1987: Brass Tacks

The Brass Tacks crisis between India and Pakistan took place between November 1986 and March 1987. With the crisis peaking in January 1987, India had deployed 400,000 troops, or about half the Indian army, within 100 miles of Pakistan.

It began when India had launched the largest ever military exercises in the subcontinent, called Operation Brass Tacks. The exercise would take place not in India's far north, where the always tense state of Kashmir is located, but in the desert area of Rajastan, a few hundred miles from the Pakistani border, which, a the Pakistani government was sure to note, was and ideal location from which to launch a cross border operation into the Pakistani state of Sindh that could cut Pakistan in half. The exercises included bulk of Indian Army, and was comprised of the nine infantry, three mechanised, three armoured and one air assault divisions, and three armoured brigades under four corps HQ with all theparaphernalia for a real war, concentrated on Pakistan's sensitive border areas. This was bigger than any NATO exercise - and the biggest since World War II. Also planned was an ambitious amphibious operation by the Indian Navy with one division, in Korangi area of Karachi. Another feature of the exercise was a decision by General Sundarji to integrate Indias special weapons, including tactical nuclear into day-to day field maneuvers of the troops.

Pakistani military analysts saw Brass Tacks as a threatening exhibition of an overwhelming conventional force. Some even suspected that India wanted to launch swift surgical strikes at the Sikh terrorists' training and planning sites inside Pakistan. Pakistan responded with maneuvers of its own that were located close to India's state of Punjab. The crisis atmosphere was heightened when Pakistan's premier nuclear scientist Abdul Qadir Khan revealed in a March 1987 interview that Pakistan had manufactured a nuclear bomb. Although Khan later retracted his statement, India stated that the disclosure was "forcing us to review our option." As tensions increased the hot line between the two states was activated and officials from both sides tried to ease fears. Eventually, in February 1987, Pakistan's President General Ziaul Haq travelled to India, under the pretense of watching a cricket match, where he held talks with the Indian leadership to diffuse the crisis. These talks were followed up by additional talk in Islamabad between Feb 27 and Mar 2 at which point both sides agreed to a phased troop withdrawal to peacetime positions.

Operation Tupac and continued insurgency in Jammu and Kashmir

Operation Tupac is the designation of the three part action plan for covertly supporting militants of Kashmir, initiated by President Zia Ul Haq in 1988 after the failure of "Operation Gibraltar". The objectives of Operation Tupac were; a) to disintegrate India; b) to utilize the spy network to act as an instrument of sabotage; c) to exploit porous borders with Nepal and Bangladesh to set up bases and conduct operations. Kashmir has been the target of a campaign of militancy by all sides in the conflict. Thousands of lives have been lost since 1989 due to the intensified insurgency 1989, a widespread armed insurgency started in Kashmir with the disputed rigged 1987 election ;since after 1987 rigged Sate elections some of the 'states legislative assembly' 'formed militant wings' later on after the disputed rigged election and furthermore that had started a catalyst for the insurgency. Casualties include civilians, Kashmiri, and Indian Armed Forces and foreign militants. It is hard to determine the total number of casualties. According to a report by the Government of India in the year 2000, 31,000 Indian civilians had lost their lives due to the insurgency. Human rights groups and local NGOs put the total figure at more than 84,000 Militancy had reached its peak in 1994 when the region saw more than 6,043 incidents and has since declined. However, Kashmir continues to remain as the most volatile region in the world with an average of 2,500 incidents every year. According to an Indian estimate in 2005 there were about 2,000 militants in the Kashmir valley alone; 1,200 of them belong to the Hizbul Mujahideen. Not all Kashmiri separatists and militant organizations share the same ideology. Some fight in the name of religion, some are openly pro-Pakistan and some favour an independent Kashmir. Due to the presence of these numerous anti-India insurgent groups India has been compelled to deploy massive number of troops in the Indian administered Jammu and Kashmir for the task of counter insurgency.

Sankalp Unit