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Two of the world’s most important powers, India and Pakistan, are locked into an extremely dangerous confrontation over the bitterly disputed Himalayan mountain state of Kashmir. Both are nuclear armed.

Kashmir has been a flashpoint since Imperial Britain divided India in 1947. India and Pakistan have fought numerous wars and conflicts over majority Muslim Kashmir. China controls a big chunk of northern Kashmir known as Aksai Chin.

In 1949, the UN mandated a referendum to determine if Kashmiris wanted to join Pakistan or India. Not surprisingly, India refused to hold the vote. But there are some Kashmiris who want an independent state, though a majority seek to join Pakistan.

India claims that most of northern Pakistan is actually part of Kashmir, which it claims in full. India rules the largest part of Kashmir, formerly a princely state. Pakistan holds a smaller portion, known as Azad Kashmir. In my book on Kashmir, ‘War at the Top of the World,’ I called it ‘the globe’s most dangerous conflict.’ It remains so today.

I’ve been under fire twice on the Indo-Pak border in Kashmir, known as the ‘Line of Control,’ and once at 15,000 feet atop the Siachen Glacier on China’s border. India has over 500,000 soldiers and paramilitary police garrisoning its portion of Kashmir, whose 12 million people bitterly oppose often corrupt and brutal Indian rule – except for local minority Hindus and Sikhs who support it. A bloody, bitter uprising has flared on against Indian rule since 1989 in which some 42,000 people, mostly civilians, have died.

About 250,000 Pakistani troops are dug in on the other side of the ceasefire line.

What makes this confrontation so dangerous is that both sides have important tactical and nuclear forces arrayed against one another. These are mostly short/medium-ranged nuclear tipped missiles, and air-delivered nuclear bombs. Strategic nuclear weapons back up these tactical forces. A nuclear exchange, even a limited one, could kill millions, pollute much of Asia’s ground water, and spread radioactive dust around the globe – including to North America.

India’s new Prime Minister, Narendra Modi, is a Hindu hardliner who is willing to confront Pakistan and India’s 200 million Muslims, who make up over 14% of the population. In February, Modi sent warplanes to attack Pakistan after Kashmir insurgents ambushed Indian forces. Pakistan shot down an Indian MiG-21 fighter. China, Pakistan’s closest ally, warned India to back off.

Modi is very close to President Donald Trump and Israel’s Benjamin Netanyahu, both noted for anti-Muslim sentiments. Modi just revoked article 370 of India’s constitution that bars non-Kashmiris from buying land in the mountain state, and shut down its phone and internet systems.

The revocation means that non-Kashmiris can now buy land there. Modi is clearly copying Israel’s Netanyahu by encouraging non-Muslims to buy up land and squeeze the local Muslim population. Welcome to the Mideast conflict East. China is also doing similar ethnic inundation in its far western, largely Muslim, Xinjiang (Sinkiang) region.


In an ominous sign, Delhi says it will separate the high altitude Ladakh region (aka ‘Little Tibet’) from its portion of Kashmir. This move suggests India plans to chop up Indian Kashmir into two or three states, a move sure to further enrage Pakistan and thwart any future peace settlement.

There’s little Pakistan can do to block India’s actions.

India’s huge armed forces outnumber those of Pakistan by 4 or 5 to one. Without nuclear weapons, Pakistan would be quickly overrun by Indian forces. Only massive Chinese intervention would save Pakistan.

Meanwhile, Kashmir, the world’s longest-running major dispute, continues, threatening a terrible nuclear conflict. Making matters worse, both India and Pakistan’s nuclear forces are on a hair-trigger alert, with a warning time of only minutes. This is a region where electronics often become scrambled. A false alert or a flock of birds could trigger a massive nuclear war in South Asia.

India and Pakistan, where people starve in the streets, waste billions on military spending because of the Kashmir dispute. Now some of India’s extreme Hindu nationalists warn they want to reabsorb Pakistan, Bangladesh, and even Sri Lanka into Mother India.

Previous Indian leaders have been cautious. But not PM Modi. He is showing signs of power intoxication.

(Republished from by permission of author or representative)
• Category: Foreign Policy • Tags: India, Kashmir, Pakistan 
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  1. dearieme says:

    The Congress Part was Hindu-dominated and wanted the independence of the whole Raj as the Republic of India. The party made promises about the equitable treatment of Moslems after independence. So I had always assumed that the Moslem Jinnah was the moving force for splitting The Raj into Pakistan and India.

    But somewhere recently I read that he settled on that purpose only after one of the leading Hindu politicians boasted to him that all promises made by Congress to Moslems prior to independence would be revoked or ignored afterwards.

