Sunday, October 1, 2017

Saran on India-Pakistan Ties; Gen Mattis in India; Tourism in Pakistan

What does former Indian foreign secretary Shyam Saran say about ties with Pakistan in his recent book "How India Sees the World: Kautilya to the 21st Century"? Why have "low-hanging fruit" issues between India and Pakistan like Siachin and Sir Creek not been resolved? Whose fault is it? Who in India torpedoed solutions agreed with Pakistan at the last minute? Why does ancient Indian thinker Kautilya, regarded as the Indian Machiavelli, dominate foreign policy thinking in India with regard to Pakistan and Afghanistan?

Why did US Defense Secretary General James Mattis go to India? What was his agenda relative to India's role in Afghanistan and cementing US-India defense ties? Why does Indian security analyst Prof Bharat Karnad say that India "severing relations with TTP will mean India surrendering an active card in Pakistan and a role in Afghanistan as TTP additionally provides access to certain Afghan Taliban factions"? Did Mattis ask India to stop supporting the Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) terrorist activities against Pakistan as Karnad anticipated?

Is the US Federal Government response to widespread destruction after Hurricane Maria in US territory of Puerto Rico adequate? Why is the mayor of San Juan so angry? Why is she being attacked by President Trump for demanding faster relief operations? Why did it take more than a week for the US to assign a military general to oversee disaster relief in Puerto Rico? Was President Trump too busy attacking the NFL players taking the knee during the playing of the US national anthem?

How is tourism industry doing in Pakistan? How has the improved security situation and better infrastructure positively impacted tourism in Pakistan? What are latest figures released by WTTC, the World Travel and Tourism Council, for Pakistan? How much does the industry contribute to Pakistan's GDP? What is its potential over the next decade? How does it help promote goodwill for Pakistan?

Viewpoint From Overseas host Misbah Azam discusses these questions with Ali H. Cemendtaur and Riaz Haq (www.riazhaq.com)

https://youtu.be/nzNstymhlnM




Related Links:

Haq's Musings

Kautilya Doctrine Dominates India's Pakistan Policy

India-Pakistan Tensions: Who's at Fault? 

Bharat Karnad on Indian Support of TTP Against Pakistan

Pakistan Travel and Tourism Boom

Trump's White House

Talk4Pak Youtube Channel

16 comments:

Singhasa said...

Kautilya or Vishnugupta is the correct meaning. You have desecrated the name which tells me it is doubtful you have read the entire book excepted for selected passages provided to you.

Riaz Haq said...

#Lahore based #Pakistani #American founder of #AI #unicorn Afiniti takes investors helicopter skiing in #Pakistan. https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2017-10-02/tycoon-takes-investors-heli-skiing-to-show-them-pakistan-s-safe

AI firm Afiniti employs three-quarter of employees in Pakistan
Company may list next year with more than $2 billion valuation
In the northern snow-capped peaks of Pakistan, Zia Chishti disembarked off a helicopter and skied downhill on a mission to convince investors, clients and company executives that the nation once called by The Economist “the world’s most dangerous place” is now safe for business.

Chishti, who grew up in Lahore, gathered a group from more than a dozen countries including Alessandro Benetton, a heir to the billionaire family that owns the iconic namesake Italian clothing company, and Huawei Technologies Co. rotating Chief Executive Officer Guo Ping earlier this year to Pakistan, the back-end base for some of his businesses. Last month, his artificial intelligence company signed a deal with Huawei, which will help its push into Eastern markets including China, Japan and Australia.

For Chishti, ensuring his clients understand that Pakistan, which has struggled against internal militant groups, has changed since The Economist report a decade ago is critical because many of his employees who provide customer solutions, sales support and marketing to clients including Sprint Corp. and Caesars Entertainment Corp. are based in the South Asian nation. Chishti has added more people in Pakistan, a move that will also help him keep costs under control as his AI unit prepares for an initial public offering in the U.S.

