Nuclear Issues in India and Pakistan.
June 2, 2002 8:35 AM   Subscribe

Nuclear Issues in India and Pakistan. - Selected Internet Resources, from UC Berkeley.
INDYMEDIA INDIA: "We want Peace"
"The Coalition for Nuclear Disarmament and Peace (CNDP) is deeply concerned at the campaign unleashed in India for a 'full-scale war' with Pakistan and the attempts at projecting a 'national consensus' in favour of such a war. While condemning strongly the latest terrorist attacks in Jammu and Kashmir the CNDP appeals to all political leaders, policy-makers and legislators of India and Pakistan to ensure immediate pull-back of troops from their common border and to launch a dialogue to resolve all outstanding issues."
The Kashmir quandary I | The Kashmir quandary II | Peace, war and Hinduism | Kashmiris reject war in favour of democratic means: Survey
posted by sheauga (21 comments total) 1 user marked this as a favorite

Anyone know why Kashmir a contested area? Or do we simply address the current crisis, the potential for the use of nukes?
posted by Postroad at 11:05 AM on June 2, 2002

posted by techgnollogic at 12:20 PM on June 2, 2002

I had posted a short description on the origin of the conflict is here. It is of course more complex than that. There are many other side-issues including the Kashmiri Pandits who mostly ran away from the valley after the Islamic terrorists (as opposed to the old 'Kashmiryat' crowd) started targeted them, the election related abuses in Kashmir on 1987, the disproportionate power weilded by the religious fringe on Pakistani politics etc. The book 'Freedom at midnight' is probably a very good starting point if you want to understand the dispute. Apart from a misplaced adoration for Lord Mountbatten, I think it provide a fairly objective commentary.
posted by justlooking at 12:45 PM on June 2, 2002

grrr...sorry about the typos/mistakes. Dont know what I was thinking.
posted by justlooking at 1:12 PM on June 2, 2002

i came across this breakdown of pakistan's and india's nuclear missile capabilities in this newsletter i get at work...

"the total number of nuclear warheads that both countries have are not that many... perhaps two dozen in aggregate at most. However, each one likely shall be more that superior in size and destructive capabilities than the bombs dropped upon Nagasaki and Hiroshima at the end of World War II... there are seven cities with populations of more than 500,000 in Pakistan that are within range of India's smaller, versatile Prithvi 1's and 2's... there are 12 cities of more than 500,000 within the reach of Pakistan's missiles."
posted by kliuless at 1:14 PM on June 2, 2002

justlooking, that's a great summary, and as long as that "short description" went, you didn't even get to touch on the Ismaili Muslims (the Aga Khan's followers), nor the Ahmadiyya Muslims, nor even the occupation of parts of Ladakh by China -- a dispute which is no more resolved but much less contentious.

If Kashmir were on a blank sheet of paper apart from the world, the obvious solution would be something like the Boundary Commission in Ireland that decided which parts would be Republican and which parts British. There may be three broad regions but I see at least six and perhaps more that should each be given a democratic choice where they want to be -- Pakistan, India, China, or even independent. This should be the obvious and fair solution.

Pakistan, of course, would consider the loss of any part of Kashmir a devastating humiliation in the wake of the loss of East Pakistan/Bangladesh, especially if any part chose India. And India could not bear the cost of secession, because it has many other areas that would seek greater autonomy. (Something like the Indonesia problem: the West tore off East Timor, and the price exacted was, in a word, Western support for Indonesian territorial integrity.)

What this essentially means is that neither side has a very good fallback position, which is why the conflict has simmered so long. It's not at all clear that a political resolution would offer the promise of security for India from militant terrorism, either (echoing Israel's problem, or Northern Ireland's, or the Basque country).
posted by dhartung at 4:09 PM on June 2, 2002

Arundhati Roy, on living under the nuclear shadow.
posted by homunculus at 8:22 PM on June 2, 2002

"So the obvious question is: who stands to gain if Pakistan and India do go to war?

The answer could be Al-Qaeda and its militant followers."
- Jane's
posted by sheauga at 9:48 PM on June 2, 2002

sheauga...plausible, but very unlikely. The tension between Pakistan and India has nothing to do with the West, and if Musharaff is as in control as it appears, we are wise to believe that nuclear escalation is not a threat. This article seems to create momentum for the "US/EU needs to become more involved" crowd. Let them posture and make some concessions, but don't allow the potential war to permanently change foreign policy.
posted by BlueTrain at 9:54 PM on June 2, 2002

another good article here on Dawn's website
posted by sikander at 10:27 PM on June 2, 2002

who stands to gain ... Al-Qaeda and its militant followers

I wouldn't dismiss this so readily, BlueTrain. The US announced today that if [anyone/insert provocateur here] manages to provoke a nuclear confrontation, it will probably withdraw its troops from Afghanistan.
posted by Zurishaddai at 1:40 AM on June 3, 2002

It's just bringing back the concept of the islamic bomb which has been a great fear of the west for a while now. Al-Quaida is a nice new shiny handle to describe the real fear.
posted by bittennails at 5:33 AM on June 3, 2002

Dhartung: You are right, No one likes to talk about the uneasy truce with China. George Fernandeze once got into hot water for mentioning that India's nuclear strategy is driven more by India's apprehensions about China rather than by Pakistan. China of course supplied Pakistan with most of the delivery technology that they now use.

homunculus: Arundhati Roy wrote a searing essay on India's nuclear policy called The End of Imagination right after the blast. A lot of people called her 'unpatriotic' at that time. Its a tad melodramatic, but great reading. I personally found Amitav Ghosh's 'Countdown in South Asia', a far more substantive and powerful indictment.

