Thursday, September 29, 2022

US-Pakistan F-16 Deal: Indian EAM Jaishankar Throws a Tantrum

“You’re not fooling anybody by saying these things," said Indian External Affairs Minister Subramanian Jaishankar to his American hosts in Washington. He was lashing out at the United States for the State Department's explanation for the $450 million F-16 "sustainment" package sale to Pakistan. Earlier,  the US Defense Security Cooperation Agency (DSCA) said in an announcement: 

“This proposed sale ($450 million F-16 package) will support the foreign policy and national security objectives of the United States by allowing Pakistan to retain interoperability with US and partner forces in ongoing counter-terrorism efforts and in preparation for future contingency operations.” The US State Department spokesman Ned Price talked about "shared values" and "shared interests" of his country with both India and Pakistan. He also recommended that "these two neighbors have relations with one another that are as constructive as can be possible".   

US Secretary of State Tony Blinken (L), Indian External Affairs Minister S. Jaishankar

Responding to Jaishankar's outburst, the US State Department spokesman Ned Price said, “We don’t view our relationship with Pakistan, and … our relationship with India as in relation to one another. These are both partners of ours with different points of emphasis in each. We look at both as partners, because we do have in many cases shared values. We do have in many cases shared interests. And the relationship we have with India stands on its own. The relationship we have with Pakistan stands on its own. We also want to do everything we can to see to it that these neighbors have relations with one another that are as constructive as can be possible. And so that’s another point of emphasis.”

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi recently attended a summit meeting of the China-Russia sponsored Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) held in Samarkand, Uzbekistan. India is a full member of this alliance which has been created to counter the US dominance in Asia. At the same time, New Delhi has also joined QUAD, a group of 4 nations (Australia, India, Japan and US) formed by the United States  to counter China's rise. Simultaneous membership of these two competing alliances is raising serious questions about Prime Minister Narendra Modi's real intentions and trustworthiness. It appears that there is an Indian policy shift from "non-alignment" to "all-alignment".

Writing an Op Ed for The Indian Express about Jaishankar's fit of anger, Indian journalist Nirupama Subramanian put it in the following words: “As Delhi demonstrates “strategic autonomy” to engage with every side — Quad one week, and Russia and China the next at the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) in Samarkand — and work around Western sanctions to buy oil from Russia, and keep friends in all camps, it may have to come to terms that others in world play the same game.”

US Visa Appointment Wait Time. Source: US State Department

Jaishankar also raised the issue of long appointment wait times for Indians seeking visas to come to the United States. "In India, there are families unable to meet; students waiting for a long time. So it is a serious problem. But, I'm confident that, with the sincerity Secretary Blinken showed, they would address this, and with any support that we can provide, we hope things will improve," he said.  Secretary Anthony Blinken said in response, "We had constraints from COVID about the number of people we could have in our embassies at any one time etc. We are now building back very determined really from that surging resources. We have a plan when it comes to India to address the backlog of visas that have built up. I think you'll see that play out in the coming months."

US Visa Appointment Wait Time. Source: US State Department

Currently, the waiting period for Indian applicants in  New Delhi is 444 calendar days for student/exchange visitor visas, 758 calendar days for visitor visas and 354 calendar days for all other non-immigrant visas. 

The appointment waiting period for Pakistani applicants in Islamabad is one calendar day for student/exchange visitor visas, 450 calendar days for visitor and one calendar day for all other non-immigrant visas.  For the Chinese applicants in Beijing it is two calendar days for student/exchange visitor and students visas and three calendar days for all other non-immigrant visas. 

Monday, September 26, 2022

Floods in Pakistan: Biggest Global Polluters US, Europe, China and India Must Accept Responsibility

Pakistan, a country that has contributed only 0.28% of the CO2 emissions, is among the biggest victims of climate change. The US, Europe, India, China and Japan, the world's biggest polluters, must accept responsibility for the catastrophic floods in Pakistan and climate disasters elsewhere. A direct link of the disaster in Pakistan to climate change has been confirmed by a team of 26 scientists affiliated with World Weather Attribution, a research initiative that specializes in rapid studies of extreme events, according to the New York Times

Top 5 Current Polluters. Source: Our World in Data

Currently, the biggest annual CO2 emitters are China, the US, India and Russia. Pakistan's annual CO2 emissions add up to just 235 million tons. On the other hand, China contributes 11.7 billion tons, the United States 4.5 billion tons, India 2.4 billion tons, Russia 1.6 billion tons and Japan 1.06 billion tons. 

Pakistan's Annual CO2 Emission. Source: Our World in Data

The United States has contributed 399 billion tons (25%) of CO2 emissions, the highest cumulative carbon emissions since the start of the Industrial Revolution in the late 18th century. The 28 countries of the European Union (EU28), including the United Kingdom, come in second with 353 billion tons of CO2 (22%), followed by China with 200 billion tons (12.7%). 

