Monday, April 18, 2016

Is US Playing India Card to Check China While Ignoring India's Pakistan Obsession?

Is the United States trying to play the India card against China while India is much more obsessed with Pakistan? Is the Indian behavior reinforcing the India-Pakistan hyphenation that the Indians claim to detest?

To answer these questions, let's take a look at the contents of the media reports on the Delhi visit by the US Secretary of Defense Ashton Carter.

As the US Defense Secretary Ashton Carter recently went to New Delhi to pursue what he described as "whole global agenda" with India, the Indian media responded by focusing their questions to him on US-Pakistan ties.  Here's a sample of what transpired:

Indian Media:  Why do you continue to have close ties with Pakistan?

Ash Carter: India also has relations with other countries like Russia. We respect that. We value our relations with Pakistan.

Question: Why are you supplying F-16s to Pakistan?

Answer: What we do in Pakistan is directed towards counter terrorism. We too have suffered from terrorism emanating from the territory, more specifically Afghanistan. Pakistan has used F-16 in operations in FATA (Federally Administered Tribal Areas). We have approved it.

Anticipating questions about US-Pakistan ties during his India visit, here's what Carter told Council of Foreign Relation in Washington D.C. before leaving for New Delhi:

“I’m sure I’ll be asked about it in India, but I think the first thing one needs to say from an American policy point of view, these (India and Pakistan) are both respected partners and friends.”

"Pakistan is an important security partner", Carter added.

While US is courting India to check China's rise, the China-Pakistan ties have now moved well beyond “higher than Himalayas and sweeter than honey,” as officials on both sides say. Chinese strategists openly talk of Pakistan as their nation’s only real ally. And China is investing heavily in Pakistan to build the Gwadar deep sea port as part of a much more ambitious and strategic China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) that India is attempting sabotage.

Let me conclude with a quote from from Brookings' Stephen Cohen on India-Pakistan power equation:

“One of the most important puzzles of India-Pakistan relations is not why the smaller Pakistan feels encircled and threatened, but why the larger India does. It would seem that India, seven times more populous than Pakistan and five times its size, and which defeated Pakistan in 1971, would feel more secure. This has not been the case and Pakistan remains deeply embedded in Indian thinking. There are historical, strategic, ideological, and domestic reasons why Pakistan remains the central obsession of much of the Indian strategic community, just as India remains Pakistan’s.”

Here's a video discussion on the subject:

Pak Leaders in London; US-India Defense Deals... by ViewpointFromOverseas

Pak Leaders in London; US-India Defense Deals; Trump vs GOP from Ikolachi on Vimeo.

Related Links:

Haq's Musings

India's Pakistan Obsession

India's Superpower Delusion: Modi's Policy Blunders

Does Pakistan Really Need F-16s to Fight Terror? 

Pakistan-Russia-China vs India-Japan-US?

China-Pakistan Economic Corridor

Gwadar: Hong Kong West for China?

Indian Agent Kulbhushan Yadav's Confession


Majumdar said...

Prof sb,

One of the most important puzzles of India-Pakistan relations is not why the smaller Pakistan feels encircled and threatened, but why the larger India does.

Prof Cohen is not an Indian or Pakkki, so he cant answer this. Let me answer the puzzle, 1 Paki= 10 Hindoo (as every Paki knows), so effectively Pakiland is 1.5 times bigger than India. No wonder India feels encircled and threatened.


Unknown said...

Pakistanis take it on themselves as Indian Obsession. It's India's policy to make sure whose ally is US.
Case of US, China or India, highly populated countries so large economies, resulting more investment in technical development, higher defense budgets and so strong influence.

Russia has technology, China has economic power, both came together for mutual interests.
China can further develop more advance things by performing R&D on Russian Weapons.
US falls short of population, so when China turns itself in a high income economy, US will be in trouble. So, decided tackle with help of a partner.
India falls short of economy and will take at least 2-3 decades to catch up in league US, China or Russia. But India really wants to catch up, it needs security and maintain growth. So, it decided to play as a swinger.
Interests of both lied in common. So, decided to come together.
Things go critical in Indo US ties is in "foundational agreements" demanded by US to make India permanent ally of NATO.
Though the reactions from Indian Politics are childish statements, it won't affect sovereignty as we're getting equal access to US equipment, but stationing US weapons in our bases is obviously a security threat.
LEMoA and CISOMA may be signed but BECA is rare.

That'll also be interesting to see how US and India behave with each other after India matches where it wanna be. Or switches between the path.
Currently, India is seeking for somehow ToT, to attain capability of making basic military equipment and further master tech to make it's own akin to China model.
US has no problem but never supports India over development of powerful strategic weapons like SLBMs etc. and expresses concerns. Let's see what would be their reaction on Indian Hypersonic vehicle test or Agni-6 etc..
Coming 15-20 years will also see changes in developing nations.
Russia (almost turned) and China will turn in developed countries, India will get in"highly developed" and an upper middle income country( somewhere, where Brazil or China are counted today).
Our Pakistani friends will also become more important us given their strategic position, location between oil and gas giants and two largest potential consumers. Pakistan will come in G20 too in a period of time.
Hope we resolve our all issues.
Coming 50 years gonna be quite interesting for world order,
1. Rise of China as the superior force followed by US, India or India US.
2. Emergence of more great and regional powers like Brazil, Indonesia and Nigeria etc.
3. Decline of Russian power and hegemony due to weakness of economic nerve.
4. A technologically more advanced Japan but still dependent on foreign countries for security.
Scenario will be more tense because even today more and more countries are involving in regional disputes.
Too many of them possess either nuclear weapon or are nuclear threshold States.

For nature,China, US, India, Japan etc. will be producing most of energy from non conventional
World will be a better place for living but sitting on a bigger heap of gun powder.

Javed R. said...

india is playing all sides , they are past masters at this , during the Cold War they used NAM , had treaties with the USSR yet were also aligned with then free world . They now are strategic partners of the US whilst Russia calls them as Strategic allies . They are pals WIth Iran whilst they have have signed friendship agreements with SA and GCC . Impressive foreign policy . This has prompted a Chinese expert to say that India want to sleep with everybody. They have encircled Pakistan using Afg and Iran , they use RAW to destabilize us while they spend a lot of political capital in labeling us as terrorists . True followers/students of the The Prince

IndUS said...

US does not treat its relations with India or Pakistan as a zero sum game, but India wants to. India wants US to abandon Pakistan to the point of declaring it a terrorist state.

This is an obsession in India. You just have to watch their obnoxious news channels and their nauseating unending coverage on Pakistan.

India is a bigger country, with a growing economy, but it behaves in an immature manner, at times.

Mufizur said...

