Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Indian Security Hawks and Media Whip Up Anti-Pak Hysteria

Deadly skirmishes started between Indian and Pakistani forces along LoC in the disputed territory of Kashmir in early January 2013, barely weeks after Pakistan Army doctrine acknowledged domestic militancy as the biggest threat to national security.

Here's how Najam Sethi, a well-known Pakistani peacenik and a strong advocate of India-Pakistan friendship, described the events in his Friday Times editorial titled "Don't derail Indo-Pak relations":

"It is established that when the Indian army recently started to build some bunkers in Charanda in Haji Pir Sector of the LoC, it violated an agreement in 2005 not to change the status quo. This provoked the Pakistanis to shell Indian positions in a bid to stop the construction of the bunkers. The Indian commander of 161 Brigade in the area countered on January 6th by ordering a raid across the LoC to silence the troublesome Pakistani post. One Pakistani soldier was killed, provoking a protest by Pakistan's DGMO on 7th Jan, followed by a Pakistani counter attack across the LoC on Jan 8th in which two Indian soldiers were killed. At that stage, on Jan 9th, the Indian media erupted with allegations of a "beheading" of one Indian soldier and "castration" and "mutilation" of the other by the Pakistanis. This was an unprecedented act of savagery, said the Indian media, that called for reprisals. The initial reaction of the Indian foreign and defence ministers was measured and cautious no less than that of the spokesmen of the Indian army. But this soon gave way under media pressure, prompting both to become hawkish."

Barkha Dutt, a hawkish TV anchor at NDTV, led the Indian media charge against Pakistan by accusing Pakistani military of "savagery" and "barbarism". Indian prime minister talked of "no business as usual", and Indian Army chief told his "commanders to be aggressive and offensive" and the Indian Air Force chief threatened to  use "other options". Pakistan's offer to have the incidents independently investigated by the United Nations was rejected.

All the talk of "Aman Ki Asha" went out the window when Pakistani hockey players were unceremoniously ejected from India as the right-wing Hindu organizations were aided and abetted by the hawkish anti-Pakistan  Indian media. Hindu Nationalist BJP leader Sushma Swaraj demanded "ten Pakistani heads for one Indian head".

Soon, Barkha Dutt's phony outrage and Sushma Swaraj's bloodthirsty rhetoric about "beheading" were exposed by a quick Google search by Najam Sethi. Sethi found an article in a Nepalese publication Himal in which Barkha described how she was shown a severed head of a Pakistani as war trophy by an Indian Army officer in Kargil in 1999. Here's what she wrote in the article titled "Confessions of a war reporter":

"I had to look three times to make sure I was seeing right. Balanced on one knee, in a tiny alley behind the army’s administrative offices, I was peering through a hole in a corrugated tin sheet. At first glance, all I could see were some leaves. I looked harder and amidst all the green, there was a hint of black – it looked like a moustache. “Look again,” said the army colonel, in a tone that betrayed suppressed excitement. This time, I finally saw.

It was a head, the disembodied face of a slain soldier nailed onto a tree. “The boys got it as a gift for the brigade,” said the colonel, softly, but proudly. Before I could react, the show was over. A faded gunny bag appeared from nowhere, shrouded the soldier’s face, the brown of the bag now merging indistinguishably with the green of the leaves. Minutes later, we walked past the same tree where the three soldiers who had earlier unveiled the victory trophy were standing. From the corner of his eye, the colonel exchanged a look of shard achievement, and we moved on. We were firmly in the war zone."

Further research by Shivam Vu published in India Today found that reports of beheading of soldiers are not "unprecedented". Here's an excerpt from Shivam Vu's piece titled "Cheap Logomachy" :
"Buried inside a report by Shishir Gupta in the Hindustan Times was the claim that two Indian soldiers were beheaded in July 2011 and “three months later, heads of three Pakistani soldiers went missing, with Islamabad lodging a protest with New Delhi.” Don’t you love it that while Indian soldiers are beheaded, Pakistani soldiers’ heads go “missing”—as though they detach themselves from the bodies of the soldiers and just disappear? The report also claimed that similar beheadings (of Indian soldiers) and heads going missing (of Pakistanis) had taken place in 2000, 2003 and 2007. When Admiral Lakshminarayan Ramdas (retd), former chief of the Indian navy, tried to say on Barkha Dutt’s show on NDTV that the Indian army has also beheaded Pakistani soldiers, he was cut short by Dutt. But in 2001, Dutt had herself written that she had seen a head displayed as a war trophy by the Indian army during the Kargil war in 1999. Two other journalists were not shy of recalling similar experiences: Sankarshan Thakur of The Telegraph (on his website) and Harinder Baweja of the Hindustan Times on Twitter.

If these incidents happen so often, why did anonymous sources in the Indian army decide to use the defence correspondents to make it seem like an unprecedented provocation from Pakistan? There is little doubt that the beheading of a soldier, and the taking away of his head as a war trophy is sickening and outrageous and every such incident should come to light. But it should also remind us of the brutalities of war, and that the LoC is a ceasefire line where hostilities have merely been halted until the next battle; that the two armies stand eye-to-eye there because of the Kashmir dispute; that Jammu and Kashmir is not a settled question. Such thoughts are apparently anti-national. And bad for TRPs."

Indian media, military and politicians have a history of whipping up anti-Pakistan frenzy on many occasions in the past. Many Indians suffer from what Sashi Tharoor has aptly described as India's "Israel Envy".  The Indian hawks must clearly understand that their miscalculations can lead to devastation in the entire South Asia region.

These recent events and the warmongering response by the Indian govt, politicians and media are a reminder that Pakistan can not afford to become complacent about peace with India. Pakistanis should hope for the best and prepare for the worst.