Cumulative CO2 Emissions. Source: Our World in Data

Pakistan's cumulative CO2 contribution in its entire history is just 4.4 billion tons (0.28%). Among Pakistan's neighbors, China's cumulative contribution is 200 billion tons (12.7%),  India's 48 billion tons (3%) and Iran's 17 billion tons (1%).  

Developing Asian Nations' CO2 Emissions. Source: Our World in Data

Pakistan has contributed little to climate change but it has become one of its biggest victims. In the 2015 Paris agreement on climate change, signatories agreed to recognize and “address” the loss and damage caused by those dangerous climate impacts, according to the Washington Post. Last year, at the major U.N. climate conference in Glasgow, Scotland, negotiators from developing countries tried to establish a formal fund to help the countries like Pakistan most affected by climate disasters. It was blocked by rich countries led by the Biden administration. 



Saturday, September 24, 2022

Could Ukraine War Produce Another Gorbachev to Replace Putin?

The mighty Russian military's recent string of losses to the much smaller Ukrainian forces are bringing back memories of the humiliating Russian defeat at the hands of the Mujahideen in Afghanistan in the 1980s. The Communist Party leaders who presided over the disgraceful Soviet exit were soon ousted from power and replaced by Mikhail Gorbachev. Gorbachev's attempts to reform the Soviet system resulted in its complete collapse. The Soviet Union then ceased to exist by 1991. Could something similar happen to the Russian Federation now? 

Mikhail Gorbachev (Left) with Vladimir Putin

Some people in Ukraine and elsewhere in the West do believe that Ukraine will be another Afghanistan for the Russians. For example, Pakistani-Ukrainian billionaire Mohammad Zahoor believes “Ukraine is going to be the next Afghanistan for Russia". Talking with Arab News, he said: “This is time, actually, for us not to keep quiet. We have to take sides". Zahoor told Arab News that the Russian invasion of Ukraine may have consequences for Russia similar to the fallout from the Soviet-Afghan war from 1979 to 1989, which drastically weakened Russia's military and economy. “Ukraine is going to be the next Afghanistan for Russia,” he said. “I don’t know how many years they are going to be in Ukraine, but once they are out, they will be broken into pieces".

While the possibility of Russia's defeat to Ukraine followed by President Vladimir Putin's ouster can not be completely ruled out, the chances of such an outcome appear remote at the moment. Putin still has a lot of options. He has not yet used the full strength of the Russian military. He can bomb Ukraine into stone age, much like what the Soviets and the Americans did to Afghanistan. The nuclear-armed Russian military remains far more powerful than the Ukrainian military, even one backed by vast amounts of western money, technology and armaments. Putin will almost certainly escalate the war in Ukraine to achieve his objective of annexation of the eastern parts of the country into the Russian Federation. Putin also enjoys the support of as many as 70% of Russians, according to surveys conducted as recently as June, 2022. Besides, the vast majority of Russians have disdain for Gorbachev who was very popular in the West. The Russians would reject anyone who's even remotely similar to Gorbachev. 

Related Links:

Haq's Musings

South Asia Investor Review

Pakistani-American Banker Heads SWIFT, the World's Largest Interbank Payment System

Ukraine Resists Russia Alone: A Tale of West's Broken Promises

Ukraine's Lesson For Pakistan: Never Give Up Nuclear Weapons

Russia's Defeat in Afghanistan

West's Technological Edge in Geopolitical Competition

Time For India to Rethink its Military Doctrine

Ukraine's Muslims Oppose Russia




Thursday, September 22, 2022

Angelina Jolie Using Her Star Power to Help Pakistan Flood Victims

Beautiful Hollywood star Angelina Jolie is known for her international humanitarian work as the United Nations Goodwill Ambassador. A winner of multiple awards including one Oscar and three Golden Globes, she is among the highest paid actors in the world. Jolie is currently visiting Pakistan to bring global attention to the immense suffering caused by devastating floods in the country, particularly in its southern Sindh province.  

Angelina Jolie

Pakistan is dealing with the aftermath of the worst floods in the country's history. Over 1500 Pakistanis are dead. About 33 million people in two southern provinces are homeless. Sindh is inundated with 784% of normal rainfall so far this year. Balochistan has seen 522% of average rainfall. Both provinces suffered their worst ever heatwave prior to this unprecedented deluge. Nearly a million livestock have been lost, over two million acres of farmland is underwater and 90% of the crops in Sindh and Balochistan have been damaged. 

UN Sec Gen Antonio Guterres

The United Nations Secretary General Antonio Guterres has described the unprecedented flooding in Pakistan as “a monsoon on steroids" that has created a massive humanitarian crisis. The country can not deal with it alone. He said Pakistan "is drowning not only in floodwater, but in debt.” Mr. Guterres has called for debt relief for developing nations such as Pakistan. “The Debt Service Suspen­sion Initiative should be ex­tended – and enhanced. We also need an effective mechanism of debt relief for developing coun­tries – including middle income countries – in debt distress. Creditors should consider debt reduction mechanisms such as debt-climate adaptation swaps.

