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ARUN SHOURIE ON MODI GOVT.
‘It’s a decentralised emergency… a pyramidal mafia state’
Swati Chaturvedi
 
In an explosive interview, the former BJP leader Arun Shourie hits out at Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
As part of the research for my book, I Am a Troll, I interviewed the former Bharatiya Janata Party leader Arun Shourie – a man who has also been viciously trolled on social media by ‘bhakts’ when on the Karan Thapar show he first went public with his criticism of the Narendra Modi government. The interview with Shourie, who was a minister in the Atal Bihari Vajpayee-led NDA government from 1999-2004, was conducted in the summer of 2016 and the edited transcript is being published in The Wire for the first time.
Swati Chaturvedi: Narendra Modi is the only one among world leaders who follows abusive handles. You and your son, who has cerebral palsy, were attacked and abused by these handles followed by him when you criticised him in an interview to Karan Thapar. They even said that you deserved your son’s illness as your karma for criticising Modi.
Arun Shourie: Yes, by following them Modi is giving the message: I am following it. You are following, then you are encouraging it, saying ‘Bhaiyya main dekh raha hoon tum kitni galiyan dal rahe ho’ (Boys, I’m watching, to see how many abuses you come up with). Next I hear he had a reception for tbhem. You are receiving the same fellows in the PM’s official residence. Then the encouraged fellows put up their photos with Modi. Next I heard one of them had been made the chief of the BJP’s IT cell. So obviously it is now a governmental operation, a party operation. And, this is one of the many instruments being used to silence voices in the whole country. So abuse is one, denial of access – just see now in Rajasthan, the Rajasthan Patrika has been denied advertisements by the state government because they wrote something about the central government.
SC: You fought the Emergency. I was not even born then. Give us a sense of – is this anything at all like that era?
Shourie:  It’s a decentralised emergency. What we are going towards is a pyramidal decentralised mafia state, where local goons will belabour anyone whom they think is doing something wrong. The central people will look the other way. The central people will provide a rationale for the goondas at the local level. Like “gau rakshaks’’, like “love jihad” – this becomes the rationale for me to beat up anybody. It’s not love for the cow but just an instrument for domination.
The one big difference is at that time Mrs [Indira] Gandhi still used the law. Now it is not the law. These people are acting outside the law. This is true fascism because you say what is the law? I am the law. All this action is being done outside the government, worse, things are being done inside the government to choke the existing laws – for instance the Right to Information (RTI) is being choked, the Public Interest Litigation (PIL) is being denigrated unless it’s in your favour. The judiciary is being denigrated, therefore you keep the vacancies going the same way, probably about a hundred vacancies. The judiciary keeps saying, and these people keep denying on one ground or another. And, to hell with the people who suffer because of want of courts.
SC: Ashis Nandy once wrote a piece after interviewing Modi where he said he felt he had met a textbook fascist. You know Modi well, you even campaigned for him to become the PM, would you agree with him?
Shourie: Yes I have said so but there is more, I would take it further and say that Modi falls in the category in psychology of something called the dark triad – that’s the characterisation I would give him but, he also seems to be falling in to what many of these persons do –which is [to get] easily frightened. You see a bully is very easily frightened. Just see what happened as a result of the Delhi elections and the Bihar elections. Modi gave up all talk of “vikas, vikas” immediately. Populist schemes, all the populist schemes, he embraced.  It showed how frightened he became just after an electoral defeat. And the second the only purpose is to win elections – and for that any means are OK, any means, and, this intimidation and abuse are one of the instruments. Anybody who opposes Modi is immediately embroiled in cases – like Pradip Sharma, the [IAS] official in Gujarat, and Teesta Setalvad. A third instrument towards the same end is all Non Governmental Organisations (NGOs) to be put in the dock and then to be intimidated and troubled. It is always the case with the dark triad.  That is how they justify what they are doing. “Sab mujh koh yeh kar rahe hain, isilye meh kar raha hoon” (Everyone did this to me, that is why I am doing this). That is justification. (To continue)

