Choosing Between India and Pakistan

Discussion in 'Defence & Strategic Issues' started by ajtr, Apr 12, 2010.

  1. ajtr

    ajtr Veteran Member Veteran Member

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    Choosing Between India and Pakistan

    The New York Times leads today’s story on the nuclear summit with some hard words about the Bush administration’s nuclear deal with India.

    The authors of the piece have been listening to self-serving Pakistani sources.

    Note 2 things please:

    First, there is as yet no evidence that India has in fact ramped up its weapons productions.

    Second, Pakistan’s assessment of Indian intentions has always been paranoid, never clear-eyed, and if we’re to “go slow” in South Asia until Pakistan calms down, we will never build the relationship with India that we need.

    Worth reading in this regard is a fascinating report from Karachi by Jason Burke, in the current issue of Britain’s Prospect magazine.

    Key to this shift is a transformation of attitude among urbanized Pakistanis – whose modernization has taken them in distinctly anti-Western directions. Burke calls such people “Mehran man” after an inexpensive car popular with the country’s middle class:

    Would it really make sense to sacrifice the emerging strategic partnership with India to chase such sentiments? And even if it did – is there any realistic hope that we could ever satisfy them?
     
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  3. lupgain

    lupgain Offence is best defense

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    really good analysis.. I think its time.. for world to understand that Pakistan always had been black-mailing world by showing India as a threat, for getting excuse for processing of its weapon grade nuke material. US had always been using India against China and Pakistan against India..this US has now its foot on two different boats and boats are drifting apart.. US will have to make quick decision where it would like to stay..

    US would have gained a lot if it would have shown same affection towards India what It showed to Pakistan.. What is US getting in return... Pakistan is becoming like parasite to America .. a blood sucking creep which has been sucking its millions of dollars since ages and still posing a threat to its master..

    US should understand that India is the only country which can take its agenda ahead.. Pakistan neither has intentions nor capacity to fulfill what US desires from him..

    What US benefit from India:
    a) Economic Stability for both countries.
    b) US and India both has list of same countries posing threat to its integrity.
    c) An association that would, not only do wonders in economic boom for both countries but in futuristic technologies.. as US has intentions and India has resources.

    Great Article anyhow!!!
     
  4. lupgain

    lupgain Offence is best defense

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    Good Analysis

    really good analysis.. I think its time.. for world to understand that Pakistan always had been black-mailing world by showing India as a threat, for getting excuse for processing of its weapon grade nuke material. US had always been using India against China and Pakistan against India..this US has now its foot on two different boats and boats are drifting apart.. US will have to make quick decision where it would like to stay..

    US would have gained a lot if it would have shown same affection towards India what It showed to Pakistan.. What is US getting in return... Pakistan is becoming like parasite to America .. a blood sucking creep which has been sucking its millions of dollars since ages and still posing a threat to its master..

    US should understand that India is the only country which can take its agenda ahead.. Pakistan neither has intentions nor capacity to fulfill what US desires from him..

    What US benefit from India:
    a) Economic Stability for both countries.
    b) US and India both has list of same countries posing threat to its integrity.
    c) An association that would, not only do wonders in economic boom for both countries but in futuristic technologies.. as US has intentions and India has resources.

    Great Article anyhow!!!
     
  5. ajtr

    ajtr Veteran Member Veteran Member

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    Letter from Karachi
    Prospect
    March 25, 2010
    BYLINE: Jason Burke
    Quote:
    Stand on the corner of a Karachi street and the key to understanding contemporary Pakistan passes you every few seconds. It's a small, 796cc car made by Suzuki. Once known as the Alto, the name was "localised" in 1992 to Mehran, after an ancient Persian deity and an alternative name for the nearby Indus river.

    The Mehran is Pakistan's most popular car. It costs £4,000 in a country where the average per capita income is £550. Most of those in use were bought secondhand. A trader in the northwest frontier province offered me one last year for £1,000. "A bargain," he told me, "one careful owner."

    Mehran drivers are increasingly defining the identity and evolution of Pakistan-an important shift that has gone largely unnoticed. It is the result of urbanisation, the expansion of the lower middle class and the emergence of a new national identity as the last traces of colonial rule disappear.

