Sunday, August 13, 2017

India and Pakistan at 70; Nawaz Sharif Rallies; Korea Crisis

How are India and Pakistan doing 70 years after independence? What are their successes and failures? What challenges do they face? What does future hold for them? Can Pakistani democracy evolve and grow to serve all of its people? How will Hindu Nationalist Modi's rise impact South Asia? Is India's secular democracy under threat? Could it lead to war? Is there a way to manage tensions between the two rivals? Will there ever be durable peace in South Asia?

Has deposed PM Nawaz Sharif really accepted the Supreme Court verdict disqualifying him? Should he really accept the verdict as Al Gore accepted Bush v Gore verdict after 2000 US presidential elections and go home quietly? What does Nawaz Sharif hope to achieve by his daily political rallies as he makes his way from Islamabad to Lahore in a long convoy of vehicles? Will his continuing public attacks on the judiciary undermine democracy in Pakistan?

What is at the root of the Korea crisis? Is it Kim Jong Un's fear of regime change if he agrees to denuclearize? What lessons have Kim and others learned from the way US first denuclearized Saddam and Gaddafi and then removed them that led to their deaths? Is President Donald Trump's fiery rhetoric making the crisis worse? Should Trump listen to the advice of US allies to cool it?

Viewpoint From Overseas host Faraz Darvesh discusses these questions with Riaz Haq (

Related Links:

Haq's Musings

Pakistan Day: Freeing the Colonized Minds of the Elite

Pankaj Mishra's NY Times Op Ed on India at 70

Lynchistan: India is the Lynching Capital of the World

Nawaz Sharif Disqualified by Pakistan Supreme Court

North Korea Nukes and ICBM

Trump's White House

Talk4Pak Youtube Channel


Riaz Haq said...

#India and #Pakistan at 70: their years of #independence in charts #Independenceday2017 …

output per head in India and Pakistan is around 10 per cent of US levels and in Bangladesh — which at partition was part of Pakistan but gained its own independence in 1971 — half of that. For all the spectacular growth of recent decades, these are still poor countries.

A significant moment in a nation’s economic and demographic history is when the urban population exceeds that living in rural areas. In Great Britain this happened around the time of the 1851 census, in the US by 1920, and China passed this mark in 2011. The UN estimates that Pakistan and Bangladesh will have a majority urban population sometime in the late 2030s, but India not until mid-century.

At the time of partition, life expectancy at birth in India was a mere 32 years. Over the last seven decades India, Pakistan and Bangladesh have made dramatic strides in healthcare. Immunisation, nutrition, and prevention and treatment of infectious diseases have all improved, leading to a reduction in mortality rates.

As a result, people in the subcontinent can now expect to live at least twice as long. Today, life expectancy is 66 years in Pakistan, 68 years in India and 72 years in Bangladesh.

Anonymous said...

Just wait till India becomes a super power. Remember the British once burnt down the white house and blockaded the US Atlantic coast in 1812 now they are the US's most loyal poodle.

Something similar will happen with India notice now with India overtaking them economically they have grudgingly begun to acknowledge colonial such apologies are forthcoming to other non white ex colonies as they aren't large powers and the UK doesn't really need them..

Anonymous said...

Yeah the Indian takeover of the institutions of cricket is a prelude of things to come.But let us not bring out the champagne yet..lots need to be done..though grounds for cautious optimism exist.

Riaz Haq said...

#India at 70: Why #Hindu nationalists are afraid of #Mughals. #Modi #BJP #Islamophobia … via @DailyO

Hindu nationalists are arguably growing bolder in their anti-Muslim bigotry, as can be seen from the names they choose to fill the vacuum created by their erasure of the Mughals. In 2015, Aurangzeb Road was renamed APJ Abdul Kalam Road, and thus an acceptable Muslim - in Hindutva eyes - supplanted an unacceptable one. But Mughalsarai is being replaced by the name of a Hindutva man. Ajmer's Akbar Road is now known, blandly, as Ajmer Fort. Instead of learning about the Mughals, Maharashtrian school children will learn more about the myth of Shivaji (the actual history of Shivaji being largely unpalatable to current Hindutva sensibilities and so obscured). Such actions communicate the hateful view that only a narrow band of Hindu nationalists can qualify as patriots.

