Sunday, October 4, 2015

India's Superpower Delusions: Modi's Flawed Policies

"If you (India) want to run with the big dogs, you have to stop pissing with the puppies".
 Robert Blackwill, Ex US Ambassador to India

Prime Minister Narendra Modi with Top Foreign Policy Advisor Ajit Doval 

What Mr. Blackwill said about India back in 2006 still rings true with Modi's foreign policy team's poor handling of Nepal.  In a piece titled "Has Narendra Modi's foreign policy bubble burst", a BBC report summed up the situation in the following words:

"For many in India, Narendra Modi is seen as the country's best brand ambassador. That's quite apparent from his many overseas visits in his first 16 months in office - he has generated plenty of interest, airtime and drawn adulation from the extensive Indian diaspora. But that may not be enough in sustaining relationships in the neighbourhood, as he is fast finding out."

India's Regional Ties:

There seems to be emerging consensus that Prime Modi's "Neighborhood First" policy he announced at the time of his inauguration last year appears to be on the verge of collapse.

The Hindu Nationalists' foreign policy spearheaded by former RAW Chief Ajit Doval is causing rapid deterioration of India's relations with most of its neighbors ranging in size from China and Pakistan to Maldives and Nepal. Written during Prime Minister Modi's recent US visit, including a large reception given by Indian Americans in Silicon Valley, an opinion piece by policy analyst Jyoti Malhotra concludes as follows:  "So as the prime minister charms America, flanked by his two key aides Ajit Doval and S Jaishankar, the thought surfaces: Let him also spare a thought for India’s crisis-ridden neighbourhood".

India's Biggest Policy Blunder:

India threw away its substantial conventional military edge over Pakistan when the Hindu Nationalist government of Atal Bihari Vajapayee decided to carry out its nuclear tests in 1998.  It gave Pakistan the justification it needed to go nuclear a few weeks later, thereby achieving balance of terror with its much larger neighbor with a huge conventional military.

Indian analyst Krishna Kant explains his country's policymakers blunder as follows: "Nuclear weapons have reduced Pakistan defense cost while we (India) have been forced to spend tens of billions of dollars to acquire latest military hardware in a bid to retain the edge. Its shows in the defence budget of the two countries since 1999 nuclear blasts. All through 1980s and 90s, Pakistan was spending around a third of its government budget and 5-6% of its GDP on defence, or about twice the corresponding ratios for India. After going nuclear, Pakistan’s defence spending decelerated and its share in GDP is expected to be decline to around 2.5% in the current fiscal year, slightly ahead of India’s 2%. This is releasing resources for Pakistan to invest in productive sectors such as infrastructure and social services, something they couldn’t do when they were competing with India to maintain parity in conventional weapons."

Ajit Doval's Rhetoric Against Pakistan:

Kant argues that the Hindu Nationalists blunders in the past have severely limited India's policy options vis-a-vis Pakistan. Here's how how he concluded his Op Ed in Business Standard: "In this environment, a hard talk by Mr Doval followed by a high-decibel drama by the government on the National Security Advisor’s talk between the two countries seems nothing more than a show for the gallery. The audience may be applauding right now, but claps may turn to boos as the public realises the inconsistencies in the script and the pain it inflicts on the hero."


Hindu Nationalists' superpower delusions have led them to policies that are hurting India's position in South Asia region and the world. No amount of hard talk by Ajit Doval can change this fact.  Former Indian Prime Minister Mr. Manmohan Singh has recently said: "India and Pakistan need sustained engagement to realise the vast potential of benefits of liberalisation of trade and investment in the South Asian region." Modi and Doval need listen to Mr. Singh. India's best bet is to engage with Pakistan as well as other neighbors on a sustained basis to deal with the realities as they exist.

Viewpoint From Overseas host Faraz Darvesh discusses the subject with panelists Ali H. Cemendtaur and Riaz Haq (

India-Pakistan Tensions; Kunduz Fall; Delhi Beef Murder; Oregon Shooting from WBT TV on Vimeo.

Related Link:

Haq's Musings

Modi's Pakistan Policy

Modi in Silicon Valley

Rise of  the Sangh Parivar

India's Israel Envy: What If Modi Attacks Pakistan

Jaswant Singh on India's Foreign Policy's "Strategic Confinement"

Ex RAW Agent Document's India's Successes in Pakistan


Indian Eye said...

Does this imply that had Pokhran II not taken place Pak would not have had the nuclear capability ? No.

Pak always had it, it was brought to the fore in 1998. India knew it all along.

Riaz Haq said...

Indian Eye: "Does this imply that had Pokhran II not taken place Pak would not have had the nuclear capability ? No. Pak always had it, it was brought to the fore in 1998. India knew it all along."

There are dozens of "nuclear threshold" states in the world...many European and East Asian nations can build a bomb on short notice. Pakistan was also a nuclear threshold state in 1998.

But there's a big difference between a "nuclear threshold" state and an actual nuclear-armed state.

Had India not become a declared nuclear state, Pakistan would not have either, nor would it have built a large nuclear arsenal of warheads and missiles that it has since 1998.

Mayraj said...

Modi has blundered in every policy area.

Indian Eye said...

WELL SIR.... like an ex indian general said "you can't fight USA without the bomb".... going nuclear isnt about pakistan... we have hostile China.. more importantly USA was hostile in those decades too....

Riaz Haq said...

Indian Eye: "WELL SIR.... like an ex indian general said "you can't fight USA without the bomb".... going nuclear isnt about pakistan... we have hostile China.. more importantly USA was hostile in those decades too..."

Forget about US.

China is just an excuse. The fact is that India's entire military and its armaments are designed to fight in the plains of Punjab and deserts of Rajasthan, not on the mountains between India and China.

Anonymous said...

Written by Vivek Wadhwa.

Ghulam Sethi said...

Maybe you missed the reports from the World Economic Forum. In particular, how Modi is dismantling bottlenecks in infrastructure, business and competitiveness. Political challenges remain in land acquisition but India's ranking has improved a lot overall. I understand you have to focus on the negatives for your predominantly Pakistani audience but by doing so you will miss the positive changes happening in India.

Riaz Haq said...

#Modi's grand delusion of Digital #India - The Hindu. #ModiInSiliconValley #SiliconValley #DigitalIndia …

The idea of attacking poverty by increasing mobile connectivity in a country that ranks 55 in the Global Hunger Index is just fantasy

Interviewer: What would you regard as the most outstanding and significant event of the last decade?

Siddhartha: The… war in Vietnam, sir.

Interviewer: More significant than landing on the moon?

Siddhartha: I think so, sir.

— “Pratidwandi” (The Adversary), 1970

The most fundamental debate for our youth is the choice between Android, iOS or Windows. — Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

A glib modernity has perpetrated the belief that technology can bring about the liberation of human beings. Therefore, it is not surprising that the post-colonial history of colonised nations is also largely a history of this unrealisable fantasy. Digital India is the latest enchantment. The irony is that what goes missing in the search of a “technological fix” is human beings themselves. What should worry us is not the digital divide, but the fundamental divide between a rapidly growing technological capability and a snail-like growth in eliminating human deprivation.

Mr. Modi’s Digital India speech at Silicon Valley showed his remarkable continuity with the policies of post-independence governments, which grievously ignored the fundamental bases of development, health and education, leading to colossal failures in eliminating deprivation. Is it of any surprise that in 2011, 50 per cent of rural India was illiterate or semiliterate? Or that dengue overwhelms New Delhi now? All this is the result of an impoverished understanding of development as merely economic growth and progress in science and technology, rather than ensuring basic human capacities and dignity. Hence, we are in a conjuncture in which 71 per cent of rural India owns mobile phones while 75 per cent of it lives on Rs. 33 per day.

Riaz Haq said...

Retired General Hoon of #India reveals Brasstacks was prep for invasion of #Pakistan by #Indian Army Chief in 1987 …

Operation Brasstacks was the army’s preparations for a war against Pakistan and not a military exercise, says Lieutenant General PN Hoon (retired), who was the then commander-in-chief of the Western Command. The revelation was made by the veteran during the launch of his book, “The Untold Truth”, on Saturday evening.
In the book, Lt Gen Hoon has revealed behind-the-scene politics of major operations and events that took place during his 40-year service in the army. While in one chapter, the author has called the Operation Blue Star a “botched-up operation”, in another chapter he has revealed that Operation Brasstacks was a “war against Pakistan”.
“I have written about operations I have been part of and no one else knows about till today,” said the author.
The chapter 9 of the book reveals the inside story of Operation Brasstacks. It was in peacetime in January 1987 that the Indian Army began moving to the western border carrying live ammunition. The citizens were told that it was an exercise. The book suggests that “it could only be a preparation for a war”
Talking about the operation, Lt Gen PN Hoon said, “Brasstacks was no military exercise, it was a plan to build up a situation for a fourth war with Pakistan. And what is even more shocking is that the then Prime Minister, Rajiv Gandhi, was not aware of these plans of a war.”
The author said that it was General Sundarji’s (the then chief of army staff) and minister of state for defence Arun Singh’s plan to provoke Pakistan “into launching an offensive in Kashmir”.
“... an attack on Kashmir would be an attack on India and in the garb of the exercise that India was already conducting, India would go into a full-fledged war with Pakistan,” reads the chapter.
Lt Gen Hoon said that it was during a dinner party on January 15, 1987, (Army Day) that the PM came to know about the exercise.
“Rajiv Gandhi asked me, ‘How is the western front?’ To this I replied, “Mr Prime Minister, sir. The western army is in fine fettle and very soon I shall be past our battle stations and will give you Sind on one side and Lahore (Pakistan) on the other,”said the author.
“Rajiv was totally aghast and visibly angered. He left the party immediately. The PM did not want to go into a war. Hence, on January 20, Sundarji, pleaded me to stop moving forward,”he added.
When asked as to why Arun Singh and Sundarji would want a war while keeping the PM in the dark, Lt Gen Hoon said: “It was a power game. Sundarji wanted to become a Field Marshal and Arun Singh wanted to become the Prime Minister.”
Apart from these issues, the book reveals behind-the-scene politics when India was forced to take over Sikkim. The author has tried to expose the true nature of political mindset, which should have been protecting the economic, political and strategic interests of the country.
The author also reveals that how President Giani Zail Singh was planning to take the help of the army in dismissing Rajiv Gandhi. “The army had a role to play in the plans to dismiss Rajiv Gandhi. The conflict between the former President Giani Zail Singh and then Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi was well known by all. But what is still not known is the real politics that continued during the period and how army was involved in all this,” mentions the book.

Majumdar said...

Prof sb,

Sidhartha in the movie Pratidwandi was a leftist by inclination, the sort who ruled India for more than 50 years and kept India poor and backward.


Riaz Haq said...

If #India economy is really growing 7.4%, why is consumer sentiment at 3-year low? Is #Modi fudging GDP? #BJP …
The survey shows that not only are consumers worried about current conditions, they also don’t expect any improvement in the medium term. Photo: Ramesh Pathania/Mint
Indian consumers are turning increasingly pessimistic about the economic recovery. The MNI India Consumer Sentiment Indicator, from Deutsche Borse, fell to a three-year low in September, suggesting that demand continues to be lacklustre. That sentiment is completely out of sync with the rosy estimates of gross domestic product (GDP) growth. The survey shows that not only are consumers worried about current conditions, they also don’t expect any improvement in the medium term.

“Seen through the eyes of our survey respondents… the short- to medium-term outlook looks less compelling, with consumer confidence at a record low and little sign of a quick turnaround, ” said MNI chief economist Philip Uglow.

Simply put, the 75 basis points rate cut that happened from January to September wasn’t good enough to boost demand and convince consumers that things will improve. One basis point is one-hundredth of a percentage point.

It’s not just consumer sentiment that is pessimistic. Expectations for business conditions improving one year from now fell to their lowest since September 2013, when India was battling a sharply depreciating rupee. Besides, consumers were the least optimistic about their household finances, with both current and future measures of personal finances falling to record lows.

This level of pessimism ties in with other indicators as well. For instance, the Nikkei Purchasing Managers’ Index (PMI) for India shows there has been no improvement in manufacturing employment since the Narendra Modi government took charge at the Centre.

In September-end, the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) cut rates by another 50 basis points to boost demand. It remains to be seen whether it will boost the much-needed confidence.

“So far the rate cuts have had little impact, with consumers particularly concerned about their finances. The recent cut in the policy rate by RBI should help, although for now our survey suggests that household spending will remain capped,” said Uglow.

Riaz Haq said...

Pakistan seeks to join the mainstream of the international nuclear order with Beijing’s support. Washington has offered words of qualified encouragement. A June 2015 US-Pakistan joint statement “emphasised the desirability of continued outreach to integrate Pakistan into the international nonproliferation regime.” But Pakistan’s path to the mainstream faces many obstacles.

The immediate objective of Pakistan’s mainstreaming diplomacy is to be accorded a civil nuclear deal like that given to India by the Nuclear Suppliers Group in 2008. Islamabad also seeks to become an NSG member, alongside India. Or, failing this, to block India from becoming a member. The NSG operates by consensus, meaning if India became a member it could block Pakistani membership in the future.
India is pushing hard for admission in 2016, with support from the Obama administration and other NSG members, including Australia, Canada, France, Japan, Russia, and the UK. There is not yet consensus about Indian membership, but New Delhi’s case is advancing. The window for Pakistan’s mainstreaming into the global nuclear order is closing.
Since Pakistan is already receiving nuclear reactors from China — and since it cannot finance reactors elsewhere — why does it need or want to be an NSG member? Presumably, the answer has to do with standing in the nuclear order equivalent to India and not being frozen in an ‘inferior’ position.
India was able to secure a nuclear deal by leveraging international commercial interest in its nuclear market, and by offering improved strategic political relations to the US and others. Pakistan lacks these means of suasion, making a commercial N-power path to mainstreaming unlikely. For Pakistan, the path to success lies in n-weapon-related initiatives.
Pakistan has worked hard to build diverse nuclear capabilities, which it will retain as a necessary deterrent against perceived existential threats from India. At this juncture, Pakistan’s military leadership can choose to accept success in achieving a ‘strategic’ deterrent against India, sufficient to prevent nuclear exchanges and a major conventional war. Alternatively, it can choose to continue to compete with India in the pursuit of ‘full spectrum’ deterrence, which would entail open-ended nuclear requirements. These choices lead Pakistan to two starkly different nuclear futures and places in the global nuclear order.
Pakistani officials reiterate their intention not to enter an arms race with India, but the growth in Pakistan’s N-weapons complex suggests otherwise. More nuclear weapons and more fissile material will not deter India to a greater extent than is already the case. On the other hand, more nuclear weapons and more fissile material will not help Pakistan address its internal political, economic, and security challenges. Nor will these programmes help Pakistan join the nuclear mainstream.

Read more at:

Riaz Haq said...

Indian haw RAMAHARITHA PUSARLA (NitiCentral) on "Pakistan’s Nuclear Posturing and the Americans":

two US think-tanks The Carnegie Endowment for International Peace and The Stimson Centre together released a report titled: “A normal nuclear Pakistan” a fortnight ago (1). The report authored by Toby Dalton and Michael Kripon quite characteristic of the US double speak, justified its infallibility towards Pakistan and postulated subtle rationalisations for normalisation Pakistan’s nuclear arena. Drawing parallels to the Indo-US civil nuclear agreement, the authors appealed to the US to consider Pakistan for a similar kind of treaty paving way for its eventual entry into global nuclear regime. Authors plead the US administration to extend concessions to Pakistan and seriously contemplate on helping it become “a normal nuclear state” on par with India. This intimidating explanation logically strengthens India’s doubts of the US double standards. It is intriguing as how the report chooses to ignore malefaction of Pakistan and its alarming pace of vertical proliferation of nuclear arms.

Despite being identified as the aggressor in Indo-Pak Wars of 1948, 1965, 1971 and 1999 Pakistan seems to have floored the defence analysts of the US by invoking the apprehensions of being over ridden by a bigger country – India. With its obsessive paranoia of India as the enemy, Pakistan has embarked on a race of outcompeting India in nuclear weapons production. Post 1998 India shifted gears and focussed on building conventional military capabilities while Pakistan was relentlessly engrossed in bomb-building. While Pakistan blames India for the nuclear build-up in the region, international community must raise a toast to India for maintaining peace in the region despite unequivocal provocations from belligerent Pakistan and a nuclear weapon state China. Seeking a waiver of all the brutal terrorist activities funded by it to organisations like Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) that carried the gruesome Mumbai blasts, it assures that it conducted massive clamp down operations against extremist groups. But alas! Counter terrorism operations were directed against Tehreek-e- Taliban Pakistan (TTP) that targets the military. It is now a known fact that LeT works in collusion with Pakistan’s military and intelligence services and expectedly so, in spite of concrete evidence furnished by India stating its direct involvement in the Mumbai blasts no legal action has been taken. Pakistan in fact revels in patronising the scourge of terrorism and considers extremist groups as real assets of state. But tactfully complains of being victims of terrorism (read as Pakistani Taliban) and for not getting enough credit for containing some extremist groups.

Till now the popular deterrence theory holds that possession of nuclear weapons would deter nuclear exchanges and other conventional military threats. Nuclear weapons are reckoned as long term fixed assets of state since they checkmate the aggression of rivals. Observers world over feel that repeated provocations by Pakistan coupled with sustained toleration of sponsored extremist activities might inadvertently educe India into a battle with its neighbour. Principally nuclear states behave responsibly and try to avoid evade situations that can spark a war. But the combative nuclear posturing of Pakistan indicates that it is not a normal state. Envisaging a framework for mainstreaming Pakistan’s nuclear program is dangerously preposterous and illogical.

Riaz Haq said...

Indian hawk RAMAHARITHA PUSARLA (NitiCentral) on "Pakistan’s Nuclear Posturing and the Americans":

two US think-tanks The Carnegie Endowment for International Peace and The Stimson Centre together released a report titled: “A normal nuclear Pakistan” a fortnight ago (1). The report authored by Toby Dalton and Michael Kripon quite characteristic of the US double speak, justified its infallibility towards Pakistan and postulated subtle rationalisations for normalisation Pakistan’s nuclear arena. Drawing parallels to the Indo-US civil nuclear agreement, the authors appealed to the US to consider Pakistan for a similar kind of treaty paving way for its eventual entry into global nuclear regime. Authors plead the US administration to extend concessions to Pakistan and seriously contemplate on helping it become “a normal nuclear state” on par with India. This intimidating explanation logically strengthens India’s doubts of the US double standards. It is intriguing as how the report chooses to ignore malefaction of Pakistan and its alarming pace of vertical proliferation of nuclear arms.

