Sunday, September 30, 2018

Pakistani-American Scholar Dr. Moeed Yusuf in Silicon Valley

Pakistani-American scholar Dr. Moeed Yusuf, Associate Vice President of the Asia Center at the U.S. Institute of Peace in Washington D.C., visited Silicon Valley on September 29, 2018.  Dr. Yusuf  spoke at an event organized by Talk4Pak ( team to launch his recently published book "Brokering Peace in Nuclear Environments U.S. Crisis Management in South Asia".

Dr. Moeed Yusuf (L) with Faraz Darvesh

The event was moderated by Faraz Darvesh. It started with a brief intro by Riaz Haq to Talk4Pak followed an introduction to  the main speaker by Dr. Misbah Azam.

Riaz Haq (L) with Faraz Darvesh

Riaz Haq introduced Talk4Pak as a media platform intended to connect Pakistani-Americans with Pakistan to stimulate discussion on issues of interest to the diaspora.  Talk4Pak principals include Faraz Darvesh, Misbah Azam, Sabahat Ashraf, Ali Hasan Cemendtaur, and Riaz Haq. Talk4Pak engages with its target audience via social media platforms like YouTube, Facebook and Twitter. Talk4Pak produces two regular shows: Viewpoint From Overseas in English and Azad Labon Kay Sath in Urdu.

Dr. Moeed Yusuf Signing Books

Talk4Pak shows feature discussions with analysts, activists, journalists, intellectuals, writers and thinkers. Guests include a range: Dr. Moeed Yusuf, Dr. Adil Najam, Dr. Ishrat Husain, Brigadier Feroz Khan,  Shuja Nawaz, Raoof Hasan, Munir Malik, Jibran Nasir, Ayesha Siddiqa, Asma Jahangir,  Munizae Jahangir, Monis Rahman, Husain Haqqani, Tarek Fatah, Dr. Nyla Ali Khan (grand-daughter of Shaikh Abdullah), Raza Rumi, Zahid Husain, Mazhar Abbas,  Amir Abbas, Farrukh Pitafi, Zarar Khuro, Jared Taylor and others.

Dr. Misbah Azam (L) Introducing Dr. Moeed Yusf

Misbah introduced Dr. Moeed W. Yusuf as Associate Vice president of the Asia Center at the U.S. Institute of Peace (USIP). Yusuf has been engaged in expanding USIP’s work on Pakistan/South Asia since 2010. His current research focuses on youth and democratic institutions in Pakistan, policy options to mitigate militancy in Pakistan and the South Asian region in general, and U.S. role in South Asian crisis management. His latest book, Brokering Peace in Nuclear Environments: U.S. Crisis Management in South Asia, was released by Stanford University Press in May 2018. The book offers an innovative theory of brokered bargaining to better understand and solve regional nuclear crises.

Dr. Moeed Yusuf Signing Books

In "Brokering Peace in Nuclear Environments U.S. Crisis Management in South Asia" by Dr. Moeed Yusuf published by Stanford University Press, the author analyzes American diplomacy in three critical periods: Kargil conflict in 1999; the stand-off after the Indian Parliament attack in 2001 and the terrorist attack in Mumbai in 2008.

Dr. Moeed Yusuf with Dinner Attendees

Yusuf argues that the US-Soviet Cold War deterrence model does not apply to the India-Pakistan conflict and offers his theory of "brokered bargaining". In chapters that detail the US role during three India-Pakistan crises, it is clear that the US rejected India's insistence on bilateralism in resolving India-Pakistan disputes.  The author says that "in each episode, the concern about the escalation forced the United States to engage, largely unsolicited, and use a mix of rewards (or promises of) and punishments (or threats of) with the regional rivals to achieve de-escalation--ahead of its broader regional or policy interests."