Here's a video discussion on the subject:

Related Links:

Haq's Musings

India's Israel Envy

India-Pakistan Cricket Diplomacy

Indians Share "Eye-opener" Stories of Pakistan

India-Pakistan Military Balance

Can India "Do a Lebanon" in Pakistan?

Indian Media Manufacturing Consent


Anonymous said...

Riaz Sb.,
Before we get over excited about the Indian media, please read the interview and all will make sense.

As ZAB said, “it is the hatred of Pakistan that has kept India united”.
G. Ali

Khalid said...

Thank you Riaz:
For opening our eyes about the reality. May Allah protect Pakistan from the evil eyes of her enemies. Ameen

Imran said...

Its the first kind of reporting that outlines the facts. This needs to be socialized with the mass US media… I am serious, Pakistan media lacks the international penetration indian media has.

Anonymous said...

On a similar note:

‘I avoid most requests, for I can’t stoop to the Indian anchors’ level of journalism...they say when tempers rise in the studios, it’s good TV. I’ve also walked out....’Hamid Mir, Journalist, Geo TV

‘There still appears to be a lot of ignorance about Pakistan fed by the Indian media. There is a close nexus between them and the Indian establishment.’Mushahid Hussain Syed, Secretary-General, PML(Q)

Yesterday's Najam Sethi show was also an eye opener.
G. Ali

Mayraj said...

Frothing at the Mouth

Television news is fast becoming the most dangerous extremist in India's civil society.

Anonymous said...

This is the pattern for several years. Incident happens on LOC, things get heated. India accuses Pakistan of mutilating the body of it’s soldiers, media in India goes berserk, anti Pakistan propaganda is taken to the next level. Pakistan denies the accusations and asks for UN enquiry. India refuses to get UN involved.

G. Ali

Pavan said...

Please have a look. Violations take place from both sides. The beheading of the soldier is a fact and must be condemned. However, Indian commentators went berserk.

Anonymous said...

A few history lessons:
India &Pakistan when it gained independence from the British Empire in 1947 wasn't a continuous unified entity but an amalgum of the british empire proper and 500+ princely states which depended on the british empire for stability and protection.

Under the India independence act 1947 the princely states had the right to choose India or Pakistan.Independence was NOT an option.

The leader of Kashmir chose India so legally Kashmir is Indian including what is currently occupied by Pakistan.

No law is perfect and people may well say that Kashmir is a muslim majority territory hence a part of Pakistan.However the India independence act which is the document from which the very existence of Pakistan is drawn is categorical in stating that ONLY the ruler while in his state can sign the treaty of accession.This is what Maharaj Hari Singh did.

Independence of any state was never an option and even the UN resolutions(which are under article 6 thus NON BINDING) talk only of the choice between India and Pakistan ONLY AFTER Pakistan withdraws its forces from Kashmir and hands over the territory to India first.

Riaz Haq said...

Here's a Daily Times report on Pakistan's "Saffron Bandit" military exercise:

ISLAMABAD: The armed forces of Pakistan are prepared to defend country’s sovereignty and territorial integrity, said Chairman Joint Chiefs of Staff Committee General Kahlid Shamim Wynne on Thursday.

The CJCSC was visiting the ongoing ‘Exercise Saffron Bandit 2012-13’ at an operational base of the Pakistan Air Force. Chief of Air Staff Tahir Rafique Butt also participated in the exercise.

General Wynne said the prevailing complex global geo-political environment and regional situation is not only unique but also more challenging, since Pakistan faces both internal and external threats. “Readiness and war preparedness have attained enhanced significance in the current scenario. PAF is a potent and frontline element of the national security and, through the highest levels of professionalism, it will always come up to the expectations of the nation,” he said

The CJCSC also flew in an AEW&C Aircraft to observe the complexities of aerial warfare and the professional handling and employment of integrated air and ground combat elements by the aircrew.

While interacting with the participants after flying the mission, General Wynne said the Exercise Saffron Bandit serves well for enhancing war preparedness in the hi-tech scenario of aerial warfare. “It is heartening to see PAF stepping into the future with its newly acquired capabilities and emerging concepts of employment.”

Earlier, on arrival the CJCSC was received by Air Chief Marshal Tahir Rafique Butt. He was given a comprehensive briefing on the Exercise Saffron Bandit 2012-13.

Exercise Saffron Bandit is a triennial command level exercise conducted in PAF since 1994. A sequel of five exercises has been conducted so far while sixth exercise is in progress. This time where modern capabilities of PAF are operating under one umbrella for the first time, Pak Army Aviation and Army Air Defence are also deployed for undertaking the exercise.\01\25\story_25-1-2013_pg7_12

Hopewins said...

^^RH: "Under the India independence act 1947 the princely states had the right to choose India or Pakistan. Independence was NOT an option"

This is not correct.

Independence was indeed an option for the Princely States.

This was deliberate on part of the British. They knew that the Marxist-influenced INC would never allow them back into the country once they left. So they had hoped that some of the princely states would remain independent so that they could use these small states to move their military back into the subcontinent and continue their geopolitical meddling there.

Readers should look this up and satisfy themselves.

Riaz Haq said...

Here's NY Times' blog on Pak authors participation of Jaipur Literature Festival:

JAIPUR, Rajasthan — Amid much controversy, the Jaipur Literature Festival opened with a large selection of Pakistani writers on Thursday.

