Friday, October 23, 2015

US Reaffirms Ties With Pakistan; Obama Pledges Continuing Support

All the speculations about the United States walking away from Pakistan this year have been proved wrong by the joint statement issued by the White House after this week's summit meeting between Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and US President Barack Obama in Washington D.C.

US-Pakistan Joint Statement:

The US-Pakistan joint statement reaffirmed "enduring U.S.-Pakistan partnership" for "a prosperous Pakistan, and a more stable region."  It commits the two sides to work "jointly toward strengthening strategic stability in South Asia".  The statement further said that "President Obama expressed support for Pakistan’s efforts to secure funding for Diamer­ Bhasha and Dasu dams to help meet Pakistan’s energy and water needs."

Referring to the strained India-Pakistan ties, the statement said that both leaders "emphasized the importance of a sustained and resilient dialogue process between the two neighbors aimed at resolving all outstanding territorial and other disputes, including Kashmir, through peaceful means and working together to address mutual concerns of India and Pakistan regarding terrorism".

US Assistance to Pakistan:

There are also media reports indicating that President Obama has decided to sell 8 new F-16s to Pakistan.  Mr. Obama has also pledged $900 million in assistance to Pakistan for 2015-16. In addition, both Washington Post and New York Times have reported that the United States wants to negotiate a civil nuclear deal with Pakistan. Pakistan has said it will not accept any conditions that limit its nuclear weapons program in exchange for a civil nuclear deal with the United States.

India's Strong Negative Reaction:

As expected, India has reacted with anger to references to US support for strategic stability in South Asia region, support for Diamer Bhasha dam financing and resolution of Kashmir issue through peaceful means. The reports of F-16 sale to Pakistan and possible US-Pakistan civil nuclear deal have also elicited a strong negative reaction in New Delhi.

The US-Pakistan joint statement and several White House fact sheets have detailed US-Pakistan cooperation in education, energy, trade and investment, defense, cybersecurity and counter terrorism.

US-Pakistan Partnerships:

Under the U.S.-Pakistan Clean Energy Partnership, the United States said it "will work with the Government of Pakistan to advance energy sector reforms, improve the investment framework, and make targeted investments that will enable U.S., Pakistani, and international private sector developers to add at least 3,000 megawatts (MW) of clean power generation infrastructure to Pakistan’s national electricity system, benefitting 30 million Pakistanis".

Under the Education partnership, the United States, through the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), committed $70 million to work jointly with the Government of Pakistan and other partners to help educate and empower more than 200,000 additional adolescent girls across Pakistan.

The United States is already funding three centers for advanced studies for agriculture, energy and water under the education partnership. The Center For Advanced Studies in Agriculture is at the University of Agriculture in Faisalabad, the Center For Advanced Studies in energy at Peshawar University and the Center For Advance Studies in water at  Mehran University. These centers are working with major US universities.

Under Trade and Investment Partnership,  the United States will help upgrade the capabilities of the ready-made garments (RMG) sector through support of vocational centers dedicated to RMG and improvements in industry labor conditions. U.S. assistance will also help scale-up Pakistan’s International Labor Organization (ILO)-International Labor Standards (ILS) Textile program and support the launch of an ILO “Better Work Program.” Also, the United States will support an investment event in New York to highlight opportunities in Pakistan’s RMG industry and other sectors.  The Office of the U.S. Trade Representative will assist the Government of Pakistan in identifying and petitioning for additional GSP tariff lines and to obtain eligibility for exports of goods under newly GSP-eligible travel goods tariff lines.


The latest Obama-Sharif Summit in Washington has cleared up any confusion that may have been created by the continuing US troop withdrawal from Afghanistan and the expiration of Kerry-Lugar Bill. The US-Pakistan joint statement has firmly established continuing US interest in maintaining close ties with Pakistan.   Pakistan's strategic location makes it attractive to both the United States and China, the world's two largest economic and military powers, to maintain close ties with it. What comes out of these ties will ultimately be determined by how well the Pakistani leaders leverage them for maximum benefit for the well-being of the people of Pakistan.

Related Links:

Haq's Musings

US-Pakistan Civil Nuclear Deal

China-Pakistan Industrial Corridor

How Strategic Are China-Pakistan Ties? 

India's Proxy War Against Pakistan

Pakistan Economic Recovery: Car Sales Jump 72%, Cement Sales Up 17%

Renewable Power in Pakistan

Floods and Drought Cycles in Pakistan


Riaz Haq said...

#Pakistan Govt considering financing options for Bhasha Dam project via @sharethis

After reluctance shown by World Bank and Asian Development Bank (ADB) to finance Bhasha Dam, Pakistan is considering different options including seeking multi-billion dollar loan from China and launching bond to attract overseas Pakistanis for investing in it.

“We are considering unbundling Bhasha Dam into construction of hydropower Dam then power turbines will be built into IPPs mode. We had already invested Rs100 billion on acquisition of land for Bhasha Dam,” official sources confirmed to The News here on Sunday.

Federal Minister for Planning Ahsan Iqbal told ‘The News’ that the groundbreaking ceremony of Bhasha Dam would be held during the next calendar year 2016. He said that one Chinese company showed its interest to invest $40 to $50 billion in hydropower projects and currently they were conducting their feasibility studies to select projects.

He said that the government was also actively considering launching international bond to attract overseas Pakistanis for investing into this project. It is our endeavour to complete this project at all costs, he added.