Over the last several years, Hindu nationalists have fought - with increasing success - to remove traces of the Mughals from the Indian public sphere. In 2015, Aurangzeb Road was renamed in Delhi. Other renamings have followed, including, this year, Akbar Fort in Ajmer and Mughalsarai Railway Station in Uttar Pradesh. A second front of the Hindu nationalist war on Indian history is school textbooks. The RSS has been saffronising Indian textbooks for some time, and news broke this month that they had wiped all but a few lines on Akbar from Maharashtrian textbooks.

Hindu nationalists have offered several justifications for their sanitising efforts. Early on, they rallied against honoring tyrants or "invaders," as the Rajasthan education minister described the likes of the Indian-born Akbar. As the months and years have passed, many on the Hindu Right have offered alternative motivations that deemphasise their Islamophobia.

For instance, the recent changes to Maharashtrian textbooks have been characterised by those responsible as framing history within a "Maharashtra-centric point of view." Yogi Adityanath's government has defended its retitling of Mughalsarai Railway Station as having little to do with the Mughals and instead as an attempt to pay tribute to Deen Dayal Upadhyaya, an RSS ideologue whose name the railway station will soon bear.

Such flimsy justifications do little to cover up the real fuel behind the Hindu nationalist renaming frenzy: hatred of Muslims, past and present.

India's Hindu Right has never been good with history. For instance, in the lead up to the seventieth anniversary of India's independence, we have seen an uptick in desperate Hindu nationalist claims that the RSS participated in the Quit India Movement, in contravention to the real story that the RSS was somewhere between being aloof from the independence movement and collaborating with the British Empire.

Shame about opting out of the Quit India Movement is understandable, given subsequent historical events. But why is the Hindu Right unable to come to terms with the Mughals, an empire that ended 150 years ago in name and fell apart far earlier in terms of power? For the rest of the world, the Mughals are ancient history, best left to the musty shelves of libraries and the curious minds of scholars. So why are the Mughals - long ago decayed into the dust of the earth-so viscerally threatening to the 21st century Hindu Right?

Riaz Haq said...

#India at 70: #BJP Using History to Divide, Rule People. #Islamophobia #Hindu #Muslim #RSS #textbooks via @thenation

Why the Battle for India’s Past Is a Fight for Its Future
Seventy years after partition, India’s ruling party is using history to divide the country.

In India, history is increasingly finding its way into contemporary debates. That is in large part because Hindu nationalism or “Hindutva”—the defining ideology of the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP)—draws its animus from the past, or at least a vision of the past. (Full disclosure: My father is a member of Parliament for the opposition Congress party, but my views on these issues far predate his political activities.)

At stake is the very conception of what defines India. Is it the pluralist civilization that leaders of the independence era like Nehru imagined? Or is Indian civilization synonymous with Hindu civilization and identity?

The BJP and its ideological allies believe that India is fundamentally a Hindu nation with a proud Hindu history. Using this as justification, it routinely invokes and attempts to correct imagined historical grievances. After years of mobilization, activists in 1992 demolished a nearly 500-year-old mosque in Ayodhya in the north of India, because it was thought to sit on top of a temple that marked the birthplace of the Hindu deity Ram.

The main target of Hindu nationalists is India’s Muslim community, who compose roughly 15 percent of the population (close to 200 million people). Islam has been in India for over a millennium, but Hindu nationalists often depict Muslims as outsiders who are graciously “tolerated,” making their presence in India a testament to foreign invasion and their history one of foreign tyranny.

All nation-states—but especially new ones—use history to burnish their claims of grandeur and legitimacy in the present. After partition in 1947, both India and Pakistan laid claim to the physical and symbolic inheritance of the Indus Valley Civilization. In 1950, while working as a consultant with the Pakistani government, the British archaeologist Robert Eric Mortimer Wheeler published an archaeological survey titled Five Thousand Years of Pakistan that sought to endow millennia of history upon a three-year-old nation. A modern nation-state drawn up by British civil servants in the middle of the 20th century can hardly be a prism for understanding South Asia’s deep past. And yet that implausible notion is still invoked by Pakistani nationalists today.

Of course, India and Pakistan have had much more heated contests; they’ve fought several wars and remain at loggerheads over the disputed territory of Kashmir. But the battle over the Indus Valley objects presaged the enduring importance of historical symbols in modern Indian politics.


Similarly, evidence of the plural history of India poses a problem to Hindu nationalists who want to define India as an eternally Hindu nation. That’s why they are engaged on several fronts in fighting a cultural war of historical revisionism. This battle for the past has extended to the Indus Valley Civilization. Where Nehru turned to Mohenjodaro as an example of general Indian accomplishment, some Hindu nationalists now attempt to claim the Indus Valley as a “Vedic” or Hindu culture, a dubious assertion according to historians.

