Saturday, August 29, 2015

Over 100 US Academics Caution Silicon Valley Against Doing Business With Modi's India

Leading South Asia experts at US universities have warned top tech firms to be cautious in doing business with India as India's Hindu Nationalist Prime Minister Narendra Modi prepares to visit Silicon Valley to promote "Digital India" in September 2015.

A joint statement signed by 124 professors accuses the Modi government of  "disregard for human rights and civil liberties, as well as the autonomy of educational and cultural institutions". The signatories are mostly Indian-American professors. Others include Columbia University's Akeel Bilgrami, Stanford University's Thomas Blom Hansen and the University of Chicago's Wendy Doniger, according to

Here is the full text of their statement:
As faculty who engage South Asia in our research and teaching, we write to express our concerns about the uncritical fanfare being generated over Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s visit to Silicon Valley to promote 'Digital India' on September 27, 2015.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s visit to Silicon Valley highlights the role of a country that has contributed much to the growth and development of Silicon Valley industries, and builds on this legacy in extending American business collaboration and partnerships with India. However Indian entrepreneurial success also brings with it key responsibilities and obligations with regard to the forms of e-governance envisioned by 'Digital India'.
We are concerned that the project’s potential for increased transparency in bureaucratic dealings with people is threatened by its lack of safeguards about privacy of information, and thus its potential for abuse. As it stands, 'Digital India' seems to ignore key questions raised in India by critics concerned about the collection of personal information and the near certainty that such digital systems will be used to enhance surveillance and repress the constitutionally-protected rights of citizens. These issues are being discussed energetically in public in India and abroad. Those who live and work in Silicon Valley have a particular responsibility to demand that the government of India factor these critical concerns into its planning for digital futures.
We acknowledge that Narendra Modi, as Prime Minister of a country that has contributed much to the growth and development of Silicon Valley industries, has the right to visit the United States, and to seek American business collaboration and partnerships with India. However, as educators who pay particular attention to history, we remind Mr. Modi’s audiences of the powerful reasons for him being denied the right to enter the U.S. from 2005-2014, for there is still an active case in Indian courts that questions his role in the Gujarat violence of 2002 when 1,000 died. Modi’s first year in office as the Prime Minister of India includes well-publicized episodes of censorship and harassment of those critical of his policies, bans and restrictions on NGOs leading to a constriction of the space of civic engagement, ongoing violations of religious freedom, and a steady impingement on the independence of the judiciary.
Under Mr Modi’s tenure as Prime Minister, academic freedom is also at risk: foreign scholars have been denied entry to India to attend international conferences, there has been interference with the governance of top Indian universities and academic institutions such as the Tata Institute of Fundamental Research, the Indian Institutes of Technology and Nalanda University; as well as underqualified or incompetent key appointments made to the Indian Council of Historical Research, the Film and Television Institute of India, and the National Book Trust. A proposed bill to bring the Indian Institutes of Management under direct control of government is also worrisome. These alarming trends require that we, as educators, remain vigilant not only about modes of e-governance in India but about the political future of the country.
We urge those who lead Silicon Valley technology enterprises to be mindful of not violating their own codes of corporate responsibility when conducting business with a government which has, on several occasions already, demonstrated its disregard for human rights and civil liberties, as well as the autonomy of educational and cultural institutions.
Here are the names of 124 South Asian experts at US institutions who issued the statement:
Meena Alexander, Distinguished Professor of English, Hunter College and the Graduate Center, City University of New York
Arjun Appadurai, Paulette Goddard Professor of Media, Culture, and Communication, New York University
Anjali Arondekar, Associate Professor of Women’s Studies, UC Santa Cruz
Fredrick Asher, Professor of Art History and South Asian Studies, University of Minnesota
Paola Bacchetta, Associate Professor of Gender and Women’s Studies University of California, Berkeley
Sarada Balagopalan, Associate Professor of Childhood Studies, Rutgers University, Camden
Radhika Balakrishnan, Prof of Women’s and Gender Studies, Rutgers University
Shahzad Bashir, Professor of Religious Studies, Stanford University
Manu Bhagavan, Professor of History and Human Rights, Hunter College and the Graduate Center, The City University of New York
Mona Bhan Associate Professor of Sociology and Anthropology DePauw University
