June 24, 2003
Volume 4, #08
President Pervez Musharraf stated that the Pakistan’s nuclear weapons are its only “real deterrent” against India. Ghulam Sarwar (Nation, Pakistan), a retired colonel, believes that “India’s aim is to coerce [Pakistan] to an extent that it voluntarily accepts its surrogate role.” M.B. Naqvi (News, Pakistan) notes that “the Pakistan-India hostility has created mind sets that end up promoting virtually unstoppable nuclear WMD proliferation.” Stephen Blank (Asia Times) reports on growing missile programs of Asian countries.
“‘Nuclear arms our last hope,’ says Musharraf”
“Asia’s overlooked missile crisis”
The daily News notes that India started construction of the highest number of nuclear reactors of any country in 2002. For the third time in as many days, India test-fired the Trishul, a short-range surface-to-air missile.
Attacks continue on US forces in Afghanistan. Meanwhile, Uzbekistan, Iran, and Afghanistan have agreed to build a road that will connect Uzbekistan to Iran’s Gulf Coast.
“3 countries to sign Afghan road deal”
The situation on the Pakistan-Afghanistan border remains tense. US-led troops and Afghan militiamen have launched a major operation against suspected Taliban and al-Qaeda members along Afghanistan’s eastern border with Pakistan. The Daily News (Pakistan) believes that the operation will not remain confined to the Afghan side of the border and urges the Pakistani government to spell out “the policy that dismantles our border for Americans.”
Rahimullah Yusufzai (News, Pakistan) reports on how the growing anti-US resistance in Afghanistan is straining relations between the two countries. An editorial, in the same newspaper, suggests that Pakistan is “far from standing to blame [and] would actually be having to pay a price for Afghan instability.”
Indian Prime Minister Vajpayee and Pakistani President Musharraf recently exchanged tense words. The daily News reports that India has blocked Pakistan’s entry into the ASEAN Regional Forum. Meanwhile, tensions escalate on the cyber front: Pakistani and Indian hackers have been busy defacing websites based across their shared border. During a recent television interview, Musharraf indicated, among other things, that “10 to 12” different solutions to the Kashmir issue exist. Some Pakistani and Indian parliamentarians have stated their support for tripartite talks for resolving the Kashmir issue.
“Pak. preparing for fourth defeat, says Vajpayee”
“Lull on LoC cannot be sustained: Musharraf”
Prem Shankar Jha (Hindustan Times) writes that Vajpayee’s peace initiative is “dead” and blames India for raising the bar too high by insisting on complete cessation of cross-border infiltration as a precondition for dialog between the two countries.
Balochistan Chief Minister has indicated his coalition government is planning to introduce a Shariat (Islamic Law) Bill in the provincial assembly. Omar Tarin (News, Pakistan) examines various fine points involved in the implementation of Shariat Bill and suggests that Taliban in Afghanistan did not implement the law correctly. Hasan Askari Rizvi (Daily Times, Pakistan) argues that “unless the support base of the current power arrangement is extended, the effort to contain religious extremism and intolerance are [sic] likely to falter.”
“Balochistan govt to table Shariat bill”
President Musharraf stated that the controversial Legal Framework Order will stay and he will continue as the chief of army staff for an indefinite period. In a later interview, when asked if he would resign as the army chief, however, Musharraf said that “maybe” he will in three years. In yet another interview, Musharraf stated that “whatever politics I’m involved in I do it in a military manner, I think.”
“Musharraf: No timeframe on uniform”
Ahmed Rashid (Nation, Pakistan) reports that “there is now a widespread perception that the president is planning a second coup that would be backed by Washington. This would most likely see him suspend or even dismiss the national and provincial assemblies.” Imran Khan, President of Tehrik-i-Insaf and a member of National Assembly, writes that the destiny of the people of Pakistan “does not lie with one man [Musharraf]whose overwhelming priority today is to further his rule.”
“The cost of trusting the general”
Pakistani authorities arrested a number of suspected al-Qaeda operatives.
“Al Qaeda suspect arrested”
During Musharraf’s visit to Camp David, President Bush announced a $3 billion aid package for Pakistan – half of which is designated for defense purposes – but rejected the bid for US F-16 warplanes (The Nation, Pakistan). Rashid Rahman (Dawn, Pakistan) lists Musharraf’s troubles at home and wonders if his visit to the US will give him “even a semblance of legitimacy at home.”
The former Chief Minister of Uttar Pradesh, Kalyan Singh, alleged that the Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP) and Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) betrayed him over the Babri Masjid demolition (The Hindu, India). The All India Muslim Personal Law Board (AIMPLB) was unanimous in its decision to consider with open mind the offers of the seer Kanchi Sankaracharya (Telegraph India) and Saeed Naqvi (Indian Express) explains the importance of this seer’s efforts. The Gujarat government has ordered an inquiry into the alleged “tutored” deposition of riot victims before the inquiry commission probing the post-Godhra communal violence (The Hindu, India). The RSS expressed its continuing support of the VHP in its complaint that the BJP leaders were trying to sideline the VHP on the Ayodhya issue and work out a compromise formula behind the VHP’s back (The Hindu, India).
“I was betrayed: Kalyan Singh”
“Board smiles, keeps seer letter in wraps”
“Why Muslims await the seer’s move”
“Godhra riots: Probe ordered”
“RSS fully backs VHP on Ayodhya issue”
Praveen Swami (Frontline, India) reports on errors committed by some Indian generals during the Kargil conflict of 1999.
