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Posts Tagged ‘Kashmir’

Pakistani Soldiers Behead Indian Soldiers at Line Of Control

January 15, 2013 1 comment

For 60-years now, India and Pakistan have been trying to gain a better position at nearly 200 points on the LoC. What can India do now?

The India-Pakistan Line-of-Control (LoC) in Kashmir, has seen some military actions from both sides in recent weeks.

Media goes to war

The defining output from Indian media on the military action at LoC has been the following two stories.

It is a sign of India’s maturing media, that global media has used these two stories to figure out the ‘real’ reasons for this bout of border escalations.

While it may fit the Government of India objectives if passive sections of Indian media blames Pakistan, equally it would be aimless if the liberal-media blames India for the latest escalation.

India needs to indulge in show-piece talks for international diplomacy reasons. Who in Pakistan will India talk to? Is anyone in-charge of Pakistan?  |  Ajit Ninan in Pune Mirror on January 15, 2013

India needs to indulge in show-piece talks for international diplomacy reasons. Who in Pakistan will India talk to? Is anyone in-charge of Pakistan? | Ajit Ninan in Pune Mirror on January 15, 2013

War and Peace

Yes, as of now it is only an escalation – and not a war. War with Pakistan is the most unlikely outcome.

Like it has been pointed out in previous posts, Pakistan does not have the financial capability, the war matériel, leave alone India, to fight a war with anyone.

Except maybe Maldives.

Above all, it is highly doubtful, if Pakistan has enough soldiers, who have the stomach to fight a war against India. Remember, Pakistan could muster no more than one thousand soldiers to take on India in Kargil.

Over the last 35 years, Pakistan’s capacity to meaningfully wage war against India has degraded.

Phoren Maal

If there is a rape in Delhi, we need Saudi justice.

If we lose two soldiers at the India-Pakistan border, we need to learn from Israel.

Our so-called experts in mainstream media and dominant voices in social media display their rank ineptitude, when they can only respond with such empty statements.

Western war narratives have little relevance to India, as we live in a different context. It is received Western wisdom that nuclear powers do not fight wars with each other. Yet, India has fought five wars (1948, 1962, 1965, 1971, Kargil) and shares borders with two de facto nuclear powers – China and Pakistan.

No other country in the world shares a border with two nuclear powers.

So, What’s Going on?

Across the nearly 800-kilometres border in Kashmir, in some places Indian and Pakistani soldiers are less than 50 metres apart.

For more than 60-years now, each side has tried to gain a better position at more than 200 strategic points on the LoC. The most famous such position is the Siachen glacier – which India regained and now controls at tremendous costs. It is unlikely that either side will stop jockeying for better positions on the LoC.

So, low-level conflict will continue.

India must now be prepared for small petty escalations by Pakistans  |  Kirtish Bhatt on September 23, 2010

India must now be prepared for small petty escalations by Pakistans | Kirtish Bhatt on September 23, 2010

Indian Options

War with Pakistan is not needed – or an answer. Any war with Pakistan will quickly mean:

  1. International intervention
  2. Achievement of Indian military objectives, if limited
  3. Nuclear response from Pakistan, if India threatens Pakistan’s existence.

Aggressive actions at LoC will be enough. Since, Pakistan’s airforce is practically non-operational, a precision air-strafing exercise by Indian airforce will be ideal.

There will be a Pakistani response.

With a tit-for-tat bombing raid by Pakistan Airforce. Pakistan may also decide to use some of their HATF missiles. If an Indian missile defence can stage a shoot down of Pakistani fighter or a missile, it will be an ideal military response that will test Indian missile systems in real war conditions.

India’s development of air-response during the Kargil war, a first  in air-warfare, is going to be very useful to India.

Pakistan-Afghanistan Border Region  |  Image source & courtesy - longwarjournal.org

Pakistan-Afghanistan Border Region | Image source & courtesy – longwarjournal.org

What does this mean?

With Obama on course to pull out troops from Afghanistan, there has been renewed threats being muttered from Pakistan.

Is this the time for India to make some points with Pakistan?

With Taliban making mayhem on the Pakistan’s North-Western Federally Administered Tribal Area (FATA), any actions by India on the Pakistan LoC, will keep Pakistan in check from meddling in Afghanistan – or in Kashmir.

This is also good time for India to rattle Pakistan, while China is preoccupied with Japan. While US is warm towards India, as it seeks to check China – and disillusioned with Pakistan.

Did anyone notice that this Pakistani provocation happened after the India-Pakistan cricket series – and after the Pakistan team reached home.


Kargil War: The Forgotten Victory

December 17, 2012 2 comments

Kargil War Forgotten: Fought over 3 months; longer than the three previous India-Pakistan wars (1948, 1965, 1971). Combined.

A battery of Bofors guns in operation during the Kargil War.  |  These 155-mm guns proved to be highly useful.   Image source & courtesy - outlookindia.com

A battery of Bofors guns in operation during the Kargil War. | These 155-mm guns proved to be highly useful. Image source & courtesy – outlookindia.com

I

n the Kargil War (May 3-July 26, 1999), Pakistan made an extremely limited military probe, with around 1000 soldiers, to take Kargil heights. The Kargil War dragged on for nearly 3 months – longer than the three previous wars (1948, 1965, 1971) with Pakistan, combined.

It is a war that India has forgotten – but has many important lessons.

The scene of operations in the Drass-Kargil-Batalik sector

The scene of operations in the Drass-Kargil-Batalik sector

Vital Questions

These 1000-odd Pakistani soldiers were sent on a mission without infantry support, or air cover.

Adequately protected by snow-covered Himalayan heights, Pakistan’s probing attack on Kargil tested the importance of nuclear deterrence and the resolve of the BJP Government.

The Kargil War raised some important questions.

  1. Would India start a conventional war against a nuclear Pakistan?
  2. Is it that Pakistan could not get more than 1,000 soldiers to fight against India?
  3. Why did Pakistan not support its soldiers with air-cover?

