Is Kashmir The Trigger For Nuclear War?

Authored by Brian Cloughley via The Strategic Culture Foundation,

The disputed of territory of Kashmir, lying in the north of the sub-continent between India and Pakistan, does not often feature in the world news media, but recently the little-known yet most sensitive region has received attention, not only because of boundary clashes between the armies of India and Pakistan but because there have been some dramatic incidents in the Indian-administered region. Tension is rising, as indicated by comments from politicians and media in both countries, which have been swinging from casual abuse to extremes of frenzied condemnation.

The Vishva Hindu Parishad (VHP) in India is a right-wing, religiously-based ultra-nationalist political party with a large following which actively supports the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party, which bases its policies on the aspirations of a strongly nationalistic community. The leader of the VHP, Acharya Dharmendra, declared in a speech on June 2 that «India should drop a nuclear bomb on Pakistan for creating tension at the border. It is a rogue nation and India must teach that country a lesson. It is important for peace in the Indian subcontinent».

So far as can be determined, no Pakistani politician has yet made such a statement, publicly, at least, but the feeling in Pakistan as regards the use of nuclear weapons is much the same as in India: very many citizens of both countries believe that nuclear weapons just make a bigger bang. This is worrying, to put it mildly, especially as these two well-armed nations are squaring up to each other over the Kashmir imbroglio.

Before India and Pakistan became independent in 1947 there were some 560 feudal rulers of princely states, of which Kashmir was one of the few in which a Muslim majority were subjects of a Hindu maharajah. He decided to accede to India but the territory continued to be disputed between India and Pakistan, and remains in such status on the books of the UN Security Council.

The main UNSC resolution about Kashmir is 122 of 24 January 1957. It reminds the governments of India and Pakistan that «the final disposition of the State of Jammu and Kashmir will be made in accordance with the will of the people expressed through the democratic method of a free and impartial plebiscite conducted under the auspices of the United Nations».

India has tried for many years to convince the world that the 1972 India-Pakistan Simla Accord following their war of 1971 in some way invalidates UN Security Council resolutions regarding Kashmir. But the first paragraph of the Simla Agreement is «that the Principles and Purposes of the Charter of the United Nations shall govern the relations between the countries». Then it states that «the two countries are resolved to settle their differences by peaceful means through bilateral negotiations or by any other peaceful means mutually agreed upon between them» [emphasis added]. It is obvious that, contrary to Indian claims, there is no legal exclusion of the UN or any third party from mediation over Kashmir, given the covenant to include «any other means» towards settlement.

India, however, seized upon its selective interpretation of the wording of the Accord to unilaterally forbid the UN Military Observer Group in India and Pakistan (UNMOGIP) to carry out its duties to «observe and report» on both sides of the line of Control dividing the disputed territory. That Mission has forty uniformed observers who investigate cease-fire violations on the Pakistan side, but are not permitted to operate in Indian-administered Kashmir. This state of affairs neutralises objective UN reporting about the region, and one has to ask the question : who benefits from that?

Indian-administered Kashmir is a scenically beautiful region which is economically self-supporting by virtue of food production, tourism, and export of world-class handicrafts — carpets and papier-mâché and carvings. Its citizens desire only fair governance, but over the years have become increasingly alienated from the Indian mainstream, and the recent increase in anti-India violence in the Valley is an indication of infuriated frustration. The insurgency has settled into a grumbling resentment with occasional outbreaks of forcefulness, and some barbaric incidents such as the recent unforgivable murder of a young man.

On 9 May 2017 a young Indian army officer was kidnapped and murdered. He was aged 22, recently commissioned, unarmed, and home to attend a family wedding in Indian-administered Kashmir when five men burst into his father’s house and overpowered him, took him away and shot him dead after treating him despicably.

Lieutenant Ummer Fayaz was an enlightened Kashmiri from a humble background who had made good because he was intelligent and hard-working. He was, of course, a Muslim, which made him doubly vulnerable to those evil fellow-Muslims who killed him. Their achievements were to plunge a family into grief, deprive the world of a good upright citizen, spread even deeper hatred throughout India, and demonstrate that they were vile savages who murdered a defenceless man. These reptiles are not freedom fighters. They are simply murderous criminals who lack any sort of morality and possess not a shred of compassion for their fellow human beings.

Which brings us to the treatment of another young man, Farooq Dar, a Kashmiri not much older than Lieutenant Ummer Fayaz, who survived to tell his tale, but also suffered at the hands of brutal bullies who had no fear of justice being applied.

According to the Economist, a reputable publication with no axe to grind in the India-Pakistan imbroglio over Kashmir, Mr Farooq Dar «suffered a severe beating» by Indian soldiers and was then «tied up on a spare tyre attached to the front bumper of an armoured jeep. Indian soldiers claimed he had been throwing stones. Mr Dar was driven in agony through villages... The soldiers reckoned the sight of him would deter others from throwing stones at their patrol».