This is the problem, india is way bigger but not a responsible power. Had india been like a true friend to her neighbours there wouldn't be any wars in this region. From the very beginning India has been trying to impose on her neighbours what she wants , when you do so you abandon peace.

Unknown said...

Javed R.: "prompted a Chinese expert to say that India wants to sleep with everybody."
Same expert (writer of Global Times) had put long articles praising India when India blocked US missionaries and denied Joint patrols in SCS. This is typical commie propaganda.
We Indians will be playing it with NATO or communist block like a swinger till we ourselves become a mature force. I hope it's last swing because as India emerges as one of most dominant economies,more R&D will result more indigenization and defense budget.

Now, case of terrorism, please stop blaming us for your fallacies. These were you guys who created Taliban, not India.

Unknown said...

Mufizur:"This is the problem, india is way bigger but not a responsible power. Had india been like a true friend to her neighbours there wouldn't.."
India does behave nice man. Neighbors must also behave properly. We have issues with Pakistan but watch at Nepal and Sri Lanka. Completely thankless.
Small neighbors generally don't trust their large neighbors. Vietnam has invited India make stations.(similar what goes on with China in IOR).

Riaz Haq said...

Javed: " They have encircled Pakistan using Afg and Iran , they use RAW to destabilize us while they spend a lot of political capital in labeling us as terrorists . True followers/students of the The Prince"

There's a good critique of Indian foreign policy in a book by ex FM Jaswant Singh that talks about its "strategic confinement" between LoC and LAC. It's a good read.

"The principal purpose and objectives of our (India's) foreign policy have been trapped between four lines: the Durand Line,; the McMahon Line; the Line of Control (LoC) and the Line of Actual Control (LAC). To achieve autonomy, an absolute necessity in the conduct of our foreign policy, we have to first find an answer to this strategic confinement".

Anonymous said...

Is it the skewed and pessimist Hindu psyche resulted from centuries of Muslim rule over Hindus causing disgraceful behavior they keep exhibiting? Is it due to the deep hatred towards Pakistanis that is causing inner insecurity in Indian leaders? Or is it the result of sever animosity caused by the shocking partition of the subcontinent that Hindus are unable live with so far? Probably all of these factors are in play. Whatever the reason, disgraceful Indian behavior towards Pakistan since 1947 is a well-recognized reality. Indian leaders are more of a laughing stock for the world. Countries the world over aim their national policies at driving their nation on the road of progress, development, and prosperity. In contrast, Indians define and monolithically follow their state policies with a single goal of how to weaken or harm Pakistan. This is a disgrace by itself. Using terrorism against the people of Pakistan as the Indian state policy is another disgrace. But more than that Indians keep shamelessly lying that their thinking is not Pakistan centric despite the fact that every action of Indian leaders reflects their inner insecurity versus Pakistan. Indians having good relations with Americans does not really mean for Indians that their two nations support each other. For Indians, the manifestation of having good relations with US means or requires bad Pak-USA relations. Look at every single visit of Indian PM to any other country since 1947, you’ll find Indian leaders asking less for their own country and more demanding their hosts for isolating Pakistan.

Anonymous said...

True followers/students of the The Prince

Why follow Machiavelli when we have Kautilya. This is how Max Weber describes the Arthashastra(Written ironically at Taxila now in Pakistan) in 1919.

""Truly radical "Machiavellianism", in the popular sense of that word, is classically expressed in Indian literature in the Arthashastra of Kautilya (written long before the birth of Christ, ostensibly in the time of Chandragupta): compared to it, Machiavelli's The Prince is harmless.""

Btw Kautilya also known as Chanakya and Vishnugupta was a professor of political science at the university of Taxila and the brains behind the Mauryan Empire.

Anonymous said...

ZAB once wrote "it is the hatred of Pakistan that has kept India united". That is the center of India's existence. If they stop hating Pakistan, they will seize to exist.

G. Ali

Rks said...

Most Indians do not know where Pakistan is. There is no obscession.

Riaz Haq said...

#India-born #British politician Lord Meghnad Desai says Koh-e-noor belongs to #Pakistan. via @ePakistanToday

The Koh-e-Noor saga taken another interesting turn on Monday as Indian-born British politician said the coveted diamond actually belonged to Pakistan.

“If Koh-e-noor belongs to anybody, it belongs to Pakistan,” Lord Meghnad Desai said while speaking to India Today.

Referring to the 19th-century Sikh king Ranjit Singh, who had given the stone to the British, Lord Desai reasoned that since Singh’s seat was in Lahore, the diamond should go to Pakistan.

“Because his territory was mainly in, what is now Pakistan – in Lahore there is a Ranjit Singh museum – it will go back to wherever the Punjab kingdom had its seat and his seat was in Lahore. So I think if it belongs to anybody, it belongs to Pakistan,” he said.

Indian government said Tuesday that it will make all possible efforts to get back the Koh-e-Noor Diamond from Britain despite comments by New Delhi’s solicitor general that the priceless jewel should stay with the former colonial ruler.

India has repeatedly demanded that Britain return the 105-carat diamond, which was presented to Queen Victoria in 1850 and today sits on display as part of the Crown Jewels in the Tower of London.

Read more: India backtracks, says will now try to reclaim Koh-i-Noor from UK

India’s solicitor general surprised many on Monday when he told the Supreme Court that his country should forgo its claims to the jewel because it was given to Britain as a gift by an Indian king in 1851, rather than stolen as many Indians today believe.

The ministry said the stone was a “valued piece of art with strong roots in our nation’s history” and that Prime Minister Narendra Modi was determined to get it back.

A lawyer in Pakistan last year filed a court petition calling for the stone’s return.

The Koh-e-Noor is set in the crown worn by Queen Elizabeth, the mother of the reigning monarch, at the coronation of her husband George VI in 1937, and was placed on her coffin at her funeral in 2002.

The Duchess of Cambridge, who last week visited India with her husband, Prince William, will wear the crown on official occasions when she becomes queen consort. William is second in line to the British throne.

Riaz Haq said...

#India, #Iran and #Afghanistan finalize #Chabahar Trilateral Agreement. #Pakistan #China #CPEC #Gwadar …

India, Afghanistan and Iran have finalised the text of the trilateral agreement of Chabahar (Chabahar Agreement) for developing international transport transit corridor, which will provide India access to Afghanistan through the Iranian port of Chabahar. The text has been finalised, in the 2nd technical meeting between the representatives of the three countries on April 11, New Delhi.

Situated in Sistan and Baluchistan province of the Islamic Republic of Iran, the Port of Chabahar will help in facilitating maritime trade between the countries of the region. The port will also considerably reduce the transportation cost of commercial goods in the region.