It will take hundreds of millions of dollars to provide immediate relief to 33 million people, followed by tens of billions of dollars in assistance to rebuild the lives and livelihoods and the infrastructure destroyed by this catastrophe. Pakistan's gross capital formation is only 15% of its GDP. Among the world’s top 20 economies by population, only Egypt has a lower rate of gross capital formation than Pakistan, according to Bloomberg. It is time for the rich industrialized world to help developing nations such as Pakistan to deal with the massive impact of climate change. 

Low Gross Capital Formation in Pakistan. Source: Bloomberg 

Pakistan's population is about 2.6% of the world population. The nation has contributed just 0.28% of the cumulative global carbon emissions since 1750. It lacks the resources needed to deal with the consequences of this man-made disaster. The Industrial Revolution in Europe and the United States was fueled mainly by fossil fuels such as coal and oil believed to be responsible for climate change. 

Cumulative CO2 Emissions Since 1750. Source: Our World in Data

Below is a map from Professor Jason Hickel showing that the countries in the global north are the biggest polluters while those in the global south are the most vulnerable to the effects of climate change.  

Climate Injustice: Low Emitters Global South vs Big Polluters in Industrial North. Source: Prof J. Hickel

After viewing the flood disaster in Pakistan Jolie said: "I have never seen anything like this. I have been to Pakistan many times. I came because of the generosity that Pakistani people have shown to the people of Afghanistan. Oftentimes those who have less give more than so many other countries. The climate change is not only real but it's here.  This is a wakeup call to the world about where we are. The countries that have not done as much damage to climate are the ones that are bearing the brunt. The needs in Pakistan are now so great. I appeal to the world to help. Many of the victims here will not make it without a lot of help."

Here are some more excerpts from her press conference in Pakistan: 

"I feel overwhelmed but I feel it is not fair to say that since I am not living this." 

"I've never seen anything like this and I have been to Pakistan many times"

"I came  because of  the generosity that Pakistani people have shown to the people of Afghanistan over the years...My heart is very very much with people at this time.”

"It is often seen that the countries that don't have as much give more than so many other countries"

"I am absolutely with you in pushing the international community to do more. I feel that we say that often... we speak of aid appeals, relief and support but this is something very, very different"

"Climate change is not only real and it is not only coming, it is here,"

"I've seen the lives that were saved but I've also seen... I've been speaking to people and thinking that if enough aid doesn't come they won't be here in next few weeks... they won't make it"

"Even if they make it next few months with the winter coming and the destruction of the crops and the hard reality ... I am overwhelmed but I feel it is not fair to say that because I am not living this so I simply try to speak out for help. I can't even imagine what it feels like to be there"

"I will return and continue to return and my heart is very, very much with the people at this time"

https://youtu.be/tsHpbzF_Olg



Monday, September 19, 2022

Hasina Seeks Modi's Help to Survive Bangladesh's Economic Crisis

Shaikh Hasina, the Prime Minister of Bangladesh, recently visited New Delhi to seek political and economic assistance from the Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi. This summit was preceded by Bangladesh Foreign Minister Abdul Momen's trip to India where he said,  "I've requested Modi government to do whatever is necessary to sustain Sheikh Hasina's government".  Upon her return from India, Sheikh Hasina told the news media in Dhaka, "They (India) have shown much sincerity and I have not returned empty handed". It has long been an open secret that Indian intelligence agency RAW helped install Shaikh Hasina as Prime Minister of Bangladesh, and her Awami League party relies on New Delhi's support to stay in power. Bangladesh Foreign Minister Abdul Momen has described India-Bangladesh as one between husband and wife. In an interview with Indian newspaper 'Ajkal,' he said, "Relation between the both countries is very cordial. It's much like the relationship between husband and wife. Though some differences often arise, these are resolved quickly."  Both Bangladeshi and Indian officials have reportedly said that Sheikh Hasina "has built a house of cards". 

Bangladesh PM Shaikh Hasina (L) with Indian PM Narendra Modi

 British Indian analyst Dr. Avinash Paliwal explains Shaikh Hasina's current dilemma as follows: "Politically reliant on New Delhi, she (Hasina) is finding it increasingly difficult to manage the ramifications of India's turn towards Hindu nationalism that misuses migration from Bangladesh and the Rohingya crisis for domestic electoral gain". Justice Surendra Kumar Sinha, Bangladesh's former Chief Justice,  has said India is backing Sheikh Hasina's autocratic government for its own interest. Here's how prominent Indian journalist SNM Abdi explains Indian intelligence agency RAW's influence in Bangladesh: "India wields more influence in Bangladesh than the Security Council’s five permanent members put together. The Research and Analysis Wing (RAW) is the most dreaded outfit in the neighboring country surpassing even the brutally unforgiving RAB (Rapid Action Battalion). Hasina lives in mortal fear of RAW. She knows that she will be toppled if she displeases India. So she has adopted the policy of pleasing India to retain power at any cost".

