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Thread: India/Pakistan

  1. #81
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    Default Re: India/Pakistan

    Mumbai Massacre Heats Up India-Pakistan Dogfight

    December 31, 2008
    by challengenewspaper

    The Mumbai terrorist attack is being played as a religious holy war between Moslem and Hindu fundamentalism. But behind that lies what is killing millions of workers worldwide today: the dogfight among the world’s imperialists and their lackeys for control of the energy resources, pipelines (see below article) and the right to super-exploit workers.

    In South Asia, this deadly mixture has brought two regional nuclear powers, India and Pakistan, to the brink of another war, and exposed the weaknesses of U.S. imperialism’s policy towards Afghanistan-Pakistan. “The crisis…fallout may… [expand] to include the United States, NATO, Afghanistan and Iran,” reports the NY Times (Week In Review, 12/7)

    The U.S.-NATO Afghan war has had a devastating destabilizing effect on Pakistan (see CHALLENGE, 12/10). A fractured Pakistani ruling class is so divided that it cannot help U.S. imperialism’s design for the region. “A collapsing Pakistan, and with it the loss of any real border separating India from Pakistan, is India’s worst nightmare,” says Robert Kaplan, senior fellow at the Center for a New American Security. “Making matters worse, every time the United States launches an air attack into Pakistan from Afghanistan, it further destabilizes the Pakistani state.” NY Times, 12/8)

    Any of the many factions of the Pakistani ruling class could had been behind the Mumbai massacre — which killed 192 people and injured hundreds more — as well as the recent bombing of the Indian embassy in Kabul, the Afghan capital. Many in the ISI (Pakistan’s powerful military intelligence service) see India as the main enemy of Pakistan. Killing innocent people is business as usual for imperialism’s big bosses and their goons.

    The Mumbai massacre has shaken India’s growing alliance with the U.S., enabling India’s old ally, Russia, to re-emerge. Following the Mumbai massacre, Russian president Medvedev visited India and not only made a deal to sell India 80 M1-17 helicopters but also got an extra $2.2 billion from India for an aircraft carrier.

    Mumbai has not only led to Russian weapons’ sales to India but has now brought India’s bosses closer to the Russian position in Afghanistan.
    During Medvedev’s visit, in a Joint Declaration, India and Russia shared their concern over the “deteriorating security situation” in Afghanistan and called for a “coherent and a united international commitment” to deal with the threats emanating from that country.

    The implied criticism of the U.S.-led war is obvious as is the rejection of the U.S. strategy to retain the war as its exclusive domain. The Joint Declaration then says, “Both sides welcome Russia’s initiative to organize an international conference in the framework of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization, involving its Member states and Observers.”

    Both India and Russia are derailing the U.S.-Saudi plan to make a deal with some Taliban leaders at the expense of the former’s interests in energy-rich Central Asia.

    This mixture of imperialist-capitalist rivalries and their use of religious fundamentalism is deadly for the region’s workers and their allies. The urban and rural workers and youth, from Kabul to Karachi to Mumbai, have a long history of fighting capitalism and imperialism. What’s needed is a revolutionary communist outlook to unite and destroy all the bosses and their various ideologies.J

    Imperialists’ Battle Over Oil Pipelines Will Widen War
    The Mumbai massacre (see above) highlights the rapid, blood-letting pace of the sharpening inter-imperialist rivalry for control of the Caspian region’s vast oil and gas resources and its strategic pipeline routes to world markets. This rivalry, intensified by the worldwide, deepening capitalist economic crisis, is leading eventually to World War III.

    U.S. imperialism’s seven years of indescribable carnage in Afghanistan was originally intended as a quick military operation to secure pipeline routes for transporting Caspian region resources to the Indian Ocean Gwadar port in Pakistan’s Balochistan province, by-passing Russia and Iran.

    Now, with the U.S. bosses bogged down in two wars — and major ones with Iran, Russia and/or China looming — while facing one of the worst economic crises in their history, they’re desperately trying to stem their rapid decline and remain the number one imperialist power. Oil, despite its sharply lower price, is still crucial to this endeavor, as it is to Russia’s and China’s rise as rival super-powers.

    IF YOU CAN’T BEAT THEM, HAVE THEM JOIN YOU
    With the Russian victory in Georgia making it unfeasible to build new U.S. trans-Caspian pipelines, Afghanistan is again (short of invading Iran) the most realistic, practical route to transport Caspian energy to market, by-passing Russia and Iran. That’s why the “U.S. is actively considering [peace] talks with elements of the Taliban….in a major policy shift that would have been unthinkable a few months ago.” (Wall Street Journal, 10/28/08)

    The objective is to “pacify and stabilize” Afghanistan enough to guarantee safe transport of these resources, while occupying the country indefinitely. At a recent NATO meeting, “the alliance visualized a long haul in Afghanistan.” (Asia Times on-Line, 10/15/08)

    U.S. bosses hope to have everything in place by 2013 when Kazakhstan oil, being developed by U.S. oil companies, will start flowing. With this outlet, U.S. imperialists hope to reverse Russia’s gains in the energy-rich ex-Soviet republics.

    RUSSIA, CHINA, IRAN AND THE NORTHERN ALLIANCE
    These plans directly threaten the geopolitical interests of Russia, China and Iran, so they’re pushing back. This fight will only lead to wider, and eventually global war.

    Russian President Medvedev criticized the U.S. for creating chaos in Afghanistan. He called for a new pan-European security pact, saying NATO can’t ensure the continent’s security. He said the “United States’ desire to consolidate its global role” is unrealizable in a multi-polar world.

    Defying Russia’s warning, U.S. imperialists arrogantly think they can unilaterally expel Russia and Iran from Afghanistan. But the Northern Alliance, Afghan President Karzai’s main base of support, is very dependent economically and militarily on Russia and China.

    Iran also has close ties with former Afghan president Burhanuddin Rabbani, leader of the anti-Taliban coalition (Northern Alliance) in the 1990s. Kabul is courting Gulbuddin Hekmatyar, a holy warrior who fought for the CIA against the Soviet army in Afghanistan. He leads the fastest-growing insurgent group in Afghanistan.

    China, a major player in the region, opposes the U.S.-NATO permanent military presence in the area. Afghanistan is being courted by the SCO to become a member. The SCO is a regional organization created by Russia and China to stop U.S.-NATO expansion in the Caucuses-Caspian regions. Since 2004, Karzai has been a guest of honor at all the SCO’s summit meetings.

    U.S. bosses are also supporting the Balochistan secessionist movement, which could eventually break up Pakistan if it degenerates into a failed state or becomes too independent. This would both deny China access to alternative energy resources and transport routes, and provide U.S. bases to further encircle Russia and China militarily.

    PLP condemns the terrorists behind the Mumbai attack, along with all the capitalists-imperialists and their religious fanatics terrorizing workers worldwide. Workers need the ideas in CHALLENGE to fight all the bosses and build a mass international revolutionary PLP to fight for a communist world, without any bosses and their mass terror.

