Millennium 2000: Global BattlegroundsAired January 4, 2000 - 2:16 a.m. ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
JUANITA PHILLIPS, CNN ANCHOR: We said never again, then we did it again. Next time, it could start here or there. The hot spots where World War III or even IV could start, places to watch, likely war zones in our futures.
BRIAN NELSON, CNN ANCHOR: In the battle for control of Chechnyna, rebel forces say they are gaining the upper hand in areas around the capital Grozny, despite the constant bombardment by Russian troops.
PHILLIPS: The fight over this breakaway is just one of the hot spots in the Caucasus region.
CNN's Mike Hanna examines its troubled history.
MIKE HANNA, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Shamil Bashayev, Chechen patriot, Islamic militant, and Russia's most wanted man.
Gennady Troshev, an ethnic Russian born in the Chechen capital Grozny, the commander of Russian forces in northeastern Chechnyna.
Two men who encapsulate the history of the entire Caucasus, two men who have been fighting each other for much of the past decade in what each believes is a just cause.
GEN. GENNADY TROSHEV, RUSSIAN ARMY (through translator): To prevent the bandits eliminating us, we eliminate them. That is what we are doing?
SHAMIL BASHAYEV, CHECHEN COMMANDER (through translator): The Russians want revenge, revenge for all their internal disorders and problems.
HANNA: In August 1999, Shamil Bashayev led a band of militants across the Chechen border into neighboring Dagestan, and unilaterally declared an Islamic republic. General Troshev commanded the Russian forces that succeeded in pushing the militants back into Chechnya. Then, a month later he led his troops across the border in pursuit.
Between 1994 and 1996, the general conducted a similar operation. He was the commander of the 58th army in the first Chechen war, and at one stage laid siege to the town of Baderno (ph), Shamil Bashayev's home village.
The siege and civil war ended with a peace treaty signed in Kasakots (ph), an action that General Troshev regarded as a humiliating Russian surrender. But he's confident his political masters now will not contemplate another peace agreement with the militants.
TROSHEV (through translator): That would be a betrayal by those who try to stop us.
HANNA: His opposing command in the field is equally adamant there will be no negotiated end to this conflict.
BASHAYEV (through translator): This time, we're not going to let the Russians out so easily. Today, we will fight to the end.
HANNA: And while Shamil Bashayev may be prepared to fight to the end, so too is Gennady Troshev, backed by his masters in the Kremlin. At stake here is more than the quelling of an Islamic insurrection, and a threat to Russia's oil supplies from the Caspian Sea region, and the Kremlin is all too aware that should Russia lose Chechnya, it loses its last remaining foothold in the strategically critical Caucasus Mountains.
The collapse of communism and the break up of the Soviet Union in 1991, all but half the population ruled by Moscow. More than a dozen states opted for independence, among them the republic of Georgia, and the very heart of the Caucasus on the southern border of Chechnya.
Georgian president Eduard Shevardnadze has taken his country on an increasingly independent course. He survived a number of assassination attempts by unknown assailants, but continues to insist he's more interested in wooing the West rather than in pleasing the government he used to work for in Moscow.
One leader in the Caucasus, who did not survive the century was Armenian Prime Minister Vazgen Sarkisian. Together with a number of other politicians, he was gunned down in parliament. The killers were arrested and are awaiting trial, their real motives still not known.
But the attack focused attention on Armenia, yet another former Soviet territory struggling to survive as an independent entity. It's a struggle made even more difficult by a longstanding conflict with neighboring Azerbaijan over the disputed territory of Nogono, Karaback (ph). Russia has attempted to act as an intermediary between the republics. Using his diplomatic muscle in what it says is a bid to restore peace to another area of the Caucasus that appears to be perpetually on the brink of war.
In Armenia, Azerbaijan, Georgia, Chechnya, a new era of Russian involvement is beginning. The new acting president of Russia, Vladimir Putin, insists the end is to achieve a lasting peace in the Caucasus. But in Chechnya at least it appears to be a peace that the Russian bear is prepared to enforce through war.