Bangladesh has received wide acclaim for its remarkable economic success under the authoritarian leadership of Shaikh Hasina over the last decade. She has jailed many of her political opponents and hanged others. She has tamed the country's judiciary and gagged Bangladeshi mainstream media. What has helped her retain power is the fact she has New Delhi's support and she has succeeded in delivering rapid economic growth that has helped improve the lives of ordinary Bangladeshis. However,  a combination of current global inflation and the resulting economic crisis is threatening to unravel this formula.  

Bangladesh's currency has lost 11% of its value against the US dollar in just one week, import bill has soared by nearly 44%, forex reserves of $37 billion are falling and the revenue from ready made garments export and remittances is not keeping pace with the fast rising imports. Bangladesh is now seeking a $4.5 billion loan to cope with the situation. In addition, India has agreed to trade with Bangladesh in local currencies to reduce pressure on forex reserves. 

Bangladesh is not the only economy in trouble. The European Union, United Kingdom, Japan, Sri Lanka and Pakistan are also experiencing severe economic pain. India's forex reserves are falling and its current account deficit is rising as foreign investors pull out. High energy prices and the strong US dollar are hurting most of the world economies. Food and energy prices have shot up due to the Russia-Ukraine war. The US currency driven by aggressive US Federal Reserve policy of rate hikes has reached new highs. A stronger dollar for the US means cheaper imports, a tailwind for efforts to contain inflation, and record relative purchasing power for Americans. But the rest of the world is straining under the dollar’s rise, according to the Wall Street Journal


Friday, September 16, 2022

Can Washington Trust Modi's India As Key Ally in Asia?

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi attended the summit meeting of the China-Russia sponsored Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) held in Samarkand, Uzbekistan this week. India is a full member of this alliance which has been created to counter the US dominance in Asia. At the same time, New Delhi has also joined QUAD, a group of 4 nations (Australia, India, Japan and US) formed by the United States  to counter China's rise. Simultaneous membership of these two competing alliances is raising serious questions about Prime Minister Narendra Modi's real intentions and trustworthiness. Is this Indian policy shift from "non-alignment" to "all-alignment" sustainable? 

2022 SCO Summit in Samarkand, Uzbekistan. Source: Xinhua

Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO): 

Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) is a political, economic and security organization designed to counter US dominance. It was founded by Beijing and Moscow in 2001. Currently, it has 8 members: China, Russia, India, Pakistan, Kyrgyzstan, Kazakhstan, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan. Iran has signed a memorandum of commitment this week signaling its intention to join the SCO, underscoring the growing alignment between the U.S.'s top adversaries. India's participation in this alliance seems strange given its simultaneous membership of the Quadrilateral Security Dialogue. 

Quadrilateral Security Dialogue (QUAD): 

The Quadrilateral Security Dialogue (QSD) is a strategic security dialogue between Australia, India, Japan, and the United States that was initiated in 2007 by Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe to counter growing Chinese influence in Asia. India upset Japan recently when it joined the Russia-led Vostok-2022 military exercises held around a group of islands known as the southern Kurils in Russia and the Northern Territories in Japan -- a territorial dispute that dates back to the end of World War II, according to Bloomberg. India scaled back its participation in the war games -- especially staying out of the naval exercises -- in response to the Japanese objections but it left a bad taste. 

Non-Alignment to All-Alignment: 

The contradictions inherent in the membership of both of these competing alliances are already being exposed by Mr. Modi's large and rapidly growing purchases of Russian energy and weapons despite western sanctions.  “India’s neutral public positioning on the invasion has raised difficult questions in Washington DC about our alignment of values and interests,” said Richard Rossow, a senior adviser on India policy at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, told Bloomberg News. “Such engagements -- especially if they trigger new or expanded areas of cooperation that benefit Russia -- will further erode interest among Washington policy makers for providing India a ‘pass’ on tough sanctions decision.”

Saturday, September 10, 2022

The Reign of Queen Elizabeth II Saw the Sun Set on the British Empire

Queen Elizabeth II (1926-2022) died this week. The sun set on the British Empire during her reign that began in 1952. The dismantling of the empire had already started with the independence of India and Pakistan in 1947 before she ascended to the throne. It continued in the 1950s and 60s with dozens of nations in Asia and Africa declaring their independence. British colonialism was soon replaced by western neocolonialism led by the United States. Black and brown people continue to suffer from the scourge of racism in a world dominated by white Europeans. Corrupt ruling elites with colonized minds ensure that true decolonization does not occur in the former British colonies. They treat their own people with the same disdain as did their former colonial bosses. The struggle for true independence continues. 

