A detailed fisking of the Economist’s leader on the India-US nuclear deal

Some articles deserve a point-by-point rebuttal…

Some articles deserve a point-by-point rebuttal…

But this one doesn’t. The Economist can just shove it.

25 thoughts on “A detailed fisking of the Economist’s leader on the India-US nuclear deal”

  1. After the Mumbai blasts the Economist had a editorial saying that the Mumbai blasts “prove” why India should take urgent steps to solve the “kashmir” issue. It can shove that issue too up its wherever. It has become a pathetic commie rag with nothing but propoganda stuffed between its covers.

  2. Apollo: I still have not understood the anger against the statement that the blasts proved that India has to solve the Kashmir problem fast.
    It is everybody’s argument that the Kashmir problem is an argument with Pakistan as well, and is something that is the bone of the contention between the two nations.

    Effectively then, it is suggesting we solve the problem with Pakistan.

    Isn’t that what all the people on this blog are suggesting as well?

    I’ve also not understood the desire for isolationism in most Indian nationalists who want to keeping this dispute isolated from international attention, as opposed to seeking out allies: a necessary prerequisite to bombing the hell out of terrorist infrastructure in PoK.

  3. Seven Times six,

    going by their logic, any terrorist attack is justified since the Kashmir problem isn’t over yet. This is the way the Pakistanis try and force to come to the table. The Economist has a very skewed and wrong way of seeing things when it comes to India, more so on the Nuclear Deal. Also, groups such as Lashkar e Toiba and Jaish, have already professed that they are waging a war against the Indian state even if Kashmir was solved, they would continue with their attacks. It’s a really sad situation right now, when the govt is more interested in banning right wing American blogs rather than taking any action on these spate of terror attacks. Seems like the Congress party is going to fail us again.

  4. Jatin, I don’t think it is their case that the terrorist attacks are justified; that would be a very extreme position that even Pakistan is not taking.

    The impression I got was that such attacks would not stop until the Kashmir issue is taken care. I sort of agree with them.

    I again reiterate the two accounts on which the behavior of Pakistani and Indian nationalists seem converse of what I’d expect.

    1. Pakistan keeps bringing attention to the Kashmir terrorism issue as something to be taken care.
    India prefers to talk of “general” Islamic terrorism and decries linking the attacks to Kashmir.

    2. Pakistan keeps wanting to bring in International attention to the Kashmir terrorism issue.
    India keeps wanting to pursue a bilateral isolationist approach.

    Shouldn’t the two behaviors be opposite?
    Why should we, as Indian Nationalists with only a nationalistic agenda, try to rationalize the Cold-war/communism-tainted isolationist behavior that characterizes the Indian Administration’s foreign policies?

  5. Err..this editorial was about why the US Congress and others must reject the nuclear accord. It used all the same old, tired arguments that it had already used a few months ago.

  6. “Shove it?” 🙂

    I thought it was plea to IAEA and NSG to block the deal (now that US Congress approval near certain) now based usually silly arguments. If Economist really wants to block the deal it should join those Indian groups that are eviscerating the deal – for that it has to alter its message just a little.

    7×6, do you except terror to go away if Manmohan pull a rabbit out his hat to satisfy Gen Mush? So where is the connection? And what does that say about Pakistan putting a gun on India’s head (and killing thousands of people every year)to bring it to the negotiating table? Hence the stupidity of Economist editorial. And if you involve international parties, it will invariably work against Indian interests as we have seen time and again (one reason Pakistan can lay claim part of India is because Nehru went to UN). For some reason terrorizing Pakistan plays the victim card fairly well and guess where the international sympathy will lie. Surely not with a Hindu nation trying to hold on to a apparent muslim state.

  7. seven times six,
    If someone makes a threat to kill your family unless you are willing to compromise and give them something they want, would that constitute a reasonable basis for negotiations to you?

    This is precisely what Pakistan is doing, and your stance amounts to appeasing them. Furthermore, we have made all the concessions we can and should on J&K, so there is no question of accepting the implied Kashmir ..or else..terrorist attacks
    threat in the Pakistani policy. Our response must instead be to make them pay a heavy price each time they try to make good on their threats as they did on July 11.

  8. Nitin: I was referring to Apollo’s comment; totally agree on the “shoviness” of this article…

    Chandra/Anon: To take your analogy, if somebody puts a gun to my family’s head and asks me if I’m going to do something about it, don’t you think I should do something about it?