By far the majority of the citizens of Indian-administered Kashmir who object to draconian Indian rule in the disputed territory are peaceful and want matters to be resolved politically, in accordance with Security Council Resolutions, but some have resorted to barbarism, and unfortunately the Indian army and paramilitary forces have lowered themselves to the level of the extremists. The use of pellet-firing shotguns to deliberately blind protestors was particularly malevolent, but in line with the recent statement by India’s army chief that «This is a proxy war and proxy war is a dirty war. It is played in a dirty way... You fight a dirty war with innovations». Like blinding people. The Indian Express reported that after one demonstration in 2016, doctors performed nearly 100 operations on people with pellet gun injuries. Sixteen had been blinded. Welcome to free Kashmir.

As Human Rights Watch observed, «a major grievance of those protesting in Kashmir is the failure of authorities to respect basic human rights», but the whole Kashmir catastrophe is about human rights, and it is time India and Pakistan devised a solution about the disputed territory. Countless lives would be saved if these governments eschewed the crude and dangerous attractions of ultra-nationalism and agreed to settle the dispute by referring it to independent arbitration. There is no possibility that India would ever agree to surrender the territory it occupies, because no Indian government would survive five minutes after making such a decision. Pakistan must live with the unpalatable fact that it has lost the territory and must make the best compromise.

At this moment the disagreement between India and Pakistan over Kashmir is one of the world’s most dangerous confrontations. It could only too easily lead to nuclear war, given Pakistan’s preparedness to use tactical nuclear weapons if Indian forces penetrate Pakistani territory, as they will probably do if there is a major fire-exchange incident along the Line of Control.

Then there will be a world catastrophe, because there is no such thing as a limited nuclear war.

The Line of Control in Kashmir should be declared the international border, with minor adjustments effected after independent mediation. Prime Minister Narendra Modi of India and Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif of Pakistan should meet and declare that the Kashmir imbroglio is over, and that the countries have agreed to go forward to mutually beneficial cooperation.

Then they could go to Norway to accept their Nobel Peace Prizes.


HonoraryCarioca Drimble Wedge Fri, 06/16/2017 - 11:43 Permalink

I spent some years doing business with both the Indian and the Pakistani government's. What became evident, on both sides of the border, was that few politicians actually cared about this obscure territory but would say a few words about it to rile up the masses and gain a few additional votes. Just like Argentine politicians say things about the Falklands and Spanish  politicians say things about Gibraltar. However, this can become a dangerous game as words have consequences, just like they did in 1971. 

In reply to by Drimble Wedge

Canadian Dirtlump Billy the Poet Fri, 06/16/2017 - 03:49 Permalink

On the juvenile topic of music, if it came down to picking a soundtrack to Armageddon, and I was constrained to the Zeppelin folk, I'd rather have over the hills and far away playing. If I could bend the rules I'd play 29 palms though. It comes kind of hard, when I hear your voice on the radio, taking me back down the road that leads back to you. Regarding the topic at hand - alarmingly, kashmir could lead to at very least, a nuclear exchange which would fuck us all over for 5 or 6 dwillion years. In a similar vein let's not forget about Spook extraordinaire Steve Pieczenik talking about how easy it would be to falsely provoke a war between China and India which would likely go NUKULAR!

In reply to by Billy the Poet

tbd108 HRClinton Fri, 06/16/2017 - 02:58 Permalink

This is not "old theory." It is British propaganda. Saying the Economist is a neutral observer (a Rothschild rag) is absurd. The real issue is control of India. Kashmir is where India gets its water. Pakistan was created by the British assholes to try and continue their rule of the Indian subcontinent forever. They fund the crazies to harass the Indians into submission. The Indians know this.

In reply to by HRClinton

lurker since 2012 tbd108 Fri, 06/16/2017 - 07:58 Permalink

 Having been on a houseboat in Srinagar in the 90's as seeing the 'situation', I say they (now) want independence from both India and Pakistan. Watch Deadliest roads to see how to get their. It was a Bus ride to hell. Had Delli Belli shit'in like a demon. Drank tea only for 7 days. They were the worst of times and shitest of times. Nice people.

In reply to by tbd108

land_of_the_few lurker since 2012 Fri, 06/16/2017 - 10:27 Permalink

And this article doesn't mention one word about the 1820 annexation of *all of* Kashmir by the Sikhs in 1820 from the Afghani Empire, and the First Anglo-Sikh war, after which in 1846 Kashmir was created as a Sikh kingdom separate from India and given from the Brits to the first Sikh ruler, the Raja of Jammu, Kulab Singh, who purchased all of Kashmir from them.It also fails to mention that India, Pakistan and China all grabbed one part each of the independent kingdom of Kashmir in 1947, around the time Pakistan was created.

