September 13, 2019

Time for Pakistan to resolve its identity crisis

View: Time for Pakistan to resolve its identity crisis

To stop further erosion of the much derided `two-nation’ theory, Pakistan has adopted a two-pronged policy. They projected themselves to be part of the Arab Middle East rather than the geographical entity rooted in the Indian sub-continent.

By ET CONTRIBUTORS | Sep 13, 2019, 12.19 PM IST


Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan addresses a rally at the Prime Minister office in Islamabad, Pakistan, Friday, Aug. 30, 2019.

By Prasad Nallapati

Why is Pakistan so agitated with Narendra Modi government’s constitutional changes withdrawing `temporary’ special status of the Jammu and Kashmir state? The unbridled aggression and incoherent threats against India by Prime Minister Imran Khan,Chief of Army Staff Gen. Qamar Javed Bajwa and terrorist groups controlled by them crossed all limits of civic decency.

Their desperate calls seeking support of the Muslim ummah and other international community had few takers. Saudi Arabia and the OIC remained muted. The UAE declared that the J&K issue was an internal matter of India while the Bahraini king conferred on Modi its highest civilian award, King Hamad Order of the Renaissance, further accentuating Pakistan’s helplessness. Turkey and Iran restrained themselves beyond issuing proforma statements.

Islamabad was shocked and clueless why it was so isolated on such an important issue.

The roots of Pakistan’s frustration lie in its unresolved identity crisis. Muslim `nobles’ of undivided British India saw the emerging Hindu-dominated independent country as a threat to their status and power. They hence invented a `two-nation’ theory suggesting that Hindus and Muslims constitute separate nations and cannot live together. To further buttress their argument, they sought to flag their “superior” race by projecting their Persian-lineage and being inheritors of the legendary Mughal empire.

While they succeeded in forcing the British to carve a Pakistan out of India as a home for sub-continental Muslims, they failed to convince majority of their co-religionists the viability of such a concept. Pastuns and Baluchis resisted joining Pakistan despite led by Muslim leaders. Large number of Muslims in India opted to remain in the country while the eastern part of Pakistan soon got separated to form a new country, Bangladesh.

The remaining Western part has itself been shaky with Baluchis, Sindhis, Mohajirs and tribals detesting control by Punjabi-dominated establishment. Islam has not proven to be an effective adhesive to keep diverse communities together. The only thing keeping them together is fear and hatred of India, perpetrated by the Army establishment, which further projected itself to be the only force in the country that can stop and defeat the designs of the enemy.

To stop further erosion of the much derided `two-nation’ theory, Pakistan has adopted a two-pronged policy. They projected themselves to be part of the Arab Middle East rather than the geographical entity rooted in the Indian sub-continent. At the same time, Pakistani establishment sought to be an unsolicited “protector” of Indian Muslims. They created and co-opted Islamist radical groups, in line with Saudi ideology, to further their agenda.

In an essay in the News, `Our search for a forgotten identity’, columnist Kamila Hyat wrote, “There has even been doubt as to where we are located on the globe. Notably under the late Gen. Zia-ul-Haq an attempt was made to transport ourselves from South Asia to the Middle East.” Pakistan’s national anthem is itself mainly in Persian, with a few words borrowed from Arabic, the languages that are hardly understood in the country.

The US too seems to have acknowledged the yearnings of its cold war ally that it included Pakistan in the Area of Responsibility of its Central Command, along with Middle Eastern nations. There was no other plausible reason to explain its inclusion when the Command was formed in 1983. India and its other neighbours remained under the area covered by the US Pacific Command, which is now known as Indo-Pacific Command.


Pakistan might have received liberal financial doles and vocal support in its disputes with India for its attachment with the Middle East, but the Gulf Sheikhdoms saw it more as a source of entertainment and cheap military force to safeguard Royal establishments. Islamabad had also opened itself to receive Wahabi ideology which looked at Pakistani Islamic practices with disdain. The result of the transformation is there all to see.

As its Middle East oasis remained elusive, Pakistan too had little success in its attempts to be the voice of Indian Muslims. Muslims in India have by and large rejected Pakistan’s unsolicited offers of support. In response to a speech by former Pakistani President Musharraf in New Delhi in March 2009, Indian Muslim leaders have categorically told him that they can take care of themselves and he should worry about his own country where more Muslims are killed than in any other country.

