Rohit Kumar's Views

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Posts Tagged ‘India

Kashmir Nuclear Scare: Myth or Muscle Fatigue

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Tacstrat Analysis

Earlier this week, State Disaster Response Force officials in Indian occupied Kashmir distributed pamphlets warning citizens to make preparations for a possible nuclear attack. People were told to build bomb-proof basements and collect provisions to last them two weeks in confinement. This lengthy warning was published in the Greater Kashmir newspaper and described a possible war scene in detail. People were told to brace themselves for possible shock and to ‘expect initial disorientation as the blast wave may blow down and carry away many prominent and familiar features’. While Indian officials have called this ‘regular year-round civil defence preparedness’, and urged people not to connect it with anything else, one cannot help but speculate about the convenient timing of this ‘annual’ safety drill, which has in fact taken place for the first time.

The cross border skirmish earlier this year, has led to a staggering halt of negotiations and a perfunctory handshake on both sides that have been gritting their teeth since. The 70 year old lady’s flight into Pakistan had alarmed Indian officials who began setting up additional observation posts along the LoC. Pakistan fired across the border, and while cross border skirmishes barely make news any more, an Indian soldier with an ‘aggressive’ track record ordered a cross border attack. While the international media, as always, is wont to take an ‘unbiased’ approach to this series of attacks, several Indian newspapers have discussed the possibility and consequences of this bald provocation that led to the death of a Pakistani soldier. Two Indian soldiers were killed in a retaliatory skirmish that now appears to have escalated, as the streets of Srinagar are abuzz with rumours of a possible nuclear attack.

Indian soldiers, on many online forums, have said that even if their authorities have warned people to prepare themselves for a nuclear attack, this is purely for defensive purposes because of India’s ‘no first use’ nuclear doctrine, and Pakistan’s lack thereof.

This leads us to the question of nuclear doctrines espoused by both countries. Pakistan has stood behind its doctrine of ‘first use but last resort’, and has been severely criticised for it by western scholarship, which conveniently over looks Israel’s ‘Samson Option’. Last year President Zardari announced his inclination to sign a ‘no first use’ policy in line with India’s, while no action towards this end has been taken so far, a brief analysis of the India doctrine, which espouses the very reassuring ‘no first use’ policy, is in order.

The doctrine states that any threat of use of nuclear weapons against India shall invoke measures to counter the threat (clause 2.3a). The repeated assurance of ‘retaliation only’ does not care to expand on what constitutes these measures. Clause 2.5 states that “India will not resort to the use or threat of use of nuclear weapons against States which do not possess nuclear weapons, or are not aligned with nuclear weapon powers.” This clause further adds to the ambiguity ensconced in the doctrine that shrouds itself behind empty words and unspoken promises. The distinction between non-nuclear states and countries they are aligned with, in effect, places every single country on the Indian hit list. Since Germany and Japan, two non-nuclear states, are aligned with the US on many fronts (the doctrine doesn’t specify the type of alliance either), that makes them possible targets, especially if: “in the event of a major attack against India, or Indian forces anywhere, by biological or chemical weapons, India will retain the option of retaliating with nuclear weapons”. Thus, if Indian soldiers (they could be infiltrators or even part of a UN deputation) are attacked with nuclear weapons in any part of the world, the ‘no first use’ policy becomes null and void. Furthermore clause 2.3a, revised in 2003 states that, “however, in the event of a major attack against India, or Indian forces anywhere, by biological or chemical weapons, India will retain the option of retaliating with nuclear weapons.” Thus Blanco-ing out the ‘no first use’ for all intents and purposes.

Pakistan has justified its stance of adopting the ‘aggressive’ moral ground, by saying the ‘no first use’ policy on both sides would leave the concept of nuclear deterrence redundant and invite aggression from the Indian side. Pakistan has furthermore explained how the nuclear option will be employed once all others have been exhausted. This effectively places India and Pakistan on a level playing field.

