India-Pakistan: May 10, 2003

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India and Pakistan agreed to crack down on radicals in both countries. In Pakistan, this means Islamic radicals fighting to force India (and non-Moslems) out of Kashmir. In India, this means stopping Hindu nationalists from persecuting Moslems. In both cases, such crack downs will be hard to carry out, because the radicals have a lot of public support where they operate. Both countries are interested in bringing down the military tensions, as it costs a lot of money. The half century arms race produced not just nuclear weapons, but a lot of conventional weapons neither side could really afford. Neither country really has any serious military foes except each other. OK, India has a long standing border dispute with China. But it's high in the Himalayan mountains, where the troops have a hard time breathing, much less fighting. The additional weapons expense is particularly tough for Pakistan, which has serious financial problems that have led to political instability and unrest.  

The main dispute is over the movement of Islamic radicals from Pakistan into Kashmir. India contends that there 1200-1400 such radicals (from several different organizations) waiting to cross into Kashmir. While most of these are Kashmiris (who go to Pakistan to join Islamic radical groups for training), this year, 28 percent of the rebels killed in Kashmir were foreigners. Pakistan says the training camps don't exist. India asks where these armed militants are coming from. Until this issue is settled, there will be no peace.

 

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