December 18, 2013:
Since November 23
Pakistani politicians in the tribal territories have organized demonstrations at the Afghan border that have interfered with NATO truck traffic. On December 3
NATO halted using the Pakistani route until the protestors are persuaded to leave traffic alone. The Pakistani Army is not happy with the blockage because an army owned trucking company (NLC) is one of the major (over half the containers moved) transporters of the NATO cargo and the Pakistani army is losing a lot of money because of the blockade.
The recently retired head of the Pakistani military, general Ashfaq Pervez Kayani has been persuaded to abandon his newly built retirement home. Although the newly built home is in a guarded compound security experts felt to was too exposed and persuaded Kayani to retire to a less elaborate home in a more heavily guarded area. The Taliban and several other Islamic terrorist organizations are still seeking to kill Kayani to avenge many Islamic terrorists killed by soldiers over the last few years.
Saudi Arabia is disappointed with its long-time ally Pakistan. The Saudis, noting the success of the pro-government Iranian mercenaries in Syria tried to respond in kind. The Saudis sought permission to recruit Pakistani soldiers to be trainers and combat support specialists for their new rebel army. Pakistan was attracted to the prospect of some high paying jobs, but ultimately forbade Pakistanis to participate because Iran made it clear that retribution would be certain and severe if Pakistan helped to support the Syrian rebels. While Pakistan has only a small border with Iran, in centuries past most of Pakistan was part of one Iranian empire or another on several occasions. Staying on good terms with Iran was preferable to a little cash and making the Saudis happy.
The Philippines and Japan recently announced further military cooperation to deal with growing Chinese claims on offshore areas that have long been considered the property of South Korea, Japan, Taiwan, the Philippines and Vietnam. These five nations have formed a loose coalition, along with the United States and Australia, to oppose the Chinese aggression. India, faced with extensive Chinese territorial disputes is something of an associated member of this group. The coalition gets stronger every time China makes another aggressive move, as happened recently when China claimed control over large areas of international air space. China wants all military and commercial aircraft in these new ADIZs (air defense identification zone) to ask permission from China before entering.
India is alarmed that neighboring Bangladesh is planning to buy Chinese submarines, especially since Bangladesh has never had subs before. Bangladesh is the largest customer for Chinese arms exports. India also suspects that Chinese subs have been operating in the Bay of Bengal. India feels overwhelmed by China, which exports more to India than it imports, has been more successful in space, and science in general than India and has quickly built a superior university system. Indian politicians are increasingly waking up to the fact that this is largely due to Chinese economic reforms in the 1980s that allowed a free market to flourish. Thus while India and China had similar size economies in 1980, China now has eight times the manufacturing capability of India. That helped China attain a GDP three times larger than India, and a lot more people who could afford Internet access. China has some cultural advantages as well as there is less corruption in the Chinese education system. Despite still being a communist police state China is also an easier place to start a new business and operate that enterprise profitably. China has superior infrastructure (roads, railroads, electrical power) and more efficient (although still corrupt) bureaucrats.
In South Waziristan some sixty mortar shells fired from across the border in Afghanistan wounded six civilians as many of the shells hit a village and its market place. The shells were believed fired by Pakistani Taliban who maintain camps in Afghanistan as well as the terrorist sanctuary in North Waziristan.
December 17, 2013: Pakistan made it clear that it had no plans to attack the Taliban sanctuary in North Waziristan and hoped to begin peace talks with the Islamic terrorists. But the newly selected Taliban leader Maulana Fazlullah refused to consider peace talks and instead repeated the Taliban goal of turning Pakistan into a religious dictatorship.
In the Pakistani city of Karachi a Taliban attack on a polio vaccination team was repulsed by the police escort, with one Islamic terrorists killed and another captured. Islamic terrorist attacks on polio vaccination efforts has led to more cases of polio in Pakistan this year (72) than last year (58). Many Taliban believe the polio vaccination effort is really a foreign plot to poison Moslem children.
In Rawalpindi Pakistan a suicide bomber killed four and wounded 13.
In Kashmir Indian police and soldiers encountered Islamic terrorists in a rural area and killed at least one of them as the others fled into the forested hills.
December 15, 2013: Pakistani officials in charge of persuading the Afghan Taliban to negotiate with the Afghan government admit that the Afghan Taliban are not united in wanting to negotiate with the government. But it is still believed useful to keep open contacts so that there can be communication when needed.