The ‘threat’ of a Pakistani attack on Srinagar is by far the least plausible of all explanations our friends across the border have been proffering. Even less true is the statement that this is a routine safety drill. At best this can be described muscle flexing and a plea for attention in the post UN-observer mission stalemate. In terms of diplomatic progress, this might set the two countries back by two years of consistent peace talks and people-to-people contact. As the initial smokescreen of mistrust rises between the two countries, the audience can not help but wait for what will unfold next.

Halloween 31 October, Kashmir Black Day on 27th

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Kashmiris on both sides of the Cease Fire Line (CFL) and all across the world will observe A Black Day on October 27, to convey to India that despite state terrorism they reject its illegal occupation of Jammu and Kashmir.

It was on October 27 in 1947 when Indian troops invaded Kashmir in clear violation of the partition plan of the Sub-continent and against the Kashmiris’ aspirations.

Call for the observance of the Day has been given by the All Parties Hurriyat Conference Chairman, Syed Ali Shah Geelani and Mirwaiz Umar Farooq.

The day will be marked with total shutdown in Occupied State of Jammu & Kashmir (OSJK) and a march towards the United Nations Observers’ Office in Srinagar to draw the world attention towards the fact that India continues to deny the Kashmiri people their inalienable right of Self-Determination. Rallies in support of Kashmiris’ liberation struggle will be held in Muzaffarabad and the world capitals.

USA: High Risk of Terror Strikes in India

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WASHINGTON – The United States has warned Americans of the potential for terror strikes in India during the holiday season after a series of recent bomb attacks.

The US has warned Americans of the potential for terror strikes in India during the holiday season

The State Department pointed to recent government warnings and media reports of attacks being planned in the South Asian country.

US citizens should be aware of the “continued possibility of terrorist attacks throughout India,” it said in a statement.

It urged Americans to “pay particular attention to their personal security during the Indian holiday season, which includes Hindu, Islamic and other religious and secular holidays between October and January.”

“US citizens traveling or residing in India are always urged to maintain a heightened situational awareness and a low profile, monitor local news reports, consider the level of security present when visiting public places, and take appropriate steps to bolster their personal security,” the State Department added.

It noted that markets, hotels and public transport were potential targets.

India has been hit by a series of bomb attacks in recent years, many of which remain unsolved.

Rangers, BSF agree to check illegal border crossings

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Border forces of Pakistan and India have agreed to stop incidents of illegal crossing, smuggling and unprovoked firing on the working boundary.

Officials of Rangers and Border Security Force exchanging gifts before a meeting at Wagah border on Tuesday.

This decision has been taken in a joint meeting of Pakistan, India border forces held at Wagah on Tuesday. The Indian Border Security Force (BSF) Deputy Inspector General Vasudevan led the 10-member Indian delegation, which was given a warm welcome by the Pakistan Rangers’ delegation headed by Brigadier Wali as they crossed the zero line at Wagah border. Both officers shook hands, exchanged presents and had a group photograph taken. The Rangers also offered guard of honour before start of the meeting.

The quarterly coordination meeting was held at Joint Check Post at the Pakistan side of the Wagah border on Tuesday. The meeting is part of a mutually agreed programme aimed at coordinating measures taken by both forces for border management duties. Brig Wali told media before the session that 24 points would be discussed with BSF including ceasefire violation especially in Sialkot and Shakargarh sectors, smuggling, drug trafficking, casualties of unarmed civilians, border crossing and illegal construction of spur by Indian authorities at river Ravi at Narowal Sector.

Speaking at the occasion, DIG Vasudevan said both the authorities wanted a result oriented discussion. Answering a question he said he had given orders to BSF not to open fire on unarmed civilians who cross the border mistakenly, but also made it clear that it is difficult to judge a civilian crossing the border at night and distinguish whether he’s carrying a gun or a stick.

After the meeting a press release issued by the Rangers stated that dialogue was held in highly congenial atmosphere and there has been sincere endeavour from both forces to encourage junior commanders to mutually resolve minor issues.