    Be that as it may we are where we are. And where I am is thousands of miles from Kashmir. My policy is simple: it’s not my problem. As it happens Israel/Palestine isn’t my problem either, nor US/Venezuela nor Han/Uighurs. Nor, indeed, Ukraine/Russia.

    • Replies: @animalogic
    , @Bluetev
    , @druid55
  2. Eric Margolis’s expertise on Kashmir makes his article a very interesting read. And he has some qualification to call it ‘the globe’s most dangerous conflict’. He raises the alarming specter of a localized nuclear war. New Delhi appears to moving closer to Washington in the developing confrontation with China, and Russia. In all likelihood war between India and Pakistan would trigger a broader nuclear conflict. What would connect events leading to world war is China; Beijing and New Delhi also have territorial disputes and are nuclear rivals. In such a scenario India would have to use part of its arsenal against China. China would retaliate and also attack major adversary, the US…the nuclear dominos are falling.

  3. The revocation means that non-Kashmiris can now buy land there. Modi is clearly copying Israel’s Netanyahu by encouraging non-Muslims to buy up land and squeeze the local Muslim population.

    Open Borders for Kashmir!

    • Replies: @animalogic
  4. Alistair says:

    The world is becoming a dangerous place under Trump Administration and its Zionist sponsors – the US has been setting a new tone in the international order which could only lead to global conflicts.

    The blatant endorsement of Israel’s annexation of Golan Heights and Jerusalem by Trump Administration enables aggressive approach to the international order, needless to mention that officially, Jerusalem is still under the United Nations Administration, it’s a UN territory since 1948, which Israel has totally ignored, therefore, Trump Administration endorsed the annexation of the UN Administered Territories. As such, it’s not surprising that India, once again is violating Kashmir territories, and have ambition to further annex Pakistan, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka., these are India’s rewards for going along with Trump Administrations’ Iran policy – by enforcing the maximum pressure on Iranians, India has effectively joined the Trump-Netanyahu camp against Iran, and Kashmir could be its reward.

    Due to overly simplistic views and utter incompetence of Trump Administration, a new approach to the international order is emerging that’s based on brute military power, there is a real risk of global conflicts between the Superpowers; China, Pakistan, Iran, and Turkey versus the US, Israel, India, Saudi Arabia and their allies, where Russia and Europe could take either sides of the conflicts, depending on how the situation evolves. For instance; Germany has the biggest stake in the Middle East, Germans may come head to head against US-Israel alliance. hence, by default, they may side with Russia-Iran-China against the US-Israel.

    The UK may break up after Brexit; independent Scotland and Northern Ireland will join the EU where Republic of Ireland may annex the Northern Ireland with the full blessing of the US, Russia and Continental Europe – Not to forget uncertainty in the Far East; Twain’s ambiguous status, South and North Korea may reunify with blessing of China and Russia against the US opposition – a whole sets of new geopolitical development are taking shape which could lead to global conflict, the result of which will be a direct challenge to the US’s global leadership – there are already signs of divergence between Europe and the US on Iran sanctions, the US will be further isolated, where she may have to either compromise, or relinquish the world leadership position for good.

    The world is becoming a dangerous place because of overly simplistic views and utter incompetence of Trump Administration which is hijacked by the Zionist Tribal Interests.

    • Agree: Moi
    • Replies: @Miro23
  5. FredK says:

    Re: He is showing signs of power intoxication.

    You think? Modi is not entirely compos menti. He is also a bad man, a psychopath.

    • Replies: @animalogic
    , @Escher
    , @druid55
  6. DB Cooper says:

    Anybody who has visited India would invariably feel sorry for the country because it is so pathetic. But make no mistake. India is a land thief and is acting like a bully to its neighbors because it styles itself as the new Raj after the British has left. This is the reason India is hated by all its smaller neighbors because of its overbearing manner and controlling altitude to its neighbors. Here is a selected list of India land grabs since August 1947 starting with Kashmir that you would never read about it in the MSM. Welcome to


    1947 Annexation of Kashmir:
    1949 Annexation of Manipur:
    1949 Annexation of Tripura:
    1951 Annexation of South Tibet:
    1954 Annexation of Nagaland:
    1954 Attempt annexation of Sikkim and Bhutan (Failed):
    1961 Annexation of Goa:
    1962 Annexation of Kalapani, Nepal:
    1962 Aggression against China:
    1971 Annexation of Turtuk, Pakistan:
    1972 Annexation of Tin Bigha, Bangladesh:
    1975 Annexation of Sikkim (the whole country):
    1983 (Aborted) Attempted invasion of Mauritius:
    1987 Invasion of Sri Lanka
    1990 (Failed) First Attempted annexation of Bhutan:
    2006 Annexation of Duars, Bhutan:
    2013 Annexation of Moreh, Myanmar:
    2017 Aggression against China:
    2017 (Failed) Second Attempted annexation of Bhutan:
    2018 (Thwarted) Attempt invasion of the Maldives