Dt. Moeed Yusuf Speaking at Talk4Pak Silicon Valley Event 

At the talk4pak Silicon Valley event, Dr. Yusuf addressed three areas of focus: 

1. US-Pakistan relations: Yusuf says Washington now sees India, not Pakistan, as its strategic partner in South Asia. Washington's entire relationship with Islamabad today revolves almost exclusively around Afghanistan where American and Pakistani interests do not converge. The only time the United States gets involved in India-Pakistan conflict is when there is a serious crisis that the world fears could escalate into a nuclear confrontation between them. 

2. India-Pakistan Ties: There is no sustained dialogue between New Delhi and Islamabad to resolve issues such as Kashmir between the two neighbors. Yusuf speculates that India wants to wait it out for the time when its economic and military differential with Pakistan becomes so large that Delhi can dictate terms to Islamabad as the unchallenged regional hegemon. 

3. Afghanistan War: Pakistan does not believe that the Afghan Taliban can be militarily defeated and insists that the United States must talk directly with them to reach a political settlement.  Yusuf now believes that the recent start of direct dialogue between the United States and the Taliban may bring an eventual end to America's longest war.

Audience at Talk4Pak Silicon Valley

Dr. Moeed Yusuf's "Brokering Peace in Nuclear Environments U.S. Crisis Management in South Asia" is a thought provoking book as is his presentation at the talk4pak Silicon Valley event. Both should stimulate serious discussion of how regional nuclear powers like India and Pakistan can engage with each other more deeply to maintain peace and stability in their neighborhood. This will require both parties, India and Pakistan, to have sustained dialogue to resolve core issues like Kashmir that underly recurring crises.

Here's a video of the presentation at talk4pak event of September 29, 2018:

Related Links:

Haq's Musings

South Asia Investor Review

India-Pakistan Conventional Military Balance

Freeing Colonized Minds in Pakistan

America's "We're the Good Guys" Narrative

Funding of Hate Groups, NGOs, Think Tanks: Is Money Free Speech?

US and China Vying For Influence in Pakistan

Pakistan-China-Russia Vs India-Japan-US

Pakistan Rising or Failing: Reality vs Perception

Pakistan's Trillion Dollar Economy Among top 25


Riaz Haq Youtube Channel

VPOS Youtube Channel


Riaz Haq said...

#India's currency sinks to record lows. #Indian central bank isn't expected to save it. Decline of more than 14% since the start of this year has earned it the status of the worst-performing in the region. #Asia #Modi #BJP #economy

The rupee's plunge into record-low territory this year is unlikely to slow — even if India's central bank hikes its rate this week, according to experts carefully watching the Reserve Bank of India.

Analysts largely expect India, Asia's third-largest economy, to raise its benchmark rate by 25 basis points at its meeting this week, with more increases to come this and next year. But while an interest rate hike would normally be expected to support a currency, the rupee "is in for continued losses ahead," according to Prakash Sakpal, vice president of research at Dutch bank ING.

"Even if it hikes by 25 (basis points) as expected that's unlikely to help the currency ... The RBI will have to do more, though that looks unlikely on the grounds of on-target inflation and stress in the financial sector," he said.

Sakpal predicted the central bank will merely match the three U.S. Federal Reserve rate hikes this year without giving the rupee any leeway to gain against the dollar.

The rupee hit a series of record lows against the dollar in the past two months, weakening to about 73 rupees against the greenback. That marked a decline of more than 14 percent since the start of this year, earning it the status of the worst-performing in the region — alongside the Indonesian rupiah and Philippine peso.

India's currency depreciation has been attributed to rising oil prices — it's a major crude importer — and a widening current account deficit. Experts say that broader global concerns, which rose to the forefront in the emerging currencies sell-off following economic troubles in Turkey and Argentina, have also weighed on investor sentiment.

Shashank Mendiratta, an economist covering South Asia and India at ANZ, added: "While higher interest rates may help, a single rate hike is unlikely to suffice. It will require a series of rate hikes as has been the case in Indonesia."

Inflation and the rupee
Experts cautioned that a balance in monetary policy has to be struck, to prevent slowing growth and rising inflation.