“Pakistan by any reasonable and adaptive measure is an extremely safe place to do business,” said Chishti, whose office oversees the White House, said in an interview by phone. “All in all it’s a very favorable place to do business and the world perception just has to catch up.”

Despite a widespread negative perception over the country’s security record, multiple military operations have curbed domestic insurgents after a Pakistani Taliban massacre at a school three years ago shocked the nation. Last year, civilian deaths from terrorism dropped to the lowest in more than a decade.

The army’s drive has boosted the confidence of companies, including TRG, and foreign investment is up 155 percent to $457 million in the first two months of the business year started July. Chishti’s company has moved into a larger building this year that will fit 3,000 staff in the previously tumultuous port city of Karachi, which has been secured by paramilitary forces against gangsters, militants and political militias since 2013.

Amita said...

My father was in civil service mostly in Asia Pacific and he always had this in his study. We all had to memorize it and it has helped me in my life.


The root of happiness is Dharma (ethics, righteousness), the root of Dharma is Artha (economy, polity), the root of Artha is right governance, the root of right governance is victorious inner-restraint, the root of victorious inner-restraint is humility, the root of humility is serving the aged and the less privileged benevolently.

The above is also part of Arthashastra

Riaz Haq said...

#Pakistan draws new battle lines in the #Afghan war. #India #Trump #Taliban #Afghanistan

https://worldview.stratfor.com/article/pakistan-draws-new-battle-line-afghan-war

If India increases its involvement in Afghanistan, Pakistan will strengthen its opposition to pushing the Taliban into negotiations.

Pakistan will continue supporting the Taliban to prevent an alliance between Afghanistan and India.

Islamabad and Washington's threats against one another will limit the punitive measures both sides impose.


...Pakistani militancy is as much a problem for Islamabad as it is for Washington. Pakistan has been working to circumscribe the militant groups operating within its borders since long before Trump rebuked the country in an address Aug. 21. In April 2016, for example, Pakistan's Inter-Services Intelligence agency proposed plans to deradicalize scores of militants and bring them more under the control of the country's security apparatus. As part of that campaign, Islamabad allowed the Jamaat-ud-Dawa — a charity organization under U.N. sanctions for its links to the militant group Lashkar-e-Taiba — to form a new political party, the Milli Muslim League (MML).

Combating militancy with politics is easier said than done, though. The process has been rife with controversy, exposing the historical divide between Pakistan's military and civilian leaders. Pakistan's Interior Ministry asked the country's electoral commission to block the MML's registration over concerns that the party's ties to and ideological affinities with Lashkar-e-Taiba, the group blamed for the deadly attacks in Mumbai in 2008, would invite criticism from foreign governments. But though the MML's registration is still pending, it hasn't let administrative matters get in its way. The party's candidate, officially running as an independent, placed third in the recent special elections in Lahore, and the MML plans to participate in Pakistan's general elections next year as well.

The MML's emergence demonstrates the Pakistani army's commitment to addressing militancy in the country. Its priorities in this endeavor differ from those of the United States, however, and as it tackles the problem, Islamabad will continue to resist pressure to attack the militant groups Washington has targeted. In Pakistan's view, after all, all militant groups are not created equal. Groups such as the Afghan Taliban and its ally the Haqqani network help Pakistan's army advance its objectives in Afghanistan. They are assets to Islamabad's foreign policy, and the Pakistani government treats them as such. Islamabad's accommodations, moreover, discourage these groups from attacking Pakistan, enabling the country to focus its scarce resources on the organizations that pose a more serious threat to its security, including the Tehrik-i-Taliban Pakistan and the Islamic State's Khorasan chapter.