The first day of the five-day festival featured the authors Jamil Ahmad, whose novel “The Wandering Falcon” was short listed for the Man Asian Literary Prize in 2011, M.A. Farooqi, whose novel “Between Clay and Dust” was long listed for the 2012 Man Asian Literary Prize and DSC Prize 2012, and Nadeem Aslam whose works “Season of the Rainbirds” and “Maps for Lost Lovers” have received many awards.

On stage in two different sessions, the authors held a lively discussion about their recent books, their craft and what influenced their worldviews.

But it wasn’t easy to get them here.

In the days leading up to the festival, Suman Sharma, the national opposition Bhartiya Janata Party state vice president for Rajasthan, tried to block their entry. “Looking at the present Indo-Pak relations, it is unacceptable to allow Pakistani writers here as guests,” he said, threatening to keep them out of the state. The right-wing Hindu group RSS said that it was “not in the country’s interest at the moment,” to have guests from Pakistan.

Their statements came after a recent skirmish across the contested Line of Control border that India and Pakistan share in Kashmir.

While the chief minister of Rajasthan, Ashok Gehlot, said on Thursday that the visit of Pakistani authors to the Jaipur Literary Festival should not be “politicized”, the state government denied two Pakistani diplomats based in New Delhi permission to attend the festival. The two diplomats, Manzoor Memon, a press councillor, and the minister of trade Naeem Anwar, were not given any reason for the denial.

Hopewins said...

^^RH: "Here's NY Times' blog on Pak authors participation of Jaipur Literature Festival..."

Was Salman Rashdi there?

If so, what did he have to say about this effort to stop Pakistani authors from attending?

Hopewins said...

What do you think of this article from the Hudson Institute?

And what do you think our Military will think of the article?

Riaz Haq said...

HWJ: "What do you think of this article from the Hudson Institute?"

Indian security analysts and politicians regularly blame Pakistan for the failure of past bilateral diplomatic efforts by citing what they believe is the adverse role of Pakistani military in framing Pakistan's policy toward India. This rationale, however, does not explain why the diplomatic initiatives undertaken by Pakistani military leaders from General Zia to General Musharraf have not borne fruit.

A more rational explanation for the policy failures has surfaced in secret US embassy cables leaked by Wikileaks and published by The Hindu in 2011. After a meeting with India's National Security Adviser and former Indian intelligence chief M.K. Narayanan in August 2009, American Ambassador Timothy Roemer concluded that Prime Minister Manmohan Singh was isolated within his own government in his “great belief” in talks and negotiations with Pakistan.

Recent anti-Pak hysteria in India has further reinforced the view that it's the Indian security establishment that is the real obstacle to improved India-Pak ties.


AM - India said...

In this particular case, I would agree with your assessment that the Indian side (incl. the Media) were at fault for hyping up a situation and behaving in an irresponsible manner. Beheading/mutilation has happened on both sides so it was indeed suspicious the way it was hyped up this time. There are multiple political objectives to be gained from it, but am not sure which one it was this time.
Just for your reference, there was an Indian counter narrative as well which came out quite early in The Hindu from Praveen Swami (
Pakistan news channels are freely available on youtube. Apart from the erstwhile “Sochta Pakistan”, I haven't found one relatively balanced one. Hamid Mir, and Pakistani anchors in general, however enjoyable they may be to watch, and admirable for the kind of threats they work under, are a far cry from "balanced journalism" as far as Pak-India issue are concerned. They too tow the usual line (from your perspective) on key issues and rarely do you see a more balanced approach. I have heard this – “we are more balanced than the Indian media” on several news channels from Pakistan – but my limited sense based on watching these programs for last 2-3 years, is that the claim doesn’t really hold up. The Indian ones can shout louder and have a bigger reach and in that respect their impact may be felt more, but really your guys are no better when it comes to jingoism.
Btw... if you think Barkha Dutt is “hawkish”, you really need to watch Arnab Gowswami at Times Now… his jingoism would even put Glen Beck to shame… its quite shameful really.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous wrote “talk only of the choice between India and Pakistan ONLY AFTER Pakistan withdraws its forces from Kashmir and hands over the territory to India first”

You should thank Uncle Nehru for that too. Joseph Korbel, who was a UN representative to India and Pakistan on Kashmir issue and was India’s choice for the post, in his book “Danger in Kashmir” writes that Liaqat Ali Khan had announced that as per UN resolution Pakistan will withdraw its forces from Kashmir in preparation for plebiscite, to which Nehru replied that India will take over Pakistani Kashmir and will then ‘see’ what needs to be done.

Never again will a Pakistani leader will offer removing Pak forces from Azad Kashmir.
By the way, UN resolution asks for removal of both Pakistani and Indian forces from Kashmir before a plebiscite is held.

Riaz Haq said...

Here's Economic Times on Indian Commerce Minister wanting India-Pak economic ties:

AGRA: Against the backdrop of chill in India-Pakistan relations, Commerce and Industry Minister Anand Sharma has pressed for the need for building confidence and trust particularly in the economic field, saying there is no alternative.

"India is of this considered view that there is no alternative way other than building an atmosphere of confidence and trust (to strengthen ties between India and Pakistan)...And for that the only way is the economic partnership," Sharma said at the CII's Global Partnership Summit here last evening.

The session was on "South Asia Economic Integration: On a New path of progress and Hope".

The statement come amidst chill in bilateral relations triggered by the beheading of an Indian soldier by Pakistani troops on Line of Control in Jammu and Kashmir on January 8.

After permitting FDI from Pakistan, he said India in the process of allowing its banks open branches in India.

Sharma asked the Pakistani delegations attending the session to tell their government to move forward.

"I know we have friends from Pakistan in the audience here. Please go back and remindBSE 5.00 % them what we discussed in last February, where we are and not to allow anything which actually holds this region back," he said.