Srimati Basu, Professor of Gender and Women’s Studies, University of Kentucky
Prashant Bharadwaj, Associate Professor of Economics, University of California, San Diego
Nilanjana Bhattacharjya, Faculty Fellow, Barrett Honors College, Arizona State University
Nandini Bhattacharya, Professor of English, Texas A &M University, College- Station
Tithi Bhattacharya, Associate Professor of South Asian History, Purdue University
Amit R. Baishya, Assistant Professor of English, University of Oklahoma
Akeel Bilgrami, Sidney Morgenbesser Professor of Philosophy and Director, South Asian Institute, Columbia University
Purnima Bose, Associate Professor, English and International Studies, Indiana University-Bloomington
Christopher Candland, Associate Professor of Political Science, Wellesley College
Paula Chakravartty, Associate Professor, Gallatin School, & Department of Media, Culture and Communication, New York University
Shefali Chandra, Associate Professor of South Asian History Washington University, St. Louis
S. Charusheela, Associate Professor, School of Interdisciplinary Arts and Sciences, University of Washington, Bothell
Partha Chatterjee, Professor of Anthropology and South Asian Studies, Columbia University
Indrani Chatterjee Professor of History and South Asian Studies, University of Texas, Austin
Swati Chattopadhyay Professor History of Art and Architecture, University of California, Santa Barbara
Marty Chen, School of Public Policy, Harvard Kennedy School and Affiliated Professor, Harvard Graduate School of Design
Rohit Chopra, Associate Professor of Communication, Santa Clara University
Elora Chowdhury Associate Professor & Chair, Women’s and Gender Studies, University of Massachusetts, Boston
E. Valentine Daniel, Professor of Anthropology, Colombia University
Monisha Das Gupta, Associate Professor of Ethnic Studies and Women’s Studies, University of Hawaii, Manoa
Jigna Desai, Professor of Gender, Women, and Sexuality Studies, University of Minnesota
Pawan Dhingra, Professor of Sociology, Tufts University
Wendy Doniger, Professor of the History of Religions, University of Chicago
Richard Falk, Professor of International Law Emeritus, Princeton University
Bishnupriya Ghosh, Professor of English University of California, Santa Barbara
Huma Ahmed-Ghosh, Professor and Chair of Women’s Studies, San Diego State University
Durba Ghosh, Associate Professor of History, Cornell University
Sumanth Gopinath, Associate Professor of Music Theory, School of Music, University of Minnesota
Nitin Govil, Associate Professor of Cinema & Media Studies, University of Southern California
Paul Greenough, Professor of History and Community and Behavioral Health and Director, South Asian Studies Program, University of Iowa
Inderpal Grewal, Professor of South Asian Studies, Yale University
Sumit Guha, Frances Higginbotham Nalle Centennial Professor of History, University of Texas, Austin
Thomas Blom Hansen, Professor of Anthropology and Director of the Center for South Asia, Stanford University
Syed Akbar Hyder, Associate Professor of South Asian Studies, University of Texas, Austin
Nalini Iyer, Professor of English, Seattle University
Priya Jaikumar, Associate Professor of Cinema and Media Studies, University of Southern California
Pranav Jani, Associate Professor of English, Ohio State University
Sheila Jasanoff, Professor of Science and Technology Studies, Harvard University, John F. Kennedy School of Government
Arun W. Jones, Associate Professor, Candler School of Theology, Emory University
May Joseph, Professor of Social Science, Pratt Institute
Priya Joshi, Associate Professor of English and Associate Director, Center for the Humanities, Temple University
Sampath Kannan, Henry Salvatore Professor of Computer and Information Science, University of Pennsylvania
Suvir Kaul, A.M. Rosenthal Professor of English, University of Pennsylvania Waqas Khwaja, Professor of English, Agnes Scott College
Naveeda Khan, Associate Professor of Anthropology, Johns Hopkins University
Nyla Ali Khan, Visiting Professor of Women’s Studies, University of Oklahoma, Norman
Satish Kolluri, Associate Professor of Communications, Pace University
Ruby Lal, Professor of Middle East and South Asian Studies, Emory University
Sarah Lamb, Professor of Anthropology and Head of the Division of Social Sciences, Brandeis University; Co-Chair of South Asian Studies
Karen Leonard, Professor of Anthropology, Emeritus, University of California, Irvine
David Lelyveld, Professor of History, Emeritus, William Paterson University
Jinee Lokaneeta, Associate Professor of Political Science and International Relations, Drew University
Ania Loomba, Catherine Bryson Professor of English, University of Pennsylvania
David Ludden, Professor of History, New York University
Ritty Lukose, Associate Professor of Anthropology, Gender and Sexuality Studies, and South Asian Studies, the Gallatin School, New York University
Sudhir Mahadevan Assistant Professor of Film Studies, Comparative Literature, Cinema and Media, University of Washington, Seattle
Tayyab Mahmud, Professor of Law and Director, Center for Global Justice Seattle University School of Law
Sunaina Maira, Professor of Asian American Studies, University of California, Davis
Bakirathi Mani, Associate Professor of English Literature, Swarthmore College
Rebecca J. Manring, Associate Professor of India Studies and Religious Studies Indiana University-Bloomington
