'India Needs To Refocus Attention On Gilgit, Baltistan Routes'
22 January 2006
New Delhi: In view of the urgent need to have alternate energy routes, India should refocus attention on Gilgit and Baltistan, now facing popular unrest against Pakistani authorities due to large- scale anti-Shia violence that has taken a toll of over 100 lives so far. 'If we are to be dependent on the uncertainties and unreliability of Pakistan for our energy supplies, it is also necessary to look elsewhere. Land routes from Russia and Kazakhstan through Kashgar could also reach India,' former chief of the Research and Analysis Wing Vikram Sood said in an article. He said this would imply some negotiations with China on boundary and trade issues. 'It means giving shape to the Russia-India-China strategic triangle,' Sood said in an article in the forthcoming issue of premier journal 'Indian Defence Review'. Referring to the situation in Gilgit-Baltistan which fall in the federally controlled northern areas, he said violence against the Shia majority, specially by Pakistani security forces, continued unabated as the people protested state oppression or demanded better living conditions. 'The practice of anti-Shia program started in the 1980s, and one of the persons who led a brutal campaign against Shias in Gilgit in 1988 was Brig (now General) Pervez Musharraf, who was then based in Khapalu,' Sood said.