Tag Archives: diplomacy

Redefining national interest

Raza Rumi

Courtesy The Friday Times: —
The elusive quest for peace between India and Pakistan remains hostage to the military-industrial complex at both the global and regional levels. Such is the dynamic unleashed by two imagined “nations” that their existence as states is dependent on a perpetual state of confrontation. More so for Pakistan, given its deeply embedded paranoia, which has assumed a reality of its own. Sixty-two years ago, it was hardly envisioned that the two states would erect an iron-curtain and fight forever. From actual wars to propaganda campaigns the task seems complete now. The oft-repeated phrase ‘trust deficit’ is a natural culmination of this ugly process. Of late, another dimension has been added, i.e. information-deficit as India had marched towards a new phase of its economic development, it has stopped taking interest in transitional Pakistani society and kept the time-warped framework of understanding Pakistan. However, the situation cannot remain static. Policymakers are slow to catch up on both the sides.

Mumbai factor: Twenty months ago, the Mumbai attacks changed the atmosphere created by President Zardari’s unprecedented offers of peace, dialogue and cooperation. The day Zardari made his remarks in a conclave organised by the Hindustan Times in 2008, many observers saw a Mumbai coming. The jihadis of Pakistan and perhaps their counterparts in India were quick to stop this process. Ironic that PPP, a party fed on the Pakistani nationalist rhetoric, thirty years down the road had read the writing on the wall. Pakistan’s future and survival is dependent on a reduction of hostilities with India. More importantly, this also holds the key to correcting the endemic civil-military imbalance.

Zardari’s stride: Why would a national security state apparatus bloated by an Indian threat not react to Zardari’s statements: “I do not feel threatened by India and India should not feel threatened from us…today we have a parliament which is already pre-agreed upon a friendly relationship with India. In spite of our disputes, we have a great future together.” As if this was not enough, Zardari declared that Pakistan will not be the first country to use its nuclear weapons, thus undermining a carefully constructed Pakistani nuclear doctrine of first-use. Continue reading

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No alternative to peace with India

Raza Rumi

Once again, the fragile peace process between India and Pakistan has commenced. It is too early to say whether it will lead to an amicable settlement of seemingly intractable issues. What is clear is that the peoples of the two countries want peace, security and progress. The elites, which agreed on the messy Partition and raised nation-states and huge militaries, have surely flourished at the expense of people. A causal look at India’s poverty and Pakistan’s social indicators proves this point.

As a confidence building measure, a group of Pakistani journalists visited Delhi, Mumbai and Bangalore to meet their counterparts, think tanks and selected top-level officials. This was a timely and fruitful visit and reminded us that there is a formidable peace constituency in India. After the Indian home minister it is the turn of the Indian foreign minister to visit Islamabad from today for a three-day tour. Regardless of the outcome, sensible neighbours must continue to talk.

Evidently, the Mumbai terror attacks were the greatest stumbling block in resuming dialogue. Discussions at Sharm el Sheikh were a major breakthrough. Dr Manmohan Singh overcame tough public opinion after the joint declaration. This year’s dialogue at the Saarc Summit in Bhutan catalysed the peace process. After the 18th amendment to the Pakistani Constitution, the Indian side has noted the power shift within Pakistan as it strives to reclaim the democratic path.

Pakistani media persons, including me, could not help notice the centrality of the Mumbai attacks factor, which continues to inform public opinion in India. A majority of Indians hold Pakistan fully responsible for the event. The caveat here is that they often forget that Pakistan is also a victim of terrorism. But there is growing awareness in India about the internal challenges within Pakistan. This is why the Indian leadership has delinked dialogue from terrorism. Continue reading

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Joint Statement or Joint Foolishness?

It seems that the joint statement itself has become a subject of scandal.  This is nothing but pettiness.   Here is Daily Times’ report on it:

India-Pakistan diplomatic duel on joint statement

* Pakistani diplomat says document ‘balanced statement addressing real issues’
* Indian diplomat stresses meeting only talked about ‘limited’ dialogue process
* Contends India has nothing to do with Balochistan Continue reading

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CIA: Licensed to Kill

By David Wise (Writing in the LA Times)

Back in 1960, the CIA hatched a plan to kill Patrice Lumumba by infecting his toothbrush with a deadly disease. The Congolese leader would brush his teeth and, presto, in a few days or weeks he would be gone.

Around the same time, the CIA’s Health Alteration Committee — who thought that name up? — sent a monogrammed, poisoned handkerchief to Gen. Abdul Karim Kassem, the leader of Iraq. Continue reading

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PAKISTAN: State faces crisis of purpose

We are posting this interesting analysis published as part of the Oxford Analytica Briefs (Wednesday, October 1 2008). Readers may not agree with some of the points but the piece makes a good albeit sobering reading. (Raza Rumi ed.)

SUBJECT: Scenarios for the future of Pakistan.
SIGNIFICANCE: Recent geopolitical developments have undermined the traditional rationale of the state, promoting deepening internal discord. To survive, Pakistan will need to re-cast itself and find a new place in the international order. Yet the three most likely ways forward are each fraught with difficulties.
ANALYSIS: Most of the domestic and geopolitical forces that have held Pakistan together since its hasty creation in 1947 have been weakening rapidly. Continue reading

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Pakistan-India ties

This is an interesting editorial from The NEWS April 12, 2008

In his first remarks on planned foreign policy, Pakistan’s new Minister for Foreign Affairs, Shah Mahmood Qureshi, has struck a positive note by speaking of the need for good ties with neighbouring India. His remarks coincide with a new report by US scientists at the University of Colorado that a brief nuclear war between the South Asian neighbours will rip apart the ozone layer and spell global calamity that could kill millions. But even aside from such doomsday scenarios, Pakistan and India could gain much from closer links. It is refreshing that in this regard, the new government is willing to look beyond the entrenched issue of Kashmir to achieve this. In the short term, expanded trade with India across an opened, or at least loosened Wagah border, could help offer people food items at lower costs and thus act to alleviate the immense human misery inflicted by spiralling inflation. Continue reading

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