Comment

Swati Chaturvedi
 
In an explosive interview, the former BJP leader Arun Shourie hits out at Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
As part of the research for my book, I Am a Troll, I interviewed the former Bharatiya Janata Party leader Arun Shourie – a man who has also been viciously trolled on social media by ‘bhakts’ when on the Karan Thapar show he first went public with his criticism of the Narendra Modi government. The interview with Shourie, who was a minister in the Atal Bihari Vajpayee-led NDA government from 1999-2004, was conducted in the summer of 2016 and the edited transcript is being published in The Wire for the first time.
Swati Chaturvedi: Narendra Modi is the only one among world leaders who follows abusive handles. You and your son, who has cerebral palsy, were attacked and abused by these handles followed by him when you criticised him in an interview to Karan Thapar. They even said that you deserved your son’s illness as your karma for criticising Modi.
Arun Shourie: Yes, by following them Modi is giving the message: I am following it. You are following, then you are encouraging it, saying ‘Bhaiyya main dekh raha hoon tum kitni galiyan dal rahe ho’ (Boys, I’m watching, to see how many abuses you come up with). Next I hear he had a reception for tbhem. You are receiving the same fellows in the PM’s official residence. Then the encouraged fellows put up their photos with Modi. Next I heard one of them had been made the chief of the BJP’s IT cell. So obviously it is now a governmental operation, a party operation. And, this is one of the many instruments being used to silence voices in the whole country. So abuse is one, denial of access – just see now in Rajasthan, the Rajasthan Patrika has been denied advertisements by the state government because they wrote something about the central government.
SC: You fought the Emergency. I was not even born then. Give us a sense of – is this anything at all like that era?
Shourie:  It’s a decentralised emergency. What we are going towards is a pyramidal decentralised mafia state, where local goons will belabour anyone whom they think is doing something wrong. The central people will look the other way. The central people will provide a rationale for the goondas at the local level. Like “gau rakshaks’’, like “love jihad” – this becomes the rationale for me to beat up anybody. It’s not love for the cow but just an instrument for domination.
The one big difference is at that time Mrs [Indira] Gandhi still used the law. Now it is not the law. These people are acting outside the law. This is true fascism because you say what is the law? I am the law. All this action is being done outside the government, worse, things are being done inside the government to choke the existing laws – for instance the Right to Information (RTI) is being choked, the Public Interest Litigation (PIL) is being denigrated unless it’s in your favour. The judiciary is being denigrated, therefore you keep the vacancies going the same way, probably about a hundred vacancies. The judiciary keeps saying, and these people keep denying on one ground or another. And, to hell with the people who suffer because of want of courts.
SC: Ashis Nandy once wrote a piece after interviewing Modi where he said he felt he had met a textbook fascist. You know Modi well, you even campaigned for him to become the PM, would you agree with him?
Shourie: Yes I have said so but there is more, I would take it further and say that Modi falls in the category in psychology of something called the dark triad – that’s the characterisation I would give him but, he also seems to be falling in to what many of these persons do –which is [to get] easily frightened. You see a bully is very easily frightened. Just see what happened as a result of the Delhi elections and the Bihar elections. Modi gave up all talk of “vikas, vikas” immediately. Populist schemes, all the populist schemes, he embraced.  It showed how frightened he became just after an electoral defeat. And the second the only purpose is to win elections – and for that any means are OK, any means, and, this intimidation and abuse are one of the instruments. Anybody who opposes Modi is immediately embroiled in cases – like Pradip Sharma, the [IAS] official in Gujarat, and Teesta Setalvad. A third instrument towards the same end is all Non Governmental Organisations (NGOs) to be put in the dock and then to be intimidated and troubled. It is always the case with the dark triad.  That is how they justify what they are doing. “Sab mujh koh yeh kar rahe hain, isilye meh kar raha hoon” (Everyone did this to me, that is why I am doing this). That is justification. (To continue)

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Why do we write?