    In Pakistan, the hierarchy on the roads reflects that of society. If you are poor, you use the overcrowded buses or a bicycle. Small shopkeepers, rural teachers and better-off farmers are likely to have a £1,000 Chinese or Japanese-made motorbike. With mum riding sidesaddle behind dad, a kid in front and two behind, these are an effective if dangerous equivalent of a European family's Mondeo estate or Espace.

    Then come the Mehran drivers. A rank above them, in air-conditioned Toyota Corolla saloons, are the small businessmen, smaller landlords, more senior army officers and bureaucrats. Finally, there are the luxury four-wheel drives of "feudal" landowners, big businessmen, expats, drug dealers, generals, ministers and elite bureaucrats. The latter may be superior in status, power and wealth, but it is the Mehrans which, by dint of numbers, dominate the roads.
    The Mehrans' natural habitat are mega-cities like Lahore or Karachi, as well as smaller cities like Faisalabad and Hyderabad. Over a third of Pakistan's 170m population live in towns and by 2030 the proportion is expected to be over half.
    The recent economic boom has been driven by cheap credit, immigrant remittances, foreign aid and economic reforms. As elsewhere, the growth has been slowed by the economic crisis but not before a huge number of lower middle-class urbanites have got richer. At the same time, telecommunications have exploded, with satellite chains penetrating even remote villages (see "The real news from Pakistan," July 2009). The newly enriched are thus also newly politically conscious.

    What are the consequences of this new wealth, urbanisation and politicisation? Politically, the Bhutto dynasty's Pakistan Peoples party, mostly based in rural constituencies and led by the feudal landowners, will lose out to the Pakistan Muslim League of Nawaz Sharif with its industrial, commercial, urban constituency. Culturally, the traditional, folksy, tolerant practices in rural areas will decline in favour of more modern, politicised Islamic strands and identities. And as power and influence shift away from rural elites once co-opted by colonialism, the few elements of British influence to have survived will fade faster.

    For Mehran man is not a natural ally of the west. He is 30 or older, urban, works as a junior army officer, a middling journalist, a small businessman, a university lecturer, perhaps a headmaster or a lawyer.

    Educated outside the elite English-language system, he speaks Urdu or a local language such as Punjabi, Sindhi or Pashto at home and at work. Unless he is a doctor, army officer or civil servant, his English is likely to be limited. This reflects the shift of English from signifier of social status to a tool for professional advancement. When I visited the country in the early 1990s, the middle class apologised for their poor English. On my most recent visit, several elite Pakistanis told me they were ashamed of their poor Urdu.

    Mehran man has a satellite television (there are now 43m viewers in Pakistan), likes the occasional Bollywood movie and is not averse to a bottle of cheap whisky, though not at home. This does not stop him being socially conservative and pious. His wife will wear a headscarf or veil, as will his daughters from puberty.

    Much of his worldview is close to the "single narrative"-that the Muslim world is under attack from western interests controlled by neo-Crusaders and malevolent Zionist-Jewish lobbies. Like many Pakistanis, he believes that 9/11 was probably the work of the CIA and/or Mossad.

    If he can afford a holiday, he takes his family to one of the hill stations in the north. But he dreams of holidaying in Malaysia, Saudi Arabia or Dubai, an indication of the shift in economic, political and cultural orientation of Pakistan towards the Islamic world. A decade ago, the country felt like the western extension of south Asia. Now it feels increasingly like the eastern fringe of the middle east.

    Mehran man's sentiments towards India are divided. There is the attraction of the glitzy country seen in films and then there is the India as historic enemy and oppressor. Similarly, there are the freedom fighters of Kashmir or Afghanistan and there are the terrorists: the distinction is based on the identity of their victims. Kill Americans in Afghanistan or get killed by them anywhere and you are a freedom fighter, kill Pakistanis and you are a terrorist. Mehran man is incensed by the drone attacks in the northwest frontier, as much for their infringement of national sovereignty as out of solidarity with poor villagers killed by them.

