India-Pakistan: January 20, 2002

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While the troops are still massed along the border, and the generals are still pronouncing themselves ready to roll, the political leadership in both India and Pakistan have backed away from talk of war. The main issue now is "the list" of 20 key Kashmiri separatists that India suspects are operating from Pakistani bases. Most of these guys are actually Indian citizens (from Indian Kashmir). Rounding up these guys and handing them over to India would be a politically explosive situation. First of all, Pakistan doesn't know where all of them are. Second, the suspects are protected by heavily armed Islamic fundamentalists, so there would likely be a fight to take most of these men. And then there's the political embarrassment of appearing to be turning over Pakistanis to India. In an attempt to find a way out of this mess, Pakistan has announced that it has a list of terrorists taking refuge in Indian territory. There are a few people that might fit this description, but certainly not 20, unless the definition of  "terrorist" was stretched. But so eager is everyone to avoid war, anything is possible. However, the Kashmiri separatists (both the non-violent political parties and the armed groups) announced that the time is not yet right for new peace talks. Apparently, the separatists want to see what will happen to Pakistani support for their cause. 

 

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