Monika Mehta, Associate Professor, Department of English, Binghamton University
Jisha Menon, Assistant Professor of Theatre and Performance Studies, Stanford University
Kalyani Devaki Menon, Associate Professor of Religious Studies, DePaul University
Sally Engle Merry, Silver Professor of Anthropology, New York University
Raza Mir, Professor of Management, Cotsakos College of Business, William Paterson University
Deepti Misri, Associate Professor of Women and Gender Studies University of Colorado, Boulder
Chandra Talpade Mohanty, Chair and Distinguished Professor of Women’s & Gender Studies, and Dean’s Professor of Humanities, Syracuse University
Satya P. Mohanty, Professor of English, Cornell University
Megan Moodie, Associate Professor of Anthropology, University of California, Santa Cruz
Projit B. Mukharji, Martin Meyerson Assistant Professor in Interdisciplinary Studies, History & Sociology of Science, University of Pennsylvania
Madhavi Murty, Assistant Professor of Feminist Studies, University of California, Santa Cruz
Vijaya Nagarajan, Associate Professor of Theology & Religious Studies, Program in Environmental Studies, University of San Francisco
Gyanendra Pandey, Arts and Sciences Distinguished Professor of History, Emory University
Carla Petievich, Visiting Professor of South Asian Studies, University of Texas, Austin
Sheldon Pollock, Professor of South Asian Studies, Columbia University Kavita Philip, Associate Professor of History, University of California, Irvine
Vijay Prashad, George and Martha Kellner Chair of South Asian History, Trinity College
Jasbir K. Puar, Associate Professor of Women’s and Gender Studies, Rutgers University
Balakrishnan Rajagopal, Professor of Law and Development, Department of Urban Studies and Planning, Massachusetts Institute of Technology
R. Radhakrishnan, Chancellor’s Professor of English and Comparative Literature, University of California, Irvine
Gloria Raheja, Professor of Anthropology, University of Minnesota
Junaid Rana, Associate Professor of Asian American Studies, University of Illinois, Champaign-Urbana
Anupama Rao, Professor of Anthropology, Barnard College
Velcheru Narayana Rao, Distinguished Visiting Professor of Middle Eastern and South Asian Studies, Emory University
Kasturi Ray, Associate Professor of Women and Gender Studies/Co-Director, South Asian Studies, San Francisco State University
M.V. Ramana, Program on Science and Global Security, Princeton University Sumathi Ramaswamy, Professor of History, Duke University
Chandan Reddy, Associate Professor of English, University of Washington, Seattle
Gayatri Reddy, Associate Professor of Women’s Studies, University of Illinois, Chicago
Parama Roy, Professor of English, University of California, Davis
Sharmila Rudrappa, Associate Professor of Sociology, University of Texas at Austin
G.S. Sahota, Assistant Professor of Literature, University of California, Santa Cruz
Yasmin Saikia, Hardt-Nickachos Chair in Peace Studies & Professor of History, Center for the Study of Religion and Conflict, Arizona State University
Arun Saldanha, Associate Professor of Geography, Environment and Society University of Minnesota
Juned Shaikh, Assistant Professor of History, University of California, Santa Cruz
Nitasha Tamar Sharma, Charles Deering McCormick Professor of Teaching Excellence and Associate Professor of African American Studies and Asian American Studies, Northwestern University
Elora Shehabuddin, Associate Professor of Humanities and Political Science, Rice University
Bhaskar Sarkar, Associate Professor of Film and Media Studies, University of California, Santa Barbara
Priya Satia, Associate Professor of History, Stanford University
Aradhana Sharma, Associate Professor of Anthropology, Wesleyan University
Snehal Shinghavi, Associate Professor of English and South Asian Studies, University of Texas, Austin
Ajay Skaria, Professor of History, University of Minnesota
Shalini Shankar, Chair and Associate Professor of Asian American Studies, Northwestern University
S. Shankar, Professor of English, University of Hawai’i at Mānoa Amritjit Singh, Langston Hughes Professor of English, Ohio University
Mytheli Sreenivas, Associate Professor of History and Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies, Ohio State University
Rajini Srikanth, Professor, English, University of Massachusetts Boston Nidhi Srinivas, Associate Professor of Nonprofit Management, The New School
Ajantha Subramanian, Professor of Anthropology and South Asian Studies, Harvard University
Banu Subramaniam, Professor, Women, Gender, Sexuality Studies, University of Massachusetts, Amherst
Kaushik Sunder Rajan, Associate Professor of Anthropology, University of Chicago
Raja Swamy, Assistant Professor of Anthropology, University of Tennessee Tariq Thachil, Assistant Professor of Political Science, Yale University
Ashwini Tambe, Associate Professor of Women’s Studies, University of Maryland, College-Park
Vamsi Vakulabharanam, Associate Professor of Economics, University of Massachusetts, Amherst
Jyotnsa Vaid, Professor of Psychology, Texas A&M University
Sylvia Vatuk, Professor of Anthropology, Emeritus, University of Illinois, Chicago
Kamala Visweswaran, Professor of Ethnic Studies, University of California, San Diego
Kalindi Vora, Associate Professor of Ethnic Studies, University of California, San Diego
Bonnie Zare, Professor of Gender & Women’s Studies, University of Wyoming
Related Links:
India is World's Biggest Oligarchy