One option is to seek assistance from China inside or outside the China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) for which Beijing had committed $46.2 billion for energy and infrastructure projects over medium to long-term basis.

The WB and ADB were not ready to finance Bhasha project owing to different excuses but the main hurdle was objections raised by New Delhi on this project.

So the options are limited as US had also indicated to provide financing but they have not so far delivered their promises in the past few years.

According to the technical feasibility for Diamer-Bhasha Dam Project, prepared by Wapda, the installed capacity would be 4,500MW. There will be 12 units having capacity of 375MW each and the average annual generation of the Dam will be 19,000GWH.

The Diamer-Bhasha Dam project is located on Indus River about 315 km upstream of Tarbela Dam, 165 km downstream of Northern Areas capital Gligit and 40 km downstream of Chilas.

On the main Dam, the type of the Diamer-Bhasha Dam will be Roller Compacted Concrete (RCC). The maximum height of the Dam will be 270 m (highest of its type in the world). On diversion system, there will be 2 number Diversion Tunnel (right side) and 1 number Diversion Tunnel (right side). Regarding main spillways, there will be 14 gates and the size of each gate will be 11.0 x 16.5 m.

On the reservoir side, the maximum operating level of Diamer Bhasha Dam will be EI 1,160m and minimum operating level of EI is 1060m. The Gross Capacity of the Dam will be 9.0 BCM (7.3 Million Acre Feet MAF). The live capacity of the Dam will be 7.9 BCM (6.4 MAF).

Regarding the outlets of the Bhasha Dam, the technical feasibility illustrates that there will be 7 low level outlets and five sluicing.

On sluicing tunnels, the Diamer-Bhasha Dam will have one right bank (through conversion of one diversion tunnel) and on the left bank there will be another tunnel.

Singh said...

Meanwhile back in. Pakistan:

The visit -

Excerpt :
As expected, after what seemed to be a cordial two-hour marathon meeting between Nawaz and Obama, the joint statement focused on Pakistan’s agreement to take action against all terrorist outfits, including the Haqqani group and the Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT). The promise that the groups would not be allowed to operate from Pakistani soil suggests that the bulk of the meeting was uni-directional with the US president making demands of PM Nawaz. Combined with a vague statement proposing confidence-building measures along the Line of Control with India and President Obama raising the ‘continuing threat of nuclear terrorism’, it seems Nawaz was made to listen more than talk. There was also no nuclear deal signed – something Pakistan has hoped for a long time, arguing that the civilian use of nuclear energy could greatly help us solve our power crisis.

Riaz Haq said...

Singh: "Meanwhile back in. Pakistan: The visit -"

Meanwhile in India: US-Pakistan bonhomie leaves India at a loss

External Affairs Ministry says offer of F-16 fighter jets will affect regional stability in South Asia.

India on Friday took exception to the American appreciation for Pakistan’s anti-terror operations and the American pledge to provide eight F-16 aircraft to the Pakistan Air Force.

At a weekly press conference, External Affairs Ministry spokesperson Vikas Swarup, said: “Our reservations about providing such platforms [F-16] to Pakistan are well known and all countries are aware of India’s position in such cases.” He said supply of such strategic platforms to Pakistan could not help South Asia, especially in view of reports that Pakistan had acquired tactical and miniaturised battlefield nuclear weapons.

The joint statement issued at the end of Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif’s visit to Washington DC has been criticised in Indian policy circles as it entrusts Pakistan with maintaining “strategic stability” in South Asia. Experts have argued that the American decision-makers have misread Pakistani commitment to strategic stability in South Asia, especially since gifting the F-16 jets will further embolden Pakistan’s reckless nuclear establishment. “Pakistan is already the largest owner of nuclear weapons in South Asia. It is a known beneficiary of a clandestine nuclear programme. How can strategic stability in South Asia be maintained by gifting fighter jets to a country which has violated all norms of regional peace and stability,” asked Ajay Lele of the Institute for Defence Studies and Analyses (IDSA).

That apart, India has also expressed reservations about the support President Barack Obama has extended to securing finances for the Diamer-Bhasha and Dasu dams in Gilgit Baltistan which India believes cannot be built because of it is in an area under “illegal occupation of Pakistan.” The joint statement repeatedly referred to Pakistan’s need to deal with issues arising out of water and energy issues and both sides have also joined hands for researching on water to help Pakistan.

The joint statement was dissected critically by India which finds the Obama-Sharif call for dialogue on Kashmir an irritant. That apart, India has been surprised by the description of “terrorism as of mutual concern” between India and Pakistan.

Riaz Haq said...

Modi must follow Vajpayee’s hand of friendship policy with Pakistan: Farooq Abdullah
Observing that not only Kashmiris but also Muslims in general are feeling whether they are safe in this country, Abdullah said the Government of the day is doing nothing to allay their fears.

Former Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Farooq Abdullah on Saturday said Prime Minister Narendra Modi should follow Atal Bihari Vajpayee’s policy of friendship with Pakistan to find a solution to Kashmir issue, saying he will not be able to win hearts and minds of Kashmiris merely by doling out packages. Observing that not only Kashmiris but also Muslims in general are feeling whether they are safe in this country, Abdullah said the Government of the day is doing nothing to allay their fears.