Probably, Pakistan’s Kargil misadventure points towards Pakistan’s inability to fight any kind of war against India.

Sino-Pak JF-17 fighter  |  Image source & courtesy - military-today.com

Sino-Pak JF-17 fighter | Image source & courtesy – military-today.com

PAF’s Slow Degrade

Over the years, especially in the last 25 years, the ability of Pakistan’s Airforce (PAF) to mount any challenge to Indian Airforce (IAF) has been severely degraded.

A combination of global sanctions and Pakistan’s financial situation has stopped Pakistan from buying spares, or replacing obsolete aircraft.

Of the 400-odd aircraft that Pakistan has, more than a 100 are old Mirage aircraft. Many of these were discarded aircraft, bought from Australia and Libya – also from France and Lebanon.

Bofors in action during the Kargil war. Lakhs of artillery rounds were used and guns worked well.  |  AFP PHOTO/TAUSEEF MUSTAFA

Bofors in action during the Kargil war. Lakhs of artillery rounds were used and guns worked well. | AFP PHOTO/TAUSEEF MUSTAFA

PAF Grounded

America will not supply Pakistan with fighters or adequate spares for the F-16 aircraft already in PAF service.

Instead, Pakistan is buying China’s JF-17/FC-1 Thunder fighter-aircraft that needs Russian RD-93 engines to fly (variant of MiG-29’s RD-33 engine). China needs Russian permission to sell Russian engines in the JF-17/FC-1 Thunder. It is unlikely that Russia will pass up a peacetime business opportunity of selling jet-engines to Pakistan.

But in a war situation, Russia is unlikely to supply spares and engines to Pakistan.

When PAF Was In Better Shape

In the 1965 War situation, Pakistan was part of the CENTO and SEATO alliance, armed by the US with the US F-104 Starfighters, F-86 Sabres that were significantly superior to Indian Airforce (IAF).

Comprising of Vampires of WWII vintage, the French Mirage Mysteres, the Anglo-Hawker Hunters and Canberras or the Anglo-Gnats, the IAF went into the 1965 War at a disadvantage. By the 1971 War, the IAF had re-configured tactics, using numbers, altitude to overwhelm the Sabres with inferior Gnats – starting with the airfight at Boyra.

Compared to the nearly 10,000 Sabres that were manufactured world-wide, less than 450 Gnats were built; mostly bought by Indians. The Yugoslavs bought second-hand F-86s in preference to the Gnats. The RAF itself did not buy Gnat for any conflict role – but only for aerobatic, trainer usage.

Indian soldiers in Kashmir; operating the Bofors guns.

Indian soldiers in Kashmir; operating the Bofors guns.

Pulling Away

In the last 25 years, India has steadily drawn ahead of Pakistan, to point of no-comparison.

When US sanctions were imposed in 1990, both the PAF and the Indian Air Force were second-generation air forces. No real-time surveillance capability, no air-to-air refuelling capability, no airborne early warning capability, no beyond-visual-range-capability, no stand-off weapon capability. However, after 13 years of sanctions, India had all the above and Pakistan had none until about three or four years ago. This is the gap (2006 – Chief of Air Staff, Air Chief Marshal Kaleem Saadat – in an interview to Jane’s Defence Weekly).

The first proof of Pakistan’s crippled armed forces was on display in the Kargil War. Designed to provoke, the benefit to Pakistan from Kargil was to gauge Indian resolve. The Indian response during the Kargil War, in turn was also limited to evicting this military probe from the heights that overlooked the Srinagar highway.

BM-21 multi-barrel rocket launcher mortar firing at Tiger Hill in the Kargil War

BM-21 multi-barrel rocket launcher mortar firing at Tiger Hill in the Kargil War

War in Himalayas

The Kargil War between India and Pakistan, waged in the disputed and mountainous Kashmir region in mid-1999, rates as the highest-elevation conflict in air war history. The clash lasted 74 days and cost more than 1,000 killed and wounded on each side. Though a blank to most Westerners, the Indian Air Force (IAF) experience was a milestone, providing insights into uses of airpower in extremely demanding combat settings.

The Western profile of this war is low, receding to the vanishing point.

The seeds of war were planted in March 1999, when units of the Pakistani Army’s Northern Light Infantry (NLI) crossed the so-called line of control (LOC) into India’s portion of contested Kashmir in the Himalayas. From this new vantage point, Pakistani troops overlooked the Indian town of Kargil.

The LOC that separates the Indian- and Pakistani-held portions of Kashmir bisects some of the world’s highest and most forbidding terrain. Because of dangerous weather, the Indian Army, in harsh winter months, routinely vacated inhospitable forward outposts that it normally manned.

Too Much Jawboning

When the Indians withdrew in the late winter months of 1999, however, Pakistan mounted an infiltration that sought to make the most of this opportunity.

As many as 1,000 troops of the NLI, moving by foot and helicopter, crossed the line. It was a stealthy success; the NLI troops managed to unobtrusively establish a new forward line six miles deep into Indian-controlled territory. On May 3, they were finally spotted by local shepherds.

Then, in the first week of May 1999, the Indian Army units that had formerly manned the outposts began returning to their stations. It was at that point that they came face-to-face with the fact that NLI troops had moved in and were prepared to fight.

At first, embarrassed Indian Army leaders were bound and determined to turn back the Pakistan incursion all by themselves. Thus commenced several exchanges of fire. However, there was no change in the situation on the ground.

Checked for days by Pakistani forces, Indian Army leaders on May 11 finally approached the IAF for help. The Indian Army wanted the IAF to provide close air support with its armed helicopters. The IAF responded that the high terrain over which the requested support was to be provided lay well above the effective operating envelope of its attack helicopters and that the use of fixed wing fighters would be required if the Army really needed assistance.

The Army for days persisted in demanding use of attack helicopters alone. The IAF no less adamantly declined to accede to that demand.

Because of this back and forth jawboning, some later complained the IAF had refused to cooperate and, in the end, was forced into the campaign against its will.