Anisur Rahman
 
Society must support all types of art and poetry. It will enrich tradition as well as enlighten society. It is a question of freedom of expression and freedom of thought. The bureaucratic pattern is always in favour of normal poetry. Bureaucracy, and sometimes academia, behaves like a lame or blind animal in this question. This is a pity. They talk of freedom of expression, but they do not know what it really means. Freedom of thought is something totally unpredictable to them. The media is also confused in many cases. It is not important for a poet to comment on bad poems. After reading a bad poem he will realise that he should not write such poems. A poet should comment on bad poems only when he is asked, otherwise not. As an individual, a poet has no right to undermine a person. It is within his right if someone wants to write poems which turn out to be bad. Undue appreciation is equally harmful to a poet and to the literary tradition. Unfortunately, the media encourage this practice. A good poem will sooner or later get its due appreciation from readers, defying the wrong approach from the media or literary critics or academia. A poet does not bother with such things but keeps on writing and reading.
A true poet is always honest to his colleagues. He offers them friendly appreciation. He provides them with honest advice. He ensures amicable cooperation. He will therefore contribute towards creating an excellent literary circle. It will help him to get due return whenever he needs it. He will have much cause to be inspired by his colleagues. He will attain friendship and trust among his colleagues. It happened in the past in many case including poet Shamsur Rahman. As we know, writing is a love letter to time. Life is a school for a poet. Poetry tells the poet’s mind. While many poetries are considered classics, these are not the tales of the mind today. Many legendary poets did not have the experience in life that I have today. Life is a continuous process, so are poems.
A writer’s complete works are a travelogue of his life. The journey started at birth and ends in death. The travelogue starts with the first poem and ends with the last poem or any other literary work. Be confident and it is important for a budding poet. Appreciating a particular poetry is a matter of personal choice, and so is the choice of poets. I do not like certain poets and a certain kind of poets. As a reader I have a right to say what I like or dislike. A poet has no right to irritate a reader with his bad poems.
The reader has the right to throw away a collection of bad poems. I am always on the readers’ side and I happily throw away such rubbish sometimes, but not until I’ve read it. That irritating reading, I do it usually not as a reader but as a poet.
In case of poetry, the meaning is what your eyes love to see and your ears love to hear. We like some things but not all because of the whims of eyes and ears. The responses of your senses are the outcome of the ideas and experiences you attained. It varies from person to person. This is a universal truth.
The same happens in the case of poetry, in case of poets. Despite all the liking and disliking, creative literary work will survive as it always does.
A poet always leads an absent life in the race of confronting life. A poet is alone in a crowd of millions. A poet converses with many even in his extreme solitude. A poet is usually in exile even in his homeland. What does a poet mean by success? Does he mean getting recognition, winning prizes, earning money, having cars, homes, happy family? These questions are not dismissed. We have examples of poets who have achieved successes. The opposite is also true, as many got lost in exile. Even there are chances of going to prison for a poet. Conditions include a poet’s very close touch with his own language, culture, land and life. If one can meet all the conditions, then it is okay. Sometimes, a poet’s personal failure in practical life has assumed success in the world – such as August Strindberg. A sea can never meet its hunger, so is a poet. A poet is an ever-unhappy existence, and success is mostly untouched. The purpose of poetry is not to make it eternal or contemporary, but to express oneself by telling one’s mind. Sensitivity and spontaneity will carry the message the natural way. One cannot say in advance whether a poet’s poetry will become eternal. It is not the poet’s headache. His headache is to response in the process when he feels the surge of emotions in him. That is why he writes. The ultimate dream of a poet is to expect his poetry to be eternal. He has nothing to do about it, but continuing reading and writing.
Never stop reading. Make reading an everyday habit. Never make yourself a careerist but a poet. Never be satisfied with the knowledge you have. One needs not learn more than others do. Try always to learn better than you did before. A poet always competes against himself. A poet needs to overtake himself at every moment. And does not need to overtake Shakespeare. Reading and more reading helps one to avoid repetition. Once a reader finds something repeated in your continuous writings, he will gain a bad impression of you. From now onwards he will misunderstand and underestimate you. He will also share his irritation with others. Repetition is a permanent loss.
 
Anisur Rahman shares his time between Bangladesh and Sweden. He conducts literary writing programs in Scandinavia. He will lead a creative writing workshop at Alliance Françoise de Dacca in February 2017. www.anisur.net