    • Replies: @Dan Hayes
    , @Escher
  7. Anonniau says:

    No mention of genocide of Hindus in Kashmir

    • Replies: @DB Cooper
    , @Moi
  8. Miro23 says:

    … by enforcing the maximum pressure on Iranians, India has effectively joined the Trump-Netanyahu camp against Iran

    Iran is quite central to all this. China happens to be its main trading partner regardless of US (Israeli) sanctions and anything India might say.

    … a new approach to the international order is emerging that’s based on brute military power,

    I’ve long thought that India/Pakistan is the likeliest place for the world’s first nuclear war. Their territories adjoin making hopelessly short reaction times. Both governments contain unstable populists/extremists. Also strong religious differences, and a history of violent conflict and continual Indian expansionism.

    One “good” aspect of a localized India/Pakistan nuclear war (with the consequent vast destruction) would be to provide a salutary shock to the rest of the world. The reality of nuclear war would be so terrifying that it could produce a complete international political reset based on respectful and peaceful relations.

    • Replies: @druid55
  9. @dearieme

    It may well become your problem if any of these idiots start a serious war…. Amazing how wars can spread, amazing how nuclear fallout can just drift around on the wind.
    Anyway, at least you have a “policy”.

  10. @The Anti-Gnostic

    Reminds me of somewhere…not exactly the same but… where?
    Er, Palestine ?

    • Replies: @The Anti-Gnostic
  11. @FredK

    You’re right.
    Funny how there’s so many psycho, incompetent, evil, stupid leaders around today…
    Something in the water, perhaps? Coincidence? Or symptoms of civilisational decadence?

    • Replies: @dearieme
  12. You’re right.
    Funny how there’s so many psycho, incompetent, evil, stupid leaders around today…
    Something in the ))’b! Bl decadence?

  13. DB Cooper says:

    Tiny Kashmir is infested with half a million Indian soldiers operating under a law (AFSPA) that gives the state the power to detain or kill anyone with impunity. There is no genocide of Hindus in Kashmir. Impossible.

    • Replies: @dearieme
  14. @animalogic

    Open Borders for Palestine too!

    Really, there’s nowhere that can’t benefit from immigration.

  15. dearieme says:

    Funny how there’s so many psycho, incompetent, evil, stupid leaders around today…

    It’s probably about the historical norm.

  16. dearieme says:
    @DB Cooper

    gives the state the power to detain or kill anyone with impunity


  17. Dan Hayes says:
    @DB Cooper

    DB Cooper:

    Israel is modern-day Prussia in the Middle East whereas India is modern-day Prussia in South East Asia!

    • Replies: @DB Cooper
  18. anon[162] • Disclaimer says:

    In J&K, Maharaja Hari Singh Dogra was left with a decision – join his state to Muslim-majority Pakistan, to Hindu-majority India, or remain independent. As he weighed his options, Golwalkar visited the Maharaja on October 17, 1947 to pressure him to join India.

    In the days and weeks before Golwalkar’s visit, the Dogra’s troops and the RSS joined hands to conduct a state-sanctioned pogrom of Muslims.

    In the mountains of Jammu, Muslims constituted a smaller majority than in the Kashmir Valley to the north. In September, they were targeted for ethnic cleansing. “The Dogra state troops were at the forefront of attacks on Muslims,” writes historian Ilyas Chattha. “The state authorities were also reported to be issuing arms… to local volunteer organizations such as RSS.” Chattha claims, “The Maharaja of the Dogra Hindu state was complicit in the targeted violence against Kashmiri Muslims.” According to some reports, he explains, Hari Singh Dogra was “‘in person commanding all the forces’ which were ethnically cleansing the Muslims.”

    “Instead of trying to prevent such killings and preserving communal peace, the Maharaja’s administration helped and even armed the communal marauders,” writes Ved Bhasin, a witness to the massacre who later became a journalist. “It was a planned genocide by the RSS activists.”

    After the Maharaja agreed to accession on October 26 – barely a week after RSS chief Golwalkar’s visit – the killings continued. “In the first week of November, the Pakistan government dispatched many buses to Jammu city to transport the refugees into Sialkot,” writes Chattha. The Dogra’s troops and RSS men “attacked the caravan and killed most of the passengers and abducted their women.”