These historical debates have real consequences. Since Narendra Modi became prime minister in 2014, Muslims and other minority groups have become increasingly demonized at all levels of society, resulting in a horrific spate of attacks, riots, and lynchings in the past year. Much like the pluralist nationalists before them, Hindu nationalists seek to impose their understanding of history on the country to mold the present. But they turn to the past in order to divide and exclude, to suggest that even though all Indians are equal, some are more equal than others.

Riaz Haq said...

Here's an excerpt of Barbara Constable's Playing With Fire:

"Throughout the 1990s, during two periods of rule by Sharifs and two by his archrial Benazir Bhutto, the privatization process became a game of grab and run. Investing of investing in solid projects, many business groups colluded with corrupt officials to make quick profits. They borrowed huge sums (from state-owned banks) without collateral, created and dissolved ghost factories, purchased state assets at token prices, avoided paying taxes, defaulted on shaky loans, or deferred paying them indefinitely....Major defaulters and beneficiaries of loan write-offs, granted by both the Bhuttos and Sharif governments, included some of Pakistan's wealthiest business families-- Manshas, Saigols, Hashwanis, Habibs, Bhuttos and Sharifs......using the National Accountability Bureau (NAB), the (Musharraf) regime (after year 2000) went to prosecute eighteen hundred cases of corruption to recover nearly $3.4 billion in assets."

Riaz Haq said...

Muslim Indians are more likely than the country's Hindus and members of all other religions - including those who don't belong to a religious group - to be "suffering." One-third (32%) of the country's Muslims are suffering. Gallup classifies respondents as "thriving," "struggling," or "suffering" according to how they rate their current and future lives on a ladder scale with steps numbered from 0 to 10 based on the Cantril Self-Anchoring Striving Scale. People who rate their current life situation and their life in five years a "4" or less are considered suffering. Hindus (23%) and members of India's various other religious sects (15%) are less likely to be suffering.

This growing minority of Muslim Indians are more economically disadvantaged and dissatisfied than Indians of other religious groups. Muslims are more likely than the Indian population overall to live below the poverty line, 31% compared with 26%, according to the National Council of Applied Economic Research in India. Gallup data show that the country's Muslims (51%) are less likely than Hindus (63%) or others (66%) to be satisfied with their standard of living. Similarly, Muslims (65%) are more likely than Hindus (53%) and others (51%) to say their standard of living is staying the same or getting worse.

Household income is a particular disadvantage for Muslims in India. Muslims (47%) are more likely to say they find it "difficult" or "very difficult" living on their present household income than Hindus (39%) and members of other religions (24%). Muslims (23%) are also slightly more inclined than Hindus (18%) and others (12%) to say there were times in the past year when they did not have enough money to buy the food that they or their families needed.

Abject poverty is partially to blame for low levels of education among Muslim Indians, according to a 2006 report titled "Social, Economic and Educational Status of Muslim Community of India," chaired by Justice Rajindar Sachar and produced for Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh. The report calls education a "grave concern" for the country's Muslim community - not only the lower levels of education received, but the low quality of such education. Educational attainment is not particularly high throughout India, but Muslim Indians (88%) are slightly more likely than Hindus (84%) to list their level of education as elementary or less; all other Indians (72%) are distinctly ahead on this measure.

he report cites poor access to schools in predominantly Muslim areas of India, and high pupil-teacher ratios in the schools that are present. But in Gallup's 2011 survey, Muslim Indians (74%) are as satisfied as Hindus (74%) and other Indians (76%) with the educational system or schools in their areas. Indians overall were more satisfied with their local schools in 2011 than in 2010.

Riaz Haq said...