In fact, the IAF at the early date of May 10 had begun conducting reconnaissance missions over the Kargil heights. It also at that time forward deployed IAF combat aircraft in numbers sufficient to support any likely tasking, established a rudimentary air defense control arrangement, and began practicing air-to-ground weapon deliveries at Himalayan elevations.

On May 12, as interservice deliberations to establish an agreed campaign plan continued, an IAF helicopter was fired upon near the most forward based of the NLI positions. That hostile act was enough to prompt the IAF to place Western Air Command on alert and establish quick-reaction aircraft launch facilities at the IAF’s most northern operating locations.

The next day, IAF Jaguar fighter aircraft launched on a tactical reconnaissance mission to gather target information. At the same time, the IAF established a direction center for the tactical control of combat aircraft; it was located at Leh, the IAF’s highest-elevation airfield.

Concurrently, Canberra PR57 and MiG-25R reconnaissance aircraft were pressed into service, and electronic intelligence missions started in the vicinity of the NLI intrusion.

The IAF sent a Canberra to conduct reconnaissance of the area overlooking Kargil. It descended to 22,000 feet and entered a racetrack pattern that put the aircraft as low as 4,000 feet above the ridgelines. The Canberra was hit in its right engine by a Chinese-made Anza infrared surface-to-air missile. The Indian pilot brought the airplane in for a safe emergency landing.

On May 14, the IAF activated its air operations center for Kashmir and mobilized its fighter units in that sector for an all-out air counteroffensive. Such activities attested to the IAF’s clear expectation that it would engage the intruders to the fullest once its final role was settled upon.

After much back and forth between the IAF and Indian Army over the character and extent of air support IAF would provide, the Army finally acceded to the IAF’s insistence on using fixed wing fighters. This cleared the way for the air force to enter the fight.

In a key May 25 meeting chaired by Indian Prime Minister Atal B. Vajpayee, the Indian Army Chief outlined the seriousness of the situation and the need for the IAF to step in without further delay. At that, the Prime Minister said: “OK, get started tomorrow at dawn.”

The Air Chief agreed that the IAF would attack only those Pakistani targets that were dug in on India’s side of the line of control. However, he requested permission for his aircraft, in the course of its operations, to fly across the LOC. Vajpayee said no; there would be no crossing of the LOC.

With that rule of engagement firmly stipulated by the civilian leadership, the die was finally cast for full-scale IAF involvement. The stage was set for Operation Vijay (Hindi for “victory”), as the joint campaign was code-named.

Kinetic air operations began at 6:30 a.m. on May 26, three weeks after the infiltration into Indian-controlled territory was detected. The opening salvo comprised six attacks by MiG-21s, MiG-23s, and MiG-27s against NLI targets. It was the first time IAF pilots had dropped bombs in anger since its Vampire fighters destroyed Pakistani bunkers in the same Kargil area 28 years earlier, in the 1971 Indo-Pakistani War.

Pakistan chose to keep its F-16s out of the fight.

Deadly Lessons Learned Quickly

Nearly all targets attacked were on or near Himalayan ridgelines at elevations ranging from 16,000 to 18,000 feet. The stark backdrop of rocks and snow complicated target acquisition, already made difficult by the small size of the NLI positions in a vast and undifferentiated snow background. That unique terrain feature, as seen from a cockpit, inspired the code name given to the IAF’s campaign—Operation Safed Sagar, or “White Sea.”

In the second day of air operations, the IAF lost two fighters. One, a MiG-27, suffered engine failure while coming off a target. After two unsuccessful attempts at an airstart, the pilot ejected, only to be captured. He was repatriated on June 3.

The second, a MiG-21, sustained an infrared SAM hit while its pilot was flying over the terrain at low level, assisting in the search for the downed MiG-27 pilot. Its pilot also ejected, but he was not as lucky as the first pilot. He was captured, then reportedly brutalized and executed.

On the third day of operations, an armed Mi-17 helicopter, introduced to the fight reluctantly by the IAF to placate India’s Army leaders, was downed by a shoulder-fired SAM while providing low-level fire support. The crash killed all four crew members.

In conducting these early attacks, IAF officers quickly relearned what the Israelis had learned at great cost during the October 1973 War, when Egyptian and Syrian SAMs and anti-aircraft artillery had downed nearly a third of the Israeli Air Force’s fighter inventory (102 aircraft in all) before Israel managed to pull out a victory in the war’s latter stages.

Badly bloodied, the Indian Air Force called a halt to further use of armed helicopters and directed that future fighter attacks would be conducted from above the lethal envelopes of enemy man-portable SAMs. Afterward, not a single Indian fixed wing aircraft was lost to enemy fire.

Whenever ground attack operations were under way, Western Air Command put MiG-29s on combat air patrol stations to keep the Pakistani Air Force (PAF) out of the fray. Pakistan’s F-16As typically maintained their CAP stations at a safe distance, 10 to 20 miles away from the line of control.

By the time air operations reached full swing, the IAF had forward deployed some 60 of its best fighters to support the campaign. As they awaited tasking, committed squadrons initiated special training aimed at better acclimating their pilots to night attacks under moonlit conditions. Such combat operations over high mountainous terrain at night had never before been attempted by the IAF.

Because of the rudimentary bomb sights on their MiG-21, MiG-23, and MiG-27 aircraft, IAF pilots typically achieved only limited effectiveness when attempting to provide close air support.

Accordingly, India’s Air Chief decided on May 30, just four days into the campaign, to enlist Mirage 2000H fighters capable of delivering laser guided bombs. By June 12, the Mirages were ready to commence precision strike operations.

On June 17, the clash reached a turning point. A strike package of Mirage 2000Hs destroyed the NLI’s main logistics camp with unguided 1,000-pound bombs delivered in high-angle dive attacks using the aircrafts’ computer-assisted weapon aiming capability.