Terming the situation in Kashmir as “very dangerous”, Abdullah said that even if the Prime Minister announces a Rs one lakh crore package, it is not going to win heart and minds of people by only dishing money. “Final solution of the state has to be done with Pakistan. Otherwise we will suffer. The terrorists will keep on coming. What do we have to show other than God’s beauty that we have. And tourists don’t come when there is fear that their life is not safe. Has the Prime Minister tried to remove that fear in the mind of people of India,” Abdullah told Karan Thapar’s ‘Nothing but the Truth’ telecast on India Today. Advocating that talking to Pakistan was must, he said, “it is vital for our survival so that we can progress like other states of India. Other states have reached the moon and we are still on the ground.” And the National Conference leader’s advice for Modi was that he should follow what Vajpayee, a BJP stalwart and a former Prime Minister, did by inviting the then Pakistan President Gen Pervez Musharraf despite the Kargil war as he was clear that if the nation has to progress, then friendly ties with the neighbours are must. “Vajpayee ji said that he will talk about Kashmir within realms of humanity (Insanayaat ke daayre mein) and this is what the present Government should do. “I would tell him that if he wants to be the next Mahatma Gandhi of India, then be strong to fight those forces that are trying to divide this nation, divide religion, divide areas. Fight them and become greater than Mahatma Gandhi,” Abdullah said in a veiled reference to right wing outfits which he blamed for spreading communal hatred in the country. Abdullah said that he was not worried about his state only but the whole nation. “The communal tendencies that are rising in the nation are threatening the very existence of the state and what is happening here is exactly a fall out of that. The young man who was dead in Udhampur (truck conductor) has actually flared up and people are justified. What was his fault? And People are rising against it because the whole nation is in turmoil,” he said. Talking about the beef controversy, Abdullah said what the independent MLA Sheikh Abdul Rashid did by hosting a beef party at MLA hostel was wrong but his beating up by BJP MLAs in the state Assembly was also wrong. He asked all nationalist parties to cut across their party lines and act quickly to defuse the beef row. “Do not underestimate this. The younger mind who are educated are thinking about it. We must take steps urgently. All those who are nationalist, whether they belong to one party or the other, must take action quickly to turn the tide to a different side. Don’t sit on the edge of the disaster,” he said. He said the present communal tension was threatening the existence of the state as well. “I am afraid of another thing, the breaking of the state of Jammu and Kashmir and Ladakh, Jammu going one way, Leh going other and the Valley going other way. This is more dangerous also. People (politicians) are not waking up to the dangers that are in front of us,” Farooq added. -

See more at:

Ash said...

Best of luck if you want to keep nurturing LeT and Haqqanis. Don't blame India when they turn rabid. Some people never learn

Riaz Haq said...

Ash: "Best of luck if you want to keep nurturing LeT and Haqqanis. Don't blame India when they turn rabid. Some people never learn"

Modi and his Sangh Parivar are doing a much better job of terrorizing large parts of India than LeT or Haqqanis could ever imagine.

Riaz Haq said...

The Obama administration is preparing to sell eight F-16 fighter jets to Pakistan in an attempt to bolster the two countries' relationship despite Washington's reservations about Pakistan's growing nuclear arsenal, said a report published on The New York Times (NYT) website.

The aircraft sales, which the United States (US) Congress could block, would be a symbolic step given Pakistan's current large fleet of fighter jets.

According to the NYT report, the Congress was notified just days ago about the proposed sale of the additional fighters although it is not clear if the White House plans to announce the sale of the aircraft during Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif's ongoing visit to Washington.

Know more: Nawaz arrives in US on four-day visit

The new fighter jets would add to Pakistan’s sizable force of fighter jets which includes more than 70 F-16s and dozens of French and Chinese attack aircraft, the report said.

Earlier in April, the US State Department approved Pakistan’s request for a billion dollars worth of military hardware and equipment, identifying Pakistan as a country of vital importance for US foreign policy and national interests.

In May this year, the US handed over to Pakistan over 14 combat aircraft, 59 military trainer jets and 374 armoured personnel carriers, Dawn newspaper had reported. The weapons supplied to Pakistan were earlier used by American forces in Afghanistan and Iraq.

The NYT report says that many in the US Congress are concerned that the F-16 jets are more useful to Pakistan in its long confrontation with India than for counterterrorism operations.

It is not certain whether the Congress will approve the deal. According to NYT, the Congress and the US State Department are already in a standoff over an effort to sell used Navy cutter vessels to Pakistan earlier this year.

In March, the US House Committee on Foreign Affairs put a hold on about $150 million in foreign military financing. The committee said the cutters were not essential to fighting militants, NYT quoted American officials as saying.

The decision of the sale of fighter jets comes ahead of Thursday's meeting between President Barack Obama and Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif.

Obama is expected to press Nawaz on the Taliban, nuclear safety and a range of other issues when the troubled allies meet at the White House.

Despite efforts to smooth divisions behind handshakes, smiles and items of agreement, long-standing security concerns are likely to dominate the Oval Office discussions.

Take a look: PAF wants to buy Chinese stealth aircraft: minister

Islamabad's alleged ties with the Afghan Taliban, its alleged support for groups opposed to India and the US and its rapidly growing nuclear arsenal are seen by Washington as security headaches.

Anonymous said...

Both are good reads.

Riaz Haq said...

Anon: " Both are good reads."

Even better read by Talween Singh's son Aatish Taseer in NY Times:

#Modi's (and his cabinet's) poor education, #India's great educational divide fueling anti-#Muslim bigotry, hate?

