Pragati February 2009: Pakistan needs a MacArthur

Here’s the February 2009 issue of Pragati, a special on Pakistan.

This issue argues that if a stable, prosperous and peaceful Pakistan is in the common interests of India, the world’s major powers and indeed the wider international community, then it is incumbent upon them to engage in a MacArthur-like intervention to transform Pakistan. Merely providing more financial assistance, albeit under different budgetary heads, is unlikely to suffice. In fact, as our in-depth look at one of Pakistan’s biggest jihadi organisations suggests, the export of terrorism from the country is only likely to grow.

In a discussion on India’s options, we examine the role of the use of force; surgical strikes are a fallacy, but credible military capabilities are a necessity. And as the book extract shows, there is a need for skilful diplomacy to use external pressures to bring about internal changes in Pakistan.

In a second perspectives section, we review Pakistan’s relations with its key benefactors—the United States, Saudi Arabia, China and Europe—and highlight how the dynamics of these relationships are changing. The composite picture suggests that after the terrorist attacks on Mumbai, and the arrival of the Obama administration, there is an opportunity for India to engage in bold, imaginative diplomacy to galvanise the international community to radically change Pakistan’s course.

Pragati – The Indian National Interest Review
Issue 23 – February 2009

Contents [Download 2MB PDF]


MacArthur should return
Only an international intervention can transform Pakistan
Nitin Pai

Pakistan 2020
Nine alternative futures
K Subrahmanyam, Pakistan Planning Commission, United States National Intelligence Council, Sohail Inayatullah, MD Nalapat, Nadeem Ul Haque, Stephen P Cohen, Rohit Pradhan & Harsh Gupta and R Vaidyanathan


Essential readings of the month
Ravi Gopalan & Vijay Vikram


The assembly line of international terrorism
Why the threat from Jamaat-ud-Dawa is set to rise
Wilson John


Surgeries are messy
Surgical strikes are a conceptual fallacy and not a prudent option
Srinath Raghavan and Rudra Chaudhuri

Kind words and guns
Effective diplomacy needs credible military capacity
Sushant K Singh

Allies, not friends
The US and Pakistan will need to recast their awkward relationship
Dhruva Jaishankar

A flawed sense of security
The Saudi-Pakistan relationship, underpinned by opportunistic security interests, has run its course
Bernard Haykel

New dynamics of an all weather friendship
China’s influence in Islamabad has been subordinated to US priorities in the region
Zorawar Daulet Singh

Europe’s dilemma
Europe can do little in solving Pakistan’s problem
Richard Gowan


The logic of containment
Using external pressures to bring about an internal transformation
C Raja Mohan

On proof and its credibility

International relations is not a courtroom battle

Here’s a post from the archives on the matter of proof in international relations, written in August 2006 after a previous round of terrorist attacks on Mumbai. Things remain so much the same that there’s no need at all to write a new post.

Oops! We were counting on Musharraf (2)

India’s Pakistan policy was founded on false hopes

Just what did those who substituted hope for policy think? That Pervez Musharraf would enjoy a political longevity that would extend into a long-lasting political legacy? And that Mr Musharraf would remain committed to the ‘peace process’ with India come what may? The wistfulness and the expressions of regret over “lost opportunities” to do deals with him while he was riding high confirm that such was the prevailing in and around the corridors of power in New Delhi.

Now, that it was necessary to deal with a dictator next door was never in question. But building the entire edifice on the basis of the good intentions and longevity of one person was folly. Not least when that person was the meretricious General Musharraf. No, you can’t charitably say that this is a conclusion we can draw from hindsight. It was entirely predictable, and The Acorn has been warning of the risks ever since Atal Bihari Vajpayee made his trip to Islamabad.

The real “lost opportunity” was not settling the Kashmir issue along one of General Musharraf’s numerous formulations of essentially the same idea. The real lost opportunity was failure to use the relatively peaceful environment to strengthen the foundations of the Indian economy through greater investment in infrastructure, education and power. The greater the disparity in the relative power between the two countries, the better equipped India will be to ensure stable relations with Pakistan. And specific to India’s relations with Pakistan, the lost—but one still available—opportunity was to deepen bilateral trade, even if this required unilateral liberalisation on India’s part.

Here’s the balance sheet of the peace process: The situation in Jammu & Kashmir is being compared to the late 1980s, the Pakistani army is firing across the Line of Control and the international border, and that country’s leaders are talking about “aspirations of the Kashmiri people”.

Manmohan Singh, the prime minister who shocked reasonable people by setting up a joint mechanism to fight terrorism with Pakistan, declared from the Red Fort, as if it were a striking new revelation, that if the “issue of terrorism is not addressed, all the good intentions that we have for our two peoples to live in peace and harmony will be negated.” They ran trains between across the border, but among those who used it were terrorists fleeing, to sanctuary in Pakistan.

If you think the situation is bad just imagine if any of those “joint management” formulas or pipelines had already been implemented.