December 14, 2013: : Iran has told Pakistan that it cannot deliver on a pledge to loan Pakistan $500 million so that Pakistan could build its part of a $4 billion natural gas pipeline from Iran to Pakistan. This is disappointing to Pakistan, which has been an ally of Iran and was ignoring American threats of sanctions by agreeing to the pipeline deal. But Iran was losing faith in Pakistani ability to get their portion of the pipeline built and feared that a loan would largely be stolen by infamously corrupt Pakistani officials. Each country was to pay for half of the pipeline. Pakistan believed that part of the deal was Iran providing loans so that Pakistan could build its half. Iran now says that this was never agreed to and the sanctions have left Iran unable to loan Pakistan the cash needed to build the Pakistani half of the pipeline. Iran has already invested quite a lot of cash on its portion of the pipeline so this loan decision is seen as a temporary setback. The natural gas pipeline between Pakistan and Iran would enable to Pakistan to get around the sanctions by importing Iranian natural gas and paying with goods (barter). But even without the sanctions Pakistan is a natural customer for Iranian gas. Pakistan says it will proceed with building their portion of the pipeline, despite the cash shortage and risk of penalties for violating sanctions against Iran.
December 13, 2013: In the Pakistani tribal territories (Khyber) two polio vaccination teams were attacked, leaving two policemen and a vaccination worker dead. These attacks were believed carried out by local tribesmen who had recently banned polio vaccinations as part of an effort to get the government to free nine tribal elders who were recently arrested as part of a property dispute. Most of the anti-vaccination violence is sponsored by Islamic terrorists, but not all of it.
December 12, 2013: In the Pakistani tribal territories (North Waziristan) a roadside bomb killed four soldiers.
Bangladesh executed (by hanging) one of the leaders (Abdul Quader Mollah) responsible for atrocities committed 42 years ago against Bangladeshis who rebelled against the Pakistani government. Several of these elderly leaders have recently been convicted and punished for crimes committed in 1971 and the government expects more violence from Islamic radicals as a result. But the decision to prosecute, after all these years, has been very popular in Bangladesh which, although mostly Moslem, is not very enthusiastic about Islamic radicalism and terrorism.
December 11, 2013: Chinese and Indian military officials were able to deal with another Chinese intrusion into India. This is despite an October agreement that was supposed to prevent such incidents. The Chinese agreed to release several Indian civilians a Chinese patrol had captured on December 4th while several kilometers inside India. It was hoped that the October BDCA (Border Defense Cooperation Agreement) would put a halt to Chinese patrols across the LAC (Line of Actual Control). It appears that China is interpreting the October agreement differently. The BDCA was in reaction to growing Chinese aggression on the LAC this year. India caught Chinese troops on the Indian side of the LAC in Kashmir three times in one week (July 16, 18, and 20). The first of these incidents involved China sending a mounted (on horseback) patrol of 50 troops into Indian territory in Ladakh (northwest India) on July 16th and remaining across the line until the next day 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 accused 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. Similar agreements were made in 1993, 1996 and 2005 and China eventually broke them all.
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 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.
Today India retired its 124 remaining MiG-21FL jet fighters. This is the first phase of retiring all of its MiG-21s. There were originally twice as many MiG-21FLs, which was the first MiG and first supersonic jet in Indian service. These aircraft arrived in the 1960s and 70s and until their retirement were used for training new fighter pilots. The MiG-21FL trainers and will be replaced by the new Indian designed and made Tejas light fighter. Until the Tejas is ready sometime next year the newly received Hawk 132 jet trainers will fill in.
India announced that starting next January 30th anyone travelling between India and Pakistan would have to have a polio vaccination certificate to get into India.
December 9, 2013: Afghan officials complained to Pakistan that at least six artillery shells were fired into Afghanistan from Pakistan today.
December 8, 2013: In southwest Pakistan (Baluchistan) tribal rebels ambushed an army patrol and killed eight soldiers.
In eastern India (Bihar) a Maoist was arrested and his pistol seized.
December 6, 2013: In eastern India (Chhattisgarh) Maoists murdered a journalists. Maoists use terror against journalists who are critical.
December 5, 2013: In eastern India (Chhattisgarh) police arrested 16 Maoist supporters in the last two days.
The Iranian Navy’s “28th fleet” visited Mumbai, India. The 28th fleet consists of a Russian made Kilos class submarine, a 1,500 ton British built frigate (from the 1970s) and am equally elderly 4,400 ton supply ship with a helicopter landing area and the ability to carry a helicopter. This vessel was described by Iranian media as a “helicopter carrier.”
In southwest Pakistan (Baluchistan) tribal rebels clashed with soldiers looking for 13 power plant workers who had recently been kidnapped. The gun battle left five rebels and one soldier dead.
December 3, 2013: In eastern India (Bihar) a Maoist roadside bomb killed six policemen and a civilian.
Pakistani intelligence announced that newly selected Taliban leader Maulana Fazlullah had returned to Pakistan from his sanctuary in Afghanistan.
In Kashmir Indian soldiers fought overnight with Islamic terrorists in a rural area. Three of the terrorists were killed but others were believed to have escaped into the darkness and forests.