Aatish Taseer Op Ed in NY Times:

In India, the Congress Party was liberal, left-leaning and secular; but it was also the party of the colonized elite. That meant that practically everyone who was rich, and educated, and grew up speaking English, was also invariably a supporter of Congress.


The cabinet, save for the rare exception, is made up of too many crude, bigoted provincials, united far more by a lack of education than anything so grand as ideology. At the time of writing — and here the one will have to speak for the many — Mr. Modi’s minister of culture had just said of a former Muslim president: “Despite being a Muslim, he was a great nationalist and humanist.”

Some 10 days later, there was the hideous incident in which a Muslim man was lynched by a Hindu mob in a village outside Delhi, on the suspicion of slaughtering a cow and eating beef. It was a defining moment, the culmination of 16 months of cultural chauvinism and hysteria under Mr. Modi, the scarcely veiled target of which are India’s roughly 170 million Muslims. This ugliness is eclipsing Mr. Modi’s development agenda, and just this week, there was yet another incident in which a Kashmiri politician was attacked in Srinagar for hosting “a beef party.”

Poisonous as these attitudes are, they have much more to do with class than politics. They are so obviously part of the vulgarity that accompanies violent social change. If the great drama of our grandparents’ generation was independence, and our parents’ that post-colonial period, ours represents the twilight of the (admittedly flawed) English-speaking classes, and an unraveling of the social and moral order they held in place. A new country is seething with life, but not all vitality is pretty, and there now exists a glaring cultural and intellectual gap between India’s old, entrenched elite and the emerging electorate.

In other places, education would have helped close the gap; it would have helped the country make a whole of the social change it was witnessing. No society is so equitable that men as economically far apart as Bill Clinton and George W. Bush — or as Ed Miliband and David Cameron, for that matter — would have attended the same schools. But, in England and America, there is Oxford and Yale to level the field, to give both men the means to speak to each other.

This is not true of India. In India, one class has had access to the best private schools and foreign universities, where all the instruction is in English; the other has had to make do with the state schools and universities Indian socialism bequeathed them. The two classes almost never meet; they don’t even speak the same language. It has left India divided between an isolated superelite (and if you’re an Indian reading this, you’re probably part of it!) and an emerging middle class that may well lack the intellectual tools needed to channel its vitality.


In another society, with the benefit of a real education, Mr. Modi might have been something more than he was. Then it would be possible to imagine a place with real political differences, and not one in which left and right were divided along the blade of a knife by differences in class, language and education. But just as that other society does not yet exist, neither does that other Modi. Indians will have to make do with the Modi they have; and, as things stand, perhaps the cynics are right: Perhaps this great hope of Indian democracy, with his limited reading and education, is not equal to the enormous task before him.

Anonymous said...

Aatish Taseer, son of a Pakistani. Couldn't have expected better from him. He gives no fact, no sources, no thoughts nothing. Just simple stupid rants. His opinions are not based in reality and facts, many of the middle class and elites in India rub shoulders in Indian Institutes of higher learning ie, likes of IITs and IIMs, where entrance is purely based on merit.

In america, if there is anything then the Ivy leagues have widened the gap between rich and poor, super elites go to Harvard, Yale etc while poor people attend community colleges. Ivy league Tution in America is simply unaffordable. I dont think the writer has any sense of reality about India and US.

About that stupid beef incidences, tell me how many gun shoots in schools have happened in the US and why is Obama not being blamed like Modi is being blamed for one lynching which happened in a village where state government was not even BJP! Police, according of to Indian constitution comes under state list.

Abdul Jabbar said...

I think this visit is useless,Goals were not fulfilled.

Riaz Haq said...

Declassified US documents reveal #India planned attack on #Pakistan nuclear facilities at #Kahuta in 1985. #nukes …

Last week, the US State department declassified its top-secret documents from 1984-85 which focus on the Pakistani nuclear programme. The CIA analysis, and the talking points for the US Ambassador to Islamabad while handing over President Ronald Reagan’s letter to General Zia-ul Haq, show that the US warned Pakistan about an Indian military attack on the Pakistani nuclear reactor at Kahuta. But the Americans were not alone in anticipating an Indian attack. Prof Rajesh Rajagopalan of JNU recently pointed to The End of the Cold War and the Third World: New Perspectives on Regional Conflict, a book by Sergey Radchenko and Artemy M. Kalinovsky based on the declassified documents of the Eastern Block. Radchenko says that documents in the Hungarian archives show that the Soviets had shared with the Hungarians India’s plans to attack Kahuta. It is not clear though, Rajagopalan says, if the Soviets actually had access to any Indian plans or were only reporting widespread rumours. The rumours were indeed widespread, and The Washington Post had run a front-page story on December 20, 1982 headlined, ‘India said to eye raid on Pakistan’s A-plants’. It said military advisers had proposed an attack to prime minister Indira Gandhi in March 1982 but she had rejected it. In his book, India’s Nuclear Policy —1964-98: A Personal Recollection, K Subrahmanyam recollected that the Indian proposal to Pakistan for non-attack on each other’s nuclear facilities, which he suggested to Rajiv Gandhi, was an outcome of such rumours in the Western media. Although the ‘Agreement on the Non-Attack of Nuclear Facilities between Indian and Pakistan’ was first verbally agreed upon in 1985, it was formally signed in 1988 and ratified in 1991. Since 1992, India and Pakistan have been exchanging the list of their nuclear facilities on January 1 every year. -

