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India and Pakistan: Border Disorder

Elmo

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India and Pakistan


Border disorder

More violence along the line of control challenges the forces of reconciliation


Aug 17th 2013 | DELHI AND ISLAMABAD |From the print edition




THE ambush came a few hundred metres behind the Indian line of control, in Poonch, part of Indian-run Jammu and Kashmir. Just after midnight on August 6th, an Indian army patrol of six soldiers left its forward base and was confronted by around 20 men, some reportedly in Pakistani army uniforms. Within 15 minutes the assailants had shot dead five of the soldiers and injured the sixth.

These are far from the first killings along the disputed 740-kilometre (460-mile) frontier, much of it fenced and laid with mines, that separates Indian- from Pakistani-controlled land. As recently as January, the killing of two Indian soldiers—one of whom was beheaded—provoked intense public anger. Then, as now, the clash was followed by several days of exchanging rifle and mortar fire as both sides violated a ceasefire agreement signed in 2003.

Until this year, fatalities along the line of control had been steadily falling for a decade. The timing of the latest attack is noteworthy. The prime ministers of Pakistan and India are due to meet next month on the fringes of the UN General Assembly in New York. The assailants perhaps hoped to prevent that meeting. Nawaz Sharif of Pakistan was elected in May promising friendlier relations across the border. During an earlier spell in charge, in 1999, he struck a bilateral deal with India, the Lahore Declaration.

Manmohan Singh, his Indian counterpart, is also keen on better relations. Anxious not to raise tensions after the latest attack, his government at first did not blame Pakistan’s army for it. A.K. Antony, the defence minister, called the assailants “terrorists along with persons dressed in Pakistan army uniform”. It took an uproar in the Indian parliament before he named the army directly.

Mr Singh himself kept silent for over a week, hoping that public anger would pass. Retired generals, who populate India’s television talk shows, along with the opposition Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), have shown no such restraint, lambasting both Pakistan and the Indian government. On August 12th a group of former soldiers and civil servants called on Mr Singh to refuse to meet Pakistan’s prime minister. Narendra Modi, the BJP’s de facto leader, accused Mr Singh of being “soft” on the neighbour. Perhaps all this is just what the attackers in Poonch wanted.

In Pakistan, the public reaction to the border incident has been muted. Even critics of Pakistan’s army do not think its soldiers were involved in the assault, instead blaming terrorists. Militants routinely wear army or police uniforms when attacking domestic targets. Much the same might happen along the border. Moreover, the belief is growing that the Pakistani army, long obsessed with a supposed India threat, now understands that home-grown militancy, as well as the instability that Afghanistan brings to Pakistan, are the more pressing issues.

A former Pakistani high commissioner to Delhi, Aziz Ahmed Khan, goes further. He claims that the army has been “on board” for years with the idea of normalising relations with India. It has no wish to strike Indians, or let militants do so, he says. Indian sceptics retort that some army connivance must be behind the latest attack. How else could the militants have crossed from and returned to Pakistan?

Even if the two prime ministers do meet, the violence reduces the chances that they will make much progress. Some advisers are urging Mr Sharif not to rush. India has a looming general election, due by May. The advisers have told Mr Sharif that Indian interlocutors cannot risk being seen to make concessions to Pakistan.

In the longer term, Stephen Cohen of the Brookings Institution in Washington, who has just written a book about India and Pakistan, is gloomy about the relationship. He predicts decades of trouble—“a series of crises punctuated by apathy”—whatever the good intentions of elected leaders. Islamists in Pakistan and recalcitrant bureaucrats on both sides have, in effect, a veto over peace efforts.

Yet he and other analysts also acknowledge growing strategic reasons for India to want normal ties. More instability in nuclear-armed Pakistan, or the rise there of an aggressively Islamist government, would be serious threats. In that light, dealing now with civilian leaders in Pakistan makes sense. India also has long-term ambitions to trade by land with Central Asia and Europe, and to check the influence of China in the neighbourhood. Both aims require settling first with Pakistan.

Pakistan also has worries that would be eased by reaching out to India. Better relations would surely help the economy. Bilateral trade is paltry. If the two agreed to liberalise trade, connect energy pipelines and electricity grids and boost cross-border investment, the benefits to both sides would be immense.