Situated in the Gulf of Oman, the route via Chabahar port to Afghanistan will provide India the much-needed access to send goods to Afghanistan and regions of Central Asia, bypassing Pakistan.

The announcement of the finalisation of the Agreement came after the visit of Indian Foreign Minister Sushma Swaraj to Iran, on April 16, where she discussed the participation of India in Chabahar Port and other matters related to connectivity and energy cooperation.

A release by the Ministry of External Affairs of India stated that when the agreement comes into effect it will considerably enhance the use of Chabahar Port, contribute to Afghanistan’s economic growth and facilitate better connectivity between the region, especially India’s connectivity to Afghanistan as well as Central Asia.

“The agreement will be a strategic bulwark for larger flow of goods and people between the three nations and the region,” it added.

The statement said the trilateral agreement to be expedited at a high level after finishing the essential internal procedures in the three countries.

Riaz Haq said...

Tarek Fatah, who's received a lot of adulation by the Indian Hindu diaspora and been an honored guest Hindu Nationalists in India, called for dissolution of India in an interview a few years ago:

Tarek Fateh calls for dissolution of India into multiple nations

"India, the whole sub-continent, you see it was never been one country....even during the British, India has not been one country under Ashoka, not even under Aurangzeb

The future that I see, if I had my dreams come true, something like Europe, the entities that exist are Bengal. Punjab with no borders, common currency,

there's more in common between someone in Lahore and Delhi than between someone between Delhi and Madras.

Break-up of India, that's my analysis of what will happen in the future, if it's ever dissolved voluntarily, would be best thing to happen to India, like Europe has.


Many Pakistanis say this "ZAB once wrote it is the hatred of Pakistan that has kept India united. That is the center of India's existence. If they stop hating Pakistan, they will seize to exist."
Be careful what you say. Pakistan may not have Balochistan for too long.

Unknown said...

@phony gabbar singh......Bangladesh infact proves the 2 nation theory otherwise it would be part of west Bangal

Nigel said...

Per SQA, (Bangladesh infact proves the 2 nation theory otherwise it would be part of west Bangal)

Please do research Dō-qaumī naẓariyah. You are missing the basic take away point. The ideology was to UNIFY ALL MUSLIMS of British India regardless of language or ethnicity - Liaquat Ali Khan (1940), Pakistan: The Heart of Asia. Another book by Robin W. Winks, Alaine M. Low (2001), The Oxford history of the British Empire: Historiography also goes over this in detail.

The Two Nation Theory has become obsolete because the Muslims of British India presently are not unified into a single nation. They never did. In fact, the former Muslims of British India are almost equally divided between Bangladesh, India and Pakistan.

Riaz Haq said...

Nigel: "Please do research Dō-qaumī naẓariyah. You are missing the basic take away point."

The key question that needs to be answered regarding the events of 1971 is as follows: Did the Awami League in East Pakistan fight to create their own country later named Bangladesh? Or did they shed their blood to re-unify the eastern wing of Pakistan with India?

These questions are answered by French historian Christophe Jaffrelot in his book "A History of Pakistan and its origins".

Jaffrelot cites British-Pakistani history Prof Samuel Martin Burke rejecting the notion that the Two-Nation Theory died in 1971 with Pakistan's split into Pakistan and Bangladesh. Burke says that the two-nation theory was even more strongly asserted in that the Awami League rebels had struggled for their own country, Bangladesh, and not to join India. In so doing, they had put into practice the theory behind the original resolution to form Pakistan, which envisaged two Muslim states at the two extremities of the subcontinent.

Here's an excerpt from the Pakistan Resolution passed in Lahore in March 1940:

"Resolved that it is the considered view of this Session of the All-India Muslim League that no constitutional plan would be workable in this country or acceptable to the Muslims unless it is designated on the following basic principle, viz. that geographically contiguous units are demarcated into regions which should be so constituted with such territorial readjustments as may be necessary, that the areas in which the Muslims are numerically in a majority as in the North-Western and Eastern Zones of India should be grouped to constitute "Independent States" in which the Constituent Units shall be autonomous and sovereign"

Clearly, the Pakistan Resolution called for "Independent States" of Muslim majority areas in the "North Western and Eastern Zones of India" in which the "Constituent Units shall be autonomous and sovereign".

What happened in 1971 with the creation of Bangladesh essentially put into practice the theory behind the original resolution to form Pakistan, which envisaged two Muslim states at the two extremities of the subcontinent.

BTW, many believe that it was Hindu Nationalist leader Vinayak Damodar Savarkar who first pushed the Two Nation Theory when Mohammad Ali Jinnah was still working to keep India united as federation.

Anonymous said...

Gabbar Singh wrote "Pakistan may not have Balochistan for too long."

No doubt that there is a very strong separatist movement going on for Balochistan, but fortunately this movement in not happening in Balochistan but in the minds of Indians(and may be 13 people in Balochistan).

Every separatist/independence movement has some common traits, massive rallies in large cities, strong and well defined leadership and political parties. In Balochistan's case we see none of these traits. No one can name a single leader or political party, no rallies have ever taken place in Quetta or any other large city of Balochistan.

Considering that Indians are the second most clueless people on the planet, no wonder they think the Balochistan is about to break away from Pakistan.

There is probably a higher chance of India's seven states separating from India than of Balochistan separating.

G. Ali

Anonymous said...

"Most Indians do not know where Pakistan is. There is no obscession."

Most Indians also think that India is a nation and have an obsession about it.

G. Ali

Rks said...

"Most Indians also think that India is a nation and have an obsession about it. -G. Ali"

Of course they all do. Any India from Kerala to Kashmir, Gujarat to Arunachal pradesh are proud of being Indian first (lately we are having to exclude our muslims). Unlike Pakistanis. Pakistanis are Muslims first and Pakistanis next.

Riaz Haq said...

19640909rk "Any India from Kerala to Kashmir, Gujarat to Arunachal pradesh are proud of being Indian first (lately we are having to exclude our muslims)."

People in India have many more dominant identities than people in any other nation.

They are divided among regional, ethnic, religious, caste and other lines across the length and breadth of the country.

India has more and fiercer insurgencies than any other country. Nagaland, Mizoram, Manipur.

Examples: Tripura, Meghalaya, Mizoram, Manipur, Assam, Nagaland, Kashmir conflict · Khalistan movement · Naxalite–Maoist insurgencies.

Then there is Dravidian nationalism in the South.

Berkeley Political Science Prof Pradeep Chibber in a Silicon Valley presentation explained that the Indian democracy faces two key challenges. The first challenge is the complete absence of the government or state in large swaths of India. The second challenge is that the government often acts in inconsistent and arbitrary ways where it does exist. He went on to say that, in some parts of Chhattisgarh, the government relies on private militias to act on its behalf. He also acknowledged the existence of corruption and criminal elements among the politicians in India. He said about a third of Indian legislators have criminal records.

