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Pakistan militarily and strategically a stronger state than in 1971.

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    Pakistan militarily and strategically a stronger state than in 1971.

    Following the recent drubbing the Indians received by the Bangladeshi's in their short border skirmish, and the general animosity that most Bangla's feel towards India, it is becoming clear that the Indians are ruing the events of 1971.

    For all that negative talk about Pakistan, it is quite clear that Pakistan is now much more miltarily and strategically stronger than in 1971.


    Tangled roots in India's border conflicts

    By Sultan Shahin

    In the wake of the recent border skirmishes with Bangladesh, many Indians are hurt, disappointed and angry.

    Outraged at the way Bangladeshi villagers, aided by the paramilitary forces, killed and then reportedly mutilated the bodies of 16 soldiers of India's Border Security Force (BSF), Indians feel betrayed by the people whom they helped liberate from Pakistan 27 years ago.

    What the world regards as New Delhi's "maturity and sobriety" in its response to the incident is for many Indians just cowardice.

    While the smaller allies in the coalition government, as well as the opposition, have been mild and understanding in their criticism, members of Parliament from Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee's Hindu nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) party have been scathing in their remarks at the "impotence of the government". In their view, India failed to teach Pakistan a lesson a couple of years ago in the wake of the Pakistani intrusion into Indian territory in Kargil, and now it has failed to take advantage of the present situation to teach Bangladesh a lesson.

    Angry at the turn of events in which their own government has failed to respond in kind to the death of its soldiers, the Hindutva parivar (the family of organizations that believe in Hindu domination of the sub-continent) have come up with some strange explanations. In an article entitled, "Bangla Conflict Civilizational, Mr PM," the hardline pro-Hindutva columnist of the Daily Pioneer, Sandhya Jain, praises China, and offers an explanation for the mild Indian response.

    "No nation compromises its self-respect in dealing with others, especially in times of crisis. China could command international awe in dealing with America [over the spy plane incident] because the communist government projected itself as the legitimate rulers of the Han people - in contrast, the Vajpayee government has cut a sorry figure, making excuses for Sheikh Hasina's [Bangladeshi prime minister] government, instead of expressing the resentment and anguish of the Indian people. Major political parties, including the ruling BJP, are mum, no doubt because of the impact this may have on Muslim votes in the forthcoming elections in some states."

    What Hindutva ideologues do not seem to realize, as an editorial in India's online newspaper, The Newspaper Today, points out, is that problems with Bangladesh are not new, nor has the government's ideology anything to do with it.

    In October 1962, when then prime minister Jawaharlal Nehru asked the army to clear the Chinese occupation of territories claimed by India, he was operating on a Delhi-centric paradigm. Simply put, this meant a world view where friends and foes, countries big and small, individuals and groups, functioned as New Delhi wanted.

    The Chinese were not tuned into this perceived wisdom, and promptly cleared India out of the territory it claimed. There was a repeat of sorts in 1987. New Delhi believed that Sri Lanka's opposition forces, the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE), were its allies and would surrender their arms to the mighty Indian army. Lamentably, as it turned out, the Tigers had other ideas and the error cost Sri Lanka more than a thousand dead and twice that number wounded.

    Today, if we are gripped by an overpowering sense of having seen it all, it is perhaps because of the disparity between what was actually happening on the Indo-Bangladesh border and what New Delhi imagined was happening.

    Meanwhile, the sequence of events that led to the tragic event is becoming clearer. Bangladeshi officials told India's largest-circulated newspaper, The Times of India, they are bewildered that India allowed "a routine boundary dispute" on the Meghalaya border, that could have been settled at the local level, to degenerate into a bloody battle some 300 kilometers away. "Indian soldiers crossed the Bangladesh border and were killed at least one kilometer inside territory that even India does not dispute is Bangladeshi," said Bangladesh Foreign Secretary, Syed Muazzem Ali.