    I agree that buckling in to specific ransom demands is cowardice, but so is doing nothing.

    In this situation, if the terrorists are going to create a disturbance in Kashmir, and then demand that we solve the Kashmir issue, it is a vacious demand don’t you think?
    We should not sit back and say, solving the Kashmir issue is “appeasing” them. Giving Kashmir away to them is the true appeasement, but I don’t see who is asking for that.
    Even the Pakistani spokesperson is just asking that the issue be solved. And I agree with him.

    Also, Anan, again I do not understand this communist-driven isolationist approach. We’re not gonna be able to solve the problem without allies. The communists would like us much to think the US and the West are demons we should stay away from, but it is time nationalists moved away from communist talking points.

    Nitin, could you do a post on Indian isolationism?

  9. Chandra
    The Economist a commie rag ? Dude what have you been smoking ?
    seven_times_six puts the issue in the correct perspective.
    Pretending that kashmir is NOT a dispute does not get us anywhere.
    So what is your lasting solution to the dispute with Pakistan ?

  10. 7×6, agree with the cowardice part. I also think we have come long way from saying J&K is not Pak’s business. What I am saying is what ever the solution is to J&K – and I am not sure anything short of giving Kashmir valley to Pak will be acceptable to Pak – linking J&K to abatement of terrorism should be a big no whether one is nationalist or apparent global citizen. Also India room to maneuver will be curtailed quite a bit if Europeans/US join in as open partners (instead of current back room maneuvres) in any J&K negotiations – everything we do or don’t do in foreign policy arena will be linked to the settlement.

    Pankaj, “The Economist a commie rag ? Dude what have you been smoking ?” May be I should ask the same question to you or may be you should just read what I said? 🙂

  11. J&K, the socio-economic condition of India’s Muslims, communal riots etc provide focus, provocation and excuse for the jihadi agenda. It is naive to believe that if any or all of these problems are resolved, Pakistan and its jihadis will stop their war against India. The argument that solving these problems will make terrorism less likely is only partially correct, for it disregards the number of people needed to put together these attacks. In a country of 1 billion, jihadis will always been able to find a handful of foot soldiers needed to put together the attacks.

    As I wrote in a recent post, asking India to quickly settle Kashmir suits the world well, for all the world cares is for stability and the Indian economy, and avoidance of war, especially with nuclear weapons around. They’d care less if India were to hand over the entire state to Pakistan. It’s okay from their perspective. Not okay from ours. We can agree to disagree with them. But by engaging in a peace process, we told them that well, we don’t really mind negotiating with a gun to our head, about the gun itself. Now they are telling us that the gun should not deter us from negotiating. Our fault.

  12. 6 * 7 => Israel withdrew from Lebanon. This should have solved the issue, but has it. The problem is that suppose we solve Kashmir issue to the satisfaction of Pakistan, do you think they would stop there. And unlike Israel we cant even go on the offensive if they attack again say in Punjab next.

    I think its time we took stock of the situation and started to assert before things go too bad. We can assert ourselves in Bangladesh where too we have problems galore. If we can quieten the East, we can put all our resources at stopping terrorism in J&K.


  13. 7*6,

    I think the old mantra of preventing the “Kashmir issue from being internationalised” is now on its deathbed. The issue is effectively internationalised, with US involvement. India’s beef was primarily with UN involvement, and during the cold war with the West siding Pakistan. Neither of the two are very relevant now.

    Still, I don’t think India can solve its problems by internationalisation, or through the good offices of third parties, unless it has the determination to do so itself. As I wrote in my previous comment, public opinion and strategic interests of foreign players lies in conflict prevention. They’d care less how conflict is prevented. My own opinion is that if we are not prepared to deal with Pakistan as we should, relying on internationalisation will give us a warm fuzzy feeling of being on a moral high ground. That, however, will be all.

  14. Seven times six,
    Nitin has put it quite well. By accepting this “connection” between J&K and terrorism, you pretty much help the Pakistanis legitimize their jihadi terrorist activities under this guise, and allow them control over the definition of the issues that we are supposed to discuss with them. The same goes for “Gujarat”, “communal” problems etc. Terrorism is barbaric murder, nothing less. Its victims are ordinary blameless citizens, not some perpetrators of any violence. Allowing such connections legitimizes these terrorists.