Although Pakistan's Trade Minister Makhdoom Amin Fahim could not make it to this summit due to some internal compulsions, a small delegation attended it.

Hopewins said...

^^RH: "....Commerce and Industry Minister Anand >SHARMA<...
....Pakistan's Trade Minister >MAKHDOOM< Amin Fahim...."

Damn this South-Asian CASTE SYSTEM.

Riaz Haq said...

Here's a report in The Hindu newspaper on beheadings of Pak soldiers by Indian military along LoC:

Complaints by Pakistan of executions, beheadings in secret cross-border raids by Indian forces

In classified protests to a United Nations watchdog that have never been disclosed till now, Pakistan has accused Indian soldiers of involvement in the torture and decapitation of at least 12 Pakistani soldiers in cross-Line of Control raids since 1998, as well as the massacre of 29 civilians.

The allegations, laid out in confidential Pakistani complaints to the United Nations Military Observer Group in India and Pakistan (UNMOGIP), suggest that Indian and Pakistani troops stationed on the Line of Control remain locked in a pattern of murderous violence, despite the ceasefire both armies entered into in November 2003. Earlier this month, bilateral relations were severely damaged after a series of LoC skirmishes, which culminated in the beheading and mutilation of two Indian soldiers Lance-Naik Hemraj Singh and Lance-Naik Sudhakar Singh.


The November 2003 ceasefire, Indian diplomatic sources say, was based on an unwritten “agreement,” which in essence stipulated that neither side would reinforce its fortifications along the LoC — a measure first agreed to after the 1971 war. In 2006, the two sides exchanged drafts for a formal agreement. Since then, the sources said, negotiations have stalled over differing ideas on what kind of construction is permissible. “In essence,” a senior government official said, “we accept that there should be no new construction, but want to be allowed to expand counter-infiltration measures and expand existing infrastructure.”

India insists that it needs to expand counter-infiltration infrastructure because of escalating operations by jihadist groups across the LoC. Pakistan argues that India’s own figures show a sharp decline in operations by jihadists in Jammu and Kashmir. Last year, according to the Indian government, 72 terrorists, 24 civilians and 15 security personnel, including police, were killed in terrorist violence in the State — lower, in total, than the 521 murders recorded in Delhi alone. In 2011, the figures were, respectively, 100, 40 and 33; in 2010, 232, 164 and 69.

Hopewins said...

Here is your buddy Acker Patelle..

Jan 31, 2013:

Jan 26, 2013:

Riaz Haq said...

Here's an excerpt from a Daily Times Op Ed by Saad Hafiz on recent India-Pakistan flareup:

The problem of the organisational relationship between a larger and smaller power plays a role in the confrontation. India is frustrated that in its relationship with Pakistan, its overwhelming military and economic superiority is not counting for much. Pakistan on the other hand, continues its obsessive pursuit of ‘parity’ with India and a pathological refusal to accept any status of inferiority. In the words of the South-Asia scholar Stephen Cohen: “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.”

There are powerful hardliners in the two countries with sizeable constituencies of their own, dogmatically committed to the policy of enmity. These constituencies advocate retrogressive and religion-based policies at home and hostile relations across the borders. They have over time refined a mindset that prompts their supporters to talk of teaching each other a lesson. Both governments should have taken steps to curb and contain these constituencies. Neither government has so far demonstrated any desire to do so. Both governments should recognise that the resolution of outstanding issues rests squarely on them. People-to-people contacts can create a favourable climate, but they cannot by themselves pave the way for peace.
If the examples of the countries that have established durable peace after prolonged confrontation are any guide, a willingness to concede ground is critical to establishing peace. The rhetoric of hollow nationalism without a willingness to honourably concede substantial ground is not adequate for peace-making. People have to be psychologically prepared that durable peace is not achievable without substantial concessions. They have to be made aware that the concessions made would be in the long-term interest of the two countries. Until this is done, a sound basis for trust and conflict-resolution cannot be created.\02\03\story_3-2-2013_pg3_3

Riaz Haq said...

Here's India Today on "threat to India" from Pak tactical nuke Nasr:

In all the tumult and alarums of the last three months in Pakistan, a grave and threatening development seems to have slipped under our radar screens. Ordinarily, the ballistic missile called Nasr, with a range of 60 kilometres, would not be particularly threatening considering Pakistan's multilayered missile arsenal that covers most of India and beyond. Indeed, in terms of range it is much like our own Russian-supplied Smerch.

But that is where the comparisons end.

As the Pakistani Inter-Services Public Relations press release put it: "Nasr, with a range of 60 km, carries nuclear warheads of appropriate yield with high accuracy, shoot and scoot attributes. This quick response system addresses the need to deter evolving threats." In strategic literature, short-range tactical nuclear weapons have been considered particularly destabilising. "A quick response system" is not something you talk about when you discuss nuclear weapons which ought never be used, and if they are, should be employed only in the gravest of national emergencies.


Weapons of such range are held at the level of a Corps which is a large battlefield formation. Many situations can arise at a Corps level battle which may appear to be dire emergencies, but are not so when viewed at a higher level. No doubt the Nasr's employment will be controlled by Pakistan's national command authority, but given their range, they would have to be deployed in the forward edge of battle where the fog of war is thick and the chance of miscalculation high.

Whatever be the case India must confront the issue because it poses a major challenge to how it views nuclear deterrence.

India conducted five nuclear tests between May 11 and 13th 1999. On the first day it tested a thermonuclear device, a boosted fission bomb and a 0.2 kiloton device. The thermo-nuclear test seems to have failed and this leaves India with a successful fission bomb design which can, perhaps, be scaled up to 200 kilotons.