RamSingh said...

One can have much chatter and needless reports done by every Tom, Dick & Harry but what really counts is the stuff that is discussed at the highest level of US Government. There was a US Senate Hearing Of US-Pakistan relations not long ago (12/2015).

It is a thorough lash out against Pakistan and the "clique" that is actually running Pakistan.
I am assuming the Pak Military and the ISI is the "clique". There is yawning trust-deficit with Pakistan and rest of the West shares US's view.

Riaz Haq said...

RamSingh: "There was a US Senate Hearing Of US-Pakistan relations not long ago (12/2015"

Talking about US Senate hearings and American politicians' self-righteousness, let me offer you the following:

Here is the text of the exchange between Def Sec Robert Gates and Leahy during the US Senate hearing on Pakistan that began with Leahy asking Gates how long the U.S. will be willing to "support governments that lie to us?"

GATES: Well, first of all, I would say, based on 27 years in CIA and four and a half years in this job, most governments lie to each other. That's the way business gets done.

LEAHY: Do they also arrest the people that help us when they say they're allies?

GATES: Sometimes.

LEAHY: Not often.

GATES: And -- and sometimes they send people to spy on us, and they're our close allies. So...

LEAHY: And we give aid to them.

GATES: ... that's the real world that we deal with.

Riaz Haq said...

#India's #Modi won praise for 'slapping' #China, then came a humiliating U-turn on #Uighur leader visa. #Pakistan

Patriotic chest-thumping over the weekend in India gave way to embarrassment and bitterness as the government made a very public U-turn on issuing a visa to Uighur dissident Dolkun Isa. He is the executive committee chairman of the World Uighur Congress, an organization that represents a predominantly Muslim ethnic group in China's far-west, and has been labeled a terrorist by the Chinese government. China issued a "red corner notice" to the international policing agency Interpol seeking his arrest more than a decade ago, but other governments have refused to act on the request.

Supporters of Prime Minister Narendra Modi's government, who are often self-conscious about how India matches up with China, took to social media over the weekend to celebrate the news that Isa had procured a tourist visa to India, using the hashtag #ModiSlapsChina. Many viewed the visa as a "slap" because China had used its clout at the United Nations earlier in
April to block India's attempt to have Masood Azhar, the alleged mastermind of an attack on an Indian air force base in January, designated an international terrorist.

Hua Chunying, a spokeswoman for the Chinese Foreign Ministry, was quoted in the Indian media as saying that "Dolkun is a terrorist on red notice of the Interpol and Chinese police. Bringing him to justice is due obligation of relevant countries.”

A spokesman for India's Ministry of External Affairs, Vikas Swarup, was noncommittal in his response, simply saying, “We have seen media reports and the ministry is trying to ascertain facts.”

On Monday, it became clear that India's various ministries had not coordinated closely enough, if at all, on Isa's visa, and its potential geopolitical ramifications, and they canceled the visa. Isa came forward with a statement expressing disappointment and said he could only speculate that Chinese pressure led to the reversal. The turnaround by the New Delhi government did not please Indians, with the hashtag #ModiBowsToChina topping India's Twitter trends Monday.

Riaz Haq said...

What to read into a growing alliance between #China and #Pakistan? #CPEC #Gwadar #India #US via @Reuters

Pakistan holds a unique position in Chinese diplomatic circles. The Chinese state media describes Pakistan as China’s only “all-weather strategic cooperation partner.” Though it is the largest beneficiary of Beijing’s investment, it is not a client state, as North Korea is. Rather, in a neighborhood where many countries either distrust China, feel beholden to it or both, Pakistan is the closest thing to a real ally and friend that Beijing possesses.

This means that China and Pakistan sometimes cooperate in ways that concern the United States and India. Washington and New Delhi worry that all this largesse will bring Pakistan firmly into China’s orbit. With subtle diplomacy, however, all four countries may be able to create a workable balance.

The Gwadar port is just one example of China’s “One Belt, One Road” initiative. This effort is by far the most spectacular example of Beijing’s strategic policy of combining aid, trade and foreign direct investment to build goodwill, expand its global political sway and secure the natural resources it needs to grow.

Declaring that the Chinese-Pakistani friendship is “sweeter than honey,” and “stronger than steel,” Beijing announced last year that it would finance a 1,800-mile-long superhighway and a high-speed railway from the Arabian Sea over the Himalayas to China’s Xinjiang province. In addition, it would fund an oil pipeline route to the inland Chinese city of Kashgar. This network of infrastructure, including the Gwadar port, would help Pakistan grow, while pushing back against the growing power of regional competitors like India.

Helping Pakistan so dramatically also fits into China’s overall economic strategy. With a deep-sea port in the Arabian Sea and a land route to remote western China, some of Beijing’s Middle Eastern oil could travel the short route through Pakistan, instead of 6,000 miles through the Malacca Straits to Shanghai. That’s the route more than 80 percent of China’s oil and natural resources now have to take.


Many in India and the United States are alarmed about what they see as a China-Pakistan axis. They worry that China’s largesse means that Western nations will have little leverage to shape Pakistan’s actions on militants or nuclear weapons, or in supporting peace in Afghanistan. Another concern is that China would protect Pakistan when, for example, it refuses to cooperate with India and the West on handing over dangerous militants


The United States, India and others should keep in mind that — weak as it is — Pakistan is one of China’s only real partners. They should engage both Chinese and Pakistani officials on economic development in the region, as well as terrorism and Afghanistan’s future. They should make clear, again and again, that Washington wants good relations with all states in the area. As long as India and the United States have a seat at the table, all four may be able to work out a satisfactory balance.

Riaz Haq said...

#Pakistan helped #US get #Osama #BinLaden , insists #PulitzerPrize winning #American journalist Seymour Hersh.

“More than ever,” says legendary US investigative journalist Seymour Hersh when asked if he still believes Pakistan helped the United States get Osama bin Laden (OBL).

When the Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist first made this claim in an article published last year, it shook Washington and forced the White House to reject the story as false. Major US media outlets also rejected his claim as incorrect.

But Mr Hersh repeated the claim in his new book, “The Killing of Osama bin Laden,” published this week, insisting that he was right.

In an interview to Dawn on Tuesday, Mr Hersh said that since last year he had seen new evidence that cemented his belief that the official US account of how OBL was found in his compound and killed was deceptive.

He reiterated his claim that Pakistan had detained OBL in 2006 and kept him prisoner with the backing of Saudi Arabia. The United States and Pakistan then struck a deal: The US would raid bin Laden’s compound but make it look as if Pakistan was unaware.

