Meditation Focus #65

Defusing Tensions Between India and Pakistan


What follows is the 65th Meditation Focus suggested for the two consecutive weeks beginning Sunday, May 26, 2002.


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Tensions have risen in recent weeks after a raid on an army camp in Indian-controlled territory that New Delhi blamed on Pakistan-backed militants, just one attack in a 13-year insurgency in Kashmir. Pakistan denies Indian allegations that it is waging a proxy war through jihadi groups but the two sides are lining up heavy artillery and a million men along a ceasefire line in what could be preparations for a conventional war. India and Pakistan almost went to war in January this year after a suicide attack on the Indian parliament building the previous month, and also in 1998-99. India has stepped up pressure on Pakistan in the last week by firing its big guns across the border and starting an exchange of fire. Both countries have nuclear weapons. India conducted nuclear tests in May 1998 and Pakistan followed suit the following month. While India has indicated it may pursue a limited campaign against training camps used by militants in Pakistan, such acts would almost certainly provoke a response from Pakistan. The two countries could slip into conflict that spins out of control. Two of three wars fought by these bitter regional rivals (in 1947-48 and in 1965) were over Kashmir. There is enormous international pressure on both India and Pakistan to hold back from further conflict, with US and EU representatives holding high level meetings in New Delhi and Islamabad to dissuade the two governments from war.

Please dedicate your prayers and meditations, as guided by Spirit, in the coming two weeks to contribute in defusing the tensions between India and Pakistan. Envision the dismantling of their respective nuclear arsenals and the return to complete normalcy of relationships as the ultimate outcome to manifest in due time. See respect for each other's religion and viewpoints being established and sustained as well as harmony and peace prevailing in this whole area of the world. Until these goals are fully reached, let us empower the thought-form of forgiveness and compassion as the antidote to acrimony and hatred, so these 2 countries as well as the people of Kashmir can gradually establish the basis for what is described above, for the Highest Good of All.

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This section is for those who wish to understand in more detail the situation of this Meditation Focus. For those who wish to read on, we would encourage you to view the following information from a positive perspective, and not allow the details to tinge the positive vision you wish to hold in meditation. Since what we focus on grows, the more positive our mindset, the more successful we will be in manifesting a vision of healing. We provide the details below because we recognise that the knowledge of what needs healing can assist us to structure our awareness to maximise our healing effect.


The tinderbox called Kashmir

By Adil Najam, 5/25/2002

THE MOST dangerous place in the world is not the Middle East. It is a 620-mile track of mostly mountainous terrain - much of it inhabitable - that the UN calls ''the line of control.''

Over the past half century, the line - which separates India and Pakistan in the disputed state of Kashmir - has witnessed anything but ''control.'' A continuous war has raged here for more than 50 years. Military ''incidents'' involving death and serious injury happen routinely. Tensions escalate repeatedly, especially when the government in one or both countries has domestic crises from which it wishes to distract attention. Sometimes things get totally out of hand.

Both countries are among the poorest in the world, yet they have large standing armies. Between them, they boast an active military force of nearly 2 million and 1.5 million in paramilitary forces. India, which spends about five times more than Pakistan on its military, has overwhelming superiority in every aspect. The great equalizer is the fact that both have nuclear weapons and ballistic missiles capable of delivering them.

What makes this the most dangerous place is not just the history of conflict, the propensity for belligerence, and the possibility of nuclear annihilation. It is the fact that the two countries sit in the middle of the toughest and most militarized neighborhood in the world. Russia remains the largest military supplier to India, a trusted ally of the Soviet Union during the Cold War. A series of military pacts between India and Russia will ensure that the latter is dragged into any war in the region. Pakistan has a similar relationship with China, which occupies a small part of Kashmir and is a party to the dispute. Any conflict between India and Pakistan is likely to involve not two but four nuclear powers.

One wrong move along the line of control could spark a forest fire in a region that is already a tinderbox: nearly 3 billion people, four nuclear powers, a host of unstable regimes, and home to about three-fourths of the world's nuclear arsenal and even more of the world's standing militaries.

Last week the region got more dangerous. Atal Bihari Vajpayee, the Indian prime minister, told his troops in Kashmir that the time for the ''decisive fight'' has arrived and that they should prepare for ''sacrifices.'' Pakistan vowed to use ''full force'' in its defense.

With nearly 750,000 Indian soldiers facing an estimated 250,000 Pakistani soldiers along the 620-mile track, this unprecedented escalation in language cannot be brushed aside as mere brinkmanship.