Gujarat Riot Victims 

Hindu Nationalists Admire Hitler

India Has World's Largest Population of Poor, Hungry and Illiterates

Pakistan Needs More Gujaratis? 

India's Israel Envy

Friday, August 28, 2015

Pakistani-American Leads Silicon Valley's Top High-Tech Incubator Y-Combinator

33-year-old Qasar Younis, a Lala Moosa born Harvard-educated Pakistani-American, is the new Chief Operating Officer of Y-Combinator, a spawning ground for emerging tech giants Dropbox, Airbnb, and Stripe in Silicon Valley, according to Fortune Magazine.

Qasar Younis (Source: Linked-In)
Younis was born on a farm in Lal Moosa, Gujarat, Pakistan. He was brought by his parents as a 6-year-old boy to the United States where his parents found work as blue collar workers in the auto industry in Detroit, Michigan.

Younis' start-up TalkBin was offered a $7 million seed round by Y Combinator. However, it was acquired by Google in 2011 even before signing the seed-round term sheet. Younis joined the Google Maps team where he worked to bring local businesses onboard them. He stayed there for three and a half years.

Y Combinator is set to graduate 222 startups, including Pakistani start-up Markhor, this year. There are currently 7000 startups vying for 106 spots in the program, according to Markhor, co-founded by Waqas Ali and Sidra Qasim is the first Pakistani company based in Pakistan to be accepted into Y Combinator as a part of the Summer 2015 class, according to Tech Crunch. Markhor launched a Kickstarter campaign that brought in over $107,000 in seed money from 508 backers in two months.

Silicon Valley is home to 12,000 to 15,000 Pakistani Americans. Thousands of them are working at Apple, Cisco, Google, Intel, Oracle and hundreds of other high-tech companies from small start-ups to large Fortune 500 corporations. Pakistani-Americans are contributing to what Erik Brynjolfsson and Andrew McAfee describe as "The Second Machine Age" in a recent book with the same title.

Pakistani-American entrepreneurs, advisers, mentors, venture capitalists, investment bankers, accountants and lawyers make up a growing ecosystem in Silicon Valley. Dozens of Pakistani-American founded start-ups have been funded by top venture capital firms. Many such companies have either been acquired in M&A deals or gone public by offering shares for sale at major stock exchanges. Organization of Pakistani Entrepreneurs (OPEN) has become a de facto platform for networking among Pakistani-American entrepreneurs in Silicon Valley. It holds an annual event called OPEN Forum which attracts over 500 attendees. 

Here's a video of a recent presentation I made at University of Chicago Booth School of Business on Pakistani-Americans in Silicon Valley:

Talk by Riaz Haq for Pakistan Club Chicago May... by urduonair

A PDF version of my full presentation at University of Chicago Booth Business School is available on PakAlumni WorldWide

Related Links:

Haq's Musings

Pakistani-Americans in Silicon Valley

Pakistani Diaspora World's 7th Largest

Pakistani-American Population Second Fastest Growing Among Asian-Americans

Organization of Pakistani-American Entrepreneurs

Karachi-born Triple Oscar Winning Graphics Artist

Pakistani-American Ashar Aziz's Fire-eye Goes Public

Two Pakistani-American Silicon Valley Techs Among Top 5 VC Deals

Pakistani-American's Game-Changing Vision 

Minorities Are Majority in Silicon Valley 

US Promoting Venture Capital & Private Equity in Pakistan

Pakistani-American Population Growth Second Fastest Among Asian-Americans

Edible Arrangements: Pakistani-American's Success Story

Thursday, August 27, 2015

Top Global Fund Manager Mark Mobius is Bullish on Pakistan

Joseph Mark Mobius of Templeton Emerging Markets Group sees "many reasons for a brighter future for Pakistan".  Mobius, armed with B.A. and M.S. degrees in Communications from Boston University, and a Ph.D in economics from MIT,  is a top global fund manager with a good track record of investing in emerging markets.

In a blog post titled "Building Corridors to the Future in Pakistan", an obvious reference to China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), Mobius says he and his team "have been investing in Pakistan for a number of years, and see it as an overlooked investment destination with attractive valuations due to negative macro sentiment". It should be noted that Karachi Stock Exchange listed companies' average price-earnings multiple of just 10 is less than half of regional markets such as Mumbai with PE ratio of over 20.

Source: Bloomberg

In addition to new foreign investment in CPEC and low PE ratios, Mobius offers the following key reasons for his bullish outlook for Pakistan:

1. The Pakistani stock market has been one of the top-performing markets in the last five years (ended June 2015).

Source: Economist Magazine
2.  The MSCI Pakistan Index has more than doubled with a 129% return during that time frame, compared with a 45% return for the MSCI Frontier Index and 22% increase in the MSCI Emerging Markets Index in US dollar terms.

3. Even after KSE-100 strong performance, valuations of Pakistani stocks still remain relatively attractive. As of end-June 2015, the trailing price-to-earnings ratio of the MSCI Pakistan Index was 10 times, versus 11 times for the MSCI Frontier Index and 14 times for the MSCI Emerging Markets Index.

4. Pakistan government efforts on expenditure control and divestments have been positive, but the government will need to remain committed to the economic and structural reform program.