The war reached a second milestone on June 24, when an element of Mirage 2000Hs, in the IAF’s first-ever combat use of LGBs, destroyed the NLI’s command bunkers on Tiger Hill with two 1,000-pound Paveway II LGBs. In these attacks, the target was acquired through the Litening pod’s electro-optical imaging sensor at about nine miles out, with weapons release occurring at a slant range of about five miles and the aircraft then turning away while continuing to mark the target with a laser spot.

On June 29, the Indian Army captured two vital posts on the high ridgelines. On July 2, it launched a massive attack. It finally recaptured the important NLI outpost on Tiger Hill on July 4, after an exhausting 11-hour battle in which the attackers climbed fixed ropes at night and in freezing rain to scale vertical mountain faces 1,000 feet high.

By July 26, Indian forces had reclaimed a majority of their seized outposts and driven NLI occupiers back to their own side of the LOC.

The IAF’s contribution to Operation Vijay lasted two months. IAF fighters had flown more than 1,700 sorties, including about 40 at night during the campaign’s last weeks. In the final tally, the Indian Army suffered 527 troops killed in action and 1,363 soldiers wounded. The NLI losses were not announced, but they were at least equal to India’s.

The Indian Army and IAF were both key players in a joint campaign; it would be hard to select one as the pivotal force. From a simple weight-of-effort perspective, artillery was the main source of fire support. The Army fired more than 250,000 rounds. One assessment said that this sustained laydown of fire was the most intense seen anywhere since World War II.

In contrast to this “profligacy in the use of artillery in a carpet-bombing mode,” as the campaign’s air component commander later called it, the IAF dropped only around 500 bombs. Most were effective against their assigned targets.

Close air support was a source of frustration for the IAF. The small and well-concealed NLI positions in the Himalayas were nothing like conventional targets that fighters typically engage in supporting friendly ground operations.

The IAF’s CAS efforts were hampered by numerous constraints on their freedom of action. New Delhi’s refusal to countenance crossings of the LOC was a limiting factor. Fighters were forced to use tactics featuring ingress and egress headings that were not optimal or, in many cases, even safe.

Man-portable SAMs used by Pakistan had a slant range sufficient to require the IAF’s pilots to remain 6,000 to 8,000 feet above the ridgelines to remain safely outside their threat envelopes. This degraded weapon delivery accuracies.

At such extreme elevations, the IAF’s munitions did not perform as they did at lower release altitudes. The reduced air temperature and density altered drag indices and other performance parameters that had never before been calculated for such conditions. Weapons did not guide as predicted. IAF pilots had to adapt through real-time improvisation.

The stark terrain folds tended to obscure the enemy from aerial observation and to mask the effects of bomb detonations, rendering even near misses all but ineffective. They further served to canalize aerial approaches to targets, dictating ingress and egress headings and, in the process, rendering IAF fighters more predictable and susceptible to ground fire.

NLI positions in deep ravines were often immune to effective attacks by pilots attempting dive deliveries when their LOC-driven roll-in points were not tactically ideal.

The IAF rode a steep learning curve as pilots adapted to unfamiliar conditions. MiG-21 pilots lacking sophisticated onboard avionics suites resorted to the use of stopwatches and Global Positioning System receivers to conduct night interdiction bombing.

Another example: The IAF took to choosing weapon impact points that would create avalanches over NLI supply lines.

The IAF pioneered what has since come to be called nontraditional intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance. It was the first to use electro-optical and infrared imaging targeting pods for high-resolution aerial reconnaissance.

The Kargil Experience

The IAF expended only two LGBs because it had so few in stock and because few targets merited use of such an important and costly munition. Still, even this limited use dramatically altered the campaign’s dynamics.

After the successful LGB attacks, targeting pod imagery showed enemy troops abandoning their positions at the very sound of approaching fighters. Troop diaries later recovered by Indian Army units attested to the demoralization caused by the IAF’s attacks, especially when precision munitions were introduced.

Much of the IAF’s improved combat effectiveness over time resulted from replacing classic manual dive bombing by MiG-23s and MiG-27s with more accurate GPS-aided level bombing from safer altitudes. Once the Mirage 2000H was introduced, the accuracy of unguided bomb deliveries increased even further, thanks to the aircraft’s much-improved onboard avionics suite.

A major joint-arena shortcoming highlighted by the Kargil experience was the total absence of candid communication between the Indian Army and IAF immediately following the initial detection of the NLI incursion. That failure was a remarkable foreshadowing of US Central Command’s similarly flawed Operation Anaconda in Afghanistan three years later, in which the land component likewise sought to go it alone at first, with the air component having been brought in just in time to help ensure a satisfactory outcome in the end.

Once the Indian Army and IAF resolved their disagreements, harmony prevailed.

In the going-in front-line fighter balance, India enjoyed a marked 750-to-350 advantage over Pakistan. Pakistan’s fleet of some 30 F-16s was greatly outclassed by the IAF’s 145 high-performance aircraft (MiG-29s, Mirage 2000Hs, and Su-30s). That asymmetry may well have been decisive in keeping the PAF out of the fight.

However, Pakistan maintained the initiative for most of the Kargil War. Both the nature of the challenge the IAF faced in the Himalayan heights and the targeting requirements that ensued from it dictated a suboptimal use of India’s air weapon.

The IAF’s combat experience showed that innovation and adaptability under the stress of confining rules of engagement is a hallmark of modern airmanship. It attested to the fact that professionalism in campaign planning, presentation of forces, and accommodating to new and unique tactical challenges is scarcely a monopoly of more familiar Western air arms.

The experience demonstrated yet again that effective use of air-delivered firepower can generate success in a conflict that might otherwise have persisted indefinitely with less conclusive results.

Ben Lambeth is a senior fellow at the Center for Strategic and Budgetary Assessments. He is the author of The Transformation of American Air Power (2000), which won the Air Force Association’s Gil Robb Wilson Award for Arts and Letters in 2001. His most recent article for Air Force Magazine was “Behind Israel’s 2006 War with Hezbollah,” in September 2011.

Air War at the Top of the World.


