India-Pakistan: December 28, 2001

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Tensions between India and Pakistan continue to grow. Both nations have sent most of the navy to sea and army units continue to move to the border. Pakistan has warned the American fleet off it's coast to be ready to move to avoid getting caught in any cross fire. Pakistan currently has some eight battalions of infantry along the Afghan border, looking for al Qaeda fighters trying to flee into Pakistan. These troops will probably be sent to the Indian border soon. America has also been warned that it will have to stop using Pakistani airbase to support operations in Afghanistan. American diplomats are working with India and Pakistan to defuse the situation. The basic problem is still that the Pakistan government, while it wants to crack down on the Islamic radicals (and has been doing so since last Summer), risks civil disorder, or even civil war, if it does so too rapidly. There is also the matter of national pride, which has long been a major issue between India and Pakistan. The two nations have fought four wars, and Pakistan has lost all of them. So any Pakistani leader appearing to give in to India is going to be very unpopular. Meanwhile, India has, since 1988, refrained from attacking the Kashmiri rebel camps inside Pakistan. But as the rebels make more attacks inside India, more popular and political pressure builds to attack the camps. Such attacks would likely trigger attacks by the Pakistani military. That means war, and both nations have nuclear weapons. It is likely that first use of nukes would be by Pakistan if it seemed like India was not only winning the war, but about to overrun significant portions of the country. Nuclear escalation would be devastating for both nations. 

 

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