Why do we have separatists in Kashmir?
India and the Indo-Pakistani Conflict: Events from December 2001
After the death of the webmaster, Peter Strutynski, this website cannot be updated until further notice. However, it is still available as an archive with contributions from 1996 - 2015.
Compiled from agency reportsDecember 25, 2001
Many observers fear that there will be a new war. The tensions between India and Pakistan seem almost insoluble. On December 25th, there was heavy shooting at the armistice line in Kashmir. Two Indian soldiers are said to have been killed in the process. The private Indian broadcaster "Star News" reported that Pakistani troops had shelled positions of the Indian army and villages on the border. The day before (December 24th) Pakistan had closed markets and offices at the border for fear of Indian fire.
Both sides are pulling troops together at their borders. Both governments say they will only respond to the other's march and both reiterate their hope that the problems can be resolved through diplomatic channels. But the preparations are not interrupted because of this. Pakistan has imposed a vacation ban on all units, India is bringing troops from other parts of the country to the border. It should be the largest parade in years. The Indian press reported that tanks and fighter planes were stationed at the border. Warships in the Bay of Bengal were also put on alert, according to the Statesman newspaper. Above all, they are supposed to protect Indian nuclear facilities on the west coast. The Ministry of Defense spoke of a "precautionary measure".
The Indian ambassador to Pakistan left the country. He had recently been recalled. The security committee of the Indian cabinet wants to discuss the next diplomatic steps on Wednesday. (Sources: Netzeitung; Spiegel-online, December 25, 2001)
December 26, 2001
"We do not want a war, but it is being forced upon us. We will have to face it," said Indian Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee, according to a report in the Asian Age newspaper on December 26th. Pakistan also announced that it was prepared for all challenges.
According to the Indian Defense Minister George Fernandes, medium-range missiles have now been moved to the border. The Indian "missile systems have been put in place," he told the Indian news agency PTI. These are said to be Agni II missiles, India's most modern mobile missiles with a range of 2,000 kilometers.
Reuters news agency reported that Pakistan had arrested the leader of a militant group. Maulana Ashar Masud is blamed by India for the attack. A government spokesman confirmed the arrest without giving any reasons.
December 27, 2001
The governments in Islamabad and New Delhi decided to expel half of each other's embassy staff. The remaining diplomats were restricted in their freedom of movement: They are only allowed to stay in the respective state capital. In addition, both governments banned airlines in neighboring countries from using their airspace. This ban is to apply from January 1, 2002.
At the same time, the Indian troop deployment continued on the border between the Indian and Pakistani claims of Kashmir. Indian Defense Secretary George Fernandes said troop deployment along the border would be completed by the weekend (December 30). The troops are then ready for any operation. Pakistan also began moving units to the border. Anti-aircraft guns were also deployed in the port city of Karachi.
UN Secretary General Kofi Annan called on both governments to be prudent. In letters he warned that India and Pakistan should make every effort to create a calmer atmosphere. US Secretary of State Colin Powell also made phone calls to the two governments to call on them for moderation. Powell stated: "No conflict between the two countries can lead to a good outcome, for either country." Similar announcements came from Moscow and Beijing.
At the same time, the US increased pressure on Pakistan to ban the two Islamic organizations that India saw as the masterminds for the December 13 attack. Both organizations, Jaish-e-Mohammed and Lashkar-e-Taiba, are committed to their "holy war" for the independence of Kashmir from India and for the state affiliation with Pakistan.
December 28, 2001
In an urgent appeal to Pakistan, the foreign ministers of the G-8 countries have demanded that the government take additional measures against terrorism on its territory. Above all, terrorists targeting India should be pursued more closely. US Secretary of Defense Rumsfeld is also concerned about the growing tensions between India and Pakistan. These would damage the common fight against terror. For example, the US is against Pakistan withdrawing troops from the Afghan border and relocating them to the Indian border. George Bush even praised the Pakistani address. The government in Islamabad has already arrested 50 suspected terrorists, he said at his ranch in Crawford, Texas. Pakistan is thus fulfilling India's wishes.
Meanwhile, the skirmishes on the Indian-Pakistani border in Kashmir continue. According to eyewitness reports, dozens of people were killed in exchanges of fire.
A conference of South Asian countries will begin in Nepal next week. Pakistani President Musharaff announced his readiness to meet with Indian Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee at the summit. New Delhi categorically refused such a meeting.
