India and Pakistan still supply news to world information agencies. Relations between the two countries seem to be in a deadlock, while neither Delhi, nor Islamabad, Washington, Moscow, London, nor Beijing know how break the stalemate. However, there are too many peace initiatives. An peace plan was presented by the US Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld and British Secretary of State for Defence Geoff Hoon. They proposed to send a military contingent of US and British peace-keepers to Kashmir, to the conflict line between India and Pakistan. The task of the peace keepers will be prevention separatists from penetrating into India from Pakistan. However, this will hardly be the case in the nearest future. India was always against settling the conflict with other states’ participation. Delhi considers this to be a domestic affair, so it intends to solve it by itself. Delhi’s position on this question is not new. However, there is a piece of news that really could have serious consequences. The Lashkar-i-Taiba leader, Hafiz Mohammed Saeed, said that his people control two Pakistani nuclear warheads, and they are ready any moment to bring them down on the heads of Islam’s enemies. India is the first country waiting in line.
An interesting fact: recently, Pakistani authorities detained Mohammed Saeed, though after having holding him for some time, released him, because there was no obvious proofsof his involvement in terrorist acts.
However, Saeed was most likely released through the mediation of the leadership of ISI Pakistani intelligence, which has deep contacts with radical Islamists. According to Delhi, Pakistani intelligence is implicated in organization of the terrorist acts in Jammu and Kashmir.
Of course, the Lashkar-i-Taiba leader’s statement could be considered as a lie. However, on the other hand, the ideas of Islamic radicals are very popular in Pakistan, including in the army. So, it is very possible that Lashkar-i-Taiba really does control some nuclear weapons.
Saeed’s statement could also be aimed also at weakening the peacekeeping initiatives of Pakistani President Prevez Musharraf. As is well known, radicals of both countries demand “war till final victory.” Therefore, many Pakistani radicals are not satisfied with Musharraf’s compromising. Extremists, who doubt his ability to control the country’s nuclear power, could, therefore, bring to nothing all the attempts to launch dialogue with India the Pakistani President makes.
In the meantime, the missions of foreign mediators do not give hope for a quick settlement of the conflict. Currently, US Deputy Secretary of State Richard Armitage is visiting Islamabad and Delhi. Armitage appears not to be sure of his visit’s success. At least, he said that he does not plan to arrange a meeting between Pakistani and Indian leaders. Next week, US Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld arrives in India. However, he will also fail to convince Delhi and Islamabad of the necessity to start a dialogue. Delhi intends to defend its position: the conflict is the affair of only India and Pakistan, while even Kashmir separatists should have nothing to do with it.
Therefore, all the visits of foreign diplomats look like mere formalities, as the "world community" is required to show its concern.
Oleg Artyukov PRAVDA.Ru
Translated by Vera Solovieva
Read the original in Russian: http://www.pravda.ru/main/2002/06/07/42337.html
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