    Bangladesh forcibly occupied a small strip of land called Pyrdiwah on the evening of April 15, though they claim this was because the BSF was trying to build a road in contravention of policies that govern the problem of "enclaves in adverse possession" (Bangladeshi villages in Indian occupation and vice versa).

    Instead of seeking to resolve the issue diplomatically, or at the level of paramilitary forces, some time on April 17, the BSF was asked to throw the Bangladeshis out of an Indian enclave in Boraibari, which was in their "adverse possession". This was resisted by the Bangladeshi villagers, and with the help of the Bangladesh Rifles, they scattered the Indian force and killed 16 soldiers who were trapped in the wet paddy fields around the village. The Bangladeshis lost one soldier.

    Commentators in India are almost unanimous that the clearance for "the misconceived operation" must have come from the highest level, given the fact that the paramilitary forces were asked to go on a cross-border action. According to Indian newspaper reports, the 16 soldiers killed were part of a four-company strong force of 400 men sent into Bangladesh territory on "an ill-conceived mission that had been cleared, according to BSF sources, at the highest political level".

    But information about the BSF operation was leaked to the Bangladesh Rifles (BDR), which soon mobilized the local villagers. Ambushed by the waiting BDR and a thousand villagers, the 400 (according to some reports 300) BSF men lost their nerve and fled, abandoning 18 of their comrades who were mired in the mud of a paddy field.

    Whoever or whatever caused the present problem, the chief culprit is the passive attitude on the part of both Indian and Bangladeshi bureaucrats that seeks to postpone problems rather than solve them quickly.

    The Bangladesh foreign secretary explains the problem. He told the Times of India, "Look, our border is more than 4,000 kilometers long. It is a complex, messy border, with enclaves, undemarcated stretches, changing river courses, adverse possessions. In any given week, there are loads of small local disputes that come up, most of which we don't even get to hear of at the ministry because they are settled at various levels by the two border forces.

    "Don't forget that even Pyrduwah was settled in that way. We ended our gherao (siege) and the BSF agreed to demolish the road. It is only the Indian intrusion at Roumari which blew the whole matter up and led to the violence."

    As these claims and denials continue from both sides, analysts are beginning to wonder whether the problems India is facing both with Bangladesh and Pakistan are the result of its original misconceived policy of helping in the creation of Bangladesh in the first place, which has earned it permanent hostility from Pakistan and not much gratitude from Bangladesh.

    Several commentators have tried to explain all that has happened in the context of forthcoming elections in Bangladesh in which Sheikh Hasina Wajed's government has to prove that it is no stooge of India, while the opposition needs to prove otherwise. Even if this explanation is accepted, it apparently means that the common people in Bangladesh are not very well-disposed towards India and that you have to show hostility towards India to win elections there.

    On the other hand, as one of India's foremost strategic thinkers, Brahma Chellaney points out, Bangladesh's secession from Pakistan in 1971 made the latter more compact and helped it emerge as a credible force to rival India. He asks what India achieved by dismembering Pakistan. "It only made Pakistan politically, economically and militarily more compact. Had East Pakistan not become Bangladesh, Pakistan would have remained highly vulnerable to Indian military pressure, with the east wing an enduring drain on Pakistan's economy and defense. With those vulnerabilities, Pakistan would have had little strategic room to methodically wage the kind of unconventional warfare it has done against India.

    "No other country in modern history has systematically worked to undermine its neighbor's security through subversion and clandestine war for so long without the victim state, India, imposing any retaliatory costs. Militarily, Pakistan - with the world's eighth largest army - is now a stronger entity than it was in 1971 despite its serious political and economic problems at home.

    "The secession of East Pakistan actually made Pakistan militarily and economically more compact and fit. As a result of the consolidation of defense assets from two widely separated wings into one entity, Pakistan has considerably narrowed the military gap with India - the strategic reasons for intervention were compelling at that point. But with the benefit of retrospection, it can be said that India's long-term interests would have been better served had the conflict between the majority East Pakistan and the dominant West Pakistan been allowed to fester indefinitely. This discord and conflict would have kept Pakistan preoccupied in internal war, leaving it little room for waging a proxy or Kargil-type war against India."

