Pakistan And US – A Balancing Act

By Yasser Latif Hamdani

There are some fundamental truths that both Pakistanis and Americans need to understand about our mutual relationship especially in Afghanistan :

1.  Pakistan and US are natural allies.  I know the fashionable in India and the US like to talk of a “natural alliance” between their two countries but both India and the US must realize that theirs can be at best a mercantile relationship.   Natural alliances are not necessarily based on  hollow idealism and grandiose but ridiculous propositions like the “arcs of democracy”. If this was true,  Pakistan and Russia would be natural allies but they are not.   Natural alliances are based on convergence of geo-strategic objectives and in the case of Pakistan the long term interests of Pakistan and US will always coincide in this region.    

2. The US needs Pakistan MORE than Pakistan needs the US:  The importance of Pakistan to the US is fundamental. Not only does Pakistan geographically sit at the crossroads of great energy pipelines of the world but will be an important conduit for China – the next global economic superpower.  It’s premier port city – Karachi – is give or take two hours by plane from Bombay, Delhi,  Dubai, Kabul and ofcourse Islamabad.  US maintains an active presence of its intelligence officials all over Pakistan and it is here that US has its eyes and ears in the region.   As in 1970-1971,  US will look to Pakistan to play not only the role of bridgebuilder with China but perhaps will seek to exercise influence through it.   The post-US scenario in Afghanistan is a daunting challenge and a clash between US and Indian/Russian interests in Afghanistan is likely and in this the US will lean on Pakistan.   Furthermore former President Richard Nixon , shortly before his death,  identified four Muslim countries as holding the key to US interests in the 21st century i.e. Indonesia, Pakistan, Turkey and Egypt.  These four are the most modern nation states in all of the Islamic world, with established economies and strong ties with the US.   As the third world and Muslim world will move out of US sphere,   Pakistan’s importance for US policy makers will only increase.

3.   Pakistan also needs the US.   Crazed fundamentalists and armchair revolutionaries in Pakistan love to cry hoarse against America.  The truth is that Pakistan needs US as well.  If Pakistan does not settle terms with the US,  the US will most likely be forced to go to the next option which will unacceptable for us.    That the US aid is peanuts compared to what the two Afghan wars have cost us is undeniable,  but Pakistan needs the US at this critical hour when our economy has taken a nose dive.   Let us also not forget that the US is Pakistan’s largest trading partner and that balance of trade is in our favor by a long shot.     If Pakistan is important to the US,  Pakistan’s importance for other powers such as China is also directly proportional to its influence with the US.

Pakistani political leadership – and by this I mean PPP and PML-N in main- must tread carefully.   The game plan of a cynical and wretched entrenched establishment is to present itself as the suitable alternative to civilian democratic leadership.    Old habits die hard and the US feels much more comfortable dealing with one-man shows.   Therefore the leadership must resist any urge to outflank the establishment on its anti-American rhetoric- it is a trap.   The long term objectives of Pakistan’s civilian political elite should be as follows:

1.  Long term sustainability of the constitutional democratic process, however unsavory it may be.

2.   Peace and trade with India are also key to Pakistan’s progress.  India will be the South Asian economic powerhouse.   If Pakistan plays its cards right vis a vis US, China and India,  it too can create a prosperous mid-sized economy.  It is therefore counterproductive to declare a 1000 years war on India.

These two objectives can and will run counter to perceived American interests.  If history is any judge,  Americans are likely to support the establishment and other elements whenever a government in Pakistan gets out of line.  In 1977,  the Americans were funding the Jamaat-e-Islami and its leader Mian Muhammad Tufail who were instrumental in General Zia’s coup.    In 1999, the right wing Muslim nationalist PML-N and right Hindu Nationalist BJP had turned a remarkable new leaf in Indo-Pak relations, when a miltiary coup was staged against the peace process- first through an act of war and then through a direct coup in Islamabad. What followed was a military dictatorship in Pakistan which came to be one of the most closest US allies in Pakistan’s history.

Some of my American friends ask me why so many of my compatriots hate them.  That is a simple one really and I am surprised how many well informed Americans ask this question.   They hate you because as a people Pakistanis haven’t seen the benefits of the assistance and aid that you’ve given Pakistan.  Had the Americans chosen to deal with a democratic dispensation,  instead of putting their eggs in military basket, some of that aid and assistance would have reached down to the common man.   In this respect atleast, Kerry Lugar Bill is a huge improvement and Pakistan’s political leadership is well advised not to play into the ghairat lobby’s high pitched rhetoric.

174 Comments

Filed under Afghanistan, Great game, Imperialism, Pakistan, strategy, USA, War On Terror, World

174 responses to “Pakistan And US – A Balancing Act

  1. yasserlatifhamdani

    Gungho American flag waving types, jingoistic Indian nationalists and Pakistani ultra-patriots are all going to hate this piece… which is why I submit… it is accurate.

  2. Sameet

    “Peace and trade with India are also key to Pakistan’s progress. India will be the South Asian economic powerhouse…”

    Atleast this will assuage the feelings of the jingoistic Indian nationalists somewhat, so may be they may not hate this piece as much, eh?🙂

    But, if US needs Pakistan more than Pakistan needs US, then how do you explain, “If Pakistan does not settle terms with the US, the US will most likely be forced to go to the next option which will unacceptable for us..” Seems a little contradictory. Nevertheless, a plausible, if a little contrarian, view than the more predictable & jaded “Pakistan is a mess” articles one comes across most of the time.

  3. Ammar

    There is no doubt that both Pakistan and US need each other but subsequent governments in Pakistan have proved very inpet at handling this relationship as well as with other multilateral lenders, compounded by our perpetual need for aid, that it has resulted in erosion of our sovereignty. Senior Journalist M.Ziauddin documented the history of how Pakistan lost its sovereignty in the following piece:

    How Pakistan lost it sovereignty over a period of 62 years.
    M. Ziauddin

    – When Prime Minister Liaquat Ali Khan and Prime Minister Khawaja Nazim uddin renewed the request,- particularly when the letter by Liaquat Ali was delivered to the State Department two days after his assassination.

    – When, in 1952, Pakistan imported one million tons of wheat from the United States and transported it from the port on camel carts, with “Thank you America” hanging from the necks of the camels. (India had earlier imported two million tons of wheat, at much better terms but made no such show of American philanthropy.)

    – When Foreign Minister Zafar ullah Khan led Pakistan into SEATO without cabinet approval and Prime Minister Mohammad Ali Bogra complained to the Secretary of State, Foster Dulles that the amount of aid offered was not commensurate with the risk taken by Pakistan. “I thought that Pakistan was joining for ideological reasons and not for certain amount of US dollars,” Dulles curtly told the Prime Minister of Pakistan.

    – When as Commander-in-Chief, General Mohammad Ayub Khan discreetly negotiated leasing of Badbair base near Peshawar to the US and even the Air Chief Asghar Khan was not taken into confidence.
    No agreement was signed, no exchange of notes took place. “I have the honor to propose that this note and Your Excellency’s note in reply ( sent the same day) to that effect shall constitute an agreement between two governments,” Foreign Minister Manzoor Qadir said in a letter to the US ambassador, dated July 29, 1959 conveying Pakistan government’s consent to provide ten years lease of the facility. (See annexure)

    – When few years later Ayub sought to renegotiate the basing facility triggering a crisis whose magnitude has remained hidden from the people of the “ostrich state,” till to-date.

    – When at the height of tension on the Badbair facility, the U.S. Ambassador William McConaughy wrote to President Johnson:” I give not one fig for Pakistan except as its interests are ours.”

    – When Ayub told McConaughy that: ”Pakistan would be willing if necessary to be a U.S. satellite if it protects Pakistan from India but would never agree to be an Indian satellite.”

    – When Pakistan sought a loan from the United States and the U.S. National Security Advisor forwarded it to President Johnson with remarks: “Here is another gimme. What Can I do if I am responsible for half the beggars in the world?”

    – When in 1978, Citi Bank refused to accept Pakistan government’s sovereign guarantee for $300 million loan and advised that government of Iran should underwrite it.

    – When Zia-ul-haq set up Zakat fund, with seed money of $200 million from Saudi Arabia and United Arab Emirate (UAE).

    – When in 1979, Chief of President Carter’s nuclear task force Gerard Smith told Agha Shahi: ”You are entering the valley of death,” but at the first prospect of resumption of the US aid after the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan, Zia asked the U.S. National Security Advisor, Peter McPherson” Why do n’t you ask for bases in Pakistan?”

    – When in 1982 the US doled $3.02 billion to Pakistan over the next five years by way of economic and military aid in return for our help in its war against the USSR in Afghanistan.

    – When in 1989, U.S. Senator John Glenn called for linking USAID to Pakistan’s nuclear program and said:” Where in the region do we have the greatest influence?….Pakistan is world’s third largest recipient of United States economic and military aid, which strengthens our potential diplomatic leverage should we decide to exercise it. Our direct bilateral aid to India is token by comparison.”

    – When Pakistan was humiliated by world economic sanctions first because of Kargil to be followed by nuclear testing and then the October 1999 military takeover. In fact by the end of the decade of 1990s Pakistan had become the most sanctioned country after Libya.

    – When it begged and received nine debt relief agreements — two soon after Bhutto took over, then once soon after General Zia came to power to be followed by another one soon after his death. And twice during the decade of 1990s before the sanctions were imposed. And twice during Musharraf’s regime—once in 2000 ( a very stingy one) and next in late 2002 (a most generous one to date).

    – When Finance Minister Shaukat Aziz told the head of a donor country’s delegation at the Paris Club meeting in 2002 that he would not be able to go back if Pakistan did not get the debt relief.

    – When Musharraf begged and received at least about $12 billion in hard cash from the US of which he spent $8 billion on purchasing armament for defense against India. Of the rest $4 billion nobody knows what happened.

    – When the US recently agreed to dole out to Pakistan $1.5 billion in economic assistance annually over the next five years. This is in addition to about a billion dollar it is expected to get annually by way of military assistance as well as by way of compensation for fighting America’s proxy war against Taliban.

    It was in the military regime of General Zia that 1987 the current expenditure exceeded total domestic revenue ( in 1987-88) and a part of the current expenditure was also financed by borrowing. Again it was at the end of 11 –years of military rule that for the time (1989-90) in Pakistan’s history debt repayment came first in the federal budget relegating defense and development to the second and third positions.)

    It came to the lot of Zia’s military government to negotiate Pakistan’s first standby loan and request a medium-term package. IMF procrastinated and it was only in 1982 after the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan that Pakistan was granted a medium-term package, which was abandoned after the first tranche because by that time Pakistan had started getting the unencumbered US five-year aid package.

    The subsequent three packages were concluded with IMF during 1988-99 but it can not be a coincidence that all three packages were negotiated by unelected governments while their implementation became the lot of the elected governments.

    The first package was negotiated by caretaker Finance Minister late Dr. Mahboob-ul-haq but signed by Benazir government on December 28, 1988.

    The second package was negotiated by the caretaker government of Moin Qureshi but signed by second Benazir Bhutto government in April 1994.

    Shahid Javed Burki, caretaker Finance Minister in Meraj Khalid government negotiated the third package, signed by second Nawaz government in 1997.

    When the medium-term Extended Fund Facility (EFF) was negotiated in October 1997, several finance ministry officials were aghast at some of the IMF conditions agreed by Pakistan. It was said jokingly that the Pakistani team had negotiated with Pakistan, on behalf of IMF rather than vice versa.

    The package was disrupted when in May 1998 Pakistan carried out nuclear tests and an embargo on aid was imposed.

  4. PMA

    Yasser. You have come up with an interesting read. I will let others comment before I add to what you say. I only hope that this piece too does not become another ‘India-Pakistan’ discussion. But one point. When comes to nations, what is really meant by “Natural Allies”. Here emphasis is on ‘natural’. True, convergence of geo-strategic objectives leads to inter-nations alliances. But as the national interests change so do the inter-nations alliances. Look at the case of WWII in which Russia and the USA were allies. I submit to you that when it comes to nations there is no such thing as ‘natural alliance’. All alliances are marriages of convenience and it is true in the case of Pak-USA as well. Today’s allies are tomorrow’s adversaries. I project that with rising China in the coming years the India-USA alliance will grow. Pakistan is not a player in that game and I hope it does not become one either. It is a march of elephants where Pakistan could be trampled easily. However Pakistan’s utility to the USA will remain in years to come although at a relatively lower level. Pakistan’s usefulness to the USA is more connected to the American interests in the Central Asia and the Greater Middle East. Pakistan on her part will enter into any arrangement with the USA; mostly for economic and military reasons. One question. Do you see any role for Bangladesh in this larger geo-political set up or she is relegated to the political backwaters for ever?

  5. vajra

    @YLH

    But many, most in fact, will also love this piece.

    It seems reasonable to me to address oneself to those who will agree, or may agree with small differences of opinion, or broadly sympathise, at any rate. Writing for those who hate our views doesn’t seem to have much of a future.

    Having got that out of the way, I agree with you that Pakistan and the US are natural allies, very broadly for the reasons that have been put forward. Unfortunately, history warns us that nothing stands still, least of all alliances for mutual benefit. For such alliances to last, to stand the test of time, the parties concerned have to stand the test of time. Leaving aside for the moment the feverish nightmares of those who see the earth opening up to engulf the US, there is also the minor problem of Pakistan.

    Pakistan will certainly form a good ally for the US if it can overcome its institutional death-wish. As long as the Pakistan Army is determined to run the country, allowing civilian administrations only the empty symbols of state to play with, the existence of the state will remain in doubt. It may never actually explode in mid-air. The chances are that it will limp along, slowly losing its brightest and best talent to other, more attractive countries, including (what more reasonable alternative?) the US, as this bright and good talent senses that the country is finally helpless to break the iron clamp that the military has over it.

    Pakistan will form a great ally for the US if it can unite as a country and overcome its provincial death wish. As long as the Punjab continues to grind its boot into the face of the other provinces, with exceptions for the NWFP, there will never be a true sense of commitment to Pakistan in its minor provinces. Or in Karachi; it is clear that the third, unlanded minority in the country will seek its own destiny and future with or without the help of the Punjabi elite.

    Finally, Pakistan will be a great ally for the US if it can overcome its sectarian death wish. If you can visualise staying on as a loyal Pakistani as you become a minority within a minority within a minority and so on five times over, there is hope for the future. When you or your near and dear ones succumb to the unrelenting sectarian pressure that has now become almost a knee-jerk reaction among sections of the majority, particularly the clergy, the ideal of Pakistan will cease to be.

    The key to survival for your country is to get across to the Army that the country cannot survive its rule. If the Army somehow ‘gets’ it, and institutes a stem-and-branch reform, there is hope. Otherwise, there will be a war, or more than one war with disastrous consequences for the military; this time the country will not forgive failure. It is easy to predict a difficult end for forced military domination of the country and the body politic, and in those last, messy days of the military, bloodshed is inevitable.

    Until Pakistan can sort out these fundamental contradictions, it cannot survive in any meaningful form. Unless it can survive in any meaningful form, it cannot play its geopolitical role, to be an ally to the US.

  6. AZW

    Ammar:

    Thanks for sharing M. Ziauddin’s painstaking effort to document how consistently and systematically Pakistan has sought aid. It is almost too painful to read of the never ending begging bowl act, and the shamelessness of Pakistani leaders over the decades. Irony is that though all of those leaders hated each other, they were united in their singular lack of vision, and exuberance of staggering pettiness.

  7. PMA

    vajra (January 14, 2010 at 7:59 pm):

    Sir, you started off OK, but then then you fell into typically ‘indian pit’. It is Punjab…..it is Army…..Pakistan is about to implode…..and sky is falling. If you wish to be on this board, please don’t be such a bore.

  8. PMA

    AZW (January 14, 2010 at 8:30 pm):

    I would add that this perpetual begging is not limited to “Pakistani leaders”. The entire system is guilty of this habit. The so called aid trickles down to the military and civil officialdom to the level of Majors and Directors. This is how the higher ups gain the loyalty of the underlings. It is the system of patronage. Every ‘aid package’ means an unearned economic opportunity for the mid and high level officers with trips abroad and overseas scholarships for their children. It also means NGOs for their wives and daughters. The ‘foreign aid’ is a curse for our society starting from Liaqat Ali Khan time to the present, including the Kerry-Lugar dole.

  9. yasserlatifhamdani

    Sameet,

    The next best option is not good enough… as Pakistan holds the key.

    Thanks for liking it.

  10. yasserlatifhamdani

    Vajra sb,

    A lot of people believe that Pakistan can play a meaningful role only if it remains in a quagmire.

    I agree with you … but who is going to make our geniuses in DC agree with you.

  11. ved

    @YLH

    Some of my American friends ask me why so any of my compatriots hate them

    Everybody knows, America is bully. On one hand USA supports Israel (Ruthlessly suppressed Palestine movements which has the sympathy from entire world’s Muslim population) and on other hand it has very good relatinsship with the autocratic governments of Egypt, Saudi Arab and Pakistan, which had no popular base.

    These autocratic governments realises that their survivals depends upon the goodwill of USA unlike democratic governments whose future lies with the goodwill of its people. So it is not surprise that more often USA has easy going whenever their is Hosni Mubarak, Zia Ul Haq or Parwez Musharraf and People keeps grumbling against USA.

    India does not provide any such strategic benefit to America, thereby prevented from any major upheavels in political stability.

  12. Milind Kher

    @YLH,

    All your postulates are eminently logical. However, it is very important for Pakistan itself to function as a coherent entity with a focus. If people keep pulling in different directions, energy would get dissipated.

    Clearly, the army cannot be wished away, given its power. It is for the army leaders to cooperate with the civilian administration.

  13. Rune

    Very interesting article. Pakistan is indeed at the center of US, China and India’s geo-strategic interest. This is where all the paths cross. Unfortunately, no-one seems to realize this as well as Pakistan does. Hope they do very soon, it would be great for the whole world.

  14. hoss

    I disagree with Yasser on 2 1/2 points.

    Pakistan and the US are not natural allies. The natural allies for the US are a few countries in the Western Europe. Even Israel is not a natural US ally; it is a strategically aligned relationship. Similarly, whatever relationship US and Pakistan have is motivated by the strategically vital interests both countries share in a very limited geographical area. The relationship based on the geographical interests is never a natural relationship and it breaks down as soon as the common geographical interests diminish.

    In fact, the very idea that Pakistan and the US are allies is not realistic in view of the current or the past relationship the two countries had. Pakistan’s role was always an order taker versus a negotiator. Pakistan currently is in a better position than it ever was, is not due to the relationship between allies but due to the nukes that Pakistan have.

    The US needs Pakistan more…

    The US is tied up in a broader struggle for some vital resources with China and Russia. US is in disadvantaged position because it is too far away from all the resource rich areas and it needs to set up beachheads in the area to first control the resources and second, to prevent China and Russia to encroach on the same resources.

    Afghanistan or Pakistan both are not resource rich countries but their proximity to the area makes them good places to establish beachheads there. The US would have liked to duplicate a similar operation in Pakistan that it completed in Afghanistan. The Af-pak doctrine is all about conjoining the two countries so the operations can be extended if there is a non-cooperative government in Pakistan. Pakistan cooperates with the US 1) to save its own neck and 2), to keep a nominally neutral state in Afghanistan. The reality is that any stable government in Afghanistan means a hostile government for Pakistan. The US presence provides the guarantee that the Afghanistan will always have a weak and neutral government in Afghanistan. That is where the needs become mutual.

    Pakistan like the US, China and Russia is a player in the area though the weakest player. It does hold enough strength to often go toe to toe with the big players. The US wants India to become a balancing factor that can always threaten Pakistan or switch to better relations Pakistan when needed. The US needs a pro US govt. in Pakistan as much as it needs the Karzai government in Afghanistan. If by any chance the Islamists take over in Pakistan, the US with its proxy India would forget all about the international norms the way it ignored them when dealing with Iraq. The nuke is the only safety net that stands between an aggressive India and looking-for-an-opportunity US.

    I think Brig. Sharaf would understand when I say that both the US and Pakistan have a mutually shared approach to the nukes and that sets up a trap for the US but not for Pakistan.