Though it does appear that India may have tested a tactical nuclear warhead, subsequently, the official doctrine has decried the idea of tactical nukes.
Unfortunately, New Delhi has been strangely negligent in responding to the rapidly changing nuclear dynamics relating to Pakistan. We have been focusing on terrorism and have ignored the steadily increasing danger of Pakistani nuclear adventurism. Terrorism can kill people by the hundreds, but a nuclear strike's consequences are something else altogether.

Read more at:

Riaz Haq said...

Talking about "doing a Reagan", here's NY Times' Op Ed about India-China race:

As recently as 2006, when I first visited India and China, the economic race was on, with heavy bets being placed on which one would win the developing world sweepstakes.

Many Westerners fervently hoped that a democratic country would triumph economically over an autocratic regime.

Now the contest is emphatically over. China has lunged into the 21st century, while India is still lurching toward it.

That’s evident not just in columns of dry statistics but in the rhythm and sensibility of each country. While China often seems to eradicate its past as it single-mindedly constructs its future, India nibbles more judiciously at its complex history.

Visits to crowded Indian urban centers unleash sensory assaults: colorful dress and lilting chatter provide a backdrop to every manner of commerce, from small shops to peddlers to beggars. That makes for engaging tourism, but not the fastest economic development. In contrast to China’s full-throated, monochromatic embrace of large-scale manufacturing, India more closely resembles a nation of shopkeepers.

To be sure, India has achieved enviable success in business services, like the glistening call centers in Bangalore and elsewhere. But in the global jousting for manufacturing jobs, India does not get its share.

Now, after years of rocketing growth, China’s gross domestic product per capita of $9,146 is more than twice India’s. And its economy grew by 7.7 percent in 2012, while India expanded at a (hardly shabby) 5.3 percent rate.
India’s rigid social structure limits intergenerational economic mobility and fosters acceptance of vast wealth disparities. In Mumbai, where more than half the population lives in slums often devoid of electricity or running water, Mukesh Ambani spent a reported $1 billion to construct a 27-story home in a residential neighborhood.

Don’t get me wrong — I am hardly advocating totalitarian government. But we need to recognize that success for developing countries is about more than free elections.

While India may not have the same “eye on the prize” so evident in China, it should finish a respectable second in the developing world sweepstakes. It just won’t beat China.

Hopewins said...

^^RH: "Talking about "doing a Reagan", here's NY Times' Op Ed about India-China race:

As recently as 2006, when I first visited India and China.."

That was an insightful article on the silly China India comparisons. There is NO comparison between China and India. China is at least 50 years ahead of India and will always remain so.

Even 20-30 years from now India will still be a chaotic, disorganized and backward South-Asian country, whereas China would have transformed into an orderly, disciplined, advanced country East-Asian country like Japan.

The very idea, as the author correctly states, that India will ever beat China is delusional.

I am a bit perplexed, however, about the reference to "Reagan" in your comment. I re-read the article and did not find any reference to Reagan. I then looked at the earlier comments on this page and still could not find any reference to Reagan.

I fear that you may wind up confusing your readers with unfathomable references like this. Could you explain in a bit more detail what you meant when you wrote "speaking of doing a Reagan"? What has Reagan got to do with either the NYT article or even this blog article of yours?

Riaz Haq said...

HWJ: "I am a bit perplexed, however, about the reference to "Reagan" in your comment. I re-read the article and did not find any reference to Reagan. I then looked at the earlier comments on this page and still could not find any reference to Reagan."

It's a reference to you oft-repeated comment elsewhere on this blog to "India doing a Reagan" to Pakistan.

It's much more likely that superpower China would "do a Reagan" on India than superpower India do it on Pakistan.

In fact, "eating grass" metaphor applies to India more than it applies to Pakistan.

While India ranks at 65 among 79 nations ranked by the International Food Policy Research Institute on its hunger index, Pakistanis are better off at 57.

In terms of results, Pakistanis are more efficient than their Indian counter parts, according to an Indian defense analyst Col Pavan Nair. Nair says, "The ratio of DE (defense expenditures) between India and Pakistan works out to about 4:1 when their combat ratio is at 3:1. (Pakistan) is getting more bang for the buck."

Hopewins said...

^^RH: "It's much more likely that superpower China would "do a Reagan" on India than superpower India do it on Pakistan"

This is a superficial comparison.

The bulk of China's military might is concentrated where the bulk (90%) of China's people live-- on the Eastern seaboard.

China views the US, Japan, Taiwan, SouthKorea alliance in the same way India views us-- as their main military threat.

China views India in the same way India views Bangladesh-- as an irritant sometimes, but not really a serious threat.

So the idea that India will spend itself into ruin because of a fear of China is just as silly as saying that Bangladesh will destroy itself by trying to match India militarily.

Please stop making these childishly-superficial analogies and try to develop some insight into the issues.

Hopewins said...

China Population: 1,400 Million
India Population: 1,200 Million

China Economy: 11.1 Trillion USD
India Economy: 4.5 Trillion USD

Pakistan Population: 180 Million
Bangladesh Population: 165 Million

Pakistan Economy: 0.49 Trillion USD
Bangladesh Economy: 0.30 Trillion USD

Parity, anyone? Argument AGAINST:
Counterpoint Argument FOR:

Riaz Haq said...

HWJ: China views India in the same way India views Bangladesh-- as an irritant sometimes, but not really a serious threat."

It's what India thinks of China that's more relevant here. India has been justifying big increases in its defense budget by citing China as a threat.

Riaz Haq said...