    By the end, the total number of dead was catastrophically high. Bhasin says, “There is no doubt that their number runs into several thousands.” Political scientist Christopher Snedden says, “Perhaps between 20,000 and 100,000 Muslims were killed.” A 1948 report in London’s The Times alleged that “237,000 Muslims were systematically exterminated.

  19. DB Cooper says:
    @Dan Hayes

    Both countries have more things common than people give credit for.

    1) Both are artificial countries created in the aftermath of British decolonization. British Mandate gave rise to Israel. British Raj gave rise to India.
    2) Both countries were created after WWII within one year of each other.
    3) Both have invaded and grabbed land from every single of its neighbors.
    4) Both countries are hated by all its neighbors.
    4) Both are occupying United Nation recognized disputed territories. Israel has one, Palestine. India has two, Kashmir and South Tibet.
    5) Both are teflon countries.

    • Replies: @dearieme
    , @Lin
    , @Bluetev
  20. sir,
    greater india uniting the subcontinent into one nation will simultaneously solve the Kashmir question as well as the the nuclear arms race.

  21. so they all can refocus on feeding the hungry and improving standards of living.

  22. Everything good as long as India and Pakistan obey Master of CommonWealth.
    People love circuses.

  23. Moi says:

    Ha, ha. Oh, yes, those Kashmir Pandits card.

  24. dearieme says:
    @DB Cooper

    Both are artificial countries

    God that’s tiresome crap. Russia, China, the USA are artificial countries. It’s hard to think of many countries that aren’t.

    • Replies: @Lin
  25. peterike says:

    Since the only good Indian is a dead Indian, and the only good Paki is a dead Paki, I’m 100% behind the atomic vaporization of both nations. It will be doing the world a great favor.

  26. Lin says:
    @DB Cooper

    (Cont’d with DB Cooper’s list of attributes common to India and Pakistan)
    6)Both believe in urine therapy: Camel urine with muslims and cow urine elixir with hindus
    As a 10% muslim, I must point out from the view point of power of muslims(with islamicity >70%),the partition of the subcontinent was a BIG BAD mistake; not to mention Jinnah was an Ismaeli heretic and a whisky addict.
    Hadn’t the partition happen, united Hindustan would be a country with 1.72 billion people of which 600 millions are muslims. Within another 2 or 3 generations, united Hindustan will be a muslim majority country :
    –The natural candidate of Caliphah Terra
    –Armed with nukes, all the generals from Beijing to Moscow to Washington will be shaking in their boots.
    –Petroleum is Allah’s gift to muslims. United Hindustan, with its geographic proximity, will the natural custodian of the middle east oil wealth.
    –With over 2 billion fans, Bollywood will displace Hiollywood as the Mecca of popular entertainment.
    –The hinduwadis dream of India as superpower will be more than fulfiled

  27. Escher says:
    @DB Cooper

    You have this list ready to Ctrl-V every few weeks, comlade?

  28. Bluetev says:

    Strange how we don’t hear about “equitable” treatment for the large Hindus and sikh minorities exterminated in West pakistan, the millions murdered and raped in Bangladesh, the Ahmadis, Balochs…

    And isn’t it strange how we don’t hear about the sikhs, Jews, parsis, Jains, Buddhists, its just the poor oppressed muslims….

  29. druid55 says:

    If they’re all so much not your problem, why comment!!!!!!

  30. druid55 says:

    During the massacres of muslims in Gujarat, he told the killers, you have three days to do whatever you want to them, then we will stop. Thousand died, brutally!
    Everybody always thinks Indians are a peaceful bunch. Just have to get to know them past their friendly smiles. I lived in a predominantly Indian community for 17 years

  31. druid55 says:

    And decrease their massive population, though I don’t wish ill on them in that way!!!!

  32. Bluetev says:
    @DB Cooper

    You forgot to add: both have given a sound thrashing in every recent war to the surrounding Islamic countries that have murdered millions and millions of Jews, Hindus and other religions in their history.

  33. Lin says:

    Bharat once had a great empire that included much of Europe:
    –‘Rome’ was derived from ‘Rama’,
    –Jesus went to bharat to pick up hindu dharmic spirituality,
    –Kaaba was originally a Hindu temple featuring a Shiva Lingam/phallus

    • Replies: @Talha
  34. Talha says:

    This was joking around, right?


