The World’s Most Dangerous Border – KASHMIR



According to a Rand Corp study, an Indo-Pakistani nuclear exchange would immediately kill two million living souls, injure or kill 100 million later, pollute the Indus River and send clouds of radioactive dust around the globe.
That is the excellent reason why we should keep a weather eye on Kashmir and press India and Pakistan to make a fair settlement of this exceptionally dangerous 66-year dispute. In other words, no military solution to the long standing dispute over Kashmir. Let diplomacy have its way over stupidity of war games in Kashmir.
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TO AVERT A NUCLEAR HOLOCAUST,  WORLD MUST FIND A SOLUTION FOR KASHMIR 

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by Eric Margolis

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ISTANBUL –  Reports of fighting along Kashmir’s  cease-fire line don’t normally receive much attention in the western media.  Last week, for example, saw  a series of clashes on 8 and 10 January that killed both Pakistani and Indian troops.

One of the Indian soldiers was decapitated, provoking fury across India and calls from its extremist Shiv Sena Hindu party for a nuclear attack on Pakistan.

Gunfire is common on the 1947 cease-fire line known as the Line of Control that divided the beautiful mountain kingdom of Kashmir into Indian and Pakistani-controlled portions. Fighting in that tense region always has the potential to quickly escalate into a  major war – or even nuclear conflict.

Having been under fire numerous times on the LOC, I used the experience in my first book, “War at the Top of the World” to illustrate just how dangerous the simmering Kashmir dispute remains. 

A dispute that went from bad to critical after India and then Pakistan acquired and deployed nuclear weapons.  This, I wrote, was the most dangerous strategic threat facing the globe.

India and Pakistan have fought three  wars and some very large battles over Kashmir. Both claim the entire mountain state.  Pakistan’s intelligence service, ISI, has waged a long covert campaign to insert guerillas into Indian Kashmir to aid a series of spontaneous rebellions  against Indian rule by the state’s Muslim majority.

This writer has joined mujihadin fighting their way across the lethal Line of Control which is defended by Israeli-constructed fences, electronic sensors, minefields and Israeli-supplied drones. Losses  run very high among those trying to cross the line.

Muslim Kashmiris have been in almost constant revolt against Indian rule since 1947 when the British divided India. Today,  500,000 Indian troops and paramilitary police garrison rebellious Kashmir.  Some 40,000-50,000 Kashmiris are believed to have died over the past decade in uprising.

India blames the violence in Kashmir on “cross-border terrorism” engineered by Pakistani intelligence. Human rights groups accuse Indian forces of executions, torture, and reprisals against civilians.  Large numbers of Hindus and Sikhs have fled strife-torn Kashmir after attacks by Muslim Kashmiri guerillas.  It’s a very bloody, dirty war.

The Kashmir conflict poses multiple dangers.  First is the very likely chance that local skirmishing can quickly surge into major fighting involving air power and heavy artillery.  In 1999, a surprise attack by Pakistani commandos into the Indian-ruled Kargil region provoked heavy fighting.  The two nations, with more than one million troops facing one another, came very close to an all-out war.  I have on good authority that both sides put their tactical nuclear weapons on red alert.  Angry Indian generals called on Delhi to use its powerful armored corps to cut Pakistan in half.  India’s cautious civilian leadership said no.

Second,  the Kashmir conflict also involves India’s strategic rival, China.  Beijing claims the entire eastern end of the Himalayan border separating India and China, which Chinese troops occupied in a brief 1963 war.  China also occupied, with Pakistan’s help, a high strategic plateau on the western end of the Himalayas known as Aksai Chin that was part of historic Tibet.

China is Pakistan’s closest political and military ally.  Any major Indian attack on Pakistan would risk intervention by Chinese air, ground and missiles forces in neighboring Tibet.

Third, in the midst of all these serious tensions, India and Pakistan’s nuclear weapons – delivered by air and missile – are on hair-trigger alert.  This means that during a severe crisis, both sides are faced with “use it, or lose” decision in minutes to use their nuclear arsenals.

The strategic command and control systems of India and Pakistan are said to be riddled with problems and often unreliable,  though much improvement has been made in recent years.

A false report, a flight of birds, and off-course aircraft could provoke a nuclear exchange.  By the time Islamabad could call Delhi, war might be on.  A US Rand Corp study estimated an Indo-Pakistani  nuclear exchange would  kill two million immediately, injure or kill 100 million later, pollute the Indus River and send clouds of radioactive dust around the globe.