    Pakistan and China in U.S. Bosses’ Sights
    U.S. actions in Afghanistan and the region are also aimed at preventing China from importing 80% of its oil by skirting the Strait of Malacca, a narrow passage-way which the U.S. can block in case of war.

    For China, the closest and safest sources of energy are Iran and the Caspian region, by-passing the Malacca Strait. Thus, China has signed mega energy contracts with Turkmenistan and Iran, a country the U.S. strives to isolate.

    China’s other alternate routes are Pakistan’s Gwadar port in Balochistan with prospective pipelines from there to China’s remote western regions; and the Myanmar’s Sittwe port from which it will build two 900-mile pipelines to its Yunnan province.

    Other possible routes for China to bypass the Malacca Strait are in the Indian Ocean. Thus, the U.S., using pirates in the area as pretext, has sent warships to “patrol” it. The U.S. is also negotiating bases there to gain full control of the Indian Ocean and adjacent seas, and temporarily thwart all Chinese solutions to their Malacca dilemma.

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    Default Re: India/Pakistan

    Pakistan cuts off Nato supplies to launch offensive against militants

    PESHAWAR, Pakistan, Dec 30, (Agencies):

    Pakistan on Tuesday cut off supplies to Nato and US forces in Afghanistan via the Khyber Pass as security forces launched a major operation against militants there, officials said. The offensive comes after a series of spectacular raids by suspected Taleban militants on foreign military supply depots in northwest Pakistan earlier this month in which hundreds of Nato and US-led coalition vehicles were destroyed. Pakistani security forces backed by tanks, helicopter gunships and artillery units poured into the lawless Khyber tribal region on the Afghan border before dawn, the area’s administrator Tariq Hayat told reporters in Peshawar.

    “We have launched an operation against militants and armed groups in Jamrud,” the gateway to the Khyber Pass, Hayat said. The main highway linking Peshawar to the border town of Torkham has been shut down until the operation is complete, he said, adding: “Supplies to Nato forces have temporarily been suspended.” Heavy cannon fire was heard in Jamrud, residents told AFP. Helicopter gunships shelled suspected militant hideouts, killing five people and wounding 10 including an off-duty soldier, local security officials said. The home of local Taleban commander Iftikhar Khan was destroyed, one official told AFP on condition of anonymity. Several other suspected hideouts were razed, he added.

    “This is a giant operation. It will continue until we achieve our objective,” Hayat said, adding that the operation could be expanded beyond the area near Jamrud — located between Peshawar and Torkham — if necessary. The tribal administrator said the operation was aimed at putting a stop to both attacks on Nato supply vehicles and a spate of kidnappings for ransom in the tribal badlands, where Taleban and al-Qaeda militants are active. Troops had already seized a large quantity of arms and ammunition in a raid on a warehouse in Jamrud, Hayat said, adding that a complete curfew had been imposed on the area, with paramilitary troops patrolling the streets.

    Residents said they were advised not to leave their homes and that roads in the area had been barricaded to prevent civilian car traffic.

    No arrests had yet been reported, but Hayat said: “We will start rounding up people if necessary.”
    Shipped

    The bulk of the supplies and equipment required by Nato and US-led forces battling the Taleban insurgency in Afghanistan is shipped to Pakistan’s largest port, Karachi, in the south.

    From there, the containers of food, fuel, vehicles and munitions are taken by truck to depots outside Peshawar before being transported to Afghanistan via the Khyber Pass.

    But the fabled road passes through the heart of Pakistan’s lawless tribal zone, where extremists sought refuge after Afghanistan’s hardline Taleban regime was ousted in a US-led invasion at the end of 2001.

    A spokesman for the Nato-led International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) in Afghanistan, contacted in Kabul, said the Pakistani army offensive had thus far had “no impact” on foreign forces.

    “We know about the operation but our information through our logistics experts is that there is no impact on our supplies,” British Royal Navy Captain Mark Windsor told AFP.

    “The road will be closed for three to four days due to this Pakistani military operation and the intention of that operation is to ensure security to that route,” he said.

    “We always have stocks. Just because we stop bringing things in on one route does not mean we don’t have supplies from other routes.”

    Some supplies are also transported into Afghanistan by plane or via southwest Pakistan and across the border at Spin Boldak. Three Nato supply vehicles were gutted prior to the start of Tuesday’s operation when militants blew up an oil tanker outside Peshawar with a remote-controlled bomb, security officials said. Two weeks ago, several haulage companies in Pakistan working for foreign forces refused to ply the 50-kilometre (30-mile) route between Peshawar and Torkham, saying their drivers’ lives were at risk. Senior Pakistani officials said last week that some troops had been redeployed from the tribal areas to the country’s eastern border with India, amid simmering tensions with New Delhi over the Mumbai attacks. The move sparked concerns that the fight against extremists in the rugged border region could suffer.

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  3. #83
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    Default Re: India/Pakistan

    Khyber Agency action achieves ‘80% results’

    * US supply route to open tomorrow
    * PA says senator’s brother was ‘harbouring’ militia

    Friday, January 02, 2009
    By Sajid Ali and Manzoor Ali Shah

    JAMRUD/PESHAWAR: The NATO and US supply route through Pakistan will be reopened by Saturday after Operation Daraghlam against the Taliban and criminals in Khyber Agency achieved ‘80 percent’ of its target on Thursday, the agency’s political agent said.

    “Landikotal highway will reopen for traffic in a day or two as the operation has achieved 80 percent targets,” Khyber Political Agent Tariq Hayat Khan said.

    The supply route was closed on Tuesday to fight the Taliban and criminals who were attacking convoys bound for international forces in Afghanistan and were threatening Peshawar’s security.

    Combined forces of the army, paramilitary forces and the tribal administration continued the assault on the third day and demolished 13 more houses of criminals and their tribal facilitators, local residents and administration officials said.

    The forces focused their attacks on Ghundai, Shahkas and Wazir Dhand areas of Khyber, official sources said.

    “During a search operation, the forces recovered weapons and stolen goods, that were originally bound for NATO and US forces in Afghanistan,” administration officials said.

    At least 33 hideouts of criminals, the Taliban and their local harbourers have been demolished until now, the officials said.

    “Around 15 wanted men were arrested or surrendered to the authorities today and the total number of such people has reached 43,” they said.

    The effective area of the operation was on Thursday extended to the outskirts of Jamrud, the political agent said.

    Khan said the forces’ action was ‘not an eyewash’, as it would restore the government’s writ in Khyber and ensure Peshawar’s security.

    The political agent denied demolishing the house of Senator Nasir Khan. Khan said, however, the house of Nasir’s brother was demolished following reliable evidence that he was ‘harbouring’ a private militia, and the house was being used for detaining hostages.

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    Default Re: India/Pakistan

    Sources in China are eager not to call Pakistan any culprit. The shadow ISI (the unofficial intelligence militia of Kiani) may have received direct help and intelligence from Chinese secret military intelligence in carrying out the Mumbai massacre.

    Beijing: Xinhua, the Chinese government run news agency, has blamed the "Deccan Mujahideen" for the attack on Mumbai that killed 172 people and injured nearly 300 others. It made no mention of India's insistence that the terrorists came from Pakistan and were supported by forces in the neighboring country Pakistan.