Mike Hanna, CNN, Moscow. (END VIDEOTAPE)
PHILLIPS: Well, two nuclear powers were recently on the edge of war. Up next, we'll look at why the border between India and Pakistan is one of the world's most heated spots.
PHILLIPS: India and Pakistan, two newly declared nuclear powers, two countries at odds with each other for decades, also increasing tensions, the Indian Airlines hostage crisis. India says Pakistan is responsible, that is something Pakistan denies.
CNN New Delhi bureau chief Satinder Bindra reports.
SATINDER BINDRA, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Free at last, after being held hostage for eight long days in an Indian Airlines plane, 160 passengers returned home just hours before India ushered in the new millennium.
Describing the moment as the best millennium gift for India, millions of Indians rang in the new year with wild celebrations. Officials, though, were a little more circumspect and blamed India's neighbor Pakistan for the hijacking. India says all the hijackers are Pakistanis, in their negotiations with India, officials say they demanded the release of Pakistani rebels, held in Indian jails.
JASWANT SINGH, INDIAN EXTERNAL AFFAIRS MINISTER: Majority of the people whose list was provided by the hijackers and release sought are Pak nationals.
BINDRA: India has linked the hijacking to a 52-year-old dispute over Kashmir between the world's two newest nuclear powers. Both countries control parts of Kashmir, but say the entire territory is rightfully theirs.
India says the recent hijacking is another sign of Pakistan's support for Islamic rebels fighting a 10-year-old rebellion in Indian- controlled Kashmir. Pakistan denies India's accusations.
GEN. PERVEZ MUSHARRAF, PAKISTANI CHIEF EXECUTIVE: Pakistani government has absolutely no involvement in this whole operation and nothing has been done.
BINDRA: Pakistan says it's alerted its border police and will arrest the hijackers if they try to enter Pakistan.
(on camera): As the rhetoric between India and Pakistan, who have already fought three wars, escalates, the international community is concerned. U.S. President Bill Clinton now says Kashmir is perhaps the most dangerous place in the world.
(voice-over): Others, like former U.S. Senator Larry Pressler, share his assessment. LARRY PRESSLER, FORMER U.S. SENATOR: I think there's a very good chance that a nuclear bomb will go off somewhere in the world in the first 25 years of this century. And it could very well be between India and Pakistan, and that would be a holocaust of killing millions of people and putting up a nuclear ash over millions of people.
BINDRA: In 1998, India and Pakistan exploded several underground nuclear devices. A year later, both countries fought a border war over Kashmir. International observers feared the conflict could spill over into a larger war, one in which nuclear weapons could be used. That hasn't happened, but by the time the fighting was over, hundreds on both sides had been killed.
Memorials and services for dead soldiers repeatedly tried to arouse nationalistic sentiment in India, in the Kashmir conflict, Sharmila Pundir's husband, an Indian pilot, was killed.
SHARMILA PUNDIR, WIDOW OF INDIAN PILOT: We've gone through the suffering, we don't want anybody should suffer in the same manner as we have suffered.
BINDRA: Both India and Pakistan say trust between the nations has been the biggest casualty of the Kashmir conflict.
ABDUL SATTAR, PAKISTAN FOREIGN MINISTER: It is Pakistan which is apprehensive of the Indian aims and objectives in South Asia, of dominating over this region, and of using force to impose its own will and preference on Pakistan.
BINDRA: India too distrusts Pakistan, its apprehensions increased further last October when Pakistan's army chief, General Pervez Musharraf, toppled the country's democratically-elected government.
GEORGE FERNANDES, INDIAN DEFENSE MINISTER: We certainly have a problem with Pakistan at the moment. And more so because of General Musharraf, because everybody knows that he was the architect of what happened in Cargill.
BINDRA: India says relations with Pakistan can improve only if Pakistan stops supporting anti-India insurgents in Kashmir.