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In fact, Pakistan already has started employing some of these deterrents since Trump made his address on Afghanistan in late August. Islamabad turned down a visit from the U.S. acting assistant secretary of state for Central and South Asia, who was leading a delegation of officials eager to hash out U.S.-Pakistan coordination in Afghanistan. Pakistan's foreign minister instead embarked on a three-nation tour to China, Turkey and Iran in hopes of increasing their diplomatic support for his country. He later delayed a meeting originally scheduled for August with his U.S. counterpart, Rex Tillerson, until the week of Oct. 2. More recently, Pakistan announced that it would adopt stricter protocols on U.S. diplomats to require a mutual agreement before American officials could visit the country and to prohibit lower-ranking U.S. functionaries from meeting with high-level Pakistani officials, such as the prime minister. The country also has floated the possibility of shutting down NATO supply routes, though it probably won't follow through on the threat unless Washington first makes good on one of its own.

Shelly Ramos said...

Why does Pakistan build it's narrative on small fragments extracted from diplomatic dialogue and discussion while missing out on the larger picture?

When Pakistan delegation visited the US and the Foreign Minister and the Prime Minister appeared on think tanks, that was one of the inside discussion points among junior staff people.

Can you please shed your thoughts on it? Thanks

Riaz Haq said...

SR: "Why does Pakistan build it's narrative on small fragments extracted from diplomatic dialogue and discussion while missing out on the larger picture?"


To the contrary, Pakistan's narrative is far more comprehensive and based on well documented history and current realities.

The "terrorism" in Afghanistan and Pakistan is the legacy of the Cold War in which US funded, armed and trained the "Mujahideen" to defeat the Soviet Union. And India is now using the TTP to sponsor terror in Pakistan.

The Haqqanis were America's darlings and called "Mujahideen". Now the US calls them "terrorists" because they fighting US occupation.

Indians love Bhagat Singh and celebrate him as "shaheed" because he fought the British colonizers. Now they call Burhan Wani a terrorist because he fought Indian occupation forces in Kashmir.

NBRX said...

With due respect sir, Burhan Wani was a commander of Hizbul Mujahideen, a UN designated terrorist organization!

Riaz Haq said...

NBRX: "With due respect sir, Burhan Wani was a commander of Hizbul Mujahideen, a UN designated terrorist organization! "

Wrong. UN has not designated HuM terrorist. US has.

US also designated South African leader Nelson Mandela as a terrorist. He remained on the list until 2008.

US is not UN.

NBRX said...

Mandela's terrorist designation was a big error and recognized as such by the US.

“He (Mandela) had no place on our government’s terror watch list, and I’m pleased to see this bill finally become law,” said Sen. John Kerry of Massachusetts.

Riaz Haq said...

Pakistan’s Foreign Minister on Relations with the U.S. at the Institute of Peace in Washington, D.C.

https://youtu.be/qyZ004QI6Iw

Some of the key points:

US funded, armed and trained militants to fight the Soviets in 1980s as part of the Cold War, then walked away without helping to rehabilitate them and left it to Pakistan to deal with them.

Pakistan does want to deal with these militants who are a liability for the country. Pakistan working on finding the best way to do it.

US domestic prevents action on guns but Washington expects Pakistan to demolish all militant groups overnight?

India has 66 banned armed groups engaged in insurgency all over India. Only 4 linked to Pakistan.

Indian govt data shows over 36,000 infiltration attempts in 2001 and only 30 this year.

Ex US Def Sec Hagel said India uses Afghanistan as 2nd front against Pakistan.

Gen Petraeus has said that while he served as Centcom commander and then CIA chief, he saw no convincing evidence of Pakistan's support for Haqqanis.

Pakistan rejects Mattis' statement about working with Pakistan "one more time". Such talk is offensive to Pakistan and not conducive to cooperation with US.

Indian Air Force has said IAF can do "surgical strikes" against Pakistan's nuclear arsenal. If that were to happen, don't expect any restraint from Pakistan.

https://youtu.be/OsGy4NDEXMg

Riaz Haq said...