HWJ: "Parity, anyone? Argument AGAINST"

Mere possession of nuclear weapons is a great equalizer.

As to the conventional parity, just remember the results of David vs Goliath, Vietnam vs US and Afghans vs Soviets.

Hopewins said...

^^RH: "It's much more likely that superpower China would "do a Reagan" on India than superpower India do it on Pakistan"

Did you mean to type "superPOOR" India? If so, please make the correction.

With an economy smaller than Italy and with 50% of the population living under a dollar-a-day, it is silly to call India a "superpower".

Riaz Haq said...

Here's Paul Krugman's Op Ed in NY Times on 10th anniversary of Iraq war:

So did our political elite and our news media learn from this experience? It sure doesn’t look like it.

The really striking thing, during the run-up to the war, was the illusion of consensus. To this day, pundits who got it wrong excuse themselves on the grounds that “everyone” thought that there was a solid case for war. Of course, they acknowledge, there were war opponents — but they were out of the mainstream.

The trouble with this argument is that it was and is circular: support for the war became part of the definition of what it meant to hold a mainstream opinion. Anyone who dissented, no matter how qualified, was ipso facto labeled as unworthy of consideration. This was true in political circles; it was equally true of much of the press, which effectively took sides and joined the war party.

CNN’s Howard Kurtz, who was at The Washington Post at the time, recently wrote about how this process worked, how skeptical reporting, no matter how solid, was discouraged and rejected. “Pieces questioning the evidence or rationale for war,” he wrote, “were frequently buried, minimized or spiked.”

Closely associated with this taking of sides was an exaggerated and inappropriate reverence for authority. Only people in positions of power were considered worthy of respect. Mr. Kurtz tells us, for example, that The Post killed a piece on war doubts by its own senior defense reporter on the grounds that it relied on retired military officials and outside experts — “in other words, those with sufficient independence to question the rationale for war.”

All in all, it was an object lesson in the dangers of groupthink, a demonstration of how important it is to listen to skeptical voices and separate reporting from advocacy. But as I said, it’s a lesson that doesn’t seem to have been learned. Consider, as evidence, the deficit obsession that has dominated our political scene for the past three years.

Now, I don’t want to push the analogy too far. Bad economic policy isn’t the moral equivalent of a war fought on false pretenses, and while the predictions of deficit scolds have been wrong time and again, there hasn’t been any development either as decisive or as shocking as the complete failure to find weapons of mass destruction. Best of all, these days dissenters don’t operate in the atmosphere of menace, the sense that raising doubts could have devastating personal and career consequences, that was so pervasive in 2002 and 2003. (Remember the hate campaign against the Dixie Chicks?)

But now as then we have the illusion of consensus, an illusion based on a process in which anyone questioning the preferred narrative is immediately marginalized, no matter how strong his or her credentials. And now as then the press often seems to have taken sides. It has been especially striking how often questionable assertions are reported as fact. How many times, for example, have you seen news articles simply asserting that the United States has a “debt crisis,” even though many economists would argue that it faces no such thing?

In fact, in some ways the line between news and opinion has been even more blurred on fiscal issues than it was in the march to war. As The Post’s Ezra Klein noted last month, it seems that “the rules of reportorial neutrality don’t apply when it comes to the deficit.”

What we should have learned from the Iraq debacle was that you should always be skeptical and that you should never rely on supposed authority. If you hear that “everyone” supports a policy, whether it’s a war of choice or fiscal austerity, you should ask whether “everyone” has been defined to exclude anyone expressing a different opinion. ...

Riaz Haq said...

A crowd of Indian ruling Congress's "youth wing" attacked Pak High Commission building in New Delhi to protest against alleged killing of Indian soldiers in Kashmir. Here's a BBC report on Indian media's reaction to the latest round of LoC tensions in Kashmir:

Media in India are expressing mixed views on whether India should hold peace talks with Pakistan following the killing of five soldiers in Indian-administered Kashmir.

India's army on Tuesday accused Pakistan over the incident, saying their troops had "entered the Indian area and ambushed" an army patrol in Poonch in the Jammu region.

A Pakistani military official, however, said "no fire took place" from their side.

The latest incident comes as the two sides are preparing for peace talks, the first since a new Pakistani government took office, to be held on the sidelines of the United Nations General Assembly in September.

The Hindustan Times, in its editorial, says that such "grave provocations have to be tempered with pragmatism. At the moment, to be very realistic, India's best bet is to talk to them and at least gauge what measures can be taken to avert such incidents in the future".

The Indian Express, on the other hand, feels that by cracking under pressure, the government has "put dialogue with Pakistan at risk".

The paper adds that "giving vent to aggression will only hurt at a juncture when the US withdrawal from Afghanistan is set to unleash a period of instability".

The Times of India, however, says the killings of five soldiers "needs to be condemned in the harshest terms" and the army must "beef up its preparedness and strengthen its tactics" at the border.

Riaz Haq said...

Here are excerpts of an article on Indian intelligence agencies and journalists anti-Muslim bias:

ON 19 NOVEMBER 1987, during the protracted final phase of the Soviet war in Afghanistan, Indian Airlines flight IC 452 from Kabul landed at New Delhi’s Indira Gandhi International Airport. Shortly after its arrival, a security guard spotted ammunition cartridges rolling out over the tarmac from a damaged crate, one in a consignment of 22 that had arrived on the plane. Airport staff began an X-ray examination of every box. Apart from cartridges, the scan revealed at least one rocket launcher.

Police and customs officers took the shipment for a haul of terrorist contraband. While airport personnel argued over who should get credit for the seizure, a man in mufti appeared and identified himself as a Research and Analysis Wing (R&AW) operative. Before the munitions could be properly inventoried, he confiscated the crates, claiming they were government property.