    Reflecting a widely growing view in India, Chellaney takes his argument further. Pakistan, he says, is often described as a failing state. There is no certainty, however, that it will eventually fail. Many in Pakistan genuinely believe that India, with its internal contradictions, is more likely to unravel. But had East Pakistan not seceded, it is plausible that by now Pakistan would have become a failed state. India's interests lay not in enabling East Pakistan to secede but in keeping it at loggerheads with the West wing, including by arming Bengali resistance. India should have looked at scenarios short of independence for East Pakistan.

    Such thinking does not auger well for Indian-Bangladesh relations. Whatever the initial follies, both Vajpayee and Sheikh Hasina have shown maturity in turning back from the brink and not allowing the conflict to become wider. Sheikh Hasina, in particular, faced as she is with a tough re-election challenge, has shown great courage in virtually apologizing for the killings. It now devolves on them to start finding permanent solutions to the vexed border disputes immediately, without waiting for election results either in Bangladesh or in the state Assembly elections in India.

    Whatever the vested interests of politicking may demand, the common interests of peoples in both countries demand long-term peace and security - and the voters know it.

    It shows that there are still some people who like to be realistic on the other end of the border. The point this article makes is a very underplayed one. But despite all the facts, Bangladesh still needs time to come out of the shadows of India and Pakistan's best is yet to come in every walk of life.
    Reh gaya kaam hamaara hi baghawat likhna...


      Maybe the beating India got from these Bangla villagers will make it realise that Bangladesh can not be treated as it's poodle as it had hoped after 1971. Bangladesh must reassert it's soveregnty and integrity just like Pakistan.


        *looks into his crystal ball, pretty dusty as he bought it in a flea market*
        I see... I see... India breaking up and Veggiepie finally taking a bath!!!!!


        I Came I Saw I ATE
        You can't fix stupid. So might as well troll them!




            The heartbreaking story of the 'Biharis' stranded in Bangladesh

            INTERNMENT CAMPS OF BANGLADESH by Loraine Mirza. Pub: Crescent International, Markham, ONT., Canada, 1998. pp.172. Pbk:

            By Tahir Mahmoud

            Most people would be hard pressed to tell who the 'Stranded Pakistanis' or 'Bihari Muslims' in Bangladesh are. That neatly sums up their tragedy, which dates
            back to the turmoil surrounding the painful birth of Bangladesh in December 1971, out of what was formerly Pakistan's eastern wing. They have also suffered
            as a result of t the prejudices against Islam, Muslims and indeed Pakistan itself that are so prevalent in the world. Had the 'Stranded Pakistanis' been Jews or
            Christians, it is safe to assume that there would be an international outcry about their plight. From the US president down to the Congress and the toothless UN,
            all would have rallied in aid of these people.

            But as they are Muslims, the UN has even refused to consider them as refugees, despite the strenuous efforts of Prince Sadruddin Agha Khan, who was a
            special representative of the United Nations High Commission for Refugees in the seventies. The Stranded Pakistanis are not wanted by anyone, not even
            Pakistan whose citizens they are (they hold no other nationality), and for which they have sacrificed so much.

            Journalist Loraine Mirza has painstakingly pieced together their tale after numerous trips to Bangladesh and Pakistan from her home in the US. The
            American-born Mirza, one of those plucky journalists who refuses to take 'no' for an answer, is eminently qualified to write about their plight because she has
            witnessed their tragedy from close quarters. She was on a council at the Pakistan embassy in Washington DC dealing with the press and media from 1971 to
            1974. She left because she refused to abandon the cause of the 'Bihari Muslims' after the 90,000 Pakistani prisoners-of-war in India were repatriated to Pakistan
            in 1974. It was her conviction, inherited from her parents who fought against racism all their lives, and a strong commitment to see justice done, that led her to
            take up the cause of the Stranded Pakistanis. This book has been in the making for nearly 30 years. Who are the Bihari Muslims and what is their story? They are
            the victims of two upheavals: the partition of British India into Pakistan and India in 1947, and the painful disruption of Pakistan leading to the creation of
            Bangladesh in December 1971. Their 'crime' was that having migrated from India to Pakistan in 1947, albeit East Pakistan, they remained faithful to their
            adopted country in 1971. They have paid and are still paying a terrible price for such loyalty.

