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  • The Iran-Pakistan Pipeline: Pressler 2.0?

    The Pakistanis are playing a high-stakes gamble, one in which they think the odds are stacked in their favour in a way that while they stand to gain a lot even if things don’t quite work in the way they imagine they won’t end up losing too much.

    March 12, 2013

    Addressing Pakistan’s Atomisation

    Nuclear force development is at present an attractive means for Pakistan to attract international political and financial assistance, while salving the paranoias of its security establishment. Improvement in the state-society relationship could reduce the domestic appeal of endless nuclear expansion as other, more sustainable, resources become available to the state for building economic growth and security.

    March 08, 2013

    The State of Islamic Radicalism in Pakistan

    The soil of Pakistan, because of its culture, customs, traditions, values, the temperament of the people and even state policies, provides the ideal ground for Islamic radicalism, extremism, sectarianism and terrorism.

    March 2013

    Innovation: The New Mantra for Science and Technology Policies in India, Pakistan and China

    “Innovation” has become a buzz word in recent science and technology policies of various countries. It has also been given ample importance in the science and technology policies and programmes of India, China and Pakistan. It is interesting to know on what exactly these countries are focusing in their recent science and technology policies and how these new policies and programmes will help them in social development, economic growth, technology innovation and pursuing national interests.

    March 07, 2013

    Instability in Pakistan

    What is happening in Pakistan today is no secret. It is a country ruled by a shaky coalition of political parties led by the Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP). The government and judiciary are on a collision course with one Prime Minister (Yousuf Raza Gillani) having had to resign. The Army, the force behind every major decision in Pakistan, is zealously guarding its turf and dominant position in the polity, irrespective of who heads the government and unmindful of the ultimate consequences.

    January 2013

    Abhinav Upadhyay asked: In the backdrop of recent skirmishes along the LoC, how can India create strong disincentives for such hostile actions by Pakistan?

    Vivek Chadha replies: India faces a challenging environment on the LoC. It is important to understand it, before looking at the means of neutralising or at least minimising the threat. First, there is near parity in force levels. Therefore, any talk of doing a US kind of operation has its challenges. Second, India faces a dual threat of infiltration by terrorists and LoC violations by regulars. This forces the army to deploy for both contingencies. This is not the ideal way of deploying in the area, as the method attempts to do both the tasks well, which is not possible. On the other hand, Pakistan does not face similar threats from India. Third, the geography of the area makes manning the LoC very difficult, especially during bad weather. Fourth, the LoC does not run in a straight line. Its curvaceous nature leads to creation of avenues for easy infiltration. Fifth, Pakistan continuously attempts to maintain instability on the LoC, as it is a convenient sub-conventional advantage it has.

    In view of these circumstances, the following can be done to create disincentives for Pakistan. First, there should be a declaratory policy of measured response to any violation of ceasefire on the LoC. This will create caution against misadventures. Second, the retaliatory action should be punitive and a lesson for future. Third, a clear escalation ladder should be war-gamed to ensure that actions remain within it. Fourth, the threat of border actions, infiltration and raids must be as probable for Pakistan as it is for India to keep opposing forces unstable. Fifth, our forces should be equipped and maintained with the best technology and weapons to create an edge on the LoC.

    Brijesh P asked: Why did Pakistan and under what terms and conditions cede the Shaksgam Valley to China? What is the geo-strategic significance of the Valley?

    Mandip Singh replies: The Shaksgam Valley or the Trans Karakoram Tract is part of Hunza-Gilgit region of Pakistan Occupied Kashmir (POK), and is a disputed territory claimed by India but controlled by Pakistan. It borders Xinjiang Province of the People’s Republic of China (PRC) to the north, the Northern Areas of POK to the south and west, and the Siachen Glacier region to the east.

    The Shaksgam Valley was ceded to China by Pakistan in 1963 when both countries signed a boundary agreement to settle their border differences. However, Article 6 clearly stated that “the two Parties have agreed that after the settlement of the Kashmir dispute between Pakistan and India, the sovereign authority concerned will reopen negotiations with the Government of the People's Republic of China, on the boundary as described in Article Two of the present Agreement, so as to sign a formal Boundary Treaty to replace the present agreement.”
    The agreement laid the foundation of Karakoram highway which was built jointly by the Chinese and Pakistani engineers in 1970s.

    B. Aravind asked: Is it strategically correct to give Pakistan the most favoured nation status when it is not interested in addressing the issue of terrorism?

    P.K. Upadhyay replies: The question of India giving the MFN status to Pakistan is not very relevant at the present juncture, as India had unilaterally conferred this status on Pakistan a very long time back. The issue now is of Pakistan reciprocating and according a similar trading status to India, something on which various concerned circles in Pakistan seem to be in two minds. India accorded the MFN status to Pakistan in the hope and belief that it would be in the larger interest of Indo-Pak relations to expand the scope of people-to-people contacts by building bridges in various fields. Trade and commerce are important areas for improving people-to-people contacts and building a strong lobby for maintaining better inter-state relations. We need to wait and watch if Pakistani side reciprocates to this in true spirit and opens up new possibilities for better Indo-Pak relations.

    Expansion of the Karakoram Corridor: Implications and Prospects

    Expansion of the Karakoram Corridor: Implications and Prospects

    The Paper examines Chinese transport projects in Pakistan Occupied Kashmir in general and Gilgit-Baltistan in particular and their impact on local and regional economy and security. China and Pakistan are in the process of expanding the Karakoram Corridor in Gilgit-Baltistan which primarily serves the political and strategic interests of both countries with negligible benefits to the local people.

    Sectarian Violence in Karachi: Is Pakistan Closer to the Precipice?

    Unity of purpose and synergy between state institutions required to deal with sectarian violence is largely missing and, as a result, the Pakistani state is responding to the growing Taliban threat in Karachi in a knee-jerk manner.

    December 07, 2012