- Apr 29, 2015
Another, sorry if posted earlier.Even non highlighted parts of this article, this all write up is a full cope LOL.
India is relevant to the world, not only in its size and girth but by its footprint and what matters to the world
Shahzad ChaudhryJanuary 13, 2023
The writer is a political, security and defence analyst. He tweets @shazchy09 and can be contacted at [email protected]
If I were Henry Kissinger, I would write a treatise ‘On India’. Such has been the monumental change in India’s fortunes as a State and a player principally in Asia and broadly on the global stage. Modi may be a despised name in Pakistan, but he has done something to brand India which none before him was able to manage. Importantly, India does what it feels and to the extent she needs. And it all stays kosher. It is an ally of the US; a rub Pakistanis go to town with, complaining relentlessly about the US as its closet patron. We are delusionary and deceptive in assessing our standing and employ double-speak as an art, vilifying the US as a popular pastime while whingeing when it accosts India. Russia is under American sanctions, and none can trade freely with Russia except India which buys Russian oil on preferred terms and then re-export it to help an old patron earn dollars the indirect way. Two opposing military superpowers of the world claim India to be its ally. If this isn’t diplomatic coup, what is?
It all comes from one word — relevance. India is relevant to the world, not only in its size and girth but by its footprint and what matters to the world. Consider. It has the fifth largest economy in the world, ahead of the UK. It is aimed to be the third largest economy in the world by 2037. It is fourth in FE Reserves with over 600 billion USDs — Pakistan currently holds 4.5 only. Its growth rate in GDP matches the best performing economies over the last three decades after China. She is projected to stay on that path. India has world’s second largest army and the third largest military. It may not be the strongest corresponding to the numbers, but it is on path to rapidly increasing its capacity and capability. The global list of billionaires has 140 Indians of which four are included in the top 100.
Mittal is steel giant. Ambanis run multiple interests varying from defence to telecom. Infosys, an IT giant, is a global name. So on and so forth. India stands amongst the top producers in agri-products and in the IT industry. Their yields per acre in agriculture match the best in the world. And despite being a country of over 1.4 billion people, it remains a relatively steady, coherent and functional polity. Their system of governance has withstood the test of time and proved its resilience around fundamentals essential to a resolute democracy. It may not be the most efficiently or most equitably run society, but it has held on to anchors which have paved the way for it to solidify what makes a nation. To many it may not be secular enough — its Constitution still is, even if attitudes of the power wielders are not. Under Modi it has crafted a religious-nationalist plank of its newer assertion and identity. Don’t balk. World over the trend is of the Right gaining eminence in social attitudes. Pakistan in this realm has its own set of challenges. Importantly, it seems to be working for Modi and India.
India jumped to a 100 billion USD reserves in 2004 from the measly 9.2 she had in 1992. Under Manmohan Singh, India increased her reserves to 252 billion USD by 2014. Under Modi these have galloped to over 600 billion and the GDP is sized over three trillion USDs. This is monumental progress which makes India a preferred destination for all investors. Saudi Arabia, Pakistan’s fraternal brother, announced an investment of over 72 billion USDs in India even as we beg her to invest the 7 billion promised for Pakistan. Pakistan’s iron-brother, China, pledged 10 million USD in the very latest donors conference in Geneva to help Pakistan out of its financial predicament as well as a looming bankruptcy, as did Pakistan’s favourite whipping boy, America. Somehow, both place equal premium on Pakistan’s prospects.
And though Indian writers have this propensity to overstate India’s heft and hem there should be no doubt that this century will see Asia defined by two most dominating nations in economic strength, military haughtiness and political impact — China and India. The gap between Pakistan and India is now unbridgeable. India has broken free of the shackles that kept her tied in South Asia and hyphenated in global perception with Pakistan. Beginning with Rajiv Gandhi to Modi there has been a clear distancing of the Indian foreign policy away from Pakistan. That turns India more Asia than just South Asia and a clout which is far expanded. The world has taken note and regardless how much we play China vs India as a sorry paradigm for face-saving both are now above 100 billion USDs trade that binds them with a common aim to quickly move to 500 billion. Those who trade at that level never graduate beyond sticks and clubs, even if spiked, and whatever the savagery of their brawl. It is time to smell some real leaves.