Unlike other recent altercations, this time India seems to lack the inclination and Pakistan the ability to deescalate. For India, a ''limited war'' in Kashmir must be an appealing idea. It would distract domestic attention from the ethnic slaughter in Gujarat that has claimed more than 1,000 mostly Muslim lives. The prime minister's Hindu nationalist party leads a fragile minority government that barely survived a recent no-confidence motion in Parliament. The Kashmir escalation seems to have paid dividends already: The domestic media that had become very critical have rallied to the prime minister's emotional appeals for unity. Hawks see this as a moment of opportunity when they can sneak behind the cover of the global war on terrorism. Their belief is that as long as Delhi can disguise the dispute as a threat of ''Islamic terrorism,'' the United States will have to look the other way.

The problem is that the choice to keep the war ''limited'' is not India's alone. Since Sept. 11, General Pervez Musharraf's attempts to cleanse the military and intelligence establishments of religious zealots have won him many friends but have also created many enemies. Given the public's mood, the military's patience, and his own disposition, he cannot be seen as weak on Kashmir. To do so would be to validate all that the religious extremists have been saying. War histrionics from India provide the Islamic extremist fringe the ammunition they need: a rallying cry to help them regroup, recruit, and retaliate. Doing so would undermine the measures Musharraf has been taking and also the larger global war on terrorism.

In short, domestic conditions in both India and Pakistan are ripe for escalation. For the sake of its own sanity, the rest of the world must not allow things to spiral out of control. The international community needs to push both sides toward a meaningful resolution to the Kashmir dispute. A good first step would be for both countries to begin with the Security Council resolutions they have each accepted. Half a century ago the UN came up with a four-step formula that was largely designed by the United States. First, cease fire. Second, establish international monitoring. Third, demilitarize. Fourth, ask the people of Kashmir what they want. This sounds even more sensible today. Maybe, the world should give it one more try.

Adil Najam is a professor of international relations at Boston University.



See also:

Brinkmanship, With Nukes (May 25)

US accused of ignoring Kashmir (May 25)

Washington is pushing India and Pakistan to the brink of war (May 23) (by Michel Chossudovsky)
The outbreak of a war between India and Pakistan, not only raises the spectre of a nuclear holocaust in a region which encompasses almost a quarter of the World's population, it also raises the possibility of a broader war which could potentially engulf a much larger region, with far-reaching implications for the future of humanity. (...) General Pervez Musharraf is a US puppet. Since the beginning of the bombing campaign of Afghanistan, the US Air Force controls Pakistan's airspace as well several military facilities in Pakistan. US military and intelligence advisers are working closely with the Pakistanis. The United States is now heavily engaged in the region. It has full use of two Pakistani military air bases and since the start of the war has taken control of about one- third of Pakistan's air space to facilitate its military operations over Afghanistan. Up to 35,000 Pakistani troops have been assigned to protect the US forces stationed inside Pakistan. In addition, 60,000 Pakistani troops have been dispatched to the Durand Line, the 1400km Pakistani-Afghan border, to catch any al-Qa'ida agents, including Osama bin Laden, who might be tempted to cross over. Under these conditions, a war cannot in practice be waged by Pakistan without Washington's green light. (...) In country after country, these insurgencies are used by Washington to destabilize national societies. The underlying pattern is very similar that used recently in Macedonia, where the KLA sponsored insurgencies were being supported by NATO and US military aid. (...) While Washington is arming Pakistan, it also has a military cooperation agreement with India, which is intended to deter armed aggression and defend Indian territory. Moreover, behind the scenes --using Pakistan's ISI as a "go-between"-- the CIA is funnelling support (money and weapons) to the Kashmiri separatist forces. In a cruel irony, Washington is arming and advising both sides under military and intelligence authorization acts approved by the US Congress. "Divide and Rule": Advise both sides on the conduct of war. Arm both sides in the conflict, fuelling America's military-industrial complex. Develop joint military and intelligence cooperation with both countries, enabling the US to oversee the theatre of an eventual war. Fracture and impoverish both countries. Restore the Empire. The hidden agenda is to eventually extend America's sphere of influence not only in Central Asian but also in the Indian sub-continent.