The journalist Dhiren Bhagat broke the story on 24 April 1988, in Bombay’s Indian Post and the London Observer. The damaged crate “was the sort of slip that journalism thrives on,” he later wrote. According to the freight bill, the consignment was telecom equipment bound for the Director General Communications in Sanchar Bhawan—a non-existent official. Looking for an explanation, Bhagat contacted the cabinet secretary, BG Deshmukh, to whom R&AW reported. Deshmukh said he could neither confirm nor deny R&AW’s involvement.

In his article, Bhagat speculated that the smuggled arms had been destined for Punjab, where the Khalistan insurgency was at its peak. In March 1988, there had been several rocket attacks on police and paramilitary units in the state—though nobody was hit—and such weaponry hadn’t been used anywhere else in the country following the November shipment. Although Bhagat didn’t say as much, it seemed plausible that government forces had staged the assaults as a pretext for stepping up military intervention in Punjab (and discrediting Pakistan). “Indian officials have expressed concern about the increased firepower of the Sikh militants, who in the last week have used shoulder-fired anti-tank missiles, similar to those used by guerrillas in the war in Afghanistan,” Sanjoy Hazarika wrote in the New York Times in early April. “Officials here say they have been unable to confirm reports that these weapons have been smuggled across the Afghan and Pakistani borders into Punjab.”
Indeed, many Indian journalists refer to intelligence officers, and even agency chiefs, not as sources but as friends, calling them by their first names or nicknames, and inviting them to Diwali celebrations and other family events. At its core, however, the relationship between reporters and agents is a crude barter economy. Most agency work, especially at the domestically focused Intelligence Bureau (IB), is on the political desk—tracking dissidents, businessmen and various politicians: the sort of people with whom journalists are relatively free to meet. “One officer told me very bluntly, ‘My job is not to give you stories but to take stories from you.

If there is a steady flow of information from you, once in a while I might consider giving you a story myself,’” a mid-ranking reporter with a leading daily told me. A senior Mumbai journalist described agency information gatherers as “hungry caterpillars”. “It doesn’t matter from which part of the country the information is from,” she said. “Intelligence is after all about connecting the dots. If I get some documents from Orissa, I would give them to the Nagpur police and get some story in return.”

“My understanding is what you bring to the table is important to build contacts, and then you build confidence by writing about issues,” Shishir Gupta, the deputy executive editor of the Hindustan Times, said about cultivating sources within the IB.

Riaz Haq said...

BBC News - Why is #India media facing a backlash in #Nepal? #GoHomeIndianMedia …

One biting (Nepalese) cartoon showed a (Indian) TV reporter in the pocket of a gleeful Indian soldier posing with a box screaming Aid for Nepal.

"The shrillness, jingoism, exaggerations, boorishness and sometimes mistakes in coverage have rankled the host community," Kanak Mani Dixit, editor of the highly respected Himal magazine, tells me.
Indian media's overdependence on access-based journalism means that a disproportionate amount of coverage often ends up on eulogising how their government and its agencies handle crises - there was similar criticism of the media's coverage by flood-affected people in the Kashmir Valley last year.

Some channels also pretty openly identify themselves with the ruling government and the bias is amply reflected in the coverage.
"The mainly social media backlash in Nepal does point to an irritation of local people with the way their tragedy has been covered by India," says Kanak Mani Dixit. "It is possibly time now for India's news channel to introspect and give some due respect to the host country."

There are mounting worries at home over the declining quality of Indian media and what many call the "tabloidization of news". Also, more disturbingly, as Prannoy Roy, chief of India's leading NDTV news channel worries, "Why is India becoming 'no country for honest journalism'?"

Riaz Haq said...

#Udhampur attacker is from #India Occupied #Kashmir, not from #Pakistan | via @sharethis

ISLAMABAD: The young man arrested from Udhampur for his involvement in an attack on a convoy of Indian security forces is a resident of Indian Occupied Kashmir (IOK).

Senior journalist and anchor for Geo News programme ‘Capital Talk’ Hamid Mir said the young man was a resident of a Ghat village located in Kulgam district of IOK near the Jhelum River.

The senior journalist also revealed that the attacker had worked as a bus conductor and was known popularly in the area as ‘jhalla’ (mad person).

According to Hamid Mir nine relatives of the attacker are among the fifteen people arrested from the village. The attacker’s immediate family has fled the village.

Sources told Hamid Mir that the second attacker, Nauman, who was killed is also a resident of IOK and that the plan of attack was made in Ghat village. Indian media had claimed that this second attacker was also Pakistani, belonging to Bahawalpur.

Indian media had labeled the attacker as “Kasab II” after the lone surviving gunman from the 2008 Mumbai attacks.

Indian Home Minister Shri Rajnath Singh also claimed the identity of the captured individual to be Mohammad Naveed Yakub aka Usman, resident of Faisalabad in Pakistan.

Pakistan’s National Database and Registration Authority (NADRA) dismissed Indian allegations stating that Usman is not Pakistani.

Riaz Haq said...

Pankaj Mishra: #India's Savage, Invisible War, Unreason on #Kashmir, original sin of #Indian nationalism via @BV

Kashmiri Muslims remain as disaffected as ever -- and with good reason. A few hours before the assault on JNU last week, Indian security forces shot dead two Kashmiri students in the valley. The Indian media, and even those protesting against the scoundrels of patriotism, barely noticed just another day of impunity in Kashmir.

