Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Border Skirmishes Mar 67th Independence Day Celebrations in India and Pakistan

India and Pakistan are preparing to observe their 67th Independence Anniversary amid growing tensions at the Line of Control (LoC) in the disputed Kashmir region. The current dangerous escalation between two nuclear-armed South Asian neighbors is a reminder of the 66-year old conflict rooted in continuing denial of basic rights to the people of Indian-held Kashmir.

Indian occupied Kashmir is described by the Guardian newspaper as "the biggest, bloodiest and also the most obscure military occupation in the world." The paper adds: "With more than 80,000 people dead in an anti-India insurgency backed by Pakistan, the killings fields of Kashmir dwarf those of Palestine and Tibet. In addition to the everyday regime of arbitrary arrests, curfews, raids, and checkpoints enforced by nearly 700,000 Indian soldiers, the valley's 4 million Muslims are exposed to extra-judicial execution, rape and torture, with such barbaric variations as live electric wires inserted into penises".

Instead of acknowledging the reality of the world's most brutal occupation, the Indian government and media are engaging in whipping up anti-Pakistan hysteria to divert attention from it by periodically sparking border incidents with Pakistan.  There have also been violent protests orchestrated by Indian politicians outside Pakistani High Commission building in New Delhi. Such tactics raise the fears of escalation and obscure the core issue of Kashmir which underlies the tensions.

Pakistan's Women Rangers on Duty at Wagah Border


The rising Kashmir tensions and Pakistan-bashing help Indian politicians take the focus away from the daily indignities suffered by the ordinary Indians:

1. India as home to the world's largest population of poor hungry and illiterate people.

2. Multiple fierce insurgencies in North East, North West and Central India.

3. India's growing twin deficits,  falling rupee and shrinking GDP in USD terms. At current exchange rate, India's GDP is down to $1.66 trillion, more than $200 billion less than it was in Fiscal 2011-12.

4. India leading the world in open defecation.

5. Over 200,000 Indian farmers' suicides in the last ten years.

6. Tens of millions of  missing daughters in India.

7. India's high disease burdens and high rates of premature deaths.

Tensions initiated by India to divert attention from its problems also take Pakistan's focus away from its most pressing issues of domestic terrorism, economic crisis and energy shortages.

The result of it is that the ordinary people of the South Asian twins bear the brunt of the long festering problems which get in the way of improving their daily lives. As the two nations celebrate their Independence Day, it's time for their leaders to assess how much damage the continuing confrontation has done to both and resolve to end this conflict through sincere and sustained dialogue.


66 Years of Pakistan's Independence; Standoff in Islamabad from WBT TV on Vimeo.

Here's a video by Pervez Hoodbhoy putting Kashmir in context:


Related Links:

Haq's Musings

India Home to World's Largest Population of Poor, Hungry and Illiterates

India Leads the World in Open Defecation

Farmers' Suicides in India

Are India and Pakistan Failed States?

Please Don't Forget Terror Victims

India's Shrinking GDP

Disease Burdens and Premature Deaths in South Asia

Indian Government and Media Whipping Up Anti-Pakistan Hysteria

Kashmir in Context




30 comments:

Anonymous said...

As an Pakistani I can understand you defending your country regarding cross border firing. But as an intellectual how did you come to a. conclusion that it was India who started it? How are you so sure it was Indian army responsible for instigating the violence? Noone knows what the army of Pakistan or political class of India will both gain from this standoff. One thing is sure Indian army wouldnt like Pakistanis on their western borders as it simply escalates cross border terrorism which has been a blessing since US arrival in Afghanistan.

Riaz Haq said...

Anon: "But as an intellectual how did you come to a. conclusion that it was India who started it?"

When you have a small region of the world as heavily militarized as Kashmir is with 700,000 Indian troops, border incidents are inevitable.

When such incidents happen, it is India which uses these border incidents to whip up anti-Pak hysteria with orchestrated Indian news coverage and attacks on Pakistani embassy.

Earlier in January this year, there was an alleged incident of beheading that got played up by the Indians. Barkha Dutt, a hawkish TV anchor at NDTV, led the Indian media charge against Pakistan by accusing Pakistani military of "savagery" and "barbarism". Indian prime minister talked of "no business as usual", and Indian Army chief told his "commanders to be aggressive and offensive" and the Indian Air Force chief threatened to use "other options". Pakistan's offer to have the incidents independently investigated by the United Nations was rejected.

All the talk of "Aman Ki Asha" went out the window when Pakistani hockey players were unceremoniously ejected from India as the right-wing Hindu organizations were aided and abetted by the hawkish anti-Pakistan Indian media. Hindu Nationalist BJP leader Sushma Swaraj demanded "ten Pakistani heads for one Indian head".