Haq Family With British Royal Family at Madame Tussauds in London

Economic Extraction:

When the British arrived in Mughal India, the country's share of the world GDP was 25%, about the same as the US share of the world GDP today. By 1947, the undivided India's share of world GDP ($4 trillion in 1990 Geary-Khamis dollars) had shrunk to about 6% (India: $216 billion, Pakistan: $24 billion). As of 2010, South Asia's contribution to world GDP further shrank to about 4%, according to British Economist Angus Maddison

Divide and Rule Policy: 

Colonial-era British historians deliberately distorted the history of Indian Muslim rule to vilify Muslim rulers as part of the British policy to divide and conquer India, says American history professor Audrey Truschke, in her book "Aurangzeb: The Life and Legacy of India's Most Controversial King". These misrepresentations of Muslim rule made during the British Raj appear to have been accepted as fact not just by Islamophobic Hindu Nationalists but also by at least some of the secular Hindus in India and Muslim intellectuals in present day Pakistan, says the author.  Aurangzeb was neither a saint nor a villain; he was a man of his time who should be judged by the norms of his times and compared with his contemporaries, the author adds. Hindutva today is among the worst legacies of the British Raj. 

Legacy of Major Conflicts:

Major conflicts in South Asia and the Middle East are a legacy of the final days of British rule. Among these are Kashmir and Palestine

Kashmir today is seen as a major flashpoint for a nuclear war between India and Pakistan. The rise of Hindutva, also a legacy of the British Raj, has increased the risk of such a devastating conflict. Vast majority of Indians, including those who oppose Prime Minister Narendra Modi, believe that nuclear war is "winnable", according to the results of a Stimson Center poll released recently. They want their country to build a bigger nuclear arsenal than China and Pakistan combined.  Responding to the clamor for more nukes,  Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi said in 2019 that Indian nuclear weapons were not kept as mere showpieces.  

Colonized Minds:

Pakistan achieved independence from British colonial rule 75 years ago. However, the minds of most of Pakistan's elites remain colonized to this day.  This seems to be particularly true of the nation's western-educated "liberals" who dominate much of the intellectual discourse in the country. They continue to look at their fellow countrymen through the eyes of the Orientalists who served as tools for western colonization of Asia, Middle East and Africa. The work of these "native" Orientalists available in their books, op ed columns and other publications reflects their utter contempt for Pakistan and Pakistanis. Their colonized minds uncritically accept all things western. They often seem to think that the Pakistanis can do nothing right while the West can do no wrong. Far from being constructive, these colonized minds promote lack of confidence in the ability of their fellow "natives" to solve their own problems and contribute to hopelessness. The way out of it is to encourage more inquiry based learning and critical thinking.

Summary:

Queen Elizabeth's passing represents the end of an era that saw the sun set on the British Empire. Among the legacies of the British rule are racism and slavery that continue to be manifested in the new era of western neocolonialism. Major conflicts created by colonial powers in South Asia and the Middle East continue to threaten world peace. Former colonies continue to be ruled by corrupt elites with colonized minds who treat their own people with utter contempt. Their struggle for true independence continues. 

Here's an interesting discussion of the legacy of the British Raj in India as seen by writer-diplomat Shashi Tharoor:


https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dN2Owcwq6_M




Related Links:

Haq's Musings

Pakistan Day: Freeing the Colonized Minds

Hindutva: Legacy of the British Raj

Vast Majority of Indians Believe Nuclear War is Winnable

Modi Faces Full-Blown Homegrown Insurgency in Kashmir

Pakistan's Rising College Enrollment Rates

Pakistan Beat BRICs in Highly Cited Research Papers

Launch of "Eating Grass: Pakistan's Nuclear Program"

Upwardly Mobile Pakistan

Riaz Haq's YouTube Channel

Pakistani Social Networl

Monday, September 5, 2022

Do Indian Aircraft Carriers Pose a Serious Threat to Pakistan's Security?

India has recently inducted INS Vikrant, the South Asian nation's second aircraft carrier. This "indigenous" ship of the Indian Navy is powered by four American-made General Electric LM2500 marine gas turbines built in the US state of Ohio. It is a relatively small aircraft carrier with a displacement of 40,000 tons, top speed of 28 knots, cruise speed of 18 knots and 7,500 nautical miles (8,630 miles) range. INS Vikrant can carry up to 30 fixed-wing and rotary aircraft and 1600 sailors. India plans to equip it with Russian MiG-29K fighter jets and Westland Sea King helicopters, a British license-built version of the American Sikorsky S-61 helicopter of the same name. Does this latest addition to the Indian Navy pose a serious threat to Pakistan's security? Can Pakistan defend against it? 

Indian PM Modi Launched INS Vikrant Aircraft Carrier

In a 2017 paper for the US Naval War College Review, defense analyst Ben Wan Beng Ho discussed how India might use its aircraft carriers against Pakistan and how the latter would respond. Here are some key excerpts from it: 

"(I)t is doubtful that any attack force launched from an Indian carrier would pack a significant punch. “With aircraft available for strike duties barely numbering into the double digits, the Indian carrier simply cannot deliver a substantial ‘pulse’ of combat power against its adversary.”