5. An internal anti-terrorism drive was made in the wake of the tragic Peshawar incident in December 2014, which targeted schoolchildren. Mobius thinks these efforts need to be maintained over the longer term to develop a better security climate for businesses and the society as a whole.

6. In the political environment, delays in the implementation of reforms or deterioration in the political or security situation could adversely impact the country’s macroeconomic development and fiscal position, hinder investment and weaken investor confidence.

Bottom line for Mobius: Despite a number of ongoing challenges, there are "many reasons for a brighter future for Pakistan".

Related Links:

Haq's Musings 

Time to Go Long on Pakistan?

China Deal to Set New FDI Records in Pakistan

Post Cold War Realignment in South Asia

Haier Pakistan to Expand Production From Home Appliances to Cellphones, Laptops

Pakistan Bolsters 2nd Strike Capability With AIP Subs

3G, 4G Rollout in Pakistan

Pakistan Starts Manufacturing Tablets and Notebooks

China-Pakistan Industrial Corridor

US-Pakistan Ties and New Silk Route

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Indian Hindu Nationalists' US Envy: "Surgical Strikes" in Pakistan?

Is India's Modi planning a limited war with Pakistan? The talk in the Indian media suggests that he may be doing just that. Here are excepts of a couple of recent opinion pieces on the subject published in the Indian media:

"The idea of (India's) hot pursuit of terrorists has also not been fully tested yet. Security experts say that aircrafts or commandos can execute an operation against militant camps in Pakistan but argue that returning back to India may not be easy."  Sushil Aaron, Hindustan Times

"Even though a limited war would have high costs for Pakistan, a crisis would frighten away the investors he (Modi) needs to realise his economic vision. Firing across the LoC has been demonstrated not to deter the Pakistan army. Targeting jihadist leaders across the LoC is an option, but India just doesn’t have the capacities for it at present." Praveen Swami, The Indian Express

These opinion pieces remind me of a post titled "India's America Envy" that I wrote in 2011:

Since Osama Bin Laden's death in Pakistani town of Abbottabad on May 1, 2011, I am seeing a dramatic increase in cyber activity by many Indians manifesting itself as a constant stream of anti-Pakistan hateful commentary being posted on almost all major news discussion forums.

But, amidst all the usual venomous babble, the following fantasy by an Indian blogger Prashant Agrawal published in the Wall Street Journal stands out in particular:

India’s prime minister greets the Mi-25 helicopters carrying Indian Navy MARCOS commandos. He shakes hands with the returning troops, congratulates and thanks them. For the photographers, he holds up his thumbs, “Mission Accomplished”-style. The MARCOS are returning from Pakistan where they took out some of India’s, and the world’s, most wanted terrorists.

That was the story that didn’t happen yesterday or the week before or the month before or the year before or the decade before that. It’s the story that some, perhaps many, Indians have wished to read. It hasn’t happened but the chances of it happening have gone up slightly.

How interesting!

This reminds me of what Indian author and journalist Pankaj Mishra wrote some years ago. Here's an except from his article:

Gung-ho members of India's middle class clamor for Israeli-style retaliation against jihadi training camps in Pakistan. But India can "do a Lebanon" only by risking nuclear war with its neighbor; and Indian intelligence agencies are too inept to imitate Mossad's policy of targeted killings, which have reaped for Israel an endless supply of dedicated and resourceful enemies.

Prior to this latest episode of wishful thinking, I had heard of India’s “Israel Envy”, a phrase coined by former Indian minister Sashi Tharoor immediately after Mumbai terror attacks in 2008.

Now it seems that gung-ho Indians like Prashant are also suffering from India’s “America Envy”.

Since I wrote above piece in 2011, the 2014 election of Hindu Nationalist Prime Minister Narendra Modi has further emboldened the likes of Prashant among Indian policymakers. They are playing with fire that will burn them along with others in the region. I sincerely hope better sense will prevail in New Delhi and Modi and his Hindu Nationalist government will choose to return to dialog  with Pakistan without pre-conditions to discuss all issues, including the core issue of Kashmir.

Related Links:

Haq's Musings

Fear and Panic Among Indian Army Generals in 1965

India's Israel Envy: What If Modi Attacks Pakistan?

India Teaching Young Students Akhand Bharat 

Pakistan Army at the Gates of Delhi

India's War Myths

India-Pakistan Military Balance

Pakistan Army Capabilities

Modi's Pakistan Policy

India's Israel Envy

Sunday, August 23, 2015

NA-122 Verdict; MQM Resignations; India-Pakistan Talks Cancellation; Trump Phenomenon

Will Pakistan NA-122 re-poll order boost Imran Khan and PTI? Is this a big setback of PMLN and Sharif clan in Lahore? Is Reham Khan preparing for significant leadership role in PTI?

Did Pakistan do the right thing by refusing conditional talks with India at the NSA level? How will this affect prospects for peace in South Asia?

Has Nawaz Sharif snubbed MQM leadership by ignoring their complaints during his Karachi visit? How will it impact Karachi?