Despite being identified as the aggressor in Indo-Pak Wars of 1948, 1965, 1971 and 1999 Pakistan seems to have floored the defence analysts of the US by invoking the apprehensions of being over ridden by a bigger country – India. With its obsessive paranoia of India as the enemy, Pakistan has embarked on a race of outcompeting India in nuclear weapons production. Post 1998 India shifted gears and focussed on building conventional military capabilities while Pakistan was relentlessly engrossed in bomb-building. While Pakistan blames India for the nuclear build-up in the region, international community must raise a toast to India for maintaining peace in the region despite unequivocal provocations from belligerent Pakistan and a nuclear weapon state China. Seeking a waiver of all the brutal terrorist activities funded by it to organisations like Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) that carried the gruesome Mumbai blasts, it assures that it conducted massive clamp down operations against extremist groups. But alas! Counter terrorism operations were directed against Tehreek-e- Taliban Pakistan (TTP) that targets the military. It is now a known fact that LeT works in collusion with Pakistan’s military and intelligence services and expectedly so, in spite of concrete evidence furnished by India stating its direct involvement in the Mumbai blasts no legal action has been taken. Pakistan in fact revels in patronising the scourge of terrorism and considers extremist groups as real assets of state. But tactfully complains of being victims of terrorism (read as Pakistani Taliban) and for not getting enough credit for containing some extremist groups.

Till now the popular deterrence theory holds that possession of nuclear weapons would deter nuclear exchanges and other conventional military threats. Nuclear weapons are reckoned as long term fixed assets of state since they checkmate the aggression of rivals. Observers world over feel that repeated provocations by Pakistan coupled with sustained toleration of sponsored extremist activities might inadvertently educe India into a battle with its neighbour. Principally nuclear states behave responsibly and try to avoid evade situations that can spark a war. But the combative nuclear posturing of Pakistan indicates that it is not a normal state. Envisaging a framework for mainstreaming Pakistan’s nuclear program is dangerously preposterous and illogical.

Riaz Haq said...

Indian hawk RAMAHARITHA PUSARLA (NitiCentral) on "Pakistan’s Nuclear Posturing and the Americans":

Despite the insidious attitude of Pakistan the report appeals to help Pakistan to become normal state. It recommends Pakistan to fulfil five conditions for its nuclear normalisation. These are: shift from the full spectrum deterrence to strategic deterrence, limit production of tactical weapons or short range delivery weapons, become amenable to talks on the fissile material cut off treaty (FMCT), delineate civil and military nuclear programs and finally sign the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty (CTBT). But Pakistan wielding to any these conditions is next to impossible as their military leadership firmly believes that nuclear weapons are matter of national survival. Further the recent US-Pakistan joint statement indicates that President Obama clearly favours integration of the Pakistan to the global nuclear order (4). Reassured of Washington’s consent the National Command Authority (NCA) of Pakistan began making unauthenticated claims that India has fissile material enough for 2000 warheads (5).

China has so far chaperoned Pakistan’s odyssey into the nuclear arena but with the US too giving into the Faustian bargaining of the Rawalpindi overlords, India might witness unprecedented ceasefire violations and intransigent infiltrations bids. The most debilitating account of the report has been its nonchalant account of Pakistan despite nurturing anti-India terrorists.

Riaz Haq said...

The Kasuri effect: #India acknowledges secret #Kashmir draft, #Balochistan link. #Pakistan

The Baloch issue with India has also figured in Mr Kasuri’s book, though not quite as dramatically as The Hindu report states.

“I want to say here that Indian and Pakistani intelligence agencies have a full measure of each other’s strengths and weaknesses. There’s no gainsaying that it is a futile and self-defeating motive to hurt the other side, because both are capable of destabilising each other or wreaking havoc. There is no substitute to good sense and for talks at every possible level,” he told this correspondent in a conversation.

Files recording the unsigned documents, exchanged by both sides, were personally handed over to Prime Minister Narendra Modi by his predecessor at a May 27, 2014 meeting, the Indian diplomat told the Express.

The paper confirmed that the Indian official was speaking even as Mr Kasuri was in New Delhi to release the Indian edition of his book, ‘Neither a hawk nor a dove’. The Express described the book as the first insider account of India-Pakistan secret diplomacy on Kashmir.

Mr Kasuri’s book quotes General Musharraf as stating that the secret Kashmir agreement envisaged joint management of the state by India and Pakistan, as well as demilitarisation of the territory.

The Indian negotiator said the final draft of the framework agreement in fact spoke of a “consultative mechanism”, made up of elected representatives of the governments of Jammu and Kashmir and Pakistan-controlled Kashmir, as well as officials of the two national governments. The consultative mechanism, he said, was mandated to address regional “social and economic issues”, like tourism, religious pilgrimages, culture and trade.

New Delhi, the official said, had rejected General Musharraf’s push for institutions for joint management of Kashmir by the two states, arguing it would erode Indian sovereignty.

Prime minister Singh’s hand-picked envoy, Ambassador Satinder Lambah, and General Musharraf’s interlocutors, Riaz Muhammad Khan and Tariq Aziz, held over 200 hours of discussions on the draft agreement, during 30 meetings held in Dubai and Kathmandu, the Express said.

“Lambah, a former intelligence official recalled, was also flown to Rawalpindi on a Research and Analysis Wing jet as negotiations reached an advanced stage, travelling without a passport or visa to ensure the meetings remained secret.”

Rasheed said...

Excellent points. Yet, I believe it is short term relief, as even the major economies of the world find it overwhelmingly expensive to maintain the nuclear arsenal. UK has even contemplated doing away with her nuclear weapons. If Pakistan's GDP does not grow rapidly, it would not be able afford to continue to grow and maintain the nuclear arsenal. And nuclear weapons are only good for a specific type of conflict. If the war is being fought in each other's cities, like current guerrilla war and terrorism, nuclear weapons are of little use. So, simply relying on nuclear weapons would not help. Pakistan Army would continue to spend large amounts of money on conventional weapons. In the end, it would become a race like US vs. Soviets completion, where Reagan essentially forced Soviets to go bankrupt, notwithstanding its nuclear arsenal. Pakistan has to find a solution to survive and thrive, without capitulating on its national interests.

Riaz Haq said...

Rasheed: "Excellent points. Yet, I believe it is short term relief, as even the major economies of the world find it overwhelmingly expensive to maintain the nuclear arsenal. UK has even contemplated doing away with her nuclear weapons. If Pakistan's GDP does not grow rapidly, it would not be able afford to continue to grow and maintain the nuclear arsenal. And nuclear weapons are only good for a specific type of conflict. If the war is being fought in each other's cities, like current guerrilla war and terrorism, nuclear weapons are of little use. So, simply relying on nuclear weapons would not help. Pakistan Army would continue to spend large amounts of money on conventional weapons. In the end, it would become a race like US vs. Soviets completion, where Reagan essentially forced Soviets to go bankrupt, notwithstanding its nuclear arsenal. Pakistan has to find a solution to survive and thrive, without capitulating on its national interests."

Pakistan is rapidly expanding its nuclear arsenal while spending much less on defense as % of GDP than it was when it relied entirely on conventional arms. It costs much less to build credible nuclear deterrence than to build conventional deterrence. US-Soviet comp does not apply because neither Pakistan nor India are superpowers will global footprint. The two are regional powers at best.

Riaz Haq said...

Half the Kids in This Part of #India Are Stunted due to malnutrition, open defecation. #DigitalIndia #Modi #BJP

India is a vigorous democracy that has sent an orbiter to Mars. Yet its children are more likely to starve than children in far poorer nations in Africa.

In a remarkable failure of democracy, India is the epicenter of global malnutrition: 39 percent of Indian children are stunted from poor nutrition, according to government figures (other estimates are higher). Stunting is worse in India than in Burkina Faso or Haiti, worse than in Bangladesh or North Korea.

“The average woman in India ends pregnancy weighing less than the average woman in sub-Saharan Africa begins pregnancy,” Coffey writes in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

The upshot is that many children are malnourished in the uterus and never recover.

The second new theory is poor sanitation, particularly open defecation. About half of Indians defecate outside without using toilets. The result is that children pick up parasites and chronic infections that impair the ability of the intestines to absorb nutrients — and 117,000 Indian children die each year from diarrhea, according to Unicef.

That may explain an anomaly: Infant mortality is lower for Indian Muslims than for Hindus, even though Muslims are poorer. One reason may be that Muslim villagers are more likely to use outhouses.

This is a life-or-death matter. Governments invest in tanks and fighter aircraft to defend their people, when the greater threat to their citizens comes from their own poop.

Still, few recognize the risk. Worldwide, far more people have access to mobile phones than to toilets. That’s because phones are seen as the higher priority. In the villages that Austin and I visited, villagers routinely had mobile phones, but very few had outhouses. Even fewer used them: It’s easy for aid groups to build latrines, harder to get people to use them.

Riaz Haq said...

#India Capital Shame: Baby Girls Aged Two And Five Gang-Raped in #Delhi … via NDTV​

Just a week after the horrific rape and torture of a four-year-old girl in Delhi, two more cases of young girls being gang-raped have been reported from the capital. Both the girls have suffered severe injuries and are recovering in hospital.

In the first case, a two-and-a-half-year-old girl was raped allegedly by two men who abducted her on a motorbike from outside her house in west Delhi's Nangloi area on Friday. Neighbours later found her lying unconscious and bleeding profusely at a nearby park.

The girl's mother has claimed that her daughter was kidnapped while she was watching a 'ramleela' performance near her house. "My girl was watching 'ramleela' when there was a power cut. That is when they kidnapped her," she said.

The girl has suffered severe damage to her private parts and has bite marks on her body, said Swati Maliwal, the chairperson of Delhi Commission for Women who visited her today.

"Woke up to two incidents of gangrape of a two-year-old year old and five-year-old. Bleeding not stopping for the two-and-a-falf year-old year old. On the way to Sanjay Gandhi Hospital (sic)," she had posted on Twitter this morning.

No arrests have been made in the case so far. The police have released video footage from security camera near the girl's house that shows the two men with the child on a bike. The bike is yet to be traced.

The same day, a five-year-old was raped allegedly by three men in east Delhi's Anand Vihar area. The girl was reportedly alone at home when one of the accused, her neighbour, took her to his house and then allegedly raped her along with his friends.

"Her clothes were partially torn with blood stains all over them. Some locals saw her and she told them she was sexually assaulted," an officer from Anand Vihar police station told news agency AFP.

Tests later confirmed she had been subjected to multiple assaults, he said. All three accused have been arrested.

Riaz Haq said...

#India’s economic recovery much slower than expected: BofA Meryl Lynch Trims GDP growth from 6% to 5.5% for 2015-16 …

Global financial services major Bank of America Merrill Lynch on Monday said Indian economy is recovering at a much slower-than-expected pace, but faster enough to overtake Brazil and Russia to become the second largest emerging market after China.

The firm on Monday also trimmed its growth forecast for India to 5.5% from 6% for the current fiscal, as per the old GDP series. As per the old series, the base year for calculation of national accounts was 2004-05.

“Is recovery happening? Yes, but even more slowly than we expected. At the same time, India’s relatively faster growth is allowing it to overtake Brazil and Russia in GDP to emerge as the second largest emerging market after China,” BofA-ML said in a note.

The Central Statistics Office (CSO) has now adopted the new series of National Accounts with 2011-12 as base year and subsequently revised the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) growth rate to 6.9% in 2013-14 from 4.7% and 5.1% in 2012-13 from 4.5%.

The RBI has also lowered its economic growth forecast for the current fiscal to 7.4% from its previous projection of 7.6%. The April-June quarter GDP slipped to 7% from 7.5% in the preceding quarter. “We have cut our GDP forecasts to 5.5% from 6% for 2015-16 and to 6.5% from 7% for 2016-17 (in the old GDP series) on poor rains as well as delays in global recovery and domestic lending rate cuts,” it added.

The global brokerage firm said that the coming months could see a consumption recovery largely driven by four factors -- softer lending rates, public sector salary hikes after the 7th Pay Commission, household savings on lower oil prices and a possible hike in wheat MSP before the early-2017 Punjab/UP polls.

On RBI rate cut, BofA-ML said, “We expect the RBI to cut another 25 bps in February after it meets its under-6% January 2016 inflation mandate.” Reserve Bank Governor Raghuram Rajan, on 29 September, effected a more-than-expected interest rate cut of half a per cent to boost the economy.

Riaz Haq said...

Ex CM of #India occupied #Kashmir Farooq Abdullah: People in Valley will think (Quaid-e-Azam) #Jinnah was right.

Former J&K Chief Minister Farooq Abdullah said on Monday that people in Kashmir may start to think that Mohammad Ali Jinnah was right about his two-nation theory.
“The trend that has started, it is the most difficult phase for the people of Kashmir… I am afraid that people in Kashmir will start to think that Quaid-i-Azam Jinnah was right about his two-nation theory,” he said, referring to the recent incidents in Dadri, Udhampur, Mumbai and today’s attack on MLA Engineer Rashid in New Delhi.
Targeting Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Abdullah said he should worry more about the country than about the Bihar elections. “I warn you that this country belongs to everyone. The day you start to think it only belongs to you, you should be ready to see this country fragmenting into pieces,” he said.
“PM should know that he is not the PM of only one community. He is the PM of 1.3 billion people. He should stand up. Instead of fighting the Bihar elections, he should think of how to save Hindustan from such elements,” said Abdullah.
“Very serious action must be taken if you want to uproot these elements,” he said. “If you wait, this spark will turn into a fire that will be beyond control,” he added.
“What you did in Dadri or anywhere else, India is not this. Today, these people have tarnished the image of India, not only in India but across the world. India, today, feels threatened by these elements,” he said.
“I have to say with regret that Muslims, all the minorities are living in danger. They are scared. They feel threatened — for their lives, for the lives of their children,” said Abdullah. “This didn’t happen earlier. This didn’t happen during Vajpayee’s time.”

Riaz Haq said...

#India #Punjab holds emergency meeting to defuse #Sikh violence after desceration of scriptures

administrators of Sikh gurdwaras, or temples, have tightened security in the chambers where the holy texts are kept.

An opposition politician resigned from the state assembly and three leaders resigned from the state’s ruling party, saying not enough was being done to investigate the 11 October desecration.

Hackles were raised after police fired into a crowd of protesters, killing two men.

Amar Singh Chahal, a top police official, said officers opened fire after protesters had pelted the police with stones and set two police vehicles ablaze in Faridkot district. An investigation has been launched, he said.

The opposition Congress party called for the state government to be placed under direct federal control. “We have demanded that the Punjab state government be dismissed and president’s rule be imposed. They are no longer capable of ruling,” said Sunil Jakhar, leader of the Congress party in Punjab.

Punjab is one of India’s top agricultural states, and the highway blockades have stranded hundreds of lorries carrying fruit, vegetables and other produce.

Religious tensions have been brewing in several northern Indian states over the enforcement of a ban on the slaughter of cows by the Hindu nationalist Bharatiya Janata party of the prime minister, Narendra Modi. Hardliners have been demanding a ban on all beef sales. Most beef sold across India is buffalo meat.

A 50-year-old Muslim was beaten to death last month over claims his family had eaten beef. Last week, a village mob beat to death a Muslim accused of smuggling cows to be slaughtered for beef, and on Sunday, a 20-year-old Muslim lorry driver died after he was set on fire over rumours he had been transporting cows for slaughter.

Riaz Haq said...

US Stars push #India's Daughter, shocking documentary of #Delhi gang rape & murder of Jyoti Singh, into awards race

Banned by the Indian authorities, Leslee Udwin’s harrowing documentary India’s Daughter has been endorsed by some of Hollywood’s biggest names before its US release on Friday and is tipped for Oscars success.

India's Daughter review – this film does what the politicians should be doing
This documentary, which focuses on the assault of Jyoti Singh on a bus in Delhi in 2012, may not contain much that will surprise Indians, but its determination to shed light on the country’s rape crisis should inspire change
Read more
Udwin’s film centres on the gang rape and murder of 23-year-old Jyoti Singh, which sparked protests across India and caused worldwide outrage. The hour-long documentary features interviews with Singh’s bereaved parents, as well as a number of the accused rapists and their families. Four of the six men charged with sexual assault and murder have been sentenced to death by the Delhi high court.

Last week, Meryl Streep introduced India’s Daughter at a New York event, proclaiming she was on the campaign to get Udwin’s film nominated for a best documentary Oscar. “When I first saw [the film] I couldn’t speak afterwards,” Streep said.

Along with Freida Pinto, Streep was also present at the film’s US premiere in March, a week after the film was screened by the BBC in Britain.

On Tuesday in Los Angeles at the Paley Center for Media in Beverly Hills, Sean Penn also threw his support behind the film.

Introducing India’s Daughter, Penn said that the film is by no means pleasant to watch, but vital to experience. “I was never sure that films are important – until last week,” he said.

Comparing Udwin’s film to an MRI, Penn added: “It made me ponder manhood. It reminded me of a trip I took with my children many years ago to Tanzania. I remember saying to our guide how extraordinary it was to see a culture last the way it had been for a thousand years. And the guide said to me: ‘Don’t wish the static upon anyone. It will kill them.’”

During a post-screening discussion moderated by educationalist Ken Robinson, Udwin thanked Streep and Penn for their work to promote the film, but stressed that the support she has received in India is more meaningful. A photo showing a rape protestor holding a placard that read “Thank You Leslee” especially moved her, she said.

India’s Daughter: ‘I made a film on rape in India. Men’s brutal attitudes truly shocked me’
Read more
The documentary was to have initially aired on an Indian television station during International Women’s Day in March, but a court order halted the broadcast. According to Indian authorities, it was done in the interest of maintaining public order.

The film is still banned from playing in India, but after it aired on BBC earlier in the year, it went viral on the internet, attracting a huge audience in India.

Addressing the ban, Udwin said: “I think it’s fair to say that any country that thinks it can ban a film in the digital age should see a psychiatrist.”

She added, however, that she pays a company to try and keep India’s Daughter from being shared illegally on the internet: “I am a law-abiding human being and the film is banned in India, where I have been threatened by prosecution. And frankly, I love India and I want to go back there.”

Riaz Haq said...

Bill Gates' wife Melina Gates on sex crimes in #Modi's #India: "What's happening in #India is horrific"

In an exclusive interview with The Times of India, American businesswoman and philanthropist, Melinda Gates, expressed outrage against increasing cases of rape and sexual assault on women in India, calling the present situation “horrific”.

Riaz Haq said...

#India was better off under #British rule: #Hindu #RSS Chief Mohan Bhagwat. #UK #Pakistan via @timesofindia

Expressing concern over the dominance of 'rich and powerful people' in politics, besides the soaring inflation rate, Rashtriya Swayamsewak Sangh (RSS) chief Mohan Bhagwat said that India's situation was better during the British rule.

