The AIPSG is firmly of the opinion that the current military confrontation between India and Pakistan is against the short term and long term interests of the peoples of both India and Pakistan and
calls upon everyone to do everything possible to stay the hands of Indian and Pakistani governments from plunging the two countries into a predatory war.
Indian government upped the ante in its conflict with Pakistan in the second half of May, threatening to launch military strikes if the terrorist attacks such as the shoot-out in front of the Indian Parliament in December 2001 or the attack on the army camp in Jammu in May 2002 did not stop. Implicitly and explicitly holding Pakistani government responsible for these attacks, Indian government cited the US-led war in Afghanistan and the Israel’s war against Palestinians as its own justification to take the "war against terrorism" to the enemy territory. The fact that war and use of force can never solve the political and other problems facing India or Pakistan is being overlooked by a dizzy India and a testy Pakistan that views the "US-led war on terrorism" as an opportunity to reorder the geopolitics of South Asia in their favor.
The terrorist strikes in Kashmir valley, Delhi and elsewhere, like those in New York, Jerusalem, Karachi etc., are unconscionable acts. However, they neither have their origin in the lack of military deterrence nor can be overcome through offensive military strikes against another country under the pretext that those countries "harbour or aid terrorism". Terrorist tactics are tested methods perfected by the CIA, Mossad, ISI, RAW and other espionage agencies of the world to pursue political aims that otherwise would be illegitimate in the eyes of the populace. Indian people have decades of experience in terrorism that could be traced to the agencies of the state even by a casual investigator and in all those cases, the Indian state has stubbornly refused to investigate, try and punish the perpetrators. The claim of the Indian state that the recent acts of terrorism can be stopped by waging a war against Pakistan and not carrying out the methodical investigation, trial and punishment of the perpetrators is simply false. In fact the revelation that Mr. Bin Laden and his network, being linked to the World Trade Center strikes on 9/11/01, was once trained, financed and armed by the CIA is reason enough to insist that the source and cause of terrorism be sought in the political and other policies pursued by the authorities and a case for abandoning those policies be made if the "war against terrorism" is to be won.
Barring this approach, any war the government of India and Pakistan will engage in will be a war against their own peoples who are also the victims of terrorism. The people are already footing the bill for the military mobilization while the arms merchants of the world are having a field day. Countries such as France and the US are openly selling weapon systems to both India and Pakistan. Other weapons suppliers like China, Russia and Britain view the escalation of tension in South Asia as opportunity for future arms sales. The Indian business houses see tremendous profit potential for themselves within the privatization agenda of India’s defense sector. War economy is a source of massive profiteering through hoarding and artificial shortages. War also provides best opportunity to stifle dissent and attack the resistance struggles of the peoples of India and Pakistan. It stands to reason that the governments of India and Pakistan must see such political and economic "benefits" in a war. It is not inconceivable that lacking any plan to resolve the problems such as the communal carnage in Gujarat or the widespread rejection of the privatization program, Indian government finds the war as an attractive diversion. Similar factors are also operating in Pakistan. On these counts, Indo-Pak war will be certainly a war against the people of India or Pakistan, a war that would restrict the political space of the peoples to seek alternatives to the present economic and political system that perpetuates poverty, humiliation, persecution and marginalization for hundreds of millions.
The US president has declared that preventing a war between India and Pakistan is his top priority. The same has also been said by the governments of Britain, Russia, Japan etc. Citing the threat of nuclear holocaust, the big powers are busy organizing public opinion to hijack the anti-war movement so that they can impose a no-war-no-peace solution to pave the way for further interference in the region. The latest pronouncement of the US President that he is willing to carry out pre-emptive strikes against prospective "terrorist threatss", combined with the statement of the US assistant defense secretary that Asia is the new frontier of "war against terrorism" leads one to suspect that the high profile evacuations of foreigners from India and Pakistan are timed to create the public acceptance of direct US intervention, especially in Pakistan, whose President is now openly being cited for failure to stop terrorist incursions to India. History provides parallels in the manner the US first propped up many allies like Saddam Hussein, Milosovic, Noriega etc. only to go after them when they had outlived their usefulness for the US policy. Mr. Mussaraf may be the next such target. Besides, just as Saddam Hussein and Slobodan Milosovic were first turned into friendless pariahs in the international arena against whom a coalition under the leadership of the US launched military attacks in the post cold war era, Mussaraf may be being set up for such an eventuality. This must not be allowed to pass.
It is the peoples of India and Pakistan who can stay the hands of their own governments not only not to go to war, but also to stop the respective governments from entering into any behind-the-scene maneuvers with the emissaries of the big powers rushing to South Asia. It is the right of the people to decide the question of war or peace in their own land and no outside power must be permitted to intervene, even if facilitated by the existing governments. If anything, involvement of foreign powers in the region to decide the fate of war or peace will be tantamount to these foreign powers declaring war against the peoples in the first place because they cannot usurp the power to decide the fate of the region if the people have initiative in their hands.
War is no solution to terrorist attacks! No to war in South Asia!
No to Secret Diplomacy of the big powers and governments of India and Pakistan!
This is a statement of the AIPSG