“In any attempt to impose sea control in the northern Arabian Sea and to interdict Pakistani seaborne commerce by enforcing a blockade of major Pakistani maritime nodes, Indian carrier forces would have to devote a portion of their already meager airpower to attacking Pakistani vessels, thereby exacerbating the conundrum alluded to earlier. What is more, Pakistani ships are likely to operate relatively close to their nation’s coast, to be protected by Islamabad’s considerable access-denial barrier.”

Indian-American defense analyst Ashley Tellis has also raised serious questions about the Indian naval doctrine. He believes that the land-based fighter aircraft with refueling to extend range are a better option.  He also says that  aircraft carriers are highly vulnerable to sinking by stealthy submarines

There are lessons for the Indian military from Ukraine-Russia war. In April this year, Ukraine's Neptune anti-ship missiles hit and sank Moskva in Black Sea.  It was a large 10,000-ton guided missile cruiser of the Russian Navy that was launching cruise missiles on targets in Eastern and Southern Ukraine. It is the largest warship to have been sunk in action since WWII. 

Pakistan has recently showcased its anti-ship missile Harbah at DIMDEX 2022, a defense expo in Qatar. It  is a medium range ship launched subsonic cruise missile system capable of targeting sea as well as land targets in “all weather operation” at a maximum range of 280 kilometers, according to a report in NavalNews. The missile is fire and forget type. It relies on inertial navigation technologies with GPS and GLONASS systems. According to its manufacturer GIDS, the missile features the following guidance systems: a DSMAC camera, imaging infrared seeker, and radar seeker. More recently, Pakistan's ally China has successfully demonstrated its carrier-buster missile. A single round has to be slung underneath the fuselage. And its primary prey is likely to be enemy aircraft carriers. For this reason, it has been widely dubbed a ‘carrier killer’, according to Naval News

In a YouTube video, Indian journalist Shekhar Gupta noted that the Indian Navy hid its aircraft carriers from Pakistan Navy submarines in both 1965 and 1971 wars. He also recalled that Pakistani Navy warships destroyed Indian Naval Base at Dwarka in 1965, and Pakistani sub Hangor sank an Indian warship INS Khukri in 1971 war


Saturday, September 3, 2022

Climate Change: Pakistan Requires Massive Assistance to Recover From Catastrophic Floods

Pakistan is dealing with the aftermath of the worst floods in the country's history.  Over a thousand Pakistanis are dead. About 33 million people in two southern provinces are homeless. Sindh is inundated with 784% of normal rainfall so far this year. Balochistan has seen 522% of average rainfall. Both provinces suffered their worst ever heatwave prior to this unprecedented deluge. Nearly a million livestock have been lost, over two million acres of farmland is underwater and 90% of the crops in Sindh and Balochistan have been damaged. This is a massive humanitarian crisis. Pakistan can not deal with it alone.

Pakistan Flood 2022 Map. Source: DW

Satellite Image of Qambar, Sindh Before/After Floods 2022. Source: NASA

Satellite Image of Shikarpur, Sindh Before/After Floods 2022. Source: NASA




Balochistan and Sindh Worst Affected by Monsoon22. Source: The Economist

Pakistan's population is about 2.6% of the world population. The nation contributes less than 1% of the global carbon emissions. It lacks the resources needed to deal with the consequences of this man-made disaster. The Industrial Revolution in Europe and the United States was fueled mainly by fossil fuels such as coal and oil believed to be responsible for climate change.  The following map from Professor Jason Hickel shows that the countries in the global north are the biggest polluters while those in the global south are the most vulnerable to the effects of climate change. 

Climate Injustice: Low Emitters Global South vs Big Polluters in Industrial North. Source: Prof J. Hickel
Average Annual Cost of Floods in Vulnerable Countries. Source: Bloomberg


Comparison of 2022 and 2010 Floods in Pakistan. Source: WWF

It will take hundreds of millions of dollars to provide immediate relief to 33 million people, followed by tens of billions of dollars in assistance to rebuild the lives and livelihoods and the infrastructure destroyed by this catastrophe. Pakistan's gross capital formation is only 15% of its GDP. Among the world’s top 20 economies by population, only Egypt has a lower rate of gross capital formation than Pakistan, according to Bloomberg. It is time for the rich industrialized world to help developing nations such as Pakistan to deal with the massive impact of climate change. 

Low Gross Capital Formation in Pakistan. Source: Bloomberg 


All Pakistanis and non-Pakistanis need to pitch in with donations to help finance immediate disaster relief activities. Beyond that, Pakistan will have to be helped by international experts to build disaster preparedness capacity. The new housing and infrastructure will have to be funded and built to ensure its resilience in future climate disasters which are likely to occur more often with greater intensity. There is an urgent  need to prepare western and multilateral financial institutions to deal with such climate catastrophes in developing nations. Mechanisms also need to be put in place to provide and manage funding of these projects in a transparent manner. 

