India-Pakistan: The Secret War That Does Not Exist

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August 10, 2013: India claims that Pakistan allows 42 terrorist camps to operate in Pakistan, most of them in Pakistani Kashmir. These camps produce terrorists dedicated to committing violence in India, and over the last three years India has detected at least 270 of these men entering Indian Kashmir (95 in 2010, 52 in 2011, and 121 last year). Another 570 terrorists were forced to retreat back into Pakistan when Indian troops intercepted their crossing. Over the last three years Islamic terrorists captured in Indian Kashmir admit that the Pakistani government has allowed terror groups to rebuild their training camps. Many of these camps were closed by an embarrassed Pakistan in late 2008 and early 2009, in the wake of a November 2008 terror attack in Mumbai that was clearly carried out by terrorists based in Pakistan. That Pakistani embarrassment didn't last. India says it has killed at least 14 Islamic terrorists in Kashmir so far this month and that over 300 are waiting on the other side of the LOC for an opportunity to cross.

The Pakistani military is again allowing troops or irregulars to fire across the Kashmir border at Indian troops and then denying it. Over the last decade India thought it had an agreement with Pakistan to drop this fantasy of Pakistan not supporting unofficial attacks on India (Islamic terrorists inside India or Pakistani troops firing across the border). This violence did sharply decline for a few years, and the artillery fire (which was difficult to deny, as irregular forces don’t have howitzers) ceased. But now the phantom violence is back. So is the Pakistani military publishing all sorts of paranoid conspiracy theories in its official publications. These lurid tales explain how all Pakistan’s problems can be traced back to Indian schemes and conspiracies and that the best way to deal with this is to fight fire with fire. A growing number of Pakistanis are willing to admit that this Indian threat and secret war is a fantasy and that India means what it says, that it has no designs on Pakistan. But the Pakistani military won’t allow that, as without an Indian threat the huge (as a percentage of GDP) Pakistani military budget cannot be justified.

There’s growing popular and political pressure in the United States to halt military aid for Pakistan. That has added up to over $11 billion in the last decade and the Pakistani military has remained corrupt and fixated on India, even though Islamic terrorists (that the Pakistani military still supports) are a growing threat to Pakistan. The problem with aid like this (which also goes to Israel and Egypt) is that you never get as much influence as you expect, but you do lose what clout you had, and then some, if you cut off the payments. On the plus side, al Qaeda has never recovered from the American and Pakistani offensives of a decade ago. Al Qaeda keeps its head down in Pakistan and Afghanistan and has moved most of its operations to other areas.

Chinese and Indian officials are having a difficult time working out a new border treaty that will prevent border incidents. India accuses Chinese troops of being caught on the Indian side of the LAC (Line of Actual Control) in Kashmir much more frequently this year and blocking Indian troops from using Indian built trails and roads that Indians have patrolled for decades. Last month China sent a mounted (on horseback) patrol of 50 troops into Indian territory in Ladakh (northwest India) and remained across the line until the next day, leaving only when confronted by Indian troops. China says all these incidents were misunderstandings, but in the GPS age this is not as convincing as it used to be. India is accusing China of violating a March agreement that was supposed to halt the Chinese practice of sending troops to follow each other’s infantry patrols along the LAC and sometimes sending troops into Indian territory. The LAC is also known as the MacCartney-MacDonald Line and is the unofficial border between India and China. The LAC is 4,057 kilometers long and is found in the Indian States of Ladakh, Kashmir, Uttarakhand, Himachal, and Arunachal. On the Chinese side it is mostly Tibet. China claims much territory that is now considered part of India. The practice of monitoring each other’s patrols has led to hundreds of armed confrontations over the last few years, as one side or the other accuses “foreign troops” of crossing the LAC. China has become less vocal about its claims on Indian territory recently but has not abandoned these assertions. The Chinese troops, when confronted by Indian soldiers or border guard, will claim they are really in Chinese territory but back off rather than open fire over the issue. This is a big relief to India, which has a defense budget one third that of China’s. India fears that the Chinese troops are becoming bolder and more stubborn and that this could lead to shooting incidents.

In eastern India police and paramilitary battalions continue to wear down the Maoist rebels that are so common in the region. The raids, roadblocks, and constant intelligence gathers, along with economic development projects, are getting more and more Maoists killed, captured, or demoralized into surrendering or deserting.

August 9, 2013: In south India (Tamil Nadu) police announced they had identified and arrested members of a new (in the area) Islamic terror group (“The Avenger Force”) that had carried out several recent attacks. Five Moslem suspects are under arrest and the police say they have leads on other members.