Soon, Barkha Dutt's phony outrage and Sushma Swaraj's bloodthirsty rhetoric about "beheading" were exposed by a quick Google search by Najam Sethi. Sethi found an article in a Nepalese publication Himal in which Barkha described how she was shown a severed head of a Pakistani as war trophy by an Indian Army officer in Kargil in 1999. Here's what she wrote in the article titled "Confessions of a war reporter":

"I had to look three times to make sure I was seeing right. Balanced on one knee, in a tiny alley behind the army’s administrative offices, I was peering through a hole in a corrugated tin sheet. At first glance, all I could see were some leaves. I looked harder and amidst all the green, there was a hint of black – it looked like a moustache. “Look again,” said the army colonel, in a tone that betrayed suppressed excitement. This time, I finally saw.

It was a head, the disembodied face of a slain soldier nailed onto a tree. “The boys got it as a gift for the brigade,” said the colonel, softly, but proudly. Before I could react, the show was over. A faded gunny bag appeared from nowhere, shrouded the soldier’s face, the brown of the bag now merging indistinguishably with the green of the leaves. Minutes later, we walked past the same tree where the three soldiers who had earlier unveiled the victory trophy were standing. From the corner of his eye, the colonel exchanged a look of shard achievement, and we moved on. We were firmly in the war zone."


http://www.riazhaq.com/2013/01/indian-security-hawks-and-media-whip-up.html

HopeWins Junior said...

^^RH: "The result of it is that the ordinary people of the South Asian twins bear the brunt of the long festering problems which get in the way of improving their daily lives. As the two nations celebrate their Independence Day, it's time for their leaders to assess how much damage the continuing confrontation has done to both and resolve to end this conflict through sincere and sustained dialogue"
-------

This statement is not clear. When you say "leaders" must engage in "sincere and sustained dialogue", to whom to you refer? Sharif or Khakis?

Who is doing to do this "sincere and sustained dialogue"? Can Sharif actually deliver on anything even if he wants to end the conflict? Does he really have any say in matters of Foreign Policy, National Security and Defense Strategy?

If you say that the Khakis should do the talking, then do you realize that this is IMPOSSIBLE. The Indian government cannot talk to the Khakis because they are not legally the government. If you recall, the Indians did do many deals with Ayub, Zia & Mushy, but that was all done when they were dictator-Presidents.

So now you can see the problem. Sharif can talk to India, but he cannot deliver. The Khakis can deliver, but they cannot talk to India. So there is no way to resolve this in the current arrangement. There are ONLY TWO WAYS of moving this forward:

1) Sharif brings the Khakis to heel and takes away all their powers to interfere. And then Sharif can talk to India.
2) Khakis kick Sharif out and put in an Army president. And then the Khakis can talk to India.

Short of either of these two, you exhortation is meaning.

Do you disagree?

Riaz Haq said...

HWJ: "When you say "leaders" must engage in "sincere and sustained dialogue", to whom to you refer? Sharif or Khakis?"

You are mouthing false Indian propaganda to pin the blame on Pakistan for lack of progress on Kashmir.

The fact is that no one has come closer to making a deal with India on Kashmir than General Musharraf. That formula, supported by the military, is still on the table to complete it in a fairly short time if Indian leaders are ready to follow through on what they agreed on in 2008.

The Musharraf formula envisions soft or porous borders in Kashmir with freedom of movement for the Kashmiris; exceptional autonomy or "self-governance" within each region of Kashmir; phased demilitarization of all regions; and finally, a "joint supervisory mechanism," with representatives from India, Pakistan and all parts of Kashmir, to oversee the plan’s implementation.

Indian security analysts and politicians regularly blame Pakistan for the failure of past bilateral diplomatic efforts by citing what they believe is the adverse role of Pakistani military in framing Pakistan's policy toward India. This rationale, however, does not explain why the diplomatic initiatives undertaken by Pakistani military leaders from General Zia to General Musharraf have not borne fruit.

A more rational explanation for the policy failures has recently surfaced in secret US embassy cables leaked by Wikileaks and published by The Hindu. After a meeting with India's National Security Adviser and former Indian intelligence chief M.K. Narayanan in August 2009, American Ambassador Timothy Roemer concluded that Prime Minister Manmohan Singh was isolated within his own government in his “great belief” in talks and negotiations with Pakistan.

So the biggest hurdle is the Indian war lobby which disguises itself as "security think tanks". These are funded by weapons makers who are seeking India's military business and profits at the expense of the world's largest population of poor, hungry and illiterates.

These Indian "security think tanks" have promoted delusions of grandeur in India by pushing to make superpoor India a "superpower" capable of fighting both China and Pakistan at the same time and projecting power on the high seas.

This war lobby is succeeding in its aims by rapidly increasing India's defense budgets and making India the world's biggest buyer of arms on international market.

Read more at http://www.riazhaq.com/2011/03/india-pakistan-cricket-diplomacy-at.html

HopeWins Junior said...

^^RH: "So the biggest hurdle is the Indian..."
-----

Yes, but you see the cost (social, economic, political) of the conflict as a portion of their economy is small for India. But it is HUGE for our country, because our economy is only 1/8 of theirs.

So why should India go that extra step on Kashmir, when it hurts us more than it hurts them? Why should they not just hold on to the status quo and do nothing while our smaller economy suffers? In fact, this may well be the strategy of the Baniyas. They may well be trying to bankrupt us as Reagan did to the Soviets.

