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India and Pakistan : war and peace
Quite apart from the legality of the matter and what the Kashmiris want, the reality is that Pakistan has no support whatsoever from any quarter. Given Indian hard and soft power, there is no way Pakistan can tilt the balance in its favour. There is not a state in the world that publicly supports Pakistan’s claim to Kashmir.
 

As Prime Minister Narendra Modi delays peace talks with Pakistan and the LoC heats up, another meeting of SAARC looms this month, barring South Asian leaders from talking war and persuading them to focus on the more modern concept of “connectivity”. Modi is the man of “connectivity” when he is not being warlike and knows more about it than Pakistan’s Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, who thinks connectivity with India is the way to go for Pakistan.

 

The suicide bomber who killed dozens near the Wagah crossing probably intended to blow himself up at the beating retreat ceremony, where he could have killed even more innocents. The attack is the latest indicator that the terrorist infrastructure in Pakistan is audacious and wants to create a crisis between the two nuclear-weapons states in South Asia.

 

The fidayeen attack near the Wagah border, the main entry point between India and Pakistan, conveys two things. First, those who have vowed to give their life for jihad do not want normalisation of relations between the two countries. 

 

Is Modi’s belligerence and disproportionate use of force against Pakistan response or strategy? Or part of a deeper malaise gripping India in which Hindutva has morphed from being a deviation from an alleged secular norm into a mainstream ideology that is setting the national agenda? Accordingly, is Modi pursuing ‘another Mahabharat’ which risks nuclear confrontation? Or is he conducting a populist diversion to avoid the political and electoral costs of real structural reforms?

 
Faced with Pakistan’s firing across the LoC, India has no option but to respond. However, in general, more subtle strategies to contain and counter threats from Pakistan would be in the country’s interest  
 

The period between 2005 and 2015 was declared the decade of water cooperation by the UN and concepts of transboundary water collaboration, shared waters and shared responsibilities were initialled. Co-riparian states were asked to use this, so that natural resources could be used for the common good and for development, and not for conflicts and wars.

 

Pakistani actor Fawad Khan has become a fascinating icon, the new heartthrob for Indian girls and women. Zindagi, an Indian entertainment television channel launched four months ago, broadcasts serials from Pakistan.

 

Narendra Modi, the new Sherriff in town, appears to be following a script envisioned by the Indian bureaucracy, military and intelligentsia hawks regarding Indian Occupied Kashmir (IOK) and Pakistan. During his election campaign, Modi raised jingoistic slogans, castigating the Indian National Congress for being soft on Pakistan, simultaneously threatening Pakistan with dire consequences unless it gave up supporting terrorism and meddling in IOK. 

 

“Hell,” writes Richard Flanagan, the winner of this year’s Man Booker Prize for his powerful novel The Narrow Road to the Deep North, “is an eternal repetition of the same failure.” This quote undoubtedly possesses different meanings for different people but it seems particularly instructive for those interested in studying international relations, specifically from the viewpoint of nuclear deterrence. 

 


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India has accused the United Nations Security Council and the international community of tending to ignore the terrorists ravaging Afghanistan and their backers while these forces “have stood up against one of the biggest collective military efforts in the world.”
 
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AS backpedaling goes, it is unconvincing. Indian army chief Gen Bipin Rawat waded deep into controversy last month when he vigorously defended the army’s violent suppression of legitimate dissent in India-held Kashmir.
 
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Title: Reporting Pakistan; Author: Meena Menon; Publisher: Viking/Penguin Random House; Pages: 340; Price: Rs 599

 
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  A former Indian civil servant, who is currently a professor of Public Policy and Political Science at Duke University, US spent long periods in distant villages and city slums of India. The result? A scholarly book that presen...

 
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  Title: The Exile; Author:  Cathy Scott-Clark & Adrian Levy; Publisher: Bloomsbury Publishing; Pages: 640; Price: Rs 699

 
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Jim Corbett was a British-Indian hunter and tracker-turned-conservationist, author and naturalist; who started off as an officer in the British army and attained the rank of a colonel. Frequently called in to kill man-eating tigers or leopards,...

 
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Title: Bollywood Boom; Author: Roopa Swaminathan; Publisher: Penguin; Price: Rs 399; Pages: 221

 
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