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Can China and Pakistan help stabilize Afghanistan by excluding India? Does the US support this trilateral effort?
ViewPoint from Overseas host Faraz Darvesh discusses these questions with Arjumand Husain (who famously challenged VIP culture in Pakistan),Sabahat Ashraf (iFaqeer) and Riaz Haq (riazhaq.com)
Aam Aadmi Party Sweep in Delhi; Afghan-Pakistan-China Trilateral Initiative from WBT TV on Vimeo.
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Pakistan and China vowed to expedite work on the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor during a meeting between Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and visiting Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi here on Friday.
China has been a trustworthy friend of Pakistan, and friendship with China is the cornerstone of Pakistan's foreign policy, said Sharif.
Pakistan is looking forward to welcoming a state visit by Chinese President Xi Jinping at an early date in 2015, the Pakistan-China Year of Friendly Exchanges, the prime minister said, adding that his government believes the visit will bring the strategic cooperative partnership between the two countries to a new level.
He said Pakistan attaches great importance to the Pakistan- China Economic Corridor and is willing to work vigorously with China to build the corridor and get early harvest.
For his part, the Chinese foreign minister extended great appreciation to Sharif for his unremitting efforts to promote China-Pakistan ties.
China and Pakistan are "iron brothers," he said, adding the iron brotherhood between the two countries "will never go rusty."
The upcoming visit by President Xi to Pakistan this year will provide a powerful impetus to the development of bilateral relations, said Wang.
He said the two countries should push forward both economic cooperation and security cooperation at the same time. China and Pakistan should boost economic cooperation in key fields such as the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor, port, energy, transportation infrastructure and industries while jointly combating terrorism to maintain peace and stability of the region, said Wang.
I don't want Pakistan on the wrong side of history - again. We have more diaspora in the US and the UK and our education system and now the political system has more in common.
With China, we definitely should have trade and business relationships. However, it seems we are wanting to be close to China because the West is closer to India. For Pakistan it is a strategic relationship but China sees it as a trading partner relationship.
Over the long run the ideals of the West and its economic structure are more suitable although China will have larger economic clout. China will trade aggressively and never at a loss and is less interested in giving aid unless there is a benefit. This is the experience in most African countries
Anon:" I don't want Pakistan on the wrong side of history "
History is all about change. Pakistan must embrace change to survive and thrive in a world going through monumental change.
Economic, political and military power passed from East to West after Industrial Revolution which led to the rise of European colonial powers, then it passed from Europe to America and now China is rising to eventually supplant America as the dominant world power. Pakistan must recognize this reality. Read Bertrand Russell's Reflections On The Reawakening Of East.
Robert Grenier, Ex-CIA Chief in Islamabad: ""Our current abandonment of Afghanistan is the product of a ... colossal overreach, from 2005 onwards," he writes. "In the process we overwhelmed a primitive country, with a largely illiterate population, a tiny agrarian economy, a tribal social structure and nascent national institutions. We triggered massive corruption through our profligacy; convinced a substantial number of Afghans that we were, in fact, occupiers and facilitated the resurgence of the Taliban."
New Delhi, March 4: India secretly hosted Afghanistan's chief executive officer Abdullah Abdullah earlier this year after the country's President Ashraf Ghani travelled to Islamabad, amid worries in the strategic establishment here that Pakistan may have stolen a lead in courting Kabul's new leadership.
Foreign secretary Subrahmanyam Jaishankar today met Abdullah and later Ghani in Kabul on the final leg of his four-nation whirlwind tour of neighbours dubbed a Saarc yatra by Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
Jaishankar's talks with the Afghan leadership are officially the first occasion India has had to discuss with Kabul its plans for re-starting peace talks with the Taliban facilitated by Pakistan, which has emerged as the nation Ghani has focused most on.
But Abdullah, effectively the Afghan Prime Minister, shared with Indian leaders Kabul's plans on reconciliation with the Taliban during his secret visit to New Delhi, two senior government officials independently confirmed to The Telegraph.