Friday, August 26, 2022

Indian Diplomat Sharat Sabharwal on Pakistan's "Resilience", "Strategic" CPEC, China-Pakistan "Nexus"

Retired Indian diplomat Sharat Sabharwal in his recently published book "India's Pakistan Conundrum"  disabuses his fellow Indians of the notion that Pakistan is about to collapse. He faithfully parrots the familiar Indian tropes about Pakistani Army and accuses it of sponsoring "cross-border terrorism". He also writes that "Pakistan has shown remarkable resilience in the face of adversity".  "Pakistan is neither a failed state nor one about to fail", he adds. He sees "limitations on India’s ability to inflict a decisive blow on Pakistan through military means". The best option for New Delhi, he argues, is to engage with Pakistan diplomatically. In an obvious message to India's hawkish Hindu Nationalist Prime Minister Narendra Modi, he warns: "Absence of dialogue and diplomacy between the two countries carries the risk of an unintended flare-up". Ambassador Sabharwal served as Indian High Commissioner to Pakistan from 2009 to 2013. Prior to that, he was Deputy High Commissioner in Islamabad in the 1990s.

India's Pakistan Conundrum by Sharat Sabhrawal Book Cover


In a 30-minute interview with Karan Thapar for The Wire to discuss his book, Sabharwal said it is not in India’s interests to promote the disintegration of Pakistan. “The resulting chaos will not leave India untouched”. He further argued that Indians must disabuse themselves of the belief that India has the capacity to inflict a decisive military blow on Pakistan in conventional terms. “The nuclear dimension has made it extremely risky, if not impossible, for India to give a decisive military blow to Pakistan to coerce it into changing its behavior.”  He said Indians must disabuse themselves of the belief that they can use trade to punish Pakistan. “Use of trade as an instrument to punish Pakistan is both short-sighted and ineffective because of the relatively small volume of Pakistani exports to India.” 

Below are some key excerpts of "India's Pakistan Conundrum" by Ambassador Sharat Sabhrawal: 

Pakistan Not Failed State: 

"In conclusion, it can be said that Pakistan is neither a failed state nor one about to fail in the foreseeable future. Further, so long as the army remains a largely professional and disciplined force, having at its disposal Pakistan’s rapidly growing arsenal of nuclear weapons, the probability of a change in Pakistan’s external boundaries would remain very low. Therefore, a policy premised on the failure or disintegration of the Pakistani state would hinge on unsound expectations. However, because of the various factors examined in the previous chapters, Pakistan will continue to be a highly dysfunctional state with widespread lawlessness". 

Pakistan's Remarkable Resilience:

"Pakistan has shown remarkable resilience in the face of adversity – evidenced most tellingly by its recovery following the humiliating defeat in 1971. It has recovered significantly from the terror backlash, which followed Musharraf’s U-turn in the wake of 9/11. Fatalities in terror violence that mounted sharply from 2004 onwards, reaching the peak of 11,317 in 2009 (civilians, security forces personnel and terrorists), were down to 365 in 2019. Similarly, fatalities in suicide attacks, which reached the peak of 1,220 in 2010, were down to 76 in 2019".

China Pakistan "Nexus"

"China too reacted adversely to the above Indian move (article 370 abrogation), accusing India of continuing to undermine China’s territorial sovereignty by unilaterally amending its domestic laws and urging it to be cautious in its words and deeds on the border issue. Subsequently, it repeatedly called for peaceful resolution of “Kashmir dispute” left over from colonial history, based on the UN Charter, relevant UN Security Council resolutions and bilateral agreements, thus echoing Pakistan’s position on the subject.  Pakistan’s questioning of the accession of Jammu and Kashmir to India and its policy of cross-border terrorism did not stem from the special status of Jammu and Kashmir under the Indian constitution and have outlasted its abrogation. The Pakistani dimension of India’s Kashmir problem and the Pakistani threat to the security of this sensitive region are still very much alive".

Strategic China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC):

"China’s reaction to the Indian move and its subsequent aggressive actions in eastern Ladakh have added to that threat. Keen to ensure the safety and security of its strategic CPEC investment, China could in the normal course be expected to encourage a solution based on freezing the existing  territorial reality between India and Pakistan in J&K. However, with the downturn of its own relationship with India, it may be tempted to sustain and bolster Pakistan’s hostility. Equally, India’s strategic planners may be tempted not to give any comfort to China on the CPEC until a degree of stability is restored to the India-China equation, disturbed seriously by China’s aggressive behaviour in eastern Ladakh. Overall, the external environment for the security and stability of Jammu and Kashmir has worsened. This makes it all the more important for India to address the internal dimension of its Kashmir conundrum. India’s challenge is to ensure peace in J&K, not only in the immediate, but durable peace, for the failure to do so would continue to invite external meddling". 