            Urdu-speaking, unlike the majority Bengali-speaking people of former East Pakistan (now Bangladesh), the Biharis did not encounter many problems until
            Mujibur Rahman, founder/president of Bangladesh, emerged on the scene with his rhetoric of Bengali nationalism. Mujib was a mediocre politician (and not
            even particularly bright ű he didn't graduate from college until the ripe old age of 30. But his rantings against West Pakistan made him popular in the East. He
            was a paid agent of India, a fact now admitted even in Bangladesh, albeit much too late. His daughter, Shaikh Hasina, is currently the prime minister of

            In the November 1970 general elections in Pakistan, Mujib's party, the Awami League, swept almost all the seats in East Pakistan, giving him an overall
            majority in Pakistan's parliament. This, however, ran contrary to the interests of the majority party from West Pakistan, the People's Party led by Zulfiqar Ali
            Bhutto. It was Bhutto who persuaded the military regime led by general Yahya Khan to postpone convening the national assembly, which would have elected
            Mujib as prime minister. With Bengali minds already poisoned against their alleged exploitation by 'West Pakistan,' the assembly postponement proved the final

            Armed Awami League supporters, their ranks swelled by students and deserters from the army and police, went on a rampage in East Pakistan, in which tens of
            thousands of non-Bengalis were butchered between January and March 1971. The victims included the Urdu-speaking people (Biharis) as well as officials and
            their families from West Pakistan. It was not until the end of March 1971 that three army divisions were sent to East Pakistan to put down the insurgency and
            restore law and order.

            The army also made the mistake of antagonising western journalists by mishandling and expelling them from Dhaka. Already hostile to Pakistan, they descended
            on Calcutta. It was a propaganda coup for India, Pakistan's arch-enemy which had never reconciled with the creation of Pakistan. Already carrying inherent
            biases against Muslims, western journalists gave vent to their prejudices by filing outrageous stories fed to them by India about alleged atrocities perpetrated
            against the Bengalis. They did not bother to verify the facts. The truth is (as has now been admitted by some conscientious western journalists as well) that
            Awami League supporters perpetrated most of the atrocities, especially against the Urdu-speaking non-Bengalis.

            The allegation of mass rapes of one million Bengali women by 83,000 Pakistani soldiers, impregnating 200,000 in a matter of a few weeks, was circulated
            endlessly. How an army in the midst of an insurgency had time for such activity is mind-boggling. Loraine Mirza debunks these myths admirably. When she
            arrived in Bangladesh in 1986, she found abortion clinics, set up in 1972 ostensibly to cater to the rape victims, were still doing brisk business. Several clinics
            were opened by an American, Dr Harvey Carmen, who turned out to be not a medical doctor but a sociologist, as Ms Mirza reports (p.57). Women allegedly
            'raped' by Pakistani soldiers in 1971 still needed abortions 15 years later!

            She also narrates how the Los Angeles Times staff writer, William J. Drummond, currently Professor of Journalism at Berkeley, was forced out of his job
            because he debunked stories about the genocide of three million Bengalis, a lie endlessly repeated even by Mujib (pp.135-137). But the story of the Bihari
            Muslims is far more serious and tragic. Branded as 'traitors' by the Bengalis, they were tormented, terrorised and shoved into 66 squalid camps in Bangladesh
            after the Pakistan army surrendered to the invading Indian army on December 16, 1971. A number of them, including children, were bayonetted to death in front
            of television cameras by such terrorists as Kader Sidki, a close ally of Shaikh Hasina. Loraine Mirza describes that the Biharis are not only denied jobs by
            Bangladesh but even the relief agencies¨the International Committee of the Red Cross, Christian missionaries etc¨poach on their souls. And they have been
            frustrated in their quest to go to Pakistan by successive regimes in Islamabad. In 1974, an estimated 170,000 were repatriated but another 300,000 still remain in
            Bangladesh, the victims of endless prevarications by successive Pakistani rulers.