    On the other hand, I consider the problem to be more of a “Pakistan” problem rather than a problem of “J&K”. The time may come when one considers the necessity of the further breakup of Pakistan. Pakistan must be made to understand that every terrorist attack on Indian soil, and every statement by Pakistani officials in support of such attacks (like the ones by Kasuri) further reduce the patience of the Indian public, and makes this possibility less remote. This is unfortunately not reflected in the English language press in India, which seems to live in some other world.

    Our internal problems are separate from our problems with Pakistan and making linkages between the two is to follow their agenda, and to adversely affect our ability to deal with them.

  15. Around ’01-02, Pakistan’s ISI changed its strategy from a focus on J&K to the Indian economic growth process and the country’s communal fabric. On the one hand, Pakistan is co-operating with confidence building measures such as opening of the bus routes and discouraging infiltration across the Line of Control.

    On the other hand, they have opened many other fronts in the main Indian strategic and economic theatres. This has been reflected in the attacks on the Parliament, gun firing in Bangalore, previous attacks in Mumbai and Ahmedabad and an increase in insurgency in the North East, where petroleum resources are located. The ISI will continue to target India’s economic growth centres and cosmopolitan culture so long as they continue with the present doctrine.

    In an in-camera meeting with Pakistan’s former home minister, who is known to be personally close to General Musharaf and other army officers, he clearly said that they were expecting India’s economy to advance from its current stage to a stage which was several levels higher. He said that Pakistan does not expect to match pace with the Indian economy. However, he said that that they had enough wherewithal to create disturbances in order to disrupt India’s economic advancement. This cold blooded message is not the only one I have heard in my interaction with senior Pakistani leaders. [Sandeep Waslekar/ET emphasis added]

  16. I don’t think India can solve its problems by internationalisation, or through the good offices of third parties, unless it has the determination to do so itself.

    Perhaps not by a diffuse internationalization but maybe by strategically cultivated allies?
    I agree though that a prerequisite is having the determination to do things ourselves, we cannot expect others to do anything other than support us. But the latter is not a trivial facet if we are to include any offensives as a part of our strategy.

    Also, this game with Pakistan is begging to get comical.
    Pakistan actually dared us to give evidence and the Indian administration actually said it has no comment.
    We see a whole bunch of articles on how ISI is masterminding our bleeding by a thousand cuts, but we do not see any evidence of it.

    I think there is some fishiness in the whole thing for multiple reasons:

    1. I do not think the entire Pakistan administration is behind this. Here’s why: The bleeding is so ineffective, it is almost not there; an entire country masterminding such a bleeding would cause much much more harm than the fly bites currently.

    2. The source is much more likely to be Jihadist elements and centres within Pakistan; this is the case with most Islamic nations. Are we blaming all Islamic nations for our thousand cuts?

    3. Perhaps it is the Indian administration laying the wool on its polity: laying the blame on the Pakistani administration silences the Indian nationalist demand to take care of the issue to a veyr large degree.

    here’s why: If an entire nuclear country is behind these “cuts”, and these cuts are minor cuts, and war with a nuclear country would be devastative, perhaps it is better to try to maintain status quo with some additional effort to “foil” the cuts.
    If ardent nationalists do not think this, the majority in India surely think this: ask your parents for e.g. Thus, the majority opinion veers towards doing nothing.

    4. If the problem is with Jihadists, and Jihadist infrastructure, the problem could be formulated as such and CAN be taken care of, at least to the extent that Israel is doing.
    Doing nothing or going to war with Pakistan are no longer the only available strategies.

    I’m beginning to think a primary danger to India’s security is the communism and cold war mindsetted Indian Foreign Service.

  17. 7*6,

    On the evidence bit. Much of the debate, in India and in the West after 9/11, is whether the usual laws—especially the standards of admissible evidence—are sufficient to tackle terrorism. That so many democracies have had to engage in this exercise, never mind the end result, suggests that ‘evidence’ as far as terrorism is concerned, is quite different from that for ordinary crime. Radio intercepts, for example, are picked up over the air, and decoded or transcribed. The end result may be a piece of paper with a dialogue written on it. Sometimes the intercept itself may reveal and compromises sources that make it possible. Handing such evidence over to someone we know is behind the terrorist attacks is not the smartest thing no? (on a related note, see Raman’s article). Musharraf’s demanding evidence makes nice theatre; but if he’s asking India to trust him, why doesn’t he trust India’s word?

