The May 2007 issue of Pragati is out

The second issue of Pragati – The Indian National Interest Review covers:

Editorial – A leap of faith; Perspectives – on Pakistan at the crossroads, and on the abuse of ‘social justice’; Roundup – on Bangladesh’s disappearing democracy, flying tigers, a report on clean energy and the missing debate on property rights and institutional autonomy; and on the Agenda – unshackling education

You can download the issue at INI website. It is a good idea to sign-up to receive the digital community edition in your email.

1 thought on “The May 2007 issue of Pragati is out”

  1. Issue: A hypothetical opinion on future US policy on Pakistan

    Background : Nitin Pai’s article on pakistan

    Author:Sameer imagining himself in the shoe’s of a policy analyst in the current White House

    US Interests:

    Vital –and immediate

    • Democracy returns to Pakistan but not at the expense of fuelling Islamic fundamentalists
    • Prevent the future proliferation of Nuclear technology from Pakistan
    • Continue to have Pakistan support against Al Qaeda

    Important –
    • India-Pakistan issue must remain contained

    Operational objectives:

    • Support the semblance of democracy as embodied in Musharraf. Build a second line around Musharraf of US allies in the event of his assassination or step down
    • Exert diplomatic pressure to have Pakistan allow inspection and monitoring of Nuclear stockpile
    • No letup in the hammer and anvil approach which is proving to be successful
    • Link economic aid to both India and Pakistan to both countries achieving greater bilateral trade ties

    Democracy: We believe that Pakistan has a history of failed democratically elected govts. Moreover these govts. use vitriolic anti Indian speeches, foster anti west sentiment and placate Islamic fundamentalist elements to seek wider populist appeal and come to power, Once in power they have to continue to nurture their constituencies and act on their election manifestos. This pattern is partially responsible for systematically breeding fundamentalism in madrassas. So democracy for democracies sake does not serve our national interest.

    In President Musharraf we have a voice of moderation and in his ability to balance the army (always a strong force in Pakistan politics) and civil society we see the short term future. We do see some leading indicators that help Pakistan return to democracy. We see an increase in freedom for the print media and a liberalization of broadcasting policies with the state awarding over 20 private broadcast licenses. We have confidence that President Musharraf will clean up the nation’s politics and set the stage for a democratic Islamic republic in Pakistan. Besides by appealing to an army backed Govt. we increase our chances of retaining Pakistan as a key ally in our fight against cross border terrorism. Pakistan politics is very factionalized and not one party dominates for long. Our approach should be to help Musharraf develop democratic institutions so that the country reaches a stage where democracy can flourish. We should also think about reversing constitutional changes by Musharraf after he is gone to once again reduce the power vested in the armed forces.

    Non Proliferation: What has happened has happened. It happened when our relationship with Pakistan was very different from what it is now. While we believe that this proliferation could not have happened without the knowledge and approval of Pakistan’s top military brass it makes no sense to revisit the issue. We must take Musharraf’s commitment to ensure it does not happen again as a given and put appropriate monitoring mechanisms in place. We must not relent on our diplomatic pressure to have Pakistan sign the NPT and have greater say in its National Command Authority by influencing its key members. We must make our aid conditional to Pakistan accept greater monitoring of its Nuclear arsenal if not outright acceptance of the NPT which may make Musharraf unpopular.

    Fight against Terrorism: We must differentiate between Terrorism directed against India in bids to liberate Kashmir and international terrorism directed against the US and our allies by the likes of Al Qaeda. We must continue to provide support to the Pakistan army to flush out Al Qaeda terrorists as our troops drive them from the Afghan side. We must also help Musharraf in expanding his sphere of influence through supporting alliances with political parties that will reduce breeding newer terrorist in religious madrassas. We believe that terrorism has a basis both on religious belief as well as in economic circumstance. By creating opportunities for gainful employment in high fundamentalist concentration regions of Pakistan we can reduce the supply of potential terrorists. We must also exert pressure on Saudi Arabia and other Islamic donors not to fund fundamentalism by proxy.

    India and Pakistan: The current momentum must be encouraged .Fostering trade and commerce links between India and Pakistan will lead to greater mutual reliance and US Aid to both countries can be made conditional and linked to promote bilateral trade. We must continue to support India’s terms of not making the Kashmir issue a multilateral issue but have Pakistan and India resolve it through negotiation and maintain pressure on Musharraf to continue to contain cross border terrorism. Pakistan and India have both acquired nuclear capabilities and by maintaining their current capacities they will continue to balance each other. Attempts to reduce Pakistan capabilities will set the stage for Indian hegemony.

    Option No1: We prioritize our vital interests in order of their levels of urgency. (a) No let up on fight against terror (b) Ensure that nuclear weapons do not proliferate

    • Al Qaeda bases in Pakistan will be cleaned in the next 6-9 months
    • We keep the country stable by having Musharraf maintain status quo
    • Since we have no way of ensuring that Pakistan gives up its Nuclear weapons we move on this in a phased manner

    • Al Qaeda terrorists and terrorists/ Kashmir freedom fighters enter into deeper relationships which may undermine popular Pakistani support against the fight on terrorism
    • Excessive reliance on Musharraf is risky in the event he is no longer there or now that he has relinquished his control over the armed forces. Opposition parties may grow stronger and destabilize Musharraf

    Option No 2:

    • We support democratic parties in Pakistan who oppose Musharraf and send a strong signal that the US cares about democracy. This will be a safeguard if we pull out of Iraq without investing in bringing postwar Iraq democracy.
    • We link the an aid package to explicit guarantees for Pakistan to sign NPT and allow for closer inspections by UN or IAEC
    Pros :

    • Backing a democratically elected Islamic government endorses US support in the Islamic world and serves as a model for other countries to follow suit
    • We are able to bring Pakistan within the NPT regime and are assured of future non proliferation

    • There is no guarantee that opposition parties take hard-line stances once they come to power
    • Constitutional changes will need to be made to reverse Army’s newly acquired enhanced power
    • Pakistan may not accept NPT as issues of national pride may come in its way
    • The fight on terror may slow down

    Recommendation: We go with option (1) for the need of the hour is to finish an incomplete job by eradicating Al Qaeda, preventing future acts of terrorism through relapse, having a moderate and predictable Musharraf , keeping the possibilities of recent improvements in India-Pakistan relations open and continuing to exert diplomatic pressure on Pakistan to allow for greater scrutiny of its nuclear base.

    Implementation: We ensure that Pakistan continues to provide us with support in our war on terror for the coming year and extend support to Musharraf. It would not be prudent to support Pakistani People’s Parties demands to link Musharraf with the proliferation. What has happened has happened. He clearly remains as our best ally. We go ahead with an aid packet and link it for express guarantees to it not proliferating nuclear technology. Later when the Al Qaeda purpose is served we link future economic aid to Pakistan reversing its nuclear program ,signing NPT, reversing the recent changes to its constitution that give the military almost unbridled power and building institutions to foster true democracy.

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