    The description of the incident fits in with the overall attitude of the Chinese official media to spare Pakistan of any blame for the incident. The local media has been giving a lot of play to defensive statements from Pakistani leaders while underplaying the charges made by India.

    Chinese made advanced arms and ammunitions were used in carrying out the heinous act. There are indirect indications that Chinese military intelligence in India may have helped the rubber rafts coming into the Indian shore. India Navy is looking into the means these terrorists used to fool Indian coast guard deterrents.

    Some very advanced intelligence organization helped the terrorists and their sponsors to cause maximum panic and destruction with a limited resource. Pakistan’s ISI is not that capable just alone working with its mediocre intelligence and espionage personnel.
    China’s eagerness to protect Kiani of Pakistan raises some serious questions about Chinese involvement in Mumbai massacre. Sooner or later RAW and CBI will find out the secret Chinese connections but Indian public will be kept in the dark for international political reasons.

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  5. #85
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    Default Re: India/Pakistan

    Saturday, January 3, 2009

    China tested first nuke-bomb for Pak in 1990

    China had tested for Pakistan its first nuclear bomb as early as in 1990, enabling Islamabad to respond within weeks to the Indian atomic tests eight years later, a top US nuclear expert has claimed.

    Former U.S. Air Force Secretary Thomas Reed knows nuclear bombs better than most people. For starters, he designed two of them when he worked at the Livermore National Laboratory as a weapons designer.

    “The Chinese did a massive training of Pakistani scientists, brought them to China for lectures, even gave them the design of the CHIC-4 device, which was a weapon that was easy to build a model for export,” former US Air Force Secretary Thomas Reed told American news magazine ‘US News and World Report’.

    Reed, who worked at Livermore National Laboratory as weapons designer, had co-authored a book — The Nuclear Express: A Political History of the Bomb and Its Proliferation — with Danny Stillman, the former director of technical intelligence division at Los Alamos National Laboratory.

    Excerpts:

    How has the Chinese government reacted to the allegations in your book?
    At first, they objected to some of this reporting, which was first published in Physics Today, but they later withdrew all objections. The Chinese experts in the weapons labs were probably surprised that we found out all this information and were able to put it all together. In public they say one thing, but behind closed doors and after hours, they are more open. All scientists want the credit for having solved certain problems by themselves without outside help. In fact, in 1949 Klaus Fuchs spied for the Soviets at Los Alamos and when he was released from prison in 1959, fled to East Germany where he met China's chief atomic bomb scientist to whom he explained the inner workings of the Fat Man bomb [which the United States dropped on Nagasaki in 1945].

    What was the Chinese strategy behind encouraging proliferation once they had mastered the atomic bomb? The way you describe the Chinese intentionally spreading nuclear technology to countries like Pakistan and North Korea seems both shockingly lax and shortsighted.
    Shockingly lax? Yes. Shortsighted I'm not so sure. Think of it as three constituencies: China in about 1982, under Deng Xiaoping, decided to proliferate nuclear technology to communists and Muslims in the third world. They did so deliberately with the theory that if nukes ended up going off in the western world from a Muslim terrorist, well that wasn't all bad. If New York was reduced to rubble without Chinese fingerprints on the attack, that left Beijing as the last man standing. That's what the old timers thought.

    The current Chinese government is far more cautious, though it continued to push technology to North Korea. When the North Koreans decided to test, they clearly did so without a Chinese permit and it really frosted the Chinese because it threatened to prompt Japan and South Korea to start their own programs. They didn't worry about terrorism at all.

    The younger generation is adamant about keeping a lid on nuclear technology. They don't want to see Los Angeles blown up because they just sold us 10,000 pairs of sneakers. Those last two forces are contending with each other and it remains to be seen what will happen.

    Why , as you say in the book, did the Chinese give the technology to Pakistan?
    Pakistan can be explained by a balance of power: India was China's enemy and Pakistan was India's enemy. The Chinese did a massive training of Pakistani scientists, (just like the Russians had done for them) brought them to China for lectures, even gave them the design of the CHIC-4 device, which was a weapon that was easy to build a model for export. There is evidence that A.Q. Khan used Chinese designs in his nuclear designs. Notes from those lectures later turned up in Libya, for instance. And the Chinese did similar things for the Saudis, North Koreans, and the Algerians.

    Did the Chinese further assist in the Pakistan program?
    Under Pakistani president Benazir Bhutto, the country built its first functioning nuclear weapon. We believe that during Bhutto's term in office, the People's Republic of China tested Pakistan's first bomb for her in 1990.There are numerous reasons why we believe this to be true, including the design of the weapon and information gathered from discussions with Chinese nuclear experts. That's why the Pakistanis were so quick to respond to the Indian nuclear tests in 1998. It only took them two weeks and three days. When the Soviet Union took the United States by surprise with a test in 1961, it took the U.S. seventeen days to prepare and test, a device that had been on hand for years. The Pakistani response makes it clear that the gadget tested in May 1998 was a carefully engineered device in which they had great confidence.

    Is sharing nuclear tests common?
    The United States conducted nuclear tests in Nevada openly and with full disclosure in the 1990s on behalf of our U.K. allies. We speculate on Israeli access to the U.S. test results. For their part, the Chinese admitted to having conducted hydronuclear and radiation effects tests for France, but most tellingly they also implied—they certainly did not deny—the test of a Pakistani device. The South Africans also apparently worked with the Israelis on a nuclear test in the South Pacific in 1979.

    Are Chinese proliferation programs ongoing?
    Since 1991, China has been assisting the raw-materials side of the Iranian nuclear program with shipments of uranium, instructions on the design of a conversion facility in Eshfahan, and an enrichment facility at Karaj. China has been using North Korea as the re-transfer point for the sale of nuclear and missile technology to Iran, Syria, Pakistan, Egypt, Libya, and Yemen.

    You also write that Israel was given assistance in developing their bomb while the United States looked the other way.
    In the wake of the Suez crisis in 1956, the French and the Israelis initiated a joint nuclear weapons program that resulted in a test in the Algerian desert. At that test in 1960, two countries went nuclear with one shot.

    Is the world safer or more dangerous with all these powers?
    The world is safer for having all the permanent UN Security Council members possess nuclear weapons. I think having North Korea, Pakistan, and India is probably not a good idea. Nuclear proliferation, above all, is not inevitable as many thought at the dawn of the nuclear age. (us news)

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    Default Re: India/Pakistan

    Chidambaram seeks “cast iron guarantees” from Pakistan

    New Delhi: Home Minister P. Chidambaram has said Pakistan will have to give “cast iron guarantees” that its soil will not be used to launch a terror attack like the Mumbai carnage and it will have to pay an “enormous price” if such a strike is repeated.


    “What we now want are cast iron guarantees” that no state actors or non-state ones will be allowed to use Pakistani soil or sources to launch an attack on India,” he told NDTV.

