THE STRUGGLE OVER KASHMIR
Fighting in Kashmir has intensified since
the 1948 U.N. resolution calling for a plebiscite in the
predominantly Muslim territory to allow the people to determine
whether they would be part of India or Pakistan, and a 1949 cease-fire negotiated by the
U.N. that gave Pakistan control of one-third of Kashmir and India
control of the remainder. The plebiscite has never been held, and
both India and Pakistan are adamant that the issue must be settled
through bilateral negotiations. Meanwhile, India's army has clashed
repeatedly with Pakistan-supported separatist insurgents in its
sector. The last U.N. resolution demanding a cease-fire was passed
on December 21, 1971.
Pakistan's sponsorship of insurgency in
Kashmir has evolved from moral support for an indigenous uprising
into military and logistical aid for Islamic terrorists and the
al-Qaeda network. Originally, the Pakistani strategy was to keep
the Kashmir issue alive by assisting Kashmiri "freedom fighters" to
resist the often-brutal occupation of Kashmir by the Indian army.
But its ambitions grew following the success in 1989 of the
indigenous mujahideen (holy warriors) in neighboring Afghanistan,
who with Pakistani, U.S., and other foreign support forced the
Soviet Union to withdraw its troops. Islamabad sought to duplicate
that military success on its western border by ratcheting up
military support for the Kashmir insurgency on its eastern
current uprising began in 1989 and has gotten steadily bloodier.
Even though some Kashmiris grew tired of the struggle or resisted
Pakistani control, Pakistan's Inter-Services Intelligence agency
(ISI), which coordinated Islamabad's support for the insurgents,
began recruiting foreign Islamic extremists to bolster the
insurgency. Today, anywhere from 25 percent to 50 percent of the
terrorists who infiltrate into India from Pakistan are not from
Kashmir; they are motivated not by Kashmiri nationalism but rather
by the spirit of jihad (Islamic holy war).
Before the fall of the ultra-radical
Taliban regime in Afghanistan, Muslim extremists from Kashmir and
elsewhere were trained in camps inside Afghanistan and then moved
across Pakistan to Kashmir to join the jihad. Osama bin Laden's
al-Qaeda network played an important role in financing, training,
equipping, and coordinating the movements of the foreign
also is believed to have played a role in the December 13, 2001,
terrorist attack on the Indian Parliament that killed nine people
and set the stage for the current confrontation.
Following the al-Qaeda terrorist attacks
in the United States in September 2001, Washington pressured
Islamabad into withdrawing its support for the Taliban regime and
to cooperate in breaking up bin Laden's terrorist network. However,
Pakistan continued supporting the jihad in Kashmir. The Indian
government, which saw the Islamic extremist threats in Afghanistan
and Kashmir as two sides of the same coin, undoubtedly was
encouraged by the U.S. military victory in Afghanistan. Some Indian
security officials have indicated that they believe Washington's
relations with Islamabad will inevitably deteriorate. This mindset may lead
New Delhi to miscalculate how much Washington would back Indian
military action against Pakistan.
view of the unrelenting and pernicious nature of the terrorist
attacks against India, public opinion in India strongly favors
military action against Pakistan. Another significant terrorist attack
against India could provoke New Delhi to take military action
despite international pressure against it. Although Pakistan's
President Pervez Musharraf has pledged to halt the infiltration of
Muslim extremists across the border, an estimated 2,500 militants
already lurk in Indian-controlled Kashmir and could launch further
attacks that could provoke a massive Indian military response. The strategy of the
Islamic extremists in Kashmir is to undermine Indian control,
radicalize the Muslim population, and provoke a "clash of
civilizations" between India and Pakistan. They also want to
engineer the downfall of President Musharraf, who has acted against
them, the Taliban, and al-Qaeda.
the past 50 years, many foreign governments, political figures, and
the United Nations have offered to help resolve the Kashmir
impasse. All efforts have been stymied because New Delhi strongly
resists third-party negotiations. Its position is that Kashmir is a
bilateral problem between Pakistan and India and that third parties
would not contribute to the resolution of the problem.
Islamabad and New Delhi both view Kashmir
as an integral part of their respective countries. India, which is
over 80 percent Hindu, nevertheless has over 100 million
Muslims--the third largest Muslim population in the world after
Indonesia and Pakistan. For India, as a multiethnic,
multi-religious country, Kashmir is no more alien to its secular
federal system than any other ethnic group or religion.