Comment

Anisur Rahman
 
Society must support all types of art and poetry. It will enrich tradition as well as enlighten society. It is a question of freedom of expression and freedom of thought. The bureaucratic pattern is always in favour of normal poetry. Bureaucracy, and sometimes academia, behaves like a lame or blind animal in this question. This is a pity. They talk of freedom of expression, but they do not know what it really means. Freedom of thought is something totally unpredictable to them. The media is also confused in many cases. It is not important for a poet to comment on bad poems. After reading a bad poem he will realise that he should not write such poems. A poet should comment on bad poems only when he is asked, otherwise not. As an individual, a poet has no right to undermine a person. It is within his right if someone wants to write poems which turn out to be bad. Undue appreciation is equally harmful to a poet and to the literary tradition. Unfortunately, the media encourage this practice. A good poem will sooner or later get its due appreciation from readers, defying the wrong approach from the media or literary critics or academia. A poet does not bother with such things but keeps on writing and reading.
A true poet is always honest to his colleagues. He offers them friendly appreciation. He provides them with honest advice. He ensures amicable cooperation. He will therefore contribute towards creating an excellent literary circle. It will help him to get due return whenever he needs it. He will have much cause to be inspired by his colleagues. He will attain friendship and trust among his colleagues. It happened in the past in many case including poet Shamsur Rahman. As we know, writing is a love letter to time. Life is a school for a poet. Poetry tells the poet’s mind. While many poetries are considered classics, these are not the tales of the mind today. Many legendary poets did not have the experience in life that I have today. Life is a continuous process, so are poems.
A writer’s complete works are a travelogue of his life. The journey started at birth and ends in death. The travelogue starts with the first poem and ends with the last poem or any other literary work. Be confident and it is important for a budding poet. Appreciating a particular poetry is a matter of personal choice, and so is the choice of poets. I do not like certain poets and a certain kind of poets. As a reader I have a right to say what I like or dislike. A poet has no right to irritate a reader with his bad poems.
The reader has the right to throw away a collection of bad poems. I am always on the readers’ side and I happily throw away such rubbish sometimes, but not until I’ve read it. That irritating reading, I do it usually not as a reader but as a poet.
In case of poetry, the meaning is what your eyes love to see and your ears love to hear. We like some things but not all because of the whims of eyes and ears. The responses of your senses are the outcome of the ideas and experiences you attained. It varies from person to person. This is a universal truth.
The same happens in the case of poetry, in case of poets. Despite all the liking and disliking, creative literary work will survive as it always does.
A poet always leads an absent life in the race of confronting life. A poet is alone in a crowd of millions. A poet converses with many even in his extreme solitude. A poet is usually in exile even in his homeland. What does a poet mean by success? Does he mean getting recognition, winning prizes, earning money, having cars, homes, happy family? These questions are not dismissed. We have examples of poets who have achieved successes. The opposite is also true, as many got lost in exile. Even there are chances of going to prison for a poet. Conditions include a poet’s very close touch with his own language, culture, land and life. If one can meet all the conditions, then it is okay. Sometimes, a poet’s personal failure in practical life has assumed success in the world – such as August Strindberg. A sea can never meet its hunger, so is a poet. A poet is an ever-unhappy existence, and success is mostly untouched. The purpose of poetry is not to make it eternal or contemporary, but to express oneself by telling one’s mind. Sensitivity and spontaneity will carry the message the natural way. One cannot say in advance whether a poet’s poetry will become eternal. It is not the poet’s headache. His headache is to response in the process when he feels the surge of emotions in him. That is why he writes. The ultimate dream of a poet is to expect his poetry to be eternal. He has nothing to do about it, but continuing reading and writing.
Never stop reading. Make reading an everyday habit. Never make yourself a careerist but a poet. Never be satisfied with the knowledge you have. One needs not learn more than others do. Try always to learn better than you did before. A poet always competes against himself. A poet needs to overtake himself at every moment. And does not need to overtake Shakespeare. Reading and more reading helps one to avoid repetition. Once a reader finds something repeated in your continuous writings, he will gain a bad impression of you. From now onwards he will misunderstand and underestimate you. He will also share his irritation with others. Repetition is a permanent loss.
 
Anisur Rahman shares his time between Bangladesh and Sweden. He conducts literary writing programs in Scandinavia. He will lead a creative writing workshop at Alliance Françoise de Dacca in February 2017. www.anisur.net

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Why India can’t win wars against its neighbours – & why it doesn’t even matter
A new book argues that peace and stability through an understanding of military power, and not military force, is far more valuable than winning wars.
 