If we stay emotional and don't think things through, we might well wind up like the USSR-- a nuclear state that collapsed and was broken into many different countries (Punjab = Russia, Sind = Ukraine, Pashtunistan = Belarus, Balochistan = Kazakhistan, Balawaristan = Lithuania etc)

Please elaborate on why India SHOULD save us from this predicament?

Riaz Haq said...

HWJ: "Yes, but you see the cost (social, economic, political) of the conflict as a portion of their economy is small for India. "

The human cost for India is HUGE because India has the world's largest population of poor, not Pakistan.

And the cost will continue to rise with India's growing twin deficits, shrinking Indian rupee and falling GDP.

How long can superpoor India pursue its delusions of superpowerdom without collapsing under the weight of its baggage of poverty, hunger, illiteracy and filth?

As to the talk of break-up, India is much more likely to break up from multiple insurgencies causing large tremors in deep fault lines of regions, ethnic groups, castes and religions.

HopeWins Junior said...

Here is the "Aha!" moment:

http://alturl.com/yroim

Athar O. said...

In another 10 years, India will have enough dams built on 'our' rivers that they will flood us and stave us at will. Then we can take all our F-16s and Atom Bombs and starve to death. Or take all our submarines and use them in our flooded rivers. Kerlo jo kerna hai phir...

Riaz Haq said...

Athar O: "In another 10 years, India will have enough dams built on 'our' rivers that they will flood us and stave us at will. Then we can take all our F-16s and Atom Bombs and starve to death. Or take all our submarines and use them in our flooded rivers. Kerlo jo kerna hai phir..."

That would be an act of war and draw appropriate and justifiable response from Pakistan to defend its national security which includes food and water security.

Riaz Haq said...

The last time India tried "coercive diplomacy" with Pakistan was in 2002. It ended badly for BJP when the world saw the threat of nuclear conflict and major western companies ordered their personnel out of India. The sight of tens of thousands of people fleeing India was enough to force BJP to back down quickly and pull its troops from the border with Pak.

HopeWins Junior said...

^^RH: "The last time India tried "coercive diplomacy" with Pakistan was in 2002. It ended badly for BJP........force BJP to back down quickly and pull its troops from the border with Pak"
-----

Everything you have said in your comment is true.

But did you notice something else?
http://alturl.com/i6k53

Before 2002, there was little terrorism in Pakistan. After 2002, it has EXPONENTIALLY grown.

Is this just a co-incidence? Or did the failure of overt coercive diplomacy in 2002 lead the Indians to take another approach?

What do you think?

Mayraj said...


http://india.blogs.nytimes.com/2012/03/26/indias-top-army-official-alleges-corruption-in-deals/
India’s Top Army Official Alleges Corruption in Deals

http://week.manoramaonline.com/cgi-bin/MMOnline.dll/portal/ep/theWeekContent.do?programId=1073754900&contentId=14744876

There is a lot of corruption in Indian military contracts

http://idrw.org/?p=25605

Shamshad said...

Jim Rogers: Why I’m shorting India

Hedge fund manager Jim Rogers, who moved to Singapore in 2007 because he thought the centre of the world is shifting to Asia, says India is set to miss out on the Asian century. The chairman of Rogers Holdings says that if there is one country an individual must visit, it has to be India for its “spectacular sensory feast, beautiful, food, colour and religions”, but it is also the worst country to do business in. Rogers also slammed the Indian government’s recent curbs on gold imports, saying Indian citizens had no choice but to buy the metal because they had very little faith in investing in other sectors of its economy. In an interview, Rogers spoke about the financial crisis and his bets for the future and defended his decision to be extremely negative about India in his just-released book Street Smarts: Adventures on the Road and in the Markets.

http://www.livemint.com/Companies/pqNgQUDoOPsQCli4EgZLMM/Jim-Rogers-Why-Im-shorting-India.html

Anonymous said...

riaz jee basic maths

2013-1947=66!

This is the 66 th independence day!

Riaz Haq said...

Anon: "riaz jee basic maths..2013-1947=66!"

The first Independence Day of Pakistan was on Aug 14, 1947, not on Aug 14, 1948. That makes Aug 14, 2013 the 67th Independence Day.

It's 66th Independence Anniversary but 67th Independence Day in 2013.

Riaz Haq said...

Prof John Briscoe, a neutral water expert assigned by UN on IWT disputes, argues that INDIA CAN HURT PAKISTAN by playing with water flow. Here's an excerpt: " If Baglihar was the only dam being built by India on the Chenab and Jhelum, this would be a limited problem. But following Baglihar is a veritable caravan of Indian projects – Kishanganga, Sawalkot, Pakuldul, Bursar, Dal Huste, Gyspa… The cumulative live storage will be large, giving India an unquestioned capacity to have major impact on the timing of flows into Pakistan. (Using Baglihar as a reference, simple back-of-the-envelope calculations, suggest that once it has constructed all of the planned hydropower plants on the Chenab, India will have an ability to effect major damage on Pakistan. First, there is the one-time effect of filling the new dams. If done during the wet season this would have little effect on Pakistan. But if done during the critical low-flow period, there would be a large one-time effect (as was the case when India filled Baglihar). Second, there is the permanent threat which would be a consequence of substantial cumulative live storage which could store about one month's worth of low-season flow on the Chenab. If, God forbid, India so chose, it could use this cumulative live storage to impose major reductions on water availability in Pakistan during the critical planting season".

http://www.countercurrents.org/briscoe050410.htm

Mustafa said...