That is the excellent reason why we should keep a weather eye on Kashmir and press India and Pakistan to make a fair settlement of this exceptionally dangerous 66-year dispute.

copyright Eric S. Margolis 2012

More from Eric Margolis on Wonders of Pakistan

1. Dangerous war games in Syria 2. Egypt headed for an explosion 3. Facing the Writing on the Wall in Kabul  4. Nuclear missile Viagra for India 5 Obama does the right thing in Afghanistan 6. Will the US back real democracy in Egypt? 7.The man  who prevented World War III
Eric Margolis is an American born journalist and writer. He is contributing editor to the Toronto Sun chain of newspapers, writing mainly about the Middle East, South Asia and Islam. He contributes also to the HuffPost & appears frequently on North American tv channels.

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When India Visits Kashmir



Then India had to visit the famous Hazratbal shrine. Arrangements were made, security was beefed up and under the cover of ordnances and 200 odd guards India paid obeisance at the shrine. As always India was kissed on hands, on cheeks and on forehead by the “Mutawali” (Care Taker) of the shrine who is already well known for the gay acts with one of the Kashmir’s stakeholder with center.

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WHEN INDIA VISITS KASHMIR

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by Sheikh Saaliq

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It is not a question. In fact it is an answer to those who are and have been the core stakeholders of India’s visit to Kashmir now and then. It’s an answer to their silly statements. It’s an answer to their fake promises and most importantly it’s an answer to those who enjoy a sound sleep in Gupkar’s and tweet no different than Poonam Pandey, playing an important role in India’s visit to Kashmir.

Anyways, may it be the supremo of the so called largest democracy of the world or the next generation politicians, big business names or the Kings of their Bollywood, Kashmir was paid a visit by all of these in the year 2012. Still they are. I wonder what support India’s business tycoons can show to the Kashmir cause. Irony!

In-fact India’s visits to Kashmir this year saw a rush. Sometimes India visited Kashmir for a solution, sometimes for strengthening bonds and sometimes for a shoot in the Gulmarg’s and Pahalgam’s under tight security.

Just a few days back India visited Kashmir again, as a youth leader. This time to build a bridge: The Bridge of trust. The bridge which India wanted to build in a big Auditorium filled with a handpicked audience, on a decorated podium with barbed wires outside. Inside, under the tight security and escorted by marshals, the Youth leader was leaving no stone unturned publicizing his party, his promises and his solution but outside Black flags were hoisted. The “Azadi” slogans reverberated again not before the future of the nation was caged in their classrooms.

Snipers on the every possible roof top, just to ensure bridge was made as per plans. Everything happened as per the script. No questions, No queries and no answers even. Kashmir’s beauty was praised, photos were clicked, economic possibilities were discussed and the very next day, a grand breakfast at the Gupkar’s. They forgot the bridge.

India was the same all over again. They promise to build bridges even when there are no waters. All promise outran performance. Useless commitments and promises were made, promises and hopes; but no plans.

After that India visited Kashmir again. This time stressing on the need to strengthen the fencing on the Line of Control (LoC) to ensure zero infiltration and asking the Jammu and Kashmir Government to give sense of security to Panchayat representatives, and Kashmiri Pandits. A high profile meet was summoned and as always same answers. “We promise to take more solid measures”. The promises which were never fulfilled! India left for Shikara rides and Mughal Garden views. In-fact phones were Jammed as always, taking in consideration that no attack will take place.

Then India had to visit the famous Hazratbal shrine. Arrangements were made, security was beefed up and under the cover of ordnances and 200 odd guards India paid obeisance at the shrine. As always India was kissed on hands, on cheeks and on forehead by the “Mutawali” (Care Taker) of the shrine who is already well known for the gay acts with one of the Kashmir’s stakeholder with center.

Then India desired to visit the Historical “Ghanta Ghar” (Clock tower) in the city center Lal chowk. The demand had to be fulfilled. It was the master’s orders.

The whole city center was cordoned off before an hour taking all the residents and shop owners by a surprise. The 15 minute visit by India meant an hour long traffic jam in the main shopping hub of Kashmir, high level frisking to the locals and the passerby’s thus irking them and of course jamming mobile networks. India purchased some handicrafts. They forgot the promises.

Even apart from any political personality of India visiting Kashmir, things don’t seem to change any bit. From Ambani’s to the Khans, it’s only a common Kashmiri which has to pay.