    Mehran man is deeply proud of his country. A new identification with the ummah, or global community of Muslims, paradoxically reinforces rather than degrades his nationalism. For him, Pakistan was founded as an Islamic state, not a state for south Asian Muslims. Mehran man is an "Islamo-nationalist." His country possesses a nuclear bomb that, as one Lahore shopkeeper told me, even the rich Arabs haven't built. The sentiment of self-sufficiency and nascent confidence, hardly justified given Pakistan's dependence on external aid and internal weaknesses, is boosted by the size of the country: in a decade the population will near 200m.

    Given the dysfunctional nature of Pakistani democracy, we cannot ignore Mehran man. Apart from anything else, the army is full of Mehran men. During a week I spent with the Pakistani army, the heritage of Sandhurst seemed largely restricted to the whitewashed stones aligned outside segregated messes for senior officers, junior officers, non-commissioned officers and other ranks. The links to America are more material-helicopters, jeeps and ammunition-but no more profound. Conversations with officers reveals that their understanding of Pakistan's best interests differs radically from that which London or Washington would like them to have. As for the other pillar of non-elected power in Pakistan, a lot of bureaucrats drive Mehrans too, or at least did before being promoted.

    All this poses problems for the west. Our policy towards Pakistan has long been based on finding the interlocutor who resembles us the most-Pervez Musharraf, Benazir Bhutto, now her widower-and then trying to persuade them to fit in with our agenda. But the people we are talking to are going to find themselves more and more cut off, culturally and politically, from those they lead, and less and less capable of implementing the policies that we want. Pakistanis are increasingly defining their own interests, independently of the views of their pro-western leaders. And Mehran man will soon be in the driving seat.
     
  6. ajtr

    ajtr Veteran Member Veteran Member

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    Obama must choose

    The Pioneer Edit Desk

    Hyphenating India, Pakistan won’t do

    Prime Minister Manmohan Singh’s meeting with US President Barack Obama on the sidelines of the ongoing Nuclear Security Summit in Washington, DC, seems to have witnessed some plain speaking on the part of the former. Mr Singh appears to have made it clear to Mr Obama that Pakistan’s approach to the issue of terrorism in the Afghanistan-Pakistan region is further deteriorating the existing scenario. He has also made it known that Islamabad is in no mood to punish those responsible for masterminding the 26/11 attacks on Mumbai and that the anti-India activities of groups such as the Lashkar-e-Tayyeba continue unabated. He further stressed that unless these issues were speedily rectified, the entire security architecture of South Asia could be damaged beyond repair. Although Mr Obama heard out Mr Singh, what is surprising is that instead of promising to act on New Delhi’s concerns, he stressed on the need to “reduce tensions” between India and Pakistan. In other words, in spite of Mr Singh telling Mr Obama that Pakistan is part of the problem, if not the problem, the Americans remain unimpressed and unwilling to accept the truth. What this essentially means is that Mr Obama is being led by the Pentagon which has been trying to push its twisted version of the so-called Af-Pak strategy and which revolves around putting pressure on India to pull-back troops from the border to humour the Pakistani Government and pander to the Pakistani Army. It is amusing that Mr Obama, who should have known better, has chosen to go along with the Pentagon despite overwhelming evidence of the help being extended by the ISI to the Taliban.

    Mr Obama would do well to take the wax out of his ears. He must realise the folly in outsourcing the war on terrorism to Pakistan, which sponsors terror. What India is trying to tell him — and the US President is clearly not paying attention or choosing not to — is that influential sections of the Islamabad-Rawalpindi establishment are in no mood to put an end to jihadi terror in either Afghanistan, India or the neighbourhood. After all, jihadi sympathisers can’t be expected to go after the very people they deem are an asset to achieve their strategic goals. By relying on the sponsors of terrorism, the Obama Administration has created a situation whereby Pakistan is playing ducks and drakes, doing precisely what it wishes to do with impunity. It is obvious to all that Pakistan has been selectively going after Taliban members who are of little or no importance while turning a blind eye to the activities of core jihadis. If the US continues to depend on Islamabad, things can only go from bad to worse.

    In such circumstances, India cannot play along with America. Hyphenating Indian interests with those of Pakistan is an old American game. Hence, it would be appropriate on our part to read out the riot act to the Americans for a change: They are either with us, or against us. Mr Obama asking the Pakistani Prime Minister to act against the 26/11 masterminds or promising to look into India’s request for access to Lashkar-e-Tayyeba activist David Coleman Headley is meaningless: In real terms, they amount to nothing. Had he meant well, he would have done more than pay lip service to India’s mounting concerns. That he has chosen not to do so is indicative of how he views US-India relations.
     