#Pakistan: Mad Dog #Mattis Will Bark, but #Islamabad Won't Bite. #Afghanistan #Trump #terrorism #TTP https://goo.gl/ZU1FK1 via @Stratfor Worldview

As President Donald Trump's administration searches for an exit from the war in Afghanistan after over 16 years of U.S. involvement, the United States is making another high-level diplomatic outreach to Pakistan. On Dec. 4, Defense Secretary James Mattis arrived in Islamabad for meetings with Pakistan's top military and civilian leaders, including Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi and army chief Gen. Qamar Javed Bajwa. In these meetings, Mattis' mission is to convince Pakistani leadership to do more to attack militant safe havens and, in the long term, facilitate peace talks with the Taliban to end America's longest-running war. But Pakistan's leaders won't be easy to convince.

In the discussions, Mattis adopted a conciliatory approach by acknowledging Pakistan's sacrifices in the fight against terrorism, but he also reiterated Washington's demands. The United States has called for Pakistan to take more action against the militants that find refuge on its soil. Among them, crucially, is the leadership of the Taliban operating in Afghanistan.

Diplomatic outreach is just one of the ways the United States is trying to compel a change in Pakistan's behavior. Military aid is another. Last week, the latest report from the U.S. Congressional Research Service showed that the United States would further trim its annual aid package to Pakistan. In 2017, Washington doled out $526 million to Islamabad in exchange for its cooperation, which includes providing overland NATO supply route access through Pakistani territory. In 2018, that number is projected to drop to $345 million.

The United States has gradually trimmed the amount of aid it provides to Pakistan over the last several years. In 2014, for example, U.S. aid to Pakistan amounted to nearly $2.2 billion. For now, it appears that the U.S. strategy is to pursue incremental punitive measures against Pakistan, rather than pursue harsher tactics such as revoking Pakistan's non-NATO major ally status or cutting aid altogether. The United States isn't fully ready to bring out the stick, but the carrot is slowly being drawn back.

Pakistan wants to maintain its relationship with the United States, but it's willing to suffer the cost of deteriorating ties. From Islamabad's perspective, supporting the Taliban follows a rational calculation to ensure post-conflict Afghanistan is friendly to Pakistani interests. Support for Taliban leaders is aimed at denying Pakistan's rival, India, a foothold in Afghanistan. Because of this, Mattis' visit probably won't convince Pakistan to change its behavior, especially considering the Trump administration's calls for India to play a greater economic role in Afghanistan.


Riaz Haq said...

THE EXPRESS TRIBUNE > PAKISTAN
Pakistan identified as top travel destination

https://tribune.com.pk/story/1596763/9-pakistan-identified-top-travel-destination/

The British Backpacker Society has identified Pakistan as it’s top travel desitination due to it being “one of the friendliest countries on earth, with mountain scenery that is beyond anyone’s wildest imagination”.

“Pakistan is the clear winner of the British Backpacker Society’s top 20 adventure travel destinations 2018 and we encourage keen travellers to book a trip now” the backpackers, who have explored over 101 countries, shared on social media. Other top destinations included Russia, India, Turkey, Kyrgyzstan and China.

Gulf News has carried the comments of two members of the BBS on Pakistan. Samuel Joynson and Adam Sloper said that Pakistan had a lot to offer travellers.

“Pakistan is one of the friendliest countries on earth. So, prepare to be invited into people’s homes, take more selfies than you can count, and have every preconception that you ever held about this area of the world changed forever,” Samuel said.

The pair visited Pakistan in 2016, and traveled from Lahore to Gilgit-Baltistan via the Kaghan valley. They ended their trip in the Hunza Valley and climbed the Hon Pass near Karimabad.

“We chose to climb the Hon Pass as Eric Shipton, one of Britain’s most famous mountaineers, described the view from the pass as ‘the ultimate manifestation of mountain grandeur’, and we wanted to follow in his footsteps and experience this spectacle,” Samuel recalled. “The view from the Hon Pass was indeed the greatest natural sight that either of us has ever seen, and we would recommend it to anyone with a keen interest in mountaineering.”

Samuel also shared a travel tip: “Head north to the astonishing peaks of the Karakoram along the unforgettable Karakoram Highway. It is beautiful, exciting and culturally interesting, and travellers are rewarded at the journey’s end-point with perhaps the most beautiful natural sight on earth, the Hunza Valley.”