“I learned a lot more than I knew in the beginning,” he said.

“Pakistan is in constant alert because of India. Their radars are watching, their F-16s are up all the time,” said Mr Hersh while arguing that it was not possible for US helicopters to enter Abbottabad without alerting the Pakistanis.

He said the then army and ISI chiefs had made this deal with the Americans, which upset other Pakistani generals.

“The then head of Pakistan’s Air Defence Command was very, very upset. He was ready to go public,” said Mr Hersh, claiming that the disgruntled general was made PIA chairman after his retirement to compensate for his silence.

In an interview to Democracy Now, a network of more than 1,400 radio and television outlets, Mr Hersh said the US and Pakistan had jointly created the ‘myth’ “we discovered” where he was living.

“What I know is … that in August of 2010, a Pakistani a colonel … came into our embassy, went to the then CIA Station Chief Jonathan Bank, and said: ‘We’ve had bin Laden for four years’.”

Mr Hersh told Dawn that the colonel was later moved to the US and was now living somewhere near Washington.

“The Pakistani intelligence picked him (bin Laden) in the Hindu Kush area, built the compound in Abbottabad and put him there,” he said. “Pakistani officials did so because the Saudis asked them to. The Saudis did not want Americans to interrogate OBL.”

According to Mr Hersh, when the CIA asked Pakistani officials to make the May 2, 2011, operation at OBL’s compound in Abbo­ttabad a surprise raid, they agreed “because they had kept OBL in custody without telling us”.

The Americans were already very upset and the Pakistanis did not want to make it worse, he added.

“I wrote the name of the station chief, Jonathan Bank, something you are not supposed to do, but he did not attack me for doing this. He did not contradict my story, although if there is one guy who can end my story, it is him,” Mr Hersh said.

“Of course not, I have a great deal of sources here,” said Mr Hersh when asked if he based his story entirely on Pakistani intelligence source.

“I was going to take a chance that Bank would not succumb to pressure. I knew a lot about him. He’s a Harvard grad, very bright guy, very competent. And I just didn’t think he would be trotted out by the CIA to say, ‘What? What’s Hersh writing about? I don’t know anything about a walk-in,” Mr Hersh told Democracy Now.

“I did have more contact with people in the ISI after I wrote. I learned much more, that gave me much more flesh on the skimpy bones I guess I had,” he said.

Nitin B said...

Yet another fantastic conspiracy theory! Bravo!

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...

Why #India’s construction slowdown threatens to increase #poverty #Modi #BJP … via @scroll_in

The construction sector in India, which employed more than 44 million people at the end of 2010 (the last date for which official data are available), is witnessing a slowdown, affecting millions of people moving from farming to the construction sector.

Constituting 7.8% of India’s gross domestic product in 2013-14, the real-estate sector was buffeted by domestic and global slowdowns, with growth decelerating from 7.6% in 2012-13 to 6% in 2013-14.

As India tries to move its people away from agriculture – which contributes 15% of the GDP but employs 263.2 million or 54.6% of the working population – a majority of those leaving are finding employment in construction.

While agricultural employment declined 5% between 2005 and 2010, construction saw a growth of nearly 70%.

The construction sector is now India’s second-largest employer after agriculture, the trend coinciding with India’s high-growth phase and decline in poverty levels.

India’s poverty rate declined from 37.2% in 2004-05 to 21.9% in 2011-12; 269.7 million Indians now live below the official poverty line, down from 407.2 million in 2004-05. Construction has played a major part, both in rural areas (through the 10-year-old Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act, which provides jobs building ponds, roads and other infrastructure) and urban areas (through real estate and infrastructure).

Construction is a $126 billion (Rs 8.39 lakh crore) industry – larger than pharmaceuticals and gems and jewellery sectors, for example – attributed to the infrastructure sector, industrial activities, residential and commercial development.

India’s urbanisation might also explain the expansion of rural infrastructure and non-farm jobs in rural India. India’s urban population rose from 286 million in 2001 to 377 million in 2011, a growth of about 32%, according to Census 2011. These are estimations; the actual figures may be higher.

How rural and urban construction benefits from the declining interest in farming is evident in this 2005 survey from the National Sample Survey Organisation, which found that about 40% of 51,770 farm households surveyed would quit farming if given a chance.

A more recent study released in 2016 by the Centre for Study of Developing Societies in Delhi confirmed this trend, revealing that 76% of youth are not interested in farming.

“The process of diversification of employment away from agriculture has … accelerated… and a large share [of diversification] has gone to services and construction,” said the 2014 The India Labour and Employment Report by the Institute of Human Development, Delhi.

With a 9% decline in jobs over five years (2004-05 to 2009-10), manufacturing – which in China and Southeast Asia offered employment to those moving off farms – is not an option, threatening what has been touted as India’s demographic dividend, the benefits of having the world’s largest working-age population.

This will hit job creation and potentially stall the fall in poverty levels.

Several million of those lifted out of poverty continue to hover just above the poverty line (officially described as the ability to spend Rs 47 person per day in urban areas, Rs 32 in rural areas), in danger of slipping below it when livelihood opportunities slow down.

While the current government’s thrust on infrastructure – building 30-km of highways per day, the promise to connecting all villages to roads by 2019 and 44,000 low-cost houses per day –could boost construction, the economic indicators do not currently reflect such activity.

The sectors that can absorb construction labour are slowing, as the fall in credit growth, in infrastructure and roads, respectively, indicates, according to Reserve Bank of India monthly data.

Anonymous said...

Pakistan’s obsession with India is quite understandable but India’s obsession with Pakistan makes absolutely no sense.

Pakistan has a population of two hundred million, whereas India’s population exceeds 1.2 billion. Pakistan’s gross domestic product (GDP) is roughly $930 billion dollars, whereas in India it is over $8 trillion dollars. Pakistans GDP growth rate is estimated at 4 percent, whereas Indias economy is growing at over 7 percent. Including military reserves, India has an army three times the size of Pakistan’s, 3.4 million versus 1.1 million, with a budget six times greater than Pakistan’s, $40 billion versus $7 billion. This is just a quick snapshot of Indias superiority over Pakistan. Choose any category from geography to economy to conventional military capabilities, and India has better indicators across the board.