One hates to admit, but Pakistan was politically outmanoeuvred by India on Kashmir by rescinding Article 370 of its Constitution which gave a special if not disputed status to the region. Her gradual mutation of the demographics in her favour continues unabated. And as the older generation of the defying Kashmiris bows out the young view issues far less weighed by emotive persuasion. In combination with unmatched density of military presence over decades the new normal has practically established newer realities. And while Pakistan’s principled stance may just remain the same, work-around shall have to be found to factor in newer realities and graduate policy to benefit from this immense economic activity taking place in the neighbourhood. Placing artificial restraints on what can be a moment of deliverance to the rapidly impoverishing people of Pakistan is failing them with bankruptcy of thought. We are better only when stabler and economically buoyant. Time to shed the rhetoric.
India’s global footprint is remarkable. She is invited to the G7 and is a member of the G20. It is leading a movement of the global South to represent what is critical to equitable progress in the times of climate change, pandemics and technology intrusion. It has a blueprint of establishing her own domain on the foreign policy front and sticks to it assiduously. She may seem arrogant and haughty at times triggering aversion but feels she has the space to assert her presence. It is a fine line but her foreign policy apparatus treads it skillfully. Modi has brought India to the point where she has begun to cast a wider net of its influence and impact. Pakistan has been skillfully reduced to a footnote in this Indian script. It is time to smell some real leaves.
It is time to recalibrate our policy towards India and be bold enough to create a tri-nation consensus, along with China, focusing on Asia to be the spur for wider economic growth and benefit. That alone will turn geoeconomics into a strategy. Breaking away from convention and boldness in conception can address this newer paradigm. Or we may be reduced to the footnote of history.
Hoodbhoy has a specific pattern of write to attribute India's gains to his favourite political faction. Despite being a scientist, Pakistanism inside him hinders him utilising any kind of historical, scientific and logical way of argument, and just as any other Pakistani, he believes that BJP is some kind of fascist party and Indians are a some kind of supremacist bunch like Europeans during first world war LOL.
Such an idiot.
Modi’s double-engine sarkar
Pervez Hoodbhoy Published November 5, 2022
The writer is an Islamabad-based physicist and writer.
WHEN Prime Minister Narendra Modi barrels around India to support allies running for state government elections his war cry is: ‘ab ki bar double engine ki sarkar’ (this time a double-engine government). At face value this means having the BJP at the centre together with BJP governments in every one of India’s 28 states. State residents are promised that two engines pulling together will deliver twice the power.
But the true meaning of Modi’s double engine metaphor transcends India’s state-level electoral politics. It’s actually about reinventing national ideology, culture, and education. To understand why India presently stands so high on the world stage — and also how it could crash down — let’s peek inside the two engines. The lessons for Pakistan are immediate and obvious.
The first engine pulls India along the road to prosperity and modernity. It has sent Indian spacecraft winging to the moon and Mars, placed India’s IT and pharmaceutical companies among the world’s largest, filled America’s best universities with professors who are graduates of Indian universities, and created some of the world’s biggest business empires. Several top Silicon Valley entrepreneurs are Indian.
President Joe Biden recently quipped that “Indian Americans are taking over this country”. He could have meant Britain as well where Rishi Sunak is its new prime minister with personal wealth surpassing that of the newly crowned King Charles III. Sunak’s Bangalore-based father-in-law is the founder of Infosys; this Indian IT company’s market capitalisation recently crossed a staggering $100 billion.
Also read: Pak-India education comparedRetrograde cultural forces are strong in India yet it forges ahead while Pakistan regresses. Why?
These are substantial, undeniable achievements that hubris-filled Hindu nationalists say derive from their greatness as an ancient civilisation. But wait! China has done still better. And, though far smaller, many emergent countries of East Asia — Japan, South Korea, Vietnam, and Singapore — also boast of better performance than India’s.