British Backpacker Society is known for inspiring thousands of it’s online followers to visit less famous destinations in developing countries. Adam had a word of advice for international travelers concerned about their safety when visiting Pakistan:

“Our advice would be to put preconceptions on the security situation in Pakistan to one side, and conduct some independent research. You should certainly review travel advisories from respective governments, but also speak to local Pakistanis about the situation. We believe that travel is at its best when it changes a visitor’s preconceptions, and few experiences achieve this more than travelling in Pakistan” he implored.


Riaz Haq said...

Where to go in 2018: an insiders’ guide
From the Karakoram to the Seychelles, travel industry leaders pick emerging destinations for the coming year

https://www.ft.com/content/8d5b5492-e737-11e7-97e2-916d4fbac0da


For much of the past decade, Pakistan has been synonymous in many people’s minds with terrorism and unrest — the place Osama bin Laden was killed, where Malala Yousafzai was shot, and where climbers preparing to scale an 8,000m peak were murdered in their tents. And yet in the past three years, an improvement in the security situation has prompted the beginnings of an unlikely tourism surge. “While I am sure this will raise some eyebrows, we are starting to see a marked increase in tourism to Pakistan,” says Jonny Bealby of Wild Frontiers. His company took 55 per cent more clients to the country in 2017 compared with the previous year, and advance bookings are more than 100 per cent up on this point 12 months ago. In 2015 the UK Foreign and Commonwealth Office relaxed warnings about visiting large areas of the mountainous north; figures from the state-owned Pakistan Tourism Development Corporation suggest total arrivals have tripled since then, to a total of 1.75m in 2017. A publicity drive — including covering London buses with photographs of Pakistani scenes — as well as celebrations in 2017 marking the 70th anniversary of the country’s formation, have helped raise the nation’s profile. Roads have been improved, including the resurfacing of large stretches of the fabled Karakoram Highway, and domestic airline connections increased. “Of course, I realise the country still has a long way to go before it can attract the numbers of adventure tourists that came here pre-9/11, but there is no doubt things are on the up,” says Bealby.

Riaz Haq said...

India has territorial disputes with:

- Pakistan
- China
- Myanmar
- Bangladesh
- Nepal

https://twitter.com/spectatorindex/status/954760444941651969

Riaz Haq said...

Pakistan aims to revive glory of ancient Mughal city Lahore
March 1, 2018 by Khurram Shahzad

https://phys.org/news/2018-03-pakistan-aims-revive-glory-ancient.html

Perched on scaffolding, restoration experts chip away at decades of grime and repair broken mosaic tiles in a bid to save the colossal murals depicting historic battles and regal ceremonies on the walls of Lahore fort.


The painstaking work is part of efforts to preserve Lahore's crumbling architectural history as officials juggle conserving its diverse heritage with building modern infrastructure in Pakistan's chaotic second city.

The metropolis, which once served as the capital of the Mughal empire that stretched across much of the subcontinent, has been subsumed into a myriad of civilizations across the centuries.

This rich past is most visible in the milieu of architecture salted across the Walled City of Lahore—from Hindu temples and Mughal forts to Sikh gurdwaras and administrative office built during the Raj.

"You get a history of a thousand years, 500 year-old houses and monuments and mosques, shrines and a very peaceful atmosphere," says Kamran Lashari, director general of the Walled City of Lahore Authority (WCLA).

Prime among them, and dating back to the 11th century, the Lahore fort was first built of mud and was then later reinforced with stone over the centuries by a long cast of Mughal emperors who oversaw its expansion and the accompanying artwork.

But periods of conflict along with searing heat, monsoon rains and years of neglect have taken a toll on the fort.

Despite the onset of decay, experts suggest the city's vast Islamic architectural heritage could make it a contender to rival more established Silk Road travel destinations.

"Lahore can easily compete with Samarkand. It nearly matches Ispahan," says Sophie Makariou, president of the Parisian-based National Museum of Asian Arts.