Outlook also has a good story on the tactical nuclear weapons (TNWs) and possible war scenarios. I do wish they would do something about the site's performance or at least move to a new server!
posted by justlooking at 10:48 AM on June 3, 2002

update! from my "sources" :)

-India capable of launching 150-200 kiloton warheads [Hiroshima was ~15 kilotons] and has also fitted Russian MiG's, and French Jaguars and Mirages for delivery as well. also from Jane's Intelligence, they have 50-150 such warheads, although some estimates have it as low as 25-40.

-Pakistan has only 20-25 kiloton capabilities and has fitted old US F-16's for possible nuclear bomb delivery. Jane's estimates they are capable of delivering 25-50 warheads, with the "low" estimate at 15-20.
posted by kliuless at 12:23 PM on June 3, 2002

justlooking, I've read that Roy essay and I agree that it is a tad melodramatic at times (I thought the 'blame the US' comment was particularly silly) but very moving overall. Funny how being 'unpatriotic' and thinking critically seem to have become synonymous in both India and the US.
posted by homunculus at 12:48 PM on June 3, 2002

Interesting opinion poll results in J&K has caught everyone by surprise.

And yes, Homunculus: Dissent in the face of jingoism is tough throughout the world. It takes courage most people dont possess even though they may share the belief. I must admit though,that I find Roy kinda strident. Her writing is very moving. But I have always been vaguely uncomfortable about the theatrics she indulges in to atttract attention to important issues.

I think the mainstream Indian population's reaction to that article by Roy had more to do with a sense of betrayal. After 'Goddess of small Things' became well known in the west, she was fated all over India. Her reactions got a lot more coverage in Western press which we Indians are rather sensitive to. It was more like - why is she doing this to us?

People like Praful Bidwai have been shouting from every rooftop about the dangers of nuclear weapons in South Asia for a long time, but obviously people and the press care much less when a bearded, unglamorous assistant editor with a marxist bent says the same thing!

Now with time, people are not shocked anymore. But I am being discursive and way too off topic.....time to get back to work.
posted by justlooking at 3:09 PM on June 3, 2002

South Asians Don't Understand Nuclear Threat, say Experts - VOA
"The crisis between India and Pakistan has sparked international concern that a war might quickly escalate to a nuclear exchange. But there is little public concern in both countries about that prospect, and that appears to be due to a lack of public awareness of what nuclear weapons can do."
"Education is also needed at the official level, says Japanese Ambassador to Pakistan Sadaaki Numata. He says it is frightening to think that Pakistan and India have nuclear capabilities many times greater than the single bombs dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki in 1945. The Japanese Government has been trying to get that message across in Islamabad and New Delhi.

"We have been saying to the leaders of both Pakistan and India that, being the only country to have suffered from the indescribable devastation of nuclear weapons, we are genuinely concerned about an armed conflict between India and Pakistan escalating, and, perhaps, escalating into a nuclear war.
posted by sheauga at 7:44 AM on June 4, 2002

gulfstream had some interesting comments the other day about that.

here's a nice map btw.
posted by kliuless at 8:56 AM on June 4, 2002

So basically, sheauga, your article claims that the citizenry are idiots who would foolishly jump into a nuclear situation without regard to the devastation caused. Wrong. The use of nuclear weapons is not based upon public perception, but upon the government's knowledge of the situation. The people are starving. They don't give a shit about nuclear destruction.

The governments, however, might be interested in a nuclear exchange if the ability to destroy their enemy becomes available. In this case, why don't we stick to facts instead of rampant speculation of a nuclear crisis. The BJP has NOTHING to gain by using a nuke. NOTHING. Their credibility within the international community would be completely destroyed, as well as their chances for economic favors. Similarly, Pakistan's Musharaff would like to remain in power, and destroying Delhi would essentially beg for international intervention and loss of his title.
posted by BlueTrain at 9:07 AM on June 4, 2002

here's salman rushdie's thoughts on the situation :)
The present Kashmir crisis feels like a déjà vu replay of the last one. Three years ago a weak Indian coalition government led by the Hindu nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party had just lost a confidence vote in India's Parliament and was nervously awaiting a general election. At once it began to beat the war drums over Kashmir. Now another coalition government, still led by the B.J.P. and deeply tainted by B.J.P. supporters' involvement in the massacre of hundreds of Muslims in Gujarat State, may be about to lose another general election. So here goes the government again, talking up a Kashmiri war and asking India to stand firm behind its leadership.
(via cowlix!)
posted by kliuless at 10:02 AM on June 4, 2002

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