In every case, the secret of success is well-known — strong systems of education that create skills, knowledge, attitudes and social behaviours suited for modern times. Together with that, a strong work ethic in the labour force. Stated differently, high national achievement springs naturally from the quickness with which a country universalises or ‘Westernises’ its education and creates positive attitudes towards work.
Here’s how India grew into the present. Empowered by the scientific and industrial revolutions, Britain colonised India and sought to spread Western education and values. Conservative Hindus emphatically rejected this modernisation but reformist movements such as Brahmo Samaj under Ram Mohan Roy and others made deep inroads.
By 1947 under Jawaharlal Nehru — an avowed Hindu atheist devoted to the ‘scientific temper’ — India was already intellectually equipped to enter the modern world. For the next 50 years, India’s education sought to create a pluralist, secular, scientifically minded society. It reaps rich harvests to the present day — which the BJP happily appropriates as its own.
But Hindu nationalists now want India’s goals and self-image drastically revised. Modi’s second engine, fuelled by febrile imaginations, pushes India towards emulating some kind of Hindu rashtra from an idyllic past. My friend Prof Badri Raina, now retired from Delhi University, says that “this backward engine would have us believe that in ancient times we had knowledge of plastic surgery, aeronautics, satellite vision, even as streams of foaming white milk flowed down our plains, and golden birds perched on the branches of trees”.
What if the likes of Roy and Nehru had never existed? Under engine #2 India’s education would have been Sanskrit-based with English only barely understood. Post-independence India would have become a garbage dump for every kind of crackpot science. Medical research would have focused on medicines made from cow urine and cow dung, the celibacy of peacocks would be under intense scrutiny, astrology would be taught in place of astronomy, and there would be Vedic mathematics instead of actual mathematics.
Let’s turn now to subcontinental Muslims and then to Pakistan.
Two hundred years ago, it was crystal clear that the dull daily rote of memorisation in traditional madressahs was wholly unsuited for the modern age. Meanwhile, children of Indian parents in English-medium schools were learning trigonometry and logarithms, the properties of solids and gases, and of experiments that showed these obeyed certain laws. Instead of the greatness of kings and emperors, schools taught ideas of parliamentary and legal systems.
The ulema across India fiercely resisted the modern curriculum. The zamindar and jagirdar also saw little use for it even if he sent his boys to school or, as occasionally happened, to Oxford and Cambridge. Very few opted for science, medicine, or other forms of hard learning. Most learned just the airs and graces that would assure their social position back home.
The loudest call for reforming Muslim education was that of Sir Syed Ahmad Khan. Madressahs, he said, are entirely unnecessary. Using religious idiom he passionately argued for science and modernity. While his efforts led to some measure of functionality and to jobs within the colonial system, they were nowhere deep or wide as that of Brahmo Samaj. Conservative backlash limited Sir Syed’s influence.
Thus, by the time Partition came around, there was a massive Hindu-Muslim gap. Nevertheless, for the first few decades, Pakistan’s engine #1 steadily gained strength and was consistently stronger than its second engine. Among other things, Pakistan’s space programme (born 1961, now dead) much preceded India’s.
Forward motion slowed then stopped in the 1980s after Pakistan’s engine #2 took over. Standards and workforce competence sank. Institutions and organisations steadily crumbled for lack of modern-minded people. Industrialisation flopped in spite of the billions pumped in by America, China and Saudi Arabia. Finding graduates of Pakistani institutions capable of performing even basic tasks became harder and harder. Throwing more money at education was tried but learning outcomes kept worsening.
Pakistan’s regular schools have now come to resemble madressahs with the difference shrinking by the year. Many surveys indicate student learning has descended to Somalia-like levels. Adding more fuel to engine #2, the PDM government has accelerated implementation of the regressive Single National Curriculum conceived by Imran Khan’s government. Helplessly, we gravitate downward. Will India eventually suffer Pakistan’s fate? That depends upon which of its two engines can pull harder.