    But I’m baffled by your need to see evidence? Dawood Ibrahim’s so established in Pakistan that he got his daughter married to Miandad’s daughter…and there’s a direct link to the previous Mumbai attacks. The IC-814 hijackers and the folks we released are sitting pretty in Pakistan…evidence, no?

    Sure the entire Pakistan administration is not behind this. Folks like Kasuri, Shaukat Aziz etc may not know and may not care. But the real centres of power, the ISI and the Pakistani army high command is certainly behind this. That they’ve failed to achieve more than mere fly bites (and I think the thousands dead in Kashmir and Punjab are not exactly fly bite) is not for the want of trying.

    So I’d frame the problem this way: Pakistan’s grand strategy is to undermine India and break it up. The jihadi grand strategy is to undermine India and break it down. Pakistan uses and needs the jihadis, and vice versa.

    But yes, the solution involves a range of options ranging from doing nothing to going to war with Pakistan, both inclusive.

    As for the primary danger: I’d put it down to lack of determined and imaginative political leadership.

  18. Why would you give evidence if you know nothing will come out it and closely watching ISI can circumvent the existing investigating procedure when planning the next terror attacks. They are not static animals, they learn from our evidence produced – see how cleanly they killed 200 people in Mumbai except for few phone calls that raveled little. It’s amazing you want to give Pak benefit of doubt because we don’t produce evident that satisfies a judge.

    “If the problem is with Jihadists, and Jihadist infrastructure, the problem could be formulated as such and CAN be taken care of, at least to the extent that Israel is doing.”

    Not really. Not without a full-scale war, not when there is a nuclear cover – for some reason our honorable netas don’t want to blow terror camps up covertly.

  19. From Today’s Asian Age

    PM gave us what Vajpayee refused: US expert 7/23/2006 12:24:42 AM
    – By Seema Mustafa

    New Delhi, July 22: Former Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee was not willing to “offer much to the United States in exchange for the (civilian nuclear energy) agreement, we got more from the government of Dr Manmohan Singh,” according to Dr Ashley Tellis, senior associate at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace. Dr Tellis worked with US officials on the nuclear agreement with India.

    Dr Tellis, who was earlier posted at the US embassy here as adviser to former ambassador Robert Blackwill, told Internet news site Rediff that the Vajpayee government also wanted the deal, but one could not be reached because it was not giving much to the US. He said he could not disclose what Washington had wanted from the Vajpayee government but had been unable to get. Asked by the reporter if Dr Manmohan Singh had caved in “easily”, Dr Tellis said, “There is no question of Dr Singh caving in, India has got a deal that it would not have got in the past or in the future.”

    Sources close to former Prime Minister Vajpayee said there were three points that his government was not willing to concede to Washington with a clear record of this being established through the Jaswant Singh-Strobe Talbott talks. These concerned the CTBT, the moratorium on fissile production and a proposed restrain in the nuclear regime. The bills now pending a vote in the US Congress clearly seek to “cap, reduce and eliminate” India’s nuclear programme, the sources pointed out, adding that the US administration at the time “knew from the record that the Vajpayee government would not concede any ground on these issues”.

    The only issue that the NDA government reportedly was finally prepared to “elaborate upon”, the sources said, was the CTBT in that the US was told that India would not come in the way if all the other countries agreed to ratify the treaty. It did not come to that point finally as the US Senate itself rejected the ratification of CTBT. The discussions, the sources said, did not get near the shape of an agreement as the issues that needed to be reconciled for such an agreement to take shape were not agreed upon by the NDA negotiators at the time. “We did not give them anything, and they never came out with anything (like a nuclear agreement) openly,” the sources said.

    Prime Minister Manmohan Singh has agreed to accept all the conditions that were reportedly rejected by his predecessor. The bill cleared by the US Senate committee on foreign relations seeks to “achieve as quickly as possible a cessation of the production by India and Pakistan of fissile materials for nuclear weapons and other nuclear explosive devices”. The US Atomic Energy Act will be invoked to ensure that India cannot test a nuclear device. Dr Tellis, who was here to “celebrate” the first anniversary of the India-US civilian nuclear energy cooperation agreement, admitted in the interview that the treaty “could” fall if India conducted a nuclear test. Nuclear experts have already pointed towards US success in bringing India within the CTBT “through the back door”. Leading nuclear scientist Dr Homi Sethna has gone on record to say that it would be better if India signed the NPT than conformed to the provisions of the deal as “it was the lesser of the two evils”.