How will Donald Trump fare if nominated as Republican candidate for president in 2016 US general elections? Can he become president and govern?

Viewpoint From Overseas host Misbah Azam and analyst Riaz Haq discuss these questions.

PTI Win in NA-122; India-Pakistan Talks Off; MQM Resignations; Trump Phenomenon from WBT TV on Vimeo.

Related Links:

Haq's Musings

Scotland Yard Confirms Document Linking MQM to RAW

Ex RAW Chief on Agra Summit and Kashmir

Pakistan Opposition Indicts But Supports PMLN Government

Trump For President

Talk4Pak Think Tank

VPOS Youtube Channel

VPOS Vimeo Channel

VPOS Dailymotion Channel

Saturday, August 22, 2015

Detailed Account of Fear and Panic Gripping Indian Army in 1965 War

A full-page Indian Army advertisement published in major Hindi national dailies recently says that the Indian forces responded to the Pakistan attack with fear (darkar muqabala kiya). It was later clarified as a typographical error which changed "datkar muqabla kiya" to "darkar muqabla kiya".

An ad in a national Hindi daily saying India ‘countered the Pakistan attack with fear (darkar muqabala kiya)’
Freudian Slip?

Let's examine whether the typo was in fact a Freudian slip: An unintentional error that revealed the real truth.  The best source to examine it is "1965 War: The Inside Story", an authoritative book on 1965 war written by RD Pradhan who was personal assistant to Indian Defense Minister Y.B. Chavan in 1965. Mr. Pradhan has based his book on Mr. Chavan's diaries kept during the war.

Indian Cowardice and Panic:

Mr. Pradhan has devoted an entire chapter of his book to how General Jayanto Nath Chaudhuri, the Indian Army Chief, badly panicked when Pakistani forces mounted a fierce counter-attack during 1965 war. At one point, Gen Chaudhuri ordered Gen Harbakhash Singh to pull back behind the Beas, essentially leaving much of Indian Punjab to Pakistan.

In Chapter 8 titled "Of Cowardice and Panic" of his book "1965 War-The Inside Story", R.D. Pradhan describes the cowardice of Maj. Gen. Niranjan Prasad, the Indian general commanding officer in Kasur sector.  When Pakistan Defense Forces counter-attacked the intruding Indian military and the general was fired upon on Sept 6, 1965, he "ran away".  Here's an excerpt:

"On learning that, Lt. Gen. Harbakash Singh and the corps commander drove in a Jonga (Nissan P60 Jeep) to the battlefront. Army commander found that the enemy (PAF) air attack had created a havoc on G.T. Road. (Indian) Vehicles were burning and several vehicles of 15 Division abandoned on the road, the drivers having run away, leaving some of the engines still running. Maj. Gen. Niranjan Prasad was hiding in a recently irrigated sugar cane field. As described by Harabakash Singh: "He (Prasad) came out to receive us, with his boots covered with wet mud. He had no head cover, nor was he wearing any badges of his rank. He had stubble on his face, not having shaved." Seeing him in such a stage, Harbakhash Singh asked him: "Whether he was the General Officer commanding a division or a coolie? Why had he removed badges of rank and not shaved? Niranjan Prasad had no answer." 

India's GOC Maj Gen Niranjan Prasad's Jeep Captured by Pakistan Army in 1965 War

Retreat to Beas: 

Chapter 12 of Pradhan's book is titled "Retreat to Beas" in which there is detailed discussion of Indian COAS's proposal for the Indian Army to retreat behind Beas in the face of Pakistan's fierce counter-attacks after India's attempted incursion in Lahore. Pradhan argues in this chapter that during the 1965 war with Pakistan, Indian COAS General Chaudhuri feared that "a major battle the west of the Beas would end in the destruction of the Indian Army and thereafter allow the enemy (Pakistani) forces to push to the gates of Delhi without much resistance".

Pradhan's book contains many different entries by Indian Defense Minister Y.B. Chavan. A Sept 9, 1965 entry reads:  

Had a very hard day on all fronts. Very fierce counter-attacks mounted and we are required to withdraw in Kasur area. COAS was somewhat uncertain of himself. I suggested to him that he should go in forward areas so that he will be in touch of realities. He said he would go next day.

Harbakhash Singh Memoirs:

In Line of Duty: A Soldier Remembers, according to Shekhar Gupta, the editor of Indian Express, Lt Gen Harbakhsh Singh reveals that not only "did Gen Chowdhury play a very small role in the entire campaign, he was so nervous as to be on the verge of losing half of Punjab to Pakistan, including the city of Amritsar. Harbakhsh describes, in clinical detail, how our own offensive in the Lahore sector had come unhinged. The general commanding the division on Ichchogil canal fled in panic, leaving his jeep, its wireless running and the briefcase containing sensitive documents that were then routinely read on Radio Pakistan during the war. Singh wanted to court martial him, Chowdhury let him get away with resignation".