    “Guarantees have to come from those who control the levers of power and that means, the elected civilian government, plus the army. These are not guarantees that you can execute on a piece of paper. These are guarantees that have to be given to the international community,” he said.
    Asked whether Islamabad is capable of honouring such guarantees, he said: “I think so, if all the power centres of Pakistan genuinely get together and guarantee that this will not be repeated. See, the price they will pay if this is repeated, I think [it] will be an enormous price.”

    To a question if a terrorist in Pakistan takes this as an opportunity that in case he does a strike, India goes to war, he said: “I don’t think we would be talking about war now. I think war is not the word I used.”

    “I don’t know the mind of a terrorist but as I said a crime of this scale and size cannot be committed without active help. That is, I am entitled to presume that. And therefore, repetition of a crime of this size and scale means that aid and help continue to flow from the state.”

    Pakistan’s offer of a joint investigation would be relevant only when it admitted that Ajmal Amir ‘Kasab,’ the lone terrorist caught during the Mumbai attacks, is a Pakistani citizen.

    Mr. Chidambaram, who is to visit the U.S. next week, said: “Pakistan’s offer of joint investigation is a meaningless offer. It is relevant only when it admits that Ajmal is a Pakistani citizen and his handlers are Pakistanis.They have never admitted that. Why do you want to jointly investigate something with which you say your citizens have no connection at all?”

    The Minister said:
    “Somebody who is familiar with intelligence and who is familiar with commando operation has directed this [Mumbai] operation. And that cannot entirely be a non-state actor.

    “In fact, I presume they are state actors or state- assisted actors unless the contrary is proved. It is too enormous a crime and required elaborate planning, communication networks and financial backing. It was a very, very sophisticated operation.”

    On the evidence in the form of Ajmal’s DNA, the Minister said, “his DNA is available ... Now there is a person in Faridkot village in Pakistan who says he is his father. His DNA is available in Pakistan. So if somebody matches the DNA, we will know who is right and who is wrong.”

    Pakistan, he pointed out, knew the kind of evidence which India had on Mumbai strikes.

    “In total denial”
    “Pakistan is in total denial because it knows that it will be completely embarrassed if the truth comes out and the truth will come out, whether Pakistan likes it or not. Denials are getting weaker and denials are becoming hollow now.” — PTI

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    Nikita Khrushchev: "We will bury you"
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    Global Defense News
    India completed upgrade of MiG-27 fighter aircraft




    16:12 GMT, January 6, 2009

    16:12 GMT, January 6, 2009 New Delhi | India has completed the upgrade of the 120 Soviet-origin MiG-27 fighter bomber aircraft IANS reported today. The upgrade project gives the aircraft better navigational technology and a pilot friendly cockpit, a senior official said to the Indian news agency.

    The project was initiated in the year 2002 through a tripartite Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between Defence Avionics Research Establishment (DARE) under the aegis of Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO), Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd (HAL) Nasik and the Indian Air Force.

    The upgraded MiG-27 aircraft is equipped with Inertial Navigation and Global Positioning System (INGPS) providing accurate navigation. Advanced avionics on the aircraft has been interfaced on MIL-STD-1553B Dual Redundant Bus.

    "To enable weapon aiming, accurate ranging sensors such as Laser Designator Pod (LDP) and Laser Ranger and Marked Target Seeker (LRMTS) are integrated. A digital map generator has been integrated to improve situational awareness. The digital video recording system provides mission analysis and debrief support," a senior DRDO official said.

    The avionics system is built around a modular mission computer termed Core Avionics Computer (CAC), developed by DARE. The CAC built on open system principles and houses functional modules using contemporary processors and devices. These functional modules are powering the mission computers on Jaguar and Su-30 MKI aircraft as well.

    DARE developed algorithms for navigation and ranging including a weapon delivery algorithm, which was developed along with Software Development Institute of IAF enabling precision weapon delivery.

    "The upgraded aircraft has a pilot friendly cockpit with state-of-art multi function display and head up display (HUD). The pilot flies 'Head Up' with all the necessary navigation and attack guidance symbology presented on the HUD and superimposed on the outside world-view.

    The integrated flight and weapon control system of the upgraded aircraft enables hands free (auto pilot) route flying and auto-weapon delivery," the official said.

    HAL-Nasik was instrumental in the design and modification of prototype aircraft for installation of new cockpit and avionics equipment as well as related looming changes.

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    India upgrades MiG-27 aircraft avionics

    Written on January 6, 2009 – 7:38 pm | by Frontier India Strategic and Defence |

    Defence Avionics Research Establishment under the aegis of Defence Research and Development Organisation has added one more feather to its cap with the successful completion of avionics upgrade of MiG-27 aircraft. This pioneering effort was realised using entirely indigenous expertise at a fraction of cost. The project was initiated in the year 2002 through a tripartite MoU between DARE, HAL(Nasik) and Air Force. The Initial Operational Clearance was accorded in June 2006 which led to the subsequent formation of operational squadrons.

    The avionics system is built around a modular mission computer termed Core Avionics Computer (CAC), developed by DARE. The CAC built on open system principles, houses functional modules using contemporary processors and devices. These functional modules are powering the mission computers on Jaguar and Su-30 MKI aircraft as well.


    IAF MiG-27

    The upgraded MiG-27 aircraft is equipped with Inertial Navigation & Global Positioning System (INGPS) providing accurate Navigation. Advanced avionics on the aircraft has been interfaced on MIL-STD-1553B Dual Redundant Bus. To enable weapon aiming, accurate ranging sensors such as Laser Designator Pod (LDP) and Laser Ranger & Marked Target Seeker (LRMTS) are integrated. A digital Map Generator has been integrated to improve situational awareness. The digital Video Recording system provides mission analysis and debrief support. DARE took up the challenge of developing the mission critical software. Over half a million lines of code were developed adhering to stringent real time constraints and requisite software engineering requirements. The resultant quality software was independently verified and validated with external agencies.

    Old Cockpit vs DARE Upgrade

    DARE developed algorithms for navigation, ranging including a weapon delivery algorithm which was developed along with Software Development Institute of Air Force enabling precision Weapon Delivery.

    The upgraded aircraft has a pilot friendly cockpit with state-of-Art Multi Function Display (MFD) and Head Up Display (HUD). The pilot flies “Head Up” with all the necessary NAV and attack guidance symbology presented on the HUD and superimposed on the outside world view. The Integrated Flight and Weapon Control System of the upgraded aircraft enables Hands Free (Auto Pilot) Route Flying and Auto-Weapon delivery. A functional maintenance mode has been incorporated providing “On AIRCRAFT” LRU health checks.

    Advanced integrated EW Suite is integrated along with state-of-art communication systems. The upgraded aircraft also has an emergency situation indication system and automated emergency handling cueing system on Multi Function Display (MFD). The introduction of LDP has enhanced the Night Attack Capability.

    HAL, Nasik was instrumental in the design and modification of prototype aircraft for installation of new cockpit and avionics equipment as well as related looming changes.

    The avionics upgrade has transformed the legacy aircraft into a potent weapon delivery platform with a user friendly cockpit. All the aircrafts have been upgraded and the users are enamored with the performance of the upgraded aircraft which is comparable with contemporary aircraft in use around the world.