In the version of history found in #India's new textbooks, #China lost 1962 and #Gandhi wasn't murdered. #BJP Quartz

Long before the terms post-truth and alt-facts gained currency in the west, Indians were getting mass mails and text messages that often mixed myth with half-truths to glorify their past. It could be something as simple and patently false as the United Nations declaring India’s national anthem as the world’s best. Or bizarre achievements of ancient Indians.
Over the past few years, such trickery gained political legitimacy as senior leaders indulged in it using photoshopped images and administrative claims.
Now, with the full blessings of the powers that be, the phenomenon is seeping into Indian school textbooks, especially those used to teach history. For long a hotly-contested field among ideological rivals of the left, right, and centre of Indian politics, these textbooks have begun to peddle outright lies.
It may be still a trickle, but here is a glimpse of the false history that millions of Indian school students will be learning now on.
The 1962 war

In the second half of 1962, a brief war with China along the Himalayas left India with a bloody nose. Despite individual acts of valour, India lost 4,000 soldiers. Though the country amply regained its military standing in subsequent standoffs with China, 1962 left a deep scar on the national psyche—a scar it has tried to efface ever since.
A section of Indians may have finally found a solution: Just lie.
A Sanskrit-language textbook meant for Class 8 students in the Indian state of Madhya Pradesh (MP) now says India won the war. “What famously came to be known as Sino-India war of 1962 was won by India against China,” The Times of India newspaper quoted the book, Sukritika, volume-3, on Aug. 10.
Published by the Lucknow-based Kriti Prakashan, the textbook is being used in several MP schools affiliated to the Central Board for Secondary Education (CBSE) of the government of India. The state itself is ruled by the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), to which Indian prime minister Narendra Modi belongs.
Defeating the great Mughals

The Mughals have always been a thorn in the side of India’s Hindu extremists. The dynasty, which ruled a major part of India between 1526 and 1857, is viewed as the symbol of “Hindu slavery” and Islamic overlordship. This despite the fact that most of these monarchs were motivated by temporal interests rather than religious ones.
So anything or anyone that stands up to Mughal power naturally becomes a figurehead for Hindutva, or Hindu nationalists. This includes Maratha king Shivaji Bhonsle, better known as Chhatrapati Shivaji, and Lachit Borphukan, a commander of the Assam kings of India’s northeast. The multi-religious nature of their warring armies is but a footnote almost always.
One of the most famous symbols of such resistance was Pratap Singh, a Rajput chieftain from the desert region of India’s west. Popularly referred to as Maharana Pratap, this king was a contemporary of the greatest of Mughal emperors, Akbar. The two were at loggerheads as the Pratap refused to become Akbar’s vassal even as other Rajput princes did.
Following eight failed diplomatic missions, their two forces met in 1576 at the battle of Haldighati in present day Rajasthan. The superior Mughal military roundly defeated the Rajput forces but the legends of Maharana Pratap and the Haldighati battle lived on.
Now for the twist: The Rajasthan government wants us to believe it was Maharana Pratap who won that battle.

Jams said...

It was widely believed by British Statemen prior to independence that Pakistan had a much brighter future because of Islam and Urdu being the unifying forces under the western minded Jinnah.
India under the Zamindari system and myriad of languages cultures and religion would further break up.

Riaz Haq said...

Jams: " It was widely believed by British Statemen prior to independence that Pakistan had a much brighter future"

At the time of partition in 1947, India was already a country with a functioning state while Pakistan was a fragile newborn with many questions about its survival.

In one reported conversation, Mountbatten and Nehru saw Pakistan as a "nissen hut" or a temporary tent that would soon fold.

In "The Proudest Day: India's Long Road to Independence" by Anthony Read and David Fisher on page 468, Mountbatten is reported to have said: " Administratively, it is the difference between putting up a permanent building, a nissen hut or a tent. As far as Pakistan is concerned, we are putting up a tent".

Riaz Haq said...

India’s Muslims and the Price of Partition

The League began to argue that the Hindu majority of undivided India would swamp Muslims and suppress their religion and culture. As evidence, the League pointed to Hindu-Muslim riots in the northern states of Bihar and the United Provinces (now Uttar Pradesh), both ruled by the Congress, as an ominous portent. They argued that the movement to ban the slaughter of cows, led by an assortment of religious leaders, Hindu nationalist groups and some members of the Congress, was aimed at subverting Muslim culture. Unlike Muslims, Christians, Jews and animists, a segment of Hindus worship the cow and don’t eat its meat.

In 1937, Congress adopted as the national song of India some verses from “Vande Mataram,” or “I praise you, Mother,” a poem written in the 1870s by Bankim Chandra Chattopadhyay, a Bengali poet and novelist, as an ode to the Hindu goddess Durga. The League objected to its singing as it depicted India as Mother Goddess, which the League construed to promote idolatry, anathema to Muslims.

The most alarming trend has been the lynching of Muslims suspected of possessing beef, for ferrying home cattle purchased legitimately from cattle markets elsewhere.

