There has not been much news about the conflict between India and Pakistan lately. Journalists’ forecasts have not come true: India is not going to start the military action against Kashmir separatists in the middle of July. Nothing special happened that could testify to the beginning of such an operation. A lot of politicians and diplomats say that there will be no war between the two countries.
It seems to be true. At least, Indian Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee claimed at one of his press conferences that there would be no war between India and Pakistan. He added that such an issue did not exist. Furthermore, the head of the Indian government advised that his country was ready for a dialogue with Pakistan on all the moot questions, including the most relevant one of them: the Kashmir issue. The suggestion to attract Kashmir separatists to negotiations was very surprising to hear indeed (without their preliminary conditions on their part, though). However, Vajpayee rejected an opportunity to withdraw Indian troops from the separation line in Kashmir, having said that terrorists’ attacks were going on. But the progress is evident: Delhi did not at all wish to conduct negotiations with Kashmir separatists before, not at any price.
The statement that was released from the Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf was very surprising too. He warned India against the incursion of its troops across the actual control line, which divided Kashmir into India-ruled and Pakistan-ruled zones. Musharraf declared that any kind of incursion would raise a storm on the part of Pakistan and that storm would destroy the enemy in a blink of an eye. The Pakistani president also stressed out that Islamabad was not going to start the war first, but it would give a fitting rebuff and carry the war over to the enemy’s territory. Musharraf added that the troops were totally ready for such a response.
It is hard to say, what caused such harshness. Pakistan wanted to attract Kashmir separatists to negotiations - Pervez Musharraf decided to show that he was not going to make any concessions to India and that he was ready for a war. Furthermore, Islamabad found out about the decision that was made by the security committee of the Indian government – to leave the army on its current positions. Indian Defense Minister George Fernandes claimed that there would be no troops withdrawal either from the Pakistani border or from the separation line of Kashmir. As it is supposed, the army will remain on its positions at least until October.
Therefore, it is too early to say that the conflict between India and Pakistan has been settled. The tense atmosphere has been eased a bit on the border between the countries, but it does not mean that there is no more of the armed conflict possibility. One act of terrorism, or an incident will be enough, and the parties will start their warnings all over again.
Oleg Artyukov PRAVDA.Ru
Translated by Dmitry Sudakov