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Is Pakistan’s Paranoia Pushing it Into a Nuclear War with India?

The flags of India and Pakistan. Photo: Jack Zalium/flickr

The possibility of a nuclear war between Pakistan and India grows every day. If the Pakistanis do not bring under control the terrorist groups in the country and resolve the conflicts with India, it is not a matter of if it will happen, but when.

There have been few achievements to celebrate in the sixty-five year history of Pakistan and that has made the success of the nuclear program central to the national identity. This is especially true for the military that receives a quarter of the budget and is the only strong national institution.

Development of the weapons started in January of 1972 by Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto, when he was the Minister for Fuel, Power and Natural Resources. The decision to go nuclear came after a disastrous military defeat in 1971 by India. Bangladesh with Indian assistance separated from Pakistan.

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International Relations Defense

New Realities of the India-Russia Defense Partnership

BrahMos missile and launch canister on display at the International Maritime Defence Show, 2007, in Russia. The stealth supersonic cruise missile is a joint venture between India and Russia. Photo: One half 3544/Wikimedia Commons

A number of defense contracts are likely to be sealed when Russian President Vladimir Putin‘s visits India in November for annual summit talks with India’s Prime Minister Dr. Manmohan Singh.

India and Russia have a long history of defense cooperation, with Russia being India’s leading partner. According to Russia Today, between 1960 and 2000, Russia supplied India with about $35 billion worth of military equipment. Over the years, the relationship has evolved [pdf] from a simple buyer-seller framework to one involving joint research and development, production and marketing of advanced defense technologies, including missiles, rockets, fighter and transport aircrafts.

However, changing political landscapes may be forcing the allies to realign their interests. While India makes positive strides in its defense relations with the United States, Russia is once again keen to expand its role and influence across South Asia. Moscow’s initiatives include the Dushanbe Group of Four – a proposed collaboration between Russia, Tajikistan, Afghanistan and Pakistan. Sensing ambivalence in the US-Pakistan relationship, Moscow has also warmed to Pakistan, much to India’s chagrin.

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International Relations Security Foreign policy Conflict

Revolution in a Vacuum

Syrians rally in front of the US Embassy
Syrians rally in front of the US Embassy in Amman, Jordan. Photo: FreedomHouse/flickr.

MADRID – The Cold War may be over, but superpower rivalry is back. As a result, the international community’s capacity to unite in the face of major global challenges remains as deficient as ever.

Nowhere is this more clearly reflected than in the case of Syria. What was supposed to be a coordinated effort to protect civilians from ruthless repression and advance a peaceful transition – the plan developed by former United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan – has now degenerated into a proxy war between the United States and Russia.

Russia’s leaders (and China’s) seek to uphold an international system that relies on the unconditional sovereignty of states and rejects the Western-inspired, humanitarian droit d’ingérence. Concerned that the Arab rebellions would radicalize their own repressed minorities, they refuse to allow the UN Security Council to be used to promote revolutionary changes in the Arab world. And Syria, the last Russian outpost of the Cold War, is an asset the Kremlin will do its utmost to maintain.

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Uncategorized Security Foreign policy Global Voices

India, Pakistan: Working Towards Thawing the Siachen Conflict?

Pakistan Army rescue operation at the world's highest border Siachen Pakistan Army rescue operation at the world’s highest border in Siachen. Photo by Mohsin Hassan © Copyright Demotix (April 8, 2012)

On April 7, 2012, a deadly avalanche hit a Pakistani military camp in the Gayatri Sector, 30km west of the Siachen glacier, killing over 130 people, most of them military personnel. The scale of the tragedy once again brought into focus a long-standing conflict between India and Pakistan over Siachen, often referred to as “the world’s highest battlefield.”

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Global Voices

India, Bangladesh: Water Disputes and River Diplomacy

Aerial View of Teesta River
Aerial View of the Teesta River. Flickr photo by Prato9x (CC-BY-NC-ND 2.0)

India and Bangladesh share 54 rivers between them. Despite setting up a Joint River Commission for water management as early as 1972, tensions between the countries on how to share resources recently came to a head in a dispute over the Teesta River. At stake are the lives of countless people from West Bengal and Bangladesh who depend upon the river for survival.

To date, only one comprehensive river pact has been signed by India and Bangladesh – a 1996 bilateral treaty that established a 30-year water-sharing arrangement between the two countries.  This was set to change in September 2011 when India’s Prime Minister, Dr. Manmohan Singh, was due to sign a pact with his Bangladeshi counterpart regarding access and use of the Teesta River.

The Teesta – which has its source in Sikkim – flows through the northern part of West Bengal in India before entering Bangladesh, where after coursing through about 45km of irrigable land, merges with the Brahmaputra River (or Jamuna when it enters Bangladesh). In 1983, an ad-hoc water sharing agreement was reached between India and Bangladesh, whereby both countries were allocated 39% and 36% of the water flow respectively.  The new bilateral treaty expands upon this agreement by proposing an equal allocation of the Teesta River.