But how close was India to attacking Kahuta in the 1980s? The first time India is believed to have considered such an attack is in 1981. The idea obviously originated from the daring Israeli attack of June 7, 1981, that destroyed the under-construction Iraqi nuclear reactor at Osirak. Eight F-16s of the Israeli Air Force flew more than 600 miles in the skies of three enemy nations to destroy the target and returned unscathed. In 1996, WPS Sidhu, senior fellow for foreign policy at Brookings India, was the first to state that after the induction of Jaguars, Indian Air Force (IAF) had conducted a brief study in June 1981 on the feasibility of attacking Kahuta. The study concluded that India could “attack and neutralise” Kahuta but feared that such an attack would result in a full-blown war between India and Pakistan. This was besides the concerns that an Indian attack will beget an immediate retaliatory — some say, even pre-emptive

Riaz Haq said...

The Hindu Op Ed on Nawaz Sharif visit to Washington:

The visit and its stated outcomes undermine an increasingly fashionable strategic theory that an emerging polarisation is giving shape to two axes in South Asia – Pakistan and China on the one side and the U.S. and India on the other. As a U.S. official who briefed the Indian media put it candidly, the U.S. has global intentions that will not allow it to choose between Pakistan and India, or tilt towards either of them. He went on to clarify that relations with Pakistan and India stand on their individual merits. India should not misread the energy and intensity in its relationship with the U.S., demonstrated most recently during the Strategic and Commercial Dialogue and the meeting between Prime Minister Narendra Modi and President Obama last month, as U.S. willingness to jettison Pakistan. Pakistan continues to leverage its strategic location at the frontier of Afghanistan and China, and to a lesser extent, India. The U.S. appears clear that its South Asia policy involves a composite approach involving India, Pakistan and Afghanistan in its search for stability and peace, as well as of the fact that Pakistan is an important partner in the fight against global terrorism. The joint statement and the anticipated decisions – which will possibly include the sale of new F-16 fighter aircraft to Pakistan and the continuation of the Coalition Support Fund beyond 2016 – make it clear that the U.S. cannot afford to, and will not, overlook Pakistan’s significance as a regional strategic player. It will be unwise and ill-advised for India to assume it would be so.

Majumdar said...

Prof sb,

Ever since the demise of the Soviet Union in 1991, both the world's surviving superpowers (USA and China) have leaned towards Pakiland. And yet in this period, Pakiland has often struggled rather than strived. What gives, sir?


Riaz Haq said...

Anon: "Just simple stupid rants. His opinions are not based in reality and facts, many of the middle class and elites in India rub shoulders in Indian Institutes of higher learning ie, likes of IITs and IIMs, where entrance is purely based on merit. "

What do they teach at IITs and IIMs? Do they teach history, humanities or liberal arts? Or critical thinking?

The answer is NO!!!

In fact, the quality of higher education in India is very poor.

Some India watchers such as Fareed Zakaria, an Indian-American who often acts as a cheerleader for India in the US, have expressed doubts about the quality of education at the Indian Institutes of Technology. In his book "The Post-American World", Zakaria argues that "many of the IITs are decidedly second-rate, with mediocre equipment, indifferent teachers, and unimaginative classwork." Zakaria says the key strength of the IIT graduates is the fact that they must pass "one of the world's most ruthlessly competitive entrance exams. Three hundred thousand people take it, five thousand are admitted--an acceptance rate of 1.7% (compared with 9 to 10 percent for Harvard, Yale, and Princeton)."

The quality of education at Indian schools is so poor that Indian kids rank at or near bottom on international tests like PISA and TIMSS.

Riaz Haq said...

Anon: "Just simple stupid rants. His opinions are not based in reality and facts, many of the middle class and elites in India rub shoulders in Indian Institutes of higher learning ie, likes of IITs and IIMs, where entrance is purely based on merit. "

Here's a piece by Thane Richard, a Brown University student who did a semester abroad at St. Stephens College in India:

“Wait, what?! You are studying here for three years just so you can go do it again for four more years?” I could not grasp the logic of this. What changed my understanding was when I started taking classes at St. Stephen’s College. Except for one, they were horrible.
This was not an isolated incident — all my fellow exchange students concurred that the academics were a joke compared to what we were used to back home. In one economic history class the professor would enter the room, take attendance, open his notebook, and begin reading. He would read his notes word for word while we, his students, copied these notes word for word until the bell sounded. Next class he would find the spot where the bell had interrupted him, like a storyteller reading to children and trying to recall where he had last put down the story. He would even pause slightly at the end of a long sentence to give us enough time to finish writing before he moved on. And this was only when he decided to show up — many times I arrived on campus to find class abruptly cancelled. Classmates exchanged cell phone numbers and created phone trees just to circulate word of a cancelled class. I got a text almost daily about one of my classes. My foreigner peers had many similar experiences.
To pause for a moment, here is the problem with me talking about this topic: right now many Indians reading this are starting to feel defensive. “Nationalist” is a term I have heard as a self-description as they defend Mother India from the bigoted, criticising foreigner. They focus on me rather than the problem. I have had people unfriend me on Facebook and walk out on meals because I politely expressed an opinion on politics or history that went against the publicly consented “Indian opinion.” For a nation that prides itself on the 17 languages printed on its currency, I am greeted with remarkable intolerance. Even after living in India for close to three years, attending an Indian college, working for an Indian company, founding an Indian company, paying taxes in India, and making India my home, I am not Indian enough to speak my mind. But in a nation that rivals all others in the breadth of its human diversity, who is Indian enough? Because if loyalty and a feeling of patriotism were the barometers for “Indianness,” rather than skin colour or a government document, then I would easily be a dual U.S.-Indian citizen. This Indian defensiveness is false nationalism. It is not a stance that cares about India, it is one that cares about what others think of India, which is not nationalism. That is narcissism.
My voice should be drowned out by the millions around me who are disappointed with how they have been short-changed by the Indian government — their government. Education is one of the most poignant examples of this and serves as great dinner conversation amongst the elite:
“The Indian education system is lost in the past and failing India.” Everyone at the table nods, mumbles their concurrence, and cites the most recent Economist article or Pricewaterhouse Cooper study on the matter in order to masquerade as informed....

