December 2004 News

Fencing Along Border Near Completion

19 December 2004
The Nation

Kanpur: Fencing work along the Indo-Pak border in Jammu and Kashmir has almost been completed, Union Minister of State for Home Sri Prakash Jaiswal said here on Sunday. Once the fencing work is finished, infiltration from across the border can be checked more effectively, Jaiswal told reporters here. He also said that the fencing work along the Indo-Bangla border would be finished within two years. To a question on formation of a third front, he said it was only the 'imagination' of certain people. On talks between Samajwadi Party Supremo Mulayam Singh Yadav and CPM leader Harikishan Singh Surjeet, he said the CPM was a 'mature' political party and its leaders would not take any such decision as the left party was supporting the Congress-led government at the Centre. Stressing that New Delhi was keen on developmental work in Jammu and Kashmir, he said state Chief Minister Mufti Mohammed Sayeed was coming here and would discuss installation of tanning industry in his state with the local industrialists. Nuclear war a real fear in South Asia: No conventional war between India and Pakistan will remain limited for long and will gradually lead to a full-scale war and ultimately to a nuclear conflict, warns a study by a Pakistani defense official. The study, presented recently at a Washington think-tank, looks at various scenarios that could lead to an all-out war between the two South Asian neighbours, which conducted a series of nuclear tests in May 1998 and also possess nuclear-capable missiles, reports UPI. Most of the possible war scenarios discussed in this study also focus on Kashmir where most international observers believe even a small conflict has the potential of escalating into a full-fledged war. Recently, both India and Pakistan have agreed to resolve their differences through dialogue and have taken several steps to lessen tension. The study by the Pakistani defense official envisages possible Pakistani response to a various proposals being discussed in India's defense circles for dealing with the Kashmir insurgency, which India blames on Pakistan-backed fighters. The author, who wished not to be identified, argues that recently India has put forward the concept of a limited conventional war aimed at achieving a specific political objective, such as putting down the uprising in Held Kashmir. But the author warns that what India may see as 'a limited conventional war,' may not be accepted to Pakistan as such. 'Similarly, what India defines as limited political perspective, may have a different implication for Pakistan,' he adds. The author points out that most Western analysts and scholars are not comfortable with India's limited war doctrine and they also believe that 'a limited war between India and Pakistan cannot remain limited for long. 'Comparing nuclear policies of the two countries, the author says that the central theme of Pakistan's nuclear policy guidelines is to act in a responsible manner and to exercise restraint in conduct of its deterrence policy. Pakistan, he said, also wants to ensure that its nuclear capability does not pose any threat to non-nuclear weapon states in the region. 'Pakistan's nuclear capability is very clear for deterrence of aggression and defense of its sovereignty,' the author said. India's declared nuclear doctrine, he said, is based on a posture of no first use of nuclear weapons. India, however, retains the option of using nuclear weapons in retaliation against a nuclear, biological or chemical attack on Indian territory or on Indian forces anywhere. 'India's doctrine contains an inbuilt offensive design. The most dangerous aspect of this policy is that it keeps the option open for a conventional war against Pakistan,' according to the author. Explaining how a conventional war can lead to a nuclear conflict, the author says: 'In a full conventional war, India has the potential to create impact. And if it does so, it will force Pakistan to use its nuclear option.' Before the two countries acquired nuclear capability, India's strategy was to invade Pakistan and divide it into north and south. By severing all links between the two parts of the country, India hoped to force Pakistan to negotiate peace on New Delhi's terms. The Indians, the author said, also are considering a number of other options for launching a fast but effective incursion into Pakistan without causing a full-scale war. 'But in the final analysis,' he said, 'all options to initiate war by India may look independent and workable but ultimately will lead to the same destination which both sides would like to avoid as responsible nuclear states.'


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