    DARE has forged synergetic partnerships with leaders from private industries like M/s TCS and M/s ComAvia to leverage the best in knowledge and the latest in technology. With this upgrade project DRDO, HAL, ADE, IAF, CEMILAC and DGAQA has showcased the expertise that exists within the country for completing complex and challenging task of aircraft upgrade.

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    Indian Chief Minister demands a military air base in Gujarat

    Narabet, Jan 04, 2009
    (Asia Pulse Data Source via COMTEX) --

    Indian Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi says his state, which shares its border with Pakistan, needs a strategic airbase for security reasons.

    After meeting Indian Border Security personnel at Narabet check post along India-Pakistan border and reviewing security arrangements, Modi said he would urge UPA Government at the Center to focus on developing more strategic airbases in the state.

    Along Jodhpur- Naliya border area, Deesa is a centre point where an air base should be developed. I hope Central Government will look into the matter of Deesa which can be developed into an air base which is important for state of Gujarat, he added.

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    New Delhi, Jan.6 : Pakistan's Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) apparently has plans to destabilize India by influencing developmentsin the north and west of the country, particularly in Mumbai, as part of its multi-pronged strategy.


    Terrorists arrested in Jammu have made these revelations.

    According to an article published in the latest issue of the Power Politics magazine, the ISI has circulated two maps to the Pakistan Army to boost troop morale by giving them a target to destabilize India by 2020.

    One of the maps targets North India, and projects a desire to convert that region into 'Islamic Republic of Pakistan' by 2020. It mentions South India as disputed territory and treats Bangladesh, Sri Lanka and Nepal as its neighbouring countries.
    The other map indicates a drastic change of Mumbai's topography, turning the metropolis into 'Muslimabad' by 2012.

    The magazine carries the photographs of Jaish-e-Mohammad (JeM) activist Ghulam Fareed, identified as Pakistani soldier, (Belt No 4319184, 10 Azad Kashmir Regiment) from Ruperi village in Pakistan-occupied Kashmir's (PoK's) Bhimber district and the other two--Mohammad Abdullah from North-West Frontier Province (NWFP) and Mohammad Imran from Dera Nawab in Pakistan's Punjab--belonged to Harkat-ul-Jehad (HuD) terrorists group. They travelled from Karachi to Dhaka to enter India from Kolkata and they landed at Jammu from there.

    The write up further states that according to the plan, ISI has been attempting to place India under seige both from the sea and land routes simultaneously.

    Pakistan has moved its army to forward areas in Lahore strengthening international border and LOC with India to protect its vital installations.

    The article, written by a Kashmir expert, carries both maps to substantiate the revelations.

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    Washington: The statement by President-elect Barack Obama regarding American intervention in Kashmir is his first “foreign policy mistake”, said a leading U.S. expert on South Asia on Tuesday.

    A Kashmir initiative by America, however “veiled”, can undermine improving Indo-U.S. ties, said Selig S Harrison, director of Asia Programme at the Center for International Policy and a senior scholar of the Woodrow Wilson International, in an opinion piece published in The Washington Times.

    “President-elect Barack Obama has made his first big foreign policy mistake — pledging US intervention in the Kashmir dispute between India and Pakistan,” he wrote.

    In an interview to the Time magazine in October last year, Mr. Obama had said Kashmir was a place he wanted to “devote serious diplomatic resources to get a special envoy in there, to figure out a plausible approach”.

    Mr. Harrison, who specialises in South Asia and East Asia for past 50 years, said Mr. Obama would face resistance from not only India, but also Pakistani President Asif Ali Zardari.

    “By questioning Indian control of the Kashmir Valley, the United States would strengthen jihadi forces in both Islamabad and Srinagar, the capital of the state of Jammu and Kashmir,” he argued.

    “A US Kashmir initiative, however veiled, would poison relations between New Delhi and Washington,” he said. Mr. Harrison said the rationale for intervention is that fear of India requires Pakistan to strengthen its western front in Afghanistan by supporting the Taliban.

    But the reason for Pakistani support of the Taliban and jihadi forces in Kashmir is that its military and intelligence agencies are riddled with Islamists, he said.

    “The appointment of a high-level regional envoy in South Asia to promote cooperation among India, Pakistan and Afghanistan in combating al-Qaeda and its allies would be desirable in the aftermath of Mumbai. But Kashmir indeed would be a tar pit for such an envoy,” Harrison said. — PTI

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    Obama's special envoy will not have India on his plate

    10 Jan 2009, 0155 hrs IST, Indrani Bagchi, TNN

    NEW DELHI: The Mumbai attacks may have showed more than anything else that terrorism from Pakistan is unconnected with the Kashmir issue, but India is still bracing itself for a period of difficult diplomacy with the US.

    The possible appointment of Richard Holbrooke as special envoy for Pakistan-Afghanistan is not a surprise and the incoming Barack Obama administration has acknowledged India's sensitivity to the issue by removing India from his "beat". This is an "evolution" from the time Obama declared he wanted to send former president Bill Clinton to "do" Kashmir.

    In fact, the ongoing visit by US vice-president elect Joe Biden to Pakistan — but not to India — to get a first-hand view of the situation is also intended to emphasise the different trajectories Obama says he wants to pursue in this region.

    So far so good. Difficulties will arise with India because Obama believes that the path to a peaceful Afghanistan runs through a Kashmir "resolution". As the US gets more involved in disentangling Pakistan and Afghanistan from terrorism, Taliban and al-Qaida, it will be tempting for Democrats to push a "Kashmir solution" as a carrot for Pakistan to undertake tough policies on its northwestern border.

    This was Obama's dangerous misreading of the terrorism problem here, as he saw it. "I will join with our allies in insisting, not simply requesting, that Pakistan crack down on the Taliban, pursue Osama bin Laden and his lieutenants, and end its relationship with all terrorist groups. At the same time, I will encourage dialogue between Pakistan and India to work towards resolving their dispute over Kashmir and between Afghanistan and Pakistan to resolve their differences and develop the Pashtun border region. If Pakistan can look towards the east (India) with confidence, it will be less likely to believe its interests are best advanced through cooperation with the Taliban," he said in an article in Foreign Affairs.

    Pakistan would run with this thinking and Pakistani analysts like Ahmed Rashid have already planted this thought in many heads.

    India will need to draw clear red lines with the incoming administration that Pakistan's terrorism problem has to do with it seeking "strategic depth" against India and an old policy to "bleed India with a thousand cuts".

    The Obama administration will have to be walked back from what India will say is a dangerous starting point. India will say this would be tantamount to rewarding Pakistan's use of terrorism in its foreign policy.

    On the other hand, India will be an active participant in any "regional approach" to bring peace to Afghanistan, particularly with active participation of Iran and perhaps even China and Russia in it, so long as India's legitimate interests in Afghanistan are recognised. But for that, the US and Iran need to be able to work out a better relationship, because it is clear Iran would not allow Afghanistan to slip back into the arms of Pakistan-Taliban again, without some serious destabilisation efforts which would affect US goals here too. It would be the only way to keep Pakistan under check.

    India continues to have an open mind on the entire envoy issue, but the government is clear on the red lines — that Kashmir will remain a bilateral issue between India and Pakistan, and Pakistan's support to terrorism has nothing to do with Kashmir.