India Warns It Is Losing Patience (May 25)
NEW DELHI, India (AP) - India warned the United States, Britain and Russia on Friday that it was losing patience with Pakistan in the impasse over Kashmir, as Islamabad fired a medium-range missile in what it called "routine" tests. (...) India and Pakistan have massed about 1 million troops at their frontier. Tension escalated last week after suspected Pakistan-based Islamic militants raided an army camp in the Indian-controlled portion of Kashmir, killing 34 people — mostly soldiers' wives and children. In the past week, cross-border shelling has killed dozens in Kashmir, which both nations claim. India and Pakistan have fought two of their three wars over the Himalayan region. (...) Rao said that for India to draw back its troops, Pakistan must halt cross-border infiltration of Islamic militants and dismantle their training camps in the part of Kashmir controlled by Pakistan. India also demands that Islamabad "destroy the support and financing structures for the terrorist network to show conclusively that it has abandoned its views and promotion of terrorism as an instrument of state policy," she said. India accuses Pakistan of waging a proxy war for 12 years by promoting Pakistan-based Islamic militants — who New Delhi brands as terrorists — fighting for Indian-controlled Kashmir's independence or merger with Pakistan. At least 60,000 people have been killed in the insurgency. (...) Vajpayee left Friday for a holiday in the cooler climes of the northwest Himachal Pradesh state. His office said the prime minister would rest there until Wednesday. Senior army officials told The Associated Press on Friday that officers had been ordered to exhaust their annual leave before September, after which no leave would be granted. Defense Minister George Fernandes said earlier this month that India would not launch a military attack against Pakistan until after elections in Jammu-Kashmir state in September.

Limited Nuclear War in Asia Would Kill Millions (May 24)

Kashmir and terrorism aren't the problem, it's the bomb (May 24),3604,721165,00.html
India and Pakistan do not understand what nuclear war means
(...) Praful Bidwai and Achin Vanaik wrote in the preface to their outstanding study of how and why India and Pakistan came to acquire nuclear weapons that nuclearisation induced a mood of complacency in both countries, with some political and military leaders believing it allows for more brinkmanship rather than less. Their book argues convincingly that the BJP authorised nuclear testing for essentially irrational reasons. The bomb was a trophy the BJP wanted and it was "bent on crossing the nuclear threshold regardless of the strategic environment." It was also bent on provoking Pakistan into tests of its own which would serve as a retrospective justification for the Indian decision. The glee with which these "achievements" were celebrated was striking. "Megatons of prestige" proclaimed a typical Indian headline at the time of the tests, while in Pakistan nuclear "success" was marked by the construction of supposed replicas of the Chagai range on traffic circles in big cities. CLIP

Nuclear shadow falls on Kashmir (May 24)
(...) Left to their own devices, India and Pakistan will remain fixed to their irreconcilable positions. India will continue to claim that Kashmir is India's "internal affair," and Pakistan will keep stating that whether Kashmir belongs to India or Pakistan must be decided by a plebiscite, as originally envisaged by a U.N. Security Council resolution of 53 years ago. Kashmir and Kashmiris will continue to suffer. After half a decade of oppressive Indian administration and cynical manipulations by the Pakistan government, there is a strong Kashmiri aspiration for azadi -- freedom. The world must make a collective commitment to finding a just and durable resolution of the dispute that fulfills the legitimate concerns of both India and Pakistan, while also satisfying the aspirations of the Kashmiri people. Only a resolution that flows from one simple principle -- that the ultimate arbiters of the Kashmiri dispute are the 13 million people of Kashmir -- will have a chance of success. The price for ignoring the Kashmir dispute will be high. In every war game simulation conducted by the U.S. government, a war between India and Pakistan has always ended in a nuclear holocaust.

Why nuclear conflict is a real threat (May 23),2763,720475,00.html
Two sides could wipe out each other's big cities

Pakistan primes its people for war (May 24),3604,721073,00.html
Thousands of volunteers deployed as tension grows

Kashmir (May 21),6512,719635,00.html
As tensions between India and Pakistan escalate in a dispute over the Kashmir region, Simon Jeffery and Mark Tran explain the history of the conflict

Dangerous game of state-sponsored terror that threatens nuclear conflict (May 25),2763,722049,00.html
Pakistani leader's attempt to rein in militants is met with defiance. (...) It is clear the general's promises are not being kept. Most of the militants have been released without charge, among them the heads of groups listed as terrorist organisations by Britain and the US. Pakistan has allowed militants backed by its own intelligence agency to continue their war in Kashmir even though it threatens to plunge India and Pakistan into a devastating conflict. A Guardian investigation has uncovered evidence that Pakistani militants are still openly raising funds and training young fighters to cross into Kashmir to fight the Indian army. They are closely watched by their Islamist supporters in the ISI. Despite the purges, several hundred in the core of 2,500 ISI officers remain opposed to Gen Musharraf's alliance with America.

Kashmir militants plan new attacks (May 25),2763,722045,00.html
Islamist extremists backed by a powerful wing of the Pakistan army are preparing to launch new guerrilla attacks in Kashmir.

Pakistan hails missile test success (May 25)
(...) 'Two months' grace' - Pakistan's announcement of its missile tests on Friday came as it appeared that the crisis was easing slightly. A leading Indian newspaper, the Hindustan Times, reported that Delhi was giving Islamabad two months to stop cross-border attacks in Kashmir before military action was taken. (...) India began the initial build-up after it said Pakistan had supported a bloody attack on the federal parliament in Delhi last December. However, analysts have seen the departure of Mr Vajpayee for a weekend break as a sign that there will be no immediate military operation.