"After Independence, the dominance of rich and powerful people in politics and rising inflation have worsened the country's situation, which is worse than what it was during the British rule," Bhagwat said.

Speaking at a function organized by Bhonsala Military School (BMS) to celebrate its platinum jubilee year in Nashik on Monday, Bhagwat said, "All political parties were in power some or the other time during the last 64 years since Independence, but the situation has not improved. Hence, citizens must introspect over what went wrong."

Stating the importance of imparting education through the mother tongue, he said, "Today, there is an insistence on education in a foreign language (English), instead of education in the mother tongue. As a result, the importance of the foreign language has increased to a large extent in the country."

Bhagwat laid stress on the need for imparting military education to students, citing rising threat to the nation.

He said, "Even 64 years after Independence, India is being threatened by China and Pakistan. With rising concerns over internal security, we should give top priority to military education to students to make India strong."

Bhonsala Military School was founded in 1937 by leader Dr B S Moonje, who also played a role in mentoring RSS founder K B Hedgewar.

"The school was founded by Moonje to protect the nation and has so far served as a feeder institute to fulfill the backlog of military officials," Bhagwat said. Senior RSS functionary Prakash Pathak said that the BMS was going to start a similar facility exclusively for girls in Nashik city

The BMS, run by the central Hindu military education society (CHMES), is also mulling setting up a flying club and a pilot training institute, besides a centre for service preparation and aeronautic engineering education. "We have received a lot of proposals from states like Madhya Pradesh, Gujarat and Uttarakhand for setting up military schools there and will soon take a call on this issue," Pathak said.

BMS students, also called 'ramdandees', earlier gave a salute to Dr Moonje. Bhagwat also released a book, 'Smaran Samaranche', written by Nashikite Girish Takale.

Riaz Haq said...

#China refuels #Nepal as #India fails to deliver - via @FT

China is to supply fuel to its impoverished neighbour Nepal for the first time, amid a halt in Indian supplies that has severely disrupted life in the mountainous country still struggling to recover from April’s massive earthquake.
Nepali officials flew to Beijing on Monday to negotiate the terms of the petroleum purchase deal, which will in effect end the longstanding role of India’s state-owned Indian Oil Company as Nepal’s monopoly fuel supplier.

Nepali government officials have said the initial transaction will lead to China providing 1.3m litres of fuel, but analysts suggest it could evolve into a long-term arrangement that would end Nepal’s dependence on India.
The deal comes as Nepal and its 28m people face crippling fuel shortages amid severe disruptions to supply from India.
“Nepal is reeling,” Kanak Mani Dixit, publisher of Kathmandu-based Himal Southasian magazine, told the Financial Times. “The hospitals don’t have oxygen. The ambulances don’t have gasoline and the roads are empty. All industry has come to a standstill.”
New Delhi denies imposing a deliberate fuel blockade on its poorer neighbour, blaming the disruption on the unwillingness of Indian truckers to pass through parts of Nepal where residents are protesting — sometimes violently — against a recently adopted constitution.
But after nearly a month of fuel and cooking gas shortages, most Nepalis believe the crisis is the result of New Delhi seeking to force the country to change the document.
“India is trying to blunderbuss its way to forcing Nepal to be a client state and do its bidding so the Indian state can get what it wants,” said Mr Dixit. “But India must understand that it is playing with fire, which will ultimately not do itself any good.”
Nepal’s constitution — crafted after more than nine years of tortuous negotiations — was adopted in September with a two-thirds majority of Nepal’s elected constituent assembly. But it has been criticised by members of the Madhesi community, which lives in Nepal’s plains, accounts for 32 per cent of the total population and has close ethnic, cultural and social ties with people from the adjacent regions of neighbouring India.
Many Madhesi politicians are aggrieved that the plains — home to about half of Nepal’s population, including people from other ethnic communities — was not designated as a distinct province but divided into different parts of multiple provinces. Madhesis have seen this drawing of state boundaries as a deliberate plot to weaken their political influence.
New Delhi has not called publicly for any particular changes, but has urged Nepal to find a “mutually acceptable solution” that will satisfy all parties.
The tension between Kathmandu and Delhi is an unfortunate turn in a relationship that was poised for strong improvements a year ago, when Prime Minister Narendra Modi became the first Indian premier in 17 years to visit Kathmandu.
In an emotional address to Nepal’s constituent assembly in November last year, Mr Modi won many hearts by speaking in Nepali, emphasising the ancient cultural, spiritual and social ties between the two countries, and promising to help boost Nepal’s physical and economic “connectivity” to India.
India also won many hearts with its rapid rescue and relief efforts after Nepal’s devastating earthquake in April.

Riaz Haq said...

Unusual appeal: #India central bank head Rajan calls for tolerance in speech at #IIT #Delhi. #Modi #BJP via @WSJ

MUMBAI—The head of India’s central bank made an unusual appeal for tolerance in a speech Saturday, triggering a debate about whether he was trying to send a message to the country’s leaders.

Reserve Bank of India Governor Raghuram Rajan said Saturday that India’s tolerance and tradition of debate and openness help form the foundation for its current and future success.

Speaking to the students of his alma mater—the prestigious Indian Institute of Technology, New Delhi—he said tolerance means not being so insecure about one’s ideas that one cannot subject them to challenge.

“The first essential is to foster competition in the market place for ideas,” Gov. Rajan according to a copy of the speech posted on the RBI’s website. “Without this competition for ideas, we have stagnation.”

While he didn't mention Indian politics today or any group, party or politician, some interpreted his statements as a warning to New Delhi. An RBI spokeswoman said the speech should be read as a plea for tolerance in India, something the government is also pursuing.

His statements come at a time when some intellectuals, activists and opposition politicians have been urging Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s government to do more to reduce communal tension.

On social media some people welcomed Mr. Rajan’s sophisticated attempt to connect freedom, innovation and economic progress. Others said he should stick to monetary policy.

Mr. Modi’s government has been facing mounting criticism for not being decisive enough in reprimanding acts of intolerance that have dominated media attention in recent months.

While many groups have long criticized the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party for its roots in Hindu nationalism, protest shifted to a new level in September, when a Muslim man was beaten to death by a mob after a rumor spread that his family was eating beef.

Some BJP leaders have ratcheted up their campaign for cow protection amid religious polarization surrounding the issue and this has increased the pressure on Mr. Modi.

Critics—including some of India’s most prominent artists, writers and scientists—say Mr. Modi’s rise to power last year emboldened Hindu fundamentalists and increased intolerance toward religious minorities, particularly India’s large Muslim population.

Cows are sacred to India’s Hindus—which make up over 80% of the country’s 1.2 billion population—but are accepted as food by the Muslims and Christian populations.

Disputes about beef eating, a long-standing conflict in India, are more indicative of a general atmosphere of intolerance that some say is rising in the country. A number of high-profile writers and scholars have returned national awards they had won for their work to protest what they call an attack on Indians’ right to free speech.

With his speech Saturday, Gov. Rajan seemed to be lining up one of India’s most respected institutions with those who demand vigilance against intolerance.

“No one should be allowed to offer unquestioned pronouncements,” Gov. Rajan, a former International Monetary Fund Chief Economist said. “This means encouraging challenge to all authority and tradition.”

Riaz Haq said...

The Interviews Blog : If #intolerance in #India continues, #US liberal press will isolate #Modi again Aatish Taseer: …
Author Aatish Taseer has written The Way Things Were. Speaking with Srijana Mitra Das, Taseer discussed writers returning their awards against cases of intolerance in India, how this is being seen internationally – and why his own belief in PM Modi has suffered a blow:
What is your view on authors returning their awards against what Nayantara Sahgal feels is rising intolerance in India today?
I have no special love for the people protesting – of course they loathe Modi. Of course they’re settling scores. Of course there are Ongee tribesmen in the Andaman Islands, yet unacquainted with the art of letters, who have more writing talent than Nayantara Sahgal. But that’s not the point – the point is, the grounds for their protest, regardless of their motives, are unimpeachable.
Critics say the literary scene protesting includes Congress-based patronage networks – is that fair?
I’m sure that’s true. All governments put their people in place. And intellectuals do have political agendas. But if you want to replace them, do so with people of ability – you can’t replace them with people whose only qualification is a violence of opinion.
This is the intellectual gap between India’s old elite and this new lot – they’re so angry about power in this world that’s suddenly become theirs.
I’m sure they have reason to be. But if you want to change things, come with intellectual heavy artillery of your own. You can’t just tear the world apart without any thought of what you’re going to put in its place.
They hate Romila Thapar, Amartya Sen, Sheldon Pollock. Fine – but come to the table with as much reading as them because these are very serious people who’ve spent their lives thinking very hard about their subjects.
If they’re to be denounced now, they deserve the courtesy of being denounced by their equals – not by some plagiarist garden gnome who wouldn’t know a shashti tatpurusha if it came and sat in his lap.
How are India’s writers returning awards being seen internationally?
Very badly. I was at a screening in New York. The liberal press, from The New York Times, etc., was there. On India, all anybody could talk about was the lynching – and how important it was now for their leaders to put daylight between themselves and Modi.
That press is very powerful in America – if next year, there’s a Democrat president and this bad business in India continues unchecked, there’ll be a lot of pressure to put Modi out in the cold again.
No one wants India to fail – but equally, no one wants to be tainted by prejudice. Consider Obama’s reaction when a black teenager is shot in America – that’s what good leaders do when a crime occurs that’s representative of a country’s deepest tensions.
Do you think PM Modi could have handled Dadri differently?
I thought his silence after Dadri was revolting – for me, it was a turning point. Here’s this man, pronouncing on every little thing – and 50 kilometres from Delhi, a man is lynched, because of hysteria his cohorts whipped up, and he doesn’t have a word of comfort to offer the dead man’s family? Nothing to say to millions wondering what this means? He waits a week before breaking his silence with an utter banality. And we’re subjected to primitive statements from his ministers.
I wish i could say his silence was calculated – but i think it was an aspect of the bigotry that comes as second nature to the Modi government. They can’t open their mouths without something ugly tumbling out.
It’s not that Modi wanted Mohammad Akhlaq lynched – he just didn’t care that he was.
This, in a leader, is a terrible failing.

Riaz Haq said...

#BJP leader Arun Shourie on growing intolerance in #India : Managing economy means managing the headlines. #Modi …

On Monday, in a sharp attack on the Modi government, BJP leader Arun Shourie contended that it believes that managing economy means “managing the headlines” and that people had started recalling the days of former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh.

“Doctor Singh (Manmohan Singh) ko log yaad karne lag gaye hain (People have started recalling the days of Manmohan Singh). The way to charaterise policies of the government is — Congress plus a cow. Policies are the same,” Shourie said at book launch function.
Speaking to reporters at the sidelines of an event organised by Ministry of Housing and Urban Poverty Alleviation (HUPA) ministry, Naidu said government of India is at no fault in any of the incidents which have taken place and some people were unnecessarily try to highlight them and trying to defame the country.
“Some people may have made comments here or there may have made some comments but they have been disowned by the party, disowned by the government,” Naidu said adding that even the Prime Minister had made his views clear on the issues.
Opposition parties have criticised the government over incidents like Dadri lynching saying it signified rising intolerance.
Naidu however said that the government agenda is only development and asked people not to be carried away by the “disinformation campaigns by political opponents.”
“Some people are saying intolerance has increased. Yes unable to accept the people’s mandate the opposition has become intolerant,” Naidu said.
When asked about Shourie’s comments that he felt there was never a weaker a PMO as now, Naidu said it need not be discussed as some people were saying that the Prime Minister is all powerful while others saying he is weak.
Attacking the Congress, he said the party had ruled by lying for years and was making baseless allegations. Divisive tendencies in the country are a result of wrong policies of the Congress, Naidu added.
Earlier in his speech at a workshop organised by HUPA, Naidu said that people are not interested in blame games but want development.
He said Indian economy holds hope for the world and though some people were trying to disturb, he felt that people of India and those who invest are wise and won’t be deterred by noises here and there.
He said some incidents had taken place in different states and they have to be taken care by state governments. They have to be nipped in the bud.

Riaz Haq said...

A Nuclear Arsenal in #Pakistan, #India and Far Beyond

NY Times Op Ed by Nadeem Hotiana

“The Pakistan Nuclear Nightmare” (editorial, Nov. 8) portrayed Pakistan as a country irresponsibly building its nuclear arsenal. We disagree.

Pakistan was not the first to introduce nuclear weapons in South Asia; India was. Recent public reports confirm that India continues to grow its nuclear program by testing missiles with longer ranges, working on coming fissile material production facilities, and investing in a nuclear triad that inevitably requires a larger nuclear arsenal.

India also propounds war-fighting doctrines while being ascendant as one of the world’s largest importer of military hardware. A special waiver for India for nuclear trade is another destabilizing step.

Pakistan has for decades offered proposals to India for nuclear restraint, including a strategic restraint regime that could address concerns raised in the editorial.

As late as September, Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif of Pakistan made fresh proposals for peace in South Asia in his speech at the United Nations. Sadly, India has refused to engage.

Peace can be better served by focusing the world’s attention on India’s lack of constructive response to Pakistan’s proposals, its investment in destabilizing technologies and its aggressive posturing.

Riaz Haq said...

Here's why the world laughs at Indians' delusions of being a global power:

1. Recent World Bank report on student learning in South Asia shows Indian kids perform very poorly on math and reading tests. Buried inside the bad news is a glimmer of what could be considered hope for Pakistan's grade 5 and 8 students outperforming their counterparts in India. While 72% of Pakistan's 8th graders can do simple division, the comparable figure for Indian 8th graders is just 57%. Among 5th graders, 63% of Pakistanis and 73% of Indians CAN NOT divide a 3 digit number by a single digit number, according to the World Bank report titled "Student Learning in South Asia: Challenges, Opportunities, and Policy Priorities". The performance edge of Pakistani kids over their Indian counterparts is particularly noticeable in rural areas. The report also shows that Pakistani children do better than Indian children in reading ability.

2. Indian kids rank at the bottom on international standardized tests like PISA and TIMSS.

3. Nobel Laureate Amartya Sen has said India will never be a great power with its uneducated and unhealthy population.

In a recent visit to the LSE, Sen laid out his thoughts in black and white. In an interview to Sonali Campion and Taryana Odayar, he explains why the Narendra Modi government's economic philiosophy is completely wrong — and bound to fail.

"India is the only country in the world which is trying to become a global economic power with an uneducated and unhealthy labour force. It’s never been done before, and never will be done in the future either."

"India is trying to be different from America, Europe, Japan, Korea, Hong Kong, Singapore, Taiwan, Singapore, China — all of them. This is not good way of thinking of economics."

Sen then warns of the inherent contradictions of this approach:

"The whole idea that you could somehow separate out the process of economic growth from the quality of the labour force is a mistake against which Adam Smith warned in 1776. "

Sen is harshest when asked about the comparison between India and China

"By 2009 they could bring in a scheme of universal healthcare and by 2012 they are well in the 90s in terms of percentage coverage of health insurance. China are able to do that if ten people at the top are persuaded.

In India, ten people is not sufficient. You have to carry the population. Against the blast of propaganda that happened in the general elections last year — fed on one side by the activism of the Hindutva Parivar, and the other side by the gigantic money of the business community — it is slow to correct ongoing deficiencies."​

Riaz Haq said...

Farooq Abdullah: #India Does Not Have the Power to "Retrieve #Pakistan-Occupied #Kashmir" (Azad Kashmir) … via @ndtv

SRINAGAR: Former Chief Minister Farooq Abdullah on Wednesday defended his assertion that "Pakistan-Occupied Kashmir (PoK) is part of Pakistan and will remain with it", saying neither New Delhi has the power to retrieve that side of the divided line, nor would Islamabad be able to take this part of Kashmir.

"After doing politics all these years, I do not see that we have the power to retrieve that (PoK) or they (Pakistan) can retrieve this (J-K)," Mr Abdullah, who is also the president of opposition National Conference (NC), told reporters in Srinagar.

He said by that formula Pakistan-Occupied Kashmir" will become Pakistan's region with the similar autonomy that we have and by that then the borders will become easy and everybody from here can have access to that place and everybody from that Kashmir can have access to this place".

"So, we can trade, our boys can marry girls from there and their boys can marry girls from here. It will be, you know, like a joint a joint family. That will settle many of problems of India and Pakistan.

"Once this is acceptable, then we will not need all the troops here and they will not need to put all the troops there. And we will have a happy situation," he said.

Mr Abdullah said the only "trouble" with that solution is that the "shops of those who want the situation in Jammu and Kashmir to remain as such will close down."

"They are surviving because of the division and their shops will close once there is a solution," he said, referring to those who criticised his remarks.

Reacting to the criticism of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), the former Union Minister said it was a suggestion put forth by former Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee, who belonged to the BJP.

"Vajpayee went to Pakistan via bus and he spoke to (Pakistan Prime Minister) Nawaz Sharif. He suggested him to keep that (PoK) and we will keep this (J-K).

"He was BJP PM, was he not? When he gave this suggestion then, why are they (BJP) enraged now? If they have any other solution and they think they can occupy that (PoK) by military might, why are they not doing that then?" Mr Abdullah asked.

Mr Abdullah said his party would support any other solution which could help in creating good relations between India and Pakistan.

"I believe if there is any other solution which can create good relations among Jammu, Kashmir, Ladakh and India and Pakistan, National Conference has no problem in accepting that. I have said this earlier several years ago and I will continue saying this," he said.

The National Conference president said dialogue is the only option to address all issues.

"Dialogue is the only solution. There is no other solution. We have had so many wars, did that solve our problems? Is there any other way by which you think there will be a solution. I do not see it," he said.

He said Prime Ministers of India and Pakistan have realised that there is no alternative to dialogue.

"Now after my remarks, what happened by the God's grace. India and Pakistan premiers met in Paris with love.

It is because there is no other solution (than dialogue)," he said.

He said it is the people of Kashmir on both sides who are dying because of the situation. "One explosion here and tourism disappears. What industries we have here. Shopkeepers, houseboats, hotels are sitting idle, there is no business.

"They have the fear of terrorism. When will this end? When will we sleep at ease?" he said.

Mr Abdullah said he was a free citizen and would not apologise to anyone over his remarks.

"I am not going to apologise to anybody, I am a free citizen of this country and as a free citizen I put my view.

Riaz Haq said...

#India is second most ignorant nation of the world after #Mexico: Survey … via @ibnlive

London: India has the "dubious honour" of being the second most ignorant nation in the world after Mexico, according to a survey which posed questions on issues like inequality, non-religious population, female employment and internet access. The survey conducted by Ipsos MORI, a London-based market research firm, polled 25,000 people from 33 countries and found that while people "over-estimate what we worry about", a lot of major issues are underestimated.
"Mexico and India receive the dubious honour of being the most inaccurate in their perceptions on these issues, while South Koreans are the most accurate, followed by the Irish," the survey said. The rankings of the nations were based on the "Index of Ignorance" which was determined by questions about wealth that the top one per cent own, obesity, non-religious population, immigration, living with parents, female employment, rural living and internet access.

