Wednesday, November 16, 2016

Distant Early Warning

Things are getting hot on the India-Pakistan border. How long can the paper ceasefire last?

Thirteen years after it came into effect, the India-Pakistan ceasefire agreement is in serious trouble. Shelling and firing across the Line of Control (LoC) and the International Border (IB) in Jammu and Kashmir (J&K) has increased sharply over the past 40 days and is showing no signs of abating.

I've been worrying about this bad situation recently (see here, here, and here).

And for real fun, contemplate that two bordering nuclear powers at war is a new thing (recall that America and the Russians--whether Soviet or post-Soviet--have the luxury of a whole 20 minutes of ICBM flight time).

This will not be a "black swan" problem coming out of nowhere. This problem is building right now.

So apart from the disaster--possibly nuclear tinged--that results from all-out war between these two countries, how do we supply our forces in landlocked Afghanistan if Pakistan is at war with India and desperate for support from America; if Russia remains hostile; and if Iran is in no mood to help us out?

President Trump should attend every Presidential Daily Briefing. Downgrading their importance sure hasn't made the world any safer.

UPDATE: Well this is certainly unhelpful:

Pakistan's prime minister and powerful army chief traveled Wednesday to a strategic area along the border with India to observe a drill meant to display the country's military might amid escalating tensions with New Delhi over the disputed Kashmir region.

Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and Army Chief Gen. Raheel Sharif watched the exercise — dubbed "Strike of Thunder" and complete with planes, tanks, artillery and other heavy weapons — to test the army's preparedness.

Consider your pucker factor put on alert.

UPDATE: Yeah, this is the kind of thing that could escalate:

The Pakistani navy detected an Indian submarine off the Pakistani coast and prevented it from entering its waters, it said in a statement on Friday, prompting a denial by India as tension between the nuclear-armed rivals simmers.

I hate to say it, but I think it would be worthwhile to see if I can find something on fallout patterns with prevailing winds should India and Pakistan launch nukes at each other. Would the Himalaya Mountains funnel fallout south of China and aim it at Southeast Asia? Would prevailing winds send it west to Afghanistan and Iran?