Despite lack of traction with Indian Muslim community, Pakistani establishment sought to sell to its own people a `macho’ image of its superior military that could easily subjugate Hindu `baniya’ (low level traders). Their educational textbooks from Nursery class onwards teach that Hindu is an enemy to be killed. History texts claim that they had won all the wars against India inflicting heavy casualties on the enemy.

In an Op-ed in the Daily Times, Ali K Chishti, a Pakistani political analyst, gave a detailed description of institutional radicalization of public schools. One textbook reads, “The Hindus who had always been opportunists” (Social Studies, Class VI, Punjab Textbook Board, page 141). Still another reads, “The Hindus had always been an enemy of Islam.” (Urdu, Class V, Punjab Textbook Board, page 108).

He further wrote, “In fact, schools like those run by Jamaat-ud-Dawa (new name for terrorist group Lashkar-e-Taiba), which received Punjab government’s funding of Rs 30 million, systematically replaced the mainstream curriculum. Now Allah instead of anar (pomegranate) is used to teach the sound of the Urdu alphabet letter alif; bandooq (gun) instead of bakri (goat) for bey and jihad instead of jahaz (ship) for jeem.”

“The educational materials in Urdu are based upon hatred, confusion, propaganda and exclusiveness,” according to another Pakistani columnist Zubair Torwali, who writes in The News. “Urdu is not very different from Hindi. It is a form of Hindi and is still known as Hindi abroad. To distort this linguistic balance more words from Arabic were introduced into Urdu to make it appear different from Hindi, the language of the “core enemy” of Pakistan.” Urdu has been used for indoctrination since the birth of Pakistan, and particularly since the Zia regime.

“The popular myth is that Ziaul Haq sowed the seeds of radicalization but, in reality, institutionalized radicalization of Pakistanis started in the late 1950s when the Iqbalian concepts of `mard-e-momin’ and `shaheen’ were promoted (by the then military regime led by Gen. Ayub Khan), much like the Nazis originally promoted the concept of the superman of Nietzsche,” wrote Chishti.

The Pakistani establishment has thus created a narrative that Kashmir is their `jugular vein’ and they will wrest it from India even with force, if necessary. They launched Jehad with an array of different terrorist groups to create serious disturbances for an ultimate action to separate Kashmir from India.

With their Kashmir narrative collapsing in front of their eyes, the hard-built macho image of the Pak military establishment is under question mark. If India is able to better integrate the Jammu and Kashmir region into the country along with its economic development, there will be serious consequences for Pak military establishment and the lies that it has perpetrated all through these years.

Gen. Qamar Bajwa’s intemperate outbursts can thus be explained. The army might try to do everything to create disturbances through use of terrorist groups or even launch a limited war in the hope of world powers rushing in to bring calm and force India to address the Kashmir issue according to UN resolutions.

It is perhaps time that Pakistanis re-assess their policies and realize that their experiments to identify itself with the Middle East, institutionalize radicalization and terrorize Kashmir have in fact brought them to this stage where they found all friends disappearing. Pakistan has become much weaker politically, economically or militarily compared to the time the country was born.

Modi’s Kashmir jolt can in fact be converted into an opportunity for better relations and economic development to all people of the sub-continent. It is wise to reverse policies that did not work and extend hand for a new relationship. It should not be taken as a defeat to do a course correction. The policies that benefit people are appreciated, not derided.

The whole world is changing. The US has changed. The Gulf countries have changed. They started realizing that radical Islam is hurting their countries and need to look for alternate models of development that bring strength and welfare to their countries and people. This must have been the message that Foreign Ministers of the Saudi Arabia and UAE jointly carried to Islamabad recently on the instructions of their leadership.

Pakistan deserves to be at peace with itself and with its sub-continental brotherly nations. A new relationship between India and Pakistan can lead to soft borders between countries of the region that would even end Kashmir issue to the satisfaction of everyone. Such a united sub-continent can be a model and leader for global development.