Neither such routine killings (by Indian govt), nor the endless crackdowns and curfews have changed or will change Kashmir’s ground realities. But last week’s multi-pronged assaults on JNU students revealed how profoundly and extensively a sustained lynch-mob hysteria over Kashmir had damaged Indian institutions -- security agencies and the legal system, as well as the media and the larger public sphere -- long before Modi’s ascent to power. In this sense, a long, savage but largely invisible war on India’s margins is finally coming home.


Last week, a tragic farce overwhelmed India just as Narendra Modi was promoting his ambitious “Make in India” program to spur domestic manufacturing. It began with Zee News, a jingoistic and vastly influential television channel, whose owner had openly campaigned for Modi’s election in 2014. Zee broadcast an amateur video that showed students at the prestigious Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU), India’s version of the London School of Economics, shouting slogans in favor of Kashmir’s independence and against the 2013 execution of Afzal Guru, a Kashmiri accused of attacking the Indian parliament in 2001.

Some other ultra-patriotic channels picked up Zee’s accusatory refrain against JNU students: that they were “anti-national.” Modi’s home minister declared his resolve not to “spare” the culprits. His education minister tweeted her angry refusal to tolerate any “insult to Mother India.” Delhi police raided the university campus. They arrested, among others, the president of the student union and a former teacher, charging them with sedition no less.

The home minister quoted a tweet supporting JNU students by Hafiz Saeed, a notorious Pakistani militant, to accuse them of links with evildoers. Exercised about the insults to Mother India, a mob of politicians and pro-Modi lawyers at a Delhi court beat up -- on two successive days, as a crowd of policemen stood by -- journalists as well as JNU students, including the one accused of treason.

Soon after these extraordinary events it emerged that not only did Saeed’s supposed endorsement come from a parody Twitter account, but the original video of sloganeering students had also been doctored.

An avalanche of scorn has landed on the Modi government and its seedy partisans in the Indian media. Adverse international headlines have made “Fake in India” and “Hate in India” seem more plausible ventures than Make in India for now.

A government driven hither and thither by Twitter burlesque is guilty of abysmal ineptitude. But frenzied deception and self-deception over Kashmir are not unique to Hindu nationalists. Rather, unreason on Kashmir is the original sin of Indian nationalism, secular as well as hardline Hindu.

Tens of thousands have died during more than two decades of a vicious Pakistan-backed insurgency and counter-insurgency in Indian-ruled Kashmir; an unknown number have been tortured or “disappeared.” The violence drove away an entire community of Kashmiri Hindus from the valley where most of the state’s population lives.

During this time, the political and popular mood has progressively hardened in India. The extravagant middle-class fantasy of a “Global Indian Takeover” made local Kashmiri disaffection seem a trifling irritant -- to be tackled through a U.S.-led emasculation of Pakistan.

Riaz Haq said...

Watchdog Calls out #India for Failing to Protect Journalists - ABC News - #freedomofexpression via @ABC

India is failing to help and protect journalists who are facing violent threats or attacks for their work, an international watchdog agency said Monday, noting a pattern of resistance in investigating crimes targeting reporters.

The Committee to Protect Journalists counted 27 journalists killed for their work since 1992, and noted that it was still investigating more than two dozen cases to determine whether those journalists' deaths were also work-related. Most at risk are small-town journalists investigating corruption, rather than journalists in big cities like New Delhi or Mumbai.

The New York-based watchdog said in a report released Monday that it could find only one case in 10 years in India in which a suspect was prosecuted and convicted for killing a journalist, but that the suspect was later released on appeal.

"Perpetrators are seldom arrested," said Sujata Madhok of the Delhi Union of Journalists, according to the report. "The torturously slow Indian judicial system, together with corruption in the police force and the criminalization of politics, makes it possible to literally get away with murder."

The watchdog's findings are supported by another report, released in 2015 by India's own media watchdog, the Press Council of India. That report found that even though the country's democratic institutions and independent judiciary were strong, people who killed journalists were getting away with impunity.

"The situation is truly alarming," the Press Council said, warning that the trend could hurt India's democracy, and pressing Parliament to pass a nationwide law ensuring journalists' safety.

The Committee to Protect Journalists blamed successive Indian governments and local officials for doing little to address a problem that has existed for decades.

It noted that while newspaper reports on corruption scandals made for attention-grabbing headlines, those same corruption investigations tended to end abruptly if an involved journalist was killed.

"No government in India has been an ardent champion of press freedom," the report said. "Small-town journalists, even if a handful work for big media, will often find themselves alone and abandoned when trouble strikes."

The report focused on three cases of journalist killings in India, including the death in July 2015 of investigative reporter Akshay Singh, who was working on a story linked to an alleged $1 billion racket for providing jobs and college admissions in the central state of Madhya Pradesh.

A month before that, freelance reporter Jagendra Singh died after being set on fire while reporting on allegations of rape and land fraud leveled against a local minister in the northern state of Uttar Pradesh.

And in 2011 in the eastern state of Chattisgarh, journalist Umesh Rajput was shot dead while investigating alleged medical negligence as well as separate claims that a politician's son was involved in an illegal gambling business.

"I can think of several cases where the police's first response to a threat, attack or killing of a journalist was to claim that the victim was not a journalist, or that the attack was not work-related," the report quoted Mumbai-based editor Geeta Seshu of the media-themed website The Hoot as saying.

Indian journalists contacted by The Associated Press agreed that while journalists were key in exposing the country's widespread and endemic corruption, they were doing so despite inadequate safety guarantees.

Authorities need to take the risk more seriously or risk having reporters abandon their investigations, journalists said.

"Journalists have become vulnerable to pressure from local mafia, businesses, newspaper managements and the government," said Rahul Jalali, president of New Delhi's press club.