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Pakistan releases 78 Indians imprisoned in Karachi Jail

Seventy-seven Indian fishermen and a person from Bihar, who were imprisoned in a Karachi jail, returned to India after being released by Pakistan

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India and Pakistan
India and Pakistan. Wikimedia.
  • Pakistan released seventy-seven Indian fishermen and a person from Bihar, who were imprisoned in a Karachi jail
  • Yesterday the 78 prisoners were handed over by Pakistan to the Border Security Force (BSF) at a joint check post at Attari/Wagah border in a goodwill gesture
  • The Indian fishermen were arrested when their boats ended up in Pakistan’s waters in an area of the Arabian Sea where they were surrounded and later caught by the coast guards

Amritsar, July 11, 2017: Pakistan released seventy-seven Indian fishermen and a person from Bihar, who were imprisoned in a Karachi jail and allowed them to return to India.

Yesterday the 78 prisoners were handed over by Pakistan to the Border Security Force (BSF) at a joint check post at Attari/Wagah border in a goodwill gesture. They crossed over to India using the land transit route on the basis of Emergency Travel Certificates issued by the Indian High Commission based at Islamabad.

Last year in May, the Indian fishermen were arrested when their boats ended up in Pakistan’s waters in an area of the Arabian Sea where they were surrounded and later caught by the coast guards, mentioned PTI report.

A team of Indian doctors conducted medical check-ups immediately after the repatriation of the released civilians, officials posted at Attari Border on the Indian side stated yesterday.

ALSO READ: Growing Nuclear Weapons Increase Concerns About Possible Pakistan-India War

It was an emotional homecoming for the group. The moment they crossed over to their motherland, they expressed happiness and gratitude by bowing their heads and kissing the Indian soil.

However, an expression of anxiety was reflected by the faces of the fishermen when they talked about their uncertain future as their boats still remain in the custody of Pakistan, mentioned the PTI report.

The cost of a boat usually varies from Rs 3 lakh to Rs 10 lakh, depending on its size and quality. Most of the fishermen added that they were already debt-ridden before their arrest as they purchased the boats with the help of loans. Now their current situation would make them jobless.

According to the fishermen, identifying the territorial waters and borders during fishing in the Arabian sea was difficult.

There have been frequent cases where Fishermen have been taken under arrest along with their boats by both India and Pakistan. The reasons behind that are nothing but the poorly defined maritime border in the Arabian Sea and the lack of needed technology to ascertain their precise location in the boats used.

prepared by Durba Mandal of NewsGram. Twitter: @dubumerang

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Don’t forget 1971 Bangladesh War: M. Venkaiah Naidu warns Pakistan for “Aiding and Abetting Terror”

According to Naidu, "Our neighbour should understand that aiding and abetting terror will not help them, they should recall what happened in 1971... Terrorism is the enemy of humanity, it has no religion."

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M Venkaiah Naidu
NDA's Vice Presidential candidate M. Venkaiah Naidu on Sunday reminded Pakistan not to forget what happened in 1971. Wikimedia
  • NDA’s Vice Presidential candidate M. Venkaiah Naidu on Sunday reminded Pakistan not to forget what happened in 1971 in a reference to the Bangladesh War
  • Naidu also criticized Pakistan for “mixing terrorism with religion” as its state policy
  • The former Union Minister asserted that Kashmir is an integral part of India and “not an inch” of it will be ceded

New Delhi, July 23, 2017:  Hitting out at Pakistan for “aiding and abetting terror”, NDA’s Vice Presidential candidate M. Venkaiah Naidu on Sunday reminded it not to forget what happened in 1971 in a reference to the Bangladesh War in which it faced a humiliating defeat.

Naidu was addressing the annual Kargil Parakram Parade here, held in remembrance of soldiers killed in a war with Pakistan in Jammu and Kashmir’s Kargil sector in 1999.

ALSO READPakistan releases 78 Indians imprisoned in Karachi Jail

“Our neighbour should understand that aiding and abetting terror will not help them, they should recall what happened in 1971… Terrorism is the enemy of humanity, it has no religion,” he said.