FERNANDES: We kill some of them, some of them manage to escape, and there is constant fighting from across the border on a daily basis, 365 days of the year.
BINDRA: Pakistan denies it supports terrorism in Indian- controlled Kashmir. It says the rights of Muslims in Indian- controlled Kashmir are being brutally suppressed by hundreds of thousands of Indian troops.
SATTAR: So long as one country continues to use force to suppress the right of the people of Kashmir and then blames Pakistan for the struggle for freedom in Kashmir, for that length of time the danger of a conflict will remain.
BINDRA: Pakistan wants international help to resolve one of the oldest disputes in the world.
SATTAR: The world community should play a greater part in order to resolve the differences and disputes, so that we will not be faced with the horrible dangers implicit in nuclear weapons.
BINDRA: India refuses to accept any third party or even U.N. mediation in Kashmir. It says both countries must resolve their differences themselves.
Those whose families have died in the fighting want both countries to start talking soon, but this Sharmila Pundir feels the atmosphere after the Kashmir conflict is still tense.
PUNDIR: There are times when relations will come to a sudden positive end, but when things like Cargill takes place, then one does doubt.
BINDRA: Both countries still show no sign of scaling back their nuclear programs. India doesn't trust the military regime in Pakistan, two of the three wars between the neighbors have been fought when Pakistan was ruled by the army.
(on camera): With no clear timetable for restoration of democracy in Pakistan, India is hesitant to hold peace talks. As this diplomatic stalemate continues, South Asia will remain one of the world's most volatile regions.
Satinder Bindra, CNN, New Delhi.
NELSON: Up next, CNN's John Raedler sits down with Pakistan's new chief executive.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JOHN RAEDLER, CNN CORRESPONDENT: General, speaking of Pakistan's nuclear weapons, under what conditions would you be prepared to use them?
(END VIDEO CLIP)
NELSON: General Pervez Musharraf's answer will be up next, and we will get reaction from India's national security adviser. Brajesh Mishra will join us live from New Delhi. That is just coming up. Stay with us.
NELSON: Now let's examine first-hand what's behind the tensions between Pakistan and India.
We begin in Pakistan with the chief executive, General Pervez Musharraf. CNN's John Raedler recently sat down with him for this in- depth interview.
RAEDLER: General Musharraf, thank you very much for joining us.
MUSHARRAF: My pleasure.
RAEDLER: What might the new millennium bring in this hot spot of so much concern to the world, India/Pakistan relations?
MUSHARRAF: Well, broadly, I would say that the new millennium brings a lot of hope to Pakistan. I also see Pakistan coexisting peacefully in the region, having settled its outstanding disputes, especially Kashmir, with India, and having revolved the Aflan (ph) imbroglio.
RAEDLER: Coexisting peacefully in the region. But what do you propose to do, different from what has been tried before, to lessen these ongoing tensions with India?
MUSHARRAF: Well, I would like to play a very positive role in this. But I'm trying to be realistic in that. And I'm trying to urge India to be realistic also, and to focus on the main issue of tension between the two countries; and the main issue of tension is the Kashmir issue, which previously has been sidelined, and that is why there has never been any progress. Whatever progress was achieved was cosmetic, actually, in reality. And I'm trying to be realistic, and I'm urging India to be realistic about it. If we strike at the root cause of tension between India and Pakistan, I'm very sure that we can resolve the problems and exist in peace.
RAEDLER: And the root cause is?
MUSHARRAF: The root cause is Kashmir.
RAEDLER: But the root cause of the Kashmir problem is what?
MUSHARRAF: Well, it is surely indigenous, it's an uprising which has taken place within Kashmir. The people of Kashmir do not want to be with India, and they have their own demands. And then, the U.N. resolution is there, the '48 resolution, which calls for a plebiscite to determine the wishes and desires of the people of Kashmir, and this is the dispute which needs to be resolved.