29./30. December 2001
At a meeting with top politicians from all Indian parties, the Indian Prime Minister Vajpayee was convinced that under strong international pressure, Pakistan would now take stronger action against Muslim extremists. "We will do our utmost to avoid war," he said. However, if an armed conflict was "forced" on the country, all parties agreed to support the government. - Also in Islamabad it was said that they were trying everything to avoid a war. At the same time it was pointed out that the Pakistani troops were "ready to fight".
December 31, 2001
At the turn of the year there was new fighting and massacres in Kashmir. At least 35 people were killed, including ten Pakistani soldiers. The Indian army has announced the largest military exercise on the border in 15 years for the next week.
After Pakistan arrested around 100 suspected Muslim extremists under pressure from the US government, India spoke of a step in the right direction. Those arrested included senior members of the Lashkar-e-Taiba and Jaish-e-Mohammed organizations, which are held responsible for the December 13 attack on the Indian parliament. "Take decisive action against terrorism and you will find India ready to resolve all issues through dialogue," said Indian Prime Minister Vajpayee. He offered the Pakistani military ruler Musharraf talks about divided Kashmir.
January 1, 2002
As has been the case every year on New Year's Day for 11 years, India and Pakistan exchanged updated lists of their respective nuclear facilities on January 1, 2002. These lists show civil and military installations and their geographical position. This is part of an agreement between the two states, according to which the respective armed forces are prohibited from attacking the neighbour's nuclear charges. The fact that this exchange of lists took place on time again this time can be seen as a sign of a slight relaxation between India and Pakistan.
January 2-4, 2002
On the border in Kashmir, there are daily exchanges of fire with fatal results for Indian and Pakistani soldiers. The number of people who have fled the border region to India now amounts to 55,000. The Indian authorities issued around 5.00 tents and want to accommodate some of the refugees in schools and public buildings.
British Prime Minister Tony Blair has set out on a trip to South Asia, where he plans to meet Indian Prime Minister Vajpayee in New Delhi on January 6, before continuing to Pakistan. Blair's trip is coordinated with the United States. The official goal is to call on both parties to the conflict to exercise moderation and restraint.
On the evening of January 2, unknown perpetrators attacked the parliament building in Srinagar (the capital of the Indian state of Jammu and Kashmir) with hand grenades. A policeman was killed in the process. In October 2001 there was a bloody attack on the parliament building in Srinagar. 42 people died at the time. On January 3, rebels attacked an Indian army camp near the city of Jammu. Two Indian soldiers were shot dead.
5th / 6th January 2002
The Summit of the South Asian States (SAARC - South Asian Organization for Regional Cooperation) began on January 5th in the Nepalese capital Kathmandu. In addition to India and Pakistan, the SAARC also includes Nepal, Bhutan, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka and the Maldives. The handshake between Musharraf and Vajpayee is seen as a sign of a certain relaxation between Pakistan and India. This came about after the speech by the Pakistani military ruler Musharraf when he approached the Indian head of government. Musharraf had said in his speech, among other things: "I would like to use the forum to extend my hand to Prime Minister Yajpayee for genuine and sincere friendship." Vajpayee's reaction was, however, cool. Words must now be followed by deeds, he said. Literally: "Now President Musharraf must follow his own gesture by cutting off anything in Pakistan or in Pakistani-controlled areas that enables terrorists to mindlessly perpetrate violence in India."
On the same day, five Pakistani soldiers were killed in border battles, according to Indian sources.
On January 6, India shot down an unmanned Pakistani spy plane in Indian Kashmir. The plane was unmanned. According to the AP news agency, the aircraft had penetrated Indian airspace in the state of Jammu Kashmir.
January 7, 2002
Despite British Prime Minister Tony Blair's good-will tour of South Asia, the situation worsened on January 7th. Along the border in Kashhmir there was fierce fighting between Indian and Pakistani border troops, during which heavy artillery was used. According to Indian sources, eight Islamic extremists were killed while invading Indian territory. Six Pakistani soldiers were also killed in a firefight. Several Indians were killed by Kashmir rebels in various attacks on civilians. The sounds from New Delhi became more irreconcilable again. Foreign Minister Jaswant Singh said Pakistan had not fundamentally changed its stance on terrorism. It was only because of pressure from the West that Islamabad had fought terrorism in Afghanistan; it was being further promoted against India. In contrast, the Pakistani military ruler called for a de-escalation of the situation. A war, he said, would be devastating for both nations.
January 8th - 9th, 2002
Both India and Pakistan see Tony Blair's mission as unsuccessful. Relations are still tense, it said from Islamabad. India once again rejected any outside interference. On January 9, it was announced in Washington that US Secretary of State Colin Powell, on the occasion of his Asia trip next week, will also travel to India and Pakistan and mediate between the two sides there
On January 8, three armed Kashmiri separatists attacked an Indian army camp in Trehgam, about 110 km north of Srinagar. One soldier and two attackers were killed. However, one organization did not confess to the attack.