In Indian Kashmir Pakistani troops fired on Indian army positions across the LOC (Line of Control, the unofficial border separating Indian and Pakistani portions of Kashmir) for seven hours. At least 7,000 rounds of rifle and machine-gun ammo were fired, in addition to some mortar shells. Indian troops fired back about 5,000 bullets plus over a hundred RPG rockets and some mortar shells. Neither side reported any casualties.

In the Pakistani tribal territories (Quetta, Baluchistan) gunmen opened fire on a car carrying a retired politician, but missed and hit a crowd in front of a mosque, killing 9 people and wounding 27.

August 8, 2013: In the Pakistani tribal territories (Quetta, Baluchistan) a suicide bomber attacked the funeral of a policeman killed earlier in the day and killed 30 more people.

August 7, 2013: In the Pakistani tribal territories (Quetta, Baluchistan) a bomb went off in a shopping center, killing a woman and two children.

August 6, 2013: In Indian Kashmir Pakistani troops and/or Islamic terrorists ambushed an Indian army patrol by crossing the LOC  and, while 450 meters inside Indian territory, opening fire and killing five Indian soldiers. The attackers then fled back into Pakistan. So far this year nearly 40 Indian soldiers have been killed in Kashmir, as Pakistan has increased its efforts to sneak Islamic terrorists into the area. Last month there were five incidents where Pakistani’s fired across the LOC. The terrorists are housed and trained in camps across the LOC in Pakistan. The violence had been declining in the last decade as Indian security measures became more effective and Pakistan finally agreed to talk peace. But pro-terrorism commanders in the Pakistani military and intelligence agencies (ISI) appear to have gained more influence of late and the Islamic terrorists have become more active. This is seen as a Pakistani tactic to encourage more Islamic terror groups to make peace with Pakistan and halt their attacks inside Pakistan. These terrorists are angry at Pakistani cooperation with Western (especially American) antiterrorism efforts. Some of the local Islamic radicals also want Pakistan run by a religious dictatorship, not a democracy. That only appeals to a minority of Pakistanis but this is a radicalized minority that accepts the use of terror to achieve their goals. The Pakistani government hopes to isolate these radicals by offering other radicals more assistance in getting into India and making attacks there. This is all unofficial, of course, as Pakistan has never admitted that it is sponsoring Islamic terrorism, especially groups operating against India. This stance has been the source of growing embarrassment as more and more evidence piles up proving Pakistani involvement.

Elsewhere on the Kashmir LOC Pakistani troops fired across the border at Indian positions, and the Indians fired back, wounding two Pakistani troops. The Pakistans said India started it.

In the Pakistani tribal territories (Baluchistan) separatist rebels set up a fake checkpoint and murdered 14 people who were not from Baluchistan.

August 5, 2013: In northern Pakistan Taliban gunmen fired on police investigating the June attack in the area on foreign mountain climbers, killing nine of them (including American, Chinese, Lithuanian, Nepali, Slovakian, and Ukrainian victims) along with a Pakistani cook. Northern Pakistan contains some of the highest, and most difficult, to climb mountains in the world. The area had always been quiet and safe and the government encouraged the development of tourism. Foreign climbers were particularly attracted to the remote area and their visits have become a major part of the local economy. For a while at least, that is all gone. Even Pakistani tourists have cancelled visits. Many non-climbers, especially Pakistanis, came to the area for its cooler weather in Summer and reputation for safety from terrorism and crime. After this attack soldiers and police searched the area for the attackers, who were able to get away. For now, and the next few years, the economic damage is done and the locals will suffer a sharp decline in living standards until tourists return. That can take a few years, or longer, if the Taliban continue operating in this area. A Taliban faction took credit for the attack and said it was revenge for a fatal UAV attack against one of their leaders in May.

August 4, 2013: In Pakistan the military ordered troops and military assets (like aerial reconnaissance) to take control of security for major airports, prisons, and more than 100 military bases. This is something the military has done before when there was a major terrorist threat and they have a plan for it. The end of Ramadan this week is the sort of event terrorists like to use to gain more attention for spectacular attacks, especially prison breaks. That dramatic July 29th prison attack had cost them $120,000 to carry out and took over a month to plan and prepare for. The Taliban claimed to have sympathizers among local police and prison guards. According to the Taliban the 25 Taliban prisoners taken away have since been smuggled into the tribal territories despite police efforts to prevent this. The government also admitted that the prison only had 35 guards on duty the night of the breakout and only ten of them were armed.

Another girls’ school was blown up in the Pakistani tribal territories (Bajaur).

 

 

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