Makariou adds that its failure to shine is more to do with safety concerns that have plagued the nation after multiple attacks.

"Due to the bad reputation of Pakistan, it remains unknown," she explains.

Pearl of the Punjab

But as security across Pakistan continues to improve, officials are hoping to revive Lahore's lost glory.


More than 40 conservationists with the the WCLA—including engineers, architects and ceramists from across the globe—are currently working on restoring the mosaic mural on the fort's exterior.



"It's one of the largest murals in the world. It contains over 600 tile mosaic panels and frescos," says Emaan Sheikh from the Agha Khan Trust for Culture.

Restoration of the mural is just part of a larger project to refurbish the fort, which includes conservation projects in the royal kitchen, the summer palace and a basement, according to WCLA's director general Kamran Lashari.

Similar work by the WCLA has already been done to revamp the artwork at the historic Wazir Khan mosque and the Shahi Hammam—one of the only surviving Turkish Baths in the subcontinent that is approximately 400 years old.

The city's famed Delhi Gate, which once hosted extravagant Mughal processions arriving in Lahore from the east, has also been fully restored along with dozens of homes in the Walled City.

Many of those involved in the project are optimistic.

"The cities which are most famous for tourism, you can take London, Madrid, Istanbul, Rome, all the prerequisites which are available in those cities, are available in Lahore," claims Ahmer Malik, head of Punjab's tourism corporation, referring to Lahore's architectural and cultural attractions.

Riaz Haq said...

Pakistan's crumbling architectural heritage
Syed Raza Hassan


https://www.reuters.com/article/us-pakistan-architecture/pakistans-crumbling-architectural-heritage-idUSKCN1GD45N


Pakistan (Reuters) - When British colonial rulers hastily left South Asia at Pakistan’s painful birth in 1947, the ensuing chaos and violence meant little attention was paid to the architecture they built or influenced in Pakistan’s biggest city, Karachi.

More than 70 years later, architectural gems have been torn down and many are either crumbling or under threat from real estate developers in Pakistan’s commercial capital which is mushrooming into a mega-city.

The structures, weathered by the salty air, open the door to Karachi’s colonial scars, researchers say, pointing out that many of the original owners were among millions of Muslim and Hindu refugees who fled their homes amid communal and religious violence that accompanied the end of British rule in India in 1947 and the creation of Pakistan.

”Every brick of the heritage building narrates a story of those who left in 1947,“ said Akthar Baloch, a researcher who has written several books on Karachi’s heritage. ”They built them with love and affection.

"When people like me feel bad looking at the neglect of these heritage sites, one wonders how the families of the owners must feel if they ever visit Karachi." (Click reut.rs/2F03sEg for a picture package of Karachi's crumbling heritage buildings)

Karachi’s population has skyrocketed to nearly 17 million people in 2017 from an estimated 400,000 at independence, and every inch of the city has become a valuable commodity for developers building homes or drafting plans to alter the city’s skyline with new skyscrapers.

Jahangir Kothari Parade promenade, once an imposing British heritage site, is now obscured by a maze of overpasses and the shadow of Pakistan’s tallest building.

The promenade is part of a handful of buildings, along with the colonial-era Imperial Customs House, which have been restored to their former grandeur, but such projects are rare when the focus is on tearing down old and building new.

Rapid urbanization has ensured large-scale destruction, particularly in the old city areas, where more profitable multi-story residential buildings have sprung up.

But amid the new concrete, remnants of the colonial legacy can still be seen, often recognizable by their state of neglect.

The Saddar neighborhood of Karachi has perhaps the largest concentration of British architectural history, while in the city’s eastern district, the iconic old colonial jail has been declared a heritage site by Sindh province’s antiquities department.

So far more than 1,700 premises have been listed as heritage sites by the antiquities department and the process continues.

The Sindh Cultural Heritage Preservation Act, introduced in 1994, has helped provide legal protection for structures of historical significance. But courts are also busy with cases of developers trying to circumvent such protection.

March 1, 2018 at 10:18 AM Delete