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Title : The cost of conflict between India and Pakistan By M.V.Kamath Publication : Free Press Journal March 25, 2004

Sacrificer           M.V.Kamath
Sacrifice code       wfor0241
Sacrifice date       March 25, 2004

Title : The cost of conflict between India and Pakistan

Author : By M.V.Kamath

Publication : Free Press Journal

Date : March 25, 2004

When will Pakistan ever come to terms with India and stop talking about Jammu & Kashmir being a core issue"? And when will the United States stop fooling India? Year after year both India and Pakistan have been spending huge amounts of money and there seems to be no end to it. They rank 3rd and 15th respectively in the list of major military spender countries of the world. Indian military expenditure shot up be 12 per cent in the post-Kargil budget of 2000-2001 followed by 5 per cent escalation in 2002-2003. In 2002-2003 the military budget was lowered only to be increased by 17 per cent in 2003- 2004.

In similar comparison the defence expenditure of Pakistan came drastically down by 12.8 per cent in 2000-2001, but this is a misleading fact for what Pakistan did was to shift military pensions worth Rs 36 million from defence to general expenditure. Pakistan's defence expenditure jumped by 27 per cent during the period from 2001 to 2004.

According to current trends Pakistan is scheduled to spend Rs 188 billion or 3.9 per cent of its Gross Domestic Product (GDP) in 2006-2007. During that same period India is expected to spend Rs 706 million. In other words India and Pakistan are bleeding each other while the world must be laughing at us. For all his tall talk, Pakistan has not yet started to curb terrorist activities emanating from within its boundaries.

Within a week of the daring attack on Jammu's Jail complex, terrorists struck in Srinagar's busy Residency Road area, adjacent to the Media enclave on 9 March. The building they wanted to blow up houses the offices of the Press Information Bureau and the Kashmir Information Department. That same day terrorists also struck at a contractor's house in Badgam district, killing three persons on the spot.

In fact, whatever the Deputy Prime Minister L. K. Advani and the Defence Minister George Fernandes might say, there seems to be no end to militant violence, which has been growing, not diminishing. What is more shocking, Pakistan reportedly has spread its tentacles throughout India, if we can believe a well-documented report entitled Cost of Conflict Between India and Pakistan drafted by a Mumbai-based Think- Tank called Strategic Foresight Group of the International Centre for Peace Initiatives.

The report provides some damning information hitherto unavailable to the media. In 2003, according to the report, India identified enhanced ISI activities in nine states, namely Uttar Pradesh, Gujarat, Maharashtra, Bihar, Andhra Pradesh, West Bengal, Tamil Nadu, Kerala and Jharkhand and an active network of ISI-sponsored illegal madrassahs throughout the country. It is believed that this and other information was leaked out to this Think Tank by the government. And where are these illegal madrassahs situated? The report says that situated on the Indo-Nepal border are 330 of them, on the Indo-Bangladesh border there are approximately 800, in Kerala 9,975, in Madhya Pradesh 6,000 in Maharashtra 2,435, in West Bengal 2,116, in Assam 2002, in Gujarat 1,825, in Rajasthan 1,780, in Delhi 1,161, in Karnataka 961, in Andhra Pradesh 721 and in Jammu & Kashmir 122. ISI funding to illegal madrasssahs amounts to Rs 600 million per year. It is a frightening thought. In addition to these madrassahs, the report says that approximately 10,000 people are working for the ISI in various capacities. One can take these figures lightly or dismiss them as the product of highly imaginative mind. But consider this: After the 1971 war, the Indian Armed Forces shot 700 CIA agents three quarters of whom were Indians.

Writes Ashok Parthasarathi, professor and chairperson of Jawaharlal Nehru University's School for Social Sciences in World Affairs (Volume seven): "We had the names, locations and actions of all these fellows. One hundred of them who were non-Indian nationals were allowed 24 hours to leave the country and were escorted, put on planes and taken out. The Indian nationals were shot. The kind of damage they had done to the national security and safety was monumental... We have to take these realities into account ..." We do not know how many Indian nationals are presently working for the ISI in India but one can concede that they number in hundreds if not thousands.

The Think-Tank writes: "The Kashmir cells of Jehadi organisations will step up violence in India. Major attacks in Kashmir could increase substantially from once in 4-6 weeks in 2003 to 4-6 attacks a week in the coming years. The strategy of militants could also aim to expand terrorist attacks beyond Kashmir to target main cities of India..." It is well to remember that as late as the second week of March 2004, Gen. Musharraf was still harping on Jammu & Kashmir being the "core issue" between India and Pakistan.