At the end of the session the Indian delegation witnessed the flag ceremony and appreciated the parade of the jawans from Pakistan Rangers. The next quarterly meeting will be held at the joint check post Attari, India.

India: Gujarat riots records ‘destroyed’

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Official records relating to the 2002 riots in India’s Gujarat state were destroyed in line with regulations, the government tells a panel probing the riots.

The riots left more than 1,000 dead

Documents with records of telephone calls and the movements of officials during the riots were destroyed in 2007, five years after their origin

Officials say this is standard practice and in line with civil service rules.

More than 1,000 people, mostly Muslims, died in the riots.

The violence erupted after 60 Hindus died in a train fire. The cause of the blaze was never clearly established.

Hindu groups allege the fire was started by Muslim protesters, but an earlier inquiry said the blaze was an accident.

The Supreme Court set up a panel to investigate the riots in 2008, after allegations that the Gujarat government was doing little to bring those responsible to justice.

Government lawyer SB Vakil told the Nanavati panel probing the riots that some records relating to the riots had been destroyed according to the rules.

“As per general government rules, the telephone call records, vehicle logbook and the officers’ movement diary are destroyed after a certain period,” Mr Vakil was quoted as saying by the Press Trust of India news agency.

In April a senior police officer alleged in a sworn statement to India’s Supreme Court that Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi deliberately allowed anti-Muslim riots in the state.

Mr Modi has always denied any wrongdoing.

The Gujarat government has responded to the allegations by saying they have already testified before a special panel investigating the riots and will wait for the court’s verdict.

India: Maoist Attack in Chhattisgarh Leaves Indian Security Forces Dead

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Six security personnel have been killed and eight injured in two separate attacks by Maoist rebels in the central Indian state of Chhattisgarh.

India’s Maoist insurgency began in the late 1960s, in the remote forests of West Bengal state.

Four policemen died when a vehicle carrying them hit a landmine in Dantewada district.

And earlier on Sunday, two paramilitary soldiers were ambushed and killed by rebels in Kanker district, police said.

Maoist rebels say they are fighting for the rights of indigenous tribal people and the rural poor.

They are active in several eastern and central states. In one of the most deadly attacks last year, rebels killed 74 policemen in Dantewada.

India’s prime minister has described the Maoist insurgency as the country’s biggest internal security challenge.

Sunday’s attacks happened in the restive Bastar region.

In the first attack, rebels ambushed a contingent of paramilitary soldiers belonging to the Border Security Force (BSF) in Kanker, killing two soldiers and injuring four others.

Police officials claimed that a number of rebels were also killed in the firefight, but only one body of a rebel was recovered from the spot.

Later in the day, a vehicle carrying policemen on a search operation hit a landmine in Dantewada.

Four policemen died in the explosion, and four others were injured in the blast which tore apart the vehicle.

The BBC’s Salman Ravi in Raipur says Bastar is the most sensitive region of Chhattisgarh where Maoist insurgents control a large area.

During the last one month, Maoists have carried out many landmine explosions in the area, killing more than 30 security personnel.

A government offensive against the rebels – widely referred to as Operation Green Hunt – began in late 2009.

It involves 50,000 troops and is taking place across five states – West Bengal, Jharkhand, Bihar, Orissa and Chhattisgarh.

Delhi’s Rs 450-cr gift to Kabul

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India proposes to announce a $100-million (about Rs 450 crore) financial aid for Afghanistan aimed mostly at building of public institutions and capacity augmenting during Prime Minister Manmohan Singh’s visit to Kabul this week. “There could be fresh assistance of about Rs 450 crore”, a senior government.

While Osama Bin Laden’s killing in Pakistan and its outcome on the war against terror will dominate the two-day trip, Prime Minister Singh is set to send out the message that “peace, prosperity, stability” of Afghanistan and “its people” are “top- of-the-mind issues” for India.

India is also concerned about the end-game in Afghanistan. With Osama’s killing taking US-Pakistan ties to an all-time low, experts think Delhi will be better heard in Kabul now.