The markers of Muslim identity — beards, skullcaps and head scarves — invite frowns, even violence, in India. On a late June afternoon, Junaid Khan, a 15-year-old Muslim boy, was stabbed to death on a train near New Delhi. Mr. Khan was traveling with his older brother and two friends. They were identified as Muslim because of their clothes and skullcaps. After an argument over a train seat, their fellow passengers threw religious slurs at them, killed Mr. Khan and injured the other boys.


India’s Muslims didn’t feel secure and weren’t flourishing before the B.J.P.’s rise. There were Hindu-Muslim riots then as well; Muslims were targeted and discriminated against. Their representation in elite government services has been less than 5 percent, according to the Indian government report in 2006.

Today India’s Muslims are apprehensive. Before sectarian violence was often orchestrated to win elections in a clutch of seats, almost always followed by a process of reconciliation. The Hindu-Muslim rivalry never constituted the political language of the Congress Party, the principal recipient of Muslim votes for much of India’s 70 years. The B.J.P. seeks to permanently consolidate Hindus against Muslims and keep the social caldron simmering.

Riaz Haq said...

Burying Dar-nomics. #Pakistan #PMLN #PPP #Corruption #Taxes #Exports #Industry #Economy Sakib Sherani

Here is a snapshot of PML-N’s economic policies in numbers.

On top of these new taxation measures, the government has been withholding refunds of businesses of around Rs150bn to Rs200bn while collecting advance tax to bolster its revenue performance under the IMF programme. Measures such as the foregoing in particular, including the levying of sales tax of up to 52pc on high speed diesel, a main stay input for the entire economy, have been particularly damaging for industry.

In terms of borrowing, the government’s debt-accumulation since 2013 has pushed up total public debt from nearly Rs14.5 trillion in FY13 to around Rs21.5tr by June 2017 — adding Rs7tr in just four years. More worryingly, the PML-N government has contracted new foreign loans of nearly $40bn in four years, an unprecedented amount, pushing total public external debt outstanding in net terms (after repayments), from $51bn in June 2013 to $62bn at the end of March 2017.

Under the third leg of economic policy under Mr Dar, the exchange rate has appreciated 26pc in real effective terms since December 2013 — hurting exports while giving a boost to all manner of imports including non-essential consumer and luxury items. In addition, the overvalued exchange rate has acted as a spur to capital flight from the country.

A combination of unaddressed structural challenges from the past, and Mr Dar’s policy framework since 2013, has resulted in Pakistan’s export sector (manufactured goods) shrinking to 6.9pc of GDP from around 14pc in the mid-2000s.

So the first order of business for the new PML-N prime minister should be to undo the punishing taxation burden on industry imposed by Mr Dar’s policies, and to rectify the policy framework in ways that will boost industry, in particular exports, in the long run. With Pakistan no more sleepwalking into a balance of payments crisis but sliding into one (even with international oil prices at around $50!), the government’s policy space and options are becoming limited. It, or its successor, will need to begin talking to the IMF for a new loan programme sooner rather than later, which will curtail freedom of movement for introducing industry- and investment-friendly policies.

However, some immediate concrete policy measures to reduce the cost of doing business in the country (on the taxation side), combined with a strong signal that the PML-N government is moving away from Mr Dar’s damaging economic policies, will be welcome as well as hopeful news for Pakistani industry.

Tailpiece: Thank God for the PPP government in Sindh! In a huge service to real democracy, its uninterrupted misrule since 2008 has buried some apologetic myths forwarded since the July 28 Supreme Court ruling to ‘defend’ the pathetic non-performance of political governments.

With the military commanding the heights in foreign and security policy, and not in terms of economic governance, it cannot be blamed if Thari children die each year due to lack of medicines in public hospitals, or if roads in Larkana are in a shambles, or there are heaps of uncollected garbage in Karachi. With around Rs2,100bn transferred to Sindh from the centre since 2013 under the National Finance Commission awards, in addition to the nearly Rs200bn tax collected by Sindh itself over this period, the issue is not even of money.

It boils down to corruption pure and simple. Large-scale, pervasive and systemic corruption has been widely documented as the undoing of many resource-rich but underdeveloped countries, particularly in Africa, which have no civil-military imbalances to worry about. Regular, ongoing attempts to shift the blame from bad governance and grand corruption (political sleaze) to tensions in civil-military relations are disingenuous as well as a disservice.

Younis said...

People like yourself keep peddling that the national debt is manageable and not high. I am glad you are letting the truth out.

Riaz Haq said...