In a tourist season a Kashmiri is barred to visit the Pahalgam’s. Why? Just because their King of Bollywood is shooting there under tight vigil and security and a common Kashmiri can’t go that way because the state government has ordered to cordon that area off. A common Kashmiri is no more worth than an alien who enjoys grand security and is welcomed by every possible administrator of the state. Even press conferences are also given under the shade of tight security in the Lalit’s but in between some teenagers are arrested and handcuffed in Public somewhere in the old city. No one can listen to the helpless cries of their mothers and sisters. How can they? They were busy making arrangements for the Khan’s. They forgot their duties.

Not only this year. Same has happened every year when India visits Kashmir. In fact Kashmiri’s are even asked to open their lunch boxes also and when asked why? They say it’s just a routine security check.

Jammed mobile networks and Internet, frisking at every possible corner, traffic jams, sudden cordons and a common Kashmiri caged in his own home.

Yes, this is what happens, When India visits Kashmir! 

More from Sheikh Saaliq on Wonders of Pakistan

The Unmarked Graves Of Kashmir

Sheikh Saaliq is 20. He is the chief editor of a monthly online magazine called The Vox Kashmir, Email: saaliqfayaz@gmail

Visit also his website at  http://WWW.THEVOXKASHMIR.IN

Related Post:

1. Kashmir: World’s Most Dangerous Border
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Siachen: icy graveyard


The army base at Gyari, the highest battalion headquarters in the world, home to some of the estimated 3,000 Pakistani soldiers on Siachen. Here in the Gyari sector, a landslide, a huge mass of ice, buried almost 140 Pkitani soldiers and civilians alive.The disputed Siachen glacier is billed as the world’s highest combat zone, but atrocious weather conditions have claimed more lives than actual fighting. The 77-kilometre-long glacier traverses the Line of Control, the de facto border separating Indian- and Pakistan-controlled Kashmir, at a height of over 6,300 metres. Combat between the nuclear-armed foes has claimed few lives but frostbite, avalanches and driving blizzards, which can sweep men into crevasses, are deadly for the thousands of soldiers deployed there.
The two subcontinental rivals are ought to bury the hatchet and come to good terms with each other. At least on Siachen issue which needs an urgent solution with immediate demilitarization from both sides. Since India was the first one to lead a full-fledged military operation in Siachen, onus lies more on her to demilitarize this region with Pakistan following suit promptly. It should be done without delay not only to break the ice but also for the safety of future generations, who otherwise would likely to bear the brunt of environmental hazards resulting from human military activities in Siachen region.
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SIACHEN

TRAGEDY HITS WORLD’S HIGHEST BATTLE FIELD

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by Nazia Nazar 
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The heart bleeds at the recent Siachen tragedy not because the casualties belong to Pakistan army but also due to the fact that they were all human beings who left behind their families in a state of unending sorrow. Today, the victims are Pakistani soldiers; tomorrow might be horrible for Indian military deployed in Siachen, as you can defeat your enemy but not nature.

Siachen is a place where the militaries of India and Pakistan have been engaged at the altitude of 22,000 ft with severe temperatures hovering around –30° Celsius to –60° C. So, the real battle is against deadly weather that causes to kill more troops than bullets. Evidently, the two armies have lost 4,000 personnel primarily due to frostbite, avalanches and other adverse factors. While the surviving soldiers often suffer hearing, eyesight and memory-loss because of prolonged use of oxygen masks, and many others lose eyes, hands or feet to frostbite.

How enmity has turned a paradise into hell can be observed in Kashmir, but how distrust can push armies to fight for a pit is evident in Siachen, which is nothing but an icy graveyard of soldiers from both sides of the borders.

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Getting real on Siachen


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Siachen has gotten more warped in countless complexities with time. What may have just begun as a pre-emptive up-man-ship between the two competitive neighbours has now developed a life of its own, difficult to shed and difficult to untangle. The only strategic significance thus that needs to be played in the issue of Siachen is the tenuous civilisational future in South Asia. The loss of the 139 soldiers in the Gayari sector of Siachen and the 8000 others that have been lost mostly to elements cry for rectifying a serious strategic miscalculation. It must be righted forthwith.
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SIACHEN

INDIA & PAKISTAN OUGHT TO INVEST IN PROTECTION, PRESERVATION & SUSTENANCE OF A COMMON RESOURCE 

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The follwing oped by Shahzad Chaudhary pin points the ferocity of weather in Siachen which takes its toll from both sides of the warring nations, nations who are battling for the supremacy over Siachen; but are repulsed by its harsh weather. The weather eats up more of  human souls than the two sides lose through inter-country fightimg. The solution?