            In 1984, as Loraine Mirza narrates, general Ziaul Haque had promised to take these people to Pakistan, ˘even if I have to carry them on my back.÷ That proposal
            fizzled out because Zia had made a deal with the Saudi Rabita al-Alami al-Islami and despite a Trust account being set up into which US$278 million of a
            required $300 million had been deposited, the plan never materialised. Why? Perhaps the answer was provided on January 29, 1991, by Benazir Bhutto, the
            twice sacked prime minister of Pakistan, while visiting Los Angeles. Loraine Mirza cornered her during a press conference and asked why she had backed out of
            her pledge, made in 1986, to repatriate the Stranded Pakistanis if she came to power. Benazir gave a long, rambling reply but the gist was that their return would
            affect the ethnic' balance of Sindh, her power-base (pp 148-149)!

            In the eighties, Pakistan accepted three million Afghan refugees, most of whom have now become permanent residents of Pakistan, and in 1990-1991, 300,000
            Pakistani were forcibly evicted from the Middle East, as a result of the Iraq-Kuwait crisis. The 300,000 Biharis in Bangladesh living in squalid camps without
            the basic amenities of life have been refused their fundamental right. Those 'Biharis' who managed to come to Pakistan by whatever means, such as those who
            have settled in Orangi Town in Karachi, have rebuilt their shattered lives without any government assistance.

            Theirs is a particularly tragic case because they are the only true patriotic Pakistanis. While others have lived a parasitic existence in Pakistan, the Biharis have
            given their lives, blood and even sacrificed their honour and their children for the sake of Pakistan. And yet they remain forgotten and unwanted. Again, the
            comparison with Jews is instructive. Russian Jews by the hundreds of thousands have been airlifted to Israel, as were the Falashas, the Black Ethiopian Jews, in
            1983 and 1985. Why have the Biharis been given the cold shoulder by Pakistan?

            'The Internment Camps of Bangladesh' is the story of a long-suffering people told with compassion and sensitivity. Loraine Mirza demolishes many cherished
            myths along the way. All those who care for justice must read her book and exert pressure on the government of Pakistan to take a more humane approach to this
            tragedy. 300,000 hardworking people coming to Pakistan cannot be a burden when millions of Bengalis have already entered Pakistan illegally since the creation
            of Bangladesh.

            She writes in the conclusion of her highly readable book: ˘there will be one more chapter in this saga... I one day hope to write and add to this book [which] will
            deal with witnessing the last of the Stranded Pakistanis' entry and resettlement in their homeland÷ (p.154). One hopes that day is not too far off.

            Muslimedia: April 16-30, 1999



              Originally posted by Malik73:
              Maybe the beating India got from these Bangla villagers will make it realise that Bangladesh can not be treated as it's poodle as it had hoped after 1971. Bangladesh must reassert it's soveregnty and integrity just like Pakistan.
              thanks mallik for your gratitude for saving
              90,000 pakistani soldiers from angry bangaldeshis after liberation of bangaldesh.


                rvikz, India will continue to receive "gratitude" for 1971 for a long time to come. Whether it be from Pakistan or Bangladesh.


                  malik pakistani soldiers know by surrendering to indian army they will be safe well be taken care.


                    By Shahid Javed Burki

                    THERE was a purpose in writing the last four articles of this series on global economic restructuring. They appeared between April 3 and April 24. I wrote them essentially to sensitize Islamabad about the enormous change that is likely to occur all around us. This change will happen quickly over the next quarter century and by the time it has occurred, the global economic system will have completely restructured itself. Will Pakistan benefit from this change? Or, will it be among the several countries that will see a profound reduction in their economic power?