    • Replies: @Lin
  35. Lin says:

    This was joking around, right?
    Joke? what joke !! Did you read the passage of that link?
    “Countless Hindus nowadays swear by the historical and linguistic theses of journalist and self-styled historian PN Oak. Twenty years ago, I expected his star to wane and get eclipsed by more sensible voices of Hindu historical revisionism, but the opposite has happened. In NRI/PIO circles, at least, he seems to enjoy a lasting popularity..”
    His excellence Modi the prime Minister told us the Hindu Elephant God was the result of advanced ancient hindu technology that transplanted an elephant head onto a human torso.

    • Replies: @Talha
    , @Miro23
  36. anonymous1963 [AKA "anon19"] says:

    So what is your solution Mr. Margolis?

  37. Talha says:

    I read the article. It seemed like the author thought that these revisionist claims were asinine.

    So I guess you would agree that the propositions you posted are nonsense?


    • Replies: @Lin
  38. Miro23 says:

    From the Guardian article:

    Indian prime minister claims genetic science existed in ancient times.

    Narendra Modi gives examples of Karna and Ganesha to support view that cosmetic surgery and reproductive genetics used thousands of years ago

    Modi went on: “We worship Lord Ganesha. There must have been some plastic surgeon at that time who got an elephant’s head on the body of a human being and began the practice of plastic surgery.”

    This is the person who is pressuring the Moslems in Kashmir and who controls India’s nuclear arsenal – so the outlook there is not good.

    • Replies: @Talha
  39. Lin says:

    “So I guess you would agree that the propositions you posted are nonsense?”
    “sense” and “nonsense” could’ve many layers of meaning. The fact is nationalistic/racial/tribal identity could be (type 1)based on observed or confirmed by lingual/archeological/historiographic evidence or just (type 2)psychological constructs. Examples abound:

    Type 1–a)There was han Chinese expansion from nowadays N. China into S.China. The original aborigines in south china were not han Chinese(likely australoids, my guess). N. Vietnamese I read have 70% of Chinese ancestry.
    b) ‘Aryan migration/invasion’ from Persia and nowadays S. Russian into the subcontinent.

    Type 2)a)’Out of India’ –the reverse of ‘Aryan migration/invasion’ that the Europeans were descendents of ancient hindu ‘aryans’. However categorically ‘Out of india’ by definition is not entirely wrong, eg, European gypsies came from the subcontinent and paleo australoids moved to Australian en route the subcontinent. The political motive of ”Out of India” is to soothe northern and southern divide of Hindustan and let the hinduwadis to claim that hindus were the sun-tanned cousins of the white ‘aryans’.
    b)The jewish notion they’re the ‘chosen race’.
    If the majority of the population believe in a certain racial/ethnic ‘institution’ , regardless of the validity, it carries ‘reality’ of it’s own. As I mentioned before, the hindus are grossly deficient in pre-mogul histiographics and they can have whatever claims or ‘constructs’ they fancy

    • Replies: @Talha
  40. Talha says:

    If the majority of the population believe in a certain racial/ethnic ‘institution’ , regardless of the validity, it carries ‘reality’ of it’s own.

    Can’t disagree there.


  41. Talha says:

    “We worship Lord Ganesha. There must have been some plastic surgeon at that time who got an elephant’s head on the body of a human being and began the practice of plastic surgery.”

    Wait – what??!! I would assume the arms too then?

    Also, Egypt might have beaten them to it to be honest:

  42. Numinous says:

    In 1949, the UN mandated a referendum to determine if Kashmiris wanted to join Pakistan or India. Not surprisingly, India refused to hold the vote.

    I’m not a big supporter of the Indian govt’s current position (and recent actions) on Kashmir, but the above is an extremely dishonest summary of how the problem started in the first place.

    1. It pretends that the UN was the original protagonist and decision maker, completely ignoring the fact that Pakistani tribals led by a Pakistani Army officer invaded the kingdom of Kashmir (looting and raping in the process), triggering the king’s decision to ask for Indian military help. The Indian Army pushed back the raiders, and then went to the UN, lodging a formal complaint against Pakistan (which refused to withdraw its raiders, mixed iwth army regulars.) The UN resolution was in response to an Indian request, otherwise that organization would have no locus standi in this matter.

    2. The UN resolution required the first step to be Pakistan troops’ complete withdrawal from the region. A referendum was to follow, but it was conditioned on the withdrawal. Pakistan didn’t want to do that, and still hasn’t done that. At the time Margolis is referring to, Pakistan dind’t want to move its troops out because it was afraid it would lose such a referendum. Even though Kashmiris were mostly Muslim, they had seen how the Pakistani raiders had behaved and didn’t want any part of that.

    Now things have changed in the past few decades, and the Indian army’s presence in the region is indeed oppressive to the natives, but that doesn’t excuse the distortion of history Margolis is perpetuating.

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