military is less of a problem because they fear increased trade and more open borders because it would make it easier for ISI-backed Islamic terrorists to get into India.
From 2008 to 2012 China exported $11.2 billion (in 2012 dollars) worth of weapons. Pakistan was the major customer (getting 55 percent of this stuff). China, like Russia before it, got sales by selling to outcast nations (Pakistan for developing nukes and supporting terrorism, Burma for being a brutal dictatorship for decades). Russia still does that but with higher quality second-rate stuff. Plus, Russia has had India as a major customer for decades. Both Russia and China will tolerate bribe requests and all manner of bad behavior to get a sale. That often makes a difference in many countries.
February 17, 2014: In eastern India (Andhra Pradesh state) 21 Maoists surrendered, saying they were disillusioned with the life of a communist rebel.
In the Pakistani tribal territories (North Waziristan) masked gunmen kidnapped a polio vaccination team (a doctor, two technicians and three guards). In the last 15 months more than 40 people associated with the polio eradication teams have been killed by the Taliban. The Islamic terrorists believe the polio vaccination is really intended to poison Moslem children, despite the fact that kids who are vaccinated do not get polio. As a result of these attacks there were 91 cases of polio in Pakistan during 2013 and 58 in 2012.
February 16, 2014: The Taliban announced that they had killed 23 soldiers they had captured in 2010. The killers justified this because the army had not halted operations during the peace talks. In response the government called off the peace talks with the Taliban. These talks were not making any progress, in part because the Pakistani Taliban is a coalition where the factions cooperate when each feels like it and the more extreme groups oppose any talks with the government. In short, the head of the Pakistani Taliban does not control an entire organization in the same way the commander of an army does. The government announced the start of these talks on January 29th but it wasn’t until February 6th that the negotiators actually met. Although both sides agreed that the talks would not be about changing the constitution, one of the Taliban negotiators announced on the 7th that there could be no peace unless the nation accepted a religious dictatorship and the imposition of strict Islamic law. In the last two weeks the Pakistani Taliban has been responsible for at least 60 deaths and the two sides were far apart in these peace negotiations.
In Peshawar (the largest city in the Pakistani tribal territories) a bomb killed one policeman and wounded another. The police were preparing for the arrival of a polio vaccination team.
In southwest Pakistan (Baluchistan) a tribal separatist bomb on a train killed eight people and wounded 20 others.
In Kashmir Indian soldiers tracked down a notorious Islamic terrorist leader and killed him when he would not surrender.
February 15, 2014: In eastern India (Bihar state) police arrested two Maoist leaders.
February 14, 2014: In Pakistan (the University of Karachi) police arrested three people belonging to an al Qaeda terrorist operation at the university. Students and faculty belonged to this group. The night before police had found and seized a bomb building workshop in Karachi, which apparently led to the discovery of the al Qaeda group at the university. This terrorist cell was responsible for several bomb attacks and a lot of recruiting. There are other cells in the city that the police are seeking out.
February 13, 2014: In Kashmir Indian soldiers acting on a tip cornered two Islamic terrorists in a village and killed them when they would not surrender. In 2013 security forces in Kashmir killed 73 Islamic terrorists.
In southern Pakistan (Karachi) a truck bomb went off near a military bus killing 12 police commandos and wounding 55 police and civilians.
February 12, 2014: Outside Peshawar at least two dozen Islamic terrorist gunmen attacked a compound occupied by pro-government militiamen and killed nine people.
February 11, 2014: In the Pakistani tribal territories (North Waziristan) troops went looking for those responsible for yesterday’s attack. This left one terrorism suspect dead and four under arrest.
In Peshawar a suicide bomber exploded outside a hotel in a Shia neighborhood, killing eight people. Elsewhere in the city three grenades were thrown into a theater showing pornography, killing 13 people.
February 10, 2014: In the Pakistani tribal territories (North Waziristan) two clashes with Islamic terrorists left six soldiers wounded.
In Peshawar four Islamic terrorists on their way to attack the funeral of a pro-government militiaman were spotted by some armed tribesmen attending the funeral and were chased. One of the attackers, who was wearing an explosive vest, ran into a house where his vest exploded killing him and four women in the house. One of the other three Islamic terrorists managed to escape but two other were caught and turned over to police.
China and India began their 17th round of negotiations (since 2003) on border disputes. The border disputes have existed since the 1960s and flared up again every decade since then, and each time there were more discussions but so far no resolution. The border is called the LAC (Line of Actual Control) and is also known as the MacCartney-MacDonald Line. It is the unofficial border between India and China because the two nations cannot agree on where the actual border is. The LAC is 4,057 kilometers long and is in the Indian States of Ladakh, Kashmir, Uttarakhand, Himachal, and Arunachal. On the Chinese side it is mostly Tibet. China claims much territory that is now considered part of India. China has become less vocal about its claims on Indian territory recently but has not abandoned these assertions. The Chinese troops, when confronted by Indian soldiers or border guard will claim they are really in Chinese territory, but back off rather than open fire over the issue. This is a big relief to India, which has a defense budget one third that of China’s.
February 9, 2014: In eastern India (Chhattisgarh state) a Maoist landmine and gunfire killed two paramilitary police and wounded 12 others.
Outside Peshawar three Islamic terrorist bombs cut natural gas pipelines. It took four days to repair the damage. Elsewhere in the city six gunmen on motorcycles fired on a Sunni shrine killing eight people. The attackers were believed to be from a smaller Islamic sect that has been attacked regularly by Sunni Islamic terrorists.
February 7, 2014: Just across the Iranian border with Pakistan Sunni (Baluchi) separatists ambushed and kidnapped five Iranian border guards. The Iranians are being held just across the border in Pakistan (Baluchistan). There are Baluchi tribes on both sides of the border. The religious dictatorship in Iran is hostile to Sunnis and the Iranian Baluchis do not like this at all. The Iranian Baluchi rebels have become bolder and more successful in their attacks on Iranian security forces. Iran has responded by executing more captured Baluchi rebels and that has resulted in even more Baluchi violence. Iran wants the Pakistani government to help find the five Iranian border guards but the Pakistanis already have their hands full with the Baluchi rebels in Pakistan. Iran is threatening to send its own troops into Pakistan to free the captive border guards.
An Indian pilot landed a MiG-29K on the new Indian aircraft carrier, INS Vikramaditya for the first time. A Russian pilot was in the back seat to advise but the landing went off with no problem. Indian carrier pilots had been practicing on a Vikramaditya size air strip on land. This was not the first time a MiG-29K landed on the Vikramaditya. That happened in July 2013 while the Vikramaditya was still in Russia undergoing sea trials. A Russian pilot handled those landings and takeoffs using the carriers "ski jump" flight deck.
February 6, 2014: In southern Pakistan (Karachi) police disabled two large bombs that had been planted outside government buildings.
February 4, 2014: In Peshawar a suicide bomber attacked a crowded restaurant killing nine and wounding over fifty.
India is not happy with its new American P-8I maritime patrol aircraft. In late 2013 the U.S. P-8A Poseidon anti-submarine and maritime patrol aircraft entered service, four years after its first flight in 2009. Soon the manufacturer was confronted with complaints that the new electronics developed for the P-8A were not working well alone or with each other. The surface search radar and surveillance turret (a high end vidcam with powerful zoom) were particularly troubled, with many of their automatic and cooperative features not working properly. These problems were noted more than a year before the P-8A entered service. There are now 16 P-8s flying, six of them prototypes. Production continues, for India as well as the U.S. One was delivered to India in May 2013 and the Indians are quite upset over the sensor problems.