India-Pakistan: October 31, 1999


: India announced that it would not begin peace talks with Pakistan until Pakistan stopped the shelling across the Line of Control in Kashmir.

October 30; India wants to buy 200 towed 155mm howitzers and then build 1,500+ more of them under license. The recent fighting in Kashmir has convinced the Indian Army that every infantry battalion must be backed by 155mm towed howitzers; lighter weapons now in service (105mm, 75mm) are now regarded as ineffective and too-short ranged. The entire contract is expected to be worth about $2 billion. The contenders for the contract are:
@ GIAT (France) with its 155mm TR howitzer with a 52-caliber barrel. This weapon exists now only as a prototype.
@ LIW (South Africa) with its 155mm G6 howitzer with a 52-caliber barrel. While the G6 has been in production for a decade, the new longer barrel exists only as a prototype.
@ Marconi (Britain) with its 155mm UFH howitzer with a 51-caliber barrel.
@ ODE (Singapore) with its 155mm FH2000 with a 52-caliber barrel.
@ Patria Vammas (Finland) 155mm GH52 howitzer with a 52-caliber barrel.
@ Bofors (Sweden) with its 155mm FH77B, currently with a 45-caliber barrel but upgradeable to 52-caliber. The Indian Army has 400 of these guns and has recently lifted a ban on dealing with Bofors dating to a bribery scandal 12 years ago.--Stephen V Cole

October 29; Seeking a more powerful Air Force, India is negotiating to lease ten or more Tu-22M3 Backfire bombers from Russia and to buy (from Russia) two or three A-50 Mainstay airborne early warning and control aircraft. The Indians are also negotiating furiously to obtain a license to build their own Russian Su-30MKI multi-role strike fighters, and to upgrade existing MiG-29s to the new MiG-29SMT variant. The Backfires will be operated by the Indian Navy, which spells trouble for US warships operating just outside of the Persian Gulf.--Stephen V Cole

October 28; In Kashmir, Moslem guerillas attacked the main compound of the state government, killing one and wounding fifteen, including six civilians outside the compound when one of the rifle grenades fell just outside on the street. India reported that they had killed 368 Moslem guerillas in Kashmir during the last three months. Another 64 guerillas were captured and in thirty cases, groups of guerillas were stopped when they tried to cross from Pakistani Kashmir. Despite the vigorous Indian efforts to stamp out the guerillas, attacks like today's still take place.

October 28; Pakistan has taken delivery of the first of three Khalid (Agosta-90B) diesel submarines built in France; the sub and its Pakistani crew will remain in Toulon for several weeks of training and sea trials.--Stephen V Cole

October 28; The Indian Navy has asked France to help it redesign two submarines under construction to include launch tubes for cruise missiles. Four previous submarines of this class can launch certain types of cruise missiles through their torpedo tubes.--Stephen V Cole

October 27; While the obvious reason for India to develop nuclear weapons is its confrontation with Pakistan, and while most people know that India's real security concern is China (and its long-range missiles are intended to hold Chinese cities at risk), what few realize is that India is counting on its nuclear arsenal as the final protection against interference by Western (read US) adventurism. India has the second-largest population in the world, and by its own (somewhat hopeful) calculations it will have one of the five largest economies by 2025. India has built up a major conventional military force, partly to deal with Pakistan and its numerous internal insurgencies and partly to convince the West to leave it alone. While India was closely aligned to the USSR during the Cold War and remains close to Russia today, it could be powerful force against Islamic fundamentalism.--Stephen V Cole

October 27; Pakistan conducted a static test of the Ghauri III missile engine on 29 Sept. It is expected to have a range of 2,700km or more, enough to target all of India. Pakistan also said that the new Shaheen-II road-mobile solid-fuel missile with a range of 2,400km is ready for flight testing.--Stephen V Cole

October 26; Artillery fire broke out between Indians and Pakistanis along the Kashmir Line of Control. Four Pakistani soldiers and one Indian civilian were killed. Many more were injured, In Srinagar, the capital of Indian Kashmir, police seized 440 pounds of explosives after raiding a suspected terrorist location. The Pakistani military government announced plans to arrest and prosecute the many politicians who currently owe Pakistani banks some four billion dollars in loans. Nearly all of these loans are apparently bribes or other forms of corruption..


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