In the past year two major think tanks based out of Washington DC have encouraged the American government to work with Pakistan in an effort to bring the country into nuclear orders mainstream. Their recommendations are based on the fact that Pakistan has made a number of efforts to match its export control lists with those of the Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG) and Missile Technology Control Regime. Not only this, Pakistan fully complies with Resolution 1540, which establishes legally binding obligations on all UN Member States to have and enforce appropriate and effective measures against the proliferation of nuclear, chemical, and biological weapons, their delivery systems, including by establishing controls. The 1540 Committee at New York has nine experts and a Pakistan is proud to have Mr. Zawar Abidi working at the Committee as an expert there are no Indians in that elite group. Pakistan is one of the most proactive States in implementing UNSCR 1540.Pakistan proactively participates in initiatives like the Nuclear Security Summit (NSS) and the Global Initiative on Countering Nuclear Terrorism. Pakistan’s Centre of Excellence for Nuclear Security (PCENS), praised by President Obama during the 2010 NSS is a regional hub for sharing best practices in nuclear security and training. PCENS is already running courses for regional countries, while India has nothing like it.

During the previous National Command Authority meeting, Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif indicated that Pakistan would ratify the 2005 Amendment to the Convention on the Physical Protection of Nuclear Material. This is another positive step to build Pakistans credentials for NSG membership

Despite all of this, America still shies away from supporting Pakistan’s interest in membership of these export control arrangements.

Pakistan meets the criteria for membership of these regimes like any other non-NPT State (Other nuclear weapon States that are not signatories to the nuclear nonproliferation treaty (NPT) include Israel and India). This political apartheid against Pakistan must end to improve the credibility of the nonproliferation regime.

The only reason America chooses not to back Pakistan for membership to these regimes is because of the strong Indian lobby in Washington DC, obsessed with denying Pakistan any opportunities to develop a strong relationship with the United States.

Riaz Haq said...

Goyal Foil: #Pakistan-Obsessed #Indian-#American Reporter at the #Trump #WhiteHouse. #India … When the Trump White House press secretary Sean Spicer found himself being barraged with unpleasant US media questions at his first press briefing today, he called upon Pakistan-obsessed Indian-American Raghubir Goyal to ask a question.
Washington Post's Dana Milbank says Goyal, often described by reporters as the Goyal Foil "almost invariably asks about what sort of terrible thing Pakistan has done in the last 24 hours. So--and because of the obvious sound of his name he became the `Goyal Foil.'" Here's a full excerpt of what Milbank wrote in Washington Post about the "Goyal Foil":

"There's a whole bunch of foils in the White House press corps. There's characters from talk radio and all these specialty publications. Goyal is the most intriguing of them all, I guess you'd say, because he is very dedicated to getting a seat right up front at each and every event, and he almost invariably asks about what sort of terrible thing Pakistan has done in the last 24 hours. So--and because of the obvious sound of his name he became the `Goyal Foil.'"

Riaz Haq said...

Posted by Fareed Zakaria on March 17, 2017 ·

We do not yet have the official agenda for next month’s meeting in Florida between President Trump and Chinese President Xi Jinping. But after 75 years of U.S. leadership on the world stage, the Mar-a-Lago summit might mark the beginning of a handover of power from the United States to China. Trump has embraced a policy of retreat from the world, opening a space that will be eagerly filled by the Communist Party of China.
Trump railed against China on the campaign trail, bellowing that it was “raping” the United States. He vowed to label it a currency manipulator on his first day in office. But in his first interaction with Beijing, he caved. Weeks after his election, Trump speculated that he might upgrade relations with Taiwan. In response, Xi froze all contacts between Beijing and Washington on all issues, demanding that Trump reverse himself — which is exactly what happened. (Perhaps just coincidentally, a few weeks later, the Chinese government granted the Trump Organization dozens of trademark rights in China, with a speed and on a scale that surprised many experts.)
The Trump administration’s vision for disengagement from the world is a godsend for China. Look at Trump’s proposed budget, which would cut spending on “soft power” — diplomacy, foreign aid, international organizations — by 28 percent. Beijing, by contrast, has quadrupled the budget of its foreign ministry in the past decade. And that doesn’t include its massive spending on aid and development across Asia and Africa. Just tallying some of Beijing’s key development commitments, George Washington University’s David Shambaugh estimates the total at $1.4 trillion, compared with the Marshall Plan, which in today’s dollars would cost about $100 billion.
China’s growing diplomatic strength matters. An Asian head of government recently told me that at every regional conference, “Washington sends a couple of diplomats, whereas Beijing sends dozens. The Chinese are there at every committee meeting, and you are not.” The result, he said, is that Beijing is increasingly setting the Asian agenda.
The Trump administration wants to skimp on U.S. funding for the United Nations. This is music to Chinese ears. Beijing has been trying to gain influence in the global body for years. It has increased its funding for the U.N. across the board and would likely be delighted to pick up the slack as the United States withdraws. As Foreign Policy magazine’s Colum Lynch observes, China has already become the second-largest funder of U.N. peacekeeping and has more peacekeepers than the other four permanent Security Council members combined. Of course, in return for this, China will gain increased influence, from key appointments to shifts in policy throughout the U.N. system.
The first major act of the Trump administration was to pull the United States out of the Trans-Pacific Partnership, a treaty that would have opened up long-closed economies such as Japan and Vietnam, but also would have created a bloc that could stand up to China’s increasing domination of trade in Asia. The TPP was, in Singaporean Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong’s words, “a litmus test” of U.S. credibility in Asia. With Washington’s withdrawal, even staunchly pro-American allies such as Australia are hedging their bets. Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull has raised the possibility of China joining the TPP, essentially turning a group that was meant to be a deterrent against China into one more arm of Chinese influence.

Riaz Haq said...

At #G20Summit, #Modi's obsession with #Pakistan continues with attacks on #India's neighbor via @timesofindia

Prime Minister Narendra Modi hit out at Pakistan at the G-20 summit on Friday as he named terror groups LeT and JeM along with global scourges IS and Boko Haram to drive home the point that some countries use terrorism as a tool and that the outfits are united by a common ideology despite different labels.
Looking to take the lead on terrorism, Modi also presented a 11-point Action Agenda for fighting the global menace as he made a clear reference to Pakistan when he said "some nations are using terrorism for achieving political goals".
Modi named Lashkar and Jaish in the same vein as IS, al-Qaeda and Boko Haram. "Their only ideology is to spread hatred and commit massacres," he added. He said all these groups had the same basic ideology even if they went by different names. Modi emphasised that nations today are not as well networked as terrorists are.
The G-20 leaders' statement reflected the "safe havens" concern to some extent. "There should be no `safe spaces' for terrorist financing anywhere in the world...In order to eliminate all such `safe spaces', we commit to intensify capacity building and technical assistance, especially in relation to terrorist financing hot spots," it said. The statement stressed the resolve to make the international financial system "entirely hostile" to terror financing.

Riaz Haq said...

#Modi and #Indian media have significantly worsened #India’s ties with #Pakistan...with #Indians’ “very unfavorable” view of Pakistan up from 49% in 2014 to 64% now...a troubling development for South Asia

Riaz Haq said...