Pravin Sawhney & Ghazala Wahab
 
Let alone China, India cannot even win a war against Pakistan. And this has nothing to do with the possession of nuclear weapons – the roles of nuclear and conventional weapons are separate in the war planning of India, China and Pakistan.
The reason India would be at a disadvantage in a war with Pakistan is because while Pakistan has built military power, India focused on building military force. In this difference lies the capability to win wars.
Military force involves the mere collection of “war-withal”, that is, building up of troops and war-waging materiel; military power is about optimal utilisation of military force. It entails an understanding of the adversaries and the quantum of threat from each, the nature of warfare, domains of war, how it would be fought, and structural military reforms at various levels to meet these challenges. All this comes under the rubric of defence policy (also called political directive) and higher defence management, which in India’s case is either absent or anachronistic and in urgent need of transformation.
A measure of this can be gauged from the (then) Defence Minister Arun Jaitley’s comment on Pakistan in October 2014. He said, “Our [India’s] conventional strength is far more than theirs [Pakistan’s]. If they persist with this [cross-border terrorism], they’ll feel the pain of this adventurism.” Given that the Pakistan Army unabashedly continues its proxy war against India, Jaitley and his successors should wonder why the mere 6 lakh strong Pakistan Army is not deterred by the 13 lakh strong Indian Army.
Even after 26 years of proxy war, the Indian leadership continues to confuse military force with military power and, consequently, dismisses Pakistan as an irritant, based on number-crunching.
If India were to undertake military reforms, the army alone could reduce 300,000 troops over three to five years, and the defence services would be able to provide optimal value without an increase in annual defence allocations.
Military power has geopolitical implications. Pakistan today is sought after by the United States, China, Russia, Iran, Saudi Arabia, Afghanistan, the Central Asian Republics and the littoral countries of South Asia. It has emerged as a critical geopolitical pivot on the Eurasian chessboard. India, on the other hand, remains an important but certainly not geostrategic player. While geostrategic players have the capacity, capability and national will to exercise influence beyond their borders to impact geopolitical affairs, geopolitical pivots are nations whose importance is directly proportional to the number of geostrategic players that seek them out.
US strategist Zbigniew Brzezinski wrote in his book The Grand Chessboard, “It should also be noted at the outset that although all geostrategic players tend to be important and powerful countries, not all important and powerful countries are automatically geostrategic players.”
India’s northern frontiers, both on the east and the west, are not what Indian policymakers imagine them to be. Since 1963, China has supported Pakistan with war-withal – conventional and nuclear – to keep India boxed in on the subcontinent. This has ensured that India’s foreign policy remains shackled by the two military lines with Pakistan and China. Understanding the dynamics of these military lines in peace and wartime is not a mere defence matter. It is critical to India’s relations with major powers and will help India think strategically through a top-down approach – something it has never done because of lack of understanding.
Today the partnership between China and Pakistan – where both need the other equally – has two serious implications for India.
First, since the military power of both has achieved interoperability, which far exceeds that of the US and the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation (NATO) forces at the height of the Cold War, India’s military strategy of a two-front war is no longer relevant.
Interoperability is the ability of two armed forces to operate with ease as one whole in a combat environment. This helps strengthen deterrence, manage crises, shape battlefields and win wars. The invigorated Pakistan military – which would be supported by China’s People’s Liberation Army (PLA) in all conventional war domains (land, sea, air, space, electromagnetic and cyber) without showing its hand –is the new military threat facing India.
The other implication is geopolitical. From the time China supplied Pakistan with war-waging equipment (nuclear and conventional) to keep its strategic rival India imbalanced in South Asia, Beijing’s strategy, since 2013, has evolved in keeping with its global ambitions. China, set on replacing the US as the foremost geostrategic player in this century, has forged a deep, all-encompassing relationship with Pakistan. As a result, from being a lackey, Pakistan has emerged as China’s most trusted and crucial partner for its geostrategic designs, which are unfolding through the wide-sweeping One Belt One Road (OBOR) project.
The OBOR project seeks economic connectivity both on the Eurasian continent and in the Asia-Pacific and Indian Ocean regions. China has deduced that the viability and success of its OBOR project hinges on the flagship China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), which will link Kashgar in China to the Gwadar Port in Pakistan. China believes, and with reason, that the triumph of the CPEC will convince the world that its OBOR is not an amorphous concept but a result-oriented venture which will change the balance of power in the world.
This is the reason China now desires that India and Pakistan have peace. After Pakistan, China wants India to become part of the OBOR project, which President Xi Jinping has been marketing as a win-win mechanism for China and the region. As more Asian countries, and Russia, jump on China’s OBOR bandwagon, they recognise that the unsettled India-Pakistan relationship – with Kashmir as the millstone – is preventing the region from realising its economic and political potential. Speaking at the first session of the Indian External Affairs Ministry-supported Raisina Dialogue in March 2016, former Sri Lankan President Chandrika Kumaratunga said as much: “The conflict between India and Pakistan has prevented South Asian integration for a long time. There have been disastrous consequences because of Indo-Pak mistrust. The need is for cooperating more than making security concerns an excuse for not cooperating.”
Kumaratunga was clearly speaking for other Asian countries, too, which have no issues with Pakistan and hence cannot empathise with repeated Indian attempts to turn Pakistan into an international pariah. Even Afghanistan, which has suffered Pakistani machinations as much as India, if not more, understands the importance of Islamabad for regional stability and economic prosperity as China unleashes its ambitious connectivity plans with Pakistan’s help.
India cannot look forward if its neck is arched backward.
Instead of viewing China and Pakistan as two separate adversaries bound by an unholy nexus, India needs to understand that the road to managing an assertive China runs through Pakistan – both strategically and militarily. Only this will ensure space for India in Eurasia. For this reason, an Indian study about managing China should begin with an understanding of Pakistan’s security policy and military power. Whether we like it or not, the path to India becoming a leading power is through Pakistan. Without optimal regional integration through the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC), which has not happened since its inception, India cannot claim its rightful place in Asia and the world – a void which China has been stepping into boldly for several years now.
If India can grasp this reality, it will be able to understand China’s grand strategy for global domination.
 
