India-Pakistan: October 14, 1999


The Pakistani army, unable to get the deposed prime minister to resign, or to get any credible civilian politicians to form a new government, declares a "state of emergency" and begins to rule as if they had declared martial law. The basic problem is that most of the politicians are corrupt and, while the voters have tried to elect honest leaders, there are not many to be found. The nation is torn apart by ethnic, political and religious disputes. And Pakistan has nuclear weapons. The head of the army, Pervez Musharraf, is known to side with fundamentalist Moslem factions. He is also known to be a man of action. Meanwhile, troops arrested several senior police officials for plotting to kill general Musharraf. The army says it took over the government in order to foil this assassination plot.

October 14; Pakistan has begun production of the Al-Khalid MBT-2000 tank. This is a design unique to Pakistan, although about 45% of its components come from Chinese tanks including the Type-59, Type-69-II, and Type-85. It mounts a 125mm smoothbore gun (apparently built with Ukrainian help), an autoloader, a crew of three, and a 1200hp diesel-powered engine. It has a speed of 70km/hr and an operational range of 400km.--Stephen V Cole

October 14; India will arm its two newest Kilo-class submarines (now fitting out in St Petersburg) with Russian 3M-54E1 anti-ship missiles. This missile has a range of about 300km. It weighs 1,570kg including a 450km warhead. The missile cruises most of the way to the target at high-subsonic speeds on a turbojet, but 60km from the target a solid rocket motor takes over the drives the missile at 1,100m/sec only 5m above the water.--Stephen V Cole 

October 14; India plans to buy Hawk combat trainers for its Air Force. The current plan is to buy 24 of the planes immediately, with another 24 bought over the next two years. Then, another 44 will be built in India under license. India has reportedly set aside $1.38 billion for the project.--Stephen V Cole

October 13; We will begin covering Pakistan here, as well as India. The military take over of the Pakistani government makes the internal problems of Pakistan more of a factor in the increasingly tense relations between India and Pakistan. For most of Pakistan's 52 year history, the military has run the country. In the past, these takeovers were  usually to restore order when the civilian government had lost control But this time the military took over because  prime minister Nawaz Sharif had dismissed the head of the armed forces. Also of note is that the army has an increasingly large Islamic fundamentalist faction within its ranks. This mirrors growing Islamic fundamentalism among the Pakistani population. It was the Pakistani that provided bases, support, and safe passage for US aid to the Afghanistan resistance during the Russian occupation of Afghanistan in the 1980s. The Pakistani military also backed the Taliban in their takeover of Afghanistan and continue that support. The military was unhappy with Nawaz Sharif's order to withdraw Pakistani troops and Islamic fundamentalist fighters from Kashmir earlier in the year. This is a cause of concern as one reason that order was given was because Indian was moving tank and infantry divisions to the Pakistan border. India has a much larger military than Pakistan would likely prevail in a larger war. As a result of the military takeover in Pakistan, India's army was placed on highest alert and is probably preparing for a possible war with Pakistan. Both nations have nuclear weapons, although in India the nukes are controlled by a civilian organization, while in Pakistan, the military control the nuclear weapons and their development.

October 12; The Pakistani army put the prime minister and his ministers under "protective custody" and took over the government. The U.S., India and many other nations protested. The army insisted that they did so because the current elected government was mismanaging the economy and causing disunity in the country. That the prime minister had just tried to dismiss the head of the armed forces, and divert billions from the military budget for social welfare uses apparently had nothing to do with it. The Indian armed forces was put on alert.


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