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Tuesday, March 30, 2010

The New Great Game in Afghanistan

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Background
Afghanistan has been an unfortunate and poor country for quite sometime. It has consistently witnessed intervention of the foreign powers into its internal affairs. After the two superpowers fighting their turf battles in Afghanistan, it is now the turn of two regional powers India and Pakistan to do the same.

It must be understood that for Pakistan, Afghanistan holds the similar importance like Nepal does for us. We do not wish to control Nepal and would like a peaceful stable Nepal. At the sametime we are alarmed by growing Chinese presence in Nepal. Similarly, Pakistan is alarmed by growing Indian presence in Afghanistan. Thousands of Nepalese are allowed to live and work in India. Likewise, Pakistan hosts about 3 million Afghans.

However, the similarity ends there. Pakistan has used Afghans to promote cross border terrorism into India. Thousands of Afghans families have been settled in POK which is in direct violation of the UN resolutions. This is something that India has always respected. Article 370 of Indian Constitution does not permit outsiders to buy land in Kashmir. Kashmiri women who marry outsiders cease to have any property rights. Thus, the demographics of Indian Controlled Kashmir hasn't been altered at all in the last 60 years.

On the other hand, India has always assisted the Nepalese Govt in developing its economy. It helped its Army in its struggle against the Maoists. It has invested in various infrastructure projects in Nepal. But ofcourse, India has also tried to interfere in the internal affairs of Nepal, but that has been essentially to keep the country stable. Nepal hosts a large number of Tibetan migrants from China. India has never tried to use them to promote insurgency and terrorism into China or even give any such impression. This is precisely the difference between the approaches of the two countries.

Indian presence in Afghanistan
It is a well known fact that it was Pakistan's ISI along with the CIA that created the Taliban. After the fall of the Soviet Union, the Americans pulled, but the Pakistanis continued to support them. After the Taliban captured power in 1996, it was the Indians who continued to support the Northern Alliance. They continued to pump in money through the Tajiks. Eversince the Taliban were overthrown, India has actively invested in Afghanistan but has restricted itself to development project only. Some of the major projects are given below: (Source)
  • Committed $1.3 billion on various projects.
  • Built the 218-km Zelarang-Delaram highway to enable south-western Afghanistan to access the Iranian port of Chabahar.
  • Constructed the 220KV DC transmission line from Pul-e-Khumri to Kabul and a 220/110/20KV sub-station at Chimtala.
  • Built the Salma Dam power project (42 MW) in Herat province (to finish by 2011).
  • Constructing the Afghan parliament building (to be completed by 2011).
  • Helped expand the Afghan national TV network, provided uplink and downlink facilities over all of Afghanistan's 34 provinces.
  • 84 small projects in areas of agriculture, rural development, education, health, vocational training and solar energy.
  • Gifted three Airbus aircraft along with essential spares to Ariana Afghan Airlines. Also, 400 buses, 200 mini-buses and 105 utility vehicles.
Impact of Indian presence
There is absolutely no doubt that Indian presence has made a significant impact as well as a significant dent in Pakistani influence in the country. For e.g., the Indira Gandhi Hospital in Kabul is the only major Hospital in the country and has brought in tremendous Afghan goodwill. Other projects in the field of edcation, power and rural development have also made significant impact. However, nothing has made a bigger impact than the Indian made highways to Iran and Tajikistan.

 Thanks to an Indian-constructed bridge in 2007 linking Afghanistan and Tajikistan, trade through that route increased sevenfold within a year and Afghan land values along that route shot up dramatically. Not to be outdone, Russia too has offered to facilitate a rail transit corridor linking Europe to Afghanistan via Uzbekistan. Increasing Afghan involvement in Central Asia can spin off and spill over, positioning it to capitalise on its natural endowments and become the regional hub of water resources, energy distribution and hydroelectric power. Indian completion in 2008 of the 135-mile road from Nimroz province to Iran's Chahbahar port provides an efficient transport corridor for goods between Central Asia and the Persian Gulf.
With the Khyber Pass under constant attack, this insurgent-free route could provide an alternative for supplying western troops with non-lethal goods and aid to the Afghan government. This would cost Pakistan economically as well as geopolitically since currently 75 per cent of non-lethal supplies are transported through the port of Karachi. If the US is able to reopen its base in Uzbekistan as planned, Pakistan's influence will erode even further. (Source)
Till date, Pakistan has refused to allow Indian Goods to reach Afghanistan through its territory. These are now being pushed through the Iranian ports. The biggest consequence for Pakistan is that these economic trends are creating conditions for a de facto partitioned Afghan state. The more stable north and west - with international linkages, economic growth and acceptance of the Afghan central government and western troop presence - can emerge self-sufficient and defensible while pockets of insurgency engulf the south and east.

Pakistan's counter strategy
Pakistan has realised that it needs to counter the growing Indian influence in the region. Firstly, it began attacking Indian missions in Afghanistan. The result of this has been disastrous. For the moment, India has decided not start any new projects in the country and is content with completing the existing projects. Secondly, Pakistan has started accusing India of promoting insurgency in Balochistan. This is again a well thought out strategy. Afghanistan is under US command and it is impossible for India to do anything their knowledge. Moreover, Pakistan media barely talks about Baloch terrorists. They dont have capabilities to conduct Lahore type attacks. This is just a diversionary tactic by Pakistan and quite similar to accusing India of stealing Indus river water. (Refer my earlier article)

Thirdly, it seems to have convinced the US to have talks with moderate factions of the Taliban where it could play a major role as a facilitator. They have found an able ally in the form of the current Afghan President Hamid Karzai. Karzai too supports talks with the Taliban. In the elections last year, the US supported his rival Abdullah Abdullah, which was seconded by India. Now, Karzai is hitting back and has made overtures to Pakistan. He called Pakistan and Afghanistan as conjoined twins - even though one is over 5000 years old while other is barely 63 years old and it is not certain whether it will remain forever.

