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?
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.
Title: Bollywood Boom; Author: Roopa Swaminathan; Publisher: Penguin; Price: Rs 399; Pages: 221
Title: Defeat is an Orphan: How Pakistan Lost the Great South Asian War; Author: Myra Macdonald; Publisher: Penguin Random House India; Pages: 328; Price: Rs 599
The story of Afghanistan -- of the war against the Soviets and of terrorism that has gripped the landlocked country ever since -- is in many ways also the story of diplomat Masood Khalili, who motivated his people and led them...
Title: The Golden Legend; Author: Nadeem Aslam; Publisher: Penguin Random House; Pages: 376; Price: Rs 599
Over the Years, a collection of 106 short articles, offers us interesting sidelights on the currents and cross- currents in the public life of India during two distinctive periods: (I) 1987 to 1991 and (II ) 2010 to the present.