Wednesday, 29 April 2015


Despite more economic and military aid from China Pakistan still has to face that fact that their military spends $7 billion a year compared to $40 billion a year for India. While China spends over $120 billion a year China is currently confronting most of its neighbors and the United States over territorial claims in the South China Sea. There are also claims against Indian territory, but India is part of a much more powerful anti-China coalition. Moreover India has a GDP of $2 trillion compared to $245 billion for Pakistan. While the per capita income for Pakistan and India has long been about the same, since economic reforms in the 1990s (less socialism more free markets) India has pulled ahead.

Even more humiliating is the fact that many East Asian nations had the same per capita income as Pakistan and India in 1960 but are way ahead now. South Korea, for example, now has per capita income 17 times larger than Pakistan’s. South Korea concentrated on free markets, education and reducing corruption. That’s simple enough, but doing that has proved impossible so far for Pakistan (or India, which is at least trying). Worse for Pakistan’s rulers is the fact that more Pakistanis are aware of these discrepancies and asking “Why?”

Meanwhile, one of the unpublicized parts of the recent Chinese $46 billion aid and investment package is assurances that the thousands of Chinese who will accompany that money will be safe in general and especially from Islamic terrorists. Most of these Chinese will be involved with the $28 billion worth of infrastructure (roads, railroads and power stations) China is building. Thus Pakistan is organizing a special protection force of 12,000 men. This will consist of 12 infantry battalions (six from the army and six from the Rangers and Frontier Corps) and some special operations and intelligence personnel. China also wants more Pakistani action against Islamic terrorists (Turkic Uighurs) from China who have been based in Pakistan. 

The $46 billion is in addition to a 2013 deal where China pledged to spend $18 billion to build a road from Pakistan’s Indian Ocean port of Gwadar and into northwest China. This will require drilling long tunnels through the Himalayan Mountains on the border (in Pakistani controlled Kashmir.) This new deal expands that into a more extensive project called the China–Pakistan Economic Corridor. This will make it much easier and cheaper to move people, data (via fiber optic cables) and goods between China and Pakistan. China also gets a 40 year lease on much of the port facilities at Gwadar, which India fears will serve as a base for Chinese warships.

Pakistan is not getting along as well with its other neighbors. Pakistan has forced (since mid-2014) several thousand Islamic terrorists into eastern Afghanistan. In addition increasing anti-Afghan feelings in Pakistan has led to another effort to persecute and expel several million Afghans living (often illegally) in Pakistan. So far this year over 3,000 such refugees a month are returning from Pakistan. While many of these refugees could evade expulsion efforts over 40 percent of those who return cite growing anti-Afghan attitudes and harassment as the main reason for coming back to Afghanistan.

Then there is the Pakistani refusal to participate in the Arab effort to suppress pro-Iran Shia rebels in Yemen. This is important for the Gulf Arabs who are inclined to keep most of their troops out of Yemen. Iran is more and more threatening and while Pakistan refused to send troops they did promise to come in with troops if Saudi Arabia were invaded. The only likely invader is Iran, so Pakistan, also dependent on Saudi generosity, has not entirely backed away. Besides, Pakistan is Sunni and has nukes which is some protection against threats from a future nuclear armed Shia Iran.

India has joined Burma in pressuring China to do something about the continued shipments of Chinese weapons to tribal rebels in northern Burma and northeast India. China denies this is happening and points out that many Burmese rebels have long used Chinese weapons they bought from illegal dealers in China and then smuggled into Burma. China also points out that Burmese troops also use Chinese weapons. Burma and India counter that the rebels in both countries are using weapons China did not sell to the Burmese Army. Moreover these Chinese weapons (often older and cheaper designs) are showing up worldwide in the hands of rebels, terrorists and gangsters. The point here is that China is looking the other way as a huge illegal arms sales and smuggling operation goes about its business. China is in the midst of a major corruption crackdown so these complaints from Burma and India might be addressed this time around. Then again, maybe not.

The offensive against Islamic terrorists in the northwest, begun in mid-2014, continues. Actually, because of the large number of captured documents and prisoner interrogations there have been more raids and arrests outside the northwestern tribal territories. This has caused some problems because an army plan to go after Islamic terrorists in Karachi (the largest city in Pakistan, where about eight percent of all Pakistanis live) has encountered political resistance because of fear this is part of some secret plot to stage another coup.

The Russian invasion of eastern Ukraine is being felt as far away as India. That’s because the last five of 40 Indian AN-32 transports being upgraded in Ukraine have, well, sort of disappeared. Ukrainian engineers working in India to upgrade another 64 An-32s were called home and India can no longer get An-32 spare parts from Ukraine. The original contract called for 40 An-32s to be upgraded in Ukraine and another 64 in India. Now India faces the prospect of most of its aging An-32s becoming inoperable by the end of the decade. India is desperate to remedy this situation and is considering purchasing new transports. This is a very expensive alternative, but appears to be the only one.