Nevertheless, India's ruling party, the BJP (Bharatiya Janata
Party), is unapologetically Hindu nationalistic, and often is
pressured by party extremists to support Hindu causes at the
expense of the country's Muslims. In the western state of Gujarat,
Hindu and Muslim mobs massacre each other over Hindu extremist
attempts to build a temple on the site of a destroyed mosque and
show strength against Kashmir nationalism, and the firebombing of a
train by a group of Muslims in February that killed almost 60
BJP's hardline positions have weakened the standing of the
governing coalition among the more secular general population.
Consequently, the coalition has little political capital to resist
calls for military action against Pakistan.
New Delhi clearly believes that it can fight and
win a limited war in Kashmir, despite Musharraf's May 27, 2002,
warning that Pakistan would use its "full might" (i.e., nuclear
weapons) in a war. Musharraf subsequently softened his rhetoric and
promised to crack down on Muslim militants. But if Musharraf fails
to follow through on this pledge with a sustained effort to halt
cross-border attacks by Muslim militants, then war probably is
inevitable. Pulling the plug on the militants is very unpopular
among Pakistani Islamists, nationalists, and the army. It could
cost Musharraf his job and possibly his life.
war with India would limit Pakistan's ability to root out the
remnants of al-Qaeda and Taliban forces believed to have taken
shelter with Pakistani supporters in the unruly tribal areas of the
Northwest Frontier province. It would divert Pakistani troops from
the western border with Afghanistan to the eastern border with
India, which would severely affect the U.S. war on terrorism.
Pakistan would be out-gunned by the much larger Indian army, air
force, and navy, which could tempt Islamabad to use its nuclear
weapons to avoid a military defeat. A military defeat or Pakistani
back-down, meanwhile, could lead to the overthrow of the Musharraf
government and the establishment of a government more supportive of
the radical Islamic movements in Kashmir and Afghanistan.
Washington must continue to pressure
Musharraf to end all Pakistani support for terrorism and to purge
the ISI of officers sympathetic to Islamic extremism who could
resist his order to halt support for Kashmir insurgents. Steps like
this will demonstrate that Islamabad has learned that, after
September 11, supporting terrorism is a losing strategy for which
it would pay a heavy price.
United Nations placed truce observers on the ground in Kashmir in
January 1949. Since 1971, the United Nations Military Observer
Group has attempted to monitor the cease-fire line between India
and Pakistan. While New Delhi maintains that the mandate for this
group lapsed following the 1972 India-Pakistan Simla Agreement,
Pakistan disagrees. The group now consists of 44 military observers
from nine countries and 64 civilian support personnel who monitor
the 460-mile long line of control. This force could and should be
strengthened without requiring a U.S. presence.
THE BALANCE OF POWER
capabilities of the Indian and Pakistani armed forces are
significant enough to raise grave concerns in the international
According to the unclassified Executive Summary of the
1998 report of the bipartisan Commission to Assess the Ballistic
Missile Threat to the United States, chaired by current Secretary
of Defense Donald Rumsfeld, India is developing its nuclear,
chemical, and biological weapons and the means to deliver them. It
a number of ballistic missiles from short
range to those with ICBM class capabilities, along with a
submarine-launched ballistic missile (SLBM) and a short range,
surface ship-launched system.... It is aggressively seeking
technology from other states, particularly Russia. While it
develops its long-range ballistic missiles, India's space-launched
vehicles provide an option for an interim ICBM capability.
India's nuclear-capable missile tests in
April and June 2000, January 2001, and January 2002 underscore its
determination to become a missile and nuclear power. In 1999, it
unveiled a proposed nuclear doctrine, stating that the Prime
Minister is authorized to use nuclear force in retaliation for an
attack by a nuclear state.
Today, India has well over 100 ballistic
missiles. Its first test of a missile occurred in 1972 when it
fired the two-stage Rohini-560. Since then, India has constructed a
number of rocket systems, from short-range ballistic missiles to
space launch vehicles (SLV). These systems rely on domestic
technology as well as technology contributed by other states.