According to Shekhar Gupta, Harbkhash Singh recounts that a bigger disaster struck a bit to the south where the other division cracked up in assault, just as it encountered a bit of resistance. Several infantry battalions, short on battle inoculation, deserted and Singh gives a hair-raising account – and confirmation of a long-debated rumor – that Chowdhury panicked so badly he ordered him to withdraw to a new defensive line behind the Beas, thereby conceding half of Punjab to Pakistan. Singh describes the conversation with Chowdhury at Ambala where he refused to carry out the order, asking his chief to either put it down in writing or visit the front and take charge of the battle.

India was the first to accept UN sponsored ceasefire (page 100 of RD Pradhan's book)  on Sept 21 followed by Pakistan on Sept 22, bringing the 1965 war to an end on Sept 22, 1965. As the ceasefire took effect, Indian Defense Y.B. Chavan wrote in his diary as follows:

"The ball is now in the political court again--where it should be--and not in the military one. I hope we have the vision and courage to (our) political leadership."


Alas, the core issue of Kashmir still remains unresolved 48 years since Mr. Chavan wrote his words of wisdom. And, unfortunately, India's Hindu Nationalist Prime Minister Narendra Modi refuses to even talk about the Kashmir issue, much less resolve it.

Haq's Musings

What If Modi Attacks Pakistan?

India Teaching Young Students Akhand Bharat 

Pakistan Army at the Gates of Delhi

India's War Myths

India-Pakistan Military Balance

Pakistan Army Capabilities

Modi's Pakistan Policy

India's Israel Envy

Can India Do a Lebanon in Pakistan?

Friday, August 21, 2015

Time to Dump India Shares and Buy Pakistan and Hong Kong Equities?

Is it time to sell India short and go long on Pakistan?

Indian shares are highly overvalued while Pakistan and Hong Kong shares are trading at very attractive valuations, according to latest data published by Bloomberg. The Indian shares listed in Mumbai are trading at nearly 22 times earnings, more than twice the price-earnings multiples of Karachi and Hong Kong listed stocks.

Source: Bloomberg

Hong Kong's Hang Seng benchmark gauge for $4.3 trillion of shares was valued at 9.8 times reported earnings on Thursday, a 44 percent discount to the MSCI All-Country World Index, according to Bloomberg. That’s the cheapest level among developed markets worldwide and compares with a multiple of 10.2 for Pakistan’s KSE 100 Index. Russia’s Micex has the lowest valuation among major markets, trading at about 9.5 times profits.

Talking about Pakistan,  Charlie Robertson, London-based chief economist at Renaissance Capital Ltd.  told Bloomberg that “It (Pakistan) is the best, undiscovered investment opportunity in emerging or frontier markets...What’s changed is the delivery of reforms -- privatization, an improved fiscal picture and good relations with the IMF.”  Pakistan is a reform story like neighboring India’s, but only better, Renaissance’s Robertson added.

The massive Chinese commitment to invest $46 billion in Pakistan's energy and infrastructure projects as part of China-Pakistan Economic Corridor has added to the excitement about Pakistan's brightening prospects.

CPEC Projects Map

China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) is highly strategic for both China and Pakistan. It is expected to dramatically boost investment and trade activity in Pakistan via 29 industrial parks and 21 mining zones along the western, central and eastern routes.

This (China's $46 billion investment in Pakistan) can not be purely politically driven. Beijing is commercial: CEO’s, not think tank intellectuals, travel with politicians. Barron's Asia

Spurred by Chinese investment, the smart money is taking notice of Pakistan as an attractive investment destination. The investors are looking at the fact that Pakistani stocks have been outperforming both emerging and frontier markets for several years. The benchmark index of the Karachi Stock Exchange (KSE100) is up more than 20% in the last 12 months, according to

Pakistani Shares in 2015:

After a dismal March, MSCI Pakistan rebounded strongly this month, returning 9.1% so far. In April, the iShares MSCI Frontier 100 ETF (FM) rose 4.3%, the WisdomTree India Earnings Fund (EPI) dropped 1.2%, the iShares MSCI India ETF (INDA) fell 1.9%, according to Barron's Asia.

Source: Economist Magazine
KSE-100 Performance:

In 2014, the KSE-100 Index gained 6,870 points thereby generating a handsome return of 27% (31% return in US$ terms), making Pakistan's KSE world's third best performing marketTotal offerings in the year 2014 reached 9 as compared to 3 in the year 2013. After a gap of seven years, Rs 73 billion were raised through offerings in 2014 as compared to a meager Rs 4 billion raised in 2013. Foreign investors, that hold US$ 6.1 billion worth of Pakistani shares -which is 33% of the free-float (9% of market capitalization)-remained net buyers in 2014.

Pakistani Shares Valuation:

Even after outperforming both emerging and frontier market indices, Pakistani shares can be bought at deep discounts which make them very attractive, according to Renaissance Capital’s chief economist Charles Robertson.  MSCI (Morgan Stanley Composite Index) Pakistan trades at only 8.4 times forward earnings, a 17% discount to MSCI Frontier Markets. For comparison purposes, fellow frontier south Asia markets Sri Lanka and Bangladesh trade at 13.4x and 21.4x respectively. India, included in the emerging market index, trades at 16.8 times.