Irrespective of the crowd behaviour of cricket enthusiasts in Karachi during the first One-dayer, Pakistan's military elite has not given up on its primary aim. And in Pakistan its presence is felt everywhere. Pakistani Army officials are to be found embedded in every Ministry and they literally run the show. In the Communication Ministry there are 98 Armed Forces officers, in the Defence Production Division 52, in the Establishment Division 16, in the Interior (Home) Ministry 88, in the Industries and Production Ministry 29, in the Ministry of Information Technology 58, in the Kashmir Affairs and Northern Affairs Ministry 25, in the Ministry of Petroleum and National Resources 39, in the Ministry of Science and Technology 21, in the Ministry of Railways 72 and in the Ministry of Water and Power 37. The chairman of Karachi, Gwadar and Port Bin Trusts are military officers, not laymen.

The chairmen of Karachi, Lahore, Peshawar, Islamabad, Hyderabad and Quetta Electric Supply Corporations are Army officers, none below the rank of Brigadier. There is no way the Armed Forces can be displaced from power. Their tentacles are spread in every department of civil and military life. Says the Think-Tank's report: "The military has over the years pervaded every segment of Pakistan society, industry, commerce, diplomatic services and civil institutions, not to forget education and health care services.

The military is the single biggest player in Pakistani economy, active in a wide variety of businesses from fertiliser production to insurance companies. The core of the military business empire is a group of four foundations: Fauji Foundation, Army Welfare Trust, Shaheen Foundation and Bahria Foundation, with assets worth over $5 billion". That is Pakistan. Western Powers, not to speak of China, have been quite comfortable with this system partly because it cuts down on red tape but more importantly because dealing with Pakistan has been a very profitable business to them down the years. These powers including the United States, Britain, France, Germany, Belgium and Netherlands, not to speak of China have allowed themselves to be used because Pakistan in turn has been most amenable to be used by them.

American, European and Chinese doublespeak in the matter of nuclear proliferation has to be studied to be believed. This has been stated in great detail by Prof. Matin Zuberi in The Road to Chagai. No other work in recent times has exposed the Big Powers as fully and as mercilessly as this one. The book traces the history of Pakistan's development of nuclear capability right from the time Zulfikar Ali Bhutto decided that "if India developed an atomic bomb, we too will develop one even if we have to eat grass or leaves or to remain hungry". Between 1960 and 1967 the Pakistan Atomic Energy Commission (PAEC) sent about 600 scientists and engineers abroad for specialisation in nuclear technology.

To build an "Islamic Nuclear Bomb" Libya, Saudi Arabia and the Gulf States gave Pakistan well over $500 million in full knowledge of the United States. Prof. Zuberi states on one occasion there were at least two flights from Tripoli to Karachi, each bringing under high security as much as $ 100 million in suitcases.

Between the mid-1970s to the early `80s Pakistan engaged a global `grey market of nuclear mercenaries' to work for its nuclear programme and these mercenaries included physicists, metallurgists, chemists and other needed technical specialists, right under the nose of the United States which said and did nothing. Pakistan openly made purchases of vital equipment from West Germany, Switzerland and several other west European countries.

As late as in 1999 Pakistan purchased sensitive items from offshore front companies in Japan, Singapore and elsewhere. Writes Prof. Zuberi: "Apart from western firms that liberally provided equipment, components and even entire (nuclear) plants, Pakistan also benefitted from nuclear co-operation with `all-weather' friend China".

In 1983, for instance, US intelligence officials reported that China had transferred a complete design of a tested nuclear weapon with a yield of about twenty kilotons to Pakistan. The US officials even knew catalogue numbers of some parts of the weapon. Prof. Zuberi gives a full account of every type of nuclear assistance China gave to Pakistan. In 1986, for instance, China transferred to Pakistan enough tritium gas for ten nuclear weapons.

The full story of western and Chinese assistance to Pakistan in the nuclear field will be given in another article but this is only to inform readers that in all these years the United States turned a blind eye to what was going on in Pakistan.

American intelligence sources had even silently monitored a barter deal between Pakistan and North Korea. The point to all this information is to stress the fact that all claims of friendship towards India made whether by Pakistan or the United States have to be looked at with a good deal of scepticism. Thanks to our western "friends", India has had to spend an enormous amount of money to keep up with and surpass Pakistan's expenditure on nuclear armament. By all means, let India be nice to Washington and Islamabad but let it also remember the 600 CIA spies in India that were shot in 1971 and the billions spent by the ISI in supporting madrassahs in India. To be forewarned is to be forearmed.


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