    Pakistan also needs the US.
    I agree with it perhaps more than half way. But I think my arguments for or against this point are entirely different than of the Islamists. If Pakistan were to stop thinking “US needs Pakistan or Pakistan needs the US”, Pakistan would cut a much better deal with the US than it currently has. Pakistan has defense needs and those needs make it an acquiescent state. Put it simply, before Pak gets to the nuke level of confrontation, it has to defend for a few days on the ground to raise the level of confrontation. Pakistan currently does not have the military strength without the US diplomatic and military help to sustain a few days of ground defense.

    We all want better relations with India but both states are vying for a strategic position in the area and the conflict between India and Pakistan is not all about Kashmir or 1947. It is way more than that.

    PPP and the PMLn have no role to play in this saga. Their job is to make sure that they run the civilian side minus the foreign and defense affairs. So far the PPP is failing in that and sooner or later it will be replaced by PMLn.

  15. yasserlatifhamdani

    Hoss uncle,

    Depends on how you define natural… Strategic alliance based on a long term interests is to me a natural congruence.one thing is clear to me …in the balance Pakistan has a better bargaining position.

    Ved,

    The important thing is that the civ govt now should be supported.

  16. Atul

    “Pakistan also needs the US”
    also? really? There is no end to smugness and self-importance of our brethren across the border.

  17. vajra

    @PMA

    How nice it is to see you back with your boyish enthusiasm and excitement at all things to be considered, and your firm resolution to keep boredom and unpleasant truths at bay. Peter Pan would be proud of you.

    I am pleased that parts of my submission met with your approval and sad that others did not. What is typically Indian about the pit that you find me in? As far as I know, each of the three points I have drawn attention to has been made by Pakistani contributors already, and made, if I may point out, very effectively already.

    Would you like detailed references? It can be done, to save you the trouble of reading masses of boring stuff.

    If the difficulty is that an Indian is submitting them afresh, the hard truth is that you and your fellow-citizens will have to do whatever it is that has to be done to set things right, starting with identifying the problem. You have done this identification already; my services were those of an editor or a commenter. You have to take it further, only you and not any suspect Indian with his suspect pits, suspect for whatever mysterious reason appears on some feverish minds.

    I suggest a concentration on the task on hand, rather than diverting effort to cavil at friends and well-wishers.

  18. vajra

    @YLH

    It is not just Pakistan that has been left happily in a quagmire, it is practically every state that the US has sought to help, if that is any consolation. That country has had more than a century to perfect the art of backing precisely those elements in a nation that are most hostile to democracy. As pointed out, the US has done so consistently in Pakistan, and is today mystified why it is so universally hated.

    Why this tendency to back the forces hostile to democracy has never been clear; perhaps American diplomats and soldiers are naturally anti-democratic, and the combination of this anti-democratic temper with the President’s sweeping powers outside the policies applicable to American citizens forms a lethal cocktail that we have seen to disadvantage everywhere in the world.

    We in India are lucky to have been insulated.

    Actually, luck had nothing whatsoever to do with it, but let us leave it at that; this is about Pakistan, after all, not India.

    Unfortunately, I doubt that either Foggy Bottom or the Pentagon will ever understand that democracy works. I think that they genuinely think it doesn’t, as clearly demonstrated by their own services, which function pretty much without any distractions from such alien concepts. That being the case, the prognosis for the relationship with Pakistan is fairly clear.

    Once Pakistan sorts itself out, and no deux ex machina is going to do this on behalf of the citizens of Pakistan, you will pretty much be able to tell the US what to do in the neighbourhood. Those geopolitical forces that you referred to will take care of that. However, what happens next is again a challenge for you.

    It remains for you to discover for yourself in the exercise of your foreign policy, taking that in its widest possible meaning, what the US foreign service and military failed to understand since the time of the Madison Doctrine.

    Democracy works.

    You will face the same options as the US did, to back democracy or to back its enemies. That country made horrible mistakes, and will continue to pay for these mistakes for decades, even centuries to come. You have to decide for yourself what you want to pay for, or even if you want to join hands with other democracies, even if it costs your own foreign services and military some heart-burn.

    Remember that they too don’t think democracy works.

  19. Hoss

    yasserlatifhamdani
    “Strategic alliance based on a long term interests is to me a natural congruence.”

    Since when natural alliance and natural congruence are one and the same thing?
    The alliance would have been natural, had Pakistan been a country in western Europe or an economic powerhouse at par with Japan. Since Pakistan is none of the above their is nothing natural in the alliance.

    Pakistan at best was a client state and presently, with widening gulf between the respective interests, the relationship is moving into bubble territory . It can burst anytime. You should be able to
    sense that.

    However, I think it will not break off because the Pak army is too dependent on the US.

  20. yasserlatifhamdani

    Atul janab,

    I know many in India are caught up in this fantasy that Pakistan somehow would not survive without the peanuts US gives us. Economically that is just not true. The total AID US has given us over the last 10 years equals less than half a years worth of our import bill fyi. Ofcourse given the current destruction – war on terror has cost us 35 Billion dollars over the last 10 years- we will take whatever money Americans dole out.

    The real reason we need the US for our relevance vis a vis big monsters of the region.

  21. yasserlatifhamdani

    “Pakistan at best was a client state and presently, with widening gulf between the respective interests, the relationship is moving into bubble territory . It can burst anytime. You should be able to sense that.”

    Sorry …bad analysis uncleji… you have spent way too much time internalizing inane Indian arguments which are superficial and wrong.

    Is Pakistan a client state? I don’t think so. Pakistan cannot be a client state and a player at the same time… you were right that Pakistan is one of the players in the game… and Pakistan goes along with the US only so long as vested interests are met … The problem has never been that Pakistan’s leaders have acted like a client state… the problem is that Pakistan’s military leaders have had interests that have seldom conincided with the interests of the people of Pakistan.

    You say that Pakistan Army will not break off the alliance because it is too dependent on the US… why wouldn’t US break it off?

    Then you contradict yourself by saying it is moving into bubble territory. How can it move into bubble territory if Pakistan is a client state? What you think is bubble territory is Pakistan asserting itself in a hitherto unfair deal… and as time goes on and if the Pakistan Army allows the civilian democratic system to work, the Army will find a great many more cards ready for play.

  22. Luq

    The term “natural allies” could mean a lot of things to a lot of people. Husband-n-wife or brothers could be natural allies and so could be two crooks .

    Luq

  23. Sameet

    The way the leaders and generals of Pakistan have toyed with the US till now makes me wonder who is the bania saying bagal mein churi aur muh mein ram ram!! They have perfected the art of running with the hares and playing with the hounds (or is it the other way round, i forget). Whatever, they deserve an applause for what they have managed so far, and I must say have largely succeeded in the core objective of keeping Pakistan in one piece since 1971. I for one think Pakistan is way more resilient than given credit for.

  24. Hoss

    “”Pakistan at best was a client state”
    Emphasis was on “was”. So your whole thesis falls flat on its face.

    When was the last time Pakistan acted on its own? Only when they pushed Taliban on Afghanistan. But I doubt that the US did not have foreknowledge of that mission too.

    Don’t bring Indians in to this because most of them are clueless about Pakistan and the US relations.

    Whatever relations Pakistan has with the US are now moving in to Bubble territory. Pakistan being a player has no bearing on its relations with the US. It is a player in its immediate geographical area. It does not compete with the US throughout the world. So whatever alliance is there it’s because both the US and Pakistan have some geographical interests that match at this time. It is not necessary that they will match in future too.

  25. yasserlatifhamdani

    M. Ziauddin’s “painstaking” piece is painful not because of the facts it is pushing forth… but because it is unnecessary sensationalization which has become a hallmark of Pakistani journalism.

    Pakistan’s movement towards the US bloc during the cold war was not a bad decision by a long shot.

    SEATO and CENTO were brilliant ideas … and had Baghdad not seen a revolution … CENTO and SEATO would have served Pakistan very well.

    Usually no country gives a “fig” for another… other than because of common interests. Indeed… in absence of common interests, even the friendliest of countries do come on verge of diplomatic blows… as Ecevit’s Turkey and Musharraf’s Pakistan did in the pre-9/11 era.

    Sovereignty is an undefined tribal concept which has no real application to modern politics… except to catch a few votes. Modern politics is interwoven and any country integrated globally cannot claim unlimited “sovereignty”. It is like saying that as individuals living in a society, we can do whatever we wish in our homes….

  26. yasserlatifhamdani

    uncle hoss,

    The issue here is not on how we see things but rather your umbrage at the term “natural” which you are interpretting differently.

  27. karun1

    @YLH if u want to know who loves to suck up to big daddy more… pakistan wins it hands down…

    what a pathetic article….(spend some more hours)

    This is all u wrote in support of ‘natural allies’

    Natural alliances are based on convergence of geo-strategic objectives and in the case of Pakistan the long term interests of Pakistan and US will always coincide in this region.

    1) have u considered the importance of nuclear based power for china/india?

    2) Huge natural gas supplies in krishna/godavari delta and Irrawady in Burma

    and look at this argument:

    It’s premier port city – Karachi – is give or take two hours by plane from Bombay, Delhi, Dubai, Kabul and ofcourse Islamabad

    tchi tchi……

  28. karun1

    The total AID US has given us over the last 10 years equals less than half a years worth of our import bill fyi. Ofcourse given the current destruction – war on terror has cost us 35 Billion dollars over the last 10 years- we will take whatever money Americans dole out.

    The real reason we need the US for our relevance vis a vis big monsters of the region.

    ***************************************************

    Do you realise that if word bank/IMF had not given funds, pakistan would have defaulted on interest payment on sovereign loans. Do you realise pakistan debt is junk status.

    what are u bragging about??

  29. Majumdar

    Well, as someone said (Krushchev???) there are no permanent friends, only permanent interests. The question is what permanent interests do USA and Pak have in common.

    As I see it apart from common stuff like economy and technology etc the main thing that Pak needs from USA is security against Indian aggression. Now if Pak agrees to give up on Kashmir I dont see why it wud face Indian aggression in the first place. But assuming it is not possible for Pakistan to give up on its shahrug or that Indians are hostile folks who will keep on harassing Pak no matter what, the same security umbrella can be provided by Chinese as well. The Chinese (along with KSA can provide Pakistan substantial economic support as well. So I dont see why Pak needs USA beyond what any other country needs USA for.

    Coming to USA’s need for Pak, I can think of two things

    1 As a gateway to A’stan and Central Asia (not so much Middle East where better access is available to USA) But why exactly is it Central Asia so important to USA.

    a)Is it a huge potential source of energy requirements- possibly yes, but I am not sure.
    b) For doing ungal to Russia and China. Again I am not sure how important actual possesion of A’stan is.
    c) To keep jihadi terrorists away from CA, but I guess that can be much better achieved by simply bribing local potentates.

    2. As HP saeen mentioned, Pak has nukes and USA wud want to keep it away from radicals and in that sense USA wants to keep Pak engaged. #2 seems far more likely than #1.

    Regards

  30. yasserlatifhamdani

    Karun mian,

    Carry on. I already mentioned people like you above.

    Keep at it scoundrel.

  31. Majumdar

    Yasser Pai,

    The real reason we need the US for our relevance vis a vis big monsters of the region.

    Who are these big monsters?

    India- which is easily neutralised by non-state actors and your nukes?
    China- which is your best friend forever?

    Regards

  32. yasserlatifhamdani

    Majumdar,

    1+2 are both true. There is a third angle… China.

    For 1 … it is a combination of a+b+c.

    Similarly… Pakistan’s relevance to China itself increases with the US … and the opposite is true as well.

    US sees Pakistan as the main link between energy surplus Iran and economic giant China… not to mention China’s access to the Arabian sea through Gwadar. If US has influence in Pakistan, US can influence what in any event seems to be an Iran-Pakistan-China economic and political alignment in the making.

  33. karun1

    @ylh

    i am that ‘small log of wood’ in this violent torrent…..so hang on tight…will give u an honourable exit.

  34. yasserlatifhamdani

    Yeah… we know India is full scoundrels like you. Bring it on asshole. Have the delete button good and ready.

  35. Majumdar

    I am no expert either on hydrocarbons or on shipping but I wud appreciate if someone (Brig sb or HP saeen) cud shed some light on the following:

    Why is Big G (as Ahmedmadani sb calls it) so important for getting Middle East oil/LNG to China or USA or India. Why not simply stuff the load closer to the source – Dubai or Bandar Abbas or Qatar or some such places into supertankers and ship it off directly to these countries. Why bring Big G into the picture unless the purpose is to then unload the stuff into a pipeline and pass it thru thousands of miles of difficult terrain to China’s Pacific seaboard?

    Wud it not be simpler for China to get Central Asian gas/oil from Kazakhstan etc thru a pipeline running from K’stan, Xinjiang and then into Eastern China rather than run it thru Pak.

    Regards

  36. yasserlatifhamdani

    Majumdar,

    Gwadar is China’s access to Arabian sea. I suggest you pick up a map and look at it again.

    Import of Gas into Western China is also planned through Gwadar.

  37. Majumdar

    I can understand China needing Big G as a military port. But why wud PRC need Big G as a commercial port except for importing Chinese manufactures into Pak/A’stan.

    Btw, Thar has over 100 bn MT of coal, why are we not hearing more about it, coal is way cheaper than gas as a power source and can be gassified as well for other applications?

    Regards

  38. yasserlatifhamdani

    Dear Majumdar,

    I don’t know what defence-related importance Gwadar has for China…. maybe it does… but as things stand… Gwadar is the shortest route to the Arabian sea for Chinese manufactures. Arabian sea itself seems to be the closest route linking China to Mid-East and most of Africa…

    Not sure how you mean it is to be used for import of Chinese goods into Afghanistan and Pakistan… I think you’ve gotten your geography mixed up.

  39. yasserlatifhamdani

    Infact with the Suez Canal… this might actually be the shortest route to western Europe as well.

  40. Majumdar

    How does Gwadar fit into Chinese exports to ME?

    Are you suggesting that Chinese factories (mainly in Eastern China would ship their goods overland thru length and breadth of Xinjiang, A’stan, Pakistan and then again reload it into ships from Big G to ME?

    Or is it that Chinese goods will be first shipped from Chinese ports to Big G rather than Dubai (or some other ME port and then redistributed into ME)?

    Neither makes much sense to me.

    Regards

  41. yasserlatifhamdani

    Have you heard of a little road called the Karakoram Highway? Afghanistan is not in the picture.

    I am not sure why you insist on “Eastern China”… much of Pakistan-China trade happens through the Karakoram Highway… and is not by sea. Commercial centers like Chengdu etc are not that Eastern anyway.

    And besides your entire thesis is predicated on the idea that western China… for which “gas” is of strategic importance… will never develop. It already has come up… look at Urumqi.

  42. yasserlatifhamdani

    PS: FYI Xinjiang alone has annual exports which are slightly more than Pakistan… and more than 10 percent of all Indian exports.

    This would increase significantly with Gwadar… as an import-export port.

  43. Updike

    EDITED – (FOR IRRELEVANT NONSENSE- YLH)

  44. Majumdar

    YLH,

    Thanks. If Xinjiang is likely to be a big manufacturing hub, then of course it is different.

    Updike,

    Are you suggesting that Sin Kiang and Inner Mongolia are the same place?

    Regards

  45. vajra

    @Majumdar

    I might be able to throw some light on this.

    PRC is paranoid about the possible obstructions in its trade routes posed by the ‘choke-points’ at the Straits of Malacca, due to US intervention, due to piracy or due to Indian naval action in support of US interests at a future date. In response to this, they are building their ‘blue-water navy at a furious rate. However, a military endorsement of trade routes is one thing. The People’s Liberation Army – Navy (PLAN) has never been the most prominent part of their operations. It is unlikely that PLAN will form part of their strategic reassurance.

    Instead, if you look at the railway and highway build-up that is under way in PRC, and is visible on almost a quarterly incremental basis on Google Earth and software such as that, it will be clear that China would prefer to shift its trade routes to sheltered routes and under better security conditions than the maritime route from the Far East. Shipping goods in and out from Gwadar means that the entire business of Indian Ocean choke-points is eliminated, and that the route to Europe is significantly shortened by shipping via Gwadar.

    This might explain a great deal of quiet urgency on the part of the PRC and some of its logistics arrangements.

    I hope that this is useful. As Yassir has been insisting, do sneak in a look at a map – we shall all studiously look away while you do so.

  46. vajra

    @Majumdar

    Sorry, an afterthought.

    What was explained in my note above is also the explanation for the PRC interest in building a railhead in Chittagong.

  47. updike

    EDITED (That is for trying to act like a smart alec-signed YLH).

  48. yasserlatifhamdani

    Dear Updyke,

    Next time… try and get your head out of your superior Indian arse… before posting on this website. Thank you.

    Yours sincerely,

    YLH

  49. Majumdar

    Vajra da,

    As Yassir has been insisting, do sneak in a look at a map – we shall all studiously look away while you do so.

    I am not as cartographically challenged as Yasser Pai and you may imagine me to be (notwithstanding my failure to locate RajKalhani on the world map)

    Btw, why this Chinese interest in Chittagong? Wudnt it be better to build up a port in Rangoon or Moulmein or somewhere else in Myanmar. Unless the plan is to get India’s NE to secede.

    Updike,

    All those pakistanis who wax emotional about the self-determination rights or independence of the Kashmiris and are silent when it comes to the self-determination rights or independence of Tibet, Taiwan, Hong Kong, Uighurs, Mongols etc.

    I can understand these gentlemen quite well. I too am emotional about the self-determination rights of Tibetans, Balochis, Uighurs etc but not so much about Kashmiris or Nagas.

    Regards

  50. B. Civilian

    majumdar does have a point… possibly two. here’s some completely off the cuff and possibly naive logistical analysis: KKH is a long trek, in more than just the distance sense, tonne for tonne of freight. it’ll be ok ti assume security will not be an issue. still the terrain the road passes through means it is unsuitable for the biggest lorries. add to that the toll it takes on the tachometer. fuel consumption (and wear and tear) would increase significantly. for now, china’s industry is not in the west. in fact, energy (oil + gas) production is what xinjiang is thriving on right now.

  51. yasserlatifhamdani

    Well the reason why China’s industry is in the East is largely because of the Shanghai port.

    The Chinese plan is to deploy Gwadar both as an energy conduit and a trading post… to develop Western China. Already Xingjiang’s exports are greater than ours.. and close to 12 percent of India’s.

  52. B. Civilian

    … i guess with time, and increasing traffic, the KKH will improve ie widened, gradients improved etc. the 20 hour drive from isloo to gilgit with a few landslides blocking parts of the road on the way will become a thing of the past.

  53. B. Civilian

    Vajra

    did you mean that KKH/Gwadar would be a largely mothballed insurance, or will the PRC give up the straits of malaca route altogether and make KKH the main route? or will she use both routes to full and increasing capacity?

  54. yasserlatifhamdani

    Whatever the case… the potential for this new route is remarkable… China is not the only country… you will have much of central Asia converging.

    which is why US needs Pakistan more than the other way around.

  55. Majumdar

    YLH/Civvie mian,

    Most of PRC’s industries wud remain concentrated in Eastern China- only a small part of it will be in Western China although that number itself will not be a small one as Yasser points out. Thus, the KKH/Big G route wud in normal times account for only a small chunk of China’s exports even if all the constraints that Civvie mian points out are sorted out. And as Vajra says it will be an insurance option.

    Regards

  56. yasserlatifhamdani

    It will be a small chunk initially but a substantial one for Pakistan. The two way traffic will double it. The Istanbul-Teheran-Islamabad train service might just have Gwadar offshoot.

    All of Central Asia will also come down to Gwadar. Over all it will be a huge deal.

  57. Majumdar

    Yasser Pai,

    you will have much of central Asia converging.
    which is why US needs Pakistan more than the other way around.

    I dunno whether A’stan or the five stans between themselves amount to much in international trade except if they happen to be sitting on loads of hydrocarbons.

    Regards

  58. Majumdar

    From Pakistan’s POV of course both KKH and Big G wud be big. But not from USA’s or possibly even PRC’s.

    Regards

  59. Majumdar

    Btw what do you make of the Thar Coal?

    Regards

  60. yasserlatifhamdani

    I don’t agree. The spectre of China doubling its capacity is not a light one.

  61. yasserlatifhamdani

    “Btw what do you make of the Thar Coal?”

    Sorry had to rush to a meeting. Have you followed Shahbaz Sharif’s trip to Turkey… and his meeting with Prime Minister Recep Erdogan?