Prasad Nallapati is President of the Hyderabad-based think tank, Centre for Asia-Africa Policy Research, and former Additional Secretary to the Govt of India

September 12, 2019

Merkel in China: Navigating tricky waters

Continuing protests in Hongkong, the escalating US-China trade dispute, a slowing economy in Germany: Angela Merkel’s twelfth official visit to China took place in turbulent times. But among German business there was much praise, afterwards, for her skillful navigation of tricky waters. Merkel’s actions in China, on the other hand, are likely to have disappointed Germany’s partners in Europe.

While the German Chancellor publicly criticized Hong Kong and called for openness and reform in China, at the fringes of the trip eleven lucrative economic deals were made. With the focus being on German trade interests, Merkel was as usual accompanied by a high-ranking business delegation. The Allianz Group agreed a strategic cooperation with the Bank of China in the area of finance and insurance, and Siemens signed a letter of intent with the state-owned energy group SPIC. Airbus signed an agreement with the aerospace conglomerate AVIC for the production of the A320 in Tianjin.

In a paper that received wide attention early this year, the Federation of German Industries (BDI) had for the first time expressed an unusual level of criticism, naming China a "systemic competitor". This had raised expectations that German business would, in future, address issues like the lack of market access or the controversial Chinese Cyber Security Act more directly. Although the focus of this trip was on cooperation, criticisms were nevertheless raised, according to informed sources. The existing tensions are still present, including those due to differences in values.

Merkel once again was faced with the difficult job of bridging the gap between economic interests and values. The Chancellor was silent on the situation in Xinjiang, where one million people are being held in labor camps, but both behind closed doors and publicly at a press conference with Prime Minister Li Keqiang she urged that the "rights and freedoms" granted to Hong Kong be respected and that a solution be found through dialogue. Li's reaction in front of journalists was brief and made clear the pressure that Beijing is under due to the ongoing protests: China supported the Hong Kong government’s efforts to "end the violence and chaos in accordance with the law, to return to order", he said. 

Merkel's strategy met with a positive response from senior business representatives. “If German jobs depend on how we deal with controversial issues, then we should not add to the general outrage, but evaluate the issues from every angle in a considered way," said Siemens CEO Joe Kaeser in an interview. "That will enable us to take clear positions in our dealings with each other, while respecting cultural differences.”

European interests were evidently not at the forefront of the trip. The Chancellor again urged China and the EU to conclude an investment agreement in the near future but, according to reports, plans to allow French representatives or representatives of other EU states to travel with the German delegation were rejected. 

The EU has been trying for some time to reach a common China policy. In March, French President Emmanuel Macron made a significant gesture by inviting the then EU Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker and Merkel to a meeting with China's President Xi Jinping. Merkel’s focus, on the other hand, was clearly on German business interests during her trip, even though Airbus, a Franco-German company, was travelling with her. Berlin's "back to business" attitude was interpreted by its neighbor as a threat to European cohesion in dealing with China. 

MERICS analysis:

"It is difficult for Germany to say no to China" - analysis by MERICS fellow Noah Barkin

"A journey in tense times" - podcast in German with MERICS Deputy Director Mikko Huotari

Jack Ma: China’s most successful entrepreneur retires to pursue first love


Jack Ma, co-founder and executive chair the Chinese retail and tech giant Alibaba Group, stepped down from his position as company chair on September 10, the day he turned 55. Ma founded Alibaba together with 18 co-founders in 1999. Since then it has become the largest e-commerce company in the world by the total of goods sold across all its platforms, with over 66,000 full-time employees, over 750 million monthly active users, and a market value of around 420 billion USD.

Ma is credited with building the innovative culture at Alibaba that has helped the company stay ahead of the game. His charismatic leadership and often irreverent humor have been in a sharp contrast to the usual stereotype of a Chinese business executive. He has even starred in his own kung fu short film.

He is also considered to have been skillful in his dealings with China’s ruling Communist Party, partnering with the government and meeting President Xi in person. He revealed in 2018 that he is a member of the Chinese Communist Party, but summed up his relationship with government in these terms: “Love them, don’t marry them.”

Last month he shared a platform with US billionaire Elon Musk at the World AI Conference in Shanghai. Ma’s optimistic view on AI was in stark contrast to Musk’s. He said we had nothing to fear about AI and predicted it would help create new kinds of jobs which require less of our time, leaving us to focus on creative tasks. Alibaba is one of the world’s biggest investors in AI technology.