Inflation, a key concern for India's central bank, slipped below the 4 percent target in August. It's affected by currency movements because if the rupee weakens, then foreign goods would cost more in rupee terms — resulting in an increase in prices.

With oil prices weighing on India, if interest rates are hiked and the rupee strengthens, then the cost of imported oil will be less.

Currently, a 10 percent rise in global crude oil prices will lift headline inflation figures by between 20 and 30 basis points according to the RBI, DBS Economist Radhika Rao noted. A rupee that has depreciated by around 5 percent could also prop up inflation, by 20 basis points, she said.

"These reasons will provide sufficient justification to the central bank to tighten policy levers in October," Rao concluded.

But ANZ's Mendiratta said that the current inflation level will not be sufficiently compelling for the RBI to raise rates.

"Though the combination of higher oil prices and a weak Rupee have raised concerns on the inflation path, the recent soft readings suggest that the RBI can afford to wait and watch. Stabilising the Rupee by raising interest rates does not seem to be high on the agenda," he told CNBC.

Riaz Haq said...

#ADB: #Agriculture, #Industry, #Service Sectors Drive Robust Growth in #Pakistan Amid Looming Challenges. #Pakistan’s #economy accelerated to 5.8%, the highest in 13 years, in Fiscal Year (FY) 2018 ending on 30 June 2018.

Pakistan’s economy accelerated to 5.8%, the highest in 13 years, in Fiscal Year (FY) 2018 ending on 30 June 2018.

The robust growth is credited to an uptick in industry, better agricultural crops, and an expanding services sector. Inflation remained moderate. However, with the new government considering policy options to implement its economic and social agenda, twin deficits widened by a rising import bill and higher spending continue to pose a challenge, according to the Asian Development Outlook (ADO) Update 2018.

The update of the Asian Development Bank’s (ADB) flagship annual economic publication noted that agriculture grew to 3.8%, nearly double that of a year earlier, boosted by favorable weather and a marked increase in food crops, cotton, and livestock. Industry growth climbed to 5.8% from 5.4%, underpinned by improvements in wholesale and retail businesses, faster expansion in manufacturing and mining, and sharp growth of over 9% in construction.

On the demand side, private consumption in FY2018 slowed slightly from a year earlier to 6.3% but, with an 81.1% share of gross domestic product (GDP), remained the largest contributor to growth. Public sector fixed investment grew by 17.1% on top of 27.5% expansion in FY2017, reflecting higher spending on energy and infrastructure in connection with the China–Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC). This growth was, however, from a low base as public investment still provides only 5.4% of GDP. Growth in private investment fell markedly to only 1.1% in FY2018 despite improved security and energy supply. The drop reflected a cautious business environment in light of the deteriorating balance of payments position and in anticipation of the national elections in July 2018.

In FY2018, responding to continued strong import demand and a large decline in net foreign assets, the State Bank of Pakistan allowed greater market determination of Pakistan rupee–US dollar exchange from December 2017 and raised the policy rate by a cumulative 75 basis points (bps) to 6.5% in two steps by the end of FY2018, first in January and then in May. The rupee depreciated by 15.3% against the US dollar in the 8 months to July 2018, and the average rate on new lending to the private sector increased by only 41 basis points to 7.83% by June.

The current account deficit in FY2018 swelled to $18 billion, or 5.8% of GDP, significantly up from 4.1% in FY2017. Exports revived to grow by 12.6% to $25 billion with increases in such traditional standbys as textiles, chemicals, leather, and food, but imports increased by 14.7% to $56 billion, partly spurred by purchases of machinery and transport equipment for the CPEC and other investments but also of intermediate goods for agriculture and the textile and metal industries, and of petroleum, which has accounted for just over a third of the increase in imports as current account deficit escalated over the past 2 years. The deficit in services and primary income also increased substantially by 19.0% to $11.2 billion. Workers remittances grew only by 1.4% but remained large at $19.6 billion.