Check out my piece in geographical review and couple of reports I have recently done for USIP for some non-engineering nonsense. I don't agree with John Brisco's assessment. For him to equate kishenganga with Baglihar and other projects is simplistic at best. But hey it seems to resonate hugely with our nationalist narrative. Any way happy reading my nonsense if you get a chance

http://reliefweb.int/report/pakistan/understanding-pakistan%E2%80%99s-water-security-nexus

http://www.usip.org/sites/default/files/resources/SR261%20-%20Hydropolitics_in_Pakistan's%20_Indus_Basin.pdf

S Qureshi said...


India frustrations send some foreign firms packing



For further reading;

http://in.reuters.com/article/2012/06/08/india-investment-exits-idINDEE85708Y20120608

Riaz Haq said...

Here's an Economist magazine's piece on latest India-Pakistan spat:

These are far from the first killings along the disputed 740-kilometre (460-mile) frontier, much of it fenced and laid with mines, that separates Indian- from Pakistani-controlled land. As recently as January, the killing of two Indian soldiers—one of whom was beheaded—provoked intense public anger. Then, as now, the clash was followed by several days of exchanging rifle and mortar fire as both sides violated a ceasefire agreement signed in 2003.

Until this year, fatalities along the line of control had been steadily falling for a decade. The timing of the latest attack is noteworthy. The prime ministers of Pakistan and India are due to meet next month on the fringes of the UN General Assembly in New York. The assailants perhaps hoped to prevent that meeting. Nawaz Sharif of Pakistan was elected in May promising friendlier relations across the border. During an earlier spell in charge, in 1999, he struck a bilateral deal with India, the Lahore Declaration.

Manmohan Singh, his Indian counterpart, is also keen on better relations. Anxious not to raise tensions after the latest attack, his government at first did not blame Pakistan’s army for it. A.K. Antony, the defence minister, called the assailants “terrorists along with persons dressed in Pakistan army uniform”. It took an uproar in the Indian parliament before he named the army directly.

Mr Singh himself kept silent for over a week, hoping that public anger would pass. Retired generals, who populate India’s television talk shows, along with the opposition Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), have shown no such restraint, lambasting both Pakistan and the Indian government. On August 12th a group of former soldiers and civil servants called on Mr Singh to refuse to meet Pakistan’s prime minister. Narendra Modi, the BJP’s de facto leader, accused Mr Singh of being “soft” on the neighbour. Perhaps all this is just what the attackers in Poonch wanted.

In Pakistan, the public reaction to the border incident has been muted. Even critics of Pakistan’s army do not think its soldiers were involved in the assault, instead blaming terrorists. Militants routinely wear army or police uniforms when attacking domestic targets. Much the same might happen along the border. Moreover, the belief is growing that the Pakistani army, long obsessed with a supposed India threat, now understands that home-grown militancy, as well as the instability that Afghanistan brings to Pakistan, are the more pressing issues.

A former Pakistani high commissioner to Delhi, Aziz Ahmed Khan, goes further. He claims that the army has been “on board” for years with the idea of normalising relations with India. It has no wish to strike Indians, or let militants do so, he says. Indian sceptics retort that some army connivance must be behind the latest attack. How else could the militants have crossed from and returned to Pakistan?

Even if the two prime ministers do meet, the violence reduces the chances that they will make much progress. Some advisers are urging Mr Sharif not to rush. India has a looming general election, due by May. The advisers have told Mr Sharif that Indian interlocutors cannot risk being seen to make concessions to Pakistan.

In the longer term, Stephen Cohen of the Brookings Institution in Washington, who has just written a book about India and Pakistan, is gloomy about the relationship. He predicts decades of trouble—“a series of crises punctuated by apathy”—whatever the good intentions of elected leaders. Islamists in Pakistan and recalcitrant bureaucrats on both sides have, in effect, a veto over peace efforts....


http://www.economist.com/news/asia/21583654-more-violence-along-line-control-challenges-forces-reconciliation-border-disorder

Riaz Haq said...

Here's NY Times on India's growing troubles:

...a summer of difficulties has dented India’s confidence, and a growing chorus of critics is starting to ask whether India’s rise may take years, and perhaps decades, longer than many had hoped.

“There is a growing sense of desperation out there, particularly among the young,” said Ramachandra Guha, one of India’s leading historians.

Three events last week crystallized those new worries. On Wednesday, one of India’s most advanced submarines, the Sindhurakshak, exploded and sank at its berth in Mumbai, almost certainly killing 18 of the 21 sailors on its night watch.