  20. Has anybody considered the possibloitly that the Economist article could be part of a covert psy-op to market the deal to idiotic Indian decision makers? Kinda’ create the “if the Economist opposes it so vehemently for being so heavily in our favour, it must be very good” psychological attraction to the deal?

    BTW, the Economist lost all credeibility on anything related to India long time ago : it’s just another condescending, racist, colonial rag when it comes to treating India. It is also an unabashed ass-licker of the US, being the only prominent international magazine that supported the Iraq war. In some sense, I guess these two traits make it oh so-quintessentially British.

  21. Dawood Ibrahim’s so established in Pakistan that he got his daughter married to Miandad’s daughter…and there’s a direct link to the previous Mumbai attacks. The IC-814 hijackers and the folks we released are sitting pretty in Pakistan

    Our beloved “stars” go to Dawood’s functions as well.
    Also, that there are Extremist Islamic nutcasesroaming around free in India as well who flail against the US, and put fatwas and what not. For that matter, there are even many Jihadist outfits with their HQ in India itself.

    Only, the key difference is that India’s administration does not “sympathize” with them; actually even that is not true: we have our Mulayams.

    I want to reiterate that my concern is not to exonerate either the ISI or the Pakistani Army high command from providing some sort of support to Jihadists; i do think they are complicit, I just do not think they are the root.

    My principal strategic concern is that, by labeling an entire nuclear nation state as a principal root of the Jihadist problem, we are tying our hands in tackling the problem. I feel the Jihadists want us to do this, and we’re falling into their trap.

    Another strategic concern is to prevent administrations, particularly those with communist sympathies, from following their own agenda.
    Even democratic governments in the first world are not averse to fabricating hypotheses and existence of evidences (cf. Bush; and his thesis of a link between Al Qaida and Saddam and WMDs) so as to follow their own agenda.

    In our case, if there is domestic Jihadist infrastructure, even though it has had “help” from ISI, the root is not ISI, and by deflecting the focus onto a cross-border organization, perhaps we’re not doing what we can.

  22. Seven_Times_Six

    You assume

    1) World is interested in solving India’s problem
    2) That it will do in a way most suitable to India
    3) Pakistan will cease its agenda after J&K is solved

    Coming on involvement of state of Pakistan

    There are two elements

    1) Those who are directly supporting (ISI, Army, Extremist)
    2)Those who are blessing the hostility against India and her citizens with their inaction (and implicit support),

    Hence in my book Pakistani state is guilty as hell


  23. Seven_Times_Six
    Somebody has got a gun and he is threating to shoot your people and no matter what you do he has clear intentions of killing your people and you too.


  24. Gaurav:
    the notion of a strategic ally is that they are our allies not out of the goodness of their hearts but because it is in, or more frequently made to be in, their strategic interests to be so.

    Any nation, with a semblance of importance, should have such allies. Again, a diffuse world does not automatically become allies, relationships have to be constructed and cultivated.

    Take Israel, they came to our aid during the Kargil incursion, we then backstab them by denouncing their response to the Hezbollah kidnappings.
    We act like sanctimonious idiots in the world stage lecturing everybody on eschewing strategic actions and instead to act out of the goodness of their hearts.

    It is no wonder we do not haev allies; but we can and should change that.
    I think we’re a sufficiently important nation to not be incapable of having strategic allies.

    Regarding Pakistan, again I reiterate, I not saying Pakistan is not culpable; they are. I’m saying they are not the root of the problem. This has a very great bearing on the range of our strategies.

    To illustrate my point with an example; many years back there was terrorism in Punjab as well. This too was lent a lot of “support” by ISI and Pakistan.
    But it was not the root. Inspite of what politicians claimed. And we WERE able to solve it without destroying Pakistan.

    Imagine for a moment that there was some border dispute in Punjab as well.
    Should we then have said that solving the Punjab problem is

    Luckily we didn’t, and KPS Gill and others took out the terrorist infrastructure.

    AnIdealBoy: We are never going to get the Pakistani establishment to like us. And they ARE going to help anti-Indian elements. Neutralizing Pakistan is def. a long term option, but for the short term that should not stop us from taking out the anti-Indian terrorist elements.

  25. seven_times_six,

    The nature of the beast in Kashmir is different from what it was in Punjab. The stakes are higher and China is in the mix.

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