RAEDLER: And if that's the root cause of it, as you see it, the solution is what?
MUSHARRAF: The solution is to sit and discuss, and then try to arrive at a mutually agreeable solution. But the first step that has to be taken is to accept it as a problem and start a dialogue on it, and this is exactly what is not being done by India.
RAEDLER: Now that Pakistan has nuclear weapons, how does that change, if at all, the Kashmir dispute?
MUSHARRAF: It changes in the sense that I feel lesser chances of an open conflagration between India and Pakistan on this -- on the Kashmir dispute. And since the dispute is there, and since we are both nuclear powers now, the danger of this expanding into a nuclear conflagration should modify each -- the stand of each country, and we must look at it more seriously, I would say.
RAEDLER: General, speaking of Pakistan's nuclear weapons, under what conditions would you be prepared to use them?
MUSHARRAF: If the security of Pakistan is threatened, that is my short answer.
RAEDLER: First strike?
MUSHARRAF: Well, one has to examine these things, and think if the security of Pakistan is threatened, surely one would not allow Pakistan to die, that will not be allowed.
RAEDLER: I guess what I'm looking for is some guiding principle for the use of Pakistan's nuclear arsenal, is there such a principle?
MUSHARRAF: We haven't worked that principle out. But we have worked surely that Pakistan's security will never be compromised.
RAEDLER: It seems that this might be an opportune moment for some sort of breakthrough, for some sort of meaningful reproachment in terms of India/Pakistan relations. You have an Indian government re- elected with the numbers now to have some stability and to be decisive. We have a new leader, and a new government in Pakistan. Do you intend to exploit this potential opportune moment?
MUSHARRAF: Yes, surely, I would like to. And I've been saying it in no uncertain terms that I would like to have peace in the region, and in that, I would like to surely go a long way. I've been saying that if India takes one step, I would like to take 10 steps. But, on the other side, there is no reciprocation. We have shown our intention by reducing tension, by withdrawing troops that were moved up on the borders unilaterally, there is no reciprocation.
We also -- I sent a message to my counterpart there on his re- election, congratulating him. But they again said: This is a political gimmick. So I really don't know how to go about reassuring them that I am for peace, but peace with honor and dignity, that's what I will say, and I have the right to say that. We want peace with honor and dignity. We want peace, and we must address the core issues so that real peace is brought about.
RAEDLER: General Musharraf, thank you very much for joining us.
MUSHARRAF: Thank you very much, it was a pleasure.
PHILLIPS: Well, for reaction to that interview, we go now to New Delhi. And joining us is Brajesh Mishra, he's India's national security adviser.
Mister Mishra, thanks very much for being with us. We just heard General Musharraf say that he would use nuclear weapons against India under certain circumstances. He didn't rule out the possibility that Pakistan would strike first. What's your reaction to his comments?
BRAJESH MISHRA, INDIAN NATIONAL SECURITY ADVISER: Well, so far as India is concerned, we have already decided that we will not be the first to use nuclear weapons. And we would like to ask Pakistan to adopt the same policy.
PHILLIPS: Well, General Musharraf was sounding very conciliatory, he says he wants to sit down and talk, is India prepared to do that?
MISHRA: Well, we listen to their words, but we watch their actions, and their actions, which promote, instigate, abet terrorism in India, speak louder than their words.
PHILLIPS: While you're talking about terrorism, I presume you're talking about the recent hijacking crisis. India has accused Pakistan of being behind that crisis, but has not come up with any firm evidence, what proof do you have?
MISHRA: I'm not talking merely of the hijacking there, which took place recently. I'm talking of the terrorism which has been promoted and instigated by them, indeed, abetted by them, since 15 years and more. First in Punjab, then in Jamu and Kashmir. This hijacking is just related to that aspect of the terrorist activities of Pakistan.
PHILLIPS: How has the hijacking crisis changed relations between India and Pakistan, which were bad enough before the crisis happened?