  62. vajra

    @Majumdar

    As Yassir has been insisting, do sneak in a look at a map – we shall all studiously look away while you do so.

    I am not as cartographically challenged as Yasser Pai and you may imagine me to be (notwithstanding my failure to locate RajKalhani on the world map)

    Dada, I apologise if my leg-pulling continued too long.

    Btw, why this Chinese interest in Chittagong? Wudnt it be better to build up a port in Rangoon or Moulmein or somewhere else in Myanmar. Unless the plan is to get India’s NE to secede.

    My take on this is that it is connected with several factors:

    1. Access to Bangladesh natural gas, which that stubborn lot steadfastly refuse to sell to India. For the implications, please see (a) and (b) below.

    a. Bangladesh selling it to India would mean a burst of expansion based on relatively cheap energy in the east and the north-east of India. China does not necessarily want its borders heavily populated and well-ramified with infrastructure. Bursty and explosive growth on India’s north-east sector will not make China particularly happy.

    b. Once sold, it stays sold, except in case of some violent decision against India. Until that time, it is a bargaining chip, and both sides will lust after it, to the greater glory of Bangladesh.Whether China wants India to have the gas or not, it will not want to give up any large body of gas to any other competitor in the growth stakes. Having gone half way around the world looking for natural resource, they will surely feel silly leaving such a large pile to others

    @Bloody Civilian

    majumdar does have a point… possibly two.

    Of course he does. And that has ‘implications’.

    If we gather around the map of China, and gaze at it with an historical eye, we will be reminded that fully half its land mass is concentrated in three provinces which are emphatically not Han in ethnicity.

    If, further, we consider what the PRC leadership will do over a medium long plan horizon, we will inevitably be drawn to the conclusion that a balancing act between eastern sea-board based expansion and growth and inner Western population and growth are mandatory, unless the PRC have suddenly decided to write off Xinjiang, Tibet and Qing Hai. It is easy to foretell greater and greater numbers emigrating to the western provinces and to Tibet, swamping their ethnic minorities, and relieving the pressure for land on the eastern provinces.

    did you mean that KKH/Gwadar would be a largely mothballed insurance, or will the PRC give up the straits of malaca route altogether and make KKH the main route? or will she use both routes to full and increasing capacity?

    Marine transport costs are hugely lower, and we may expect to see the oceanic route as primary, initially. However, since there will be options – the Karakoram Highway, the Chittagong Railway – brows in Beijing will remain unfurrowed and Confucian in calm contemplation of a well-insured future. It is likely that there will be greater emphasis on the land routes in case of specific impediments or blocks on sea shipment.

  63. B. Civilian

    majumdar

    re. thar coal

    apparently it is deeper than usual and there is water sitting atop the coal, so extracting it is problematic.

    i’d have thought finding the water there would have been good news. but that’s besides the point. the primary economic attraction is the coal (in other words, there is little money in the natives and their livestock getting more water).

    i read somewhere about a method of chemically combusting the coal, in situ, and then capturig the gases produced, bubbling up through the water.

    i haven’t checked if my info is right.

  64. Milind Kher

    The Thar coal reserves are much more than the oil reserves of Iran and Saudi Arabia put together. If Pakistan were to focus in a big way in trying to extract these, it would benefit immensely.

    However, that would involve developed technology and a focused effort. That may be easier said than done.

  65. B. Civilian

    vajra

    a minor aspect of the advantage is not having to go thru foreign jurisdictions. not because of any possibility of hostility on part of the other jurisdiction, but the occasional undesirabilty of being subjected to inconvenient laws and inspections.

    it is no more the china of 1962, one hopes. pak might still be capable of stupidities like badaber, but it will never do one on the US.

  66. Hayyer

    I find these arguments a little hard to follow not being aware of China’s export strategies for the region. China is already bigger than Germany as an exporter. Its manufactures are naturally concentrated in its east. It is not economical to ship out over the long land route to Gwadar even by train. Besides the market in the Middle East is comparatively speaking, a small one.
    China can also escape the Malacca straits by shipping out through Yangon. And it can export to Europe through the Panama Canal as well as on the land route through Asia. Xinjiang may well emerge as a major exporter through Gwadar but surely not in manufactures.
    If Iran emerges from the revolutionary regime it would by far be a better option for Central Asia.
    But this piece concerned America and Pakistan, and in that equation Gwadar counts more for China’s strategic interests. Its immense economy can hardly expect to be fed by one road. Americans would probably want a friendly Iran to help them with their economic interests in Central Asia. Pakistan has a competitor there potentially.

    Hoss:
    “If by any chance the Islamists take over in Pakistan, the US with its proxy India would forget all about the international norms the way it ignored them when dealing with Iraq. The nuke is the only safety net that stands between an aggressive India and looking-for-an-opportunity US.”

    There is no basis for this statement. India’s ‘friendship’ with the US is a recent thing. Pakistan is a major non NATO ally. Are you suggesting that India would risk getting itself nuked to serve America’s presumptive interest in destruction of Pakistani assets. It is an unlikely scenario. Remember, India refused a request by Israel to assist in a raid on Pakistan’s reactor, some three decades or more ago. Since ’47 as Ammar’s post shows it is Pakistan that is an American proxy. The Americans have been rather hostile to India till quite recently. Our weapons are all Russian, yours all American. America has in the past threatened India with military power on behalf of Pakistan. Besides, as has been said before the usual aggressor in the sub continent is Pakistan. If India did not attack Pakistan when it did not have nuclear cover what chance of it acting as a proxy now. Your fears are fanciful. Which is not to say that India would be unhappy if US/Israel combined to rid it off the nuclear threat from Pakistan.

    “We all want better relations with India but both states are vying for a strategic position in the area and the conflict between India and Pakistan is not all about Kashmir or 1947. It is way more than that.”

    This comment eludes my understanding. What is the inherent conflict of interest between our two countries that you think makes us compete in strategic positioning, if it is not Kashmir? If Jinnah could talk of Pakistan being a bulwark in the defence of India and Ayub Khan could even suggest joint defence to Nehru what is it you see that escaped them.
    Surely you cannot mean that Hindus and Pakistani Muslims are natural born foes for all time. Why are Pakistan’s interests more in line with China than with India except in the context of Kashmir and 47?

  67. hoss

    Hayyar,

    You appear to be beholden to the past.

    Kashmir and 1947 were conflicts of the past. India now aspires to be the regional power in the area. Actually, It wants be the sole power in the area and this is contrary to Pakistan’s interests. So the issue now is bigger than the minor Kashmir conflict.

    India might not have attacked Pakistan in the past, but it can now and as I said the nukes are the only thing standing between the two countries. Nukes might be able to prevent wars but not conflicts.

    India is hooked up with the US in many ways. It has an IT business that is mostly with the US. The nuke deal means India would spend $100 billion in the next few years for the US technology and would be depending on the US for the supply and spare parts. That makes India more dependent on the US. Pakistan’s commitment with the US is barely $2 billion yearly, $1.5 billion aid plus around half a billion in military equipments.

    With a larger commitment with the US, India is more likely to act on behalf of the US than Pakistan.

    Relationships change between the countries. US and India might have some issues or Pakistan was more closer to the US in the past, not anymore. You cannot cite what happened in the past with what is happening now in international relations.

    Pak and US are competing and cooperating in Afghanistan at the same time. With the anti-American sentiments running high in Pakistan, the likelihood of a conflict with the US exists. India has no conflict with the US interests in the area. In fact, Indians believe that they can be a regional power with the US support and that puts India in conflict with Pakistan and to some extent with China.

  68. hoss

    There is clearly a misconception about China’s help in constructing the Gwadar port. China’s help does not mean it has some strategic interests in the area. Pakistani falsely assume many things from the Chinese cooperation.

    It is an investment China made and as the Gwader port starts to make some money, China would get its investment back. It will help China in low cost trade with Pakistan, Iran and some Gulf Countries and that is just an added benefit. Gwadar was never meant to be a Chinese outpost. If Pakistan leases the port out to US and that repays the Chinese investment, China would not have any problem with that.

    Pakistanis sometimes make up fancy stories out of some simple transactions.
    Chinese help in Gwadar does not mean that it has some huge Geo-political interests with the port.

  69. vajra

    @Bloody Civilian

    i’d have thought finding the water there would have been good news. but that’s besides the point. the primary economic attraction is the coal (in other words, there is little money in the natives and their livestock getting more water).

    O tempora o mores!

    @Milind Kher

    The Thar coal reserves are much more than the oil reserves of Iran and Saudi Arabia put together. If Pakistan were to focus in a big way in trying to extract these, it would benefit immensely.

    And to think that if only the wretched stuff had been in liquid form, it would have been unnecessary to import assassins for the Great Indian Bustard.

    @Bloody Civilian

    a minor aspect of the advantage is not having to go thru foreign jurisdictions. not because of any possibility of hostility on part of the other jurisdiction, but the occasional undesirabilty of being subjected to inconvenient laws and inspections.

    The position of your tongue in your cheek is duly noted, and it is stated for the record that all claims to original technical discoveries will be acknowledged.

    The precise method of acknowledgement is kept reserved.

  70. Hayyer

    Hoss:
    My question was why India and Pakistan should be positioning themselves strategically without Kashmir and ’47 as a backdrop. India’s trade with the US does not make India US dependent any more than China’s trade with the US makes it so. The nuclear deal is being taken advantage of by Russia and France as well and they are already off the mark while the US is sorts out legal issues.
    So why should India’s economic ties with the US put it into an adversarial relationship with Pakistan?
    The US could not make a proxy out of India when it was living from ship to mouth under PL480 food aid in the sixties. Why do you suppose it will become one now considering that Indian economic success is self made not US gifted.
    There is no reason whatsoever for Indo-Pak hostility outside of Kashmir and the bad memories of ’47. Unless, that is, the needs of Pakistan’s Army are taken into account.
    There may be a mindset in Pakistan that is opposed on principle to friendship with India. If you subscribe to this school enlighten us at least what that principle is. Some discussants have opined that India and Pakistan should sort out Kashmir and then turn their backs on each other, but that is not what I understood you to be saying.

    “Relationships change between the countries. US and India might have some issues or Pakistan was more closer to the US in the past, not anymore. You cannot cite what happened in the past with what is happening now in international relations.”

    Too true! But if the past is no guide to the future then Kashmir and ’47 should not dictate the future course of Indo Pak relations either.

    “Pak and US are competing and cooperating in Afghanistan at the same time. With the anti-American sentiments running high in Pakistan, the likelihood of a conflict with the US exists. India has no conflict with the US interests in the area. In fact, Indians believe that they can be a regional power with the US support and that puts India in conflict with Pakistan and to some extent with China”

    May I suggest that there need not be any reason for America and Pakistan to compete either. It depends upon what Pakistan’s strategic goals are. Unless you believe that the Muslim world is forever in conflict with the US, Pakistan can only benefit from its proximity to the US. Pakistan’s military interest in Afghanistan is surely connected to its eastward strategies. If its all quiet on the eastern front why should Pakistan have a conflict of interest with the US. As late as 1997 the US was trying to push Unocal interests in Afghanistan and supported the Afghan Taliban in line with Pakistan.
    India’s conflict with China is mostly self created but not entirely. While India was bound to draw the wrath of China for giving asylum and providing a base to the Dalai Lama, it could have sorted out its border issue with China peacefully and reasonably if it had accepted Zhou en Lai’s sensible proposals made in April ’60 on his visit to India. India has foolishly courted Chinese hostility on the border issue, and is frozen by habit in a moral posturing which is neither historically accurate nor strategically useful. But India is not continously so foolish, and it is not going to get caught in the role of a US proxy against Pakistan or China. India’s troubles with the two countries are entirely our self created, and she will brazen them out to the best of her not inconsiderable ability.

  71. rex minor

    I am not well qualified to understand the politics of Pakistan, nor do I consider the USA politics in any way influenced by developments in Pakistan. I have not had the time to read other commentries, my reading of the article is that it is an illusion of one man, probably more, who owe their loyalty squarely to two countries namely USA and Pakistan.
    Most of all, it sets aside the historical developments in the world.
    Even the most liberal British and the European does not regard USA as a natural ally. The western alliances is to protect common values and their democracies.
    Regards,

  72. karun

    aptly put rex minor

  73. sid

    Hoss:

    “””India is hooked up with the US in many ways. It has an IT business that is mostly with the US. The nuke deal means India would spend $100 billion in the next few years for the US technology and would be depending on the US for the supply and spare parts. That makes India more dependent on the US.”””

    This is nonsense. Get your facts right before making wrong assumptions or misleading others.

    1. If India’s IT business is mostly with US, then Indian economy might have fallen down in this recession, but it did not as feared. The reason being Indian IT industry is more wide-spread and does considerable business in European countries too.

    2. Nuclear deal is not US-only. India can get fuel guarantees and others technologies from European countries, Russia or Australia too. I heard some deals are already happened with other countries.

  74. karun

    Arey i work with French companies, there is already a deal in making of building a huge reactor with french assistance in maharashtra. indian arm of french banks are even funding this project of NPCL. (nuclear power corp. Ltd.)

  75. YLH

    Rex minor,

    You have the right to your own view. My view of your comment is that it is by an idiot who doesn’t have a point.

  76. hoss

    sid
    “If India’s IT business is mostly with US, then Indian economy might have fallen down in this recession,”

    The best thing for you is to look at Indian IT numbers and see the % of business that India gets from the US. Please do include the remittances by the H1 IT professionals to India.

    “Nuclear deal is not US-only”
    Nonsense. The deal is with the US. The other countries got involved because of the deal with the US. If the US backs out of the deal, no country would provide any help to India. As far as the numbers go, you can again look up what India plans to order from the US and what % goes to the other countries. Plus India plans to buy almost $10 billion military hardware from the US. The Indian dependence on the US is growing and that means India would have to follow the US lead in the international affairs. This is how the international relations work. Deteriorating India-Iran relationship is one good example.
    India backed out of the Pipeline deal under the US pressure.

    PL480 was purely humanitarian aid and now we are talking about trade dependence.

    Hayyar,

    “India’s trade with the US does not make India US dependent any more than China’s trade with the US makes it so.”

    You can’t compare India with China in this regard. China is far ahead in its dealing with the US because the relationship is not one dimensional. Still, China cooperates with the US more than it confronts the US in International affairs. India and China don’t have similar economic clout. India’s exports are still in $150-200 billion range, which is nothing when compared to China’s worldwide exports. So India and China comparison lives in Indian minds only. Maybe twenty to thirty years down the line, India would have the same clout but not now.

    Kashmir is not the reason for the hostilities between India and Pakistan any more. I will write something in details on this issue later.

    After the US attack on Afghanistan, the political dynamics have changed and are still changing. In our neighborhood, the cold war is becoming a hot war; the territorial dispute would have very limited impact on the larger battles.

    India is becoming more allied with the US and Pakistan is drifting away from the US. That means the possibilities of better relations between the countries don’t look good. Yes, we would all like to see better relations with India but I don’t see that happening for another ten years or so or until this hot war is moved away from this area to a different one.

  77. Achutha

    Kashmir is a minor conflict of the past? The indo-pak conflict is not about 47 and kashmir but about india’s hegemonic intentions? and pakistan’s primary motivation is to contain India’s hegemony?

    Its something to consider. I suppose that you are not wrong. Kashmir may possibly be not the center of the conflict but only a fetish, an icon, the leverage point of pakistan’s motivation to contain Indian hegemony.

    In that case, it would make sense why the US and China loom so large in pakistan’s strategic calculations and why pakistanis always talk of being a trade route for china into the gulf region or a conduit to central asia. Its all about how pakistan, with about a population and an economy about 14% of India’s seeks strategic parity, or atleast seeks to resist India’s regional domination. Partnerships with giants are needed. As are sources/venues of wealth creation that do not include India.

    It all begins to make sense.

    What remains unclear is the whether it is in pakistan’s interest to resist Indian regional dominance. To me it its like a chappie trying to stop the flow of a river with sticks and stones because he The ambition to resist Indian dominanceKashmir is a minor conflict of the past? the indo-pak conflict is not about 47 and kashmir but about india’s hegemonic intentions? and pakistan is motivated to contain India’s hegemony?

    Its something to consider. I suppose that you are not wrong. Kashmir may possibly be not the center of the conflict but only a fetish, an icon, the leverage point of pakistan’s motivation to contain Indian hegemony.

    In that case, it would make sense why the US and China loom so large in pakistan’s strategic calculations and why pakistanis always talk of being a trade route for china into the gulf region or a conduit to central asia. Its all about how pakistan, with about a population and an economy about 14% of India’s seeks strategic parity, or atleast seeks to resist India’s regional domination. Partnerships with giants are needed. As are sources/venues of wealth creation that do not include India.

    It all begins to make sense.

    What remains unclear, from a completely unsentimental point of view, is whether it is in pakistan’s interest to resist Indian regional dominance or to accept it. The latter would seem to offer pakistan great opportunity to benefit from the venues that would open up and ato as escape from all of the burdens of conflict with India. Thats blasphemous I suppose. The ambition to resist Indian dominance, to seek parity with India, goes back, I suppose, to Iqbal’s vision and Jinnah’s accomplishments, and acceptance of india’s dominance is unimaginable. So pakistan continues determinedly to seek parity without cooperation with the 7 times larger India.

    The sherdilli is admirable, but it also looks suicidal to me. All the best with it., to seek parity with India, goes back, I suppose, to Iqbal’s vision and Jinnah’s accomplishments.

  78. Achutha

    My apologies, my message got garbled because I inadvertently copy pasted the message into itself. For the sake of clarity:

    Kashmir is a minor conflict of the past? the indo-pak conflict is not about 47 and kashmir but about india’s hegemonic intentions? and pakistan is motivated to contain India’s hegemony?

    Its something to consider. I suppose that you are not wrong. Kashmir may possibly be not the center of the conflict but only a fetish, an icon, the leverage point of pakistan’s motivation to contain Indian hegemony.

    In that case, it would make sense why the US and China loom so large in pakistan’s strategic calculations and why pakistanis always talk of being a trade route for china into the gulf region or a conduit to central asia. Its all about how pakistan, with about a population and an economy about 14% of India’s seeks strategic parity, or atleast seeks to resist India’s regional domination. Partnerships with giants are needed. As are sources/venues of wealth creation that do not include India.

    It all begins to make sense.

    What remains unclear, from a completely unsentimental point of view, is whether it is in pakistan’s interest to resist Indian regional dominance or to accept it. The latter would seem to offer pakistan great opportunity to benefit from the venues that would open up and ato as escape from all of the burdens of conflict with India. Thats blasphemous I suppose. The ambition to resist Indian dominance, to seek parity with India, goes back, I suppose, to Iqbal’s vision and Jinnah’s accomplishments, and acceptance of india’s dominance is unimaginable. So pakistan continues determinedly to seek parity without cooperation with the 7 times larger India.

    The sherdilli is admirable, but it also looks suicidal to me. All the best with it.

  79. Karaya

    The US needs Pakistan MORE than Pakistan needs the US: The importance of Pakistan to the US is fundamental. Not only does Pakistan geographically sit at the crossroads of great energy pipelines of the world but will be an important conduit for China – the next global economic superpower…As in 1970-1971, US will look to Pakistan to play not only the role of bridgebuilder with China but perhaps will seek to exercise influence through it. The post-US scenario in Afghanistan is a daunting challenge and a clash between US and Indian/Russian interests in Afghanistan is likely and in this the US will lean on Pakistan….As the third world and Muslim world will move out of US sphere, Pakistan’s importance for US policy makers will only increase.

    I was struck by the uncanny resemblance of this point with an interview of Jinnah by Margaret Bourke-White in September ’47 in which she portrays J as something of an evil, mad-scientist; I guess she made no bones about her political loyalties in India. Anyway, here’s an excerpt from the interview:

    “What plans did he have for the industrial development of the country? Did he hope to enlist technical or financial assistance from America?

    “America needs Pakistan more than Pakistan needs America,” was Jinnah’s reply. “Pakistan is the pivot of the world, as we are placed” — he revolved his long forefinger in bony circles — “the frontier on which the future position of the world revolves.” He leaned toward me, dropping his voice to a confidential note. “Russia,” confided Mr. Jinnah, “is not so very far away.”