Riaz Haq said...

Majumdar: "Ever since the demise of the Soviet Union in 1991, both the world's surviving superpowers (USA and China) have leaned towards Pakiland. And yet in this period, Pakiland has often struggled rather than strived. What gives, sir?"

Pakistan suffers from bad governance, massive corruption and rampant violence---all limit its growth and hamper its ability to realize its potential.

Sushil said...

Poor governance! Too much and unnecessary focus on external "threats" and less attention to internal destructive forces and prudent economic policies.
For example. Pakistan, up until 1990, was ahead of India in per capita income (30% 1985) and had much lower poverty rates. Fast forward to 2015, India is 25% higher in PPP per capita income and almost caught up with Pakistan in poverty rates. Note that Pakistan lost a very poor Bangladeh in 1971 but it received a windfall dividend in terms of a lowest poverty rate due to the split!

Riaz Haq said...

Sushil: "Too much and unnecessary focus on external "threats" and less attention to internal destructive forces and prudent economic policies."

Fact: Pakistan's defense spending has gone down from about 8% of GDP in 1990s to less than 3% of GDP now.

Riaz Haq said...

Ex Indian Foreign Secretary Kanwal Sibal on US-Pakistan ties:

Ex Foreign Sec of #India Kanwal Sibal: Why is #America siding with #Pakistan on #Kashmir? … via @dailyo_


Obama and Sharif expressed their "shared interest in strategic stability in South Asia" in their joint statement. This ignores the fact that China's continuing nuclear and missile relationship with Pakistan makes this a triangular China-Pakistan-India affair and not merely an India-Pakistan one. Moreover, India's nuclear programme is under some agreed constraints as part of the India-US nuclear deal, while that of China and Pakistan are not. Why is the US disregarding these realities and equating India and Pakistan?

Obama applauded in the joint statement "Pakistan's role as a key counterterrorism partner". By reiterating "their common resolve to promote peace and stability throughout the region and to counter all forms of extremism and terrorism", Pakistan was made to look good. Worse, Obama made the suppression of extremism and militancy the cooperative responsibility of all South Asian countries, not only that of Pakistan as the source of all these forces. The defining counterterrorism partnership of the 21st century between India and the US is absent from all this.


Pakistan uses the excuse of Kashmir for its terrorist onslaught against India, which makes it even more necessary not to pander to its Kashmir fixation. But the US is unable to shed its traditional pro-Pakistan slant on Kashmir. Whereas in 2013, during Nawaz Sharif's Washington visit, Obama supported a "sustained dialogue process" for "resolving all outstanding territorial and other disputes through peaceful means", Kashmir was not specifically mentioned. This time, to satisfy Nawaz Sharif who has been determined to internationalise the Kashmir issue, it was. By calling Kashmir a "dispute", the US is preferring the Pakistani term. To top this, the joint statement calls for an "uninterrupted dialogue in support of peaceful resolution of all outstanding disputes", rejecting implicitly the Indian line that dialogue and terror cannot go together.

Most unfortunately, the US has implicitly given credence to Pakistan's outlandish charges against India for supporting terrorism in its territory by emphasising the importance of "working together to address mutual concerns of India and Pakistan regarding terrorism". This equates India and Pakistan on the terrorism issue. Our spokesman has rightly objected to Obama's "support for Pakistan's efforts to secure funding for the Diamer-Bhasha and Dasu dams" in Gilgit-Baltistan, despite calling it "disputed territory".

The US should not legitimise Pakistan's illegal occupation of PoK.

It is important that even as we engage the US as much as possible in our own interest, we must not lose sight of the ambiguities of America's strategic policies towards us in our region.

Riaz Haq said...

University of #California #Davis, #Pakistan launch $17M food,agriculture Center For Advanced Studies at #Faisalabad …

The launch of a $17 million collaborative project linking UC Davis and Pakistan’s leading agricultural university was celebrated today at UCD, which will receive $10 million of the funds.

The new U.S.-Pakistan Center for Advanced Studies in Agriculture and Food Security, funded by the U.S. Agency for International Development, will make it possible for faculty members and graduate students from both countries to study and do research at each other’s campuses. The project also is designed to update curriculum and technical resources at Pakistan’s University of Agriculture, Faisalabad.

Present for today’s ceremonial launch were dignitaries from Pakistan, USAID and UCD.

“UC Davis has been partnering with colleagues in Pakistan since 2009, sharing expertise in agriculture from crop production to post-harvest handling,” said James Hill, associate dean emeritus of International Programs for the College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences at UCD.