Most Indians "underestimate" how much of their country's wealth is concentrated in the hands of the top 1 per cent, the survey said, adding that the top 1 per cent actually own an "incredible" 70 per cent of all wealth. The survey also found that most Indians "hugely overestimate" the proportions of non-religious people in the country to be 33 per cent when the true figure is under 1 per cent.
While Israel significantly underestimates the proportion of female employment (by 29 percentage points), people in countries like India, Mexico, South Africa and Chile all think of more women in work than really are, it said. India fell in the list of nations which overestimate representation by women in politics. Countries like Columbia, Russia, India and Brazil all think there is better female representation than there really is, the survey said.

However, the Indian population seriously underestimates the rural population of the country and thinks more people have internet access than in reality. In India the average guess among online respondents for internet access is 60 per cent - an overestimation of the true picture of 41 percentage points, the survey added.

Riaz Haq said...

Look Who’s Going To #Pakistan After Telling Opponents to "Go to Pakistan" #India #Modi #BJP #Swaraj via @sharethis

As “go to Pakistan” quickly went from curse to foreign policy initiative, we woke up to find India’s foreign minister in Islamabad, rather than all those “Modi-baiters” and “beef-eaters”. It is a good moment to recap what has comprised a policy on the western neighbour all these months that this BJP-led government has been in charge in New Delhi.
Wounded Tiger, journalist Peter Oborne’s history of cricket and nationhood in Pakistan, recalls how Pakistan came to play its first Test series as an ICC nation in 1952 in India. India must have had supreme confidence at the time to have allowed this just five years after a bloody Partition. It has also been a long time since A.B. Vajpayee, in Parliament, alluded to a visit to the washroom by an eminent MP, who is a peacenik and frequent traveller to the Indo-Pak border, as one to Pakistan. Pandemonium followed, as Pakistan as a term for the washroom was a familiar insult.

Much distance has been travelled since, comprising bus journeys, infiltration, track twos, wars and four-point peace plans. The 26/11 Mumbai attacks brought Pakistan back to the centrestage, but some deft handling in India prevented it from becoming a vicious part of domestic politics, in a way that happened periodically, to obliquely refer to Indian Muslims. But that detente effectively ended with the 2014 Lok Sabha campaign. In his articulate and sharp campaign, the current prime minister urged the former UPA 2 government to “doob maro, doob maro (go drown yourselves)” for even meeting Pakistani ministers and officials. In that context, the invitation to the Pakistan PM in May last year was a surprise, but since then, references to Pakistan had harked back to a much earlier time-frame. Until, of course, “go to Pakistan” was taken literally by none else than the affable foreign minister.
The desire to re-hyphenate with Pakistan has been witnessed over the past 20 months or so. Pakistan has become the most domestic of foreign policy issues and the most foreign of domestic policy ones. Senior ministers, MPs and other leaders, with clockwork regularity, urged Indians of a certain description to “go to Pakistan”. Totally unmindful of the enormous hurdles the Pakistan high commission has strewn in the way of the most willing travellers to Pakistan, cabinet ministers and ruling party MPs kept urging departures. Union Minister Giriraj Singh started the trend early, when he said at an April 2014 rally that Narendra Modi’s critics would “have to go to Pakistan”.
The calls to travel came regularly after that, and the BJP president even suggested this year that a fireworks party might break out in Pakistan if the BJP lost Bihar.

Riaz Haq said...

#India blockade has shattered my dreams, says #Nepal PM K P Sharma Oli. #NepalChokedByIndia via @timesofindia

Nepal Prime Minister K P Sharma Oli on Sunday said his dream to develop the Himalayan nation as "vibrant" had been shattered by the "embargo imposed by India". Receiving a memorandum submitted by academicians on Sunday, Oli said his plan to make Nepal a developed nation was under a cloud. Nepal's economic growth witnessed a sharp fall following the April 25 earthquake which claimed over 9,000 lives and devastated vast areas of the nation.

After being elected prime minister, Oli said, he had made many commitments to the nation, including ending the long daily load-shedding, plying electric vehicles in Kathmandu, and building a self-reliant economy. "I had dreamt several dreams on becoming prime minister," he said.
"I became prime minister in a very difficult situation. As we were trying to overcome the pain caused by the quake, the embargo along the border came as a serious jolt," he added, "I have been trying my best to overcome the pain and suffering."

Oli admitted that he had not been able to fulfil his commitments because of the unrest in Nepal's southern plain for the last four months. Due to protests and demonstrations at the border, thousands of Nepal-bound freight vehicles are stuck on the Indian side of the border

This has brought the economy of the landlocked Himalayan nation to a grinding halt. Officials say that if the standoff continues, Nepal will soon face a humanitarian crisis.

Riaz Haq said...

#India wants to be included in #Afghanistan-#Pakistan trade pact | Business Line …

India has urged Pakistan to make it a member in the Afghanistan Pakistan Transit and Trade Agreement (APTTA) that was signed in 2011. This would allow the entry of containers from Afghanistan into Attari through the Wagah border land station.

This will help India expand trade ties with Afghanistan through seamless connectivity and enable New Delhi have a greater say in the trading system of the region.

“Besides, signing the pact will also allow Afghanistan goods to crossover the Wagah land station and enter India through Attari. So we have asked Pakistan to include us as a member in APTTA but they have not yet responded,” a senior official told BusinessLine.

At present, trucks and containers from Afghanistan are not able to send their exports seamlessly to India through the land border. They have to drop the goods, meant for India, at the last checkpoint at the Wagah border which is then picked up by the Indian authorities. But, India is not able to send any goods to Afghanistan, the official said. “Attari is just a few metres away from Wagah, if they can allow the trucks till Wagah, then why not Attari? That way India can also send its exports meant for Afghanistan through the same ICP and save a lot of time and money,” the official added.

While Afghanistan has given its nod to the proposal, Pakistan is yet to respond.

The issue was also raised by External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj during her recent meeting with Pakistan Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and her Pakistan counterpart Sartaj Aziz.

India is also trying to access Afghanistan by establishing connectivity with Iran through the Chahbahar Port under a trilateral transit arrangement.

India’s shipments to Afghanistan contracted by 11 per cent to $422.56 million last fiscal compared with $474.34 million in 2013-14. Two-way trade between the countries stood at $684.47 million in 2014-15 registering a meagre 0.20-per cent growth from $683.10 million in 2013-14, according to data from the Ministry of Commerce and Industry.

Riaz Haq said...

Ajit Doval – The #India spy who spent 7 years in #Pakistan Under Cover as a #Muslim. #RAW #BJP #Modi …

Ever since the Narendra Modi government appointed Ajit Doval the National Security Advisor (NSA), various stories regarding this great Indian spy have been unfolding.
Doval, a highly decorated IPS officer of Kerala Cadre, who retired as Director Intelligence Bureau in 2005, has many interesting and daring stories credited to his stint with the Indian spy agency.

The current NSA, considered as James Bond of India, remained as an undercover agent in Pakistan for seven years posing as a Pakistani Muslim in Lahore.

The NSA has prepared a secret mission to bring India's most wanted man and terrorist Dawood Ibrahim back to India, according to reports.

For years Doval has advocated the improvement of internal security capacities and Defence in a practical manner. Unlike the past NSAs who preferred to look at external issues, Doval concentrates on building India`s internal capacities.

It is the National Security Advisor to whom intelligence agencies such as the Research and Analysis Wing and Intelligence Bureau report, rather than directly to the Prime Minister. Due to such vested powers NSA is a prominent and powerful office in the bureaucracy.

Riaz Haq said...

#Modi's siege on #JNU: #Hindutva's battle for #India's classrooms is out in the open via @qzindia

The clusterfuck that is the current row over Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) is not really about Kanhaiya Kumar’s alleged sedition. It is merely one episode in a colossal tussle between the Left and Right over a prize catch: education, the shaping of the future citizen.

And there is apparently no place too low to go in pursuit of that quest.
The Indian state has criminally neglected education for decades. Despite plenty of primary schools, a Right to Education Act, and all the right policy noises, our education system is abysmal. Schools are often just empty rooms; teachers are absent or barely more literate than their students; a lack of infrastructure—from toilets to educational materials—hinders both enrolment and learning outcomes. Kids suffer the same social discrimination inside classrooms as they do outside.
Higher education has gotten more attention, and islands of excellence such as the Indian Institutes of Technology and JNU regularly produce people who do India proud. But in general, the absolutely crucial role of education in nation-building has suffered from an inexplicable lack of political backing.
Today’s central government, for all its dull-witted devotion to Vedic flying machines and cow urine, is sharply cognizant of the power of the classroom. And it will do all it can to capture it and cast it in its image. The Sangh Parivar is very clear about what kind of Indians it wants in India, and much more driven and organised in the pursuit of that aim.

Want a Hindutva nation that purges itself of “westernised”, “socialist” thinking? Catch ’em young and mould them.
Campuses are rich sources of leadership. You just have to take the campus as a place where people are exposed to new ideas and learn to think for themselves, and recast it as a boot camp. And if you can’t corral them into your way of thinking, intimidate them with the threat of violence.
The patriotism bogey

That project of re-educating India along Hindutva lines has been underway for much longer than two years. The RSS shakha is a potent classroom, and there are Hindu groups that enthusiastically train armies of children in the use of weapons and rhetoric to “fight ISIS” (read Muslims). This project has only picked up momentum since May 2014.
Narendra Modi’s right-leaning Hindutva government is deeply anti-intellectual, obscurantist, and regressive. Its ministers are comically incompetent, its public relations tone-deaf, and its instincts stone age.
Smriti Irani, India’s human resources development minister, wasn’t chosen for her progressive educational views. From the cultural chaperoning of Indian cinema-goers by the censor board chief Pahlaj Nihalani to the ruckus at the Film and Television Institute of India over the appointment of Gajendra Chauhan to the mess at JNU, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) is going for the jugular of Indian education.
When, crying sedition, the home ministry waded into what should have been an internal university matter at JNU, it did so with naked strategy, wearing only a bikini of incompetence.
But however stupid and embarrassing this government may be, it is very good at replicating its thinking by stoking rage and hatred.

Riaz Haq said...

#China to build rail link with #Nepal to end #India's monopoly on land trade route to land-locked #Himalayan nation …

Underlining the growing role of China in South Asia, Nepal on Monday secured transit rights through China following an agreement in Beijing between Prime Minister K.P. Sharma Oli and his Chinese counterpart Li Keqiang.

Earlier, China extended a ceremonial welcome to Mr. Oli who held official talks with the Chinese leadership. News reports said Mr. Oli would also conclude agreements on building of multiple train routes connecting Nepal with China’s key production centres.

However, playing down the impact of the agreements between Nepal and China, official sources told The Hindu that the future of the agreements depended on the issue of “economic viability” of the transit facilities and train connectivity projects.

The Ministry of External Affairs, however, refused to issue an official statement immediately, considering that the agreements were between two sovereign countries.

However, officials pointed out that India-Nepal ties could not be compared or curtailed by Nepal’s agreements with China.

“After all, 98 per cent of Nepal’s third country trade goes through India and to the port of Kolkata,” an official pointed out. India at present has two rail lines under construction and three more are being planned to increase Nepal’s trade ties.

During the February visit of Prime Minister Oli to New Delhi, India agreed on giving dedicated access to Nepal to the port of Vizag.

Officials pointed out that in comparison to the Nepal-China agreement, India and Nepal had 25 crossing points, two integrated checkpoints and 2 more checkpoints were under construction.

Even as official sources played down the impact of the transit rights through China, Nepal Prime Minister K.P. Sharma Oli clinched in an agreement with his Chinese counterpart Li Keqiang in Beijing on Monday and other proposed agreements for rail connectivity, diplomat and academic Dr. S.D. Muni pointed out that the development represented “a challenge not just for India but for entire South Asia.” However, he cautioned, it should not trigger a panic reaction from India.

Dr. Muni pointed out that China would have to ponder about how it could implement a rail and transit agreement for Nepal without opening up the Tibet region to the world.

“Rail connectivity from Nepal to China will be used by the non-Chinese to travel to China through Tibet. Will China open up Tibet to facilitate connectivity for Nepal?” asked Dr. Muni.

The agreements, however, will take some time before being implemented on the ground and political developments may impact the deals concluded. However, Dr. Muni pointed out that the implementation of the deals would depend on how far China was willing to invest in Nepal considering the economic and political risks associated with the deals. However, as of Monday, Nepal could not seal a vital fuel supply agreement with China which Nepali sources said would also come up for detailed discussion during the seven-day visit of Mr. Oli to China.

Nepali commentator Kanak Mani Dixit, pointed out that the five month-blockade on the Nepal-India border which ended in February, “pushed Nepal to open its northern borders with China for transit trade.”

“Historically, the Himalayas were seen as barrier but now the Himalayas can be a connector between Nepal and China,” said Mr. Dixit, underlining that transit and train agreements will create new dynamics in South Asia.

Riaz Haq said...

#India's aid to #Nepal dwindles to $22 million vs #China's $37 million in 2014-15 - The Economic Times

India's aid to Nepal has dwindled by over 50 per cent in the last five years to USD 22 million while China's assistance to the land-locked nation doubled, a Nepalese Finance Ministry report says, amid Nepal's deepening ties with the Communist giant.

Chinese aid of USD 37.94 million was disbursed in the 12-month period in 2014-2015 which made it the fourth largest bilateral donor to Nepal behind the UK, the US and Japan, according to Nepal's Development Cooperation Report 2014-15.

Riaz Haq said...

#Asia's sweetheart: Why the region's giants are wooing #SriLanka? #China #India #Japan #US

Situated almost in the middle of the Indian Ocean, there is no escaping Sri Lanka's centrality.

The country lies just a few nautical miles away from the super-busy east-west shipping route, through which an estimated 60,000 ships pass every year, carrying two-thirds of the world's oil and half of all container shipments.

Now, with Asia's economic rise, experts say Sri Lanka's location has become even more alluring. Not only are three Asian powers - China, Japan and India - playing dominant roles in the global economy at the same time for the first time, there are also increasingly attractive markets and trade opportunities in Asia.

"Sri Lanka is the pivotal point for a global grand strategy," R. Hariharan, a retired Indian army colonel and specialist in South Asian geopolitics, told CNBC. "Sri Lanka's geography gives it an advantage disproportionate to its size."

The small island nation with a population of 22 million has been rediscovering its strategic location for the past few years as it comes out of a 26-year civil war that depleted government resources and held back development. As Sri Lanka looks for assistance to reboot its economy, a largely two-way tussle for influence in the country and, in turn, the region is on.

Riaz Haq said...

#Nepal cancels President visit as #India-#Nepal ties sour. #Nepal recalls its Ambassador in #Delhi via @sharethis

In a move without parallel, the Nepal government had cancelled the trip of President Bidhya Devi Bhandari to India barely 72 hours before her departure for Delhi, without giving any reason. This was coupled by another act of vengeance, the recall of its ambassador, Deep Kumar Upadhyay in Delhi.
Both these acts came barely 24 hours after Prime Minister K P Oli defeated a move to unseat him from the post, under an initiative taken by the main opposition party, the Nepali Congress. The move was to have seen Pushpa Kamal Dahal, Chairman of the Unified Communist Party of Nepal-Maoists and the second largest constituent in the cabinet, lead the new government.

The move collapsed at the last minute after Dahal entered into a fresh deal extracting promises from Oli that he will withdraw all politically motivated cases pending against Maoist leaders and cadres during the decade-long insurgency dating back to 1996.
Oli reportedly believes that India was behind the move to topple him. The decision to scrap president’s visit to Delhi, along with the recall of Ambassador Upadhyay, clearly indicate that Oli is upset with India.
A seasoned Nepali diplomat, someone not enamoured of India and its role in Nepal, went to the extent of calling it an ‘unfriendly act’. Bhandari who became President a week after Oli, Chairman of the Communist Party of Nepal-Unified Marxist Leninist (CPN-UML), took over as the prime minister in October, belonged to the same faction of party, and apparently do not differ much in her views on India.
Bhandari’s proposed visit was being viewed as a move to explore traditional cordiality in bilateral relations that suffered a series of setbacks especially after India supported the Madhesi groups anti-constitution protests and the subsequent blockade for months beginning in September, csusing Nepal an acute shortage of essential goods and fuel.

Riaz Haq said...

Doval Doctrine can’t help #India make peace with neighbors #Pakistan #China #RAW … via @httpstwittercomasiatimesonline


Ajit Kumar Doval, National Security Advisor to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, is the second most important official in the government of India. His close ties with Prime Minister Modi reminds one of BN Mullik who, like him, was IB chief (1950-64), had close relationship with then prime minister Jawaharlal Nehru and influenced his key decisions on Kashmir, Pakistan and China. But Doval is going a few steps ahead of him with his hard line on Kashmir, Pakistan and China. The ‘doctrine’ named after him and expounded by him in two lectures delivered in 2014 and 2015 is analysed here in the light of the Pathankot airbase attack

A former Director General of Police Punjab, a crusader against the drug-trafficker-politician nexus, observed in an interview (Outlook magazine, May 12) that a ‘sleeper cell’ of the terror groups was involved in the Pathankot attack.

India’s national security establishment, while dealing with the attack, had failed to examine the role of drugs-arms trafficking and money laundering networks operating in the border areas of Punjab and Pakistan with links to terrorists. This would have called for a cooperative approach between Indian and Pakistani security and criminal justice establishments.

Doval is a hawkish thinker, activist and speaker popular in the predominantly right wing middle class social circles of India. He has delineated his approach to Pakistani terrorism in his Nani Palkiwala Memorial Lecture, 2014 and the Lalit Doshi Memorial Lecture, 2015.

Pakistani terrorism against India, according to him, is a tactic to achieve ideological and political advantages.

So the enemy has to be engaged at three levels: defensive, defensive-offensive and offensive modes. The often resorted to ‘defensive’ mode is ineffective and irrelevant.

The “offensive-defensive mode” required going into Pakistan and tackling the problem where it originated. To make it clear, he used the famous phrase: “You may do one Mumbai; you may lose Baluchistan.”

This seemed to be crux of the Doval Doctrine. Either Pakistan give up terrorism against India as a state policy or India would let it “bleed with the Taliban”.

Doval states that terrorist organizations could be bought with money, weapons and manpower. Or a “paradigm shift” should occur with the use of high technology and “intelligence-driven covert operations”.

Doval used a boxing terminology and deplored the Indian tendency to punch below its weight. It must punch not below or above its weight but improve its weight to hit proportionately.