The Kashmir Story: A Western Narrative

September 20, 2012 2 comments

Western academia and media has little difficulty in justifying military invasions of countries like Libya, Iraq, Afghanistan – but see moral issues with India’s annexation of Kashmir.

On January 25, 1957, Kashmir was merged with India, ignoring a UN ruling. Harold Macmillan, Selwyn Lloyd, Richard Austen Butler hectoring Nehru on Kashmir. Dag is Dag Hammersjold, the UN Secretary General.  |  Cartoonist: Michael Cummings in Daily Express, 28 Jan 1957; source & courtesy - cartoons.ac.uk

On January 25, 1957, Kashmir was merged with India, ignoring a UN ruling. Harold Macmillan, Selwyn Lloyd, Richard Austen Butler hectoring Nehru on Kashmir. Dag is Dag Hammersjold, the UN Secretary General. | Cartoonist: Michael Cummings in Daily Express, 28 Jan 1957; source & courtesy – cartoons.ac.uk

Abdullah, the Lion of Kashmir as he enjoyed being styled, was a Muslim leader who, like Badshah Khan in the North-West Frontier Province, had been an ally of Congress in the years of struggle against the Raj, and become the most prominent opponent of the maharajah in the Valley of Kashmir. There his party, the National Conference, had adopted a secular platform in which local communists played some role, seeking independence for Kashmir as the ‘Switzerland of Asia’. But when partition came, Abdullah made no case of this demand. For some years he had bonded emotionally with Nehru, and when fighting broke out in Kashmir in the autumn of 1947, he was flown out from Srinagar to Delhi by military aircraft and lodged in Nehru’s house, where he took part in planning the Indian takeover, to which he was essential. Two days later, the maharajah – now safely repaired to Jammu – announced in a backdated letter to Mountbatten, drafted by his Indian minders, that he would install Abdullah as his prime minister.

Does Pakistan have any legitimate claim to any further territory or people  |  ZAHOOR'S CARTOON on Wednesday, July 13, 2005; source & courtesy: dailytimes.com.pk

Does Pakistan have any legitimate claim to any further territory or people | ZAHOOR’S CARTOON on Wednesday, July 13, 2005; source & courtesy: dailytimes.com.pk

For the next five years, Abdullah ruled the Valley of Kashmir and Jammu under the shield of the Indian army, with no authority other than his reluctant appointment by a feudatory he despised and Delhi soon discarded. At the outset, Nehru believed his friend’s popularity capable of carrying all before it. When subsequent intelligence indicated otherwise, talk of a plebiscite to ratify it ceased. Abdullah enjoyed genuine support in his domain, but how wide it was, or how deep, was not something Congress was prepared to bank on. Nor, it soon became clear, was Abdullah himself willing to put it to the test. No doubt acutely aware that Badshah Khan, with a much stronger popular base, had lost just such a referendum in the North-West Frontier Province, he rejected any idea of one. No elections were held until 1951, when voters were finally summoned to the polls for a Constituent Assembly. Less than 5 per cent of the nominal electorate cast a ballot, but otherwise the results could not have been improved in Paraguay or Bulgaria. The National Conference and its clients won all 75 seats – 73 of them without a contest. A year later Abdullah announced the end of the Dogra dynasty and an agreement with Nehru that reserved special rights for Kashmir and Jammu, limiting the powers of the centre, within the Indian Union. But no constitution emerged, and not even the maharajah’s son, regent since 1949, was removed, instead simply becoming head of state.

There is an increasing level of noise in Pakistan, that a 'Kashmir solution' was nearly finalized with India. Does this mean, that Pakistanis coming to terms with realities?  |  Cartoon by Jimmy Margulies.

There is an increasing level of noise in Pakistan, that a ‘Kashmir solution’ was nearly finalized with India. Does this mean, that Pakistanis coming to terms with realities? | Cartoon by Jimmy Margulies.

By now, however, Delhi was becoming uneasy about the regime it had set up in Srinagar. In power, Abdullah’s main achievement had been an agrarian reform putting to shame Congress’s record of inaction on the land. But its political condition of possibility was confessional: the expropriated landlords were Hindu, the peasants who benefited Muslim. The National Conference could proclaim itself secular, but its policies on the land and in government employment catered to the interests of its base, which had always been in Muslim-majority areas, above all the Valley of Kashmir. Jammu, which after ethnic cleansing by Dogra forces in 1947 now had a Hindu majority, was on the receiving end of Abdullah’s system, subjected to an unfamiliar repression. Enraged by this reversal, the newly founded Jana Sangh in India joined forces with the local Hindu party, the Praja Parishad, in a violent campaign against Abdullah, who was charged with heading not only a communal Muslim but a communist regime in Srinagar. In the summer of 1953, the Indian leader of this agitation, S.P. Mookerjee, was arrested crossing the border into Jammu, and promptly expired in a Kashmiri jail.

Pakistan's Faustian Deal with British-American clique has harmed Pakistan more than they have been able to harm Pakistan  |  Cartoon by Zahoor on February 15, 2011, in tribune.com.pk

Pakistan’s Faustian Deal with British-American clique has harmed Pakistan more than they have been able to benefit Pakistan | Cartoon by Zahoor on February 15, 2011, in tribune.com.pk

This was too much for Delhi. Mookerjee had, after all, been Nehru’s confederate in not dissimilar Hindu agitation to lock down the partition of Bengal, and was rewarded with a cabinet post. Although since then he had been an opponent of the Congress regime, he was still a member in reasonably good standing of the Indian political establishment. Abdullah, moreover, was now suspected of recidivist hankering for an independent Kashmir. The Intelligence Bureau had little difficulty convincing Nehru that he had become a liability, and overnight he was dismissed by the stripling heir to the Dogra throne he had so complacently made head of state, and thrown into an Indian jail on charges of sedition. His one-time friend behind bars, Nehru installed the next notable down in the National Conference, Bakshi Gulam Mohammed, in his place. Brutal and corrupt, Bakshi’s regime – widely known as BBC: the Bakshi Brothers Corporation – depended entirely on the Indian security apparatus. After ten years, in which his main achievement was to do away with any pretence that Kashmir was other than ‘an integral part of the Union of India’, Bakshi’s reputation had become a liability to Delhi, and he was summarily ousted in turn, to be replaced after a short interval by another National Conference puppet, this time a renegade communist, G.M. Sadiq, whose no less repressive regime proceeded to wind up the party altogether, dissolving it into Congress.

