Alok Bansal No elections in Pakistan’s history have been as violent as the elections taking place on 11 May 2013. A number of election rallies, election offices of the political parties, candidates and their supporters have been targeted and scores have been killed and hundreds have been maimed in attacks by Taliban, which are intended [...]
While this crisis may have blown over, it serves as the right wake up call to India to shore up its defences with a proactive and pragmatic policy from Himalayas to the Indo Pacific to develop leverage to protect its interests.
While China has ratcheted up its show of assertiveness in the recent years, India has been quietly preparing for a parity to prevent war. Often parity does not have to be equality in numbers. The fear of pain disproportionate to the possible gains, and the ability of the smaller in numbers side to do so in itself confer parity. There is a certain equilibrium in Sino-Indian affairs that make recourse to force extremely improbable. Both modern states are inheritors of age-old traditions and the wisdom of the ages. Both now read their semaphores well and know how much of the sword must be unsheathed to send a message. This ability will ensure the swords remain recessed and for the plowshares to be out at work.
What is more frightening is the level of radicalisation of Pakistani society, where jail authorities conspire with other convicts to kill an inmate on death row. This represents a dangerous trend in Pakistan’s society of delivering instant justice.
As militancy in Kashmir ebbed, declined and waned by the beginning of last decade, tourism became the next big summer phenomenon to talk about. However, this was short-lived seasonal event as street protests gripped the imagination 2008 onwards. Two summers have since been relatively peaceful even as the stone warriors are still potent enough on the streets. This spring it is a different question for the forthcoming summers –is militancy about to return in some big, small or modest way?
All scenarios and options painted by these analysts only focus on the dominant Punjabi elites –largely available in the JMC, at the cost of provincial stability. Unwittingly, they all believe (dangerously) that military is the only option to ensure relative stability in Pakistan where the democratic parties are too divided and defunct to steer Pakistan.
The 2012-2013 annual report of the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) begins with the statement that “India’s foreign policy (is) rooted in national ethos”. This seemingly innocuous sentence is indicative of all that is wrong with policy formulation at the MEA. It is not ambiguous and pompous concepts such as a national ‘ethos’ that should guide foreign policy (what does it even mean?) but something much more real and tangible – national interest. If the Union Government gets pushed around on matters of foreign policy, there is a two-fold reason for it; coalition politics and vague goals.
Reports coming in from the country suggest that Pakistan’s economy is in dire straits. One way of giving a boost to their country’s economy would be for Pakistani generals to charge a handsome fee by way of royalty (Intellectual Property Right) for every Hollywood macho film on terrorism made on their territory – and these are bound to proliferate – that shows the US Seals as super heroes.
India today is struggling on many counts – political, economic and military. It’s ability to establish strong credibility is gravely eroded by its lack or weakening of institutions. Institutions for public policy formulation and execution that need to cut across domains/parties/personalities and weather the storms of fickle coalition dharma. Sacrificing national interests to “serve the nation” needs to structurally change in favour of strong democratic institutions, held together by a coherent strategic vision, to ensure its national interests are protected and promoted.
Pakistani establishment is so sincere in export of terrorism and religious hatred that despite acute economic problems they somehow find funds to help these groups which promote religious hatred, extremism, violence and terrorism.