Doval emphasized that “individual morality should be imposed on the larger interest of the state”. The values of the state are above the values of individual.

Doval-approved covert operations were conducted by the then Army Chief General VK Singh who set the Technical Support Division and carried out several such ‘operations’ in Baluchistan, part of Pakistan, in 2015. Baluch dissident leaders were hosted in Delhi and the Baluch Liberation Organization (BLO) has existed in Delhi since 2009 (Indian Express, October 23, 2015).

Aggressive actions by Doval against Pakistan included the cancellation of the Foreign Secretaries’ meet in August 18 2014 and the NSA’s in August 22 2015.

Modi, on the advice of Doval, has adopted a hard line on Pakistan and has refrained from commenting on the peace efforts made by his predecessor Prime Minister Manmohan Singh in back channel diplomacy with President Musharraf and has ignored the four-point formula evolved to settle the Kashmir dispute.

Riaz Haq said...

#Modi's man Doval's meddling: #India losing the neighbourhood - The Hindu. #Nepal #SriLanka #Maldives #Pakistan #BJP

Save for Bhutan and perhaps Bangladesh, much of South Asia has major grievances against New Delhi today. Clearly, then, there is something fundamentally wrong with the BJP-led government’s neighbourhood diplomacy. If so, what is it that New Delhi has done to deserve the ire of its neighbours? While New Delhi’s not-so-friendly relationship with Islamabad is unsurprising, what has provoked the other countries, some of which figured very high on Mr. Modi’s bilateral priorities, to suddenly come out openly against India?

Nosey in Nepal

One of the major reasons for India’s growing unpopularity in the regional capitals is its increasing tendency to interfere in the domestic affairs of its smaller neighbours, either citing security implications or to offset the target country’s unfriendly strategic choices. Take the case of Nepal, for instance. New Delhi was deeply upset with the Constitution passed by the Nepalese Constituent Assembly in September last year. Its unhappiness resulted from the legitimate feeling among the people of Terai, especially the Madhesis and Tharus, living close to Uttar Pradesh and Bihar, that they have been short-changed by the country’s new Constitution. But a substantive political argument was thwarted by poor diplomatic style.

Meddling in Sri Lanka

If New Delhi’s Mission Kathmandu was both a failure and distasteful, its ‘subtle interference’ in Sri Lanka in the run-up to the island nation’s elections last year has set a dangerous precedent. New Delhi had proactively promoted the coalition led by Maithripala Sirisena to defeat the then Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa whose anti-Tamil record and pro-China tilt was resented by New Delhi. Several reports at the time claimed that Colombo had asked New Delhi to withdraw the Research and Analysis Wing’s station chief in Sri Lanka for allegedly working to ensure the victory of the anti-Rajapaksa coalition.

While involving ourselves in regime changes in the neighbourhood is a terrible idea in the longer run, we must ask whether the regime change in Colombo has actually prompted it to declare itself pro-India. Sri Lanka’s Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe, while visiting India last year, removed any such misgivings by saying, “Sri Lanka is neither pro-India nor pro-China.” The new government in Colombo has been vigorously courting Beijing for economic and infrastructural assistance, something it knows fully well that New Delhi can only provide in small measure.

Riling the Maldives regime

Maldives, yet another traditional ally of ours, has also been resenting the Indian reactions to its domestic political developments. New Delhi, being highly critical of how the pro-India former Maldivian President Mohamed Nasheed was jailed by the current regime under terrorism charges, publicly stated that “we are concerned at recent developments in the Maldives, including the arrest and manhandling of former President Nasheed”. The Maldivian government responded by saying it hoped that India would “adhere to the principle of Panchsheel and will not intervene in domestic politics of Maldives”.

During External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj’s visit to Maldives in October last year, Maldivian President Abdulla Yameen’s office issued a sharply worded statement that his “government will not tolerate foreign parties interfering with the country’s domestic issues”.

Riaz Haq said...

#Pakistan sends 30-bed field hospital to #SriLanka, 17 doctors coming to help flood victims- The Hindu …

Hospital has operation theaters, and x-ray laboratories, two special cargo aircraft carrying relief items also expected.

Even as relief and rescue operations continued in Sri Lanka, the government of Pakistan sent a 30 bed fully-equipped field hospital and relief materials.

A release of the Pakistan High Commission here stated that the field hospital had operation theaters and x-ray laboratories. Two special cargo aircraft, carrying relief items, were also expected to reach Colombo shortly. Besides, 17 Pakistani doctors would be arriving in Sri Lanka for providing health care assistance.

Oz announces contribution

The Australian government said it would contribute $5,00,000 to UNICEF for humanitarian assistance, including the provision of clean water and sanitation for children in shelters.

On Sunday afternoon, the number of deaths in the country went up to 84 with the recovery of 11 more bodies. Toll in Aranayaka, the site of last week’s landslip, stood at 32 and the district of Kegalle accounted for 50 deaths. As of now, 2.37 lakh persons were kept at relief camps. President Maithripala Sirisena visited Wellampitiya, Meethotamulla and Kolonnawa, all located in Colombo district, and met the flood-affected people.

3.4 lakh people affected

Of about 3.4 lakh affected people in the country, the Western Province accounted for around 2.43 lakh persons. There were about 94,151 persons hit by the floods in the Kolonnawa division and 24,824 – Kaduwela, both in the district of Colombo. In the neighbouring Gampaha district, Wattala had 35,407 affected persons; Biyagama – 21,302 and Kelaniya – 16,202, according to a report of the government’s Disaster Management Centre.

Riaz Haq said...

#Indian CSO estimates overstate #GDP, Use Wholesale price deflator, not retail price deflator #Modi #GDP #India #GDP

Gap in methodology arose from the use of smaller-than-appropriate weights for CPI

The Central Statistics Office’s GDP figures released on Tuesday overstates the extent of growth, according to analysts. A number of statistical deficiencies plague the data, they said. The main issue is that not all of the growth that the figures show is on account of real growth. Much of it is purely on account of the increase in prices, which ought to have been deflated out adequately. According to HSBC Global Research the gap in the methodology arose from the use of smaller-than-appropriate weights for consumer price inflation in the GDP deflators. It found that correcting the consumer- and wholesale-prices mix in the deflators, giving them equal weights, suggests India’s Gross Value Added (GVA) grew 6.2 per cent in the January-March quarter, slower than the official estimate of 7.4 per cent.

“Price changes that boost nominal earnings are being ascribed to real growth,” JP Morgan Research wrote in a note to clients. “Much of the value-added is because of input prices falling more than output prices (i.e., nominal margins being boosted), which needs to be deflated out.” The faulty approach can be seen in the manner manufacturing value-added was deflated.

Input prices
Input prices are falling more than output prices, boosting the nominal margins, and inflating much of the value-added in the manufacturing sector. In the absence of adequate deflation, manufacturing growth was exaggerated, wrote HSBC Global Research.

CSO data put real manufacturing growth at 9.3 per cent in the January-March period. This was at odds with the IIP data for the same quarter, which showed a mere increase of 0.2 per cent, JP Morgan wrote. Similarly, inadequate deflation also affected the way tax changes were incorporated into the GDP data. It led to overestimation of taxes, which drove the GDP well above the GVA. GDP is calculated as a sum of GVA and indirect taxes from which the value of product subsidies is deducted. The difference in the GDP and GVA growth estimates is striking; it widened to 0.4 per cent from 0.1 per cent in the previous financial year. Separately, data show that contraction in exports is slowing, according to HSBC.

Riaz Haq said...

The Bargain Basement Sale of #Modi's #India's Sovereignty to #Washington … via @thewire_in

By drawing even closer to the United States and signing binding agreements, India is giving up years of carefully calibrated balance in its foreign policy.

This is the first of a three-part series on India’s foreign policy.

In two lacklustre years of governance the BJP has done very little to fulfil its promise of economic revival and vindicate the trust that the people of India had bestowed upon it. That may be why its propagandists have worked overtime to portray the signature of the Logistics and Supply Memorandum of Agreement (LEMOA) with the USA, and President Obama’s designation of India as a “major defence partner” as a huge success in his foreign policy.

With very few exceptions, commentators in the national media have fallen in line with this assessment. Only a few have noticed that in his eagerness to cement a closer defence relationship with the US Modi had given away India’s most prized asset – its zealously guarded independence of foreign policy – in exchange for a barrage of flattery and a bunch of verbal assurances that do not even add up to the proverbial thirty pieces of silver .

Declaring India a major defence partner has cost the US nothing. Unlike NATO or the US’s defence treaty with Japan, it is not a mutual defence pact and does not bind the US to coming to India’s aid if it is attacked. The most that India can possibly aspire to is a relationship somewhat similar to that of the US with Israel, where the US constantly reiterates its determination to come to Israel’s aid if it is attacked, but not via a defence treaty.

But India is not Israel. Its India-born American community is rich, and becoming politically more influential by the day. But it can never, even remotely, aspire to the power to shape US policy. American military power is not, therefore, ever likely to be deployed against India’s two main adversaries, Pakistan and China: Pakistan because it too is ‘a major non-NATO ally’, and China because it is simply too big for an already war-weary nation to take on.

In sharp contrast, the commitments that India has made to become worthy of this award (for that is all it is) are concrete, onerous and, worst of all, open-ended. Indian diplomats who have been involved in the negotiations insist that, unlike the Logistics Supply Agreement (LSA) that the US has signed with its other allies, it does not give the US Navy and Air Force an automatic right to use Indian bases while waging its wars. What it will facilitate automatically is the refuelling, restocking and repair of their craft at Indian naval and air bases during joint exercises, anti-piracy and other UN-sanctioned operations in the Indian Ocean.

This is the assurance that Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar had rushed to Beijing to give to the Chinese after postponing the signature of LEMOA at the last minute during US Defence Secretary Ashton Carter’s visit to Delhi in April. But in practice, these caveats against automatic involvement in America’s wars are hollow because Delhi will find it exceedingly difficult to deny these facilities to the US once the latter has committed itself to a military operation – because of the angry reaction that will provoke in the US media, and the Congress.

LEMOA is also only the thin end of a rather fat wedge. The US has made it clear that signing it will make it easier to acquire sensitive dual-use technologies. But to get the most out of it, India will have to sign two supplementary “foundational” agreements, the Communication and Information Security Memorandum of Agreement (CISMOA) and the Basic Exchange and Cooperation Agreement (BECA).

The US needs these to ensure that sensitive technological information shared with India does not get passed onto ‘unfriendly’ countries. But this concern will cut both ways. Its immediate result will therefore be to cut India off from access to cutting edge Russian armaments and technology.

Riaz Haq said...

Anti-#Pakistan hawk & ex spy Ajit Doval shaping #India's aggressive foreign policy under #Modi #BJP via @business

He spent seven years undercover in Pakistan, recruited rebels as informants in disputed Kashmir, and once disguised himself as a rickshaw driver to infiltrate a militant group inside India’s holiest Sikh temple. Now some consider Ajit Doval the most powerful person in India after Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
Modi picked Doval as his National Security Advisor, a position that holds more sway than the ministers of defense and foreign affairs. It puts Doval in charge of talks with arch-rival Pakistan. He visits arms manufacturers to discuss strategic capabilities, and orchestrates the response to militant attacks, liaising daily with Foreign Secretary S. Jaishankar, the nation’s top diplomat.
Since Doval took the job, he has supported a nationalist agenda while adopting a tougher line against hostile neighbors. That has growing economic ramifications as China funds a $45 billion trade corridor through Pakistan that bypasses India and as both China and India eye resource-rich neighbors in central Asia like Afghanistan.

“Every strategic issue in this region involves security in a way that it doesn’t in other regions,” says R. K. Sawhney, a former director general of military intelligence who’s known Doval for nearly two decades. “As the profile of the country grows, the profile of the national security advisor grows.”
Short, trim and bespectacled, Doval shuns the limelight and rarely appears in public. His office said he wasn’t available for an interview. Six people who have known him personally for years—some of whom requested not to be identified because he dislikes publicity—said Doval is overseeing India’s most delicate diplomatic issues.
Shortly after taking office, Modi sent Doval as his special envoy to Afghanistan and brought him on his first foreign trip to Bhutan. He’s also special representative in charge of talks with China over a disputed border, a task made more difficult as China plans to invest millions into transportation links through Kashmir, an area claimed by both India and Pakistan.
In December, Doval flew to Bangkok for a secret meeting with his Pakistani counterpart in an effort to restart peace talks between the two nuclear-armed nations.

Calls for Doval’s replacement intensified after Home Minister Rajnath Singh suffered a politically embarrassing trip to Pakistan in August that Doval pulled out of at the last minute, according to press reports. A spokesman for the prime minister's office declined to answer questions about Doval.
“The best experts on how to deal with terrorism, how to think about diplomacy and foreign affairs—they are not being consulted,” opposition politician Rahul Gandhi, son of former Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi, said in January. Doval’s job is “strategy, not tactics.”
No government website carries Doval’s profile. A biography provided during a lecture he gave in August 2015 in Mumbai stated he was born in 1945 in Garhwal, in a northern region now called Uttarakhand, and graduated with a master’s degree in economics from the University of Agra in 1967 before joining the police force.

In 1972, he moved to the Intelligence Bureau, where he spent three decades, including stints in the restive regions of India’s northeast, Jammu and Kashmir, and the U.K. Doval is fluent in Urdu, the main language used in Pakistan. He told an audience in November 2014 he had lived in Pakistan for seven years, getting plastic surgery to remove signs his ears had been pierced—an indication of his Hindu roots.
“I haven’t seen anyone else at his level who would continue to come into the field,” said S.S. Virk, former director general of police in Punjab who was shot during the Golden Temple operation and says Doval visited him at the hospital. “He was an outstanding operator.”

Riaz Haq said...

Anti-#Pakistan hawk & ex spy Ajit Doval shaping #India's aggressive foreign policy under #Modi #BJP via @business

Those who know him describe him as a heavy smoker with an almost insatiable thirst for knowledge, taking guests at his home in Noida near New Delhi for drinks in a library in the basement lined from floor to ceiling with hundreds of books.
After retiring from the Intelligence Bureau, Doval founded the Vivekananda International Foundation in 2009. In its red sandstone and concrete headquarters in a tony district of Delhi, Doval has courted foreign diplomats and high-ranking defense officials, striking hawkish, nationalist views that resonated with Modi’s Bharatiya Janata Party.

“Doval wields more influence than previous national security advisers in part because of his credibility and experience in intelligence and security matters,” said Sameer Patil, who served in the prime minister’s national security council secretariat under the previous Congress government. Patil said it was long rumored that Doval advised Modi even before he was elected prime minister in 2014.
In papers published during that time, Doval argued for a more assertive foreign policy and a beefed up military. He warned of India’s “eroding maritime preeminence" in the Indian Ocean, of Pakistan’s attempts to influence Afghanistan and the Taliban, and said China’s development was "not an assured peaceful rise."
“India has a mindset that, where it hits, it punches below its weight,” he said at the August 2015 lecture. “We have to increase our weight and punch proportionately.”

Riaz Haq said...

#India needs cool heads after #Kashmir attack but #Modi is a prisoner of his own bluster. #Pakistan #UriAttacks

the crucial - and more serious - question is whether India has the capability and intelligence to carry out targeted strikes or wage a limited war inside Pakistani territory.
Most experts say that successive governments don't appear to have built these capabilities. There is media chatter on why the air force should carry out surgical air strikes inside Pakistan, but many experts believe it would not be easy as Pakistan has robust air defence systems. There are even doubts whether India has built capabilities for unconventional deterrence.
The problem with Mr Modi's government, according to defence analyst Ajai Shukla, is that it has "escalated the rhetoric [against Pakistan] but has not created military capabilities and planning structure to respond in a more forceful manner [against terror attacks] than the previous government".

Now the government appears to have become a prisoner of its own bluster. "The danger of being trapped in your own rhetoric is that you can be forced into an aggressive response and then be ill-quipped to handle the escalation," says Mr Shukla.
So is India's tradition of so-called "strategic restraint" against Pakistan the only answer?
For one, the jury is out whether the policy has worked or not. There are no easy answers.
Pratap Bhanu Mehta of Delhi's leading Centre for Policy Research think tank says strategic restraint has served India quite well. "Pakistan will be isolated, except for China, and we should call for financial sanctions," he says. Also, he believes Sunday's attack will put Pakistan on the spot and let the pressure off Kashmir at the UN General Assembly meeting this week.
"We have actually boxed ourselves into a bit of corner by our public discourse, where the clamour to do something reckless is now great. Otherwise we are winning the long-term battle," says Professor Mehta.
Cold logic
Others like C Christine Fair, defence expert and author of Fight to the End, a scholarly account of Pakistan's army, differ. "If the objective is to deter Pakistan to stop pursuing terror against India it hasn't served the purpose. Does the international community feel any more compelled to take India's side because of its strategic response? Not really," she says.
Others feel that "strategic restraint" masks a morbidly cold logic that India, a country of more than a billion people with one of the largest standing armies in the world, can absorb the deaths of soldiers in terror attacks without any major political upheaval. "India is growing economically, Pakistan is not. So we can sacrifice a couple of hundred people in attacks, without risking a war. That's what the thinking behind strategic restraint is, which nobody really talks about," says an expert.

Riaz Haq said...

Threat of a nuke war with Pakistan has increased: Shivshankar Menon

Former National Security Advisor Shivshankar Menon has said the threat of a nuclear war with Pakistan has increased, but criticised Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar for suggesting that India should give up its ‘no first use’ policy. He believes the September 29 ‘surgical strikes’, following the Uri terror attack, were inevitable, but disagrees with the Narendra Modi government’s decision to go public with the information.

Menon had played a key role in the India-US civil nuclear deal and was India’s foreign secretary when the 26/11 terror attacks took place in Mumbai in 2008. Menon told India Today TV’s Karan Thapar in an interview that he was wrong in advising the then Manmohan Singh government to retaliate after the 26/11 terror attacks. Pranab Mukherjee, then the external affairs minister, had “seemed to agree” with him. While Menon didn’t reveal Singh’s response, India had eventually not retaliated militarily.

On Parrikar, Menon said the defence minister did not have a right to voice his personal opinion on nuclear policy in public, particularly when that opinion contradicted the official policy of the country. Menon, the NSA from 2011 to 2014 during the United Progressive Alliance (UPA) government’s second term, said Parrikar’s suggestion would not be in India’s strategic interest, as it would increase India’s insecurity against Pakistan’s tactical nuclear weapons.

Earlier this month, Parrikar had said at a public function that his “personal opinion” was that India should relook at its pledge of ‘No First Use’ (NFU) of nuclear weapons. Parrikar said New Delhi should only commit to being a “responsible nuclear state”. In 1998, the Atal Bihari Vajpayee government had given a unilateral pledge that India would not be the first to use nuclear weapons.