#America's #Indo-#Pacific strategy costs #India development opportunity - Global Times. #China #BRI #CPEC #Trump #2Plus2 #Pakistan

India is eager for development, but the US is not the one that can provide New Delhi with the atmosphere that its development needs. The decision of the US administration to postpone the US-India "2+2 dialogue", scheduled for July 6, is a disappointment to India, and the second such time that this supposedly important dialogue between the two countries' foreign and defense ministers has been postponed.

Indian media speculated that the latest postponement was due to US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo's visit to North Korea to discuss denuclearization plans. Divergences over other issues between the US and India were also cited as a possible reason.

The US has been generous about its fondness for India in rhetoric. But whether the fondness is what Indians need the most, or if the value is worth the price, remains undetermined.

Of course, the United States and India do have common interests. Otherwise, there would be no Indo-Pacific strategy at all. However, any benefits from this strategy may be greatly outweighed by the costs to India.

The subtext of this strategy of the United States is that it hopes India can play an essential role in balancing the rise of China. Does India really want to play the role that the US expects? Don't forget that this strategy has a strong military stance against China. At the very least, it is re-dividing Asia-Pacific with Cold War thinking.

It is understandable that India wants to keep its sphere of influence as an emerging power, but this shouldn't come at the cost of its domestic development. Indulging in the game of military balance will only consume India's strength.

India needs to be aware that without paying heed to Indian concerns, the US' strategy is hampering, not aiding, India's domestic development. Rather than falling victim to the US' purpose of containing China's rise, it is better for India to look to China for ways of self-development. What India can learn from China is that its ability to stand on its own feet will determine its place in Asia and the world.

India is currently at a critical juncture in its development. Can India's economy achieve greater development in the next five to 10 years? The number one challenge is how India can lay the foundation for manufacturing and infrastructure to fully enter the global production chain.

From this perspective, it is China, not the United States, that can provide more support and knowledge to India. If India follows the US strategy step by step, it will lose future opportunities to cooperate with China and many other neighboring countries. India should be able to understand the situation.

Riaz Haq said...

Does 2+2=0? Another postponement of dialogue raises questions about #Indo-#US ties in #Trump-#Modi era. #Iran #China #Pakistan #Indo-#Pacific via @scroll_in

For the moment 2+2 equals zero, at least when it comes to Indo-US ties. The 2+2 dialogue, a reference to a summit that would involve the foreign and defence ministers of India and their US counterparts, was postponed on Wednesday for the third time. Washington said it had to push the meetings back due to “unavoidable reasons” and that it would work with India to figure out a new date for the dialogue.

The inaugural meeting was originally slated for July 6, in Washington, DC. Now aides from both sides will have to carve out another spot on their calendars for the the ministers to meet. The ostensible reason is that a summit between US President Donald Trump and Russian President Vladimir Putin is also expected in early July for which the Americans will presumably need all hands on deck.

But the timing of the postponement also suggests a serious drift in ties between Washington and New Delhi.

India has just announced retaliatory tarrifs after the US unilaterally imposed its own.
Unnamed State Department officials in the US told reporters they expect allies to cut trade with Iran down to “zero”.
India seems set to buy the S-400 air defence system from Russia, which would attract US sanctions.
US ambassador to the UN Nikki Haley, who is visiting India, told reporters she spoke to Prime Minister Narendra Modi about getting India to cut down its oil imports from Iran.
This is the third time that the 2+2 dialogue has been postponed in the last six months. When the dialogue was announced, after Modi’s visit to the US in June 2017, it was meant to be a sign of growing ties with India. The belief was the New Delhi and Washington were both agreed on the idea that India would act as a counterweight to China in the Indo-Pacific region. Modi seemed more willing than previous Indian leaders to embrace this role, especially because it came around the same time when Indo-China relations were particularly tense because of the Doklam standoff.

Much has changed since then. On the Indian side, Modi seems to have recalculated his position. Once the Doklam incident was resolved, New Delhi has steadily taken steps to reduce tensions with China, including holding an informal summit with President Xi Jinping in Wuhan in May. India still seems prepared to play a major role in the Indo-Pacific region, but it pointedly does not want this to be seen as an anti-China position – not least because there is nothing to be gained from tense situations with its bigger northern neighbour in an election year.

Riaz Haq said...

#India Folds Under #Trump's Pressure, Halts #Iranian #Oil Imports | India’s oil ministry has asked refiners to prepare for a ‘drastic reduction or zero’ imports of Iranian oil from November 2018 … #oilprice

In more dour news for Iran, India (the world’s fourth largest oil importer) is planning to cut oil imports from the embattled OPEC member. India’s oil ministry has asked refiners to prepare for a ‘drastic reduction or zero’ imports of Iranian oil from November, Reuters said on Thursday, citing two industry sources.

The news comes as Tehran remains defiant over impending U.S. sanctions renewal and just days after India indicated it would push back against pressure from Washington to halt Iranian oil imports, stating that it did not recognize sanctions the U.S. has threatened to impose on countries that continue to buy Iranian oil after November 4.

"India does not recognize unilateral sanctions, but only sanctions by the United Nations," Sunjay Sudhir, joint secretary for international cooperation at India's petroleum ministry, told CNN earlier when asked whether India would reduce oil imports from Iran. After China, India is the largest buyer of Iranian crude oil.

President Trump said on Tuesday that the U.S. would level sanctions on countries that not did not cut Iranian oil imports.

Though India made an initial defiant stand, it simply can’t afford to alienate Washington since it has to safeguard its exposure to the U.S. financial system, a powerful tool that the U.S. can wield as it pleases since the dollar is the world’s reserve currency. This allows Washington to level crippling sanctions on a wide range of countries all the way from Russia to Venezuela to Iran and anybody else that any sitting U.S. president sees fit to punish.

This economic weapon is also why Beijing is working feverishly to supplement or replace the U.S. dollar as the world’s reserve currency. In September, John Hardy, the head of FX strategy at Saxo Bank said China was “eyeing the benefits of having its own currency play a larger role and to supplant the USD's role in global trade. The initial focus is on the global oil trade, where it has announced the intention of buying oil in yuan and allowing trade partners to settle that yuan in gold." He added that settling in gold is a clever move by Beijing as it provides oil-exporting countries with a greater degree of comfort.

Riaz Haq said...

#India’s perilous obsession with #Pakistan. Hyper-nationalistic frenzy to ‘defeat’ Pakistan comes with huge human & material costs.
Come Indian elections, the bogey of Pakistan has overwhelmed the #nationalist discourse in the shrillest manner. #Modi #BJP


Here, one should ask the most pertinent question: why does India compete with Pakistan in every sphere, from military to sport, rather than with, say, China, which is comparable in size and population, and which in 1980 had the same GDP as India? (China’s GDP is almost five times that of India’s now.)