Key Sectors: 

Chinese investment in energy and infrastructure will help stimulate all sectors of Pakistani economy. But the sectors benefiting most from the $46 billion investment will likely include banks, energy and building materials, the sectors which are the favorites of  Pakistani billionaire investor Mian Mohammad Mansha.

Being close to the ruling Sharif family makes Mansha the ultimate insider. Beyond his investments in banking, cement, energy and textiles, Mansha is also starting to invest in consumer products sector benefiting from rising incomes, growing middle class and increasing jobs created in Pakistan by the massive Chinese investment. Mansha owns a big chunk of Muslim Commercial Bank (MCB) share. He has recently been pumping more money into energy, cement and dairy businesses. Mansha's DG Khan Cements has announced plans to build a $300 million cement plant near Karachi. In additions, his Nishat Dairies has imported thousands of dairy cows for a dairy farm in Lahore.


The $46 billion Chinese investment in energy and infrastructure has brought attention to tremendous investment opportunities in Pakistan, a nation of nearly 200 million people with rising middle class and growing consumption.  Pakistani military's recent successes against the terrorists and China's massive investment commitments are expected to boost investor confidence in the country. Higher confidence will help draw other significant investors to invest in Pakistan over the next several years.

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Is Trump Getting Foreign Policy Advice From Ex Pakistan Ambassador Husain Haqqani?

"Number one, the people negotiating don’t have a clue. Our president doesn’t have a clue. He’s a bad negotiator...We get Bergdahl. We get a traitor. We get a no-good traitor, and they get the five people that they wanted for years, and those people are now back on the battlefield trying to kill us. That’s the negotiator we have...I know the smartest negotiators in the world. I know the good ones. I know the bad ones. I know the overrated ones...But I know the negotiators in the world, and I put them one for each country. Believe me, folks. We will do very, very well, very, very well." Donald Trump, Wall Street Journal, June 16, 2015

Donald Trump

US real estate billionaire and Republication candidate Donald Trump's rhetoric on US negotiators' skills reminds me of similar writings and analyses of the US-Pakistan ties offered by Mr. Husain Haqqani, Ex Pakistani Ambassador in Washington.

“Since 1947,” Haqqani argues in his book "Magnificent Delusion", “dependence, deception, and defiance have characterized US-Pakistan relations. We sought US aid in return for promises we did not keep.....Pakistan and the United States have few shared interests and very different political needs… If $40 billion in US aid has not won Pakistani hearts and minds, billions more will not do the trick… The US-Pakistan alliance is only a mirage.”

Husain Haqqani

If one really analyses Haqqani's narrative, one has to conclude that Pakistanis are extraordinarily clever in deceiving the United States and its highly sophisticated policymakers who have been taken for a ride by Pakistanis for over 6 decades.

Similar narrative can be found in recent books by other authors. Notable among them are Carlotta Gall (The Wrong Enemy) and TV Paul ( Pakistan: The Warrior State).  Are they giving advice to Donald Trump? They all seem to think that they could do better than the highly sophisticated US policymakers and seasoned diplomats, like Ex US CIA Director and Ex Defense Secretary Robert Gates, who have real experience in such matters.  Here's a quote from Secretary Gates's testimony to a US Senate Committee: "Well, first of all, I would say, based on 27 years in CIA and four and a half years in this job, most governments lie to each other. That's the way business gets done."

Here is the text of the exchange between Gates and Leahy during the US Senate hearing on Pakistan that began with Leahy asking Gates how long the U.S. will be willing to "support governments that lie to us?"

GATES: Well, first of all, I would say, based on 27 years in CIA and four and a half years in this job, most governments lie to each other. That's the way business gets done.

LEAHY: Do they also arrest the people that help us when they say they're allies?

GATES: Sometimes.

LEAHY: Not often.

GATES: And -- and sometimes they send people to spy on us, and they're our close allies. So...

LEAHY: And we give aid to them.

GATES: ... that's the real world that we deal with.

Will Donald Trump win the Republican Primary and then be elected the next President of the United States? Will Trump prove Gall, Haqqani, Paul and others right by being tough on Pakistan, Iran, Mexico, China and other nations? The chances that Gall-Haqqani-Paul narrative will be put to test by Trump appear remote. It may be the best thing to happen to preserve world peace and allow the US and the rest of the world to prosper.

Related Links:

Haq's Musings

Straight Talk by Gates on Pakistan

Terror Deaths in Pakistan

US and Europe Must Accept Pakistan as a Legitimate Nuclear State

Looking Back at 1940 Lahore Resolution

Pakistan's Economic History

Pakistan: A Warrior State? A Conspicuous Failure?

Obama and US-Pakistan Ties

Can Pakistan Say No to US Aid?

Soviet Defeat in Afghanistan