It all points to just what the prime ministers could profitably talk about in September. Wisely, neither side expects to discuss the fierce territorial dispute over Kashmir itself. India might try to insist that Mr Sharif says something to distance himself from Lashkar-e-Taiba militants and a Pakistani firebrand, Hafiz Saeed, reckoned to be behind attacks in Mumbai in 2008 that killed over 170 people.

Above all India and Pakistan could focus on practical ways to promote goodwill and mutual interests. In part this means creating what Mr Cohen calls “normalisation lobbies”: groups in each country with a stake in keeping relations friendly. Steps could include making visas easier to get and scrapping pointlessly punitive limits on trade. Economic ties between South Asia’s two giants are surely the best way to foster diplomatic and political ones.


http://www.economist.com/news/asia/...llenges-forces-reconciliation-border-disorder
 

Gandhi G in da house

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I am wondering why such things incidents of infiltration and cross border firing have increased in this year 2013 ?

Elections in India ?

The new Government in power in Pakistan ?

Prospect of American withdrawal from Afghanistan ?
 

Shabaz Sharif

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I am wondering why such things incidents of infiltration and cross border firing have increased in this year 2013 ?

Elections in India ?

The new Government in power in Pakistan ?

Prospect of American withdrawal from Afghanistan ?
If India stops now then there wont be any more killing of Indian soldiers. But im pretty sure in couple of weeks they will again kill one of ours and when PA army respond by killing 5 of them they will cry and beg GOI to launch protest. And Indian pathetic media and nation who only unites when it comes to Pakistan will have field day. Thats the only thing which unite India. Which apparently has been country for 10.000 years or even more as one nation.
 

Gandhi G in da house

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If India stops now then there wont be any more killing of Indian soldiers. But im pretty sure in couple of weeks they will again kill one of ours and when PA army respond by killing 5 of them they will cry and beg GOI to launch protest. And Indian pathetic media and nation who only unites when it comes to Pakistan will have field day. Thats the only thing which unite India. Which apparently has been country for 10.000 years or even more as one nation.
Nice rant but I am looking for a serious discussion.

Also please decide who killed those 5 Indian soldiers. Half of your countrymen claim they were not your soldiers but militants but the other half including you claim they were your soldiers and that India was right.
 

turbo charged

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narinder modi is funding all this....he buys some BSF guards,,,,tells them to voilate ceasefire,,,,,,,at the end of the day as elections are coming he will be the sole beneficiary.....

dumb inferiority complexed hindos just like their media will vote for modi
 

scorpionx

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Sharif has to tackle three major difficult problems which are perhaps going to be the toughest challenges in his entire career.The TTP factor,the perverse incentives of the army towards his peace initiatives with India and the obliqued external threat from its arch enemy.Sharif's judgement and approach to the peace process will definitely be effected by his bitter experience of 1998.It will be interesting to see how the civilian and the military brass converges on these issues in near future.
 

SirHatesALot

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Nice rant but I am looking for a serious discussion.

Also please decide who killed those 5 Indian soldiers. Half of your countrymen claim they were not your soldiers but militants but the other half including you claim they were your soldiers and that India was right.
You are asking a serious question to a poster who is typing rants all the way.
 

Screambowl

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narinder modi is funding all this....he buys some BSF guards,,,,tells them to voilate ceasefire,,,,,,,at the end of the day as elections are coming he will be the sole beneficiary.....

dumb inferiority complexed hindos just like their media will vote for modi
PLease do not joke. And bring some productive discussion.
 

Shabaz Sharif

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Nice rant but I am looking for a serious discussion.

Also please decide who killed those 5 Indian soldiers. Half of your countrymen claim they were not your soldiers but militants but the other half including you claim they were your soldiers and that India was right.
5 Indian soldiers were killed right? And the reason was week earlier IA killed one of PA soldier. The difference is we dont need Indian hatred to stand united. Hence no one cried anywhere in Pakistan. PA had to take revenge for unprovoked attack and they did. So its up to IA if they want to continue with this which im sure they do because thats what unite 10.000 years old country.
 

ajkhan7

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Its not as simple as it looks:

1. As Pakistan Army is moving in Baluchistan for action against BLA and Terrorists sent across by US of A (A doesnot stand for America) , India other Members to create more problems for Pakistan .... India does not want this to happen as they are havinga field day there.... They want Pakistan Army on Eastern Border and to have them engaged there.... and further push Government of Pakistan to mobilize its armed forces for a War Time positioning which will further put pressure of Pakistan Agile rather depleted economical and financial position.... that way pakistan will be more conducive towards a "Ok & Yes Attitude" .... since they will be dependent upon and looking for foreign financing ......