Abdullah, meanwhile, sat in an Indian prison for 12 years, eventually on charges of treason, with two brief intermissions in 1958 and 1964. During the second of these, he held talks with Nehru in Delhi and Ayub Khan in Rawalpindi, just before Nehru died, but was then rearrested for having had the temerity to meet Zhou Enlai in Algiers. A troubled Nehru had supposedly been willing to contemplate some loosening of the Indian grip on the Valley; much sentimentality has been expended on this lost opportunity for a better settlement in Kashmir, tragically frustrated by Nehru’s death. But the reality is that Nehru, having seized Kashmir by force in 1947, had rapidly discovered that Abdullah and his party were neither as popular nor as secular as he had imagined, and that he could hold his prey only by an indefinite military occupation with a façade of collaborators, each less satisfactory than the last. The ease with which the National Conference was manipulated to Indian ends, as Abdullah was discarded for Bakshi, and Bakshi for Sadiq, made it clear how relatively shallow an organisation it had, despite appearances, always been. By the end of his life, Nehru would have liked a more presentable fig-leaf for Indian rule, but that he had any intention of allowing free expression of the popular will in Kashmir can be excluded: he could never afford to do so. He had shown no compunction in incarcerating on trumped-up charges the ostensible embodiment of the ultimate legitimacy of Indian conquest of the region, and no hesitation in presiding over subcontracted tyrannies of whose nature he was well aware. When an anguished admirer from Jammu pleaded with him not to do so, he replied that the national interest was more important than democracy: ‘We have gambled on the international stage on Kashmir, and we cannot afford to lose. At the moment we are there at the point of a bayonet. Till things improve, democracy and morality can wait.’ Sixty years later the bayonets are still there, democracy nowhere in sight.

via Perry Anderson · After Nehru · LRB 2 August 2012.


India’s gift to PoK!

November 22, 2010 5 comments
(.Cartoonist - Shyam Jagota; Courtesy - http://virup.wordpress.com). Click for larger image.

(Cartoonist - Shyam Jagota; Courtesy - http://virup.wordpress.com). Click for larger image.

Azaad Kashmir – Take Arundhati Roy

Would Arundhati Roy live in Azaad Kashmir-PoK? Will Azaad Kashmir be, is it better, than India?

If the answer is yes, she is welcome to go there. If not, why does she want others to be part of that hell? Remember, many Communists from Britain and USA actually migrated to the ‘Promised Paradise’ of Soviet Russia. Arundhati should follow her own advice!

Go to Azaad Kashmir in PoK.

Confronting Pakistan’s official narrative

November 15, 2010 1 comment

An average student exposed to 12 years of Pakistan Studies basically learns how to blame everything bad that happens in Pakistan on the proverbial Hindu conspiracy. Partition is depicted as a triumph of the Muslim mind and collective will in the face of almost insurmountable Hindu intransigence. Subsequently, the Hindus have conspired with just about everyone else to undermine Pakistan (by launching three wars of aggression and initiating other direct and indirect assaults against Pakistan’s core interests).

It would be one thing if the distortion of facts was the only problem with this narrative. More lethal is the effect of such ‘learning’ on the working of the mind. The ‘hate-Hindus’ story simply does not tally with what students are made to believe was the logic for creating Pakistan in the first place. Yet this basic contradiction is never confronted. In all of my time as a teacher I have found very few students who have been able to reconcile the fact that Pakistan was ostensibly conceived to allow Muslims the peace of mind and opportunities for independent development which they apparently lacked in a united India with the persistence of the ‘Hindu threat’ after partition.

In other words, if it was necessary to create Pakistan to free Muslims from majoritarian tyranny then why has the sovereign state of Pakistan been unable to build a future for itself free from the spectre of Indian hegemony? If one argues, as our establishment intellectuals do, that India’s evil designs have prevented Pakistan from moving beyond the bitter legacy of Hindu-Muslim rivalry in the last few decades of British rule, then surely these intellectuals made a mess of their prediction that all would be well once the Muslim mass secured a separate country for itself. (read more via Pol Eco, NOS, The News International).

The ‘official’ Pakistani narrative of history is full of holes – just like India’s. Indian history after more than 60 years of British departure, remains mired in colonial conclusions – with a Congressi overlay.

Those who control the past, control the future, said a British colonial writer. Changing Indian history is possibly more important for the world – as it is for India itself.

Deoband talks of Kashmir

October 26, 2010 7 comments
Maybe the the fighting is more important than the cause ... (Cartoon courtesy - The Banglaore Mirror; Posted On Thursday, August 27, 2009 at 07:03:08 PM)

Maybe the the fighting is more important than the cause ... (Cartoon courtesy - The Banglaore Mirror; Posted On Thursday, August 27, 2009 at 07:03:08 PM)

This is the first time JuH has taken up the Kashmir issue. The resolution stressed, “We don’t consider interests of the Kashmiri people to be separate from the interests of Indian Muslims.” It also called all like-minded people and organisations to campaign for peace and justice in Kashmir and “thwart enemy forces bent upon disintegration of Kashmir”.

When asked why were they silent so long, All India Muslim Personal Law Board’s Kamal Farooqui said, “Muslims were not comfortable talking about Kashmir for fear of getting branded and harassment by police and intelligence agencies.”

Asked about the prospect of resolution of the Kashmir issue, he said, “The country is in a reconciliatory mood, be it on J&K or Ayodhya. So, reconciliation within the Indian Constitution is the way out. An overwhelming section of Kashmiris want it, too. Which stupid person would want to go with Pakistan?” (Via : Jammu & Kashmir’s future with India: Deoband – The Times of India).