"We want President Ghani's to be the first official visit to India - before Dr Abdullah's official visit," one of the officials said, asked why the trip wasn't made public. "But make no mistake - we've been reaching out and strengthening our relationships. We've just not gone public."
India's concerns over Ghani's diplomatic positioning stem from a series of comments and moves the President has made after coming to power in a US-brokered deal with Abdullah to set up a "unity government" after weeks of a stalemate following the country's 2014 presidential polls.
Ghani made Beijing his first foreign port of call, and has since tried to position China as a key strategic actor in Kabul's attempts at a rapprochement with the Taliban.
In Beijing, Ghani indicated that he viewed India's role in Afghanistan principally as an aid-provider, but not in the sphere of security, marking a break from his predecessor Hamid Karzai who since 2005 had made it clear he considered New Delhi a critical security partner.
Ghani, in his early foreign policy pronouncements as President, also listed five "circles" critical for peace in his country - in descending order of significance.
The first, most-important circle, Ghani said, consists of Afghanistan's immediate neighbours - including Pakistan but not India. The second circle for Ghani includes other Islamic countries, followed in the third circle by key Western allies. India and other Asian nations come only in the fourth circle - followed by the UN and other international organisations in the fifth and final circle.
Ghani also quickly inked a key transit pact with Pakistan soon after assuming office, visited Islamabad, and has hosted Pakistan's intelligence and army chiefs on more than one occasion.
By contrast, national security adviser Ajit Doval was the only senior Indian official - he visited Kabul in October - to travel to Afghanistan after the Ghani government took over. A proposed visit by Ghani to India in March remains unconfirmed.
But in the early 1990s, as the Taliban threatened to take control of the country, Abdullah moved his wife and four children - three daughters and a son - to New Delhi. The children still live here, and Abdullah's visit, officials said, was in part to spend time with his family.
Through the late 1990s, Abdullah was Massoud's foreign minister in the resistance government - recognised by some nations like India, Iran and Russia - while the Taliban controlled Kabul, their government recognised by Pakistan, Saudi Arabia and the UAE.
When the US-led forces defeated the Taliban after the September 11, 2011 terror attacks - Massoud was killed two days earlier on September 9, when Abdullah was in New Delhi - Abdullah became foreign minister in Karzai's government.
#Afghanistan, #Pakistan and #Taliban: Seize the day. #Pakistan and Ashraf Ghani make fresh start http://econ.st/1KrVIeu via The Economist
The bright spot is the efforts made by Ashraf Ghani, Afghanistan’s president since September, to improve his country’s tattered dealings with Pakistan. Closer relations hold out the tantalising possibility of making peace with the Taliban....Peace in Afghanistan is inconceivable without help from Pakistan.... Hamid Karzai, went out of his way to taunt Pakistan, not least by flaunting his friendship with India, Mr Ghani is staking his political career on finding ways to work with it (see article). On a visit to Pakistan in November Mr Ghani broke with protocol by calling on the all-powerful army chief, General Raheel Sharif, as well as on the prime minister, Nawaz Sharif (who is no relation). Mr Ghani understands that General Sharif needs help to deal with Pakistan’s own terrorists, its version of a home-grown Taliban: a threat that Pakistani commanders and politicians for too long refused to acknowledge, but which was brought home by a murderous attack on a school in Peshawar in December that killed 132 children. So the Afghan president has sent forces to fight anti-Pakistan militants in their refuges in eastern Afghanistan, an unthinkable course under Mr Karzai. The army claims that it is now reciprocating by making it hard for Afghan militants to train in Pakistan. General Sharif is helping Afghan forces secure the long border. And he appears to be urging Taliban leaders to sit down with Mr Ghani and discuss peace.
While Ghani is trying to repair ties with Pakistan, Abdullah Abdullah could be spoiler here...he's been secretly visting Delhi (where Abdullah's children live) to meet with Indian officials to plot against Pakistan.
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