“Establishment of this new center will allow us to build on those efforts, with a renewed emphasis on an exchange of faculty and graduate students,” he said.

During its first year of funding, the center will plan several workshops to assist the University of Agriculture, Faisalabad, with technology transfer and entrepreneurship to strengthen its connections to the private sector. UCD also will initiate programs in both research and curriculum development to improve graduate studies.

Hill noted that two other Pakistan-focused projects are already underway through the International Programs office, primarily in the area of horticultural crops and agricultural extension activities.

Agriculture is the largest sector of Pakistan’s economy, providing jobs for half of that country’s labor force. Some of the traditionally important crops in Pakistan are wheat, cotton, rice, sugar cane and maize. In recent years, crops like beans, peas, lentils, onions, potatoes, chilies and tomatoes also have increased in importance, along with fruit crops such as citrus and mangoes.

The newly funded center at UCD is the most recent of several partnerships of the U.S.-Pakistan Centers for Advanced Studies, a $127 million investment from USAID, linking universities in the two countries and using applied research to solve Pakistan’s challenges in energy, water and food security.

The overall program includes construction of laboratories, research facilities and libraries in Pakistan. Other participating U.S. universities include the University of Utah and Arizona State University, focusing on water and energy, respectively.

Shanika said...

Washington insiders not sure which Sharif does what. The general has more say in foreign affairs and doesn't need PM's approval in defense and anti terrorist matters.

The concern is the checks and balances are not at the level and that may give some congressmen many sleepless nights

Riaz Haq said...

Shanika: "The concern is the checks and balances are not at the level and that may give some congressmen many sleepless nights "

US Congressmen are not naive.

They know every country, including their own, has an "establishment" that makes and runs policy.

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

Roemer said that although Narayanan's hawkish stance on Pakistan was well known, his willingness to “distance himself from his boss (Manmohan Singh) in an initial courtesy call would suggest that PM Singh is more isolated than we thought within his own inner circle in his effort to "trust but verify" and pursue talks with Pakistan particularly in the wake of the hammering his government took from opposition for the July Sharm al-Sheikh statement with (Pakistan Prime Minister Yusuf Raza) Gilani.”

In the US, the "establishment" helps shape US policies through its power.

In one of its issues, the Newsweek described how President Obama himself became the target of such pressure tactics during his Afghan policy review last year. Here is how Jonathan Alter explains it in Newsweek:

"In fact, the military, practiced in the ways of Washington, now ran PR circles around the neophytes in the Obama White House, leaking something to the Pentagon reporters nearly every day. The motive for all the leaks seemed clear to the White House: to box the president into the policy that McChrystal had recommended, at least another 80,000 troops and an open-ended commitment lasting 10 years or more.

Admiral Mullen, the son of a Hollywood publicist whose clients included Bob Hope and Jimmy Stewart, looked unassuming but knew how to handle himself in the press. Gen. David Petraeus, the CentCom commander, of course was a pro at cultivating reporters. Even before the leaking of the report, McChrystal, working with Mullen's approval, made himself shockingly accessible to the press. He sat for a long, colorful interview with 60 Minutes,appeared on the cover of The New York Times Magazine, and dismissed the Biden plan (few troops, targeting Al Qaeda with drones) to NEWSWEEK.

IN his book "Who Killed Karakre?", former Chief of Maharashtra police SM Mushrif has talked about policymaking in India. The power establishment that really runs the affairs of this country (Mushrif says it is not Sonia Gandhi, Manmohan Singh or Rahul Gandhi) does not want to expose the Hindutva terrorists. One example is the blasts in Samjhauta Express, which the IB said was carried out by Pakistan’s ISI. Mushrif quotes a report in The Times of India that said, “the Centre had blamed the ISI on the basis of the IB’s findings.” However, during a narco-analysis test under Karkare, Lt. Col. Purohit had admitted having supplied the RDX used in the blast. The IB, which draws its power from its proximity to the Prime Minister (its director briefs the PM every morning for half an hour), did not want Karkare’s investigation that blew the cover off the IB’s shenanigans, to continue.

Riaz Haq said...

The #India-#Pakistan Nuclear Nightmare. Tactical Nukes, Intolerance, #BJP #Kashmir

Persuading Pakistan to rein in its nuclear weapons program should be an international priority. The major world powers spent two years negotiating an agreement to restrain the nuclear ambitions of Iran, which doesn’t have a single nuclear weapon. Yet there has been no comparable investment of effort in Pakistan, which, along with India, has so far refused to consider any limits at all.

The Obama administration has begun to address this complicated issue with greater urgency and imagination, even though the odds of success seem small. The recent meeting at the White House on Oct. 22 between President Obama and Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif of Pakistan appears to have gone nowhere. Yet it would be wrong not to keep trying, especially at a time of heightened tensions between Pakistan and India over Kashmir and terrorism.

What’s new about the administration’s approach is that instead of treating the situation as essentially hopeless, it is now casting about for the elements of a possible deal in which each side would get something it wants. For the West, that means restraint by Pakistan and greater compliance with international rules for halting the spread of nuclear technology. For Pakistan, that means some acceptance in the family of nuclear powers and access to technology.

At the moment, Pakistan is a pariah in the nuclear sphere to all but China; it has been punished internationally ever since it followed India’s example and tested a weapon in 1998. Pakistan has done itself no favors by refusing to join the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty and by giving nuclear know-how to bad actors like North Korea. Yet, it is seeking treatment equal to that given to India by the West.