    This had a familiar ring. In Jinnah’s mind this brave new nation had no other claim on American friendship than this – that across a wild tumble of roadless mountain ranges lay the land of the BoIsheviks. I wondered whether the Quaid-i-Azam considered his new state only as an armored buffer between opposing major powers. He was stressing America’s military interest in other parts of the world. “America is now awakened,” he said with a satisfied smile. Since the United States was now bolstering up Greece and Turkey, she should be much more interested in pouring money and arms into Pakistan. “If Russia walks in here,” he concluded, “the whole world is menaced.” ”

  80. hoss

    Achutha
    “Its all about how pakistan, with about a population and an economy about 14% of India’s seeks strategic parity, or atleast seeks to resist India’s regional domination.”

    Since when the Size or the population makes it difficult to achieve parity? If the number of people living in India mattered than India would have been a bigger power than the US.

    The Indian hegemonic mind is becoming a source of problem for all countries in the Indian neighborhood.

    “What remains unclear, from a completely unsentimental point of view, is whether it is in pakistan’s interest to resist Indian regional dominance or to accept it. The latter would seem to offer pakistan great opportunity to benefit from the venues that would open up and ato as escape from all of the burdens of conflict with India.”

    So the only way for Pakistan to have better relations with India, is by way of accepting Indian’s regional dominance. What a stupid thought and perhaps the source of the problems in the area.

    Most of your post is indecipherable but a few gems tell me where you are coming from.

  81. yasserlatifhamdani

    Honestly… Bourke-White was the first in a long line of yellow journalists who should have stuck to taking pictures instead of indulging in analysis which was not her forte. Her partisanship in the whole period is apparent from her historically inaccurate accounts in her book. I have discussed her excerpts – as quoted by some Indian research institute- in detail elsewhere.

    Perhaps had she not been so challenged academically, she would have also quoted Jinnah’s address to the Americans … or his famous “equal partners in defence of democracy”.

    The problem these westerners had with Jinnah was aptly noted by a rather perceptive little dialogue written by one Hamidm:

    everybody loves gandhiji

    mem sahib: oh virgil, look at that poor naked man starving imself to death – what does he want ?

    sahib: the man is an idiot …… just forget about him …. here, give me a kiss

    mem sahib: but just look at him – he looks so weak and scrawny and emaciated and he has no hair and no shoes and people tell me that he hasn`t had sex in forty years …..

    sahib (a little irritated): would you want to have sex with a man who looks like him !

    mem sahib: no dear – but we are christians and we have to show compassion for these poor starving heathens because god entrusted them in our care ……. what does the poor man want ?

    sahib: that idiot wants freedom – he wants us to pack up and go back to england so that he can go back to living in a mud hut with his goat and nieces …….. ingrate ! ……. he doesn`t know how good he has it – electricity, the kutchery, high tea, polo and the hill stations in uti and simla ………. these natives are incorrigible !

    mem sahib: but dear, he looks so miserable, so pathetic and look !….. look at all the flies buzzing around him – the poor man doesn`t even have the energy to shoo them away !………. please, oh please – let him have his independence …. let`s go home – i am tired of living in this miserable place anyway – the summers are awful, and as much as you try you cannot teach an indian cook to make a decent shepherd`s pie ……….

    sahib: except jinnah`s cook …….

    mem sahib: who is jinnah ? ………

    sahib (even more irritated) : i hate that man – he thinks he is better than us …….. give me a kiss….

    mem sahib: but dear can we give this poor suffering man his independence ………. look !….. he can hardly breath and his ribs – oh my god ! – look at his ribs ! ……. i think he is dying ……….

    sahib (exasperated): okay, okay !……….. the idiot can have his independence – serves him right ! ……….. now, can i have a kiss

    mem sahib: oh virgil, you are so handsome and charming and wonderful ……… i love you

    sahib (muttering) : and if i didn`t love you so much i would let that half naked bugger”

  82. Sameet

    Wow, somebody is getting very prickly🙂 Indians, please desist from commenting, because whatever you say will be deemed stupid, apparently.

  83. Achutha

    Hoss,

    I am not sure I follow you.

    Firstly, You said “Since when the Size or the population makes it difficult to achieve parity?” Well, I mentioned economy size along with population. population size on its own doesn’t matter much, but if productivity per capita is about the same (which it is), then the larger population will have the larger economy. My reference to population was only in that context. However, you went straight to the population size question. Are you saying that the size/scale/sophistication of a country’s economy is not relevant to its strategic weight and/or its regional dominance?

    I also don’t understand how pakistan can have better relations with India without accepting its regional dominance. Canada accepts america’s regional dominance. India and australia accept china’s, Greece accepts germany’s, Argentina accept’s Brazils. Perhaps I understand regional dominance to mean something different than you do. Maybe I am misguided but when I look at the NAFTA, EU, and East asia zones, I see economies integrated for mutually benefit, but with some much larger and dominant than others. but for the non-dominant ones, I see opportunity not threat.

    I am obviously not seeing “dominance” in quite the same way you are. For you it seems a threat rather than an opportunity. Can you help me understand why, if you leave aside just the emotional revulsion to India’s dominance, a south asian economic zone with a dominant india but with prospering countries around it is not possible or not desirable? It hurts the pakistan soul, but would it hurt the pakistani state?

    I don’t see any reason why Pakistan would be happy with America’s and China’s but not India’s other than that it just doesn’t want to accept Indian dominance. Perhaps I don’t understand what real threat to pakistani prosperity Indian dominance presents that its games of footsy with the US or China do not, other than that it would just mean the end of pakistani claims of strategic equality with India.

    I’d be glad for some clarity. Thanks!

  84. PMA

    I find the discussion between the two ‘Hs’ quite interesting. Normally Hayyer makes lot of sense but in this debate I am mostly with Hossp. The India-Pak conflict is beyond Kashmir and 47. It is all about Indian ambitions and security. Pakistan and its Army stands in the Indian way. India wants a ‘western bangladesh’. She may get it one day.

    About Gwadar and its significance. Of course the small sea and air ports of Gwadar are important to Pakistan. But its international strategic and economic importance is an exaggeration at best. Same could be said about the seasonal single-lane slow-speed KKH. I am afraid I can not join in Yasser’s fantasies.

    About Thar Coal. Most Pakistanis including its politicians have very poor knowledge about these reserves. Coal being ‘below water’ is a good example of it. Problem with Thar Coal is not lack of technology. The coal reserves although estimated to be of large quantity are poor in quality. The BTU value is very low and reserves are too deep to make its extraction, at this stage, economical. At this point relatively cheaper fuel sources are available in the region.

    A project relatively more attractive to all concerned is the Iran-Pakistan-China energy corridor on which currently negotiation is going on. India under American pressure took itself out of the deal. Let us hope that Pak leaders do not succumb to American pressures. Similarly Pak-Iran- Turkey railway and roadway links are very important for Pakistan’s economical and regional importance.

    But this ‘natural allies’ business is just another fairy tale.

  85. rex minor

    @ylh
    you are very jumpy.You do not have to get exited and start calling names. I wish you had a proper brought up and treat others with respect even though they disagree with you. What do you wish in response, most of the comments have already been provided on this forum. Why do’nt you take time and read them. In my view your case is hopless, this is the verdict you would receive even in a Pakistan court.

  86. YLH

    Rex minor,

    I have read your comments and most of the time you are completely clueless.

    I don’t suffer fools gladly and you are a very big sufferance for everyone.

  87. Ammar Qureshi

    This is what Agha Shahi-one of the best brains that this country produced- wrote about US-Indo strategic pact in 2005.

    Indo-US strategic pact

    By Agha Shahi

    THE signing of the New Framework for the US-India Defence Relationship by the defence ministers of the two countries in Washington on June 28, marked the commencement of “a new era” in their evolving strategic partnership and a follow-up to the signing last year of the next steps in strategic partnership agreement.

    After noting that the US-India defence cooperation had advanced to an unprecedented and qualitatively different level since 1995, when the agreed minute on defence relations between the US and India was signed, the latest agreement clearly states that it would support and be an element of the broader US-India strategic partnership. It “builds on past successes, seizes new opportunities and charts a course for the US-India defence relationship for the next ten years.”

    The latest US-India defence pact claims to advance their shared security interests which include; maintaining security and stability; defeating terrorism and violent religious extremism; preventing the spread of weapons of mass destruction and associated materials, data and technologies; and protecting the free flow of commerce via land, air and sea lanes.

    In pursuit of these shared interests, the defence establishments of the two countries will promote mutual cooperation. To this end, they shall, inter alia; conduct joint and combined exercises; collaborate in multinational operations when it is in their common interest; strengthen the capabilities of their militaries to promote security and defeat terrorism; enhance capabilities to combat the proliferation of WMD’s; enhance bilateral defence trade; increase opportunities for technology transfer, collaboration, co-production, and research and development; expand collaboration relating to missile defence; increase exchange of intelligence; and continue strategic-level discussions for common approaches on international security issues.

    A high-level mechanism has been established by the agreement to guide and oversee the long-term US-India strategic defence relationship. The newly established Defence Procurement and Production Group under the overall guidance of the Defence Policy Group of the two militaries, which is meant to advance US-India defence cooperation, will oversee defence trade as well as prospects for co-production and technology collaboration in the defence field.

    The Defence Procurement and Production Group is expected to address the issue of the possible sale and co-production of F-16 or F-18 aircraft which have been offered to India. There are already reports that the US has offered to sell the Patriot PAC-3 anti-missile system and waive its export controls to let India acquire the Arrow missile system as well as dual-use advanced nuclear and space technologies.

    In this context, the more recent Indo-US agreement, concluded during Prime Minister Manmohan Singh’s visit to Washington, enabling India to acquire nuclear power reactors and technology for peaceful purposes is highly significant as it sets aside the restrictions of the Non-Proliferation Treaty, and the guidelines of the Nuclear Suppliers Group and the Missile Technology Control Regime.

    The latest US-India defence pact has far-reaching adverse implications for Pakistan’s security and for peace and stability not only in South Asia but also in Asia and the world. It poses formidable challenges to Pakistan’s policymakers in the diplomatic, political and security fields in maintaining the balance of power in the region.

    The pact confirms that the US has decided to accord higher priority and greater importance to its fast growing relations with India which it has come to accept as the dominant power in South Asia than to those with Pakistan. It also needs to be seen in the context of the declaration by the United States in March 2005 to help India become a “major world power in the 21st century” which would enable the latter to project its power in its neighbourhood and beyond with the apparent strategic aim of countering the growing weight of a rising China in Asia. The US military-industrial complex would also benefit from ingress to the growing Indian armaments market.

    Therefore, the agreement is driven by considerations which ignore those relevant to the maintenance of strategic balance in South Asia. In pursuit of the goal of accelerating India’s rise to a global power status as a counterweight to China, the US has disregarded the imperative of a strategic balance in South Asia. It has not factored in the unlikelihood of India reversing its current trend of developing its strategic relations with China in favour of US geo-political strategy of weaving a web of containment around it, besides prejudicing an equitable settlement of Kashmir by aggravating the imbalance of power between the two contending sides.

    The US also disregards the fact that India along with Iran and Pakistan are seeking membership in the Shanghai Cooperation Organization headed by Russia and China which ‘rejects attempts at monopoly and domination in international affairs and calls for a new security architecture of equal security for all countries.”

    The recent telephone call by US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice to Foreign Minister Kasuri informing him that Washington would remain responsive to the security concerns of Pakistan, a major non-Nato ally, is helpful but not sufficiently reassuring, keeping in view the past US track record and the strategic importance of its defence pact with India that embeds it in Asia, the emerging centre of gravity of world power.

    Pakistan, therefore, must remain vigilant in the face of this ominous development that would adversely affect Pakistan’s nuclear capacity by anti-ballistic missile systems to intercept short and medium-range missiles carrying nuclear weapons and come to grips with the diplomatic, political, military and strategic challenges to its national security.

    In this regard, the Islamabad Council of World Affairs recommends the following: At the diplomatic level, Pakistan should forcefully convey to the US at the highest level its security concerns caused by the latest Indo-US defence pact. We must emphasize the destabilizing consequences for Asia, particularly South Asia, of an open-ended supply of highly advanced weapons and new weapon systems to India. The supply of an anti-missile system to India would especially disturb the precarious strategic balance in South Asia.

    Since both Pakistan and India are de facto nuclear weapon states, the government of Pakistan as a major non-Nato ally and pivotal partner in the war on terror, should urge the US to adopt an even-handed and non-discriminatory policy on the transfer of nuclear and space high technologies for peaceful purposes and not a differential treatment in the name of “individual relationships”.

    All of Pakistan’s civilian nuclear facilities have been subject to IAEA safeguards since their inception. Its national command authority has institutionalized in a transparent manner the command and control of nuclear weapons since 2000 to ensure they are secure and cannot be taken over by extremists. Pakistan has also taken stringent measures of export control to prevent proliferation of nuclear weapons by any clandestine network to any state or non-state actor.

    It is abiding by its self-imposed moratorium on nuclear weapon tests. In short, Pakistan is conducting itself as a responsible nuclear weapon power and is therefore entitled, no less than is India, to tacit recognition as a nuclear weapon state. Pakistan’s nuclear capability poses no threat to US national security.

    The acquisition of new weapons systems by India would force Pakistan to take the necessary measures to redress the strategic balance. This could result in the diversion of scarce resources from the gigantic task of economic development and eradication of poverty, to military purposes. We must impress upon the US, which otherwise emphasizes the need for economic progress and human development, that it would be ironical for it to pursue policies with the potential to produce the opposite results.

    Pakistan’s experts should carefully study the security implications for Pakistan of the supply to India of anti-missile systems and other new weapon systems including conventional armaments costing $5 billion. Our aim should be to maintain a credible deterrent at the lowest possible cost without entering into an arms race with India.

    Pakistan’s security policy must be based on a judicious integration of its military, economic and diplomatic / political dimensions with special attention to its sustainable economic development. Over-emphasis on the military at the expense of economic and diplomatic / political dimensions would have serious consequences for the country.

    Pakistan must, of course, continue its policy of developing close and friendly relations and cooperation with the US bearing in mind at the same time the latter’s limitations in security cooperation with Pakistan set by India’s opposition to any enhancement of Pakistan’s deterrent capability. The decision of the National Command Authority headed by President Musharraf to take “appropriate measures” to ensure the maintenance of deterrence capability of the country cannot but be welcome.

    In the face of the “quantum jump” in Indo-US defence cooperation a major policy shift by the US with regional and global implications of hegemony Pakistan must necessarily take counter-measures that remain open for it. Pakistan should also broaden its options while continuing the policy of developing tension-free and good neighbourly relations with India through a just and peaceful resolution of the Kashmir dispute and other impediments to the normalization of relations.

    Pakistan’s comprehensive, long term and stable friendly relations with China have been a factor of stability in an otherwise volatile region. Strengthening these historic ties is the need of the hour in addition, serious attention must be focused on building bridges of understanding with Russia while developing closer links with neighbours to the west and north, specially Iran and Afghanistan. All these countries have a common interest in a multipolar world order in preference to global or regional hegemonism for establishing “strategic stability in the world.”

    The writer is a former foreign minister.

    Dawn- July 28, 2005

  88. updike

    to PTH

    1) India has no hegemonial desires or instincts.
    2) Pakistanis like to say that India has hegemonial desires in order to justify their army’s meddling in politics and in order to have a hate-figure for domestic consumption.
    3) Pakistan needs a hate-figure because how else can Pakistan maintain itself ideologically, militarily and financially.
    4) Financially Pakistan has become more and more a satellite of China, USA, Saudis, even Libya, UAE etc. 5) Pakistan and its sovereignty will always be under the thumbs of the above mentioned.
    6) The similarity between indian-ness and pakistan’s ordinary people is great and historically given – pakistan’s rulers however are scared of this similarity and wish to be different and they think that they can best differentiate themselves by serving the arabs, chinese, turks etc.
    7) History-writing in Pakistan will be thus always a product of self-deceit.
    8) India’s politics vis-a-vis Pakistan is weak and reactive. Some (not all) powerful muslims living in India are unreliable in their loyalty and that weakens India.
    9) God in his mercy will send natural catastrophes to solve some problems. Poor fellow, even he has no other means left to deal with this situation. Even he cannot solve all problems.

  89. Sameet

    Updike, please, really, enough. India has no hegemonist designs or intentions? Why do you think so? What is different in the DNA of Indians compared to other nations that makes you think the above?
    –Asked by a fellow Indian.

  90. updike

    To Sameet

    India and indian society (or whatever other term to call it) is internally divided – since 3000 or 5000 years. It has no unique ideology or cohesion or uniformity. In India you can’t get people together even in a village to do some local social activity (some idealists from cities may come to do it and then leave in frustration – as happened to me). India’s caste system prevented India from becoming a hegemone – atleast outside of India.

    If any hindu in India talks about the land lost by hindus to the muslims and islam – that is not hegemonial talk. It is a sad bitter dream – may be a revisionist dream. When Hejaz was under turkish rule the arabs resented the turks. The arabs’ fight against turks was not any desire to practise hegemony. Although the turks too are muslims the arabs did not want them to command over arabic Makkah and Madinah.

    The phrase “indian hegemony” is much used – but still not explained by those who use it. Those who talk of indian hegemony have no problem creeping under arab, chinese or US umbrella. In fact they talk of indian hegemony in order to justify these very creepings. Just as you asked me – now ask those who use this phrase what they mean by it and let us see what they come up with.

    In our school days we often saw a big boy being fooled and ridiculed by a smaller one – it is not the case that in a conflict between big and small the small one is always the innocent party. Or in a conflict between majority and minority the majority is always the guilty party.

    Imagine : 100 000 pak soldiers fighting against 5000 miltants and you say the pak army is bigger hence the rogue in this conflict.

    Read my earlier post carefully – it is actually quite realistic and balanced. India is not a perfect entity – never was and never will be. But let us not make false accusations and lead ourselves away from real solutions (whatever are still possibly possible, apart from the natural supra-human catastrophes mentioned by me and which god is his mercy will visit upon us to relieve us of our earthly existence).

  91. Sameet

    Updike,

    1)India’s caste system prevented India from becoming a hegemone (sic) atleast outside of India–You are confusing what should be a purely military consideration and ascribing societal issues into it. Does India have the capacity to invade Pakistan? Yes. Hence it has the capacity to be a hegemon. Intentions do not matter, capacity does.

    2)Although the turks too are muslims the arabs did not want them to command over arabic Makkah and Madinah.—So also the Pakistanis do not want the Indians to command them.

    3)If any hindu in India talks about the land lost by hindus to the muslims and islam – that is not hegemonial talk. It is a sad bitter dream – may be a revisionist dream.—The moment you talk of revision, you give offense to somebody who stands to lose from your intended revision. This point you made actually bolsters your opponents position.

    4)now ask those who use this phrase what they mean by it and let us see what they come up with.–We all know what they will say; Junagarh, Hyderabad, Sikkim and of course Kashmir will be cited. Personally I find them laughable, but that is what their perception is, and we Indians would make a start understanding them. Then we do what we have to do, which is more of what we are already doing.

    5)it is not the case that in a conflict between big and small the small one is always the innocent party. Or in a conflict between majority and minority the majority is always the guilty party–Agreed. However, there is very limited morality involved in geopolitical issues anyways. It does not matter as long as the strategic objectives are achieved.

  92. ghani

    Updike’s post id inspired by this:
    Reunify India and Pakistan, says Govindacharya

    beta.thehindu.com/news/national/article81006.ece

    “The time has come to jettison the Constitution, which was modelled on western parliamentary democracies. It ought to be framed keeping in mind India’s culture and tradition, says the document, recommending that a new Constituent Assembly be tasked with its drafting. The new Constitution should expressly bar people of foreign origin from aspiring to the posts of Prime Minister, President and Chiefs of the Armed Forces.

    The document goes so far as to seek the merger of Pakistan with India on the ground that Akhand Bharat is an eternal truth. A mere line drawn on the ground cannot separate two territories and two people united by a common civilisation, it says.”

  93. neel123

    @ updike,
    The beauty of India is, it is unity in diversity.
    The traditional festivals are celebrated in different corners of India on the same day, but with different names, for example the Sankranti in northern and eastern India is Pongal, Onam etc in the south, Bihu in Assam.

    Have you heard anything like this in Pakistan, or in Islam ?

  94. YLH

    Neel123,

    Have you read Oscar Wilde’s definition of a scoundrel? You are it my friend. Add to that ignorance and arrogance… My guess is that you ought to visit a psychiatrist soon.