January 10-13, 2002
On January 11, the Indian army chief, General Sunderajan Padmanabhan, said India was on the brink of war and prepared for both conventional and nuclear confrontation. At the same time, Pakistan was urged to take even harder steps against the terrorists in its own country. Otherwise, he threatened that rebel bases in Pakistan could also be attacked from India.
The Washington Post reported on January 11th that the US was preparing to withdraw its air force from Pakistan. The USA maintains a total of four bases in Pakistan. Those in Jacobabad and Pasni are to be evacuated if they are needed by the Pakistani army in the event of a war with India.
The artillery battles on the Indian-Pakistani border in Kashmir continue daily. 10 people are said to have been killed on January 11th.
Tensions eased on January 13 after Pakistan banned five extremist Muslim organizations on January 12, including the two India blames for the attack on the Indian parliament. In addition, all madrasas (Koran schools) must register from March. In the wake of the state ban, some Hubdert suspected extremists were arrested by January 13, according to Pakistani information, and around 900 people were detained to prevent demonstrations.
January 14-17, 2002
On his trip to Asia, US Secretary of State Powell visited Afghanistan as well as Pakistan and India. Powell was optimistic about the détente efforts between India and Pakistan and India ("both friends" of the US).
Shortly after the arrival of US Secretary of State Powell in New Delhi on January 17, a bomb exploded in a market in Jammu, the winter capital of Indian Kashmir. According to police, she killed two civilians, including a 15-year-old boy. Eight other people were injured in the detonation, three of them were still in critical condition, according to the doctors. Panic then broke out among the market visitors.
On January 19, Pakistan reported the shooting down of an unmanned Indian spy plane. The drone was hit by Pakistani air defense and then fell to the ground in Indian territory. With that, both are even: At the beginning of the month India reported the shooting down of a Pakistani drone.
On January 21, India and Pakistan promised each other that they would hand over wanted terrorists to the other side if the appropriate wanted lists have been exchanged.
A Muslim family with eight children was murdered by unknown persons on January 21 in a village in the Indian province of Jammu and Kashmir. In other incidents, Indian security forces shot 14 people. On January 22nd, an armed attack was carried out on the American Center (a US cultural center) in Calcutta, India. Four Indian police officers were killed in the process. 20 people were injured, some seriously. The perpetrators escaped. Two groups, which are said to have connections to Osama bin Laden and the Pakistani secret service, claimed responsibility for the attack: "Harkul ul Jehadi-e-Islami" and "Azif Raza Command".
One day after the attack, more than 50 people were arrested on the border with Bangladesh. Indian police said the suspects had been arrested in Basirhat around 40 kilometers north of Calcutta. Other police sources said the number "in the hundreds" was arrested. Among those arrested are two Bangladeshis and an Islamic clergyman, said Kolkata police chief Sujoy Chakraborty. The group is said to include three teachers from Islamic "madrasa" schools.
24./25. January 2002
On January 25th, fighting broke out again on the Indian-Pakistani border. According to Indian sources, eight Pakistani soldiers were killed.
On January 25, India tested a new missile (called "Agni", which means "fire" in Indian), which can also be equipped with nuclear weapons. According to the Indian government, the test had been planned for a long time and had nothing to do with the current tensions between India and Pakistan. India had previously notified several countries, including Pakistan, China, Great Britain, the United States and Germany, of the test.
Pakistan protested the missile test, saying it would undermine the stability of the region. Federal Foreign Minister Fischer expressed concern and "regretted" the Indian behavior.
January 26th - 31st, 2002
The Indian newspaper "Hindustan Times" reported on January 27th that the British Islamist Omar Sheikh is believed to be behind the attack on the American cultural center in Calcutta (January 22nd). He has close contact with the Taliban and the Pakistani secret service. Omar Sheikh is currently living in a guest house of the Pakistani secret service ISI in Islamabad. The man is said to have commissioned a member of the Indian mafia, Farhan Malik alias Aftab Ansari, with the attack. Allegedly, Malik confessed to the fact. Omar Scheich participated in a hostage-taking of three British and one American in New Delhi in 1994. But he could be caught. In 1999 the Indian government exchanged it for the passengers of a hijacked aircraft.The machine was hijacked on the flight from Kathmandu to Kandahar. Omar Sheikh went into hiding in Afghanistan and was later seen in Pakistan.
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