Everyone's Kashmir crisis (May 24)
AS THEY MASS troops and fire artillery across the line of control in Kashmir, issuing bellicose threats to each other, the governments of India and Pakistan have to know that the crisis they have created cannot be considered merely a domestic or regional conflict. What might begin as a limited military action could escalate into a nuclear exchange. And even if the two countries fought a war with conventional weapons, it would have a profound effect on the interests of China, Russia, and the United States. Those nations and the rest of the international community have an obligation to help the belligerents back away from an imminent calamity. CLIP

Britain seeks to sell arms despite crisis (May 24),2763,721187,00.html
Britain is still trying to profit from the Indian arms market, despite a growing threat of war with Pakistan and the government's official guidelines on weapons exports.

Kashmir Questions and Answers at



Special Report on Kashmir,2759,184266,00.html

Interative Guide - The Conflict Explained,5860,627234,00.html

A guide to Kashmir peace plans,2763,637624,00.html

How Nuclear Bombs Work
You have probably read in history books about the atomic bombs used in World War II. You may also have seen fictional movies where nuclear weapons were launched or detonated CLIP In the news, while many countries have been negotiating to disarm their arsenals of nuclear weapons, other countries such as India and Pakistan have been developing nuclear weapons programs. We have seen that these devices have incredible destructive power, but how do they work? In this edition of HowStuffWorks, you will learn about the physics that makes a nuclear bomb so powerful, how nuclear bombs are designed and what happens after a nuclear explosion. Check the Consequences of Nuclear Explosions at


Here are some of the latest developments in Colombia. Please also keep this situation in mind during your meditations in the coming two weeks to help ensure that Peace may eventually prevail in Colombia.


Violence feared in Colombia poll (Sunday, 26 May)

Security has been massively increased Colombians are preparing for Sunday's presidential elections, amid escalating violence between the country's warring factions. The government is deploying 212,000 troops and police to protect voters, but citizens have been warned by outgoing President Andres Pastrana that rebel attacks are likely. (...) There are fears the election result will be affected because voters are being intimidated by different rebel groups. Many Colombians are scared and plan to cast their ballots early before retreating to the safety of their homes. (...) There are also reports that right-wing paramilitary groups are "urging" people to vote for Mr Uribe, while harassing and intimidating the campaigns of rival candidates.



Colombia Candidate: Give War a Shot (May 23)

BOGOTA, Colombia (AP) - After a dispiriting try at peace talks, Colombians appear poised to elect a new president this weekend who would give war a chance as a way of ending decades of guerrilla bloodshed. Alvaro Uribe — a stern former governor pledging security through strength — has dodged rebel assassins and charges of drug and paramilitary ties on the way to a commanding lead in opinion polls ahead of Sunday's vote. (...) An Uribe victory seems a sure bet, but less certain is whether his iron-fisted prescription would rescue this South American country, or sink it to bloodier depths. The conflict already kills at least 3,500 people a year, drives away foreign investment and threatens to spill into neighboring Andean countries. However, many Colombians appear willing to bite the bullet in hopes of better times further ahead. (...) Uribe — a former Medellin mayor, congressman and governor of Antioquia State, whose father was killed by guerrillas in 1983 — believes a more serious war effort will convince the rebels to lay down their arms. Critics worry Uribe's plans to sharply increase military spending, pass tough anti-terrorist laws and turn 1 million private citizens into army informants will inflame Latin America's oldest conflict and trample on human rights. "I am a democrat who believes deeply in democracy and defends it," Uribe said in his defense this week. Uribe is also courting additional military aid from Washington, which the Bush Administration and Congress appear willing to provide.



See also:

Colombian unions demand change
Colombian trade unions call for a radical change in government at elections this Sunday, as the death toll of their members mounts.

Armed groups 'threaten Colombia election'
Election monitors in Colombia warn that both left-wing rebels and right-wing paramilitaries are using violence and intimidation to sway voters.

Colombia elections: Key contenders
Horacio Serpa, Noemi Sanin, and Luis Eduardo Garzon are all challenging to become Colombian leader.

FARC: Rebels without a cause?
Jeremy McDermott examines whether Colombia's Marxist FARC guerillas can be classed as freedom fighters or terrorists.

Anti-rebel candidate set for Colombia win
As official campaigning for next week's presidential elections ends, Alvaro Uribe is well ahead of his nearest rival in the polls.

Many more related articles on Colombia at

In-depth coverage about Colombia

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