For decades, India was also penalized for developing nuclear weapons. But attitudes shifted in 2008 when the United States, seeking better relations with one of the world’s fastest-growing economies as a counterweight to China, gave India a pass and signed a generous nuclear cooperation deal that allowed New Delhi to buy American nuclear energy technology.


Such moves would undoubtedly be in Pakistan’s long-term interest. It cannot provide adequate services for its citizens because it spends about 25 percent of its budget on defense. Pakistan’s army, whose chief of staff is due to visit Washington this month, says it needs still more nuclear weapons to counter India’s conventional arsenal.

The competition with India, which is adding to its own nuclear arsenal, is a losing game, and countries like China, a Pakistan ally, should be pushing Pakistan to accept that. Meanwhile, Narendra Modi, India’s prime minister, has done nothing to engage Islamabad on security issues, and he also bears responsibility for current tensions. The nuclear arms race in South Asia, which is growing more intense, demands far greater international attention.

Riaz Haq said...

#USAID grants $20million to UET #Peshawar for research in #Pakistan’s #energy sector. #USPCASE via @techjuicepk

The Vice Chancellor UET Peshawar Dr. Iftikhar Hussain, announced that the USAID has granted $20 million to UET Peshawar for finding innovative and practical solutions to Pakistan’s energy challenges through USPCASE. He was addressing a high cadre open forum discussion in Peshawar.

Dr. Iftikhar Hussain appreciated the efforts of USAID for the socio-economic development of Pakistan through USPCASE and mentioned that UET Peshawar has been doing its bit by helping the USPCASE in identifying the loopholes causing disruptions in Pakistan’s energy sector. He said that UET Peshawar has been proposing better energy solutions to the province as well as to the country.

The open forum discussion was organized by the US-Pakistan Center for Advanced Studies in Energy (USPCASE), University of Engineering and Technology UET Peshawar. The ceremony was also graced by the presence of many notable guests including the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP) Assembly Speaker Asad Qaiser himself.

Asad Qaiser pointed that the Energy crisis has put KP’s future at stake and needs to be solved on an emergency basis. He appreciated the joint efforts made by UET Peshawar and USPCASE for identifying problems in the field of energy. He also appreciated the KP Government’s initiative to declare the USPCASE as a provincial think tank on the energy sector, further recommending that the (USPCASE) should also work as an advisory board of KP’s Apex Committee on Energy.

US–Pakistan Center for Advanced Studies in Energy program (USPCASE) is a USAID-funded program developed for bridging the gap between three of the most important pawns of state, namely academia, state and industry. The USPCASE has directed all of his efforts in applied research explicitly relevant to Pakistan’s energy needs.

USAID is funding $127 million and has made to partner four Pakistani universities with three U.S. universities. It is supporting Pakistan for research in areas such as energy, water, agriculture, and food security through USPCASE.

Riaz Haq said...

#US exports to #Pakistan sustain 10,000 jobs in #America …

South and Central Asia: Benefits of U.S.-Pakistan Economic Cooperation
Our economic partnership with Pakistan, a growing country of over 190 million, directly benefits America by creating well-paying U.S. jobs, promoting U.S. businesses and exports, and advancing scientific progress in critical areas. The following are some examples:

Creating U.S. Jobs:

The United States exported $1.8 billion in goods to Pakistan in 2015, creating or supporting over 9,200 U.S. jobs according to the U.S. Department of Commerce. As one example, in 2016, General Electric won a contract to provide 55 locomotives to Pakistan Railways, all of which will be manufactured in Erie, Pennsylvania.
Foreign direct investment from Pakistan to the United States in 2015 supported up to 1,000 additional U.S. jobs.
Promoting U.S. Businesses and Exports:

The United States and Pakistan launched the U.S.-Pakistan Clean Energy Partnership in 2015, which supports private investment in financially sound, clean energy projects in Pakistan. The Partnership aims to add at least 3,000 megawatts of clean power in Pakistan by 2020, creating opportunities for U.S. businesses across the clean energy spectrum.
In 2016, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) hosted a Pakistani group of Cochran and Borlaug Fellows to study the benefits of using U.S. wood products.
USDA connects U.S. and Pakistani scientists to jointly develop varieties of seeds that will resist diseases that threaten both U.S. and Pakistani cotton and wheat production.
Advancing Science and Technology Achievements:

Since 2005, grants co-financed by both countries under the U.S.-Pakistan Science and Technology Cooperation Agreement have funded 96 research projects in a variety of scientific areas.
Researchers from the University of Agriculture, Faisalabad and the University of California at Davis are developing a low-cost, blood-based Tuberculosis (TB) diagnostic test—more sensitive than the current World Health Organization-recommended sputum test—that is undergoing trials in Chennai, India to prepare for approval and commercial launch of the test in India. This test could eventually enable patients testing positive for TB to undergo effective treatment sooner for a highly damaging disease affecting populations across multiple TB-endemic countries.
Researchers at the University of Michigan at Dearborn and the University of Engineering and Technology (UET) in Lahore are collaborating to develop air quality monitoring that can be applied to mobile and wireless devices. This new area of research aims to improve air quality in polluted urban areas in both countries, and possibly soil and water quality in future applications.
23 U.S. universities from 16 states and the District of Columbia have received grants to work with counterpart Pakistani universities in fields ranging from business development to gender studies.