India's Agni ballistic missile series is based largely on
technology obtained from the United States as part of India's SLV
program. India hopes that demonstrations of its ballistic missile
and nuclear weapons capabilities put muscle behind its foreign
India also is hoping that its newly
achieved nuclear power status will bring global political
recognition of its importance and win it a permanent seat on the
U.N. Security Council as one of the world's largest democracies.
But this would not be in the best interests of the United States.
Adding more members to the Security Council only increases the
complexity and difficulty that exist in negotiating agreements.
Moreover, India historically has sided with the United States less
than 22 percent of the time in votes in the U.N. General
contrast, Russia has sided with the United States 46 percent of the
rewarding India for becoming a nuclear power would undermine
longstanding U.S. positions against the proliferation of nuclear
weapons and missiles, encouraging other countries to seek nuclear
Islamabad has made developing a potent ballistic missile
force a top priority of its military modernization program. The
Rumsfeld Commission reports that:
Pakistan's ballistic missile
infrastructure... will support development of a missile of 2,500-km
range.... [which] will give Pakistan the technical base for
developing a much longer-range missile system. Through foreign
acquisition, and beginning without an extensive domestic science
and technology base, Pakistan has acquired these missile
capabilities quite rapidly.
Pakistan began its domestic missile
program in the early 1980s and, within a decade, had tested two
missiles (HATF 1 and HATF 2) that it claimed were produced
domestically. Since then, Pakistan has established a relatively
advanced production capacity in a relatively short period of time
vis-à-vis other developing countries. Much of Pakistan's
success stems from its cooperation with other countries. For
example, China and North Korea provided Pakistan with missile
systems, technology, and production facilities. Pakistan's Ghauri
series of missiles is a copy of North Korea's Nodong missile.
Pakistan probably has the ability to
produce solid-fuel rocket engines and multi-stage boosters.
According to the Rumsfeld Commission report, Pakistan's production
capabilities are more advanced than North Korea's. On April 6,
1998, Pakistan tested the Ghauri-1 missile; the next month it
conducted nuclear tests. In May 2002, Pakistan held three ballistic
missile tests over three days, sending clear political signals to
India and Pakistan possess nuclear weapons and the capability to
deploy them. A
computer model simulation of a nuclear exchange between India and
Pakistan shows that, even in the simplest scenario, the initial
blast alone would kill thousands instantly and radioactive fallout
would affect hundreds of thousands.
Heritage analysts employed the U.S.
Department of Defense's Consequences Assessment Tool Set (CATS)
software to analyze such scenarios. Factoring in weather
conditions, the size of the nuclear missile, the population of the
target area in 1998, and the delivery method, the analysis provided
detailed tallies of the likely casualties.
first scenario involves conventional ground forces from India
invading possible Pakistan terrorist training camps, such as the
one Indian intelligence says is in Muzaffarabad. In an effort to
fight off the attacking Indian troops in Muzaffarabad, Pakistan
explodes a 10-kiloton nuclear bomb. The model shows more than 3,400
civilian deaths in Pakistan and approximately 5,000 Indian military
deaths. The radiation fallout would affect about 29,000 residents
of Kashmir. Due to the easterly winds in the area, much of the
fallout would continue into India, affecting tens of thousands more
second scenario shows India and Pakistan escalating their conflict
to a nuclear exchange against border cities. A single 12-kiloton
strike by India on Lahore, Pakistan's second largest city, would
result in about 122,000 immediate deaths across the 1.75-mile
initial blast zone, with an additional 150,000 to 300,000 people
exposed to high levels of lethal radiation outside of that zone. A
10-kiloton retaliatory strike against Amritsar, a leading city in
the Indian border province of Punjab, would result in about 112,000
deaths with almost twice that number affected by lethal
final scenario examines a nuclear exchange against each of the
capital cities. In Islamabad, with a population of more than
900,000, a 12 kiloton fission bomb would immediately kill 115,000
civilians, with another 195,000 deaths attributed to the fallout.
Similarly, a 12 kiloton fission bomb in New Delhi, India's capital,
would have an immediate death toll of 125,000 and an estimated
365,000 civilian deaths from the fallout.
Pentagon has estimated that an all-out nuclear exchange by both
countries would result in a death toll of 12 million people, with
millions more falling victim to major health problems resulting
from the radioactive fallout and contaminated food and water