MISHRA: Well, I would say it has worsened the relations between our two countries. I was listening to General Musharraf's interview with you.
Let me put it to you this way, since General Zia was in charge of the martial rule in Pakistan terrorism has been instigated in India, in Punjab, in Jamu and Kashmir. There are hundreds of camps of terrorists in Pakistan, and they could not exist there without the permission of the government of Pakistan. We know of the links between the Pakistan armed forces and the terrorist camps. And these terrorist -- they don't talk only about Kashmir being the core problem, they are saying that, first, we will liberate the Muslims of Kashmir, then we will liberate the Muslims of India as a whole.
So this talk about Kashmir being the core problem is just not right. The core problem is the congenital hostility of Pakistani establishment towards India.
NELSON: Mr. Mishra this -- this leaves your two countries and the whole region in the state of a stalemate. So the question I want to ask you now is: What is your government prepared to do to try to break that stalemate? Is there any gesture that India can make, and is it willing to perhaps initiate a plebiscite in Kashmir, as the Pakistanis are demanding?
MISHRA: Well, we are not going to hand over the valley of Kashmir, or the state of Jamu Kashmir to anybody on a silver platter. But, of course, we are always prepared to sit down and discuss. Proper conditions must be created for that discussion. As long as this cross-border terrorism goes on, and it's going on intensively at the moment, there is no possibility of a dialogue. For a dialogue to be meaningful, Pakistan has to create conditions for it.
NELSON: You're not going to get the Pakistanis to admit that they're behind any terrorism though.
MISHRA: Well, I mean, the whole world knows that Pakistan is responsible for this terrorism, and not merely in India...
NELSON: Well I -- well just...
MISHRA: ... In Europe, in Russia.
NELSON: Yes, but just on that point, just on that point, the United States State Department has -- just a few hours ago -- said that it was not in a position to declare Pakistan a terrorist state, as India has been demanding. Therefore, you've still got some people in Washington unconvinced.
MISHRA: Well, I mean, it's quite clear to us that Washington has yet to be convinced on this score, but I would like to ask Washington: What evidence have they got in regard to Libya, Iran, and various other states whom they have declared the terrorist states, and that they have not gotten about Pakistan? They have all the evidence, we have given it to them for years now.
PHILLIPS: But you're talking, you're talking about evidence, Mr. Mishra, and India is continually claiming that Pakistan was behind this hijacking, I'm going to take you back to that. You have said that you do have evidence, what is that evidence?
MISHRA: This evidence will come out very, very soon, and we will put it out, but we have -- we have enough evidence to prove that Pakistan was part of this hijacking.
PHILLIPS: Will you tell us then, what is the nature of this evidence, give us some clue, when will you put it forward, and what is the nature of it?
MISHRA: We hope to put it forward -- put it out very soon, and I would like to reserve my comments on that until we have done that.
NELSON: Mr. Mishra, last year, the prime minister took a dramatic step by initiating this direct bus link to Pakistan. It seemed that the ice between the two countries was starting to melt, things are far different today than they were then. Do you foresee -- or is there anything you can envision in the way of a dramatic gesture that India can make now on its own to break the logjam between your two countries? MISHRA: Well, we made that dramatic gesture, as you call it, in great sincerity, and with a desire to have peace with Pakistan. But that bus which went to Lahore was stuck in Cargill, and the response of Pakistan to the bus in Lahore was the adventure -- misadventure in Cargill. I don't think we are going to go in for any dramatic gesture like that again.
NELSON: So what are the conditions that you foresee India will lay down in order to have this Kashmiri crisis resolved, and relations with Pakistan achieve a much higher level than where they are now?
MISHRA: Well, as soon as this cross-border terrorism is stopped, and we will know immediately if that happens, we are prepared to sit down and discuss Kashmir, and other issues with Pakistan.
NELSON: And is India prepared to make any concrete gestures, at that point, on Kashmir?
MISHRA: We will start the discussions.
NELSON: All right.