April 23, 2015: In northwest Pakistan (Waziristan and Khyber) the military claims to have killed at least 47 Islamic terrorists over the last two days. This involved both ground operations and air strikes.

April 22, 2015: The U.S. revealed that a January 29 UAV missile strike on an Islamic terrorist compound in Pakistan (near the Afghan border) that killed six Islamic terrorists also killed two foreign hostages (an American held since 2011 and an Italian held since 2012) that American intelligence did not know were there. The two hostages had been kidnapped in Pakistan and held for ransom. The U.S. discourages payment of ransom because it encourages kidnappers to go after more Americans. The U.S. has carried out nearly 400 of these UAV missile attacks Pakistan since 2004.

April 20, 2015: Pakistan ordered another fifty JF-17 jet fighters, to be delivered by 2018. The first Pakistani JF-17 squadron became operational in 2010. Pakistan has already received sixty JF-17s as part of a project that began in 1992 and while it was a joint Pakistan-China development project China supplied most of the money and did most of the work. China, however, does not use the JF-17, only Pakistan. That’s largely because the JF-17 is assembled in Pakistan, although over 40 percent of the components come from China or Russia. The project has gone through several name changes (FC-1, Super 7). The 13 ton warplane is meant to be a low cost ($20-30 million) alternative to the American F-16. The JF-17 is considered the equal to earlier versions of the F-16, but only half as effective as more recent F-16 models. The JF-17 uses the same Russian engine, the RD-93 that is used in the MiG-29. The JF-17 design is based on a cancelled Russian project, the MiG-33. Most of the JF-17 electronics are Western. The JF-17 can carry 3.6 tons of weapons and use radar guided and heat seeking missiles. It has max speed of Mach 1.6, an operating range of 1,300 kilometers and a max altitude of 17,000 meters (55,000 feet). China has tried to export the aircraft to other countries but found that, for what it cost, it was not competitive.

April 17, 2015: Pakistan agreed to send warships to help maintain the naval blockade of Yemen. Pakistan refused to supply warplanes or ground troops and Arab anger at this is growing. So the warships are a peace offering and willingness to support the UN approved arms embargo of Yemen. 

April 16, 2015: India test fired another Agni III. This is a 48 ton ballistic missile that was first tested in 2006. It has a maximum range of 3,500 kilometers and a payload of 1.5 tons. Most of them are now aimed at China rather than Pakistan.

April 15, 2015: For the first time since 2012 Pakistan successfully launched a Hatf V ballistic missile. With a range of 1,300 kilometers, the missile can reach most of India. Pakistan sees missiles like this as essential to making Pakistani nuclear weapons a real deterrent to Indian invasion. The Indians are building an anti-missile system, with Israeli help and Pakistan is building more missiles and nuclear warheads in an attempt to create the capability to overwhelm these Indian defenses. Meanwhile, Indian politicians, press and public opinion all show no enthusiasm whatsoever for an invasion of Pakistan. There is, however, fear of Pakistan based Islamic terrorists making more attacks on India. Pakistan refuses to admit that this threat exists.

In eastern India (Bihar) police found a cache of Maoist weapons. Ammunition and equipment).

April 14, 2015: In eastern India (Chhattisgarh) Maoists began their usual April-June offensive by killing 13 police (and wounding 18) in three days of ambushes and raids. Maoist losses were, according to a Maoist captured later, more than twice as large. The police brought in reinforcements and during the rest of the month went on the offensive against the local Maoists.

April 13, 2015: India accused North Korea of continuing to sell Pakistan ballistic missile technology. It is already known that North Korea paid renegade Pakistani scientists at least $3.5 million for nuclear weapons technology in the late 1990s and that technical cooperation between the two countries continued. 

April 12, 2015: In northwest Pakistan (North Waziristan) American UAVs used missiles to kill four Islamic terrorists.

April 11, 2015: In southwest Pakistan (Baluchistan) tribal separatists were responsible for the night attack on a camp for workers building a bridge in a remote area. Twenty of the workers were killed and three survived with wounds. Police soon found and killed 13 separatists, including most of those responsible for the massacre.

April 10, 2015: Pakistan released (on bail) Zakiur Rehman Lakhvi from jail. This enraged the United States and India because Lakhvi was the planner for the 2008 Islamic terror massacre (166 dead) in Mumbai India. Shortly thereafter Pakistan was sent convincing evidence and India asked that Lakhvi be arrested and extradited for prosecution in India. Lakhvi was arrested in 2009 but Pakistan refused to turn him over or prosecute him themselves. Lakhvi was a hero to many Pakistanis because he is a widely known leader of Lashkar-e-Taiba. This Islamic terror group specializes in attacks in India and is very popular among middle and upper class high school and college students. Lashkar i Taiba was organized and long supported by the Pakistani military, mainly to organize and carry out terrorist attacks in India. This is widely known in Pakistan where few people will dare criticize the attacks inside India.

April 9, 2015: The Afghan Air Force received three Cheetal helicopters from India.

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