    Pakistan is no less diverse than India but you’ll have to stop tasting your unqiue brand of Indian halwa to see that.

  95. Sameet

    neel,

    By your unity in diversity can be extended to the whole world, not just India.
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Harvest_festival

    whats your point?

  96. vajra

    @Sameet

    While I can’t agree entirely with your analysis, it does do a reasonable job of refuting Updike’s misdirected thinking.

    On a minor historical point usually glossed over by Hindutvavadis. You might like to point out to him that Hindus themselves were entrants into the sub-continent, and destroyed the original culture by force, besides enslaving the original inhabitants and making them a 3,000 year old slave stratum in society – a wrong that we have not yet righted.

    They don’t like hearing this, so much so that they have invented a revisionist version of history to take care of this inconvenient angularities of the past; in their fanciful reconstruction, Hinduism and the Hindu culture originated right here, it was no import, there was no war of ethnic cleansing against the dasyus, and there was no enslavement of the defeated autochthones. The amount of detail that they have manufactured, more or less out of thin air, is amazing.

  97. Milind Kher

    @Vajra,

    When the question of the Hindutvavadis having invaded India comes up, they inevitably go into denial.

    The Muslim invaders defeated the people they fought and subjugated them. As far as Aryan invasion was concerned, many Dravidian people were designated as Dasyus and exterminated.

    As long as they are persecuting only Muslims, it does not stir the conscience of a world that is turning Islamophobic.

    However, if there are more episodes of raping nuns and burning missionaries, they may incur the wrath of the US too, which can then prove a problem for them.

  98. updike

    To PTH

    It is wrong to assume that I endorse the hindutvavadi position. On the other hand one should not manufacture a history-narrative with the intention of disproving what they say.

    Hindu=one who lives in the Sindhu (Indus) river basin. This word acquires a firmly religious connotation in later muslim times. In the early muslim times it did not have this connotation. A muslim visiting Makkah was earlier called an al-hindi muslim. Later the word hindu acquired a derogatory meaning (see parsian-english dictionary).

    Hinduism today is a mixture of pre-dravidian, dravidian, aryan, post-aryan, jain, even muslim ideas. The aryans were invaders – the hindus (by definition) were not. The aryans became hindus when they settled down in the Sindhu river basin and their western counterparts (the iranians) called them hindus (from Sindhu) – that is noticed first in the 3rd century BC. By then the aryans were already spread over whole of north India and had lost any loyalty to any place or power outside of India. Their religion was still not called hinduism (a term that comes up in british Calcutta in 1834 AD).

    The hindutvavadi says that his loyalty is to India – the muslims’ loyalty is to Makkah, to an arab god-concept, to an arab hegemony. This is the clash.

    Muslims know that islam is an expansionist-imperialist ideology – it is non-muslims who still have doubts (may be in order to please the muslims). Muslims know that they have to participate actively in islam’s goal of expansionism (otherwise they are called munafiks in the kuran). It is non-muslims and some muslim liberals who still pretend that it is not so.

    Recently a hindu told me not of “unity in diversity” (which was actually a congress party slogan) but of tolerance/respect in diversity. Unity is for those who wish to carry out invasions against neighbors.

    So long human beings are diverse some sort of a caste system will always come into being. Some societies practise it explicitly, some do it clandestinely. Can you imagine a muslim giving his daughter in marrige (or approving such a marriage) to someone who eats pork or drinks alcohol or says there is no last prophet …etc…?

    Not only do I have no desire to unify India and Pakistan, I wish that all these states should be made divided into smaller ones with a regional council or something like in Europe. I in South India am often quite disgusted with New Delhi ruling over me.

    Pakistanis do not want Indians to command them. Well and good. But they should also take care (in their own interest and self-respect and for safety in the indian subcontinent) not to become vassals of China, Arabs, turks, USA or North Korea, Libya etc. Best politics is to be friends with neighbors and not let those from afar to interfere. SEATO, Cento, NATO, OIC, AL, Caliphas, Al Azhar, Chinese “communist” party, pan-turkish ethnic unity – all that was not and is not good for Pakistan in the long or short run. There are powers out there who want India and Pakistan to be enemies, India and Bangladesh to be enemies, India and Nepal to be enemies, India and Sri Lanka to be enemies.

    And overpopulation is the big problem too.

    Comment on basis of what I myself have written here and not on the basis of what you read elsewhere and simply attributed it to me. Don’t manufacture any history-narratives that will drive up the above said enemities.

  99. Luq

    >Comment on basis of what I myself have written here

    Ok, here goes….. you are g.vishwas the parrot.

    Luq

  100. updike

    to Luq

    I wrote:

    ….not on the basis of what you read elsewhere and simply attribute it to me. Don’t manufacture any….

  101. vajra

    To PTH: its moderators and its serious contributors

    There are those of us who are sick and tired of setting right the historical and sociological fallacies of bigots and/or fascists (two separate categories, who occasionally overlap) who have discovered the extraordinary latitude given to commentators at PTH and find this a convenient forum for venting their theories, right or wrong or just plain cuckoo.

    These theories are generally variations on the theme of Hindutvavadi, and are utterly irrelevant to the discussions that normally go on here.

    We are tired of it because these commentators come here with bad intentions and in bad faith, and because their excesses create a prejudice against us.

    Typically, they have a grossly negative view of Islam as a religion and of Muslims as a parish.

    They identify that religion as being natural to a small section of the Middle East; it is not clear why their attentions and analytical abilities are concentrated on this religion, and not on the others which arose in the self-same area. By their logic, Christians, and before them, Jews, also belonging to religions which started here, should find themselves nowhere else but on this restricted part of the earth.

    There is no attempt at explaining what should happen to the millions of Jews, Christians and Muslims who inhabit other parts of the earth other than those where their respective religions arose. Assuming that some of those were migrants, there is also no attempt at explaining what provision is suggested for those in parts outside the Middle East who might have spiritual needs.

    Effectively these not very well thought through ideas and assumptions boil down to a simplistic argument about what constitutes a Hindu, based largely on a geographical foundation to the term, who may legitimately call himself or herself a Hindu, who may legitimately inhabit these lands and what therefore the present constitution of the South Asian sub-continent should be.

    To summarise this very boring and tedious argument, which gets us nowhere in particular,

    * a mythical person or people found on the banks of the Sindhu is a Hindu.
    * There is no distinction between Hind and Hindu. Hindu is a latter-day invention, and the earlier term used for inhabitants of the banks of the Sindhu was Hindi or Hindu, without distinction.
    * Therefore Hindu is not a religious grouping but an ethnic term, of uncertain ethnicity, designedly diverse, therefore validatory of diversity of all sorts,
    * Therefore Hindu by itself is a category which covers members of all other religions, and is not an exclusive religious category by itself.

    In order to guard themselves against the criticism that the concepts of the Hindus were imported into the land of the Sindhu, just as much as all other concepts were, they deny any correspondence between Aryan and Hindu, on the grounds that while the Aryan may have been originally an ‘import’, their admixture with the original inhabitants led to a people of widely mixed origin, whose homeland progressively became the banks of the Sindhu.

    To quote:

    The aryans became hindus when they settled down in the Sindhu river basin and their western counterparts (the iranians) called them hindus (from Sindhu) – that is noticed first in the 3rd century BC. By then the aryans were already spread over whole of north India and had lost any loyalty to any place or power outside of India. Their religion was still not called hinduism (a term that comes up in british Calcutta in 1834 AD).

    This both glides easily over the fate of the original inhabitants at the hands of the conquering northern barbarians, and also conflates the highly diverse ethnicity, linguistics and even genotypical origins of the rest of the sub-continent, including, and especially emphasising the east and the south; other variations and sub-variations within the northern tribes is of course not to be considered for the purposes of this brilliant analysis.

    Our commentator typically describes himself as a neutral party, compelled by the force of overwhelming logic to support what he carefully describes as Hindutvavadi, not his creed but regrettably difficult to refute. It is therefore by default the necessary creed of all who are not irretrievably corrupted by the alien philosophies of the true outsiders, those from Makkah and Madina, who, unlike those from Balkh and Kabul and Zabul, or those of Tibeto-Burmese stock settled as far west as Bengal, or those of Dravidian origin settled in Deccan India either as autocthones or as migrants from other parts of the world as yet unidentified, failed to mingle with the original inhabitants. In the opinion of our contributor(s), presented to us as scientific logic (without the unnecessary burden of scientific process), they therefore constituted themselves into an indigestible mass of self-excluded separatists.

    The management of PTH may kindly consider setting up a separate thread similar to the famous thread “In Pakistan a Sex Industry has begun to Boom”, – a suitable title might be “The Pornography of the Intellect” – and to assign Updike, Neel123, G. Vishvas, Tathagata Mukherjee in his various avatars and all such trolls and their comments to that thread.

  102. K -

    YLH – Surprisingly not a very good piece.

    Hoss oberservation regarding the article seems correct (to me)

  103. Milind Kher

    I agree with Vajra’s observations on the saffron trolls. We really do not need to have them. They take up bandwith and vitiate the atmosphere.

    Of course, what to do about them is a call that the site owners will take. We are just voicing our opinion.

  104. PMA

    Milind Kher (January 17, 2010 at 7:07 pm):

    You say “We really do not need to have them” here at PTH. By ‘them’ I suppose you mean Hindu Nationalists, the ‘saffron brigade’. But what do you mean by ‘we’? What about the overwhelming number of Indian Nationalists like yourself forever present on this site and skewing up each and every discussion what ought be a Pakistan National debate. Does PTH need ‘them’ here to “take up bandwidth and vitiate the atmosphere”. Just think about it.

  105. Achutha

    an interesting quandary for you.

    If you keep it open, you get swamped by India and Indians

    If you close up, you end up in isolation, like a frog in a well.

    Sounds like the quandary of Pakistan itself.

    And this discussion of china and thar coal and Central asia and the US seems to be about how to be open except to India.

    interesting problem.

  106. AZW

    PMA:

    You say “We really do not need to have them” here at PTH. By ‘them’ I suppose you mean Hindu Nationalists, the ’saffron brigade’. But what do you mean by ‘we’? What about the overwhelming number of Indian Nationalists like yourself forever present on this site and skewing up each and every discussion what ought be a Pakistan National debate. Does PTH need ‘them’ here to “take up bandwidth and vitiate the atmosphere” Just think about it.

    “We” are the group of people who share the ideals of mutual humanity that runs amongst us, irrespective of our race, creed or nationality. We have found that there is a similar human alive and kicking within us, who has insatiable curiosity about the history and realizes that most of our historical misfortunes and unnecessary baggage is the product of one simple word: “ignorance”. This ignorance is soaked in hatred based on religion, ethnicity and nationalistic fervor. We believe that sharing ideas expose us to the rather unsurprising fact; that regurgitating hatred will keep repeating the history; that our differences are a natural consequence of friction that arises due to rigidity of the mold that we cast around us. And that our differences are inevitable, yet never insolvable, provided we talk to each other, share ideas and analyze them together, without getting on the grand pedestals of religion and nationality that many of our colleagues would love us to do.

    We believe that history is the best guidebook, and that a successful future is better guided by an unbiased study of history, and learning from it by employing the best tool available at our disposal; our brains and our collective wisdoms. No blind prophesies and rhetorical nationalism/religionism will help us make a better future; they will merely repeat the sordid history in form or another.

    That we have come together on the Pak Tea House is a testament to the vision of its founder, and a dedication of its participants who have relentlessly shared ideas, found a common ground that was even a surprise to ourselves. We have challenged the rabid fanatic Islamist coterie, saffron brigade characters, an nationalist “lite” like yourself who have a never ending itch at why a website with a name Pak be frequented by many Indians who have nevertheless shown nothing but the sincerest of wishes towards Pakistan.

    This is what differentiates this website from the thousands out there, where participants merely thump each other backs, shut down their PCs ever firmer in their resolve that only they are right and the other side is blasted and doomed because of its inherently flawed ideology. Their we is based on this narrow vision where an Indian shouts and spouts at an Indian website, an Islamist shouts at an Islamic extremist forum, and a Pakistani blasts Indians and the hidden hands with his comrades. Thankfully nothing like that has happened at PTH, and as long as few of us are participating and moderating on this forum, nothing like this will be allowed to happen.

    @ Updike/Vishwas:

    It is rather amusing to see someone so devoid of any vision, and so bereft of any decency that even when banned, he keeps trying to sneak in on this forum under different aliases. You have heard it before from me and others; you are not welcome here to suffocate the discussions with your hate and emptiness, and this time we’ll be making an effort to preclude you for good from PTH.

  107. Sameet

    AZW, my post is awaiting moderation for almost 12 hours now. May I know why?

  108. Sameet

    No matter, that post is irrelevant now, seeing so much water has flowed under the bridge since then!

  109. AZW

    Sameet, this was due to the web link in your comments. All comments with hyperlinks have to be approved (for good reason I must say). Somehow it got missed over last few hours. Sorry about that, but your comment is up on this thread now.

  110. Hayyer

    PMA and Ammar (also Hoss):

    My question remains unattended. Hoss charged me with dwelling in the past. I was talking of the present and the future shorn of Kashmir and the bad memories of ’47. Hoss says he will address this in a future piece: I look forward to reading it.
    None of the eminent Aga Shahi’s commentary makes sense outside the context of a continuing Indo-Pak hostility that runs well into the future.
    I was not at all comparing India with China-My point was merely that trade does not imply a proxy relationship.
    I have no doubt that Indo-Pak friendship can be imagined only in a yet unseen future, but that was not the context of my question which arose out of Hoss’ view that even without Kashmir and ’47 India and Pakistan would be maneuvering against each other. I asked why that should be so.
    Specifically, I asked why India and Pakistan could not be friends if these two causes did not obtrude into the relationship, unless the premise is that India and Pakistan cannot be friends in principle. So far into the discussion the impression persists that it is a matter of principle not to be friends.

  111. hoss

    Achutha
    “I also don’t understand how pakistan can have better relations with India without accepting its regional dominance.”

    You appear to be confused. Your assumption is that only the trade relations lead to better relations.

    I look at trade relations as the last elements in relations between the two neighboring countries. From your list only the US and Canada are the two neighboring countries that share similar cultural background and after 1812(the last war between the US and Canada, I assume.), they have been able to maintain cordial relations and have developed trade relations too.

    On the other hand, we have Japan-China relations, China and Vietnam and South Korea relations, India and China relations, off and on India and Bangladesh relations. We also have Turkey and Greece relations. In most of these cases, the relations are not what they could be, despite several cultural similarities.

    “a south asian economic zone with a dominant india but with prospering countries around it is not possible or not desirable? It hurts the pakistan soul, but would it hurt the pakistani state?”

    Dominance, real or not, is an issue it may not appear real to you but Pakistani business and Pakistan establishment also considers that a serious matter. Let us say if India wants to eliminate dominance in relations with Pakistan what, in your opinion, can India do to achieve that goal?

    Let me also ask you this: what do you think are the three things priority wise that India can do to improve relations with Pakistan? I am pretty much aware of what you think Pakistan can do to improve relations, I am interested in finding out what India can do to improve relations.

    Since it appears to me that you advocate that better trade relations lead to better overall relations, I am tempted to ask: Can you prioritize three things that will help Pakistan in developing mutually beneficial trade relations with India?
    Thanks.

    Hayyer
    January 17, 2010 at 10:44 pm
    “I was not at all comparing India with China-My point was merely that trade does not imply a proxy relationship.”

    Developing India and US relations are not just trade relations. The developing military relations coupled with India’s almost secondary position in trading, adds to the thinking that India will act as the US proxy. Like Pakistan for years did. It was Pakistan’s dependence on the US military supplies and economic support that led to Pakistan becoming a proxy state for the US military interest during the cold war.

    “I asked why India and Pakistan could not be friends if these two causes did not obtrude into the relationship, unless the premise is that India and Pakistan cannot be friends in principle.”

    Pakistan shares a common cultural heritage with India and that provides a strong platform for better relations but the same heritage also provides major stumbling blocks too. Often the negatives take over the positives. Though at present I don’t think that the Kashmir is a major stumbling block but the narrative developed around Kashmir will perpetuate.

    We have to somehow develop a narrative that can find a way between the competitive strategic interests that collide. Briefly, India wants to be a regional power and India does not hide it. Pak sees that as a threat and India fails to provide any reason to ease that threat.
    I will try and finish my article on Kashmir soon.

  112. updike

    To PTH

    Your reactions are not concentrating on the problem which I am trying to describe but of the type “call someone a dog and shoot him” (and revel in shooting him).

    Small truths are found everywhere – they have to be filtered out and collected for a synoptic view.

    This accusation that I want to spread hate is just self-righteous on the part of those who make it.

    The word hindu has a very complicated history – neither the hindutvavadis nor their opponents ever take the full view. Furthermore muslim history-writing is known for its bias. The harshness with which hindus are criticized and dismissed has to be compared with the soft velvet handglove approach to the much worse ill-deeds of muslims – in India and elsewhere. This unfairness is worsenig the problem. I can understand that a blog managed in islamic-totalitarian Pakistan must practise such an unfairness in favor of islam, just in order to survive – but the result then is not objectively correct. This also explains the collective emotions that are brought up against me. Hounding me will (may) give you satisfaction, but not bring you nearer to truth. This competition about who hounds me (out) more is pathetic for a forum that calls itself liberal and progressive.

  113. PMA

    Hayyer (January 17, 2010 at 10:44 pm):

    You have given answer to your own question. Pakistan and India in the present set up could never be friends. The two are each others contradiction. For any hope for the future, number of things have to happen first. For one India has to drop the notion that Sub-continent India is one country and that Sub-continentals are one Indian nation. India will never do that that it means allowing emergence of other nations within the Sub-continent and by that I do not mean the present day Bangladesh and Pakistan, which India sees as one-time exception grudgingly granted under duress. That is the ‘Indian principle or doctrine’ under which it justifies its occupation of Kashmir and its Northeastern states. Pakistan on her part will keep insisting on the so called Two-nation Theory and demand parity with India which India so far has sternly refused to do. The present setup has to change one way or the other for things to change. India could do that by creating ‘western bangladesh’ but inconveniently the Pak Army happens to be in the way.

  114. PMA

    AZW (January 17, 2010 at 10:01 pm):

    I am sure that I am soliciting further caustic remarks from you. But I hate to burst your bubble that you have no monopoly on “ideals of mutual humanity”. Oh don’t let a narrow minded shallow nationalist “lite” like myself stop you from holding hands and singing kumbaya with your comrades. After all you hold the moderating golden keys on this forum. Please do continue to live in your self created imaginary comfortable cyberspace. Who knows you may be the next Nobel laureate. Stranger things have happened before. Cheers.

  115. updike

    to PMA

    Resurrecting the two-nation theory based on religion means Pakistan must be divided on the basis of religion too. 20-25% of Pakistan area will have to be given to hindus (as was the population component of hindus in 1947). Similarly 40% of Bangladesh area for hindus.

    If language defines nation then too Pakistan must be divided into at least 6 parts. Simultaneously religion must be completely banished from public or political life.

  116. Ali khan

    remember your own heroes…

    Check out this topic on First Pakistani home made Electric Car….

    http://123surfer.blogspot.com/2010/01/pakistans-first-electric-car.html

  117. Achutha

    Hoss,

    you said “Your assumption is that only the trade relations lead to better relations.”

    not exactly. I believe that two countries cannot have good relations unless they ALSO have good trade relations, or at the very least, the absence of efforts to obstruct trade relations. That is not the same as “ONLY trade relations LEAD to better relations”.

    Except in the case of client/patron affairs, I can think of no countries that have good relations in general but stunted trading relations.

    the opposite is true. there are countries that trade, such as india and china, or china and the US, but do not have good relations. It is possible to have trade cooperation without good relations and it is possible to kick off good relations on matters other than trade.

    I cannot see any circumstance in which India and pakistan have good relations but without intertwined economies. You can imagine such relations if you really want to, but I cannot see them becoming real.

    In fact I will go so far as to say that without trade, any good relations between two countries are ONLY at the government to government level. They become real, and people to people, only when people get a person stake in the relationship, and thats through trade.

    Good relations are meaningless at the people to people level without trade.