Moving forward, the report says the newly elected government should address the large budget and current account deficits, rising debt obligations, and falling foreign exchange reserves. This requires mobilizing substantial external financing to buy time for orderly reform to reduce the large external and domestic imbalances. Such resources can be acquired from bilateral and multilateral sources, the diaspora, or international capital markets. The key challenges are to adopt the right reforms and achieve good outcomes to sustain public support, the report noted.

Riaz Haq said...

#India's #Hindu Nationalist Leader Subramanian Swamy: Break #Pakistan into 4 pieces, prepare for war. #Modi #BJP

After NC, Congress candidate targeted. Subramanian Swamy gets furious on Pakistan as they do a vicious attack on democracy in Jammu & Kashmir.

Riaz Haq said...

Why it's not a good time to be an #Indian #student in #America? #India Rupee, Down 17% This Year, is the Worst Performing Currency in #Asia #Pacific Region. via @timesofindia

It’s a predicament thousands of Indians studying in America, .. 

Read more at:

Riaz Haq said...

Does Modi Have a Pakistan Policy?


Since Prime Minister Narendra Modi came to power, India’s approach to relations with Pakistan has been inconsistent and episodic, typified in the tensions at the recent UN General Assembly. In fact, Modi's government has no cohesive policy framework for dealing with Pakistan, much less a compelling vision for lasting peace.

EW DELHI – Judging by the unsavory exchanges between the Indian and Pakistani foreign ministers at the recent United Nations General Assembly, the already deeply troubled bilateral relationship has reached a new low.

What immediately preceded the UN session was bad enough. Less than 24 hours after agreeing to a bilateral meeting of foreign ministers on the margins of the General Assembly, India canceled, citing the killing of three Indian police officers on their shared border and Pakistan’s issuance of a postage stamp honoring a slain Kashmiri terrorist.

But such border incidents – including both killings and retaliation – are not new; several have already occurred this year. And while the stamps were certainly an unpleasant manifestation of Pakistan’s chronic glorification of anti-Indian violence, they were issued in July, a month before Prime Minister Imran Khan – whose new government proposed the bilateral meeting – was even sworn in.

The Indian foreign ministry’s allegation that these incidents exposed Khan’s “true face” was a mere fig leaf – and a churlish one at that. In fact, with a general election six months away and five state elections set to take place before the end of this year, Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s government simply did not want a meeting with Pakistan at a politically sensitive moment.

Modi’s Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) appears to have decided to contest the upcoming elections on a hardline Hindutva platform. Hindutva, the ideology of Hindu chauvinism, prides itself on hostility toward Muslims in India, as well as toward Pakistan. Smiles and handshakes in New York would not have served that strategy.

This reading is reinforced by Indian Foreign Minister Sushma Swaraj’s use of the UN podium to deliver a political campaign speech in Hindi to BJP voters back home. In it, she lambasted Pakistan and mentioned Modi twice as many times as she referred to India, on whose behalf she was supposed to be speaking.

This is not to say that Khan’s government has been a paragon of diplomacy. Pakistani Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi has taken a bizarre and damaging approach, alleging, for example, that Pakistan is under siege from Indian “terrorism,” a phenomenon that no objective international analyst has yet recognized.

Qureshi also blames India for a 2014 attack on an army school in Peshawar that has been credibly attributed to the Tehreek-i-Taliban Pakistan, a home-grown terrorist group waging war on the Pakistani government. Given that the one government the Pakistani Taliban hate more than Pakistan’s is India’s, the idea that they were doing India’s bidding on Pakistani soil is both grotesque and fatuous.

Can the supposedly responsible governments of two nuclear-armed countries sink any lower? Unfortunately, it seems entirely likely. In Pakistan, Khan’s government, anointed by the Pakistani military, will progressively consolidate power. In India, election fever is heating up under a government that has not hesitated to politicize the military and often substitutes marketing for tangible achievements.

