Why Pakistan interferes in Afghanistan

A strong, independent Afghanistan is perceived as an existential threat to Pakistan Just why is Pakistan interested in installing a friendly regime in Afghanistan? If you read books and articles written over the last couple of decades, you will come across arguments such as the need for “strategic depth” to counter India, to prevent a … Continue reading “Why Pakistan interferes in Afghanistan”

Let the Buzkashi begin!

The implications of Barack Obama’s policy shift in Afghanistan and Pakistan Barack Obama has executed a very smart policy change—he has effectively dehyphenated Af-Pak by extricating the United States from the long-running Afghan civil war and focusing Washington’s attention on Pakistan. The United States will put in a genuine effort to mitigate the risk of … Continue reading “Let the Buzkashi begin!”

Cheering Pakistan’s missile test

May they have ever longer ranges! It is in India’s interests that Pakistan should acquire missiles with very long ranges. The greater the range, the better it is for India. No, this is neither sarcasm nor flippancy, this is logic. Pakistan does not need more nuclear warheads or missiles to deter India. It achieved that … Continue reading “Cheering Pakistan’s missile test”

Trading across the Partition

The liberalisation of India-Pakistan bilateral trade is a good thing. Now leave it to market forces This blog has been a longtime advocate of India liberalising bilateral trade with Pakistan. The very first op-ed essay I wrote, for Mint in 2007, argued that the real ‘peace process’ lay in free trade. The argument is based … Continue reading “Trading across the Partition”

Living with a nuclear Iran

Dealing with a nuclear Iran is better than suffering an international war to stop it. Led by the United States, much of the international community has tightened economic sanctions on Iran in an attempt to prevent it from building nuclear weapons. India and China are among the few countries that have stayed out of this … Continue reading “Living with a nuclear Iran”

Pointing guns and stroking backs

The implications of Pakistan’s power triangle Those who follow Pakistan are familiar with the metaphor that describes that country as “negotiating with a gun to its own head.” Here’s an update: it’s now run by three power centres—the military establishment, the higher judiciary and the civilian government—, where one holds a gun to the another’s … Continue reading “Pointing guns and stroking backs”

What should we make of Memogate?

A bold move to weaken the Pakistani military-jihadi complex backfires It was a risky enterprise, but the opportunity was unprecedented. Whether or not there was actually a risk of an overt military coup in the early days of May 2011, after the US military raid killed Osama bin Laden in Abbottabad, it nevertheless opened up … Continue reading “What should we make of Memogate?”

On bloggingheads – India, US, China and Af-Pak

The geopolitics of hope? Here’s a diavlog with Robert Wright, editor-in-chief of bloggingheads.tv on what they’ve titled as the geopolitics of hope. The conversation ranges from India-US relations, US-China relations, Af-Pak and even legitimacy of governments. So sit back relax, spill your coffee or Fall Off Your Chair™ Jump to segments: When American jobs go … Continue reading “On bloggingheads – India, US, China and Af-Pak”

Bruce Riedel says appeasement doesn’t work

Aid is the enemy of clear thinking Back in March 2009, when the Obama administration unveiled its Af-Pak strategy (in the formulation of which Bruce Riedel played an important part), this blog wrote: The main issue in President Barack Obama‚Äôs just-announced strategy for Afghanistan and Pakistan boils down to this: just how is the United … Continue reading “Bruce Riedel says appeasement doesn’t work”

Three grand narratives of Pakistan

The accelerating treadmill of radicalisation There are three distinct grand narratives of Pakistan by Pakistanis: the first is an establishment narrative of victimisation, defensiveness and denial. The second is the narrative of the liberal elite, focusing on the need for socio-economic development of a vast country of 180 million people. The third, radical Islamist narrative, … Continue reading “Three grand narratives of Pakistan”