  118. Achutha

    Also, Hoss, you say that for pakistan indian dominance is very serious business. I accept that it is, but my question wasn’t answered, so I will ask it again:

    “Can you help me understand why, if you leave aside just the emotional revulsion to India’s dominance, a south asian economic zone with a dominant india but with prospering countries around it is not possible or not desirable? It hurts the pakistan soul, but would it hurt the pakistani state?”

    As to your question:

    “What do you think are the three things priority wise that India can do to improve relations with Pakistan?”

    I don’t think India can do anything to improve relations with the pakistani military or with anybody in the political establishment who is liable to curry favor with the military. but there are plenty of things that India can do to build relations directly with the pakistani people, if the military will allow it.

    It can implement mechanism that allow pakistani inviduals and companies who want to do business in India, or with Indian firms to be able to do so without restriction. It can propose a new treaty for the indus waters that optimizes water use for the entire watershed, instead of locally. It can grant easy visas to pakistani artists and tourists. It can offer to open up the indian market to pakistani goods and services without restriction. It can offer transit of pakistani goods to bangladesh and sri lanka overland (if thats desired). It can set up a worker program that enables indian companies to hire the best the brightest pakistanis who would like to work in India.

    I am going to guess that you are going to spit at this. you don’t want it. what you want is strategic parity and the curtailment of Indian hegemony. I get that you want that, but I just don’t see that you’re going to get it. So where does that leave us?

  119. AZW

    PMA:

    Your comments are no less important than mine, Vajra, Milind, YLH, Hossp or any other (except a few like Vishwas or Rashid for obvious reasons).

    No one is questioning your contribution, and no one has ever censored any of your comments. But this forum is enrichened by all participants here, even if we vehemently disagree with each other. I don’t have monoply on “mutual humanity”. But I do have a huge amount of appreciation and respect for this phenomenon; PTH being a better example; where we share, bounce, challange and accept better ideas all the time without any regard for the nationality and religion of the other participant. Let’s keep this good experience going.

  120. hoss

    Achutha
    “why, if you leave aside just the emotional revulsion to India’s dominance, a south asian economic zone with a dominant india but with prospering countries around it is not possible or not desirable? ”

    I have answered that question. What you fail to figure out that it is not about emotional revulsion to India, it is all about the hard facts on the ground.

    As you can see from our own posts, you fail to come down from your high perch and still believe that Indian dominance is the only way. I asked you couple of simple questions but it seems to me that you really don’t think of beyond, “I don’t think India can do anything to improve relations with the pakistani military or with anybody in the political establishment who is liable to curry favor with the military.”
    You detest the idea of relations between the two governments but you promote exactly the same thing when you claim that India can improve relations by offering the water treaty and the passage to Bangladesh. ( it is beside the point that Pakistan and India already have a water treaty.)

    Why is it difficult for you to say that Pakistan and Indian can open up air waves for each other’s cable channels and movies? Why not exchange students or teachers or helping each others educational institutions. How about visa free travel to people and specifically to artists? Developing relations between the two countries is a long row to hoe but it can be done and trade is not the only way.

    I am just surprised that you want to have better relations with Pakistan minus the Pakistan army and the Pak establishment. We in Pakistan have major grievances with the Pak army and the Pak establishment. There is a constant battle with the rogue elements in Pak establishment but I don’t think that Pakistan would be willing to have better relations with any country that demands that the Pak army is disbanded first. Pak army is still a Pak institution, it needs reforms, actually needs major overhaul to the extent that we really need to fire all the Army officers above the Major Rank but no one in Pakistan is against the institution and India would have to deal with what we have not what it wants .

    Despite your emphasis on trade relations, you still can’t come up with any response to my question about would be mutual benefits of the trade. Even though my question should have been to ask you how Pakistan would benefit from trade with India.

    As I said if anyone thinks that trade relations should come before the cultural or people to people relations he/she basically does not want better relations and is only interested in some sort of one way relations, where India would dominate in trade and force its strategic interests on a smaller country.

    I guess thats it from my side on this issue.

  121. Majumdar

    PMA sb,

    For one India has to drop the notion that Sub-continent India is one country and that Sub-continentals are one Indian nation.

    This is only partly, it is true that many Indians have held this notion. But that is true more about Indians who were born pre-1971. Most of the post 1971 generation (to which I belong) do not share this notion, although we do admit that there are strong historical and cultural ties. In another 10-15 years, most of the votaries of United India will be in retirement and a new generation will take charge which will hold the opinion that Partition (or Separation) was a natural and legitimate act.

    India will never do that that it means allowing emergence of other nations within the Sub-continent

    So? Did Pakistan allow the emergence of other nations – Bdesh for eg?

    That is the ‘Indian principle or doctrine’ under which it justifies its occupation of Kashmir and its Northeastern states.

    So under what principle does Pakistan justify the occupation of Baluchistan.

    Regards

  122. updike

    Independence for Kashmir (whole of it – and not just the one under indian control) cannot be separated from independence for Tibet, Balochistan, Sin Kiang, Kurdistan, Taiwan, Hong Kong etc. etc.

    In fact the case for independence of the latter cases is stronger than for Kashmir.

    Nehru had the decency to promise a referendum – which could not be carried out manily due to the activities carried out by Pakistan and China. The leaders (of China, Pakistan, Turkey etc.) did not even have this democratic decency.

    So the decent are punished and the ruthless are rewarded. China’s arguments for claiming Tibet are purely imperialist (because some former chinese emperors sent their ambans to Tibet).

  123. Gorki

    PMA Sahib:

    “India could do that by creating ‘western bangladesh’ but inconveniently the Pak Army happens to be in the way.”

    You must either be very distracted or else you are in a devilish mood today to mention the Pakistani Army and Bangladesh in the same breath like this.

    Most people (including many B’deshis) have a very different recollection surrounding the role of the army in the formation of ‘Eastern Bangladesh’ than the one that you seem to imply.😉

    Regards.

  124. Hayyer

    Hoss:
    “Developing India and US relations are not just trade relations. The developing military relations coupled with India’s almost secondary position in trading, adds to the thinking that India will act as the US proxy. Like Pakistan for years did. It was Pakistan’s dependence on the US military supplies and economic support that led to Pakistan becoming a proxy state for the US military interest during the cold war.”

    It is only thinking. It is an assumption not supported either by the facts or the historical record.
    India is nowhere near dependent on the US for arms. Its arms purchases from the US are minuscule, even in comparison to Israel. India has bought some military air transport and just a few weapon locating radar guns. Also a landing ship. These amount to less than two billion dollars. India does not consider the US to be a reliable defence supplier. By comparison India has an ongoing 15 billion dollar purchase programme with Russia; tanks, Sukhoi 30 and Pakfa stealth planes. Is India a Russian proxy? Is India an Israeli proxy? Pakistan’s assumptions of an impending Indian proxy relationship are based on the history of its own relationship with the US. It cannot and should not be mapped onto India’s emerging relationship with that country.
    The 10 billion dollar contract for aircraft is still in an evaluation stage with four countries competing.

    “We have to somehow develop a narrative that can find a way between the competitive strategic interests that collide. Briefly, India wants to be a regional power and India does not hide it. Pak sees that as a threat and India fails to provide any reason to ease that threat.”

    I entirely agree with this view with the modification that our strategic interests should be no different from what they were in 1946, unalloyed by the unfortunate developments thereafter. Why does Pakistan feel threatened and not say Bangladesh or Sri Lanka thought they may not like Indians either? Because they haven’t got disputes like Kashmir going. India feels threatened by Pakistan and is building itself up against Pakistan and China. India could reassure Pakistan if it did not feel threatened itself.
    India seeks recognition as a power of sorts. To what effect I can’t imagine apart from the tooing and froing of diplomats, ministers and such like at big power conferences. Hegemony, if that means the power to intimidate, is unlikely. China does flex its muscles all over the world and India with its puny capacity may want to show off its pectoral development too, but as pectorals go Pakistan has plenty of its own. Suffice to say here that Pakistan feels threatened by India just as India feels threatened by Pakistan. But it need not be that way without Kashmir and ’47. I will try to develop this line of argument in my response to PMA below.
    PMA:
    “You have given answer to your own question.”

    I don’t see it.

    “Pakistan and India in the present set up could never be friends. The two are each others contradiction.”

    This is the principle that I questioned, the principle that India and Pakistan are not natural allies but natural enemies. In your response quoted below you have in a way given a glimmer of the reasons for this line of thought.

    “For any hope for the future, number of things have to happen first. For one India has to drop the notion that Sub-continent India is one country and that Sub-continentals are one Indian nation.”

    While a huge majority of Indians are prepared to say, without duress that the sub-continent is not one country with one people, it would be dishonest to deny the commonalities of history culture and language.
    I think I can now understand the principle of eternal enmity with India. You seem to be saying that Pakistan’s identity is not safe, not even created unless India renounces the commonalities. No announcement, no solemn assurance, no treaty of eternal goodwill will remove the threat. You imply that India has to forget its history to enable you to create your own. There is plenty that is common between India’s North and Pakistan or between West Bengal, Orissa, Assam and Bangladesh. How can it be denied.
    Because it is difficult if not impossible to deny the commonalities, a fictive narrative is created that serves not just the Pakistan Army but the entire discourse of enmity with the ‘other’.
    You then proceed to argue further, thus,

    “India will never do that that it means allowing emergence of other nations within the Sub-continent and by that I do not mean the present day Bangladesh and Pakistan, which India sees as one-time exception grudgingly granted under duress. That is the ‘Indian principle or doctrine’ under which it justifies its occupation of Kashmir and its Northeastern states.

    India does admit that there are seven countries in SAARC countries. But you want it to go further than that and say that India by itself is not one country but many countries. We are on slippery grounds here. There are many kinds of people and culture in India, and also in Pakistan. Are you suggesting that unless India breaks up into its political units representing its constituent sub cultural identities there will always be hostility? Do you recommend that course only for India or do you include Pakistan in that prescription? Because otherwise your prescription for peace with India amounts to nothing more than its disintegration.

    “Pakistan on her part will keep insisting on the so called Two-nation Theory and demand parity with India which India so far has sternly refused to do.”

    I have explained earlier why India does not accept the TNT. We don’t consider our Muslims to be a separate nation. We do not think Hindus are a nation. That is what the RSS thinks but they haven’t managed to prove that when they get the chance to do so every five years or so.
    There remains the issue of parity with India. All nations are sovereign, but they aren’t all equal in area, military and economic strength and population. What does parity with India mean? How does India agree to parity with Pakistan? It is a bigger nation with two enemies. How can it agree to an arms parity with one of them?
    Pakistan could and should seek parity with India’s growth rate. It is not India that is holding this back. Trade would help both countries but Pakistan does not want it.

    “The present setup has to change one way or the other for things to change. India could do that by creating ‘western bangladesh’ but inconveniently the Pak Army happens to be in the way.”

    Balochistan, if India is interfering there, (I have no way of knowing) should be seen as the equivalent of decades of Pakistani interference in India’s northeast through Bangladesh, and in UP through Nepal. It was revealed recently that Gen. Musharraf gave interview to Assamese separatists on his visit there. Bangladesh was a one off and conditions for its creation were created by the Pak Army. It is ridiculous to imagine plans by the Indian Army for a dash across Pakistan to liberate Baluchistan.

  125. Sameet

    Hayyer,

    “You imply that India has to forget its history to enable you to create your own…”

    Wonderfully put. I hope to be this articulate and erudite someday…

  126. Sameet

    Hoss,

    Hayyer has rebutted you in a manner I can only admire. To certain, almost rhetorical questions that you directed at Achuta, I would humbly submit the following:

    1)Why is it difficult for you to say that Pakistan and Indian can open up air waves for each other’s cable channels and movies?—-It has happened; youtube hosts geo tv and NDTV feeds for all to see. Hindi movies are being shown on Pakistani theatres and if you produce good cinema, enough demand will be generated for Lollywood to be shown in India.(Please no Maula Jats, its a request). Hell, the fact that you and me are interacting on PTH signifies exchange of ideas, which is what you basically implying.

    2)Why not exchange students or teachers or helping each others educational institutions. How about visa free travel to people and specifically to artists? —-Happening sir, if anything, the Pakistani government rejects visas of Indian artists.

    3) Pak army is still a Pak institution, it needs reforms, actually needs major overhaul to the extent that we really need to fire all the Army officers above the Major Rank but no one in Pakistan is against the institution and India would have to deal with what we have not what it wants—Agreed completely. Please fire all the generals and make sure the retired ones are playing golf rather than giving training courses to zealous students in Muridke. On a serious note, we object to Pak Army trying to bleed us by a thousand cuts. Not the Pak Army defending its country. Get it?

    4) Even though my question should have been to ask you how Pakistan would benefit from trade with India.—-You need a international trade theory 101 class. I am not an economist, but the benefit of trade with India that I can think of from the top of my mind is, massive market for your goods, cheaper inputs and raw materials for your business, more efficient production due to massive economies of scale. Serbia recently decided to apply for EU membership, yes the same Serbia that got bombed by French and British planes, now wants to join a club consisting of these countries, to be part of its common market. By your logic, I am wondering what substance the collective Serbian leadership is imbibing!

  127. hoss

    Hayyer
    “Developing India and US relations are not just trade relations.”

    I was talking about the developing relations and you respond from the present state. So your response is not really accurate.

    Is there is a reason for me to repeat that India has a huge trade deal with the US coming after the nuke agreement or currently India is in the market to spend $10 billion for military hardware from the US. I guess you have not read the previous related posts by me on this
    thread.

    Sumeet,

    It seems to me that you simply have no clue about the issues being discussed here. You are saying that you tube replaces the actual broadcast of the channels. I am just amused…..

    Your item #4 is nothing more than an ill informed person’s rant.

    Btw, are you really this naive to equate British and French Planes to EU planes?

  128. vajra

    @Hoss

    I am sorry, but it doesn’t come across clearly who is the most naive – Sumeet or you.

    If you seriously think that there is a $10 billion armaments deal with the US in the offing, I’d like some of the stuff you are smoking. There is not a single such deal on the horizon. The US – two planes actually, the F16 and the F18 – are contenders for the MRCA stand-by purchase, in chase that is what you have in mind, but there are several others, including two Russian derivatives, in the race. Ironically, the greatest aversion to them from all involved is on account of their American origin. Light-weight 155 MM howitzers for the mountain divisions were proposed by a Singapore company; these are licensed from BAE, and that is the other close possibility. They sold some Hercules planes already, and had a wistful thought or two about the next two types in the line-up, which is emphatically not going to happen. They are nowhere in naval procurement.

    Can you break out the $10 billion you keep referring to?

    Do you have even the faintest clue as to what is going on?

  129. Sameet

    Hoss,

    How does actual broadcast of channels make things different than what is already happening through the internet?Why will actual broadcasts be a game changer? Keep in mind that PTV was broadcast in India a few years back. It doesnt seem to have changed anything on the ground.

    Rant, how so? How have I been “speaking or shouting in a wild and impassioned way at length”. Granted, I am ill-informed. Do enlighten me. How does Pakistan not get benefited from trade with India?

    British planes, French Planes=NATO. Britain and France are in EU. Serbia wants to join a club consisting of countries that bombed it. I thought you were analytical enough to figure that out yourself.

  130. hoss

    Vajra, I did not know that you are completely unaware of what is going on in India.
    A little dose of google can help you guys. Try googling.
    news.rediff.com/column/2009/sep/24/china-worried-over-us-india-military-cooperation.htm

    livemint.com/2010/01/17213649/Gates-aims-to-extend-India-US.html

    “Prime Minister Manmohan Singh’s government is currently negotiating a Logistics and Services Agreement with the US. Also known as the Acquisition and Cross-Servicing Agreement, Washington has signed similar arrangements with several other countries, mostly NATO members, which allow refueling and complete access to all US ships and aircraft.

    The US is set to emerge as a large exporter of arms to India which plans to buy about US$30 billion worth of military equipment between 2007-2012. This figure means India is the developing world’s largest arms purchaser. Since the 1960s, and until recently, the Indian market was closed to US defense contractors, because of Washington’s displeasure with India’s friendly ties with the Soviet Union.

    The first major sale of US military hardware was a refurbished warship, the USS Trenton, renamed INS Jalashwa. It is India’s second largest naval combat vessel and is participating in the current military exercise. Another large transaction was the acquisition of six Hercules C-130J military transport aircraft worth $1 billion. It was India’s largest arms purchase from the US, so far.

    Discussions are also ongoing between India and US manufacturer Lockheed Martin to buy eight P3-C Orion maritime surveillance aircraft at a cost of $650 million, coupled with 16 multi-mission MH-60R Sikorsky helicopters costing about $400 million. Raytheon is negotiating the sale of its Patriot PAC-3 anti-missile systems to India, too.

    Last week, India floated its biggest-ever military tender, for the purchase of 126 multi-role combat aircraft worth $10 billion. Lockheed-Martin and Boeing are lobbying hard to sell their F-16 and F/A-18 fighter planes to India.

    India has also been approaching the American arms industry through Israel, since many Israeli systems have either been jointly developed with US companies or depend on US components and technologies.

    Over the past decade, Israel has emerged as India’s second-largest arms supplier. India is now Israel’s biggest arms export market, and purchased $1.5 billion worth of military hardware from it during 2002-06 out of worldwide Israeli arms sales of $2.76 billion.

    “India’s military ties with the US are part of a larger strategic and political relationship, which is asymmetrical and one-sided,” said Achin Vanaik, professor of international relations and global politics at Delhi University. “The US is the dominant partner, and India the subordinate one. Rather than balance the US, India is bandwagoning it.”

    Sumeet,
    “British planes, French Planes=NATO. Britain and France are in EU. Serbia wants to join a club consisting of countries that bombed it. I thought you were analytical enough to figure that out yourself.”

    Iran should leave the UN because the US and Israel are also members there? What an illogical web you build…

  131. Achutha

    Hoss,

    Now it is my turn to say that it is you who is confused.

    It is not difficult for me to say that the two countries can open up their air waves to each other. I’d be happy to have that happen. You asked “what do you think are the three things priority wise that India can do to improve relations with Pakistan?” I offered a few ideas that but did not claim that it was a comprehensive list. I also did not talk about reciprocal actions because you did not ask for what could be done reciprocally. You asked what India could do. Now you take me to task for not saying what can be done reciprocally. Everything I said can be done reciprocally. It should be done reciprocally. India will have immense benefits from good relations with Pakistan.

    However, I begin to doubt your standing I offered a renegotiation of the IWT as something India could do. I presume its something the Pakistani people would respond positively to. I presume this because India gets accused on stealing pakitan’s water and holding pakistan’s farming hostage and much is made about baglihar, even though India is in compliance of the IWT. The world bank ruled that other than for some minor modifications, baglihar is compliant with the IWT. And now this business with India and Pakistan racing to finish their respective projects on the Jhelum: if india completes its project first (which it is on schedule to do), Pakistan will have to abandon its project according to the IWT. I understand that is generating substantial tensions. I suggest that a renegotiation could help improve relations.

    But you did not show an honest interest in considering or discussing that. You acted as if there is no issue around the IWT . You chose not to engage with what the Pakistani people might want in regards to the IWT and went straight to whether my suggestion jives with my skepticism about the Pakistani military.

    Sir, I begin to see that you have no answers for the fundamental question I ask.

    I think that trade, cultural, people to people relations all go hand in hand and have to go together. I am happy for India to have open trade, cultural, and people to people relations. I want visa free travel between the two countries, free trade and transit, fully convertible currencies, mutual defense pacts, subcontinentally optimized utilization of resources, and all the rest of it.
    I think it is vitally important for India to have good relations with Pakistan and with all the other countries in the region. I dream of the day when Burma and Pakistan open up and there is a string of contiguous trade all along the bottom of Asia, from Malaysia to Turkey, plus to the north, the middleast, to Indonesia and Australia.

    I am only saying that Pakistan has a natural status in this continuum, and it should work towards making the best for itself that it can within that continuum instead of chasing strategic parity with India or seeking to “contain Indian hegemony”. It may succeed at stunting India, but it is doing itself far more harm than it is doing to India.

    Pakistan’s convictions about india’s mal-intent and obsession with limiting Indian hegemony are leading the country down a dead end road.

    It is very well to mock me for “sitting on a high horse”, but the fact is that the opportunities for Pakistan to progress and prosper are vastly greater than merely serving as a conduit for china or the central asian states, yet Pakistan keeps driving itself into that narrow alley just so as to not be friends with India on terms that would require pakistan’s national ego to climb down.