In response to the American request for military support in Iraq, India sought “UN authorization” for a multinational force vis-à-vis Kosovo and Afghanistan (Hindustan Times, India), though the Indian security establishment still struggles with many questions about the details of deployment (Telegraph, India). The Bush administration explained that Indian deployments would be in Kurdish areas of Iraq, taking advantage of friendly relations between India and Turkey (Telegraph, India).
“Defence divided on troops to Iraq”
“America offers Iraq’s safe slice for troops”
G. Parthasrathy (Indian Express) believes that India should send in its troops, but only if it can “operate in a totally autonomous manner, with mechanisms for coordination with the Americans and British…[and with] a people friendly composition, with large medical and engineer components that should move in before combat troops.” Mani Shankar Aiyar (Indian Express) examines the arguments for deploying Indian troops and clearly states that “[n]on-alignment was Independence. Subsidiary alliances are stabilisation.” Former Prime Minister I.K. Gujral (The Hindu, India) elaborates on the “contractomania” that has caught other countries by declaring that “there is something un-Indian and undignified in becoming a subcontractor to the Pentagon.” Raja Menon (Indian Express) defends an Indian presence in Iraq as essential to India’s desire to become a regional power. Amitav Ghosh (The Hindu, India) recalls the use of Indian troops for policing Iraq as “one of the ugliest and most repugnant aspects of colonial history.”
“Send in the troops”
“Indian troops for Iraq?”
“To send or not to send? Not a question”
“Lessons of empire”
On his visit to China, Indian PM Vajpayee signed an accord with Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao on opening border trade through Sikkim. Writing in the Hindustan Times (India), Brahma Chellaney re-examines the lopsided history of Sino-Indian relations in the context of the results of the PM’s current visit. K. K. Katyal (The Hindu) explains how India and China should begin to focus on their common view and positions and de-stress their differences. Foreign Office spokesman Masood Khan said that Pakistan understands that growing relations between China and India are not at the expense of Pakistan-China friendship (Dawn, Pakistan).
“Accord on opening border trade through Sikkim”
“The India-China engagreement”
“Sino-India ties not to affect Pakistan”
Ejaz Haider (Daily Times, Pakistan) discusses how India’s overtures to the US, Israel, and Europe might force Russia to look for other markets. In the same newspaper, Ahmad Faruqui writes that burgeoning Indo-Israeli ties “simultaneously expand Pakistan’s diplomatic space vis-à-vis the Arab world.” In Frontline (India), Rahul Bedi discusses India’s varied political and economic ties “in the neighborhood” of Southwest and Southeast Asia.
More lives were lost to violence in Jammu and Kashmir (J&K), including those of an Imam and his son. Indian special operations forces raided a militant hideout, seizing advanced communication equipment and a small arms cache. J&K police reveal that one of their own aided and abetted the assassins of former State Law Minister, Mushtaq Ahmed Lone, and his brother, last year (The Hindu, India) and Muzamil Jaleel (Indian Express, India) discusses the challenge of being more vigilant against this “internal subversion.” The Indian Army disagreed that the Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) should replace the Border Security Force (BSF) for internal J&K security. Praveen Swami (Frontline, India) examines the “hype and folly” of one of the Indian Army’s most high-profile counter-terrorist operations.
“Imam, son killed”
“Communication network busted in Valley”
“Police-militant nexus unearthed”
“J-K busy with security vetting”
“Let BSF stay in Valley, Army tells Centre”
The coalition government of J&K released 92 prisoners held under the state’s Public Safety Act of 1978, including senior Hurriyat Conference leader Mohammad Yousuf Mujahid, who was released after more than two years in detention. After being released from a Srinagar jail, Yasin Malik, head of the separatist Jammu Kashmir Liberation Front (JKLF), continued his signature campaign, which calls for Kashmiris to play a role in regional peace talks. Mufti Islah (Indian Express) reports on the recent boom in J&K tourism.
“J&K frees 92 prisoners”
“Yasin resumes signature drive”
“Valley 14-year jinx breaks with flood of tourists, yatris”
In The Nation (Pakistan), Kuldip Nayar considers how the history of the Kashmir conflict has and will continue to alienate the Kashmiri people. According to Nayar, ultimately, India must settle “with the Kashmiris, whatever route we take. It is a tragedy that we have not realised this even today.”
In the US, a Kashmir-born American truck driver reportedly met with Osama bin Laden and other top Al-Qaeda leaders in a plot to bring down New York’s Brooklyn Bridge. Iyman Faris pleaded guilty to providing material support to a terrorist organization.
“Al-Qaeda’s latest hitman a Kashmiri”
After the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) accused the Indian navy of sinking one of its vessels, Sri Lankan security forces stepped up alert as a precautionary measure (Daily Times). V.S. Sambandan (Frontline, India) argues that the sinking of the LTTE ship and the assassination of a top Tamil leader (Thambirajah Subathiran of the Eelam People’s Revolutionary Liberation Front) puts Sri Lanka’s peace process in “a free fall and a fatal resumption of violence is on the cards.”
Seven Maoists and a civilian were killed in a gunfight between rebels and the army in western Nepal (Dawn, Pakistan). King Gyanendra’s replacement of the PM with another member of the royalist Rashtriya Prajatantra Party (RPP) sparked fresh protests from both political parties and Maoist rebels, reports Kalyan Chaudhuri (Frontline, India). In the Hindu (India), C. Raja Mohan examines the growing role of the United States in Nepal’s internal politics, aptly observing that “[s]maller countries tend to have an acute sensitivity to geopolitics.”
“Eight killed in Nepal clash”
“America looms large”