Excerpts with permission from Dragon on our doorstep: Managing China though military power. Written by Pravin Sawhney and Ghazal Wahab. Published by Aleph Book Company

Comment

A new book argues that peace and stability through an understanding of military power, and not military force, is far more valuable than winning wars.
 
Pravin Sawhney & Ghazala Wahab
 
Let alone China, India cannot even win a war against Pakistan. And this has nothing to do with the possession of nuclear weapons – the roles of nuclear and conventional weapons are separate in the war planning of India, China and Pakistan.
The reason India would be at a disadvantage in a war with Pakistan is because while Pakistan has built military power, India focused on building military force. In this difference lies the capability to win wars.
Military force involves the mere collection of “war-withal”, that is, building up of troops and war-waging materiel; military power is about optimal utilisation of military force. It entails an understanding of the adversaries and the quantum of threat from each, the nature of warfare, domains of war, how it would be fought, and structural military reforms at various levels to meet these challenges. All this comes under the rubric of defence policy (also called political directive) and higher defence management, which in India’s case is either absent or anachronistic and in urgent need of transformation.
A measure of this can be gauged from the (then) Defence Minister Arun Jaitley’s comment on Pakistan in October 2014. He said, “Our [India’s] conventional strength is far more than theirs [Pakistan’s]. If they persist with this [cross-border terrorism], they’ll feel the pain of this adventurism.” Given that the Pakistan Army unabashedly continues its proxy war against India, Jaitley and his successors should wonder why the mere 6 lakh strong Pakistan Army is not deterred by the 13 lakh strong Indian Army.
Even after 26 years of proxy war, the Indian leadership continues to confuse military force with military power and, consequently, dismisses Pakistan as an irritant, based on number-crunching.
If India were to undertake military reforms, the army alone could reduce 300,000 troops over three to five years, and the defence services would be able to provide optimal value without an increase in annual defence allocations.
Military power has geopolitical implications. Pakistan today is sought after by the United States, China, Russia, Iran, Saudi Arabia, Afghanistan, the Central Asian Republics and the littoral countries of South Asia. It has emerged as a critical geopolitical pivot on the Eurasian chessboard. India, on the other hand, remains an important but certainly not geostrategic player. While geostrategic players have the capacity, capability and national will to exercise influence beyond their borders to impact geopolitical affairs, geopolitical pivots are nations whose importance is directly proportional to the number of geostrategic players that seek them out.
US strategist Zbigniew Brzezinski wrote in his book The Grand Chessboard, “It should also be noted at the outset that although all geostrategic players tend to be important and powerful countries, not all important and powerful countries are automatically geostrategic players.”
India’s northern frontiers, both on the east and the west, are not what Indian policymakers imagine them to be. Since 1963, China has supported Pakistan with war-withal – conventional and nuclear – to keep India boxed in on the subcontinent. This has ensured that India’s foreign policy remains shackled by the two military lines with Pakistan and China. Understanding the dynamics of these military lines in peace and wartime is not a mere defence matter. It is critical to India’s relations with major powers and will help India think strategically through a top-down approach – something it has never done because of lack of understanding.
Today the partnership between China and Pakistan – where both need the other equally – has two serious implications for India.
First, since the military power of both has achieved interoperability, which far exceeds that of the US and the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation (NATO) forces at the height of the Cold War, India’s military strategy of a two-front war is no longer relevant.
Interoperability is the ability of two armed forces to operate with ease as one whole in a combat environment. This helps strengthen deterrence, manage crises, shape battlefields and win wars. The invigorated Pakistan military – which would be supported by China’s People’s Liberation Army (PLA) in all conventional war domains (land, sea, air, space, electromagnetic and cyber) without showing its hand –is the new military threat facing India.
The other implication is geopolitical. From the time China supplied Pakistan with war-waging equipment (nuclear and conventional) to keep its strategic rival India imbalanced in South Asia, Beijing’s strategy, since 2013, has evolved in keeping with its global ambitions. China, set on replacing the US as the foremost geostrategic player in this century, has forged a deep, all-encompassing relationship with Pakistan. As a result, from being a lackey, Pakistan has emerged as China’s most trusted and crucial partner for its geostrategic designs, which are unfolding through the wide-sweeping One Belt One Road (OBOR) project.
The OBOR project seeks economic connectivity both on the Eurasian continent and in the Asia-Pacific and Indian Ocean regions. China has deduced that the viability and success of its OBOR project hinges on the flagship China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), which will link Kashgar in China to the Gwadar Port in Pakistan. China believes, and with reason, that the triumph of the CPEC will convince the world that its OBOR is not an amorphous concept but a result-oriented venture which will change the balance of power in the world.
This is the reason China now desires that India and Pakistan have peace. After Pakistan, China wants India to become part of the OBOR project, which President Xi Jinping has been marketing as a win-win mechanism for China and the region. As more Asian countries, and Russia, jump on China’s OBOR bandwagon, they recognise that the unsettled India-Pakistan relationship – with Kashmir as the millstone – is preventing the region from realising its economic and political potential. Speaking at the first session of the Indian External Affairs Ministry-supported Raisina Dialogue in March 2016, former Sri Lankan President Chandrika Kumaratunga said as much: “The conflict between India and Pakistan has prevented South Asian integration for a long time. There have been disastrous consequences because of Indo-Pak mistrust. The need is for cooperating more than making security concerns an excuse for not cooperating.”
Kumaratunga was clearly speaking for other Asian countries, too, which have no issues with Pakistan and hence cannot empathise with repeated Indian attempts to turn Pakistan into an international pariah. Even Afghanistan, which has suffered Pakistani machinations as much as India, if not more, understands the importance of Islamabad for regional stability and economic prosperity as China unleashes its ambitious connectivity plans with Pakistan’s help.
India cannot look forward if its neck is arched backward.
Instead of viewing China and Pakistan as two separate adversaries bound by an unholy nexus, India needs to understand that the road to managing an assertive China runs through Pakistan – both strategically and militarily. Only this will ensure space for India in Eurasia. For this reason, an Indian study about managing China should begin with an understanding of Pakistan’s security policy and military power. Whether we like it or not, the path to India becoming a leading power is through Pakistan. Without optimal regional integration through the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC), which has not happened since its inception, India cannot claim its rightful place in Asia and the world – a void which China has been stepping into boldly for several years now.
If India can grasp this reality, it will be able to understand China’s grand strategy for global domination.
 