  132. Sameet

    Hoss,

    Iran should leave the UN because the US and Israel are also members there? What an illogical web you build…

    Well, when you put it that way, I do admit my point look silly. I gave a bad example I guess. Essentially my point was nations have complete relations encompassing the full gamut from trade to cultural relations and what have you with nations they considered enemies before.

  133. Achutha

    Hayyer,

    weapons purchasing does seem to correlate to close relations between countries, if imperfectly. India was never cozy with france or sweden who were just looking to earn export dollars, but its a little hard to deny that India grew close to the soviet union especially after 1971 and the indian arsenal become Russianized. Now with relations with the US and israel opening up, they have become suppliers.

    Where Hoss goes wrong, I think, is to assume that a country that purchases weapons becomes a proxy for the seller state.

    He is right in that the US does have a track record of using arms supply as a means of extracting cooperation. You get shiny american toys if you do what the US wants, they get taken away if you stop.

    the world is littered with states that have had that happen to them.

    So it is understandable that for Hoss there would be a correlation between US arms sales to India and India becoming a proxy for the US.

    I think there is a kernel of truth in it. India will probably value the relationship enough to go along with the US on things like voting against Iran in the UN when it would otherwise not have.

    but on the whole, I think that you are right and Hoss is not. India’s track record is one of bloody minded independence, and a refusal to cooperate. While India was nominally a soviet ally for a period, india never actually did anything much for the soviets. Nehru happily accepted american largess in the form of aid, weapons, food, but also cocked his snook at the US.

    There has never been anything that India wanted so badly and that was so difficult to get, for it become a proxy state. there still isn’t. So while India and the US are liable to move closer, I don’t think India is about to become a US proxy.

    At any rate, this seems a bit of a red herring. Are we really talking about pakistan worrying about India being a proxy for the US? Other than just the idea of the enemy being allied with the US, what real threat does it pose to pakistan? Is India going to invade pakistan on america’s say so when it would not or could not for its own interests?

    very confusing.

  134. hoss

    Achutha
    January 18, 2010 at 10:19 pm

    I agree with a few of your observations. It is possible that Pakistan is overreacting. It is also possible the democratic traditions in India would not let it fall as far out as Pakistan did. Proxy does appear to be a strong word here.
    But can we also discount the trends in India with jingoistic connotations? So there are many things that still have to be played out.

    As I said in my earlier post, “We have to somehow develop a narrative that can find a way between the competitive strategic interests that collide.”

    We discuss these issues from the narrative that has already been developed and I think we need to change that. I also think only the liberals and progressives have the ability to change the narrative in both countries and since the liberals in both countries are in political doldrums, chances of that happening in the near future are slim.

  135. B. Civilian

    sumeet + Hoss

    how similar are the EU and the UN? and now you have made me too break rule no. 4 of the 4 rules of debate since times immemorial: “example ki £#@% nahin maartay”.😉

  136. Gorki

    how similar are the EU and the UN ?

    About as similar as a marriage between willing partners is, to a membership in a health club😉
    One is an economic and a political union among a very select group and the other is a World body open to all.

    Sumeet is refreshingly openminded but he is as gullible as Hoss Sahib is glib.

    Regards.

  137. hoss

    Not one but two smarty pants:)

    It was all about membership of an organization-any organization, not the purpose of the organization.

  138. Gorki

    “It was all about membership of an organization-any organization, not the purpose of the organization.”

    In that case SAARC is just as good as the EU and EU is just as good as the NATO!!
    Hold that thought for a sec…

    If SAARC is pretty close to NATO….
    then remind me, what is the India Pakistan argument about?😉

    Regards.

  139. Gorki

    Sorry Hoss Sahib, I couldn’t just resist that last lighthearted post.😉
    You needen’t take it seriously or respond to it.

    Regards.

  140. Sameet

    Aaaah….the law of unintended consequences….look what my hilariously bad example has wrought🙂 I am enjoying the banter…

  141. Milind Kher

    @AZW,

    I appreciate the philosphy at PTH. I rate it as currently the best blog that I participate in.

  142. updike

    To milind kher

    I too

    I may participate –
    YLH willing (insha-yasirlatifhamdani)

  143. B. Civilian

    Updike

    i don’t think i’ll let YLH take the credit for my work… as far as your latest two or three repetitions of the same old drivel are concerned.

    even if you had the decency to be as strictly repetetive with your ID as you have been with your posts… you would have had little chance of being allowed to carry on with wasting everyone’s time.

    so keep posting if you must. however little time it takes you to keep repeating the same old rubbish, it takes even less to press DELETE.

  144. updike

    Let people read first and then you can delete. Give them an hour or four.

    Instant-delete is frightening totalitarianism.

    Drivel is a very subjective term in any discussion.

  145. B. Civilian

    updike/vishwas/etc

    “Drivel is a very subjective term in any discussion.”

    but repetition of the same, parrot-like, is there for all to see. nothing subjective about that.

    strictly indian readers here can use (and have used) their own ‘subjective’ judgement to decide whether you are a nauseating idiot or vajra is a ‘fascist’, ‘frighteningly totalitarian’ (go back and re-read vajra January 17, 2010 at 4:32 pm To PTH: its moderators and its serious contributors)

  146. vajra

    @Hoss

    Now I am beginning to agree with the chorus of people who insist that you are confused.

    I don’t need to google, to put you, or anybody else interested, straight on these particular issues. There have been enough occasions in discussions on PTH for me to refer very specifically to my professional involvement in a particular segment.

    For commercial and professional reasons, including my past involvement in the industry, I keep daily track of events in defence procurement. Reading your last few posts, you seem to have a rooted tendency never to read anybody else’s posts but your own. Permit me to run you through your last mail – in the context that we speak, I would hesitate to describe it as your last post until I have more definite information – and contrast it with what I drew your attention to immediately before.

    1. You mentioned the Logistics and Supplies Agreement. This has nothing to do with Indian defence procurement. It has everything to do with the recent incidents of detention of US military aircraft overflying Indian air-space without appropriate permissions.

    One of the clauses of this agreement is to permit such overflight for a general fee. The US is in general buying a single license for all its aircraft to be considered in transit for maintenance purposes. In a broader context, it permits refuelling and servicing of US military aircraft at Indian commercial or military airports, hitherto not permitted without specific clearances from Ministry of Defence. General maintenance and upkeep for US aircraft is done at other points, including Bahrain and KSA. There is no need for this agreement except to permit overflight without a constant need to apply for permissions for each and every single flight.

    Let me put it to you in simple terms. This fits in nowhere with the rest of the procurement effort; here India is selling, not buying.

    2. The US is set to emerge as a large exporter of arms to India which plans to buy about US$30 billion worth of military equipment between 2007-2012. This figure means India is the developing world’s largest arms purchaser. Since the 1960s, and until recently, the Indian market was closed to US defense contractors, because of Washington’s displeasure with India’s friendly ties with the Soviet Union.
    Yeah, right.

    India was desperate to buy, but the US drew itself up to its full hyper-power height and refused. This, while its defence industry got itself into more and more trouble. Come off it.

    The fact is already contained in the news report itself, since the 60s, the US – and Great Britain – have been considered unreliable suppliers and every sale – the Sea Harrier, the Jaguar, the Hawk recently – was made by Great Britain by pleading strenuously that it would insure India against the stoppage of spares due to US sanctions. Their case was not helped by the actual stoppage of spares for naval helicopters. This is all open knowledge. You neither need google nor livemint to learn it.

    You may take it for granted that nothing major has moved yet, and will not move easily, as long as the US carries the taint of hostility towards India. As the next few points may indicate to you.

    3. Jalashwa was not a priority for the Indian Navy and was sold at a price which is a joke, next to nothing. It is a huge, big floating tub, which is why the description as the second biggest ship in the fleet, but you may be sure that there isn’t exactly a race among ambitious captains to get command. They practically paid to get it carted away.

    Since you are so well-acquainted with Google, you might try finding out what this vessel is, and where it fits into Indian military doctrine. You may be as surprised as the Indian Navy was.

    It is not part of the $10 billion your earlier note mentioned.

    4. Your latest mail: Another large transaction was the acquisition of six Hercules C-130J military transport aircraft worth $1 billion. It was India’s largest arms purchase from the US, so far.

    My earlier mail: They sold some Hercules planes already, and had a wistful thought or two about the next two types in the line-up, which is emphatically not going to happen.

    My reference is to the C141 Starliftere and the C5 Galaxy. We needed the C130, which is an effective intra-theatre transport aircraft, one step more flexible than our existing fleets of Antonovs and Tupolevs, which were the work-horses of the transport squadrons. We did not need the larger craft, irrespective of how hard the US pushed them – they pushed them very, very hard.

    The six aircraft have been sold, the deal is over. Since the load carrying capacity of the C130, and its ability to operate as well as Russian aircraft from unprepared airstrips is very well known, its deployment and role can be guessed very easily. You may have noticed that the PAF is very relaxed about the deployment of these aircraft; they know very well where these are going and why.

    Also not part of your $10 billion.

    5. Your latest mail: Discussions are also ongoing between India and US manufacturer Lockheed Martin to buy eight P3-C Orion maritime surveillance aircraft at a cost of $650 million, coupled with 16 multi-mission MH-60R Sikorsky helicopters costing about $400 million. Raytheon is negotiating the sale of its Patriot PAC-3 anti-missile systems to India, too.

    This is gormless. The P3-C Orion, used by the rest of the world as long-distance naval surveillance equipment, has been bought by the Pakistani Navy for anti-terrorism activity. You never know what Al Qaeda will be up to next.

    There is 0 chance of India buying the P3C Orion. Perhaps your brilliant sources might have failed to close the ends of the number 3; try the P8I. Of course the difference is between a Fiat Millicento and a Ferrari 430 but so what?

    Also in case you didn’t know, India operates the Sea King; it now additionally operates a Kamov variant as a naval surveillance platform. Why on earth would it use the Sikorsky? For what? There is no requirement, but there is a lot of talk, and, on the US side, a lot of belied hope. There was an RFI floated, but it went nowhere; the Sikorsky costs $30 million a pop, and the Sea King can be kept flying for years more. Nothing is happening here.

    Finally, considering the performance of the Patriot, why would anyone in their right minds buy it?

    Still not part of your $10 billion.

    6. Your latest mail: Last week, India floated its biggest-ever military tender, for the purchase of 126 multi-role combat aircraft worth $10 billion. Lockheed-Martin and Boeing are lobbying hard to sell their F-16 and F/A-18 fighter planes to India.

    My earlier mail: The US – two planes actually, the F16 and the F18 – are contenders for the MRCA stand-by purchase, in chase that is what you have in mind, but there are several others, including two Russian derivatives, in the race.

    Right: so you really, really want to know.

    This is the $10 billion deal, the only deal on which the US has any chance, and ironically, the one where it has the least chance largely because it is the US, with a history of betrayal and unreliability. The planes in contention are:

    SAAB Gripen
    F-16
    MiG-35
    F-18 Super Hornet
    Dassault Rafale
    EADS Typhoon

    I will not comment on the chances of the different aircraft at this stage, when even flying trials are not complete: all aircraft have to be flown within the country, and there will be trials in their country of origin as well, for obvious reasons. The American planes have a chance, among other strong contenders, and that is all that can be said. So your wink-wink nod-nod hints that this is a done deal are grossly exaggerated at the moment.

    This, then, is the only $10.0 bn deal going. You can see for yourself what the odds are; I am not proposing to put the reasons for and against each contending aircraft out on a general purpose forum and bore everyone to tears. So much for that.


    PS: Even as we have been talking our heads off about these hypothetical goodies for the Americans, the MiG 29K deal (for carrier borne interceptors) for a little over $1.2 bn, and a multiple-frigate deal to be implemented in phases, of which $1.6 bn (2 modified Krivak frigates) was signed up in 2006, were initiated. This is not counting another dozen deals with the Russians that I can remember off-hand (who knows? perhaps with the help of Google, I might remember more).

    While I cannot comment with such freedom on other aspects of your answers, with reference to defence procurement-related matters, based on the sample on display, my sincere advice is to stay away from matters about which apparently your information is drawn from Google and the Internet. As long as you do not opine about these things, your lack of knowledge will not become apparent.

  147. updike

    To B. Civilian

    I wrote: “Instant-delete is frightening totalitarianism.”

    That was not about vajra.

    Repetitions result when in a discussion one feels misread or unread or ignored or dismissed.

    Everyone thinks: my argument is the best of all. And the “more best” it is the more it is repeated.

    Truth is: my arguments are different from those of others, consequently also the conclusions at times. But to accuse me of hindutva etc. – that was/is a label campaign by the many against the one and only. And I rejected this label with verve and nerve.

    In not a single post of mine did I call anyone by any label. It’s just not my habit. I reject this idea of labeling participants. Never did I use a filthy or obscene word against anyone.

    Many (most) of my arguments remain unrefuted. I do not think of it as my triumph. It is reality that proves me right (or to be on right track) again and again.

  148. vajra

    Many (most) of my arguments remain unrefuted. I do not think of it as my triumph. It is reality that proves me right (or to be on right track) again and again.

    The term for this is delusional.

  149. hoss

    Vajra,

    Sounds like it is my turn to call you not only confused but blind and just say that most likely you have not read what I had posted on this thread and decided to jump in with irrelevant stats what not. What were you smoking?
    Here is my first post on this $10 billion deal.
    hoss
    January 16, 2010 at 8:48 pm
    “Plus India plans to buy almost $10 billion military hardware from the US. The Indian dependence on the US is growing and that means India would have to follow the US lead in the international affairs. This is how the international relations work.”

    Where does it say it is a done deal?
    You would have saved yourself the whole two hours that you spent on you simply ridiculous post not to mention the few minutes I spent on reading the frivolousness, if you had paid attention to what I wrote initially.

    I provided some quick references to the news items that refer to the proposed deal.
    I am not a bean counter to look at every piece of hardware that US plans to sell or India plans buy from the US in future. I look at the political impact of burgeoning Indian dependence on the US.

    I am not really impressed with the stuff you posted. I wished you had posted the references…obviously the India defense department did not send you their wish list.

    Please get in to a habit of reading first before commenting on issues. Not doing that would just make you look silly as it does now.

    PS. Just to rub it in: you were responding to the news items as they appeared in some paper and I perhaps wrote just a few lines in there. You did not pay attention to the quotation marks in my previous posts. Silly goose!

    Back to you.
    “Reading your last few posts, you seem to have a rooted tendency never to read anybody else’s posts but your own.”🙂

  150. Hayyer

    Updike:
    Please go away. Your pop up alter egos are bad for the nerves.

    Vajra:
    Thanks for all that detail. Without googling one can also recall the 2.5 billion dollar aircraft carrier and the lease of the latest Akula class nuclear submarine. American arms are peripheral to India’s military build up. Our Pakistani friends should realize that India does not consider western arms suppliers reliable, and it is unlikely to get caught into becoming a dependency of the US, let alone a proxy.

    Achutha:

    India was in danger of becoming a Soviet puppet but never became one, but that was not because of the arms deals. These began as you would know only in 1965 when the first Mig 21s began to arrive. Followed in quick succession by Sukhoi 7s and then medium artillery such as the 105mm and 130mm guns, shilkas and multi barrel rocket launchers and much else.
    But Nehru had already exposed himself over the Soviet invasion of Hungary in 1956. Moscow warmed towards India at the end of the sixties so much as to offer arrive at a treaty relationship in ’71, but that was because of its recent war with China over the Amur river boundary. China and the US were then almost in alliance over defending Pakistan should India dare to act militarily over East Pakistan.
    India had almost fallen into the Soviet lap in the fifties and early sixties but that was because the western powers and Taiwan regularly tried to get the Security Council to pass resolutions over Kashmir which the Soviet Union just as regularly vetoed. India was not a proxy of course then but it did hide behind the back of big brother at the UN. Recall Bulganin and Krushchev’s visit to Kashmir in 1955.
    India did behave weak kneed over the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan. Its current developmental activity is not only to build a reservoir of goodwill but also to make the Afghans forget that it failed them in 1978/79. But India was never a proxy, and rumours of proxy ship for the Americans now are greatly exaggerated.
    Nehru ofcourse never ceased to lecture the Americans from his lofty moral perch all through the fifties, and ignored them when invading Goa. It was only the Chinese invasion in 62 that put an end to his moralizing. Indira Gandhi never expressed the slightest gratitude to the Americans for all that food aid without which governance would have collapsed.

    The Iranians have a right to feel betrayed. India used Iran to counter Pakistan at various UN forums but were not available when they were needed in turn. Over the gas pipeline it is hard to say whether it was the price of gas (which collapsed recently) that Iran wanted to re-negotiate, or the nuclear lollipop that the US held out. Its recent vote against Iran over the latter’s nuclear ambitions is a more complex question that would take us far afield from the present discussion.

  151. Gorki

    Hoss Sahib: You wrote the following:
    1. You appear to be beholden to the past.
    2. “Nuclear deal is not US-only” Nonsense. The deal is with the US. The other countries got involved because of the deal with the US. If the US backs out of the deal, no country would provide any help to India.
    3. India is hooked up with the US in many ways. The nuke deal means India would spend $100 billion in the next few years for the US technology and would be depending on the US for the supply and spare parts. That makes India more dependent on the US.

    Let me skip #1 for the moment and go to #2.

    Your statement is Not true. While India and US may still pen important bi-lateral deal(s) the importance of this deal to India was to be able to access Uranium and nuclear related technologies for its power generation from the 46 nation strong nuclear supplier group (NSG) which was a cartel put together under the leadership of the US after the 1974 Indian nuclear tests, specifically with the stated aim of checking nuclear proliferation. After the US-India deal, the NSG granted a waiver to India. Once this waiver was granted, any one of the 46 countries (a group that includes nations like Russia, France etc. that were eager to deal with India on their own) are now free to deal with India independently, even if the US Congress backs out of the deal.

    Similarly #3 is also not true for the reasons already stated above. India can spend its money where ever it gets the best deal since it is now free to deal with other countries.

    Now coming back to #1 I think the statement applies to you much more specifically since you are looking at the India\US\Pakistan relationship from the prism of the cold war when the world was divided into two blocks; if one regional power tilted towards one superpower its adversary automatically tilted towards the other.

    It is now 2010 and the cold war has been over for 21 years.
    The West, specifically the US won it but it now realizes that its days as a unipolar hegemon are limited.
    China and other nations are fast catching up and some day surely in the near future the US may still be ahead but it will merely be a first among a handful of equals.
    To its credit the US seems to have gracefully accepted that fact and contrary to all the conspiracy theorists, does not seek to stunt China’s economic growth nor confront it militarily.

    Actually it does not need to. If you read the policy papers from many respected US policy think tanks, the consensus is that the peaceful rise of China (and others) is not necessarily a bad thing if they all can be accommodated in the current world order.
    All the US seeks to maintain is worldwide free trade, intellectual property rights, individual freedoms; and the physical and material security of the West, all gains of the era of enlightenment.

    Towards this goal the US would like China to play a more active and a constructive role in the current (Western designed) international organizations, the UN, the G 20 the IMF etc. The goal is to keep the current consensus on free trade agreements, the commitment to the individual freedoms and to keep the regional\ethnic conflicts in check as they are today.
    Towards this goal also, the US policy makers also realize (as you mentioned) that perhaps in the next 30 to 50 years India too may be as strong as China is today and will have to be accommodated.
    Thus they are advocating that India too should be engaged, especially today when it is not very strong and ambitious.

    So where does it leave Pakistan? Not in a bad place.

    The fact that US is trying to woo India does not mean it hates Pakistan. Just like the US knows that India will be in China’s position in maybe 30-50 years it realizes Pakistan with a projected population of 500 million, too will be in India’s position in that time frame and thus needs to be addressed as well.

    So for Pakistan too, the US does not have any evil designs; it would like it too integrated in the current (admittedly US designed) World order.
    The US planners are not anti Pakistan; it is only that the thought of this nuclear armed country (with a young population which is larger than Russia today), going rogue that gives them nightmares. Therefore they sincerely want a democratic and stable Pakistan.
    The war in Afghanistan (and Iraq) were never a part of the US game plan these were distractions imposed on the US by OBL and our own idiotic president GWB.