                    I will argue today and next week that the path we take will be determined mostly by our own actions. Most readers will certainly recall what Alice said while travelling in her Wonderland. She had realized that she had to run hard in order to stay exactly at the same place. Will Pakistan have the will and the strength to run hard in order to sustain its current position in the global economy? Or, better still, will it be able and willing to draw upon its inherent strength and run even harder to join the other rapidly growing economies of mainland Asia? In other words, could Pakistan also become an Asian elephant economy?

                    Or, conversely, will Pakistan continue to remain in the economic trough into which it has fallen and from which it is finding it hard to emerge? Will it be unable to deal with its current economic, political and social malaise and fail to revive its economy to bring it to the point at which it could join the herd of the Asian elephants?

                    If the answers to these questions are yes if Pakistan fails in the effort to reshape the structure of its economy and quicken the pace of economic growth then it will fall so far behind the rest of the world that it will become a marginal player in the world system. Becoming marginal in the kind of world I see emerging in the next 25 years is not only bad for our national ego and psyche.

                    It will be tragic, since we are located in the part of the world where survival will be possible only if we have economic strength. Supplicants who have their hands constantly spread out for receiving alms and means of sustenance from the international community will do very poorly indeed.

                    Pakistan could take one of three possible roads. The high road will gain it a membership in the club of the Asian elephants. The middle road will keep it going on the heels of the elephants, catching a great deal of turbulence that the stampeding giants will inevitably leave in their wake. Or, more disturbingly, it could continue to fall behind as it has done over the past thirteen years since 1988, when we began the last experiment with democratic governance.

                    Which of these three roads the country will take will depend almost entirely on the actions of the people who currently govern from Islamabad. If they succeed and there is no reason why they should not the next generation of Pakistanis will remember them as heroes. If they fail and they might history will heap a great deal of well deserved scorn on them. Some time has already been lost; that notwithstanding, the next couple of years will have vast implications for Pakistan's future.

                    If Islamabad handles the current difficult situation with intelligence and resolve, it will have turned Pakistan around and, once again, transformed it into a vibrant economy which it once was. If our policy makers keep their sights lowered and get totally overwhelmed by today's problems, then they will have succeeded in keeping the country in what economists call a low-level equilibrium trap. We are at this moment caught in this trap.

                    What is a low-level equilibrium trap in which we find ourselves and why are we finding it so hard to get out of it? In light of the forthcoming structural change in the global economy, what is it that we need to do in order to extricate ourselves from this trap? Let me answer the first two questions right away and come to the third one a little later.

                    In our case the low-level equilibrium trap has been created by the forces that interact with each other. The first force is the low level of investment which, in turn, is the result of low domestic savings rate, a sharp decline in the flow of external savings, and the heavy burden of domestic and external debt under which we have been labouring for a while. The second force is the absence of modern institutions of economic management without which we will not be able to achieve efficiency and competitiveness. The third force is an underdeveloped human resource which continues to work as a drag on the economy. The fourth force is the way the world perceives us today. Fairly or unfairly, our reputation is low and the contempt for us is great.

                    These four forces, in interacting with each other, reinforce themselves. A few examples should help highlight this point. Our poor reputation means that we are not a serious destination for external capital flows. We need these not only to increase the rate of domestic investment but also to lighten the burden of debt. Poorly developed economic and financial institutions mean that the little investment that is taking place produces low levels of return.

                    If we had a more robust institutional base, we could push the economy to move faster even with the current rate of investment. An underdeveloped human resource reduces economic efficiency and competitiveness and hinders the development of the institutional base. And so on. As these forces reinforce one another; they only deepen the trap for us. With each passing week, month and year we are pushing ourselves deeper and deeper into the hole in which we have fallen.

                    Before getting to the third question what could be done to get the country out of the low level equilibrium trap let me recall the main conclusions I had reached in the four preceding articles of this series, and make clear why I think some awareness of what is likely to happen to the structure of the global economy in the next quarter century is so critical for designing a strategy for our own future.

