‘Edgy Pak army braces for Indian assault’

by Jon Thompson on November 30, 2008

The Hindustan Times has a front page article about the rising tensions between Pakistan and India.  It claims that the Pakistan Army is bracing for a potential Indian assault.

When I read articles such as these my first inclination is to fire up Google Earth and try to visualize where, if such an attack were to occur, refugees and IDP’s might emanate from and migrate to.  I typically set a Google Alert for the countries involved and then scan stories for mention of cities, roads, etc.  I will then drop placemarks in all the locations I come across and look at the clusters.  Once I have identified the clusters I look at roads into and out of those areas, nearby airports, and closest major cities.

The problem with the Pakistan/India border is that it is absolutely massive and while roads are somewhat sparse there are few geographic impediments that would force the opposing military forces into distinct conflict zones.   It is going to take some educated guessing, on the ground knowledge and some fact checking of the whereabouts of the two countries’ militaries before we’re able to identify potential flash points.  I am sure there are also some historical imperatives that will enable us to guess where such an event might occur.

While I certainly hope there is no conflict the fact is that humanitarian aid workers do not have the luxury of sitting around and waiting to see if something happens.

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