Which field is in demand in Pakistan?
War threatens between India and Pakistan
Vensky: I don't think it's an exaggeration. In the last few days the spiral of violence has turned faster and faster. Indian Prime Minister Vajpayee has been mandated by parliament to teach Pakistan a lesson. The frightening thing is that there was hardly any opposition. There is a kind of war hysteria in the whole country that calls for a just war against Pakistan and that the Kashmir dispute should be settled once and for all in India's favor. The dangerous thing is that both states are armed with nuclear weapons, and we have also known for a few days that the last Kashmir crisis in 1999 almost resulted in nuclear war because the Pakistani generals were already in the process of hitting their missiles with sharp nuclear warheads to assemble. The man who was responsible at the time is the very same General Muscharaf who rules Pakistan today and who was confirmed for another five years by referendum 14 days ago, in a not exactly very democratic way.
Remme: You described the mood of the masses in India. How is it on the other side, in Pakistan?
Vensky: People in Pakistan are more cautious. This General Muscharaf is really a key figure, and the question is: does he really mean business when he says he wants to fight terrorism, or is he - as the Indians say - playing a double game and saying on the one hand " I am taking part in the fight against terrorism against the remnants of the Taliban and Al-Qaeda "and continuing the war in Kashmir with the same breath, smuggling unneeded fighters from Afghanistan to Kashmir who, in the Pakistani view, should teach the Indians a lesson? The problem is that you don't know exactly how far the ruling general controls his military and the Pakistani secret service, and above all how far he can really do something against the terrorists in his country, who have infiltrated all of Pakistan a la Taliban .
Remme: You just mentioned nuclear weapons. Is the use of these weapons actually included in the strategies?
Vensky: Yes, that's really the case at the moment. It is true that in India there is talk of wanting to wage a limited war against Pakistan. From a military point of view, Pakistan is the weaker country of the two, and it is quite possible that the Pakistanis will then fight back nuclear. The two countries are very close to one another, so it is different from the Cold War between the USA and the Soviet Union, where you had a flight time of about 30 minutes for missiles, and if you accidentally had a nuclear strike, could still warn. In this case, you have a flight time of three to five minutes, and then either Bombay or Karachi is in ruins, and in the case of these two cities, 850,000 people would be dead in the first few minutes of the first nuclear strike , not to mention what happens next.
Remme: What influence does Great Britain have as a mediator?
Vensky: I don't think Britain has very much leverage. India insists on resolving the conflict bilaterally, that is, through talks between India and Pakistan, and forbids any outside interference because it says it is an internal Indian problem; the Indian part of Kashmir - that's about two-thirds of Kashmir - belongs to India, once and for all, and we don't talk about it with anyone other than the Pakistanis. Only, they don't talk to the Pakistanis either because, in their opinion, Pakistan has not done enough in the fight against terrorism. Since December, since the attack on the Indian parliament in the middle of Delhi, India has been experiencing a series of targeted attacks, and many observers are of the opinion that the Pakistani military ruler Muscharaf is not in a position to deliver them check. On the contrary: That the Pakistani, Afghan terrorists deliberately challenge him to overthrow him in order to set up a Taliban-like regime in Pakistan.
Remme: You just mentioned Pakistan's role on the side of the Americans in the fight against international terrorism. What role does Washington play in this dispute?
Vensky: Washington plays a big role in Pakistan. It's the new ally. Pakistan is very dependent militarily and financially, and Washington does indeed carry great weight in Pakistan, not quite so in India. In my opinion, Washington is now called upon to intervene very massively and not, as they are planning, to send the Undersecretary for South Asia there in June. That's way too late. The British also want to mediate in a few days. Every minute really counts now, and something has to be done as quickly as possible to separate these two well-armed parties from one another. You have to know: At the border, a million men have been face to face for six months. There has never been anything like it. And the possibility that a spark will flicker over there is enormous.
Remme: Thank you for the interview.
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