For example, the BJP constantly boasts of cross-border raids on terrorist camps in Myanmar and Pakistan. Last month, it celebrated the anniversary of one such raid across the Line of Control in Kashmir, despite the fact that the raid had no lasting geostrategic impact. Cross-border terrorist incursions, aided and abetted by the Pakistani military, have continued in the two years since.

Riaz Haq said...

USIP's Moeed Yusuf: "#India-#Pakistan Conflict Leaves Great Powers Powerless #US helped prevent war in 2008 after #Mumbai. Those days are gone. #Terrorism isn’t the only worry. The “Line of Control” in #Kashmir is also a likely flashpoint". @USIP

A decade ago, the world watched in disbelief as terrorists from the Pakistan-based Lashkar-e-Taiba group ripped through the Indian financial capital of Mumbai. By the time the 10 attackers were stopped four days after the assault began, they had killed 164 people—Americans and other foreign nationals among them—and left over 300 injured. India’s 9/11, as the Indian media dubbed it, had unfolded. India, having long seen the Lashkar-e-Taiba as a direct proxy of the Pakistani intelligence outfit, the Inter-Services Intelligence, blamed the Pakistani state for having directed the attack. A near-war crisis between the two nuclear neighbors ensued in its wake, offering a stark reminder why U.S. President Bill Clinton termed this part of the world “the most dangerous place” on Earth at the turn of the century.

Ten years after the Mumbai attacks on November 26, 2008, the Indian-Pakistani rivalry remains as entrenched as ever. While the two countries have avoided major wars, they continue to flirt with crises and have been engaged in low-intensity conflict in the disputed territory of Kashmir. This has unfolded in an environment devoid of any robust crisis management mechanisms aimed at reducing the risk of inadvertent escalation and providing dependable ways of directly negotiating a way out of a crisis. With nuclear weapons in the mix, the consequences of escalation could be catastrophic—and the possibility of such an outcome is greater today than it was on the eve of the Mumbai attacks.

India and Pakistan came “fleetingly close” to war during the Mumbai crisis, but fortunate circumstances prevented a military clash. The attacks came on the back of the single most promising peace process the two have ever had. The overall aura of positivity and the trusted channels of communication created through their five-year peace bid helped relieve tensions. A dovish Indian prime minister, Manmohan Singh—who was genuinely interested in peace with Pakistan and hesitant to use military force to settle disputes, especially in South Asia’s nuclearized environment—also led India to forego the military option, even as the Indian public and media were calling for blood. Most importantly, third-party states, led by the United States, played crucial mediatory roles and were instrumental in nudging India and Pakistan to end the crisis.

 Other transnational terrorist outfits, such as the Islamic State and al Qaeda, have also expanded their footprint in the region, further complicating the threat spectrum for both countries. These groups are sworn enemies of both states, and their goal of destabilizing the region would be well served by thrusting the two nuclear neighbors into war. Hindu extremist forces in India could also spark a crisis. These forces, increasingly emboldened within India under Modi, have previously targeted Pakistani citizens in a bid to derail India-Pakistan relations.Pakistan has been increasingly vocal and aggressive in alleging Indian support of terrorist incidents in Pakistan.

Terrorism isn’t the only worry. The “Line of Control” that divides Indian and Pakistani control of Kashmir is also a likely flashpoint. Violence levels along the Line of Control were the highest in 15 years in 2017, with violations of a cease-fire agreed to in 2003 consisting of prolonged and often significant military hostilities.

Riaz Haq said...

Massive Global Cost of India-Pakistan Nuclear War

This is TED talk by Dr. Owen Brian Toon, professor of atmospheric and ocean sciences at University of Colorado at Boulder. He's citing research he did with Professor Alan Robock, professor of climate research at Rutgers University. Here's a link to more references regarding nuclear winter:

Riaz Haq said...

