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Stories To Keep An Eye On, India-pakistan Edition

This is the top story in tomorrow's Times Of India:

US Bails out India From Balochistan Wrangle

Pakistan has not provided any evidence to the United States of India's involvement in the insurgency in Balochistan, and Washington attaches no credibility to Islamabad's charges in this regard, a top US official has indicated.


The US has now, in effect, bailed out New Delhi. Holbrooke has previously rubbished Pakistan's charges about alleged Indian provocations from its consulates in Afghanistan, saying he had no reason to believe Islamabad's charges, and Pakistan would do well to examine its own internal problems. Other officials too have said Pakistan is merely trying to externalize a serious internal crisis while evading responsibility to crack down on home-grown terrorism.

Balochistan is both the largest province in Pakistan and a south Asian region which includes areas of Afghanistan and Iran. The nightmare scenario is that worsening conditions on Pakistan's western border (where Baloch separatists are causing trouble for the weak Pakistani central government) actually increase tensions with India on Pakistan's eastern border. Pakistan's historic sensitivity about its size and borders (which was one reason for its support of the Taliban) is exacerbated by Indian attempts to establish a presence in Afghanistan (something which India is in fact doing). Similarly, if problems with Baloch separatists worsen, we might see more trouble between India and Pakistan, regardless of whether Pakistani complaints about India's role in the province have any merit. Oh, and the capital of Balochistan is Quetta, the city where many of the top Taliban and Al Qaeda leaders are believed to be hiding. Or, perhaps, just hanging out...

--Isaac Chotiner