Criticising Pakistan for “mixing terrorism with religion” as its state policy, the former Union Minister asserted that Kashmir is an integral part of India and “not an inch” of it will be ceded.

He also urged Pakistan to shun the path of confrontation.

“We are a peace loving people. We never attacked any country. We don’t want war, we don’t want confrontation. We want to have peace and good relations with our neighbours, but they should also reciprocate,” Naidu said. (IANS)

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Growing Nuclear Weapons Increase Concerns About Possible Pakistan-India War

Experts feel that a misunderstanding or misadventure could escalate to a full-fledged war with nuclear weapons in play

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Growing Nuclear Arsenals
Pakistani-made NASR missiles are on display during a military parade to mark Pakistan's Republic Day, in Islamabad, Pakistan. VOA
  • The volatility of the situation is further exacerbated because neither country has a national missile defense system
  • Experts believe that a misunderstanding or misadventure could escalate to a full-fledged war with nuclear weapons in play
  • Pakistan changed its policy of minimum credible deterrence to full spectrum response with tactical weapons armed with low-grade nuclear material for use in the battlefield
  • Kashmir has been a flashpoint since the subcontinent was partitioned in 1947 and caused the most recent flare-up last November

June 17, 2017: India and Pakistan have fought three wars and have been on the brink of another several times, a worrying prospect given that both have growing stockpiles of nuclear weapons and questions about how secure they are.

The arms race between the South Asian neighbours has moved to enhancing the delivery systems for the warheads, which could annihilate the subcontinent several times. India’s recent launch of more than 100 satellites with a single rocket foreshadows the capability of sending up a missile with multiple nuclear weapons.

The volatility of the situation is further exacerbated because neither country has a national missile defense system, and it likely would take several years to get one in place.

While the policy of mutually assured destruction has kept hostilities from overheating so far, experts believe that a misunderstanding or misadventure could escalate to a full-fledged war with nuclear weapons in play.

And there are plenty of risks.

Kashmir a flashpoint

Kashmir has been a flashpoint since the subcontinent was partitioned in 1947 and caused the most recent flare-up last November. Both sides accuse each other of harboring terrorists who launch cross-border attacks. Therefore, the question is whether the nukes in South Asia could fall into the wrong hands during mobilization in the fog of war.

Nuclear arms experts Hans Kristensen and Robert Norris estimate that Pakistan has 120-130 nuclear warheads compared with India’s 110-120. India is said to have a stockpile of 540 kilograms of weapons grade plutonium, enough to produce 130 warheads. Pakistan has 3,100 kilograms of highly enriched uranium, sufficient to build 300 warheads. That’s a lot to keep an eye on.

“The nukes were safe when these were in storage areas in both countries,” Michael Krepon, co-founder and senior associate at Stimson Center, said in an interview with VOA’s Urdu Service. “But when these have to be moved around in a state of war, it surely raises a red flag about their security on many counts.

ALSO READ: UN: World Population to reach 10 billion by 2050, India and Pakistan to lead

Serious concerns

“The biggest concern was about Pakistan’s tactical weapons, which have a very short range,” Krepon said. “It means that these will have to be moved very close to the battlefield. There are fears that independent groups who want to settle scores with either Pakistan or India could attack them.

“Secondly, these could be attacked by Indian warplanes. Thirdly, since the fissile material has to be transported separately to combine with the main structure, this fissile material could also come under attack. These factors pose greater concerns, especially in the United States.”

India developed its first strategic ballistic missile in 1996 with a range of 250 kilometers. Click To Tweet

Professor Scott Sagan of Stanford University adds: “The plausible place to move these tactical nuclear weapons would be to roads where these would be less vulnerable to Indian attack due to their flexibility. However, this also generates a fear that these could become vulnerable to terrorists’ seizure in whole or in part. The same was true for India.”

The countries have continued to expand their nuclear capacity long past the stated goal of a “credible deterrence” the vow of no first use. “No first use policy in India was a misnomer, and India would opt for the first strike if it deemed necessary,” said Mueed Yousuf of the United States Institute for Peace.