In reply to by lurker since 2012

lurker since 2012 KimAsa Fri, 06/16/2017 - 08:18 Permalink

Having been on a houseboat in Srinagar in the 90's as seeing the 'situation', I say they (now) want independence from both India and Pakistan. Watch Deadliest roads to see how to get their. It was a Bus ride to hell. Had Delli Belli shit'in like a demon. Drank tea only for 7 days. They were the worst of times and shitest of times. Nice people.Of course medical marijuana was part of my ( besides tea) recovery. A bit like Randy Marsh , all that paper action caused a inflammation of the testicles. Cough cough.

In reply to by KimAsa

sinbad2 Fri, 06/16/2017 - 02:29 Permalink

I don't understand why countries like India and the US force their will on people.It's an expensive business oppressing people, I don't know how much this has cost India over the years, but I do know the US has spent over 2 trillion dollars to oppress Afghanistan.Why do people and Governments want to prevent countries from following their own path, to me it's like some guy who loves his wife so much, he keeps her chained in the basement, or kills her because he can't let her go.It's sick, India should allow the people of Kashmir decide.

JerseyJoe Fri, 06/16/2017 - 02:54 Permalink

Good Luck with that.  Let us know how it turns out.  We have our deep state problems...and they have nukes too.  And lunatic totalitarian left wanting to take control.   

OCnStiggs quasi_verbatim Fri, 06/16/2017 - 06:42 Permalink

Low-yield explosions won't do too much unless you are Cambodian or Thai.The US exploded nearly 100 above ground nuclear weapons in Nevada. Except for wiping out an entire generation of Mormon kids in St George, Utah due to weird cancers, nothing much happened. Watch the very first FRONTLINE if you can find it. It is believed that John Wayne's cancer may have been triggered by his work on a Western movie shot downwind from the test area. Several people working on that movie also died of cancer following the shoot.

In reply to by quasi_verbatim

San Pedro Fri, 06/16/2017 - 03:19 Permalink

Not only do they have nukes..they have miniature nukes i.e. artillery fired low yield nukes in the 5 to 10 kTon range.  Al Qaeda is waiting in the wings in both countries to grab a few as soon as they are deployed to the field. 

I Write Code Fri, 06/16/2017 - 04:13 Permalink

Yeah sure, just about the same headline people have been running daily since 1948.Here's how I think it will go.  India will assemble a gigantic herd of 100,000 pigs, and drive them over the line of control, expecting Pakistan to retreat in horror so India can take over their territory.  But what will actually happen is 100,000 soldiers of the Pakistani army will ... oh never mind, I think that's pretty poor taste even on ZH.

falak pema Fri, 06/16/2017 - 06:49 Permalink

Yep, Mohdi represents the Hindu national resurgence of those who killed Gandhi and he won't tolerate secularism of Nehru; he goes the nationalist route full throttle now that his neighbours on both sides; Paki and Bengla; are bitten by Jihadist mouthfrothing fed on US military support for rabid regimes since 60 years (part of cold war's toxic legacy) and billions of Saudi petrodollars poured in to stoke the Madrassa nests of muzzi obscurantism since the Saudi Oil bonanza began.As China has been an historical rival to India in terms of regional top dog --since 1962 aggression-- and as now China buddies up to Paki via Silk road and Karakorum highway great games to control deep Asia and the ME --as replacement of USA and as geopolitical partner to Putin-- the Asian pivot will aggravate a huge tectonic fault line in Kashmir, inherited from Pax Britannica imperial days.Dubya and Father did not go down the Nuclear arms limitation route-- as promised to Gorby-- after Soviet demise. More fool the GOP NWO hegemons, as the blowback from so called fledgling "rogue" states wanting to COPY the shock n awe hegemony of neo-con USA will be awesome. Now that the US elites feel the sting of "twilight zone" bigtime and the Duck starts to roll back the unilateral matrix called globalism gone Fubar.The nuclear plague is now global, and not just limited to Fuku...Where Empires come to sing Shangrila and die for GOD (or nation) on top of world's summital peak; its a good place to cry for humanity's phucked up destiny; not God imposed, just hubristically man imposed.Self fulfilling Kismet, as the poet would have sung... THe moving finger of Man.

Hans-Zandvliet Fri, 06/16/2017 - 07:02 Permalink

Rubbish: India and Pakistan have been eye ball to eye ball about Kashmir ever since their independence in 1948.Recently both countries have become permanent members of the Shanghai Coorporation Organisation; they'd be mad to blow this best chance ever for their development.This stand off is just another round of theatre, like so many theatre performances before.

RedBaron616 Fri, 06/16/2017 - 07:06 Permalink

Regarding nuclear options in India and Pakistan, while Pakistan may not have talked trash, their actions have been far worse. The Pakistani nukes are not all controlled at a high level. Instead, they decided to put any smaller, front-line nukes with the local military commanders. In other words, it would be easier for a accidental or rogue first launch by Pakistan because of their decentralized nuclear military policy. Certainly not a very well thought out policy, especially as the Pakistan military is, from time to time, infiltrated by rogue actors/terrorists.