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    Pakistan: Troops Sent From Northwest To Indian Border

    January 12, 2009 | 0203 GMT
    Pakistan has deployed a number of brigades, each made up of 4,000-6,000 soldiers, along the border with India, Press Trust of India reported Jan. 11, citing defense sources. The sources said that several brigades that had been involved in fighting against the Taliban in northwestern Pakistan were withdrawn and deployed along the Jhelum-Chenab corridor during the past week. Troops have also been sent to the Chenab-Ravi corridor. One of the two divisions deployed in Waziristan was withdrawn, the sources said, and more than 400-500 vehicles full of troops were withdrawn from Bajaur, Mohmand and Waziristan over the past week.

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    Pakistan - the fault line of Islam

    Shahnaz Taplin Chinoy
    Sunday, January 11, 2009


    With a fourth-grade education, Mohammed Ajmal Kasab, the sole surviving terrorist of the Mumbai bomb blast, went to Lahore and got a job, paying at 200 rupees or $ 3.30 a day. But, in his confession to the Indian police, he said that he and a 22-year-old co-worker "were not getting enough money, so we decided to carry out dacoity (a robbery) at some place so that we will get a large amount." The two guys went to Rawalpindi and the buddy identified a place with a large amount. They bought guns in a Raja bazaar and then realized that they needed weapons training. To get the training, they signed up with Lashkar-e Taiba, a terrorist organization created by the Pakistani intelligence service to fight a proxy war in Kashmir against India. So a simple Bonnie-and-Clyde-type fantasy of two young men who could not find good jobs ended up in a terrorist attack on Mumbai, with 163 dead. Initially, Kasab was not motivated by religion or politics. He just wanted a better job.

    Kasab's story illustrates the sorry state of affairs in Pakistan today, a country of 140 million. Pakistanis lack adequate education, employment and health care, and thus are frustrated and furious. Pakistan is a nominal democracy where power rests with the military, stunting the growth of a responsible civil society.

    The prime minister of Pakistan, Asif Zardari, still carries his reputation earned during the administration of his late wife, Benazir Bhutto, of a "10 percent man" - his take on every deal the government made. Prior to the Pakistani election last year, I asked a Pakistani Silicon Valley entrepreneur about what he thought about Zardari and he responded: "Everybody else is a 20, 30 or 40 percent man."

    Yet, I find hope. In recent elections, the religious parties lost ground to secular, peaceful politicians. Pakistani Islam is cut from the same social fabric as India and Bangladesh - historically, culturally and even religiously. While the Taliban are increasing in Pakistan, they are a minority. Most of the 450 million Muslims in Pakistan, India and Bangladesh - a third of the Muslim world - practice a gentler, more tolerant Islam.

    But two external forces have pushed Pakistan in a more militant, violent direction: Saudi Arabia and U.S. foreign policy. The Saudis, funded with petrodollars, have exported their fundamentalist Wahabi Islam since the early '90s. Through substantial investment in Pakistani madrasas and mosques, which brainwashed students and produced terrorists, the Saudis are nurturing a "hate the West" culture.

    The United States has played a destructive role in Pakistan. For decades, the United States supported the Pakistani military. Just since the 9/11 terrorist attacks, the United States has invested $10 billion in Pakistan's military - not in education, civil society or democracy. Now the U.S. funded army has been infiltrated by Saudi-funded jihadism - and the attack on Mumbai is only one of the consequences.

    Change in Pakistan is imperative, and should come from three key sources:

    1) The United Nations and the international community needs to pressure the Saudis to stop supporting madrasas. If the Saudis want to help their Muslim brothers, let them invest in genuine education for Pakistani boys and girls.

    2) U.S. foreign policy should stop investing in the military. Instead, it should support civil society institutions, education for girls and boys, and increase employment opportunities.

    3) Pakistani women need to be brought into leadership roles - the reserved seats they have in parliament don't make up for the very low participation by women in the workforce at the grassroots level, nor for their lack of access to schooling.

    These three steps will encourage Pakistani citizens to reclaim their true faith - peaceful Islam. They must recognize that Islam can have nothing to do with terrorism. But renewing Islam requires that Pakistan move beyond its status as a failed, feudal and militaristic state.

    The fault lines of Islam in the world- fundamentalist versus moderate - lie in Pakistan. Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, the United States and the international community can shape the future of Islam in the world. But will they rise to the challenge?

    Shahnaz Taplin Chinoy is a media consultant to foundations and NGOs in the Bay Area. She is writing a book on women's Islam and starting a Muslim women's fund.

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    Pakistan's JuD 'ban' lie nailed
    1/12/2009 6:31:33 AM


    Top Jamaat and Lashkar leaders address a rally in Pakistan

    A TIMES NOW exclusive that exposes yet another of Pakistan's lies -- Islamabad may want the world to believe that it has cracked down on the Jamaat-ud-Dawa, but that is far from the truth.

    There is concrete evidence now that the Lashkar's front organisation has re-emerged in the form of Tehreek-e-Tahafuz Qibla Awal. TIMES NOW has got visuals from Lahore, where the Tehreek recently held a rally. Addressing that rally were some of the top Jamaat and Lashkar leaders. The Jamaat-ud-Dawa is clearly going about with business as usual, just under a different name.

    The Tehreek seems to be operating quiet openly. TIMES NOW got its hands on a press invite informing the media about the rally at Lahore. The activities of the group are out in the open, for all to see. This invitation is for a rally being held to protest the Israeli airstrikes.

    The most obvious link to the Jamaat are the black and white flags being waved at the rally clearly showing that the Jamaat is very much undettered. This reaffirms that the Jamaat is still to this date well and truly active in Pakistan.

    One of those spotted in a grey vest is Hafiz Saif Ullah, known for being a main stream activist of Jamaat-ud-Dawa. On the other hand, Maulana Munawar Hassan who belongs to Jamaat e Islami, an ally of the Lashkar-e-Taiba, was also seen in the video.

    Also present at this protest was Allama Tahir Mehmood Ashrafi, a mainstream Talibani, and also part of Lashkar-e-Taiba. He played a vital role in the returning of the Pakistani Taliban from Afghanistan's Shabarghan jail.

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    Jan 13, 2009
    Race to the death over Kashmir waters
    By Haroon Mirani

    SRINAGAR - India and Pakistan, in an expensive winner-takes-all race to tap the power of the Kishenganga river in Kashmir, are separately aiming to build large hydro-electric projects just 70 kilometers apart on the same fast-flowing water on their respective sides of the divided region.



    India's Kishenganga hydro-power project, which the government last February priced at US$740 million, involves a 330-megawatt plant in the Gurez Valley. That is about a third the capacity of the 963MW Neelum-Jhelum project planned at an estimated cost of US$2.16 billion in Pakistan-administered Kashmir, the project name reflecting the change from Kishenganga to Neelum of the river's name as it crosses to the Pakistani side of the divided region.

    According to the Indus Water Treaty (IWT) signed between the two countries in 1960, the country whose project is completed first will get the complete rights of this river. Despite the fear of losing billions of dollars and possible international embarrassment, both sides have taken up the gamble and speeded up construction work.