Elaborating on his criticism of Parrikar’s comments, Menon said India’s nuclear weapons were no guard and no deterrent against Pakistani terror. Threatening a nuclear response to a terrorist attack from Pakistan “would be like threatening to kill a mosquito with a shotgun and would be unlikely to be understood by India’s own people, let alone the international community.”

Riaz Haq said...

Foreign diplomats livid over #India's cash crisis as #Modi "wins" friends with #Demonitization via @CNNMoney

India's cash shortage has left foreign diplomats in the country fuming.
Multiple embassies have lodged protests with the Indian government over a cap on bank withdrawals that was implemented after India suddenly banned all 500 and 1,000 rupee notes a month ago. The move by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, which was designed to fight corruption and tax evasion, has resulted in massive lines at banks and ATMs.
Russian diplomats have been among the most vocal critics. Local media reported earlier this week that Ambassador Alexander Kadakin sent a letter to India's foreign ministry that said the maximum weekly withdrawal limit of 50,000 rupees ($740) was "totally inadequate" to meet the embassy's salary requirements and other expenses.
Kadakin said that if the issue isn't resolved quickly, "we will be forced to explore other options which may include raising the issue in Moscow with your Embassy." A spokesperson for the Russian Embassy in New Delhi confirmed that such a letter had been sent, but declined to disclose its contents.

The wider diplomatic community has also raised the issue with Indian officials. Frank Castellanos, the Dominican Republic's ambassador and the dean of the foreign diplomatic corps in India, met on Thursday with Foreign Secretary Subrahmanyam Jaishankar.
"The concerns are the same concerns ... that the whole population of India is facing, with the difference that this is international money," Castellanos said. "This is diplomatic protected money that we cannot access."
Vikas Swarup, a spokesman for India's Ministry of External Affairs, said his department had a "very detailed discussion" with Castellanos on "issues that diplomatic missions are facing" and what the government can do to "minimize the inconvenience."
Swarup said he would consult with the finance ministry to see if the withdrawal limit could be raised for diplomats.
"The vast majority of foreign missions understand that the demonetization exercise is being conducted to combat the menace of black money and tax avoidance," he told reporters on Thursday.
Related: India's cash crisis could kill its economic boom
Other countries have written to the government separately, including India's neighborhood rival Pakistan.
The Pakistan High Commission said its diplomats had been stopped from withdrawing their salaries — paid in U.S. dollars — by their bank in New Delhi. Before they could access the funds, they were asked to submit a letter declaring the purpose of their withdrawal.
"We were trying to abide by the instructions of the [Indian] government, but this is in addition to that," said Pakistan High Commission spokesperson Manzoor Ali, who said his colleagues were able to meet last week with representatives of India's foreign ministry.
"The government has given us assurance that the problem will be solved. Let us see," he said.

Riaz Haq said...

#India's #Modi Quietly Okays #Balochistan Specialist's Appointment as Next #RAW Chief to Wage #Terror in #Pakistan …

From Indian Defense News dated Dec 5, 2016

Special Director of Research and Analysis Wing (RAW) A K Dhasmana is likely to be appointed as the next chief of the country’s external intelligence agency. The 1981-batch Madhya Pradesh cadre IPS officer’s domain of expertise is considered to be Balochistan, counter-terrorism and Islamic affairs. He also has a vast experience on Pakistan and Afghanistan. He has served in key capitals, including London and Frankfurt and has also handled SAARC and Europe desks. The post of the RAW chief is falling vacant on January 31, 2017, with the incumbent retiring after a two-year stint. The RAW chief has a fixed tenure of two years unless the government extends the service length or the appointee. Research and Analysis Wing (RAW) Special Director A K Dhasmana is likely to be appointed as the next chief of the country’s external intelligence agency.


Research and Analysis Wing (RAW) Special Director A K Dhasmana is likely to be appointed as the next chief of the country’s external intelligence agency. He is considered to be an expert in Balochistan affairs.

In his Independence Day speech this year, Prime Minister Narendra Modi had said, “I want to express my gratitude to the people of Balochistan, Gilgit and PoK for the way they whole-heartedly thanked me.... People of a distant land I haven’t even seen....When they thank the Indian PM, it’s an honour for the 125 crore people of the country...”

Implicit in the statement was a veiled threat to the Pak political and military leadership that India too can needle them for the state-sponsored atrocities in these areas held by Islamabad and target that country’s unity and integrity. The PM’s statement came in the backdrop of brazen Pak stance to dedicate its Independence Day to freedom of Kashmir and stoking violence in J&K following Hizbul Mujahideen terrorist Burhan Wani’s death. This was the first time an Indian PM raised the Balochistan issue.
Dhasmana is also known to enjoy National Security Advisor Ajit Doval’s confidence. He will replace present RAW chief Rajinder Khanna.

India has been pussyfooting on human rights violations in Balochistan though Pakistan has been exploiting the ‘K’ word to the hilt at different international fora.
Officials close to Dhasmana said he is a go-getter and has an extensive network in the region. Through his vast experience and elaborate asset base in the region, he was able to stall the construction of Gwadar port by about six years, a senior agency said.

Meanwhile, the race for the top post in another key covert agency Intelligence Bureau (IB) is also gaining pace with the tenure of current Director Dineshwar Sharma ending on December 31. Three contenders—Special Directors SK Sinha and Rajiv Jain and Mumbai Police Commissioner Dattatray Palsalgikar—are in the fray.

Riaz Haq said...

What #India Has Done To Its Money Is Sickening And #Immoral. #Modi #Demonetization via @forbes

Not since India's short-lived forced-sterilization program in the 1970s--this bout of Nazi-like eugenics was instituted to deal with the country's "overpopulation"--has the government engaged in something so immoral. It claims the move will fight corruption and tax evasion by allegedly flushing out illegal cash, crippling criminal enterprises and terrorists and force-marching India into a digitized credit system.

India is the most extreme and destructive example of the anticash fad currently sweeping governments and the economics profession. Countries are moving to ban high-denomination bills, citing the rationales trotted out by New Delhi. But there's no misunderstanding what this is truly about: attacking your privacy and inflicting more government control over your life.

India's awful act underscores another piece of immorality. Money represents what people produce in the real world. It is a claim on products and services, just as a coat-check ticket is a claim for a coat left at the coat check in a restaurant or a ticket is for a seat at an event. Governments don't create resources, people do. What India has done is commit a massive theft of people's property without even the pretense of due process--a shocking move for a democratically elected government. (One expects such things in places like Venezuela.) Not surprisingly, the government is downplaying the fact that this move will give India a onetime windfall of perhaps tens of billions of dollars.

By stealing property, further impoverishing the least fortunate among its population and undermining social trust, thereby poisoning politics and hurting future investment, India has immorally and unnecessarily harmed its people, while setting a dreadful example for the rest of the world.

What India must do to fulfill its desire to become a global powerhouse is clear: slash income and business tax rates and simplify the whole tax structure; make the rupee as powerful as the Swiss franc; hack away at regulations, so that setting up a business can be done with no cost and in only a few minutes; and take a supersize buzz saw to all the rules that make each infrastructure project a 100-year undertaking.

Riaz Haq said...

#India’s bizarre war on cash. #Modi #Demonitization … via @WSJ

Indian Finance Minister Arun Jaitley says “India has to move towards the cashless society.” Cashless society? India? Last month’s demonetization continues to wreak economic havoc, and now defenders say it will pay off long-term by promoting digital-payment systems that increase efficiency and transparency. But why should Indians believe that officials exercising arbitrary power over their cash will keep their hands off a system that monitors every transaction?

In a cashless society the state has far greater means to harm the public, both through inept policies and abuses of power. Recent weeks have been bad enough, starting with the shock announcement that 85% of Indian currency in circulation was no longer legal tender and would have to be exchanged at banks for new bills not yet printed. As citizens idle in long bank lines and businesses fold without liquidity, officials are issuing contradictory directives about the new cash regime. Now these same officials want a digital record of every exchange.

India already has a too-powerful bureaucracy that imposes punishing licensing, labor, tax and other regulations, stifling entrepreneurship and innovation. This is a major reason an estimated 95% of all transactions use cash and some 45% of the economy is “informal” or off the books. When it’s prohibitively expensive to comply with every regulation, businesses that are otherwise legitimate stay underground. Without sweeping deregulation, going digital and cashless would strengthen bureaucrats to be even more intrusive and burdensome.

There’s also the loss of financial privacy. As journalist Amit Varma writes in the Times of India, “If you buy AIDS medication or a porn magazine or book a hotel room for a romantic alliance, this information can be accessed by the government—or any hacker with the requisite skills—and used against you.” It would also hurt people in regular interactions. “Cash is empowerment: Ask the young wife who saves spare cash from her alcoholic husband,” Mr. Varma notes, “or the old mother who stuffs spare notes under her mattress for years because it gives her a sense of autonomy.”

In Germany, where memories of communism and Nazism help citizens prize anonymity, some 80% of transactions are in cash. The U.S. figure is 32%. In Japan and Switzerland savers hoard cash to avoid punitive negative interest rates on deposits. This is an entirely reasonable response to runaway monetary policy, but it annoys Keynesians like Harvard’s Kenneth Rogoff and Citigroup’s Willem Buiter, who want cash limited so central banks can squeeze savers with impunity.

Sweden may be the best model for cashlessness, as only 2% of transactions use cash. But Sweden has low corruption in government, reliable legal protections, high social trust and advanced financial and technological infrastructure. India has none of that, but it does have government officials with radical plans to reshape a society in which half of the population (some 600 million) doesn’t even have a bank account.

Indians would benefit from access to digital finance, which can cut transaction costs, make credit more affordable and channel state aid directly to citizens, bypassing sticky-fingered bureaucrats. The government can help by liberalizing financial regulation and improving telecommunications infrastructure. But it should also respect citizens who want to keep at least some cash. Imposing a “cashless society” is antithetical to economic liberty.

Riaz Haq said...

Strategic Insights : Is #Pakistan close to a #nuclear deal with the #US?: #India … via @TOIOpinion

Many signs portend yes. In the waning days of the Obama administration, talk grew in Washington, D.C. of the US offering the same nuclear deal to Pakistan as it had offered India. The White House never seemed to categorically deny those rumours.

Pakistan has always held the keys to Kabul, and has played its cards expertly. The seeming about-face against the Taliban post 9-11; the double game played with the Americans, one foot in their camp, the other planted firmly in the Afghani Talibani; all of this has led to the Taliban coming to the cusp of capturing Kabul, with the Yanks receiving the same hiding that the Russkies and the Pommies haven’t as yet forgotten.


But how can one secure against a security guard who turns turtle. The Yanks must have their own folks in the Strategic Plains Division and other centralized Pakistani nuclear establishments. After all, a hundred million can pay for a lot of outsized American salaries. But the Pakistanis have pulled a fast one with the deployment of their tactical nukes, the little Nasrs.
No Yank can control their use, for the operational control lies with about 300 Pakistani military field commanders. One goes rogue and a dirty bomb could go off in Indianapolis in short order. No wonder Nikki Haley, a key member of Trump’s foreign policy team, is now crying herself hoarse to mediate between Pakistan and India. Her express aim: Islamabad, you ditch your tacticals, India you yours. Washington’s interest must always be protected.
Pakistan is happy with the mediation. But not happy enough. It has left the Americans out of talks with the Afghan Taliban, cozying up instead to the Chinese and the Russkies. What is the Russian interest in Kabul? They are not even contiguous with Afghanistan any more. And the Chinese? Well, wherever the Pakistanis are, can the Chinese be far behind. And not even a leaf can fall anywhere in Asia now without the assent of the Chinese.
America is alarmed. Ever the brinkman, Pakistan is up to its old tricks. One overriding purpose drives it: Treat us as India’s equal. Memo from Islamabad to Washington: We know you are screwed in Afghanistan. We will get you out safely as long as we get the same nuclear deal as India has got.
The Yanks seem to have got the message. Pakistani nuclear delegations visit Washington regularly now. One is there right now meeting with American experts. Nikki Haley was perhaps just the portend of things to come. Any day, you might have an announcement of a nuclear deal for Pakistan.
Poor India. What has it been doing all this while. It has alienated the Russkies so much that they are now selling arms to Islamabad for the first time ever. Has India’s foreign policy establishment been sleeping at the wheel? Or will they be able to pull a rabbit out of their hat? The plot thickens.

Riaz Haq said...

By M K Bhadrakumar – May 13, 2017

Modi blew it big time on China policies

According to Pakistani press, one highlight of the participation by PM Nawaz Sharif at the Belt and Road Forum in Beijing (May 14-15) will be the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding between the two countries opening the door to massive Chinese investment – to the tune of $50 billion – for the development of the North Indus River Cascade in Pakistan’s Gilgit-Baltistan region. This will be Chinese investment over and above the $46 billion China-Pakistan Economic Corridor.
A whopping 40000 MW of electricity can be produced in the region known as the North Indus River Cascade, which stretches from Skardu in Gilgit-Baltistan and runs through Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa as far as Tarbela. The stunning development catapults Pakistan as by far the number one recipient of Chinese investment in infrastructure development. The geopolitical significance is at once obvious.
Beijing, which went the extra league in the recent months to convince India that the latter’s concerns over sovereignty relating to the CPEC are unwarranted, has apparently given up and decided to simply ignore Delhi’s protestations and proceed with the CPEC projects in a big way in Gilgit-Baltistan. It is a political and diplomatic snub by China, conveying a frank message to the Modi government to “get lost”.

The Modi government is now left with an option to carry on regardless along the path of confrontation and rivalry with China, or, alternatively, to see the writing on the wall and get adjusted to the fait accompli with a sense of stoicism and sense of modesty. The latter course is not easy since the “core constituency” of the BJP will mutiny and the RSS will rap on the government’s knuckles. However, China seems to estimate that it is in India’s DNA that sooner rather than later, it will feel the intensity of regional (and global) isolation – especially now that all of India’s neighbours, including Nepal, have joined the OBOR – and make atonement.

Meanwhile, the announcement in Washington on Thursday that President Donald Trump has nominated his special assistant and the point person on Asia in the National Security Council Matt Pottinger to represent him at the weekend event in Beijing must come as shock to the Indian foreign-policy elites. The US-China détente that is unfolding under Trump’s stewardship makes complete nonsense of Modi government’s China policies that are tied to the apron strings of the Obama administration’s pivot strategy in Asia. The US and China made a joint announcement on Thursday regarding the first tranche of policy decisions on trade issues envisaged under the so-called Initial Actions of the U.S.-China Economic Cooperation 100-Day Plan that was agreed upon by Trump and President Xi Jinping at their Mar-a-Lago meeting in Florida in April.

The White House feels delighted that the relationships Trump has built with President Xi Jinping and other Chinese leaders “are clearly paying dividends.” The announcement covers areas such as agricultural trade, financial services and energy to boost economic cooperation. Amongst other things, China will receive imports of beef and LNG from the US, while the latter agrees to apply the same bank prudential supervisory and regulatory standards to Chinese banking institutions as to other foreign banking institutions.

Riaz Haq said...

Modi’s Beijing Policy Is Like Cutting Off India’s Nose to Spite China’s Face

India’s strategic thinkers have been quick to conclude that China’s goal is to cut India off from the rest of Asia. But this is a frog-in-the-well kind of perspective.
For three years, Prime Minister Narendra Modi has been indulging in acts of bravado in foreign policy that he believes, or wants the people of India to believe, are acts of bravery. The most recent is his boycott of the One Belt One Road (OBOR) forum meeting in Beijing next week.
New Delhi’s official reason for not attending the meeting is that the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) passes through Gilgit, which has been illegally occupied by Pakistan since 1947. Attending the meeting would, therefore, risk conceding sovereignty over Pakistan Occupied Kashmir (POK) to Pakistan. But this is poppycock.
The CPEC passes through the same territory as the Karakoram highway that China built in the 1960s. India has been lodging formal protests over this for the past fifty years. But this has not prevented it from increasing its trade with China by more than 20 times, and cooperating with it on all kinds of strategic and environmental issues in various international fora.
Modi could have safeguarded India’s legal position on Gilgit by issuing a similar formal caveat. But by making the recognition of Gilgit’s disputed status by China a pre-condition, Modi has cut India’s nose off to spite China’s face.
For India, the gains from OBOR would not have accrued so much from the investments in roads, railways and ports that it envisages, but from the immense investments that China would have liked to make in India’s infrastructure. Indian strategic thinkers have been quick to conclude that China’s goal is to cut India off from the rest of Asia, and destroy its hegemony in South Asia. But this is a frog-in-the-well kind of perspective, for China has far more compelling reasons.
First, it is an industrial juggernaut that produces close to half of all the consumer goods traded in the world and therefore needs safe trade routes more than any other country. India does not lie on any global trade route so OBOR cannot go through India. But all India has to do to benefit from it is invest in links to it via Bangladesh and Myanmar, Sri Lanka, Nepal and, one day, Pakistan.
Second, China is willing to spend colossal sums on OBOR because it desperately wants alternatives to the sea lanes it relies on for its oil, and its trade with Europe and Africa. Half of its exports, and 90% of its oil passes through the Malacca straits and the South China Sea. With 400 US military installations spread in an arc around it and carrier fleets equipped with thousands of Tomahawk missiles cruising the South China Sea, its wish to insure against a blockade of the kind that the US imposed on oil supplies to Japan in 1940 is understandable.
But its most pressing concern is to find orders for its huge capital goods industry. While India’s industrial production is wasting away because of its acute shortage of up-to-date infrastructure, China is literally suffocating in excess capacity. China produces more than 800 million tonnes of steel a year, almost exactly half of the world’s output, and has run out of places in which to use it. The provincial governments have built all the airports, container ports and all-weather highway they could think of. Starting with a single line with 20 pairs of bullet trains in 2005, the Chinese have built 19,000 km of high speed train track and are running 2,300 pairs of bullet trains on them today. And residential and commercial space is so overbuilt that as far back as 2013 China had 55 million square metres of unoccupied apartments.

Riaz Haq said...

As China-India feud ebbs, tiny Bhutan reexamines its place in the world

When the respective armies began withdrawing from the Doklam area Monday, the Himalayan nation of just under 800,000 finally exhaled, and analysts said that its temperance had helped defuse tension between the two nuclear-armed powers.

the (Doklam) dispute caused many in Bhutan to call for the country to reevaluate its close — some say suffocating — relationship with its southern neighbor.

“If India’s border closed tomorrow, we would run out of rice and a lot of other essentials in a few days. That is how vulnerable we are,” said Needrup Zangpo, the executive director of the Journalist Association of Bhutan. “Many Bhutanese resent this.”