On Friday, a top Indian general announced that India had killed 28 people in recent weeks in and around the Line of Control in Kashmir as part of the worst fighting between India and Pakistan since a 2003 cease-fire.

Also Friday, the Sensex, the Indian stock index, plunged nearly 4 percent, while the value of the rupee continued to fall, reaching just under 62 rupees per dollar, a record low.

Each event was unrelated to the others, but together they paint a picture of a country that is rapidly losing its swagger. India’s growing economic worries are perhaps its most challenging.

“India is now the sick man of Asia,” said Rajiv Biswas, Asia-Pacific chief economist at the financial information provider IHS Global Insight. “They are in a crisis.”

---.

The Indian government recently loosened restrictions on direct foreign investment, expecting a number of major retailers like Walmart and other companies to come rushing in. The companies have instead stayed away, worried not only by the government’s constant policy changes but also by the widespread and endemic corruption in Indian society.

The government has followed with a series of increasingly desperate policy announcements in recent weeks in hopes of turning things around, including an increase in import duties on gold and silver and attempts to defend the currency without raising interest rates too high.

Then Wednesday night, the government announced measures to restrict the amounts that individuals and local companies could invest overseas without seeking approval. It was an astonishing move in a country where a growing number of companies have global operations and ambitions.
---------
The submarine explosion revealed once again the vast strategic challenges that the Indian military faces and how far behind China it has fallen. India still relies on Russia for more than 60 percent of its defense equipment needs, and its army, air force and navy have vital Russian equipment that is often decades old and of increasingly poor quality.

The Sindhurakshak is one of 10 Russian-made Kilo-class submarines that India has as part of its front-line maritime defenses, but only six of India’s submarines are operational at any given time — far fewer than are needed to protect the nation’s vast coastline.

Indeed, India has fewer than 100 ships, compared with China’s 260. India is the world’s largest weapons importer, but with its economy under stress and foreign currency reserves increasingly precious, that level of purchases will be increasingly hard to sustain.

The country’s efforts to build its own weapons have largely been disastrous, and a growing number of corruption scandals have tainted its foreign purchases, including a recent deal to buy helicopters from Italy.

Unable to build or buy, India is becoming dangerously short of vital defense equipment, analysts say.

Meanwhile, the country’s bitter rivalry with Pakistan continues. Many analysts say that India is unlikely to achieve prominence on the world stage until it reaches some sort of resolution with Pakistan of disputes that have lasted for decades over Kashmir and other issues.


http://www.nytimes.com/2013/08/19/business/global/a-summer-of-troubles-saps-indias-confidence.html

Riaz Haq said...

India on verge of financial crisis, says The Guardian:

The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) in Mumbai. The country is facing its own financial crisis. Photograph: Vivek Prakash/REUTERS
India's financial woes are rapidly approaching the critical stage. The rupee has depreciated by 44% in the past two years and hit a record low against the US dollar on Monday. The stock market is plunging, bond yields are nudging 10% and capital is flooding out of the country.

In a sense, this is a classic case of deja vu, a revisiting of the Asian crisis of 1997-98 that acted as an unheeded warning sign of what was in store for the global economy a decade later. An emerging economy exhibiting strong growth attracts the attention of foreign investors. Inward investment comes in together with hot money flows that circumvent capital controls. Capital inflows push up the exchange rate, making imports cheaper and exports dearer. The trade deficit balloons, growth slows, deep-seated structural flaws become more prominent and the hot money leaves.

The trigger for the run on the rupee has been the news from Washington that the Federal Reserve is considering scaling back - "tapering" - its bond-buying stimulus programme from next month. This has consequences for all emerging market economies: firstly, there is the fear that a reduced stimulus will mean weaker growth in the US, with a knock-on impact on exports from the developing world. Secondly, high-yielding currencies such as the rupee have benefited from a search for yield on the part of global investors. If policy is going to be tightened in the US, then the dollar becomes more attractive and the rupee less so.

But while the Indonesian rupee and the South African rand are also feeling the heat, it is India – with its large trade and budget deficits – that looks like the accident most likely to happen. On past form, emerging market crises go through three stages: in stage one, policymakers do nothing in the hope that the problem goes away. In stage two, they cobble together some panic measures, normally involving half-baked capital controls and selling of dollars in an attempt to underpin their currencies. In stage three, they either come up with a workable plan themselves or call in the IMF. India is on the cusp of stage three.


http://www.theguardian.com/business/economics-blog/2013/aug/19/india-financial-crisis-rupee-stock-markets

Pavan said...

I am afraid it is going to get much worse in India before it gets better as 170 billion dollars in loans are due by mid 2014. We merrily continue to import arms. Notice nobody mentions this, they only talk of gold and crude oil. Whilst all standing armies are cutting manpower, we are raising a new mountain strike corps!

HopeWins Junior said...

^^Paawan: "We merrily continue to import arms. Notice nobody mentions this, they only talk of gold and crude oil.."
------

2011-12 DATA
India Arms Imports: 3 Billion$
India Gold Imports: 60 Billion$
India Oil Imports: 140 Billion$

So it looks like they are CORRECT. Arms imports, while a concern from a strategic viewpoint, are not as much of a concern from the Balance of Payment side.

