India-Pakistan: December 17, 1999

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An bomb explosion in Pakistani Kashmir killed ten and injured 17. The bomb went off in a market place in the town of Islamgarh.

December 15; Pakistan's anti-terrorism count condemned to death six members of  of the MQM (Muttahida Qaumi Movement). This organization consists of radicals from Moslems who migrated to  Pakistan from India after Pakistan was created in 1947. The migrants have not always gotten along with their new neighbors and this has led to terrorism. Terrorism by various local groups has led to the execution of some sixty terrorists this year alone. Some of the "terrorism" is simply tribal feuds. Typical of this was the murder of four policemen (another was injured) in southern Pakistan (home of the rambunctious Baluchi people.)

December 14; India has agreed to buy one Amur-1650 fourth-generation diesel-electric submarine from Russia, and will then build two more under license. India currently has ten Kilo-class submarines, four HDW German-built submarines, and six ancient Foxtrot-class boats. The Foxtrots must be retired by 2003. The first of the Kilos has just returned from Russia, where it underwent a refit allowing it to fire the Klab tube-launched cruise missile with a range of 300 kilometers.--Stephen V Cole

December 13; In Kashmir, a series of attacks by Moslem separatists killed five policemen and injured eight.

December 13; Indian Naval commander Admiral Sushil Kumar announced plans to expand his fleet with two aircraft carriers (to be in service before Viraat retires in 2010), and to add cruise missiles to his warships. The two carriers will be the Russian carrier Admiral Gorshkov (to be purchased and refitted) and a new carrier to be built locally by India itself. The Russian-built Kilo-class diesel submarines are to be fitted with Russian-made cruise missiles known as Klab, which have a range of 300 kilometers. Admiral Kumar said he wanted to acquire nuclear submarines, but this decision was up to the government. --Stephen V Cole

December 11; India is building 2,000 bomb shelters in Kashmir to protect civilians from the increasing number of cross border artillery battles with Pakistan. The total cost will be about five hundred dollars each.

December 10; One of the casualties of last summer's fighting between Indian troops and Pakistani-backed rebels was the plan (from early this year) for Indian and Pakistani experts to meet and work out ways to avoid an accidental nuclear exchange due to the Y2K problem. Both countries insist that they should have few problems and can overcome those that do appear, but the concern is that an unexpected problem could send non-nuclear forces onto unintended missions, raising tensions to the point that a nuclear response seems logical and appropriate. Both sides are using liquid-fueled missiles, and would have to fuel them before they could be launched, so an accidental launch by a computer is impossible. However, a manual launch by a confused and scared human commander is still possible.--Stephen V Cole

December 9; Pakistani authorities widened the powers of the anti-terrorism court on 2 Dec. (The timing was not accidental; former Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif (ousted in the 12 Oct coup) is due to be indicted for treason, hijacking, and conspiracy to commit murder. On the night of the coup, General Pervez Musharraf and 200 others were returning from Sri Lanka. Sharif tried to keep the plane from landing; it did not touch down until troops supporting the coup seized the Karachi airport. Musharraf claims that this constitutes hijacking, treason, and conspiracy. Sharif himself had created the anti-terrorism courts to deal with subversive elements; they have been repeatedly condemned for human rights violations.--Stephen V Cole

December 9; India and Pakistan have agreed to coordinate their policy on Afghanistan. Pakistani support has long been a sore point with India, as Afghanistan has provided bases for Moslem terrorists operating in Kashmir and elsewhere in India.

 

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