  7. ajtr

    ajtr Veteran Member Veteran Member

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    The Pakistan Problem
    President Obama risks alienating India by courting Islamabad.

    Those who accuse Barack Obama of cold-shouldering Britain and stiff-arming Israel might find his choice of a country to shower with praise somewhat perplexing. According to the White House, the president opened a meeting Sunday with Pakistani Prime Minister Yusuf Raza Gilani "by noting that he is very fond of Pakistan, having visited the country during college." Mr. Obama also spoke about "shared values" between the United States and Pakistan, and "the fight we are both engaged in against extremists operating in South Asia."

    For the most part, this kind of polite blather is par for the course in diplomacy. So we can ignore the incongruity of claiming shared values with a country that boasts a rogue nuclear program, a notoriously double-dealing intelligence establishment, a patchy commitment to democracy and one of the most virulently anti-American populations on the planet. (According to the Pew Global Attitudes project, only one in six Pakistanis holds a favorable opinion of America.) But Mr. Obama's bonhomie toward Mr. Gilani is accompanied by a much more troublesome development, an apparent willingness to consider a flawed Pakistani roadmap to peace in South Asia.

    View Full Image

    Associated Press
    Prime Minister Gilani and President Obama: Frenemies.

    As this newspaper reported last week, in December Mr. Obama issued a secret directive to step up American diplomacy aimed at easing tensions between India and Pakistan. Washington has begun to lean on New Delhi to limit its training of the Afghan army. There is talk of asking India to pull back troops from its border with Pakistan, and thin its forces in the disputed territory of Kashmir. If Islamabad has its way, India's consulates in Jalalabad and Kandahar may be shuttered, and its humanitarian work among Afghanistan's war-ravaged population ended or severely curtailed.

    At first blush, this tilt toward Pakistan isn't entirely unreasonable. America requires the cooperation of the Pakistani military, the only functioning institution in the country, to battle the Taliban in both Pakistan and Afghanistan and lay the groundwork for withdrawing American troops from a thankless war. Moreover, since last year, Pakistan's army has shown a new willingness to combat some of the Islamist militias it helped spawn. Soldiers have wrested the picturesque Swat valley in Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa (formerly called North West Frontier Province) back from the Pakistani Taliban. In February, Pakistan helped American intelligence agents nab Mullah Baradar, the Afghan Taliban's military chief. They would do more, say Pakistan's generals, if only Indian troops on their borders, and bustling Indian consulates in Afghanistan, didn't make Islamabad feel insecure.

    But Pakistan's insecurities are largely in its generals' minds. Its sheer size may make India appear threatening, but its disposition tells a different story. The government in New Delhi, headed by a mild-mannered Oxford-educated economist Manmohan Singh, has put economic development at the heart of its agenda. Despite repeated provocations, including the November 2008 murder in Mumbai of 166 people by Pakistani terrorists, New Delhi has refused to be drawn into war with Islamabad.

    Moreover, as even a cursory glance at the country's newspapers and magazines shows, India's strategic establishment is far more preoccupied by the internal threat posed by a violent Maoist movement—responsible for killing 76 federal police officers in the central Indian state of Chhattisgarh earlier this month—than on dreams of capturing Lahore or Karachi. India's popular culture is similarly inward looking. Cricket, Bollywood, the endless machinations of domestic politics, and, of late, breathless tales of freshly minted billionaires, dominate the airwaves. The average Indian spends more time worrying about the fortunes of his favorite Indian Premier League cricket team than fretting about force posture on the Western border. In short, left to its own devices, India—democratic, self-obsessed and increasingly prosperous—would more likely yawn at Pakistan than growl at it.