The same is true for Pakistan. Arms imports are small compared to Oil imports.

Riaz Haq said...

HWJ: "The same is true for Pakistan. Arms imports are small compared to Oil imports"

India's arms imports are rising faster than other imports, going up from $2 billion in 2008 to $5 billion in 2012, according to The Hindu.

http://www.thehindu.com/opinion/blogs/blog-datadelve/article4999595.ece

Riaz Haq said...

Here's an Indian report on the state of Indian submarine force:

The recent disaster in the Indian submarine INS Sindhurakshak that perhaps killed all 18 Navy personnel on-board has raised a pertinent question on the Indian Navy's submarine conditions as well as its underwater combat edge. According to a TOI report, currently, India can only deploy 7-8 "aging conventional" submarines against enemy forces.

The stark reality is that the Indian Navy is left with only 13 aging diesel-electric submarines - 11 of them over 20 years old. Out of the 13 submarines - 9 Kilo-class of Russian origin and 4 HDW of German-origin - are undergoing reparation to 'extend' their operational lives. The only "face saver" of the Navy seems to be the INS Chakra, the only nuclear-powered submarine, taken on a 10-year lease from Russia last year. But due to international treaties, it is not armed with nuclear-tipped missiles. With its 300-km range Klub-S land-attack cruise missiles, other missiles and advanced torpedoes, the INS Chakra can serve as a deadly `hunter-killer' of enemy submarines and warships. Moreover, India has been indecisive to fit Air-Independent Propulsion (AIP) in the last two of the six French Scorpene submarines being constructed for over Rs 23,000 crore at Mazagon Docks under "Project-75". The first Scorpene will be delivered only by November 2016. On August 12, the Indian Navy launched its aircraft carrier INS Vikrant, placing India in the fifth rank, after US, Russia, Britain and France, who have the ability to design and build aircraft carriers of 40,000 tonnes and above. With a capacity to deploy over 30 aircraft and helicopters, it is considered to be the biggest aircraft carrier in India. Pakistan Navy Power: Whereas the neighbouring country Pakistan, which is continuously violating ceasefire bilateral agreement along the Line of Control (LoC) since last month, is far more more advanced and well prepared in terms of submarines. Presently, Pakistan is well equipped with five "new conventional" submarines and is considering to get six more 'advanced' vessels from its all-weather friend China. China already flexes its muscles with 47 diesel-electric submarines and eight nuclear-powered submarines. Incidentally, the Pakistan Navy is the first force in the Indian Ocean Region (IOR) to have submarines equipped with air-independent propulsion (AIP) in the shape of three French Agosta-90B vessels. The difference: The conventional submarines have to surface every few days to get oxygen to recharge their batteries in contrast with the AIP equipped submarines that can stay submerged for much longer periods to significantly boost their stealth and combat capabilities.


http://news.oneindia.in/2013/08/20/india-far-behind-pakistans-powerful-submarines-report-1287237.html

Riaz Haq said...

Here's Wall Street Journal quoting BRIC coiner Jim O'Neill as saying “If I were to change it, I would just leave the ‘C’:


SAO PAULO–Former Goldman Sachs Asset Management Chairman Jim O’Neill, who coined the BRIC acronym describing four burgeoning emerging market countries, stands by the term he invented more than a decade ago, but admits that three of the countries have disappointed him in recent years.

The acronym created in 2001 groups Brazil, Russia, India and China, and has become a reference for a perceived shift in economic power toward developing economies.

“If I were to change it, I would just leave the ‘C,’” Mr. O’Neill said in an interview. “But then, I don’t think it would be much of an acronym.”

Economic growth in other BRIC countries has been disappointing, and the economic outlook for developing economies in general has changed in the last few years amid the end of a commodities boom and a slowdown in Chinese growth–which nevertheless remains high compared with that of its counterparts.

Meanwhile, signs of a recovery in the U.S and expectations the Federal Reserve will soon reduce its bond-buying program have helped strengthen the U.S. dollar, sucking money out of emerging markets and putting even more pressure on their less developed economies.

It has become “fashionable” to say the developed world is recovering while emerging markets are all slowing down, Mr. O’Neill said. “But what people don’t understand is the size of China,” he added.

The economist said that if China’s economy grows 7.5% this year, as he expects, that would create an additional $1 trillion in wealth, in U.S. dollar terms. “For the U.S. to contribute at the same level, it would have to grow around 3.75%,” Mr. O’Neill said.

Economists currently expect the U.S. economy to expand 1.5% in 2013, down from 2% projected in May, according to a recent survey by the Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia.

From 2011 to 2020, Mr. O’Neill said he has assumed average growth for the BRIC countries of 6.6% a year, less than the 8.5% average in the previous decade. Most of it up to now has come from China.

India has been the biggest disappointment among the BRIC countries, while Brazil has been the most volatile in terms of investor perceptions, the economist said.