Deoband on Kashmir.

Deoband speaks out for Kashmiri Muslims – a part of the larger set of Indian Muslims. The Deobandis think that only a ‘stupid person would want to go with Pakistan’.

India needs to be clear headed. Religion is at home; you are an Indian everywhere. Problems with this? You know what to do ... (Cartoon by Kirtish Bhatt; Published on September 15, 2010; courtesy - http://bamulahija.wordpress.com)

India needs to be clear headed. Religion is at home; you are an Indian everywhere. Problems with this? You know what to do ... (Cartoon by Kirtish Bhatt; Published on September 15, 2010; courtesy - http://bamulahija.wordpress.com)

Deoband is also tasking the Indian State with the removal of AFSPA, human rights abuses and compensation for those killed in Kashmiri violence.

Is this Deobandi approach cutting ice with the secessionist-azaadi fighters? The TOI report does not think so?

Without my tongue getting cut-off

This discussion provokes some really basic questions from Kashmiri secessionist-azaadi fighters.

Freedom from what? The economic burden of India on Kashmir? Can Kashmiri secessionist-azaadi fighters prove how India ‘burdens’ Kashmir? Right now, Rest of India subsidizes Kashmir. Is it forced conversions from Islam by a ‘Hindu’ Indian State?

Are there attempts to change the demographic profile of Kashmir by ‘Hindu’ migration into Kashmir? Self-rule to do what? How is Kashmiri secessionist-azaadi fighters rule going to be different from the past and the present?

What will you do

If Kashmir  indeed ‘suffered’ from rigged elections, has the Kashmiri secessionist-azaadi fighters polity been a part of the solution? Or do they think that it is the responsibility of a ‘Hindu’ India to deliver ‘perfection’ to the Kashmiris? Is it that Kashmiris have a right to make ‘demands’ and it is the job of the ‘Hindu’ Indian State to ‘meet’ these demands?

Immi-grunts

This is a lot like many ‘desi‘ Indians who migrate, believing that they can expect ‘superior’ systems in the West? All that these ‘desi‘  ‘immi-grunts’ have to then do is take ‘advantage’ of opportunities in the West! Is it surprising that these ‘desi‘ Indian  ‘immi-grunts’ hit ‘glass-ceilings’, encounter ‘racism’?

Nation-building is a tough job – and someone’s gotta to do it! You can’t ‘escape from backward’ India to the ‘forward’ West. Not without becoming second-class citizens. The Indian ‘immi-grunt’ has seen some level of acceptance – after India itself achieved some modicum of success.

Probably the Kashmir problem has been aggravated by Pakistan to coincide with Obama's visit! (cartoon courtesy - ahram.org).

Probably the Kashmir problem has been aggravated by Pakistan to coincide with Obama's visit! (cartoon courtesy - ahram.org).

Worth their weight in salt

If Kashmiri terrorists believe they are capable administrators, let them win an election, and prove their administrative capacity. Let them demonstrate that it is Rest of India which is hobbling Kashmir?

Do the ‘freedom’ fighters’ of Kashmir believe that by shouting azaadi they will get ‘freedom’! Freedom to impose their Wahabbi-Sunni-Shariat ‘vision’ on Indians?

Some 75 years ago, Indians could prove to the British rulers and to the world, that the British Empire was a burden on Indians.

While Indians were engaged in this epic struggle, some Indian Muslims could also make out a case (to the British) for a separate Indian Muslim Homeland. They called it Pakistan. Maybe Pakistan needs these ‘superior’ Kashmiris. Why not prove your superiority?

The template of terrorism was first used to break up the Ottoman Empire. (Cartoon - TN Ninan; Courtesy - Mumbai Mirror;   Posted On Sunday, October 24, 2010 at 07:27:00 PM).

The template of terrorism was first used to break up the Ottoman Empire. (Cartoon - TN Ninan; Courtesy - Mumbai Mirror; Posted On Sunday, October 24, 2010 at 07:27:00 PM).

Options and futures

Maybe it is time that India offered some real simple choices to these Kashmiri secessionist-azaadi  leaders. No more demands. No more negotiations.

One – Simply integrate into India. Fight and win elections. Work with the Indian Election Commission to ensure a clean election. Make a difference in Kashmir.

Two – Many decades ago, Kashmiris thought that an ideal location for a base for their freedom ‘struggle’ was the UK. May be they can live in PoK, or Pakistan. Why ever not in Saudi Arabia? Or, they can live in ‘Yumm-rika’ – like Ajmal Kasab wants! I say, anyone who will have them. It may be time for these leaders to see the world.

Three – If not two of the above choices, these leaders must get the third option – Indian jails await you. It is the worst of the three options for everyone – including the Indian State.

Better governance they told us …

September 11, 2010 Leave a comment

The 100-year Western campaign to keep the Islamic world unstable. Islamic despots and Kashmir are a part of that.

The Islāmic Bloc has allowed itself to be reduced to nothing by the West in the last 100 years. ( ©Copyright 2008 Jimmy Margulies - All Rights Reserved. cartoon courtesy - politicalcartoons.com). Click for larger image.

The Islāmic Bloc has allowed itself to be reduced to nothing by the West in the last 100 years. ( ©Copyright 2008 Jimmy Margulies - All Rights Reserved. cartoon courtesy - politicalcartoons.com). Click for larger image.

Just as Europe turns upon the dismemberment of Turkey, so the Eastern question in Asia turns upon the continued solidarity of Hindustan” By George Nathaniel Curzon Curzon (Marquis of) in Problems of the Far East: Japan–Korea–China; published in 1894.

20 years before World War-I

Some 70 years ago, we were told that Jinnah’s objective also, was India’s freedom. Much like other Indian freedom fighters.

The template of using Jinnah to split India was implemented by Britain some 30 years  earlier, after WWI to break up the Ottoman Empire. The dismemberment of Turkey studied in Britain for at least a 20 years before WWI.