                    The main point I made in the preceding four articles was that the next quarter century will be a witness to an enormous and unprecedented change in the shape of the global economy. There is a high level of probability that the world in the year 2025 will see nearly four-fifths of its output produced in just four economic centres China, the United States, the European Union, and India. This will be the first time in human history that of the four leading global economies, two will also be those that will continue to fall in the category of underdeveloped countries.

                    Both China and India will have large economies as measured by the purchasing power parity rate. At the same time, both will have hundreds of millions of people living in absolute poverty. There is now a consensus among economists that the most important determinant of poverty alleviation is the rate of economic growth. Higher the rate of growth, greater the likelihood of a significant reduction in the incidence of poverty. In other words, China and India will put a great deal of emphasis on quickening the pace of their economic growth.

                    The economic compulsions in the other two centres of power in the United States and in the European Union will be of a very different nature. They will not include high levels of economic growth. Instead, these countries will seek to improve the quality of life of their citizens by reallocating current income and wealth in favour of those activities that aim to produce a healthier and happier citizenry. That is why we will see a sharp shift in these countries towards the service sector health, education, travel, entertainment and financial management.

                    However, by emphasizing growth the elephant economies will inevitably get into conflict with the richer parts of the globe. Growth will need more and more material inputs; growth in income in the countries with very large populations will increase the demand for food and hence the pressure on land, water and the atmosphere. Even rapid economic growth will not be able to reduce income differences among the rich and the poorer countries which, in turn, will generate additional migrations. That conflict is possible will produce responses which will result in a new form of militarization.

                    The incident over Hainan was perhaps the first taste of things to come. The United States is likely to get increasingly concerned about China's growing economic and military strength. It will be fearful that China will seek to reallocate global resources in its favour or show less concern for the preservation of the global commons. The next cold war will not be over the spread of a particular ideology. Even China has accepted that capitalism of one form or other is better than socialism and that the private sector is a better manager of economic assets than public bureaucrats. The next conflict, instead, will be over different approaches towards the exploitation and management of global economic resources and the global commons.

                    As China increases its military strength, so will India. Two large and contiguous countries are natural rivals unless they have succeeded in devising an institutional mechanism for resolving conflict and settling disputes. China and India are still very distant from the time when a European Union-type of framework would do for them what it did for France and Germany. The United States will be tempted to draw India towards itself in order to balance if not neutralize China. And India, perhaps, will not reject such overtures.

                    It appears to me that all this might lead to a new type of militarization with the United States throwing a protective cover around itself, checking China at every step of the way, and encouraging India to become a counter to Asia's largest economic power. The two elephants may be in a stampede but they may collide with each other on the way.

                    This then is the stage on which Pakistan will have to play its economic part. If my reading of the future is correct, the coming conflict between today's largest economic power the United States and tomorrow's economic colossus China offers us vast opportunities which we must understand and exploit. If we do that we may succeed in breaking out of the low-level equilibrium trap. But how? I will get to that question next week.


                      If Islamabad handles the current difficult situation with intelligence and resolve, it will have turned Pakistan around and, once again, transformed it into a vibrant economy which it once was.

                      Indeed so far so good. That truly shows that after 1971 has become a stronger economic, starategic and miliatry power than it was.


                        Originally posted by Malik73:
                        If Islamabad handles the current difficult situation with intelligence and resolve, it will have turned Pakistan around and, once again, transformed it into a vibrant economy which it once was.

                        Indeed so far so good. That truly shows that after 1971 has become a stronger economic, starategic and miliatry power than it was.
                        indeed! one more partition of pakistan and it will become even more stronger 'power'.


                          indeed! one more partition of pakistan and it will become even more stronger 'power'.

                          The only one who is being partitioned - North, South, East and West is your good old India. We will watch it all unfold.


                            Notion of security

                            Masooda Bano

                            Pakistan's third anniversary as a nuclear power has brought no happy tidings. As the country completes yet another year of declared nuclear power status, it is gripped in serious problems from acute water shortage leading to drought like situation in some parts of the country, to more routine problems of continuing inflation, increased utility charges, poor social sector facilities. The question that needs to be answered, at the time when we remember the nuclear blasts in hills of Balochistan that to the pride of some Pakistanis raised the country to the status of nuclear power, is: has possession of the nuclear power provided the required security for the survival of the country?