#India, #Pakistan threatened to unleash #missiles at each other. #India threatened to fire at least six missiles at Pakistan, and Islamabad said it would respond with its own missile strikes “three times over”. #Balakot #Kashmir #Modi

The way in which tensions suddenly worsened and threatened to trigger a war between the nuclear-armed nations shows how the Kashmir region, which both claim and is at the core of their enmity, remains one of the world’s most dangerous flashpoints.

The exchanges did not get beyond threats, and there was no suggestion that the missiles involved were anything more than conventional weapons, but they created consternation in official circles in Washington, Beijing and London.

Reuters has pieced together the events that led to the most serious military crisis in South Asia since 2008, as well as the concerted diplomatic efforts to get both sides to back down.

The simmering dispute erupted into conflict late last month when Indian and Pakistani warplanes engaged in a dogfight over Kashmir on Feb 27, a day after a raid by Indian jet fighters on what it said was a militant camp in Pakistan. Islamabad denied any militant camp exists in the area and said the Indian bombs exploded on an empty hillside.

In their first such clash since the last war between the two nations in 1971, Pakistan downed an Indian plane and captured its pilot after he ejected in Pakistan-controlled Kashmir.

Hours later, videos of the bloodied Indian pilot, handcuffed and blindfolded, appeared on social media, identifying himself to Pakistani interrogators, deepening anger in New Delhi.

With Prime Minister Narendra Modi facing a general election in April-May, the government was under pressure to respond.

That evening, Indian National Security Adviser Ajit Doval spoke over a secure line to the head of Pakistan’s Inter Services Intelligence (ISI), Asim Munir, to tell him India was not going to back off its new campaign of “counter terrorism” even after the pilot’s capture, an Indian government source and a Western diplomat with knowledge of the conversations told Reuters in New Delhi.

Doval told Munir that India’s fight was with the militant groups that freely operated from Pakistani soil and it was prepared to escalate, said the government source.

A Pakistani government minister and a Western diplomat in Islamabad separately confirmed a specific Indian threat to use six missiles on targets inside Pakistan. They did not specify who delivered the threat or who received it, but the minister said Indian and Pakistani intelligence agencies “were communicating with each other during the fight, and even now they are communicating with each other”.

Pakistan said it would counter any Indian missile attacks with many more launches of its own, the minister told Reuters, speaking on condition of anonymity.

“We said if you will fire one missile, we will fire three. Whatever India will do, we will respond three times to that,” the Pakistani minister said.

Doval’s office did not respond to a request for comment. India was not aware of any missile threat issued to Pakistan, a government official said in reply to a Reuters request for comment.

Pakistan’s military declined to comment and Munir could not be reached for comment. Pakistan’s foreign ministry did not respond to a Reuters request for comment.

U.S. security advisor Bolton was on the phone with Doval on the night of Feb 27 itself, and into the early hours of Feb 28, the second day of the Trump-Kim talks, in an attempt to defuse the situation, the Western diplomat in New Delhi and the Indian official said.

Later, U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, who was also in Hanoi, also called both sides to seek a way out of the crisis.

“Secretary Pompeo led diplomatic engagement directly, and that played an essential role in de-escalating the tensions between the two sides,” State Department deputy spokesperson Robert Palladino said in a briefing in Washington on March 5.

Riaz Haq said...

#India, #Pakistan came close to a #nuclear war, claims ex US Sec of State Mike Pompeo. His Indian counterpart Sushma Swaraj called, told him that Pakistan was preparing for a nuclear attack after #Balakot strike in February 2019 & India ready to retaliate

Former U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has claimed that he was “awakened” to speak to his then Indian counterpart Sushma Swaraj who told him that Pakistan was preparing for a nuclear attack after the Balakot surgical strike in February 2019 and India is preparing its own escalatory response.

In his latest book Never Give an Inch: Fighting for the America I Love that hit the stores on Tuesday, Mr. Pompeo says the incident took place when he was in Hanoi for the U.S.-North Korea Summit on February 27-28 and his team worked overnight with both New Delhi and Islamabad to avert this crisis.