    Changing climatic conditions add to the pathos of the race. Declining levels of snowfall and receding glaciers in the Himalayas are reducing the water level in most Kashmiri rivers.

    Indian-administered Kashmir (IAK) sits at the head of major rivers feeding large parts of Pakistan. Sharing the water was a major problem after the two countries gained independence from Britain in 1947, until in the World Bank arbitrated between the two countries resulting in the signing of the IWT.

    The pact grants India exclusive rights to the three major southern rivers of Ravi, Beas and Sutluj, while Pakistan has the rights to three large northern rivers that first flow through Indian-administered Kashmir - the Indus, Jhelum and Chenab. The Jhelum and Kishenganga, by then known as the Neelum, join each other near Muzaffarabad, capital of Pakistan-administered Kashmir.

    The treaty has withstood two wars and numerous other conflicts between the two countries, but now the situation seems to be changing. The growing economies of both countries and increased energy needs are compelling exploitation of the rivers to the last drop, even if that means violating the IWT. Pakistan, being the lower riparian state, faces the disadvantage of geography.

    The Indian project involves building a dam and a 16-kilometer diversion channel, which will change the river's course by 100km. On completion of the project, the Kishenganga waters will join Wular lake and ultimately the river Jhelum, still within Indian-administered Kashmir, before flowing on to the Pakistan-administered side. The diversion will raise the lake's water level as well as add 52 cubic meters of water to the downstream 480MW Uri I and 240 MW Uri II hydroelectric project on Indian side.

    Pakistan's hydro project, with an underground power station, will be built at Nauseri, near Muzaffarabad. Pakistan has signed up the help of Chinese companies, namely the CGGC-CMEC Consortium China, to build the project with the aim of beating India to completion and securing priority rights for the river.

    Pakistan fears that once India's Kishenganga project is complete it will have a devastating effect on the PAK's own hydro-power plans, the local economy and on the ecology. The Indian project, according to Pakistan, will curb water flow to the Pakistani project by 30%, besides affecting the local flora and fauna due to diversion of water from its original course. Pakistan also alleges that the project will adversely affect 133,209 hectares of agricultural land in the Neelum Valley and the Muzaffarabad district.

    India recognizes the stakes involved. Federal Minister of Power Jairam Ramesh, during a recent visit to Kashmir, called the Kishenganga project of geostrategic importance to India.

    "This is an issue with geostrategic and foreign policy implications," Ramesh said. The power minister said even he was not competent enough to talk on this sensitive issue.

    The countries are already at loggerheads over the Baghlihar hydroelectric power project. Built by damming the Chenab River in Indian-administered Kashmir, this project has been controversial since construction began in 1999. The first phase, involving about half the planned 900 MW capacity, was recently inaugurated by Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh.

    The dispute peaked on August 20, 2008, when authorities in IAK issued a warning that the entire state would have acute power shortages for the next 48 hours, due to the filling of the Baghlihar dam. Water flow on the river was halted and power produced by a hydroelectric project downstream was almost stopped, causing the outages.

    Pakistani monitoring agencies reportedly failed to check on this notification. Their officials pressed the panic button when levels on the Chenab plunged, threatening millions of hectares of standing crops. The river feeds water to 21 major canals and irrigates about 2.8 hectares of arable land in Pakistan.

    Pakistan accused India of holding back large amounts of water for filling the 143-meter high, 317-meter wide dam, with a storage capacity of 15 billion cusecs, a standard measure. According to authorities in Pakistan, the Chenab's water flow more than halved to 22,200 cusecs from 55,000 cusecs.

    Pakistan says this is a sheer violation of the Indus water treaty, by virtue of which Indian should not stem water flow below 55,000 cusecs. Pakistan insists that India compensate it for the loss of over 0.2 million acre feet (MAF), a measure of large volumes of water.

    According to Pakistan, the dam will deprive the country of 321,000 MAF of water, adversely affecting 5.2 million hectare of irrigated land along the Chenab and Ravi rivers. "The water shortfall has severely affected 405 canals and 1,125 distributaries, leaving rice, wheat, sugarcane and fodder crops in many districts of Pakistan's Punjab and Sindh provinces to wither," said Babar Hassan Bharwana, Irrigation Secretary of Pakistan's Punjab province.

    According to Pakistan Economy Watch (PEW), an economic think-tank, the Indian water stoppage has inflicted a loss of $1.5 billion on Pakistan with the prospect of damages growing by the day.

    "Over five million acres [2 million hectare] of cotton and sugarcane are facing devastation and if closure of the Chenab continues, the winter crops, especially wheat, will be hit, which will have serious political and monetary consequences," said PEW president Murtaza Mughal.

    Warning that the issue of water could trigger war between the two nuclear powers, he said: "India wanted to destabilize Pakistan and play havoc with the fate of poor farmers and common people." India has denied it stopped the water flow to Pakistan.

    Pakistan feels that the Baglihar dam and every new project of a similar nature will add to India's arsenal of hydrological weapons. India plans to build nine hydro powerhouses on the Chenab to exploit its estimated potential of 16,000MW of electricity.

    The Baglihar water row has a precedent dating to just after independence. According to Professor Shaista Tabassum of Karachi University, India stopped its canal waters from flowing into Pakistan on April 1, 1948, leaving about 5.5% of west Pakistan's planted area and nearly 8% of its cultivated area without irrigation at the start of the crucial summer season. The blockage bought the countries to the brink of war.

    IAK has a total hydroelectric potential of 20,000MW and India is readying to exploit this in its entirety. The federal government in India meanwhile has effectively blocked moves by state authorities in IAK to construct large hydroelectric projects on its own, aware of the potential leverage these offer in the country's larger dealings with Pakistan.

    The state government had earlier secured funding from various international financial institutions to construct hydroelectric projects, including the Kishenganga dam, but India refused to give counter guarantees, forcing the proposal to be handed over to a federal company, the National Hydro Power Corporation (NHPC).

    NHPC, sometimes referred to as the East India Company of Kashmir for the imperial manner in which it exploits resources in the region, is strongly disliked as most of its income comes from its Kashmir-based power projects, while Kashmir itself reels in darkness.

    NHPC owns three power projects in Kashmir, generating a total of 1,560MW of electricity. It is constructing seven more projects with a combined capacity of 2,797MW. Kashmir has a 12% stake in these projects, compared with the 50-50 partnerships formed for such projects in other states. Kashmir on its own has only managed to construct projects generating 750MW, far short of the demand for 2,000MW.

    The Indus water treaty has been under strain following the accusation by all the three stakeholders of discriminatory attitudes.

    The people of Kashmir are vehemently against this treaty, which according to them has made them a sacrificial goat. Kashmir annually looses 60 billion Indian rupees (US$1.3 billion) on account of the prohibitions of the IWT by virtue of which Kashmir cannot store water for generating electricity or for irrigation purposes.

    All hydro-electric projects in IAK are costly and less efficient "run of the river" type, which do not alter the existing flow or water levels. An estimated 1.37 million hectares of land is also devoid of irrigation facilities in IAK due to restrictions imposed by the water treaty.