Excerpts with permission from Dragon on our doorstep: Managing China though military power. Written by Pravin Sawhney and Ghazal Wahab. Published by Aleph Book Company

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Pakistan outlaws corporal punishment

Sir Frank Peters
 
Senator Syed Tahir Hussain, Senator Saleem Mandviwalla (children's national hero) and Senator Syed Shibli Faraz.
PAKISTAN this week made a giant leap forward towards joining the noble league of nations which are civilised and protective of its young. It is preparing the groundwork to abolish corporal punishment in public and private schools and care institutions.
Much to the delight and loud cheers of every school pupil throughout the nation, the sub-committee of Senate Standing Committee on Interior has unanimously approved “The Prohibition of Corporal Punishment Bill, 2017”.
Senator Saleem Mandviwalla, who moved the bill, is the saviour and new born hero to the millions of pupils who faced inhumane treatment daily at the hands of headmasters and ‘teachers’ in hellhole institutions throughout the land.
Senator Syed Tahir Hussain Mashhadi, convenor of the committee, said the bill is very important as the best training and protection of children is mandatory. “Due to absence of the best teachers, physical punishment in our schools has badly affected personality of our children,” he said.
Senator Mashhadi said the bill should be passed from provincial assemblies and to bring awareness among children and guardians, he recommended displaying this bill on notice boards in schools.
Senator Syed Shibli Faraz promised the bill would be implemented strictly because the actions of some teachers badly affect the personality of children.
Senator Dr Jehanzeb Jamaldini said, “There is a precedent of appointment of female teachers in schools across the world for personality development of children, therefore we also need to appoint more female teachers in our schools.”
Senator Saleem Mandviwalla said: “It is the responsibility of the state to protect the dignity of children. Corporal or physical punishment is common and rampant in our schools as well as in care institutions and that has to stop.”
He also said that physical punishment is used as a tool to show control and authority in schools and care institutions, therefore within the institutional framework of the classroom; corporal punishment must be banned and replaced with constructive and communicative approach.
Maulana Muhammad Khan Sherani, Chairman Council of Islamic Ideology, said that Islam strictly prohibits physical punishment of both males and females… but it still continues.
If the mentality of headmasters and ‘teachers’ in Pakistan were anything like their counterparts in Bangladesh, I would advise Senator Mandviwalla not to hold his breath while waiting for the ban to take full effect.
The six year milestone of the Bangladesh ban on corporal punishment in schools and madrasahs was passed on January, Friday13th, but the despicable punishment, abuse and evil doing still persists in the classrooms of schools and madrasas throughout the nation.
When noble High Court Justices Md. Imman Ali and Md. Sheikh Hasan Arif outlawed corporal punishment, they defined it as‘cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment and a clear violation of a child’s fundamental right to life, liberty and freedom’.
Corporal punishment is of no benefit to child or society whatsoever. There is nothing good to be said about it. Its intended use on a student to correct misbehaviour has long been proved by literally thousands of comprehensive studies worldwide to be an ineffective and inappropriate school discipline measure. Unfortunately, there are still lawbreakers within the noble teaching profession who are unable to shake off their beliefs founded on, and fuelled, by sheer ignorance.
 