2. US of A ...... want india and Pakistan to fight over power in Afghanistan .... and to come to think of it .... it will never happen .... we should learn lessons from defeat of USSR and India and previous history of the area and people.

3. Indian Elections are there..... but I consider it less of a motive of Indian Motive in this scenario.


Outcomes:

1. By all means Indian Establishment should re-think its strategies to the fullest ... because as per Pakistan Government position and Armed Forces reaction, they donot have the capacity to go for an conventional war so they will only go LAST OPTION which is Nuclear War...... we as two neighbors and people of both nations donot want this happening whatever the politicians want and wish ..... Because in the end we will be the sufferers and politicians will be sitting somewhere in Honolulu having a ball with their loved ones .... and will return again to rule us.... (Thats a Fact).

Further an important factor to consider is that US of A and Europe want both neighbors to fight since South East Asia or rather Asia is the current biggest threat to their Economies ... which are currently standing on the brink of collapsing...... So rather than they making us fight over our differences we should capitalize on their weaknesses here..... (If we read history sub-continent has always been ruled and people suffered due internal traitors none came from out side to rule .... best example would be rule of indian sub-continent for 100 years .... how many britishers were there ruling us .... and how many were we).....

2. Afghanistan should be supported like a real neighbor and they should be made to stand on their feet and they should be supported for education, trade, industry... as it will in the end strnegthen our region only..... it was the main weak link in our area which is why it was invaded twice easily by USSR and USA ...... It will give us direct route in to the CIS which is what US of A and Europe were after but could not do so because they under-estimated Afghanistan and its people .... Sometimes in the NASHA OF POWER ..... even the elephants end up dying by a bite of an ANT .....

3. Election yes ... BJP always goes with anti-Pakistan and Muslim sentiment to public for votes..... But it is too early for border clashes to be blamed on......

Their are traitors within our establishment, politicians and Armed Forces ... who cannot stand teh thought of a joint struggle for our region .... they thrive on extremism ... they thrive on having a this atmosphere and will go to any extent to sabotage the peace efforts.....

Lets hope sense prevails .... and we understand who are te real enemies here...... :)
 

Maler

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narinder modi is funding all this....he buys some BSF guards,,,,tells them to voilate ceasefire,,,,,,,at the end of the day as elections are coming he will be the sole beneficiary.....

dumb inferiority complexed hindos just like their media will vote for modi

India is not Pakistan and we are not living on the diet of conspiracy theories.
 

scorpionx

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@ajkhan7:

The situation is not that easier as you said in case of both Kashmir and Afghanistan. A fraction of your army possess constant dissension over the peace process made by your civilian government with India.This saga is continuing for a long period for obvious reasons. That's why the dialogues on trade,commerce and joint anti terror mechanisms always stops at the K factor.
The US of A and the Europe are merely opportunist traders,not responsible for our own issues. Your western front will be quiet and peaceful when the fraction of your army will choose to keep your eastern border at a pleasant silence.
 
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WAR-rior

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Nice rant but I am looking for a serious discussion.

Also please decide who killed those 5 Indian soldiers. Half of your countrymen claim they were not your soldiers but militants but the other half including you claim they were your soldiers and that India was right.
Whome are u asking? these guyz dont have iota of knowledge bout ground realities and just come here to express their orgasms. Not to be taken seriously. :)

5 Indian soldiers were killed right? And the reason was week earlier IA killed one of PA soldier. The difference is we dont need Indian hatred to stand united. Hence no one cried anywhere in Pakistan. PA had to take revenge for unprovoked attack and they did. So its up to IA if they want to continue with this which im sure they do because thats what unite 10.000 years old country.
Ohh, So thats what is been taught in Pakistan. Dont blabber something which you are not sure of. Simple guidelines for a decent discussion. :)
 

WAR-rior

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dont worry guyz. hes new to this exposure. now hes filled with hatred and lack of knowledge. kuchh dino mein line pe aa jaaega. :D
 

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