The country — with stunning mountain passes, rippling Buddhist prayer flags and ancient temples — was until recently a monarchy, its villages isolated from much of the world for most of the past century. Television arrived in 1999, and even now, only about 60,000 tourists from outside the region visit each year, paying a hefty $250-a-day visa fee during the high season.

Bhutan’s long ties with India, by far its largest trading partner, were cemented in 1958, when India’s first prime minister, Jawaharlal Nehru, traveled through the mountains on a yak. The two countries already had agreed, in a 1949 treaty, that India would guide its foreign policy; the terms were softened and modified in 2007.

Bhutan has an ongoing border dispute and no official diplomatic ties with China, and India has frowned upon any change in this status quo. India cut off a cooking gas subsidy in 2013 because, some analysts said, it feared Bhutan’s then-government was growing closer to its northern neighbor. India has long seen Bhutan as an important ally against Chinese expansionism in the region.

Thimphu is a still-quiet valley town, dotted with traditionally painted homes and apartments, that has modernized rapidly in the past 10 years and recently began having traffic jams.

Many of its younger, educated residents — who followed the China-India conflict on their mobile phones, via social media — said that the weeks-long standoff had raised questions about Bhutan’s place in the world and whether the country was being well served by maintaining such a close relationship with India while holding China at arm’s length.

Many of the tenants of Thimphu TechPark, a government-owned business park that opened in 2011 as a symbol of the country’s aspirations, took a pragmatic view of China — saying they see it as a potential marketplace for fledgling Bhutanese entrepreneurs. Bhutan has long looked inward, they said, and now needs to start looking outward.

“I think because we are in a global community now, we should have good relations with both China and India,” said Jigme Tenzin, the young chief executive of, an online real estate portal. Unlike some of his peers, he cheerfully wears his gho, the robe-like garment that is the country’s national dress, including to international conferences, saying it helps set him apart from other Asian entrepreneurs.

When the TechPark opened, it initially did not do well. But today, it has more than 700 Bhutanese employees, offices for several foreign companies and an incubation center for start-ups. One of the companies is trying to create a children’s cartoon in Bhutan’s national language, Dzongkha, to compete with the Hindi cartoons broadcast from India.

Riaz Haq said...

Geopolitically, the (Nepal) elections also reveal to what extent China will emerge as a viable alternative to India in Nepal's foreign policy. Nepal, sandwiched as it is between the nuclear rivals, is the quintessential buffer state. Although India has long been the dominant actor in Nepalese foreign policy, the country faced a tipping point during the 2015 blockade at the India-Nepal border. The nearly five-month ordeal exposed Nepal's almost singular economic dependence on trade routes crossing through India and gave the government an incentive to diversify its relations through closer ties with China. In addition, the blockade caused many of the ruling elite in Kathmandu to cast a suspicious eye toward India, believing that the government in New Delhi tacitly supported the blockade.
Although none of the parties explicitly aligned themselves with India or China during the campaign, clear preferences along party lines emerged in rhetoric and in the minds of voters. Prime Minister Sher Bahadur Deuba's ruling Nepali Congress party is generally seen to be pro-India, while the recently stitched-together Left Alliance between the country's two main communist parties is seen as pro-China. Left Alliance leader and former Prime Minister Khadga Prasad Oli also suggested he would renegotiate treaties with India and try to forge closer ties with China if elected. Going forward, the election winner will be able to draw the country closer to India or China through development deals. For example, Dueba's administration recently revoked a contract for a hydroelectricity project held by a Chinese firm, with rumors suggesting it will be awarded to an Indian firm.

The elections mark a critical phase in Nepal's transition to democracy, though the country has a long way to go as it embarks on the arduous task of administering a new political system. One thing, however, is certain: The rivalry between India and China for influence in Nepal will only ramp up.

Riaz Haq said...


Others in this series have noted the need for more pragmatic realism in Pakistan’s foreign policy, but India too would benefit from a dose of realism about the gap between it and China and what it gains from absolute opposition to the Belt and Road Initiative. In terms of physical infrastructure, India is in many ways better positioned to be a beneficiary of multilateral support than a leader or lender. Its road infrastructure is at least a decade behind China’s. It needs Chinese, Japanese, and South Korean expertise in developing and financing road and high-speed railway networks. India, whose productivity pales in comparison to other large economies, also lacks the ability to build the successful industrial zones that are generally paired with thriving ports.

But India, along with Japan and South Korea, can compete with China on electric power projects and, perhaps down the road, on metro rail transport projects. India and Japan have had success in outcompeting China in Bangladesh’s power sector.

In a previous contribution to this series, Daniel Markey noted that “China’s deeper involvement in Southern Asia is stirring competitive Indian tendencies rather than cooperative ones.” A decade from now, India will have to assess what it has gained in opposing the Belt and Road Initiative and instead spending hundreds of millions of dollars on connectivity with countries like Afghanistan (assuming New Delhi fulfills its pledges on Chabahar). India may find itself to be the odd man out.

India’s interests and regional stability will be better served by a greater effort to look for economic convergences with China and Pakistan. That does not mean India should return to its pre-1962 war naivete and call for Sino-Indian brotherhood (Hindi-Chini Bhai Bhai). The two countries are and remain strategic competitors. But strategic competition has not inhibited trade between the two Asian giants, which grew from $2 billion to $70 billion from 2000 to 2014. India ought to view Chinese investments in Pakistan with similar pragmatism. And to unleash the region’s economic potential, New Delhi should engage Islamabad in dialogue to find pathways toward de-escalation in Afghanistan and Pakistani Balochistan, where India and Pakistan are engaged in shadow wars. By 2019, when the general elections in Afghanistan, India, and Pakistan are complete, deescalation can perhaps yield to a composite bilateral dialogue on resolving outstanding issues — including Kashmir — allowing South Asia’s two largest economies to redevote energy toward regional economic cooperation.

Riaz Haq said...

#India’s foreign policy is up a creek without a paddle, especially in its #SouthAsia neighborhood due to reckless adventurism. #Modi has abandoned non-aligned movement and antagonized #China and #Russia in its pursuit of alliance with #America, #Trump.

The BJP government’s denseness has ended up antagonising both Russia and China. Nothing typified this more than Russia holding antiterror exercises with Pakistan in DRUZBA-2017. Similarly, rather than taking a nuanced position, the ill-conceived boycott of the Belt and Road Forum in Beijing in 2017 invited the wrath of China via the Doklam standoff. Notwithstanding government claims, the withdrawal from Doklam was sequential — India first, then China — rather than simultaneous. The sequel was that the Prime Minister had to travel to Wuhan and Sochi to effectively pay ‘court’ to Presidents Xi Jinping and Vladimir Putin, respectively.

The worst casualty has, however, been India’s neighbourhood. In the past four years, the BJP government has swung from the sublime to the ridiculous on Pakistan, blockaded Nepal for not declaring itself as a Hindu Rashtra, lost Sri Lanka to the Chinese, been belittled by the Maldives and even Seychelles. Europe, Africa, Latin and South America have fallen off the map.

The list is interminable. The BJP government’s denseness has ended up antagonising both Russia and China. Nothing typified this more than Russia holding antiterror exercises with Pakistan in DRUZBA-2017. Similarly, rather than taking a nuanced position, the ill-conceived boycott of the Belt and Road Forum in Beijing in 2017 invited the wrath of China via the Doklam standoff. Notwithstanding government claims, the withdrawal from Doklam was sequential — India first, then China — rather than simultaneous. The sequel was that the Prime Minister had to travel to Wuhan and Sochi to effectively pay ‘court’ to Presidents Xi Jinping and Vladimir Putin, respectively.

The worst casualty has, however, been India’s neighbourhood. In the past four years, the BJP government has swung from the sublime to the ridiculous on Pakistan, blockaded Nepal for not declaring itself as a Hindu Rashtra, lost Sri Lanka to the Chinese, been belittled by the Maldives and even Seychelles. Europe, Africa, Latin and South America have fallen off the map.

The list is interminable. India’s foreign policy is up a creek without a paddle.

Riaz Haq said...

#India's idea is to break #Nepal; #CPEC, #Pakistan and #China’s hold in SA. "Pretexts are in abundance for example, why (is Nepal) inching closer to China?
This is perhaps a crime in the eyes of the Indian establishment. So be it."


While the nation (Nepal) is already in a dangerously polarized state over the “concerns” of Dr. Govinda KC, Nepal’s Southern neighbor has as usual tried to fish in the troubled waters. India does so quite often as and when she has to coerce Nepal in one pretext or the other. Indian marionettes galore. (Dr. Govind KC and the government have come to an agreements and the fast unto death has already been broken by the ailing Doctor: Ed).
Pretexts are in abundance for example, why inching closer to China?
This is perhaps a crime in the eyes of the Indian establishment. So be it.
Exploiting the volatile politics, India is hell bent on inundating Nepali lands in an uninterrupted manner and the hard hit village this time is the same Mahali Sagar Dam area.


Now about our own region: Adding insult to injury, Pakistan is soon to gift a Landing Craft to the Maldives as part of strengthening the naval capability of the archipelago.
This announcement was made just the other day at a meeting between the visiting Chief of the naval Staff Admiral Zafar Mahmood Abbasi and the Maldivian President Yameen Abdul Garoom in Male.
And here is the famous cricketer from Pakistan, Imran Khan, who is very likely to sworn in soon as new Pakistan Prime Minister after the just concluded polls.
This news has some meaning for New Delhi because Maldives has recently discarded the friendship with India only to be replaced by China. Pakistan just enters the Maldivian scene apart from Sri Lanka.


The CPEC matters for the Pakistani people: The Diplomat dated July 24, 2018, writes very freshly that “Aiming to develop a “growth axis and development belt” between China and Pakistan, CPEC could involve investments of some $60 billion. The corridor connects Gwadar, in the southwestern province of Baluchistan, to China’s Xinjiang region via a 2,700 kilometer route through the mountainous terrain of Gilgit-Baltistan in northernmost Pakistan.
The Diplomat further writes that for China’s and Pakistan’s foreign policies, the potential payoffs are clear. CPEC is a flagship project of Beijing’s Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), a geopolitical ambition to develop trade and infrastructure with over 60 economies across Eurasia, Africa, and beyond. For Islamabad, CPEC brings the hope of not only economic dividends but also potentially a geopolitical reconfiguration.
With Imran Khan being elected as Pakistan Prime Minister, it will be interesting to observe as to how the two arch rivals, Pakistan and India, deal with each other in the days ahead.
India had preferred Nawaj Sharif for obvious reasons. Nawaj Miyan has landed in Jail now.
With this new development, a positive one, in Pakistan, China will continue to increase its presence in South Asia thus lessening the Indian dominance in this part of the world. Imran Khan is not liked by the Indian media but the latter should digest this fact that Mr. Khan has been elected by his domestic population and so Mr. Khan needs no certification either from India or from its Modified media. The new Pakistani Prime Minister is on record to have said that Pakistan and China friendship shall continue for all time to come which means that China is here to stay for quite a long time much to the discomfiture of poor India. Congratulations.

Riaz Haq said...

#Nepal gets access to all #Chinese ports, ending dependence on #India for #trade. Overland trade to and from Nepal is now routed mainly through #Kolkata which takes up to three months.

Kathmandu and Beijing have finalised a transit protocol that will give Nepal access to Chinese ports for trade with China and beyond. This will bring to an end Nepal’s heavy dependence on Indian ports for trade with other countries.

Traders say the plan to connect the country with China could face issues due to a lack of proper roads and customs infrastructure on the Nepalese side of the border. The nearest Chinese port is also located more than 2,600 km from its border.

“Nepal must develop proper infrastructure for smooth access to Chinese ports. Without this simply opening of ports will not be useful,” said Anup Malla, an exporter of woollen carpets.

China is making fast inroads into Nepal with aid and investment, challenging India’s long-held position as the dominant outside power.

Beijing and Kathmandu are also in talks for building a railway link into Nepal, constructing an electric transmission line and are conducting a feasibility study for a free trade agreement.

Riaz Haq said...

#Nepal pulling away from #India, getting closer to #China

Insult to injury: Nepal to now join military drill with China
Nepal's decision to pull out of the joint


military drill in Pune couldn't have come at a worse time for India with the

Nepal army

set to participate in a 12-day long military exercise with China later this month.

Nepal Army spokesperson Brig Gen Gokul Bhandaree told TOI on Monday that the second such joint exercise with China, Sagarmatha Friendship-2, was going to take place from September 17 to 28 in Chengdu.

"The main focus of the exercise is going to be on counter-terror operations," said Bhandaree.

Nepal's first such joint exercise with China took place in April last year leading to concerns in India over growing security cooperation between Nepal and its northern neighbour. The second Nepal-China joint exercise will come days after the Nepal government directed its military to withdraw from the first ever joint military drill by Bimstec countries.

The Nepal government, according to reports from Kathmandu, is not particularly pleased with attempts by India to boost security and defence cooperation within Bimstec.

India though is still smarting from Nepal's decision to withdraw at the last moment from the Bimstec exercise - when an advance military team from Kathmandu had already landed in India - and the exercise with China is unlikely to soothe nerves here.

As former foreign secretary Kanwal Sibal says, participating in the Bimstec exercise would have balanced the exercise with China. According to Sibal, it is unfortunate that Nepal gets satisfaction in provoking India needlessly.

"By taking such inconsiderate steps they will alienate Indian opinion more and the cost will be felt when Nepal faces a crisis in the future. They have to nurture the India relationship, not create distrust," says Sibal.

To be sure, Nepal hasn't scaled up its defence exercise with China from what it was last year. Like in 2017, and as Bhandaree said, not more than 20 soldiers will participate in the Chengdu exercise. India's own joint exercise with Nepal Surya Kiran involves over 300. It hasn't helped the Indian government's cause though that Nepal PM K P Sharma Oli is widely seen in the media as pro-China. Nepal's decision to pull out from the Pune exercise also came after Modi welcomed the "multi-national military field training exercise" at the Bimstec summit in Kathmandu last month.

That Modi government has also been under pressure from Nepal to unblock the Saarc summit process. Oli had taken up the issue with Modi during his visit to India in April. India though remains reluctant as the next summit is to be held in Pakistan. In an interview to ToI during his visit to India, Oli had said that SAARC had a future because it was the common initiative of the leaders of the region who had nurtured that platform of regional cooperation for the past 3 decades.

"Everyone also knows that the Saarc summit that was supposed to be held in Pakistan in 2016 has been postponed. Nepal, as the current Chair of Saarc, desires to see that we are able to revive the process. However, we are fully aware that this cannot happen unless every Saarc member desires so unanimously," Oli had said.

A source in Kathmandu also said India must stop looking at Bimstec as an alternative to Saarc. "To focus on terrorism is one thing but to participate in a joint military exercise quite another. The government as well as the opposition was unsure if Bimstec was meant for an exercise like that," said the official.

Riaz Haq said...

#India Scrambles For Ground In #SriLanka After Pro-#China Leader Named PM. Mahinda Rajapaksas return to power has drawn concern in New #Delhi that China would tighten its grip on the island that lies along busy shipping lanes. #Pakistan #Modi via @ndtv

India, caught flatfooted by the appointment of Mahinda Rajapaksa as Sri Lanka's premier, has opened urgent diplomatic and political contacts with the strongman who drew close to China during his previous tenure as president, officials said.
The tear-shaped island, located off the southern tip of India, has become an arena of tussle between New Delhi and Beijing, which has built ports, power stations and highways as part of its Belt and Road Initiative of trade and transport links across Asia.

Rajapaksa had opened up Sri Lanka's main port to Chinese naval submarines when he was president, which stoked anger in India. His return to power in a surprise move by current President Maithripala Sirisena has drawn concern in New Delhi that China would tighten its grip on the island that lies along busy shipping lanes.

"It is advantage China at the moment," said Srikanth Kondappali, a specialist on India-China ties at New Delhi's Jawaharlal Nehru University who closely tracks the regional rivalry between the Asian giants.

He said Beijing had invested in Rajapaksa and in his political constituency of Hambantota in the south of Sri Lanka where it has built a $1.5 billion deep water port, an airport and also planned an industrial zone.

China's ambassador to Sri Lanka, Cheng Xueyuan, was among the first diplomats to meet Rajapaksa soon after he was sworn in as prime minister and he presented a congratulatory message from Chinese Prime Minister Li Keqiang.

Wickremesinghe, who was seen as pro-India, said his sacking was illegal and he has maintained that he is still prime minister and had majority support in parliament.

Sri Lanka is one of a chain of countries where the India-China rivalry is playing out, stretching from Bangladesh, Nepal to the Maldives, where a pro-China leader was voted out in a surprise election result last month that was welcomed by India, the United States and the European Union.

Indian diplomats were in contact with Rajapaksa's camp, officials in New Delhi said, adding they were ready to do business with the new leader so long as his appointment was in line with the country's constitution.

"India will continue to extend our developmental assistance to the people of Sri Lanka," an Indian foreign ministry spokesman said on Monday.

Separately, leaders of the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh, the ideological parent of Prime Minister Narendra Modi's governing Hindu nationalist-led alliance, have reached out to Rajapaksa to promote ties, party sources said.

Riaz Haq said...

Why #India does not deserve to be Permanent Member of #UNSC. #Delhi can’t see that the 12 state ‘United for Consensus’ group, headed by Italy and includes Pakistan, which opposes any reconfiguring of the UNSC, is not primarily to blame via @BharatKarnad

The principal hurdle specifically to India’s entry, however, are the two countries the Indian government in the new Century, helmed by both the BJP and the Congress party, has bent over backwards to appease — the United States and China. The Trump Administration has made it plain it supports only a “modest” increase in permanent seats. This by way of saying that Washington would happily countenance its treaty allies, Japan and Germany, in the UNSC but not India or Brazil — though to the Indian PM’s face US functionaries have assured support. China, on its part, has declared it is against “arbitrarily launching text-based negotiations” in IGN as demanded by India; the larger reason, of course, is to deny both its Asian rivals a leg up. Again, Beijing does not say it’s not for India at the high table but hints at its unwillingness to see Japan in the Council, knowing fully well that no move will ever be made to just ease India’s entry into UNSC.

India’s yearning for a permanent seat in the Security Council raises the pertinent question whether India deserves it. Because the five current permanent members (P-5) — US, Russia, China, UK and France are great powers and have traits in common (including the last two which are long into the imperial dusk). They all have hefty nuclear forces, modern militaries to reckon with, are security providers with extra-territorial military presence, with France even in the Indian Ocean (on Reunion Island in the French Indian Ocean Territories and the Heron base in Djibouti), generate advanced technologies in all fields and are frontline technology innovators, have a whole bunch of Third and Fourth World states the world as arms dependencies, courtesy vigorous arms sales schemes, are large foreign aid donors with extensive and tested development and infrastructure assistance programmes, high volumes of global trade and extremely strong and active economies, and relatively high standards of living. So, does India, other than possession of simple, low yield, nuclear weapons (that in quality, perhaps, lags behind a lowly Pakistani arsenal), meet any of these metrics?