#India's Q1 #GDP growth slows to 3-year low of 5.7% from 7.9% same quarter last year. #Modi #BJP via @economictimes

India's GDP growth slumped to a three-year low of 5.7 per cent during April-June -- lagging China for the second straight quarter -- as manufacturing slowed ahead of the GST launch amid demonetisation effect.

China clocked 6.9 per cent growth in January-March as well as April-June quarters.

The expansion in gross domestic product (GDP) was 6.1 per cent in the preceding quarter and 7.9 per cent in the same period last fiscal. The previous low of 4.6 per cent was r ..

Gross value added (GVA) in the manufacturing sector fell sharply to 1.2 per cent, from 10.7 per cent year on year, as the businesses focussed more on clearing inventories rather than production ahead of the July 1 launch of GST.

A separate set of official data showed that growth of eight core sectors slowed to 2.4 per cent in July due to contraction in output of crude oil, refinery products, fertiliser and cement.

Uncertainty about new indirect tax rates under GST ..

Riaz Haq said...

Pakistan's economy surging as GDP growth sees record with 5.3 percent

akistan's government said Tuesday that the country's GDP has seen record growth of 5.3 percent.

Per capita income increased to $1,629, according to government data.

In a briefing to Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi and other cabinet members, Finance Division officials said that during the current fiscal year GDP recorded increased growth.

Large-scale manufacturing achieved 5.6 percent growth and the fiscal deficit was reduced by 5.8 percent as percentage of GDP.

Almost 8,300 new companies were registered during the current year while FDI witnessed an increase of $2.4 billion in financial year 2016-17.

The World Bank in recent reports predicted that Pakistan's GDP growth in fiscal year 2017 was expected to climb to 5.2 percent, the highest in nine years and that the growth rate would continue to accelerate, reaching 5.5 percent in fiscal year 2018 and 5.8 percent in fiscal year 2019.

Local economists said the reports showed FDI was mainly being led by China.

Riaz Haq said...

India and Pakistan must learn to live together
New Delhi and Islamabad are locked in a dangerous triangular contest with Beijing

HENNY SENDER, Nikkei Asian Review columnist
In the last year, Modi has been seemingly opposed to any conciliation with Pakistan. In September 2016, after gunmen attacked an Indian army base in Kashmir, he threatened to tear up the Indus Water Treaty, which provides for the orderly distribution of water between the two countries from rivers that flow first through India. The treaty has been in effect since 1960, yet this is virtually the first time that it has become hostage to cross-border sparring, according to analysts. Pakistan's apparent inability to control attacks from its territory across the border does not help.

Modi also claimed that counterfeiting from across the border was one of the reasons for India's "demonetization" exercise -- a major currency upheaval last November in which high value notes were suddenly withdrawn from circulation, causing chaos for Indian businesses that rely on cash transactions. Modi learned from elections in March in Uttar Pradesh, India's most populous state, that uniting Hindus (who in the past had fractured along caste lines) against Muslims pays off at the ballot box, undermining domestic political support for reconciliation with Muslim Pakistan. He then installed a militantly religious Hindu figure, Yogi Adityanath, as chief minister of the state.

Meanwhile, India's relationship with China is in part hostage to its relationship with Pakistan. China has become Islamabad's closest ally. Pakistan will be the biggest beneficiary of Chinese economic and strategic initiatives such as the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor, and is set to receive more than $60 billion in the next few years as part of the Belt and Road Initiative, a massive Asian infrastructure program. India believes that such Chinese plans are a way to unload its excess capacity on the rest of the world and wants no part in its giant neighbor's ambitious programs.

This is short sighted. For example, Pakistan may well become the first country on the planet to run out of water. Its arid land struggles to support a population of around 200 million -- though nobody knows the exact figure because there has been no census in almost 20 years. Several of the China-based Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank's first projects (in conjunction with the Japanese-led Asian Development Bank) are aimed at supporting water infrastructure in Pakistan.

The continuing tensions between India and Pakistan are rooted in partition. But New Delhi also believes that a weak Pakistan is in its interests. There may be some truth in this, but only up to a point. A collapse of Pakistan's economy and institutions would pose a serious threat to India, which should welcome Chinese investment in Pakistan, including AIIB lending, as a way of avoiding the problem of a failed state on its doorstep.

Scholars continue to debate whether the events of 70 years ago that divided India from Pakistan were inevitable or not. Either way, however, New Delhi needs to accept that the fates of the two countries remain inextricably linked, for better or worse.