    The Human Rights Society (HRS) of Pakistan last year filed a petition with the Islamabad High Court urging the government to submit a report on the disruption of river flow caused by Indian dams and their impact on local agriculture. HRS chairman Kowkab Iqbal claimed that India was constructing 62 water reservoirs, including the Baghlihar and Kishenganga dams, besides using 80% of the water in the Jhelum, creating a drought-like situation in Pakistan.

    Pakistan's water availability has decreased to 1,200 cubic meters per person from 5,000 cubic meters in 1947 and is forecast to plunge to 800 cubic meters by 2020.

    Such is the intensity of the water conflict that former Pakistan prime minister Chaudhary Shujaat Hussain warned that the water row will lead to all-out war between the two countries. He called for the immediate amendments of the Indus Water Treaty to make it relevant for present times.

    Haroon Mirani is a Kashmir-based journalist.

    Copyright 2009 Asia Times Online (Holdings) Ltd. All rights reserved.

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    Pakistani Nuclear Security Worries U.S. Officials
    Monday, Jan. 12, 2009

    Preventing Pakistan's nuclear arsenal from falling into extremist hands is a more important security priority for the United States than stabilizing Afghanistan and Iraq, according to a Bush administration report delivered to the team preparing for Barack Obama's presidency, the New York Times reported yesterday (see GSN, Dec. 10, 2008).

    "Only one of those countries has a hundred nuclear weapons," the report's lead author said. Concerns persist over Islamabad's ability to protect the arsenal, according to the Times.

    U.S. intelligence officials have briefed Obama on the possibility that some Pakistani scientists with radical Islamic sympathies have sought to join the ranks of the nation's nuclear elite.

    There are "steadfast efforts of different extremist groups to infiltrate the labs and put sleepers and so on in there," said one of the most senior officials in the Bush administration.

    The official also expressed concern that militants could try to steal nuclear weapons that were being transferred between facilities. Some U.S. officials were concerned that the recent terrorist attacks in the Indian city of Mumbai might have been intended to spur Pakistan to move tactical nuclear weapons to border positions so they could be stolen, the Times reported.

    However, the head of Pakistan's Strategic Plans Division, which is responsible for protecting the nation's nuclear stockpile, said nobody should be worried.

    "Please grant to Pakistan that if we can make nuclear weapons and the delivery systems, we can also make them safe," said SPD chief Khalid Kidwai. "Our security systems are foolproof" (David Sanger, New York Times, Jan. 11).

    Such statements have not persuaded top U.S. intelligence officials.

    "Osama bin Laden issued a fatwa in the fall of 2007 to say that the mission was to destroy the government of Pakistan," National Intelligence Director Michael McConnell said in a recent television interview. "Pakistan has nuclear weapons. Would you want militants who are sworn to kill Americans in possession of nuclear weapons? That's what I worry about" (Press Trust of India, Jan. 10).

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    Pakistan offers China blank cheque to negotiate deal with India
    Taiwan Sun
    Thursday 22nd January, 2009
    (ANI)

    Islamabad, Jan.22 : Keen to bring its relations with India back on the peace track, Pakistan has offered key ally China a blank cheque for negotiating any deal with New Delhi to satisfy it on the issue of Mumbai terrorist attack.

    According to the Dawn, Pakistan Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi the Special Envoy of the Chinese Government, He Yafei, at Chinese Embassy reception: "You can go to Delhi and you have blank cheque from us."

    Emphasizing on the trust Pakistan reposed in Chinese leadership for ending the tensions, Qureshi told Yafei that Pakistan would endorse whatever China would say to India.

    The Chinese envoy had visited Pakistan on December 29 for defusing tensions between Pakistan and India.

    In his meetings with country's top leadership, the envoy had indicated that China would remain engaged to promote peace and stability in the region.

    Immediately after Yafei's visit, Pakistan made two proposals for defusing tensions arising from the Mumbai attack asking India to 'de-activate the forward airbases' and 'relocate the troops back to peace time positions'.

    Referring to China's peacemaker role, Qureshi had in his statement on PTV that 'certain developments during the past 48 hours' augured well for the region.

    The Chinese envoy then traveled to New Delhi on January 5 to push India to de-escalate the tensions and resume dialogue with Pakistan.

    Although, Chinese initiative was initially cold-shouldered by the Indians, there was a change in attitude and New Delhi discussed their concerns with the envoy.

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    President Obama 'orders Pakistan drone attacks'

    Missiles fired from suspected US drones killed at least 15 people inside Pakistan today, the first such strikes since Barack Obama became president and a clear sign that the controversial military policy begun by George W Bush has not changed.

    Security officials said the strikes, which saw up to five missiles slam into houses in separate villages, killed seven "foreigners" - a term that usually means al-Qaeda - but locals also said that three children lost their lives.

    Dozens of similar strikes since August on northwest Pakistan, a hotbed of Taleban and al-Qaeda militancy, have sparked angry government criticism of the US, which is targeting the area with missiles launched from unmanned CIA aircraft controlled from operation rooms inside the US.

    The operations were stepped up last year after frustration inside the Bush administration over a perceived failure by Islamabad to stem the flow of Taleban and al-Qaeda fighters from the tribal regions into Afghanistan. Mr Obama has made Afghanistan his top foreign policy priority and said during his presidential campaign that he would consider military action inside Pakistan if the government there was unable or unwilling to take on the militants.

    The strikes come just a day after Mr Obama appointed Richard Holbrooke, a former UN ambassador, as a special envoy for the region.

    Eight people died when missiles hit a compound near Mir Ali, an al-Qaeda hub in Pakistan's North Waziristan region. Seven more died when hours later two missiles hit a house in Wana, in South Waziristan. Local officials said the target in Wana was a guest house owned by a pro-Taleban tribesman. One said that as well as three children, the tribesman's relatives were killed in the blast.

    Pakistan has objected to such attacks, saying they are a violation of its territory that undermines its efforts to tackle militants. Since September, the US is estimated to have carried out about 30 such attacks, killing more than 220 people.


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    Default Re: India/Pakistan


    Defence minister A.K. Antony Friday expressed his satisfaction with the US realisation that global terrorism emanates from Pakistan. US President Barack Obama Thursday said Islamist extremists in Pakistan and Afghanistan posed a grave threat...


    Continuing its diplomatic offensive against Pakistan, India Friday welcomed the US remarks saying Pakistan in the "epicentre of terrorism" and called upon the world to take action against terror from Pakistani soil.

    Defence minister A.K. Antony Friday expressed his satisfaction with the US realisation that global terrorism emanates from Pakistan.

    "More than 30 terror outfits are active in Pakistan. It is good that the world has realised that Pakistan is the epicentre of terrorism," Antony told reporters here.

    "Now the world must take action against the terror from Pakistani soil," he said.

    US President Barack Obama Thursday said Islamist extremists in Pakistan and Afghanistan posed a grave threat that his new administration would tackle as a single problem under a wider strategy.

    The defence minister reiterated that the Indian armed forces are in a state of "preparedness".

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