On November 27, 2008, just after midnight, I wrote:
To say this is fnord al Qaeda fnord is accurate but imprecise. It may be connected to the larger Qaeda movement, but the point of destablizing India is a different, though related, front in their jihad. Pakistan is now on the verge of becoming a failed state, much like Afghanistan, and they are working hard on pushing India into a corner where they might have to militarize their border, or make limited incursion
Let’s nor [sic] forget that this comes right after Obama’s election, who promised to escalate in Afghanistan to go after bin Laden, who is most likely in Waziristan, Pakistan. While I agree with that policy, I also believe that Obama’s policy, his election, and this attack are NOT a coincidence.
December 1, 2008’s Times of London:
Other Indian analysts said the attack appeared to be an attempt to undermine US policy towards India, Pakistan and Afghanistan.
“There’s a lot of clamour for action against Pakistan from India,” Pratap Bhanu Mehta, the head of the Centre for Policy Research. “This attack was not just an attempt to scuttle India’s peace process with Pakistan. It was in many ways a pre-emptive strike against [Barack] Obama’s strategy for the region.”
The U.S. President elect has proposed increasing troop levels in Afghanistan and stepping up the pressure on Pakistan to attack militants on its territory. In exchange, he has suggested appointing an special envoy to help resolve Pakistan’s territorial dispute with India over Kashmir.
A crisis in India-Pakistan relations would scupper both plans.
Doctor Antonio Giustozzi, an expert on Afghanistan at the London School of Economics, said Washington could weather such a crisis, but concurred on the militants’ aims.
“I think that the terrorists have made a calculation that aims to worsen relations between India and Pakistan and embarrass the Pakistan government, in the hope that the Indians make an uncontrolled response,” he said.
That, he said, would “strengthen the militants’ hand and compromise the campaign by Islamabad against extremists by diverting troops back to the Indian border.”
The Subcontinent is a hobby of mine. It’s the most dangerous place in the world, and it has been for a long time. More dangerous than Israel/Palestine, more dangerous than Iraq or Iran, more dangerous than any of the former Soviet Republics. This is simply because there are over a billion people living under the threat of a nuclear conflict, with a billion more next door in China ready to throw in.
India’s second strike ability is indeed non-existent. They are currently developing submarines, but claim that their land and air based weapons are only for retaliation. But because their stockpile is so small, it is not a very creidble retaliation. India claims also not to have weapons on hair-trigger alert, but does not rule out having a first-strike capability.
India claims that only the civlian government, i.e. the prime minister and his Nuclear Command Authority, and their chain of command successors have control.
So, in sum, either they are extremely vulnerable to a first strike, or this is bullshit and there is field control and ready alert for some of their forces. Their estimated stockpile is a mere 50-60 nukes. Pakistan possibly has twice that many.
Pakistan doesn’t have a well-defined policy and only has shitty missiles and some olf F-16s to deliver them, but it’s more than enough to hit Delhi. Their maximum range missile goes about 1,200 miles. India probably has one that can reach twice that far.
I doubt Pakistan could effectively retaliate if India’s intelligence is any good. The scary part is their command and control.