Ma has personally amassed a fortune worth over 41 billion USD and become one of the richest men in the world. He now plans to focus his efforts on his first love: education. Following in the footsteps of Microsoft founder Bill Gates, a fellow tech billionaire whom he greatly admires, he will now concentrate on philanthropy. His charitable organization, the Jack Ma Foundation, which he founded in 2014, supports a range of educational projects. He has in the past spoken of the need to keep learning and in an interview with Bloomberg TV even said: “I think some day, and soon, I’ll go back to teaching. This is something I think I can do much better than being CEO of Alibaba.”

EVENT: Geopolitics of Himalayan Region: Cultural, Political and Strategic Dimensions

🌹🇮🇳 *Social Cause* 🇮🇳🌹
(Regd. Society No.614/2003)

You and your friends are cordially invited to a Seminar on 🙏🙏

Geopolitics of Himalayan Region: Cultural, Political and Strategic Dimensions

Principal Speaker:
Prof. Alok Bansal
Director, India Foundation;
Secretary General, Asian Eurasian Human Rights Forum (AEHRF);
Executive Director, South Asian Institute for Strategic Affairs (SAISA), New Delhi

Guests of Honour:
Lt. Gen. Hari Prasad
Former General Officer Commanding-in-Chief (GOC-in-C),
Northern Command, Indian Army

Prof. C.V. Raghavulu
Former Vice-Chancellor, Acharya Nagarjuna University

Smt. R. Bhramara Sree
Head, Dept. of Political Science, St. Ann’s College for Women

Date & Time:
*14th September, 2019 (Saturday)*
*at 11.00 a.m.*
Please Join Us for Tea at 10.30 a.m.

Conference Hall,
*Administrative Staff College of India (ASCI),*
Bella Vista, Raj Bhavan Road, Hyderabad 500082
040 6653 3000

🙏🙏*All are welcome.*🙏🙏

Dr. B. Dinesh Kumar
Vice-President, Social Cause

Programme Convener:
Dr. T. Vijaya Bhaskar Reddy (Mob: 8328227366)
P. Sadanand (Mob: 9246104164)
D. Shivananda Reddy (Mob: 7893707770)

September 08, 2019

Chinese trawlers in southern Indian Ocean worry India

Dinakar Peri



The huge increase in numbers in the southern Indian Ocean far from the Chinese coast has raised concerns

There has been a huge increase in Chinese deep-sea fishing trawlers in the southern Indian Ocean far from the Chinese coast which has raised concerns in the government and the security establishment, according to official sources. This was discussed in the recent coastal security meetings involving Director-General (DG), Shipping, the Navy and other stakeholders.

“In the last four years, on an average at least 500 Chinese trawlers were present in the region and around 32,250 incidents per year were recorded,” a senior defence source said. The trawlers were, however, not in India’s Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) but beyond, the source added. This includes trawlers from China, Hong Kong and Taiwan.

Breaking this up further, there were 1,100 occurrences near Somalia and 1,500 occurrences near the Coast of Oman. Occurrences are recordings of the Automatic Identification System (AIS) aboard trawlers and ships recorded when they are activated. So a trawler can be recorded multiple times based on its AIS signature. Chinese trawlers have institutional backing and have processing facilities with them which are sold in the vicinity, the source added on the modalities of the operation.

While India has good inland fishing, the ocean fishing capacity is way below capacity. There have been recommendations for the need to boost domestic deep-sea fishing. “Our deep-sea fishing is in bits and pieces. We need to boost that,” the source said.

The maritime movements in the region are tracked at the Navy’s Information Management and Analysis Centre (IMAC) at Gurugram, which is the single-point centre interlinking all the coastal radar chains and other inputs along the coastline. The AIS information comprises name, MMSI number, position, course, speed, last port visited, destination and so on. This information can be picked up through various AIS sensors including coastal AIS chains and satellite based receivers.

To address this, the National Maritime Domain Awareness initiative aims to integrate fishing, ports, customs so that the database is available to everyone. Currently, the States have their databases. As part of this evolving mechanism, the National Committee for Strengthening Maritime and Coastal Security is scheduled to meet this week to discuss the implementation.

There has been a national effort to install AIS systems on ships under 20m for which a pilot study has been carried out. AIS works through satellite and the ISRO has already delivered 1000 transponders for trails in Gujarat and Tamil Nadu.