“Between 2001 and 2004, many people told me I should never have included Brazil. Then, from 2008 to 2010, people told me I was a genius for including Brazil and now, again, people say Brazil doesn’t deserve to be there,” he said.

Brazil’s economic growth, which reached 7.5% in 2010, has been weak since then in spite of multiple government stimulus measures. The country seems doomed to growth of 2% or so in both 2013 and 2014, according to economists’ forecasts.

Brazil’s rapid growth in 2010 raised expectations, but many people forgot that the country is vulnerable to big moves in commodities prices, Mr. O’Neill said.

Another problem, he said, is that private investment remains a small share of the country’s gross domestic product. Brazil’s investment rate has been stuck at around 18% of GDP, the lowest level of any BRIC country, for a decade.

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“They should only worry if there’s a pickup in inflation expectations; otherwise, they should relax,” he said, before the central bank late Thursday unveiled a massive intervention program to provide relief for the currency.

Brazilian inflation is currently 6.15%, close to the 6.5% ceiling of the central bank’s target range for 2013.

Even in the face of weak growth, Mr. O’Neill says he doesn’t plan to add or subtract letters from his famous acronym.

“If, by the end of 2015, there is persistent weak growth in Brazil, India or Russia, then I might,” he said, noting, however, that he expects Brazil to surprise positively in 2015, possibly even in 2014.


http://blogs.wsj.com/moneybeat/2013/08/23/china-only-bric-country-currently-worthy-of-the-title-oneill/

Riaz Haq said...

In "A History of Pakistan and its origins", Christophe Jafferlot cites British-Pakistani Prof Samuel Martin Burke rejecting the notion that the Two-Nation Theory died in 1971 with Pakistan's split into Pakistan and Bangladesh.

Burke says that the two-nation theory was even more strongly asserted in that the Awami League rebels had struggled for their own country, Bangladesh, and not to join India. In so doing, they had put into practice the theory behind the original resolution to form Pakistan, which envisaged two Muslim states at the two extremities of the subcontinent.

http://books.google.com/books?id=Q9sI_Y2CKAcC&printsec=frontcover&dq=christophe+jaffrelot&hl=en&sa=X&ei=VXkjUtOvBsSujALp1oA4&ved=0CEkQ6AEwBQ#v=snippet&q=burke&f=false

Riaz Haq said...

Here's a piece by Ananya Vajpeyi on exceptions to Indian "constitutional democracy":

By enforcing extraordinary laws, by sending in armed forces, by granting impunity to soldiers and paramilitaries for their actions against armed or unarmed civilians, by denying citizens redress, justice or compensation, by creating a war-like situation for a population that has political, social, cultural and economic grievances possible to address without force, it is the state that sets aside the Constitution. The Indian state has done this too many times, in too many places, and for too long.

It is time for citizens in the so-called ‘normal’ parts of the country to consider how they want to defend their Constitution against such misuse and ill-treatment by the state, a procedure that leaves millions of people exposed to both everyday as well as excessive violence, and ultimately turns them against India. If the Indian Union sees any attrition to its territory in the coming years on account of separatism and civil strife (not such an unlikely scenario as hawkish policy-makers like to believe), this will have come to pass at least partly because the state allowed the cancer of exception to eat away at the body politic, and did not administer the medicine of constitutional reinstatement and restitution in time. It bears repeating that periodic exercises in the electoral process do not always prove to be a sufficient counterweight to the toxic effects of the AFSPA, even if elections are relatively free and fair (a tough challenge), and even if significant percentages of the relevant populations do turn out to vote.

The state’s reasoning for why military, paramilitary and police must replace civil agencies in the work of everyday governance, a step which can and does go horribly wrong, is that disruptive violence (from secessionist and insurgent groups) has to be met with restorative counter-violence (from the state) in order to ensure overall security for the population, and preserve the integrity of the Union of India. Defenders of the AFSPA insist that this is a sound rationale. But inevitably, questions arise: What are the limits of the immunity that such an extraordinary law grants to the armed forces, when does the justifiable control of terror become overkill, and when should a quantitative assessment about the necessary degree of force give way to a qualitative judgment about whether force is necessary at all, over and above alternative – peaceful – means of addressing the situation?

There appears to be a dire need for a system of checks-and-balances, perhaps also originating from the Constitution, to be instituted, so that the explicitly democratic mandate of the Indian republic may be strengthened against an always lurking authoritarian tendency (a legacy of the post-colonial state’s colonialist and imperialist predecessor).

http://udayprakash05.blogspot.com/2010/11/why-people-of-india-are-skeptical.html

Riaz Haq said...

#India-Occupied #Kashmir: Troops kill 7 Protesters. More #Indian troops being airlifted to #Srinagar as anger rises
http://www.nytimes.com/aponline/2016/07/09/world/asia/ap-as-kashmir-top-rebel-killed.html?_r=0

SRINAGAR, India — Indian troops fired on protesters in Kashmir on Saturday, killing at least seven as tens of thousands of people defied a curfew and participated in the funeral of a top rebel commander a day after he was killed by Indian forces in the disputed Himalayan region, officials said.