Sir Frank Peters is a former newspaper and magazine publisher and editor and human rights activist.

Comment

Sir Frank Peters
 
Senator Syed Tahir Hussain, Senator Saleem Mandviwalla (children's national hero) and Senator Syed Shibli Faraz.
PAKISTAN this week made a giant leap forward towards joining the noble league of nations which are civilised and protective of its young. It is preparing the groundwork to abolish corporal punishment in public and private schools and care institutions.
Much to the delight and loud cheers of every school pupil throughout the nation, the sub-committee of Senate Standing Committee on Interior has unanimously approved “The Prohibition of Corporal Punishment Bill, 2017”.
Senator Saleem Mandviwalla, who moved the bill, is the saviour and new born hero to the millions of pupils who faced inhumane treatment daily at the hands of headmasters and ‘teachers’ in hellhole institutions throughout the land.
Senator Syed Tahir Hussain Mashhadi, convenor of the committee, said the bill is very important as the best training and protection of children is mandatory. “Due to absence of the best teachers, physical punishment in our schools has badly affected personality of our children,” he said.
Senator Mashhadi said the bill should be passed from provincial assemblies and to bring awareness among children and guardians, he recommended displaying this bill on notice boards in schools.
Senator Syed Shibli Faraz promised the bill would be implemented strictly because the actions of some teachers badly affect the personality of children.
Senator Dr Jehanzeb Jamaldini said, “There is a precedent of appointment of female teachers in schools across the world for personality development of children, therefore we also need to appoint more female teachers in our schools.”
Senator Saleem Mandviwalla said: “It is the responsibility of the state to protect the dignity of children. Corporal or physical punishment is common and rampant in our schools as well as in care institutions and that has to stop.”
He also said that physical punishment is used as a tool to show control and authority in schools and care institutions, therefore within the institutional framework of the classroom; corporal punishment must be banned and replaced with constructive and communicative approach.
Maulana Muhammad Khan Sherani, Chairman Council of Islamic Ideology, said that Islam strictly prohibits physical punishment of both males and females… but it still continues.
If the mentality of headmasters and ‘teachers’ in Pakistan were anything like their counterparts in Bangladesh, I would advise Senator Mandviwalla not to hold his breath while waiting for the ban to take full effect.
The six year milestone of the Bangladesh ban on corporal punishment in schools and madrasahs was passed on January, Friday13th, but the despicable punishment, abuse and evil doing still persists in the classrooms of schools and madrasas throughout the nation.
When noble High Court Justices Md. Imman Ali and Md. Sheikh Hasan Arif outlawed corporal punishment, they defined it as‘cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment and a clear violation of a child’s fundamental right to life, liberty and freedom’.
Corporal punishment is of no benefit to child or society whatsoever. There is nothing good to be said about it. Its intended use on a student to correct misbehaviour has long been proved by literally thousands of comprehensive studies worldwide to be an ineffective and inappropriate school discipline measure. Unfortunately, there are still lawbreakers within the noble teaching profession who are unable to shake off their beliefs founded on, and fuelled, by sheer ignorance.
 
Sir Frank Peters is a former newspaper and magazine publisher and editor and human rights activist.

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