                            The answer to this question is critical because the way the nation perceives security determines the way it makes its investment decisions and these investment decisions determine the development path that the country will follow. In Pakistan's case from the start the notion of security has always been associated with a strong military and defence system. Part of it is due to the history of the country as Pakistan suffered hostile circumstances right after the Partition with a strong threat to its survival from the much bigger and hostile neighbour. But, over time this threat perception has affected the entire development of the country with the state making high investment in military and defence at the expense of overall development of the country. For most part of the country's history, over thirty percent of the Pakistan's government budget has gone on defence spending.

                            But, fifty three years down the line, does all this investment in military and nuclear weapons promise a bright future for the country? Do these weapons ensure the security of the lives of the common Pakistanis? Do most of the Pakistanis foresee a very bright future for themselves or their country? It is sad to admit it but the answer to all these questions is a No.

                            The reason for this is simple: there can be no sense of national security without attaining human security. Best of nuclear arsenal cannot protect the sovereignty of the country when its people are denied of basic human rights of food, education, health, and shelter. Civil unrest is a more common cause of break down of a country in today's world than conflict between two nations. Soviet Union is a classic example where all the military and nuclear weapons could not save it from disintegration.

                            What has to be understood by the policy makers in Pakistan is that national security and human security are interdependent. Traditionally, people have seen national security and human security in conflict with each other. National security has been perceived as defending the borders with strong military. While, human security has been taken as investment in improving the lives of the people and providing them a secure life with access to basic facilities of food, water, shelter, education, employment. But, the fact is that the two are interdependent. There is no national security without attaining human security. If there is no human security the nation will disintegrate sooner or later from within. It won't need an enemy from outside to do this.

                            And what is the state of human security for most of the Pakistanis? It is a country where more than 35 percent of the population is estimated to live below the poverty line. This means that many of the people of this country do not even get enough to eat. It is no wonder then that over one third of the children in Pakistan are estimated to be malnourished. Sixty percent of the population does not have access to the most basic human right of access to education. This means that sixty percent of the country's population does not get the most basic of opportunities to develop their potential and work towards a better life style.

                            Over fifty percent of the population does not have access to basic health services. This means that innocent children die of preventable diseases. Many mothers die in child birth because they had no trained medical attendant to help them at the most critical time of their life.

                            Another fifty percent of the population does not have access to basic sanitation facilities. So, a large percentage of the population lives in filthy areas where all kinds of diseases are common. But, if the social sector portrays a depressive picture, the massive degradation and mismanagement of the environmental resources makes the future even more bleaker. Depleting forest and rising air pollution has been a continuous concern for the environmentalists in the country. But, the acute water shortage this year which is anticipated to become even worse in the coming years is a real threat to the security of the country. Water is essential for life. And if the state fails to provide this basic right it can unleash all kind of violence and destruction. The violence in Karachi that followed the strike over water shortage last month, is a proof of how easily civil unrest can break out when people are denied basic human rights.

                            Against all this the country's population growth rate at 2.7 percent is among the highest in the world. With depleting resources and rapidly rising population, which is largely unskilled and incapable of competing within the country, forget about the international market, who can foresee a secure future even if the country has best of military weapons and nuclear arsenal.

                            One does not want to sound like a prophet of doom. That is not the intention at all. But, what one does want to do is to make the people in charge of running this country face the realities. It is no point living in blissful fantasies when the reality is nothing like the fantasy. The fact is that Pakistan faces severe problems of survival today which are threatening its existence. It can still build a bright future despite all the mishaps of the past, but it requires investment in the human capital and developing a new notion of security where human security is seen integral to attaining national security. Without commitment to improving the lives of the common man there is no way of ensuring national security.

                            The author is an Islamabad based columnist with background in development research.