To understand this template, let us go back to post-WWI Middle East. Many Middle-East despots, then potentates, were put in positions of power after WWI by Western powers. These despots, who have run the Middle-East into the ground, earlier made tall claims about ‘progress’. All the while, condemning the ‘regressive’ Ottomans.

The regressive Islam that we see today is a joint-creation of the Christian-West and these Islamic-despots. Now, we all know what happened after these Islamic ‘freedom-fighters’ of the Middle East were installed by their Western masters.

Better governance, they told us then.

The Cats who went to the monkey for justice. A Jataka tale. Old Indian hesitation to involve third party justice.

The Cats who went to the monkey for justice. A Jataka tale. Old Indian hesitation to involve third party justice.

What will it be this time …

So, there is this little matter of a rather, big credibility-yawn.  Between reality and the azaadi-struggle claims of these ‘freedom-fighters’ in Kashmir also. Let these ‘freedom-fighters’ walk-the-plank-of-freedom.

Let them show their:-

  • Inclusion (have they taken up a single Kashmiri Pandit issue)
  • Ability to listen and govern (have they won any election)

These conflict-zones are Western creations – and so are these jihadis, terrorists.

As are these Islamic despots.

Honest arbiters, I don’t believe in

And, by the way, before I go forward, who offers to arbiter these conflicts? To whom do these despots and these ‘freedom fighters’ run to, to become honest ‘brokers’? Who they approach, address and talk to, gives the game away.

These jihadis using Pakistan as a go-between, approach the West to succeed in their  power grab. Jinnah, let us remember, could not get support from Indians – Muslims or otherwise.

Just as British negotiations with Congress gave Congress legitimacy, so also with Jinnah. Are we forgetting that, the JKLF leaders in the 1970’s and 80s were all holed up in London, for decades. Now, we know London is not cheap. How, who, where, with what motive, funded them for decades in London? Mirpuri-PoK freedom-loving, care-free people of Kashmir, they tell. Go tell that to the birds. JKLF was run out of London.

Much like how elections in Maldives was run out of Britain and London.

It is not Kismat, Najib-bhai! It is design. The Islamic Bloc has allowed itself to become irrelevant in this world. (By Peray, Thailand   -  10/12/2005 12.00:00 AM; cartoon courtesy -   politicalcartoons.com). Click for larger image.

It is not Kismat, Najib-bhai! It is design. The Islamic Bloc has allowed itself to become irrelevant in this world. (By Peray, Thailand - 10/12/2005 12.00:00 AM; cartoon courtesy - politicalcartoons.com). Click for larger image.

Najib Mubarki tries inducing guilt

Najib Mubarki on Kashmir is an interesting idea! Though finally it is a wet fuse.

the larger meaning of the slogan of “Azadi“ might be some form of secular Kashmiri nationalism, the slogan of “Allah o Akbar” (God is Great) also attends it. It is, in essence, while a slogan of defiance, also a culturally determined one.

Of course there are other slogans too. Or have been. Which would suggest a decidedly Islamist vision of what Kashmiri society should look like. But beyond even the empirically evident gap between slogans and immediately achievable political reality, quite often such slogans were echoed without any real political subscription.

But beyond the level of sloganeering in the streets, there is the fact of centuries of Kashmiri cultural history. One that is unique in the subcontinent. A history and lived life that tempers and inflects even those who would ordinarily be labelled hardliners.

Creating an Islamic State – The pattern

Have we not heard this logic before, Najib-bhai? This was peddled to us before. And some 160 million Muslims have been cast into the dysfunctional ‘nation’ called Pakistan. Remember Jinnah and his ‘secularist’ credentials? These potentates-to-despots, like Jinnah, are Western creations and installations.

What more, I am sure Najib-bhai knows.

Strangely, in Najib-bhai’s narrative, there are no suggestions for Muslims leadership – ever, anywhere. In this and his other posts. The burden of action, implementation is always others. Muslim leadership is always the innocent bystanders in Najib-bhai’s narrative.

Reading Najib Mubarki, I am reminded of a childhood story of such ‘honest’ arbiters. Maybe, Najibbhai too should also read such ‘Hindu’ stories.

Before you come to us, with your talks.

Talk is cheap. Remember Blood Never Forgets! (Cartoon by   By Peray, Thailand   -  10/30/2005 12.00:00 AM, courtesy - politicalcartoons.com) Click for larger image.

Talk is cheap. Remember Blood Never Forgets! (Cartoon by By Peray, Thailand - 10/30/2005 12.00:00 AM, courtesy - politicalcartoons.com) Click for larger image.

Saladin said …

Talk, as you know Najib-bhai, is cheap. Expensive, when you are paying for cheap talk, with spilled blood.

And that is what, we Indians in Kashmir are doing. It was a wise Islamic ruler who cautioned, “Blood never sleeps!”

We are paying with spilled blood, for cheap jihadi talk.

Take your talk, someplace else.


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Pakistan and Kashmir – Regaining the narrative!

Kashmir – Foggy Indian Notions

We are the problem – and the West is trying is to help us!

The ‘idea’ of Pakistan-II

Sadanand Dhume botches up history

Robert D. Kaplan gives gyaan on India in NYTimes.com

Pakistan – a nation in fidayeen mode?

What should India’s counter terrorism plan look like …

Mumbai Massacre – The real blame and real culprits

India’s Pakistan Fixation

Terrorists And Counterfeit Indian Currency

For More Than 60 Years …

Indo Pak Relations – What Will It Take

India Lowers Guard

New Empire Builders – Neo-Cons Sneaking In

The Carving Of The Middle East

British Empire & The Anglo Saxon Bloc

Behind The Web Of Terror

“Just as Europe turns upon the dismemberment of Turkey, so the Eastern question in Asia turns upon the continued solidarity of Hindustan” By George Nathaniel Curzon Curzon (Marquis of) in Problems of the Far East: Japan–Korea–China; published in 1894.

Ek tha gul … Ek thi bul-bul … (From Jab jab phool khile)

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