Consequences of Pakistan's Disintegration: 

"Should India work to break up Pakistan? A body of opinion in India recommends that India should be proactive in causing the disintegration of Pakistan. For the reasons mentioned in Chapter 6, a policy premised on disintegration of the Pakistani state would hinge on unsound expectations. However, let us examine, for the sake of argument, the consequences of heightened turmoil in/break up of Pakistan for India. The unwise policies of Pakistan’s rulers have already resulted in considerable turbulence there. Though the Pakistani state uses terror against India, it is calibrated  by its instrumentalities. Heightened chaos in Pakistan leading to collapse of the state authority will not leave India untouched. Let us not forget that Pakistan has continued to pay a heavy price for having caused instability in its neighbour – Afghanistan – something I repeatedly recalled to my Pakistani audiences. Collapse of the state will also present India with a humanitarian crisis of a gigantic proportion, with the terrain between the two countries offering an easy passage to India for those fleeing unrest in Pakistan. At the height of terrorism in the Pakistani Punjab in 2009–10, some of my interlocutors in Lahore were candid enough to say that in the event of a Taliban takeover, they  would have no option but to run towards India. Break up of Pakistan could lead to a civil war amongst the successor states or worse still among various warring groups vying for influence, as was the case after collapse of the state authority in Afghanistan, entailing the undesirable consequences mentioned above and perilous uncertainty concerning the ownership of Pakistan’s nuclear arsenal. Alternatively, India may be faced with a hostile Pakistani Punjab in possession of nuclear weapons. In either case, it will be bad news for India".

Related Links:

Haq's Musings

South Asia Investor Review

India-Pakistan Ties: Who's at Fault For Failing to Resolve Disputes?

India: A Paper Elephant?

Jaswant Singh on Indian Foreign Policy's "Strategic Confinement"

Vast Majority of Indians Believe Nuclear War Against Pakistan is Winnable

Kautilya Doctrine Dominates India's Pakistan Policy

US and China Vying For Influence in Pakistan

Pakistan-China-Russia Vs India-Japan-US

Pakistan Rising or Failing: Reality vs Perception

US DoD 1999 Forecast: "Pakistan Disappears By 2015"

China Pakistan Economic Corridor

Riaz Haq Youtube Channel

VPOS Youtube Channe

Saturday, August 20, 2022

PEACE Cable: Pakistan's Tenth High Bandwidth Submarine Cable Ready to Go Live

Pakistan and East Africa Connecting Europe (PEACE) cable, a  96 TBPS (terabits per second), 15,000 km long submarine cable, is now ready for service. This brings to 10 the total number of submarine cables currently connecting or planned to connect Pakistan with the world: TransWorld1, Africa1 (2023), 2Africa (2023), AAE1, PEACE,  SeaMeWe3, SeaMeWe4, SeaMeWe5, SeaMeWe6 (2025) and IMEWE. PEACE cable has two landing stations in Pakistan: Karachi and Gwadar. SeaMeWe stands for Southeast Asia Middle East Western Europe, while IMEWE is India Middle East Western Europe and AAE1 Asia Africa Europe 1. 

PEACE Cable. Source: Cybernet

PEACE is a privately owned submarine cable that originates in Karachi, Pakistan and runs underwater all the way to Marseilles, France via multiple points in the continent of Africa.  It is being built as part of the Digital Silk Road sponsored by China. Cybernet is the local landing and global connectivity partner of PEACE Cable System in Pakistan. It is designed to enable high-speed access to a variety of content, cloud computing, gaming and video streaming platforms.  


Map of Submarine Cable Connections to Karachi, Pakistan. Source: TeleGeography

The PEACE Pakistan-Egypt segment connects Karachi, Pakistan and Zafarana, Egypt, spanning a total length of 5,800 km. The landings of Karachi and Zafarana were completed in March and December 2021 respectively, according to a press release of PEACE Cable International Network Co., Ltd. In addition, the Mediterranean segment of PEACE linking Marseille, France, to Abu Talat, Egypt, a 3,200km long project, has also achieved RFS in March 2022. Therefore, the route from Pakistan to France of the PEACE cable system is now fully constructed and ready for use.

Telecom Services Subscriptions in Pakistan as of June, 2022. Source: PTA


Number of broadband subscribers and demand for data has seen rapid double digit growth in Pakistan over the last several years. Number of broadband subscriptions has grown to 119 million, representing 53.92% of population. Per user data consumption has nearly tripled from 2.1 gigabytes per month in 2017-18 to 6.1 gigabytes per month in 2020-21. As of June 2022, it exceeds 7 GB per subscriber per month. Telecom service providers are responding to it by increasing the capacity of the Internet by laying more and higher bandwidth fiber cables and adding faster speed equipment. Ookla’s data reveals that the median mobile internet connection speed in Pakistan increased by 3.43 Mbps (+26.5%) in the twelve months to the start of 2022.
Per User Data Demand Growth. Source: Pakistan Telecom Authority 


Pakistan Per Subscriber Per Month Data Use

Worldwide Mobile Data Use Per Subscriber Per Month. Source: Statista

Cybernet, the landing partner of PEACE in Pakistan, claims it has built the country’s state-of-the-art, Cable Landing Station in Karachi, which will allow global carriers, Content Delivery Networks (CDNs), content providers and virtually all IT-enabled firms to tap into the submarine cable capacity at easily accessible interconnect points across Pakistan.