Burhan Wani, chief of operations of Hizbul Mujahideen, Indian-controlled Kashmir's largest rebel group, was killed in fighting Friday after Indian troops, acting on a tip, cordoned a forested village in southern Kashmir's Kokernag area, said Police Director-General K. Rajendra.

As news of the killing spread on Saturday, widespread clashes erupted in several neighborhoods in southern Kashmir as thousands of residents hurled rocks at Indian troops, who responded by using live ammunition, pellet guns and tear gas, two police officials said, speaking on condition of anonymity in keeping with department policy. They said at least 60 civilians were wounded in the clashes.

Local police intelligence chief Shiv M. Sahai said that seven men were killed in "retaliatory action" by government troops. Another man drowned as he tried to flee government troops.

Sahai said that protesters attacked several police and paramilitary posts in the region. Some 90 government troops were injured, he said.

Street clashes spread to Indian Kashmir's main city of Srinagar and at least a dozen places in central and northern Kashmir.

Muslim-majority Kashmir is divided between India and Pakistan and claimed in entirety by both. On India's side, separatist politicians and rebels reject Indian rule over the region and have been fighting for independence or merger with Pakistan since 1989.

After separatist leaders asked people to march to southern Tral town for Wani's funeral on Saturday, police warned that only local residents would be allowed to participate. But tens of thousands of mourners joined the funeral procession in defiance of the restrictions, chanting "Go India! Go back!" and "We want freedom!"

Wani's body was buried in the late afternoon amid mass wailing and angry chants of anti-India slogans. Witnesses said at least two militants fired pistol rounds in the air to salute their fallen commander.

Earlier in the day, thousands of armed police and paramilitary soldiers in riot gear fanned out across most towns and villages in the region and drove through neighborhoods, warning residents to stay indoors.

Two rebel comrades of Wani were also killed in Friday's gunbattle.

Wani, in his early 20s, had become the iconic face of militancy in Kashmir over the last five years. He was a household name and his video clips and pictures were widely circulated among young people in Kashmir.

Unlike the rebel leaders of the early 1990s, Wani did not cover his face in videos widely circulated on cellphones.

Inspector-General Syed Javaid Mujtaba Gillani described his killing as the "biggest success against militants" in recent years.

Indian officials, fearing that the killing could lead to violent protests in the already troubled region, suspended an annual Hindu pilgrimage to a mountain cave which draws about half a million people each year.

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Wani was a small-town boy and the son of a school principal. Handsome and media savvy, he was widely credited for reviving armed militancy in Indian Kashmir in recent years, using social media like Facebook to reach out to young Kashmiri men.

Riaz Haq said...

#India Stops #Kashmir Newspapers From Printing Amid Protests. Civilian Death Toll Rises to 35. #BurhanWani #Muslim

http://www.nytimes.com/aponline/2016/07/17/world/asia/ap-as-kashmir-protests.html?_r=0

Since 1989, more than 68,000 people have been killed in the uprising against Indian rule and the subsequent Indian military crackdown. India and Pakistan have fought two wars over control of Kashmir since British colonialists left the Indian subcontinent in 1947.

Unwilling to take any chances, Indian authorities appear to be persisting with their clampdown to avoid aggravating tensions in view of Pakistan's call for a "black day" on Wednesday to protest India's handling of dissent in Kashmir.

On Friday, Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif vowed that his country would continue extending political, moral and diplomatic support to Kashmiris. He said he called for observing the "black day" to express solidarity with "Kashmiris who are facing atrocities at the hands of Indian forces."

The largest street protests in recent years in India's portion of Kashmir erupted last week after Indian troops killed the popular young leader of the largest rebel group fighting against Indian rule in the region.

Information has been thin, with most cellular and internet services, as well as landline phone access, not working in the troubled areas, except for Srinagar, the main city in the Indian portion of Kashmir.

Police began raiding newspaper offices and seizing tens of thousands of local newspapers on Saturday, imposing a ban on their printing until Monday. They also detained scores of printing press workers.

Newspaper editors denounced the government action and termed it "gagging and enforcing emergency on media."

The Kashmir Reader, a daily English newspaper, said on its website Sunday that "the government has banned local media publications in Kashmir," and called on its readers to "bear with us in this hour of crisis." Most English dailies, however, continued uploading news onto their websites.

Editors and journalists held a protest march in Srinagar late Saturday, carrying placards reading "Stop censorship" and "We want freedom of speech."

Meanwhile, anti-India protests have persisted, marked by clashes between rock-throwing Kashmiris and troops firing live ammunition, pellet guns and tear gas.

Clashes were reported in several places in northern Kashmir on Sunday, and at least six people were injured, police said.

In the latest fatality late Saturday, government forces fired bullets at villagers who threw stones at them and tried to torch a police station in a remote village in the northern Kupwara area, close to the highly militarized Line of Control dividing Kashmir between India and Pakistan, a police official said.

One young villager was killed and at least two other people were wounded in the firing, he said, speaking on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to speak to reporters.

Authorities on Sunday extended the summer break for schools and colleges for a week, until July 24.