For more than 50 years, India and Pakistan have been at bitter odds over several disputed territories along their common border. By far the most intractable of these conflicts, however, has been the dispute over Kashmir. The countries have fought two wars over the region, first in 1947-8 and then again in 1965, and ongoing skirmishes along the cease-fire line have left thousands dead each year.
In the summer of 1999, the two nuclear powers came to the brink of another war after Pakistani-backed forcesinfiltrated Indian-controlled Kashmir. A bitter two-month conflict ensued, ending only when Pakistani forceswithdrew.
Since then, the region has been relatively quiet. But this past October, the worst fighting in more than a yearbroke out as India started shelling what it called Pakistani military positions. The situation has only devolvedfrom there, with alleged Pakistani militants attacking the Indian parliament just two weeks ago. Now, in the latestdevelopment, India has recalled its ambassador to Pakistan, hinting strongly that war is imminent.
We’ll turn now to a speech given recently by Pakistani peace activist, Zia Mian, who examines the escalation of theIndia-Pakistan tensions within the context of the US “war on terrorism.” The speech was delivered at a conferencesponsored by the American Friends Service Committee.
- Zia Mian, Pakistani peace activist and lecturer of public and international affairs at the Woodrow WilsonSchool of Public and International Affairs.