    The tragedy of South Asians is that they don’t realize how many crucial cards they hold and how close they are to making the next century a South Asian century if only they can summon up the vision.
    For this, they have to first learn not to be beholden to the past, as unfortunately you still are.

    For these reasons outlined above I believe YLH is far ahead of many because in spite of some minor weaknesses of his article, he has the right idea regarding the US, Pakistan and India.

    Regards.

  152. vajra

    @Hoss

    Without commenting in detail on your rejoinder, I have to inform you that I was mistaken – rather comprehensively so, according to a very reliable source – on point 4. The details are irrelevant, except to say that there is some thinking about airlift capabilities which extends well beyond what was generally known, and that there may be, if there is not already in place, a deal for theatre airlift capability. Personally, I am astonished, but the damn thing is a reality. I thought that in the interests of accuracy, this correction is necessary.

    Incidentally, although still feeling battered and bruised by your cavalier treatment, I can still summon up enough energy to say the following:

    1. Your $10 billion figure is obviously a reference to the MRCA (MMRCA, correctly speaking) deal, and it is a far cry from being one that can go anywhere near the US.

    2. The portion of US sourcing in the total purchase list over the next decade is likely to be very small – with a fairly accurate degree of predictability as of today.

    3. I can in fact reproduce a wish-list – for all three services but not the Coast Guard – with approximately 90% + accuracy. That was not the point here. As already mentioned on earlier occasions, this is not a militarist blog, and such references would be misplaced and perhaps even obnoxious to some.

    Now I shall retire to repair my armour and hammer out the nicks in my military cutlery. Don’t go away.

  153. Luq

    @vajra
    People keep linking the Indian IT,ITES industry with Indo-US relations – as in – one is dependent on the other. If the relations go sour, the business ties will also nosedive. How much of this is true (if at all)?

    When sanctions were imposed, did everything come to a screeching halt ?

    Luq

  154. Suv

    @Hayyer
    How did India betray Afghans in Soviet Invasion. I have not come across any piece of evidence where India supported Soviet Invasion in any way. India did not share borders with Afghanistan and it has a policy of not doing military intervention in Afghanistan. I would say what India did as a neutral country was far better than US/Pakistan role which unleashed demons like Osama.

  155. PMA

    updike (January 18, 2010 at 4:34 am):

    Two-nation Theory of All India Muslim League was a counterpoint to the One-nation Theory of Indian National Congress. Both theories have got the former British Indian Empire into the mess that it is today.

  156. hoss

    Gorki
    January 19, 2010 at 10:59 am
    “After the US-India deal, the NSG granted a waiver to India.”

    In the absence of a deal with US India wasn’t going to get this waiver. So it is because of the US that India gets this waiver. Now what are the prospects of the waivers withdrawn if the US and India disagree and later rescind the deal? The waiver depends on the US approach and not on what India can do. This is the beauty of the deal; India can’t pull out of the deal but the US can.

    Anyway, the rest of your post is like the benevolent US sitting on top of the world and planning how it can help the world and play god. Iraq war was just one idiotic act by one person who happened to be the US president, so were the Vietnam War and the Korean War and the turmoils that were US sponsored in South America. The US is always looking to do the good thing but sometimes it has some bad presidents.
    I did not realize that you are so naïve.

    The US does things based on its best national Interests. Sometime those things are bad for other countries sometimes they are not. We need to look at the merits of every single case. There no such thing as one idiotic president and some rogue elements in the US administration. I don’t know what world you live in. It sure is not real.

  157. PMA

    Majumdar (January 18, 2010 at 10:50 am):

    Pakistan needs to put its house in order. It needs to give a greater say to the smaller provinces in the center and a larger role in the national affairs. Just like it should have given Bengalis their due share in the center. No Balochistan is not under Pakistani ‘occupation’. An intelligent person like you should not repeat such nonsense. And I hope you are right about India. So far there is nothing on the ground to prove your point. If anything the evidence is to the opposite.

  158. PMA

    Gorki (January 18, 2010 at 11:34 am):

    I enjoy your light hearted humor.

  159. vajra

    @Luq

    There was very little effect on Indian business.

    1. US businessmen are greedy pigs. So are businessmen everywhere in the world, but this lot are greedier and piggier than any other. At the height of the outsourcing uproar in the US, when a protectionist lobby seeking to protect overpaid programmers doing COBOL maintenance wanted to ban outsourcing to other countries, the biggest US companies, software and smokestack alike, banded together and put enormous pressure on Congress not to cut back on H1B visas. You have seen what happened recently: how enormous support was given to banks and thoroughly mis-managed automobile makers, who insisted on maximising quarterly profits and executive bonuses by producing visibly limited scope SUVs while the rest of the world was rapidly shifting to fuel-efficient technologies. This while holders of bonds and securities on these very same corporation were shafted.

    IMO, if US business wants to do business with India, they will do business with India, and nobody can do much about it.

    2. Indian businessmen turned out to be clever, greedy pigs. In the 80s, when I entered the IT industry, nearly 95% of overseas revenue was due to body-shopping: on site manpower placements. There was a strange and wonderful seven-step brokerage of services; there were flourishing sub-cultures of ‘facilitators’ and ‘multipliers’ who spread all over the place. Anybody with a fax at home and a brother-in-law working in Bangalore became an IT sourcing expert.

    This has changed dramatically. The unbelievably bad quality of those days has changed 180 degrees in the last 20 years. At one stage (I am not sure of the current figures), 90% of CMM Level 5 certificates were issued to Indian companies. With this, the nature of work has also changed. The project-based model of task allocation and monitoring was refined; project management methods were smoothed out.

    But most important, at present, Indian companies have taken over the entire management of the IT infrastructure of major US corporations. This is not packing off some on-site anonymouse or ten; this is recovering the entire management and maintenance of one’s infrastructure, re-creating large armies of programmers all over again like the ‘good’ old days.

    Any changes on account of a political freeze: zero.

    3. The boom in manpower placements happened precisely during the period when there was the greatest restriction on India in terms of equipment accessibility. At one stage, a robustly configured MAC would have been a banned item from a Department of Commerce point of view.

    There was no visible impact on IT of the sanctions and consequent restrictions in doing business.

    I could go on but……..

  160. YLH

    The problem with the whole one nation two nation fifty nation debate is that we wish to prescribe objective tests for purely subjective issues such as nationality. Identity and nationality are ideas. If enough people believe in them they are real. Citizenship denotes a relationship between a state and its subject.

    Thus any national idea is equally true and equally false.

  161. PMA

    Hayyer (January 18, 2010 at 11:46 am):

    It is not question of “natural allies” or “natural enemies”. I do not believe in either of that. It is the respective principles on which these two countries were created out of the British Indian Empire that are at odds. That is why one constantly tries to undermine the other. However nothing remains the same for ever. Ultimately things on ground will change like they did in 47 and then in 71. It is matter of how stars are aligned.

    About commonalities: I agree with your examples of ‘North India-Pakistan’ and ‘Bangladesh-W. Bengal-Orissa-Assam’. That is not where the problem lies. The problem for Pakistan is that for ‘Ganges-Indus alliance’ to take place (which many here at PTH insist upon), she would have to let its ‘west bank’ go as it is not part of that ‘alliance’. (let us leave the Indian case alone for now because it is a more complex one). Such ‘alliance’ also means end of Pakistan as we know it. Many here at PTH have misunderstood me on this issue and have resorted to question my person.

    As I have said before, and still maintain, that for Pakistan to function as an entity, its ‘east bank’ has to let the ‘Ganges Valley’ go no matter how strong or historical are the links between the two regions and realign itself with its own ‘west bank’. Without that Pakistan has no future. And on their part the North Indians must allow Pakistanis to develop their own Pakistani identity free of Indian confusion. And yes on that point you understood me correctly.

  162. Gorki

    Hoss Sahib:

    “The US does things based on its best national Interests. Sometime those things are bad for other countries sometimes they are not.”

    That is true.

    Only now that the US has emerged a winner from the cold war, and it has the world exaclty where it wants it, it no longer needs to do things it did then to win.
    Examples of US conduct in Vietnam or South America in the cold war are as irrelevant in today’s context as say the dropping of the A-bomb on Japan in WWII.
    Since you brought up the past US conduct, remember then that once Japan was subdued, the US treatment of this defeated nation was better than any other example such example; ever.

    I have never claimed that US is a paragon of virtue, if anything it is a modern day version of ancient Rome; join it and you will get a fair treatment, peace, prosperity and will be left alone in religious and other matters; cross it and you will face a full fury of a superpower.

    Only, in the current context US interests converge remarkably with those nations who want to follow the US, Western Europe and the Japanese model of prosperity through peaceful growth within the framework of the international order already in place.
    You may call it a US desire to extent the Pax Americana into the future.

    Regarding the issue of the NSG waiver to India, you yourself seem to answer the question here:

    “Now what are the prospects of the waivers withdrawn if the US and India disagree and later rescind the deal?”

    The answer is: None.

    Which means India is now no longer beholden to the US and even if its own deal wit the US falls through, it can now still deal independently with Russia, France etc!!

    So what is the confusion about?
    Regards.

  163. Good overall site enjoyed reading will def bookmark.

  164. Hayyer

    Suv:
    The Soviets invades Afghanistan to prop up a tottering bungling left regime that had refused to take sensible advice and shot itself in many places. The whole world condemned the invasion except friends of the Soviet Union. If you read Indian statements of that period you will notice a wretched evasiveness.
    Why was India’s act a betrayal? Because the Afghans had been good friends of India against Pakistan. Whether over the Durand line or support to Khan Abdul Ghaffar Khan and Pakhtunistan, or whatever. Yet they lost all goodwill and Pakistan became the last resort for millions of Afghans. Pakistan also helped them regain their independence. It is another matter that what they substituted for the Russians was as bad if not worse.

    PMA:

    “The problem for Pakistan is that for ‘Ganges-Indus alliance’ to take place (which many here at PTH insist upon), she would have to let its ‘west bank’ go as it is not part of that ‘alliance’. (let us leave the Indian case alone for now because it is a more complex one). Such ‘alliance’ also means end of Pakistan as we know it.”

    To us here in India, at a distance and not a part of Pakistan’s internal discourse it is difficult to comment. The question that occurs to me is-would it have been so if partition had not taken place. The Afghans have been in India for a long time and both Calcutta and Bombay had flourishing Afghan communities. The Afghan dynamic has long been part of the subcontinent.

    “As I have said before, and still maintain, that for Pakistan to function as an entity, its ‘east bank’ has to let the ‘Ganges Valley’ go no matter how strong or historical are the links between the two regions and realign itself with its own ‘west bank’. Without that Pakistan has no future. And on their part the North Indians must allow Pakistanis to develop their own Pakistani identity free of Indian confusion. And yes on that point you understood me correctly.”

    All I can say to that is good luck. While most Indians visiting PTH do not want to interpose themselves in the self discovery of Pakistan the Indian ‘confusion’ is not something that can be just imagined out of existence; there is no delete button to collective memory or historical record. Pakistan will have to find ways of coping. I suppose like the Indian case the Pakistan identity is a work in progress.

  165. updike

    How to manage a forum

    1) If you can’t refute someone’s arguments then delete them.

    2) Delete the most powerful arguments, but let remain less important ones so as to create the impression of being tolerant and open-minded.

    3) Change from : “Call someone a dog and shoot him: to “Shoot someone and then call him a dog”.

  166. vajra

    @Updike

    1. Which argument of yours, precisely, has not been addressed?

    Surely you are not under the impression that people have not noticed that you make statements, tendentious statements, sweeping statements, statements contrary to the facts and then ignore the inevitable corrections which emerge from others. If by sticking one’s head in the sand, one could make uncomfortable responses go away, you would no doubt have something to talk about. As it is, it is clear that you don’t even know that your argument has been answered.

    2. AFAIK, only some of your later mails have been deleted. Your earlier mails are still available, in painful, excruciating detail. They have all been dealt with, by various people, with various occasions.

    What powerful arguments are you talking about? that have been deleted?

    You didn’t, I notice, come back on any refutation of your views, whichever id you wrote under.

    3. Don’t whine.

    You set out to upset people, insult them, attack their religious beliefs, and were unable to justify these obnoxious and delinquent acts logically. Why do you complain when you are edited out?

    Nobody stops you from abandoning your and selecting a more logical line of argument. Try it some time.

  167. PMA

    Hayyer (January 20, 2010 at 10:10 am):

    Thanks for understanding. I wish I can say the same about the man who hails from a place only stone throw away from my own. Nation building is not an easy task. We in Pakistan have lot of work to do. In the last sixty years we have come a long way. But we have a way to go yet. In order to be a nation we have to work on a program of national integration where each and every citizen could relate to his country and become part of the nation. We have to build our own national institutions and an all encompassing ‘Brand Pakistan’. It is not a question of deleting history. We must never do that. It is a question of taking care of the present and safeguarding the future. To me that is what Pakistan is all about. I am very optimistic of our future. We will get there one day. God willing.

  168. Luq

    >There was no visible impact on IT of the sanctions
    >and consequent restrictions in doing business.

    So, what is all that noise coming from hossp?

    >I could go on but……..

    What was the impact of sanctions on procurement of dual use technology both for Pak and India. The requirements were sourced through a different route or alternate technology developed?

    Why were the sanctions lifted so abruptly ?

    Luq

  169. Suv

    @Hayyer
    On the contrary by not interfering militarily in Afghanistan India earned goodwill of Afghan people. No foreign army has done anything good for Afghan people and India’s track in that respect is clean. Freedom fight supported by US and Pakistan has caused such nightmare to people in Afghanistan and become a global security threat that perhaps Afghanistan under Soviets would have been better for Afghans and rest of the world.

    Regarding Khan Abdul Guffar Khan, India and Congress literally abandoned him and it is pity that such a great leader had to spend rest of life in prison. He taught non-violence to people in NWFP. His Khudai Khidmatgars valiantly faced bullets and blows of British without resorting to violence and now the people of NWFP are strongest votaries of Taliban. How sad!

  170. PMA

    Why Pakistan refuses new attacks
    BBC News

    With its announcement that it will launch no new offensives against the Taliban in 2010, Pakistan’s army appears to have opened a new innings in its favourite game with the West, says the BBC’s Syed Shoaib Hasan in Islamabad.

    For the United States, the statement by the Pakistan army could not have come at a worse time.

    Its main intelligence agency, the CIA, is still coming to terms with the death of seven personnel in a suicide attack in Afghanistan by an al-Qaeda “double agent”.

    That attack, the worst suffered by the agency in four decades, was apparently planned and carried out by Taliban militants in Pakistan’s tribal areas.

    Under pressure from the US, the Pakistan army launched an operation there in the main Taliban stronghold of South Waziristan in November 2009.

    The army has since been able to secure that territory and push out the militants.

    While some have been captured, most senior Taliban and al-Qaeda leaders have fled the region.

    Intelligence officials say they have now taken refuge either in other nearby tribal regions or the neighbouring Balochistan province.

    Mission impossible

    Top US officials, including Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, have been calling for the military to go after the militants in these regions.

    All this comes at a time when Pakistan’s government is already under a great deal of domestic criticism.

    This is mainly due to increased missile strikes by the US targeting Taliban and al-Qaeda leaders in the tribal areas.

    These have turned a sometimes ambivalent tribal population against the Pakistan military.

    Analysts say the tribesmen see the strikes, which have claimed more lives of civilians than of militants, as contiguous with the military operation.

    But US officials have continued to press for more action, painting doomsday scenarios for Pakistan.

    The latest such warning comes from US Defence Secretary Robert Gates, who said in India that al-Qaeda was planning to carry out attacks to provoke war with Pakistan.

    But the Pakistan military appears to have its own views on the subject, and their say is likely to count the most.

    Their latest decision is likely to sends shivers through all Western capitals which have a stake in Afghanistan.

    For Washington, in particular, the military’s U-turn will have far-reaching consequences.

    Without Pakistani soldiers pressurising the Taliban in the tribal areas, it will be mission impossible for US forces in Afghanistan.

    Diplomatic wrangling

    Even with the additional 40,000 troops, it will not be possible to contain the insurgents.

    With 2010 already being called a defining moment in the current conflict, the military has risked the all-out ire of the US with its decision.

    But it appears to have thought out the move, given that it has gone public at a time when the US defence secretary is in Pakistan.

    The military believes it has strong reasons not to move against the militants.

    Many senior military officials have been angered by what they see are recent moves by the US and the UK to expand India’s involvement in Afghanistan.

    They see this as being specifically targeted against Pakistani interests.

    There is also the matter of promised US aid to Pakistan, most of which has been delayed due to diplomatic wrangling.

    US officials say much of the aid has been held up because of delays in processing visas for officials attached to the projects.

    But Pakistani intelligence officials say that many of these officials actually end up involved in activities “beyond their charter of duties”.

    In common parlance, its means the officials are seen as spies.

    Extremely unhappy

    The military’s decision has also put the Pakistan government, with which it has been at odds of late, in an embarrassing position.

    The military’s unhappiness at the government stems from what it sees as its pandering to US demands at every turn.

    One example which intelligence officials quote at liberty, is the manner in which US special forces personnel are allowed to enter and move around Pakistan without being documented by immigration.

    Officials say the military is extremely unhappy with the interior ministry on this count.

    The shaky PPP-led government, for its part, is too busy rolling from one political crisis to another to really take this matter in hand.

    On a more direct note, Pakistan’s military has also been demanding that the US give it more advanced helicopters and transfer its drone technology.

    They say as the frontline state against the Taliban, such equipment is needed for greater success.

    The US has, however, rejected these demands so far.

  171. Hayyer

    Suv:

    “On the contrary by not interfering militarily in Afghanistan India earned goodwill of Afghan people.”

    That sounds like a government handout. India could not have interfered militarily because it is not contiguous with Afghanistan. No goodwill there for India.
    ” No foreign army has done anything good for Afghan people and India’s track in that respect is clean.”

    Foreign armies do not go out to do good, generally speaking, and Afghan armies have been no different when they went out. The army that did go in from the east was that of Ranjit Singh and it destroyed the pleasant city of Peshawar. So if you want to consider Ranjit Singh Indian the track is not clean. On the other hand Ranjit Singh’s empire was mostly Pakistani, so you may have other reasons for objecting to this example.

  172. Suv

    @Hayyer
    India was a bit player as it did not have a common border with Afghanistan as you correctly pointed out. Indian action had so little bearing that what India did cannot be labelled a betrayal of Afghan people.

    I was referring to India track record as a sovereign country after 1947 not as historical sub continent. If you go back then many armies like Mauryan had invaded what is now Afghanistan.

    It is not mandatory that foreign armies do bad in a country. Germany under occupation of Allies did get a Marshall plan, Japanese and Koreans were helped by US in many ways but in Afghanistan unfortunately everyone tried to grind their own axes.

  173. Milind Kher

    Although Rahe nijaat has been pursued with vigor, there are two points of concern.

    1 > The TTP and Al Qaeda may have been underestimated.

    2 > Other terrorist groups have still not been tackled.

    Whereas we who would like to see good relations with Pakistan recognize that there are efforts being made, most people are still quite skeptical

  174. rex minor

    @ylh
    Sorry, I was out of town and could not read your idiotic comments, nor was able to send you a reply. You have a very basic education and a limited knowledge of the world. Moreover, you do no longer have the ability to learn further or widen your knowledge. In my view you have narcissistic opinion about yourself. I do notice that your comments might have some acceptance from your fellow countrymen and those from India, although they are empty in substance and far from the real world. You have never come to terms that Mr Jinnah was neither a genious nor a holy man but you have the audacity to criticise those leaders who do not visit his grave and continue to remind people what sort of Pakistan he envisaged. Today after more than sixty years Pakistan is nothing more than the Pakistan Army. Pakistan Army has a closed territory to rome about and this is called Pakistan. You cannot stretch your intellect to understand this reality! You do not have to urge the readers to follow the footsteps of Mr Jinnah, for this is a sure recipe for a dismal future for any one and the country.
    Instead, I would prefer that the modern enlightened and intellectual muslim journalists encourage fellow citizens to follow the foot steps of no other than Prophet Mohammad(pbuh), the only prophet of God who completed his mission and assignments given to him by God almighty. Unfortunately, this field has been left to the clergy who have not been able to reconcile the teachings of Islam with traditions and modern times.
    Have a nice day! And try not to use the abusive vocabulary. Bloody Civilian should tell you that Pashtoons do not react favourably.