Our case rests on the following arguments: that India (1) boasts of a large fraction of the world population, (2) is a “responsible state”, (3) is a longstanding democracy and an exemplar of liberal values (4) contributes disproportionately to UN peacekeeping missions, (5) shaped the post-WWII international system by championing anti-imperialism, anti-colonialism and anti-racism, (6) is a steadying influence in a disordered world, (7) has always taken taken the lead role in furthering universal good — disarmament, climate accord, solar alliance, etc., (8) has never been expansionist or coveted foreign territories, but has no neighbour at peace with it, and (9) is a trillion dollar economy, except 40% of its population is below the poverty line.


But India, alas, has no Dengxiaoping, no leader to challenge the world and motivate the Indian people to work for the nation’s cause, only gasbags furthering their advantage in domestic politics while using India’s democracy as an excuse for the country remaining a perennial also-ran.

Surely then such a country cannot credibly ask in good faith for a permanent seat in UNSC to preside over a world it had no role in making, and has even less of a role in running. The P-5 have to feel sorry enough for a “flailing” India to accommodate it, which won’t ever happen. So India is fated to remain on the outside, like a beggar with face pressed to the windows of a posh eatery.

Riaz Haq said...

#US accused of seizing face #masks bound for #Europe, #Canada. #America multinational 3M, a mass producer of health equipment, forced by #Trump to supply #US with as many type-N85 respirator masks as possible during #coronavirus pandemic. #COVID19 #PPE

Unprepared for the coronavirus pandemic, officials worldwide have been scrambling for protective medical gear. Germany has accused the US of competing for vital health care resources with "wild west" methods.


'Ruled by Wild West'

Geisel said the state of Berlin had purchased the masks from a US company, but according to Germany's Tagesspiegel newspaper, they had been manufactured in China.

"Even in times of global crisis, we should not be ruled by Wild West methods," Geisel said, urging Germany's federal government to put pressure on the US to abide by international rules.

Read more: As the coronavirus triggers a global economic crisis, just how bad could it get?

US multinational conglomerate 3M, a mass producer of health equipment, was also forced by Washington to supply the US with as many type-N85 respirator masks as possible.

US criticized by France and Canada

French politicians have also recently accused the US of buying up medical protective gear including face masks in China that had been meant for France.

Valerie Pecresse, president of the hard-hit Ile-de-France region, said this week that a shipment of protective masks were snatched at the last minute by "Americans who made a higher bid," French news agency AFP reported.


Germany accused the US on Friday of confiscating thousands of protective face masks that Berlin authorities have already paid for, calling it "an act of modern piracy."

Berlin Interior Minister Andreas Geisel said US officials intercepted a shipment of 200,000 face masks in Bangkok intended for use during the coronavirus outbreak.

The state of Berlin had ordered FFP2-class respirators for Berlin police officers, who continue to operate during the crisis.

The chairman of the SPD parliamentary group, Rolf Mützenich, said the confiscation was "illegal" and called for the incident to be clarified.

"Illegal methods must not be used when procuring protective masks. This is particularly true between partners … even if they are in short supply," Mützenich told DW.

"If the reports on such events are confirmed, the federal government must address the issue and call for the consequences," he said.

Riaz Haq said...

Discussion on India in President Barack Obama's memoir titled "A Promised Land" reveals what the former US President thought about India, particularly Indian hostility against Pakistan. Obama also reveals that President-elect Joseph R. Biden opposed the US Navy Seals raid to kill Usama Bin Laden in Abbottabad in 2011. Biden was Obama's Vice President at the time.

Obama's Book Excerpts:

“Expressing hostility toward Pakistan was still the quickest route to national unity (in India)”.

"Violence, both public and private, remained an all-too-pervasive part of Indian life”.

All politics and violence in India revolves around "religion, clan and caste".

"Despite genuine economic progress, India remained a chaotic and impoverished place: largely divided by religion and caste, captive to the whims of corrupt local officials and power brokers".

Indians take "great pride in the knowledge that India had developed nuclear weapons to match Pakistan's, untroubled by the fact that a single miscalculation by either side could risk regional annihilation".

"(Manmohan) Singh had resisted calls to retaliate against Pakistan after the (Mumbai) attacks, but his restraint had cost him politically. He feared that rising anti-Muslim sentiment had strengthened the influence of India’s main opposition party, the Hindu nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP)"

"Across the country (India), millions continued to live in squalor, trapped in sunbaked villages or labyrinthine slums, even as the titans of Indian industry enjoyed lifestyles that the rajas and moguls of old would have envied".

“Joe (Biden) weighed in against the (Usama Bin Laden) raid (on compound in Pakistan)”

Riaz Haq said...

Vijaita Singh
In light of the latest NYT report that Pegasus was sold to India in 2017,same year PM Modi visited is our February 2017 report on NSCS budget (Rs 333 crore) getting an inexplicable tenfold hike in 2017-18 budget.


Security council secretariat gets Rs.333 crore, a tenfold hike
Vijaita Singh

The National Security Council Secretariat (NSCS), which reports to National Security Adviser (NSA) Ajit Doval, has seen a tenfold increase in budgetary allocation this year.

Last fiscal, though ₹33 crore was allotted to the NSCS, it ended up spending ₹81 crore; this year the allocation has shot up to ₹333 crore.

NSCS works as an advisory group, comprising various experts on security-related matters, and is headed by deputy NSA Arvind Gupta. The body is responsible for advising the Prime Minister on key strategic and security issues, both on domestic as well as international fronts, and consists of academics and eminent professionals.

Brainchild of Brajesh
Mr. Doval, who is said to be the final authority on all major security-related decisions, has had a deep interest in reviving the scope of NSCS, which was the brainchild of late former NSA Brajesh Mishra.

Mr. Mishra set up the NSCS in 1998 under the then Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee.

In 2011-12, only ₹ 17.43 crore was allocated for the body. In 2012-13, it was marginally increased to ₹20.33 crore, going up to ₹26.06 crore in 2013-14.

After NDA-II came to power in 2014-15, the allocation for NSCS was increased to ₹44.46 crore but it could spend only ₹25 crore.

A subsidiary
The National Security Advisory Board (NSAB), which draws experts from all fields, is a subsidiary of NSCS and so is the Joint Intelligence Committee (JIC). The allocation for the office of the Principal Scientific Adviser to the Prime Minister has also increased substantially from ₹5.19 crore to ₹34.83 crore.

“The funds being allotted for NSCS were always insufficient and the increase in funds is a welcome step. It does security analysis, war-gaming etc. and advises the government on key security issues,” said a former member of NSCS, on condition of anonymity.

NSCS has about 100 staff of all scales. “The increase has got to do with activities. There is much more activity than ever in the past,” said a senior official.

Limited ambit
Another official pointed out that NSCS has a limited ambit, so it was surprising to see such a dramatic budget hike.

Riaz Haq said...

In a 30-minute interview to Karan Thapar for The Wire to discuss his book ‘India’s Pakistan Conundrum’, Sharat Sabharwal ( ex Indian Ambassador to Pakistan) identified three preconceived notions that the Indian people must discard. First, he says it’s not in India’s interests to promote the disintegration of Pakistan. “The resulting chaos will not leave India untouched”.

Second, Indians must disabuse themselves of the belief that India has the capacity to inflict a decisive military blow on Pakistan in conventional terms. “The nuclear dimension has made it extremely risky, if not impossible, for India to give a decisive military blow to Pakistan to coerce it into changing its behaviour.”

Third, Indians must disabuse themselves of the belief that they can use trade to punish Pakistan. “Use of trade as an instrument to punish Pakistan is both short-sighted and ineffective because of the relatively small volume of Pakistani exports to India.”


Historically, the relationship between India and Pakistan has been mired in conflicts, war, and lack of trust. Pakistan has continued to loom large on India's horizon despite the growing gap between the two countries. This book examines the nature of the Pakistani state, its internal dynamics, and its impact on India.

The text looks at key issues of the India-Pakistan relationship, appraises a range of India's policy options to address the Pakistan conundrum, and proposes a way forward for India's Pakistan policy. Drawing on the author's experience of two diplomatic stints in Pakistan, including as the High Commissioner of India, the book offers a unique insider's perspective on this critical relationship.

A crucial intervention in diplomatic history and the analysis of India's Pakistan policy, the book will be of as much interest to the general reader as to scholars and researchers of foreign policy, strategic studies, international relations, South Asia studies, diplomacy, and political science.

Riaz Haq said...

Arif Rafiq
I wanted to write last month on how Jaishankar's rhetoric has become markedly more Hindu nationalist, but became unnecessary after
wrote this great cover story for
on that very topic. Covers so much ground. Highly recommend it.

WHEN THE FOREIGN SECRETARY, Sujatha Singh, got a call from the external-affairs minister’s office in January 2015, she knew something was up. Sushma Swaraj wanted to set up a meeting for 2 pm on 28 January but would not say what the meeting was about. This was unusual and enough to make Singh wary. When she went in, she tried to keep up appearances and began briefing the minister about the next day’s plan. But, before long, Swaraj conveyed the disappointing news. Prime Minister Narendra Modi wanted to replace her as foreign secretary, with Subrahmanyam Jaishankar. She would not serve a full two-year term, which was to end in six months.

When she described this sequence of events to the journalist Karan Thapar, Singh’s voice was heavy with emotion. The news of her curtailment had made headlines—it was a shocking and rare development in the history of the Indian Foreign Service. The only other time a foreign secretary had been unceremoniously replaced was in 1987. AP Venkateswaran had a reputation for being blunt and not being a pliant bureaucrat; he was known, for instance, to have differences with various officials, including the Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi—on sending the Indian Peace Keeping Force into Sri Lanka. In a televised interview, Gandhi finally dropped a bomb: “Soon you will be talking to a new foreign secretary.” Venkateswaran resigned before he could be officially dismissed.

The news of Singh’s dismissal would not have been quite as surprising to her as it must have been for Venkateswaran. “There were bets being laid even before this government was sworn in that I will be one of the first secretaries to go,” she told Thapar. In December 2014, she said, a civil servant in the prime minister’s office had hinted at the possibility of another job for her. Singh had stated clearly that she was not interested in any other job. After she was intimated about Modi’s decision, Singh wrote a letter stating that she was seeking early retirement “as instructed by the Prime Minister.” She told Thapar that she soon received a call from the prime minister’s office, asking her to delete the reference to Modi’s instruction. She did not agree to this, because this was not a voluntary decision.

Riaz Haq said...

India’s #Modi's Wild Vanity Project Already Has Eight Dead #Cheetahs. #Indian prime minister’s PR attempt to reintroduce big cats to #India was doomed from the start, scientists and conservationists say. #BJP #Hindutva

Twenty cheetahs were shipped to India from Southern Africa in a historic intercontinental translocation designed to restore the big cats to the country for the first time in 70 years.

The first delivery was timed to coincide with the Indian prime minister’s birthday last year. Amid huge fanfare leading up to the big day, enormous billboards across major cities in the country advertised this achievement of Narendra Modi and his ruling Bharatiya Janata Party.

Cheetahs—the agile big cats known for their remarkable speed and striking appearance—were declared extinct in India in 1952. Now Modi—the most powerful Indian leader in decades—seemed to be saying he could turn back time and bring these beautiful creatures home to a resurgent India.

The results, so far, of this grandiose plan have been tragic.

The first eight cheetahs arrived from Namibia last September, and another 12 cheetahs from South Africa were introduced to the Kuno National Park—located in the central Indian state of Madhya Pradesh—in February this year.

Hopes across the country were sky high, but even before they arrived, scientists and conservationists were raising major concerns about this unprecedented plan.

Kuno National Park emerged as the location for the reintroduction of cheetahs, beating out 10 surveyed sites in five central Indian states, according to the government’s action plan. Studies by conservation researchers, however, disagreed.

The action plan, devised by the Wildlife Institute of India, says that this decision was influenced by Kuno National Park’s “suitable habitat and abundant prey base.” Scientists, again, disagree.

While the ambitious plan to reintroduce cheetahs was being put into action, there were murmurs of concern among India’s wildlife community. They said the plan was “ecologically unsound” besides being costly and “may serve as a distraction rather than help global cheetah conservation efforts.”

Modi ignored their fears. In 2012, the Supreme Court of India had already intervened by putting a stay on the government’s plans to import cheetahs, and in 2013, the apex court reaffirmed its position, emphasizing the necessity for the government to present a comprehensive study before any consideration could be given to introducing cheetahs from Africa.

In 2017, the National Tiger Conservation Authority in India made an appeal to the apex court to reconsider its decision. Following the appeal, the Supreme Court granted permission in 2020 to introduce the cheetah on an “experimental basis.”

Many raised objections.

‘Flawed from the start’
As time passed, the fears of the wildlife community began to materialize as one by one, the big cats started losing their lives. Since March this year, a total of eight—including three cubs born to a Namibian cheetah named Jwala—have lost their lives at the park, adding to the growing toll of cheetah deaths.

Many argued the grand project—which cost $6 million so far—is on the brink of failure.

Dr. Arjun M. Gopalaswamy, a renowned big cat scientist in India told The Daily Beast: “The project was already flawed but now these unforeseen deaths, inexplicable deaths have made it far worse than what we thought.” He says the project is now at a “salvage point.”

India, despite the mounting demographic pressure, has lost only one large wild species of mammals since its independence from the British in 1947—the cheetah. And hence its reintroduction “has a very special significance for the national conservation ethic and ethos.” The Indian government believes that bringing back the cheetah will have “equally important conservation ramifications.”

Riaz Haq said...

#Pakistan beats #India 38-18 in #UNESCO vote for executive board vice chair. This also comes at a time when India has been projecting itself as the ‘voice’ of the ‘Global South’ — low- and middle-income countries in #Africa, #Asia and #LatinAmerica.

Islamabad's candidate secured the post of vice-chairperson of the UNESCO executive board. India’s defeat contravenes decades of its diplomatic policy approach to such elections.

New Delhi: Pakistan beat India with more than double the votes to secure the post of vice-chair of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO) executive board last week. While 38 members of the 58-member executive board voted for Islamabad’s candidate, only 18 voted for New Delhi’s representative, and two countries abstained.

The executive board is one of the three constitutional organs of UNESCO — a specialised agency of the United Nations (UN) aimed at promoting world peace and security through international cooperation in education, sciences, culture, communication and information. The other two are the general conference and the secretariat.

India was elected to the UNESCO executive board in 2021 for a four-year term till 2025. Pakistan was elected earlier this year for a four-year term that will end in 2027.

India’s defeat in this vote contravenes decades of its diplomatic policy approach to such elections. “India’s policy has always been to stand in elections that are winnable. If the election is deemed risky, then full efforts are made to ensure India’s victory,” an individual familiar with the matter told ThePrint.

This also comes at a time when India has been projecting itself as the ‘voice’ of the ‘Global South’ — a term used to refer to low- and middle-income countries located in the Southern Hemisphere, mainly in Africa, Asia and Latin America. While the election was held by secret ballot, that India received only 18 votes suggests that these ‘Global South’ countries may have largely sided with Pakistan, since they form the majority of the board members.

The bureau of the executive board consists of 12 members — the chairperson, six vice-chairpersons and the five chairpersons of the permanent commissions and committees. The key roles played by the bureau include setting the agenda and allocating time for executive board meetings. The vice-chairperson has no decision-making powers.

All members of UNESCO are grouped into six regional electoral groups, and each such group is represented by a vice-chairperson. This latest election won by Pakistan was for the vice-chairperson of Group IV, which includes Australia, Bangladesh, China, Cook Islands, India, Indonesia, Japan, the Philippines, Republic of Korea, Sri Lanka and Vietnam.

On 24 November, the spokesperson for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Pakistan had posted on X, stating that Islamabad was elected as vice-chairperson with “overwhelming support”.

India’s permanent representative to the UNESCO is a political appointee, Vishal V. Sharma, a former independent director of Bharat Petroleum Corporation Limited (BPCL) as well as former officer on special duty to Narendra Modi when he was Gujarat chief minister.

Riaz Haq said...

Sara Adam, who has worked as a data analyst in the CIA, has made a startling claim that India has paid Mullah Yaqoob and the Afghan Taliban $10 million for extra judicial killings of Kashmiris and Sikhs inside Pakistan.


Sarah Adams was speaking on Shawn Ryan Show, the video of which was uploaded on 10th June on YouTube. She claimed that India has given the Taliban $10 million and has been taking care of the personal security of Mullah Hibatullah Akhundzada (the supreme leader of the Taliban). She claimed that India could also be behind the killings of the pro-Khalsitan elements.

She said: “So I was trying to find the US money but then there’s all these other pots of money right and so then you’re kind of like okay what’s happening with them? India does this thing where they give a little bit of money. I told you how there’s Mullah Yaqoob, Mullah Omar’s son, he has another brother Daud. India kind of works with him and they give him money. It’s just kind of like the little things they do with the Baloch like the Balochistan Liberation Army (BLA) and TTP (Tehrik-i-Taliban Pakistan). It’s like the things they do to poke Pakistan. They have that going on which I knew about. Then I heard they gave $10 million to Mullah Yaqoob. They went up a step and it’s like well what’s this 10 million for and what are they doing with it? The 10 million went to fund the Gecko base. I’ve never worked in the Gecko base. So it is now the location of Mullah Hibatullah Akhundzada’s personal security.”

Sarah Adams said: “It’s like the Indian government or you know probably Intel service is funding his personal security. This makes no sense and it’s not even tons of money compared to what we’re putting in so I have all these questions. What is India getting and also really what’s the Taliban getting because they don’t give a damn about $10 million? This is going to sound like the craziest thing ever but what the Indians and the Taliban are doing, I kid you not, India is using the Taliban’s network to assassinate Kashmiri militants in Pakistan.”

The ex-CIA officer revealed, “They’re using the Taliban networks and then they’re doing these assassinations. They’re happening all over Pakistan like in Lahore, Karachi and other parts. This is really risky for the Taliban if people find out. It seems like it could rock the boat. They are using their networks and are the Taliban networks that good to take out senior Kashmiri people? Maybe and maybe they’re not. The interesting part and my theory is that India gains what they’re gaining. These are terrorists and some of these guys they wanted for 30 years. I went through a list of 18 of them. I don’t know if they’re all dead. Pakistan could have heard India had come to kill them and put some of them in a safe house. So there are 18 targeted. I went through all 18 to make sure I knew who they were because I’ve worked on Kashmir forever and to see what group they were. I went through all of them and they were the groups you can imagine, Lashkar-e-Taiba, Jaish-e-Mohammed, Hizbul Mujahideen and the last one was Al Badr Mujahideen.”