Come Indian elections, the bogey of Pakistan has overwhelmed the nationalist discourse in the shrillest manner, with the Prime Minister and other Ministers’ relentless branding of the Congress/Opposition as ‘anti-national’ and as ‘agents of Pakistan’. Further, the Prime Minister even made an unprecedented threat of using nuclear weapons against Pakistan.

As a country born of the two-nation theory based on religion, and then having to suffer dismemberment and the consequent damage to the very same religious identity, it is obvious why Islamic Pakistan must have a hostile Other in the form of a ‘Hindu India’. But what is not obvious is why India, a (much larger) secular nation, must have a hostile antagonist in the form of Pakistan.


Wars and military competition produce madness. Nothing exemplifies this more than India-Pakistan attempts to secure the Siachen Glacier, the inhospitable and highest battle terrain in the world. India alone lost nearly 800 soldiers (until 2016) to weather-related causes only. Besides, it spends around ₹6 crore every day in Siachen. Operation Parakram (2001-02), in which India mobilised for war with Pakistan, saw 798 soldier deaths and a cost of $3 billion. This is without fighting a war. Add to this the human and economic costs of fighting four wars.

Granted, the proponents of India’s muscular nationalism who want only a military solution in Kashmir might close their eyes to the killings of some 50,000 Kashmiri civilians and the unending suffering of Kashmiris, but can they, as nationalists, ignore, the deaths of around 6,500 security personnel in Kashmir and the gargantuan and un-estimated costs of stationing nearly 5 lakh military/para-military/police personnel in Kashmir for 30 years?

Ten years ago, Stephen P. Cohen, the prominent American scholar of South Asia, called the India-Pakistan relationship “toxic” and notably termed both, and not just Pakistan, as suffering from a “minority” or “small power” complex in which one is feeling constantly “threatened” and “encircled”. Tellingly, he argues that it is the disastrous conflict with Pakistan that has been one of the main reasons why India has been confined to South Asia, and prevented from becoming a global power.


Here, a look at the military expenditures is revealing: while India spent $63.9 billion (2017) and Pakistan $9.6 billion (2018-19), Bangladesh spent only $3.45 billion (2018-19). Only a muscular and masculine nationalism can take pride in things such as becoming the fifth largest military spender in the world, or being the world’s second largest arms importer. The bitter truth hidden in these details is that India, ranked 130 in the HDI (and Pakistan, 150), simply cannot afford to spend scarce resources on nuclear arsenals, maintaining huge armies or developing space weapons. Besides, in an increasingly globalised world, military resolution between a nuclear India and Pakistan is almost impossible.

Riaz Haq said...

Has New Delhi's abject failure in containing the coronavirus pandemic finally done what Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi's extreme brutality and open hatred against Zakaria's fellow Indian Muslims could not do? Has he really had it with Hindu Nationalist government? While he has not used his perch on CNN to do it, it appears that he has started expressing his disapproval of the performance on other platforms.

Here are a few of the key points Fareed Zakaria made while speaking with Shekhar Gupta:

1. There’s no doubt in my mind that the Indian government, and by that I mean the Delhi government, has handled this crisis (COVID19) very poorly.

2. Indian government functions very poorly, even in comparison to other developing countries. Coronavirus has highlighted that reality.

3. In a way, India seems like roadkill for China’s obsession with absolute control over their borders. I do think there is an opportunity here for diplomacy. I don’t think India needs to be confrontational about it (the LAC issue), but of course it should push back.

4. It is now a bipolar world. US and China are way ahead of the rest of the world. For the long term, India needs to decide it’s position with China.

4. Turkey under Erdogan has become more confident and independent. It is culturally proud. It is telling Americans to buzz off.

5. Popularity of political leaders around the world is linked to their performance on the coronavirus pandemic. In India, however, the issues of religion and caste are still dominating.

6. What I wonder about (Prime Minister Narendra) Modi is, is he really bringing all of India along with him? How many Muslims in Indian government? Or South Indians in BJP? It is much less diverse than Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru's cabinet.

7. I have been very sad to see how Indian democracy has developed over the last few years. It has become an illiberal democracy.

8. The India media is slavishly pro-government. Self-censorship is widespread in India.

9. The Indian courts fold in cases where government takes serious interest.

It has become increasingly clear that India's loudest cheerleaders like Fareed Zakaria are now starting to see the stark reality of Modi's India as a big failure on multiple fronts. Indian state has failed to contain the deadly COVID19 pandemic. India's economy is in serious trouble. The country's democracy is in decline. India seems like a roadkill for China. This turn of events has created serious problems for Pakistani "liberals" who have long seen and often cited India as a successful example of "secular democracy" at work in South Asia.

Ahmed said...

Dear Anonymous

Thanks for your post, you said:

My comment:
Sir, I agree with you, I was actually reading about the history of Pakistan and India and I came to know that since even before the creation of Pakistan, their were extremist Hindu elements in India like RSS,Bajran Dal and Shev Sina who had a dream of making India a complete Hindu country. They consider Pakistan, Nepal and Sri Lanka as the part of this united Hindu India. This is why these extremist Hindus have started the program of converting the muslims of India into Hindus.

Now the biggest obstacle in this objective and aim of extremist Hindus is "PAKISTAN". For India ,Pakistan is a big threat because it is the only Muslim country in the world which has nuclear weapons and strong millitary and it is a neighbour of Pakistan. Extremist Hindus know very well that Pakistan will never easily surrender to the growing influence of extrmist Hindus, this is why these extremist Hindus always attack Pakistan verbally (They know they can't do anything against Pakistan physically). This is why Indian media most of the time attacks Pakistan army and ISI.

This is the main reason why India is more obsessed with Pakistan.

Riaz Haq said...

S. K
The fact that 14% minority Muslims dominate the mindset & are an object of awe, fear, hatred and obsession of so called great civilization and culture is itself an example of the hollowness and insecurity of the (Hindu) majority.

Riaz Haq said...

In a notification to the US Congress, the US State Department has said it has approved a possible foreign military sale of F-16 for sustainment and related equipment for an estimated cost of $ 450 million.

“Pakistan is an important counterterrorism partner, and as part of longstanding policy, the United States provides life cycle maintenance and sustainment packages for US-origin platforms,” said a State Department spokesperson.

“This will sustain Islamabad’s capability to meet current and future counterterrorism threats by maintaining its F-16 fleet as well as support American foreign policy and national security objectives by allowing interoperability in ongoing counterterrorism efforts and in preparation for future contingency operations,” said the Pentagon’sDefense Security Cooperation Agency in a note.