Professor Paul Kapoor of the U.S. Naval Postgraduate School added: “If India used nuclear weapons, it would use them in massive way to inflict an unacceptable harm to adverse countries.”

A two-pronged policy

Zamir Akram, a former Pakistani ambassador and U.N. representative, said Pakistan’s nuclear doctrine initially was based on India’s much larger superiority in conventional weapons. However, in response to India’s “Cold Start” doctrine, allowing it to attack Pakistan with conventional weapons to prevent nuclear retaliation, Pakistan changed its policy of minimum credible deterrence to full spectrum response with tactical weapons armed with low-grade nuclear material for use in the battlefield, Akram said.

Kapoor says that results in a two-pronged policy: use low-grade tactical nuclear weapons in a conventional war, and use nuclear weapons in case of an imminent nuclear attack by India.

“While Pakistan had a bigger stockpile of nukes as compared to India, the induction of very short-range tactical weapons into its conventional warfare mechanism was a worrying factor,” Krepon said.

India developed its first strategic ballistic missile in 1996 with a range of 250 kilometers. During the last decade, it has added medium- and long-range missiles that can reach Pakistan and China.

Pakistan has missiles capable of carrying conventional and nuclear warheads up to 2,750 kilometers, enough to target all major Indian cities, and cruise missiles capable of carrying nuclear warheads. (VOA)

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India rejects Pakistan’s attempts to raise the Kashmir issue at the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva

Calling Islamabad the ' Epicentre' of terrorist activities, India has rejected Pakistan's attempts to raise the Kashmir issue at the UN Human Rights Council

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Women
UN logo, Wikimedia

United Nations, March 2, 2017: India has rejected Pakistan’s attempts to raise the Kashmir issue at the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva, by denouncing Islamabad as the global “epicentre” of terrorism and accused it of trying to destabilise the state.

“Pakistan has created terrorist outfits against India. This monster is now devouring its own creator,” Ajit Kumar, India’s Permanent Representative to the UN in Geneva, told the Council meeting in the Swiss city on Wednesday.

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Earlier Pakistan’s Law Minister Zahid Hamid had called for the Council’s intervention in Kashmir, asserting that the “human rights and fundamental freedoms of innocent Kashmiris are being trampled upon.”

Hamid denied that there was a terrorism problem in Kashmir and claimed that Islamabad’s involvement was only in providing “political, moral and diplomatic support”.

Rejecting these assertions, Kumar said: “The fundamental reason for disturbances in parts of Jammu and Kashmir is cross-border terrorism aided and abetted by Pakistan.”

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Pakistan has been carrying out “an intense campaign to destabilise” the state through “infiltration and cross-border terrorism, inciting, promoting and glorifying violence”, he said.

Calling terrorism “the grossest violation of human rights”, Kumar added that “Members will recognise the irony of a nation that has established a well-earned reputation of being a global epicentre of terrorism holding forth on human rights. For the last two decades, the most wanted terrorists of the world have found succour and sustenance in Pakistan.”

Hamid made an appeal to Indians to be aware of the human rights situation in Kashmir.

“We call upon all the mechanism of the Council and the Indian community to remain seized of the grave and systematic violation of human rights and fundamental freedoms in Indian-occupied Jammu and Kashmir.”

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Reacting to Hamid’s claims that Kashmir was an international issue under Security Council resolutions, Kumar said: “Pakistan’s unwarranted references to UN Security Council resolutions are grossly misleading as Pakistan was required to vacate the parts of the State of Jammu and Kashmir under its illegal and forced occupation.”

The Permanent Representative also played down the seriousness of the situation in the state and spoke of efforts to develop it and bring normalcy “in the wake of Pakistan-supported violent unrest.”

“The robust and mature Indian democracy proved once again that it has sufficiently strong and adequate mechanisms to redress any internal difficulties even if they are incited from outside,” he said.

That 99 per cent of the high school students in the state have written their exams was a sign of the return of normalcy, he said.

Kumar said that Prime Minister Narendra Modi has fast-tracked a $12 billion development package for the state.

Hamid also brought up the request by Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein, the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, to send a team to the state. (IANS)