PHILLIPS: Brajesh Mishra, joining us there from New Delhi, thanks very much for your time this evening.
NELSON: And we thank you. Coming up, we will hear from a former U.S. president, who is critical of his nation's leadership in the world as it begins the new millennium.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JIMMY CARTER, FORMER PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: There's one nation that is a hold out in ending the testing of nuclear weapons, and that's the United States.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
NELSON: We will hear more from Jimmy Carter when we return.
ANNOUNCER: Nearly a half century ago, this slight and gentle man shaped a nation's struggle for freedom. Gandhi's steadfast belief in nonviolence and passive resistance made him a hero in India, where he was revered as Mahatma, or the "great soul." He once said: "An eye for an eye makes the whole world blind." His hunger strikes sometimes lasted 21 days, and he spent several years in jail for his activism.
India ultimately won her independence from Britain in 1947, one year before Mahatma Gandhi was assassinated.
NELSON: Crisis prevention is the signature trademark of the Carter Center, a privately financed initiative in Atlanta, it was founded by former U.S. President Jimmy Carter.
We sat down with Mr. Carter recently to learn if there are lessons the world can learn from his interventions around the globe in the cause of peace. And in the interview, I began by asking him how the international community can detect and catch trouble brewing in some hot spot before it erupts into conflict.
CARTER: One avenue to that identification of a potential conflict is to know what's going on in those countries, and to be genuinely concerned about them, not just when they threaten our supply of oil, and not just when they threaten one of our friends and neighbors, or when they threaten Europe, but at the very initial stages of a plight of people that causes wars.
NELSON: From what you've said to me so far, I'm concluding that you're not very hopeful as we enter the new millennium of an easy fix, as it were, to crisis prevention. So therefore, if that is true, how does the world then approach these incendiary conflicts that may erupt at anytime that we've mentioned? Does the world just sit by and watch? Does it...
CARTER: No, well...
NELSON: ... pray?
CARTER: Well, let me tell you what my prayer is. My prayer is that the United States would change some of its basic policies, and take the leadership role in doing what you have just advocated. We don't do that.
There is one nation that is a hold out in abolishing the use of land mines, the United States. There is one nation that is a hold out in ending the testing of nuclear weapons, and that's the United States. And the world is much more vividly aware of this kind of policy than are the people who live here in America.
There's a hunger around the world for the United States to be a country known as the champion of peace. So every time there is an altercation or a threatened war, everybody would know that the United States was going to take the leadership role in going -- maybe to the United Nations Security Council, and saying: We've got a potential problem in this country, let's exert whatever effort is necessary to try to resolve that problem.
That's not done at all now. That's a very serious defect in the international scene. And unless the United States president, backed at least moderately by the Congress, is willing to assume the role of a peace keeper, a war preventer, instead of just sending in troops to serve our own ends; then I don't think it is going to be done, because the rest of the world, collectively, is not cohesive enough, and not strong enough to fulfill that role.
NELSON: Mr. President, what are your hopes as we enter the new millennium for peace and the avoidance of conflict?
CARTER: I've been asked several times this year: What is the greatest challenge of the next millennium? The greatest challenge of the next millennium, the primary cause of wars continuing, and new wars erupting is the growing chasm between rich people on earth, and poor people on earth; that difference, which was like this in 1900, it was like this in 1960, it's like this now, and it's growing very rapidly.
And the increasing wealth of already rich people, and their innate selfishness or unawareness of the people who are becoming increasingly poor is a major cause of conflict. And I believe there's going to be the kind of conflict, if it's not addressed, that will not only create wars among the poverty-stricken countries, but will spill over into a direct impact on our own lives.
And I think this might come partially as a voluntary effort, to be more generous with, and more interested in people who are different from us; and it might come as a reaction to plagues, political and medical and others, that spill over from those countries into the American society. I hope it will be the first, more on a voluntary basis.
NELSON: President Carter, thank you for your insights.
CARTER: Sure, thank you.
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