    Unfortunately, Pakistan's peculiar history, and the disproportionate role of its army in national life, doesn't allow India to ignore it. Carved out of British India in 1947 as the world's first modern state created solely on the basis of Islam, Pakistan has always been touched by a certain messianic zeal. In the 1970s, this manifested itself in genocide against Bangladeshis. In the 1980s, the country became ground zero for a global jihad against the Soviet Union. In the 1990s, the Pakistani army's notorious Inter-Services Intelligence sponsored the Taliban in its quest for "strategic depth" and desire to turn Afghanistan into a client state to offset India's larger size. At the same time, it cultivated a jihadist network in both Pakistan and Indian Kashmir. It's hard to think of any other bankrupt country—Pakistan is kept afloat by multilateral donors and Western largesse, most recently a $7.5 billion aid package from America—with such delusions of grandeur.

    Needless to say, the Obama administration is right in seeking to wield American influence for peace in South Asia. But rewarding Pakistan for its pursuit of jihadism while punishing India for nurturing democracy and opening up its economy ought to be a bridge too far even for an administration with a reputation for stiffing friends and coddling enemies.
     
  8. ajtr

    ajtr Veteran Member Veteran Member

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    Obama, Singh, Gilani, Handshakes and Afghanistan

    The overall health of the U.S.-India relationship has come in for a lot of scrutiny after President Barack Obama and Prime Minister Manmohan Singh met for a chat in Washington Sunday. There seems to be a strong sense in India that this is a relationship that is not going well even though the messages and vibes generated from the meeting were generally positive, even if slightly eclipsed by a similar meeting between Obama and Pakistani Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani. Gilani, for his part, was elated at the reception he received, according to this article in Pakistan’s The News.

    The reasons for concern in India vary widely. On our own web site today, G. Parthasarathy, a visiting professor at the Center for Policy Research in New Delhi and a former Indian ambassador to Pakistan, says the relationship is in trouble because of opposite goals in Afghanistan.

    “The Obama administration has promised to ‘reconcile’ with the Taliban and talks openly about U.S. troop withdrawals, commencing in 2011,” he writes. “Both points deeply disturb New Delhi, whose long history of dealing with terrorism suggests the U.S. approach won’t work. The U.S. has also shunned advance consultations on Afghanistan with its Indian partners.”

    That was a refrain picked up on NDTV’s “The Buck Stops Here” last night, in a debate (full disclosure: I was a panelist) over whether India had invested too much in its relationship with the U.S. only to be ignored as the U.S. wages war in Afghanistan and cozies up to Pakistan.

    Lisa Curtis, a senior research fellow at the Heritage Foundation’s Asian Studies Centre in Washington, made the point that the meeting between Obama and Singh should have helped reassure India that the U.S. administration was listening to its concerns and that the U.S., too, was frustrated with Pakistan’s anti-terror policies (contrary to the perception in some circles in India that the U.S.-Pakistan relationship is blossoming as the U.S.-India relationship withers.)

    Pakistan’s Dawn newspaper drew different implications from the meetings, focusing on Obama’s interest in fostering greater India-Pakistan cooperation, according to a briefing by Pakistan’s Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi. The paper reported that Obama told Gilani that better relations between India and Pakistan would have a positive impact on the entire region.

    President Obama’s remarks, as reported by the Pakistani foreign minister, indicated that the US was playing an undeclared mediatory role between India and Pakistan,” the paper said.

    Some readers of the previous India Real Time post compared Obama unfavorably to the warm ties created with India by former President George W. Bush.

    Others used the opportunity to criticize Indian diplomacy. “On the one hand, the Indian Ministry of External Affairs has behaved in a pretty incompetent fashion for the past 50 years or so,” said reader AAA. “So it is not surprising to see the Pakistanis and Chinese running rings around New Delhi while the MEA wrings its hands and complains that India isn’t being treated seriously.”

    Still others found the whole idea of a comparison between how Obama treats Singh versus how he treats Gilani as pointless and the discussion of it a waste of their time. “Indians don’t care if US likes us or hate us. We have lived in both situations and very well know how to survive. We are not dependent on US aid you see,” said reader “Indian.”

    Today brings us this fresh tidbit from the meeting that no doubt will no doubt kindle a similar range of responses and be on the front pages of tomorrow’s papers: Singh and Gilani shake hands in Washington.

    A sellout? A gentlemanly act of courtesy? A complete non-event? A sign of further détente to come? Let us know what you think in the comments section.
     
    Last edited: Apr 14, 2010

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