In a three articles series titled ‘Pakistan – The Largest land of Glaciers’ that I had put up in Jan 2009 issue of this e-magazine, it was suggested thtat the Siachen glacier be  designated as an ‘international peace park’ where two hostile nations could cooperate for the sake of sustainable development. However, this process couldn’t come through and the stalemete continues till date. Rivalries apart, the weather over Siachen continues to take its toll. The recent icy landslide that buried about 140 Pakistanis in this frigid graveyard should be an eye opener for both India and Pakistan to withdraw their forces from this cold hell and declare instead Siachen as an inter-national peace park.

With the current optimism prevailing in Islamabad and New Delhi, let Siachen be the first to turn from a bone of conetention to a zone of perception. Perception which may further pave the way for a peaceloving, forward looking, progressive Subcontinent than the current morbid, antagonistic and backtracking South Asian region. [Nayyar] (more…)

Defrosting needed


 It wasn’t grenades or bullets that took the lives of over 100 Pakistanis on the world’s highest battlefield. It was the elements. According to reports 124 soldiers and 11 civilians were buried alive under an 80 ft avalanche spanning almost a mile at Siachen glacier along the Indian border. The soldiers were posted at the Gyari sector of the glacier at an elevation of around 16,000 feet. As rescuers look for survivors they are braving temperatures that can plummet to as low as -95 grees Fahrenheit (-70C). The severity of the weather is quite ironic for a place whose name means “Place with many roses” in the Balti language. The Siachen conflict started in 1984, when Indian troops wrested control of the glacier during Operation Meghdoot.

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FUTILITY OF THE BATTLES OVER A FRIGID GRAVEYARD

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The News Editorial

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A procession of dignitaries have now made their way to the site of the tragedy which took the lives of about 140 soldiers and civilians at Gayari on the Siachen glacier. Chief of Army Staff General Kayani has visited the site and so have President Zardari and the PML-N’s Nawaz Sharif. No survivors have been found and there are no reports as yet of any bodies being found either. There can now be no expectation of there being any survivors.

Teams of local and foreign experts are at the site and there has been considerable international support for the rescue and recovery effort. Whilst the President and COAS are duty-bound to make a visit, for Nawaz Sharif this was also a political occasion. He at least cut back on the pomp and protocol and was met by a small delegation of the party faithful at Skardu airport. He distributed cheques of Rs0.5 million to the families of the missing soldiers and made a call through the assembled media for the governments of India and Pakistan to withdraw troops stationed on the glacier, and resolve the dispute by dialogue. Stressing that Pakistan should take the lead in the matter, he said he intended to hold talks with India to this end. But it is unclear where his mandate to do so comes from.

Any formal diplomatic effort he may make would have to have the agreement of the sitting government, the Foreign Office and the Army — none of which appear to be forthcoming.

The battle for Siachen is fought more with the geography and the elements than it is between the forces of India and Pakistan; and the geography and the elements win more often than not. In purely military terms neither side can ‘win’ on Siachen.

The dispute goes back to 1984, when India occupied high ground in the Saltoro range. We failed to dislodge them and both sides have doggedly stuck to their positions ever since — as one commentator drily observed recently it is like two bald men fighting over a comb.

There have been 12 rounds of talks since 1985, the most recent in May 2011, and agreement has been close at least once but it was not to be. The Kargil episode did not help matters either and wrangles over the details of any agreement that would see disengagement constantly bedevil negotiations. Notwithstanding all of that a line has to be drawn, both literally and metaphorically, under the Siachen conflict. A gradual defrosting of relations between us may edge Siachen up the ‘to-do’ list with a better chance of resolution than previously.

There is little to gain by hanging on to miles of high-altitude ice, but a great deal to be gained by honourably disengaging so that there never has to be another event such as that at Gayari, now a frigid graveyard.

Sharif may have the right idea but not the necessary permissions, and it is time for those that do to exercise them.

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DO NOT UNDERESTIMATE THE POWER OF YOUR COMMENT

Wonders of Pakistan supports freedom of expression and this commitment extends to our readers as well. Constraints however, apply in case of a violation of WoP Comments Policy. We also moderate hate speech, libel and gratuitous insults.
We at Wonders of Pakistan use copyrighted material the use of which may not have always been specifically authorized by the copyright owner. We make such material available to our readers under the provisions of “fair use” only. If you wish to use copyrighted material for purposes other than “fair use” you must request permission from the copyright owner.
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