Pakistan successfully kept India out of the London Conference on Afghanistan where it was essentially decided to open a dialogue with the Taliban. Several Taliban leaders were removed by US from its list of most wanted terrorists. Pakistan has increasing become more assertive with its demands. They presented a 56 page document containing their demands - something like the old trade unionists, in the hope that atleast some of them will be addressed. As of now, Pakistan will be given more F-16's and drone technology will also be transferred.

However, what the US fails to understand that despite all the money that it has pumped into Pakistan, the people of Pakistan remain deeply suspicious and anti-American. This is essentially because till date it has restricted itself to pumping money into millitary hardware, something that has not touched Pakistani lives. This is precisely what Kerry Lugar bill hoped to achieve. However, there was massive opposition particularly from the Army as there were provisions to monitor the usage of money every six months and the aid was conditional (only released if Pakistan remain under Civilian rule). This directly threatened the Army's hegemony. However, by directly dealing with the Army, the US has essentially weakened the Civilian Govt. instead of of strengthening it.

Possible Indian Strategy
India must realise that its laid back strategy and depending solely on US cannot work anymore. Under the 8 years of Republican rule of George Bush, India enjoyed a strong relations with the US. However, the Democrats do not seem to be bothered about Indian interests too much. India has to do everything to convince the Americans of reducing their reliance on Pakistan. One possible ally in this great game is Iran.

Iran, a neighbouring Islamic country, has tremendous stake in a stable Afghanistan. Afghanistan produces nearly 90% of the World's poppy, which is also a major source of revenue for the Taliban. Being a neighbour, the Iranians have a major drug menace in their country. They would also like the radical elements to be kept away from their territory.

Iran is among the more modern Islamic countries. It is a democractic country. Its HDI index was 0.782 which is extremely good. It has a literacy rate of 83% and women comprise of more than half of the students in universities, something unthinkable in the most of the Islamic world. Therefore, rather than the military ruled and radicalised Pakistan, it should be Iran with whom the US should be dealing with.

However, this may not be as easy as it sounds. Firstly, the US had overthrown an elected Iranian Govt. in 1953 and installed a pro-US regime. This was done primarily to keep US energy interests. However, the 1979 Iranian revolution overthrew the pro-US regime. Iran has remained under US sanctions since then. In last few years, Iran has increasing felt threatened by the US, particularly after the US invasion of Iraq, which also driven by Oil interests. Iran has therefore decided to take the North Korea's path and is developing Nuclear Weapons to deter the US from attacking. Secondly, Iran being an Islamic country is opposed to Israel's occupation of Gaza and other territories. Israel has historically enjoyed good relations with the US. With US openly criticizing any fresh Israeli settlements in Gaza, this could be the time to reach out to Iran.

Another possible ally is Russia. Russia again another neighbour that has stake in the stability of Afghanistan. Russia too has faced terrorism from Chechen rebels who have close links with the Al Quaeda operatives. The Russians who withdrew from Afghanistan in 1989 are still believed have their intelligence presence in that country. But Russia again has been a long time US enemy strethching back to the Cold War era. However, recent agreements between Russia and US to reduced their nuclear warheads is a sign that the things are changing.

India which enjoys close relations with Russia and has had close relations with Iran in the past. If India could help strengthen the relations of the US with Russia and Iran, something similar to what the Pakistanis did to US-China relations, it could completely change the game in Afghanistan.

Final thoughts
As Pakistani Foreign Minister Mr Qureshi puts it, "Indian and Pakistani interests in Afghanistan cannot be the same". Ofcourse, one is development oriented while other is not.
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Thursday, March 11, 2010

Humour: Awesome

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I received this as a forwarded email  from a friend. I am not sure if its true, but it still its awesome and worth reading.

An ingenious example of speech and politics occurred recently in the United Nations Assembly that made the world community smile.


A representative from India began: 'Before beginning my talk I want to tell you something about Rishi Kashyap of Kashmir, after whom Kashmir is named. When he struck a rock and it brought forth water, he thought, 'What a good opportunity to have a bath.' He removed his clothes, put them aside on the rock and entered the water. When he got out and wanted to dress, his clothes had vanished. A Pakistani had stolen them.'
The Pakistani representative jumped up furiously and shouted, 'What are you talking about? The Pakistanis weren't there then.'
The Indian representative smiled and said, 'And now that we have made that clear, I will begin my speech. 'And they say Kashmir belongs to them................................................
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Sunday, March 7, 2010

My take on the Women's Reservation Bill

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After nearly 15 years when the Woman's reservation bill was first discussed, it looks set to be passed in the Rajya Sabha. This is my second post on this issue. There were some broad questions that came to mind. I have tried to answer each of them in this post.
  • Do we need reservation for women?
  • Is reservation really needed at the highest level?
  • Are reservations really going to make any difference? 
  • Do we need sub-quotas?
Do we need reservation for women?
A lot has already been written in the mainstream media about the importance that gender equality and empowerment of women plays in the overall development of any society. So I do not wish to repeat what has already been said and to a large extent well understood as well. Empowering women in a society where they have been treated like doormats for centuries is not an easy task. There is bound to be a internal resistance.

Moreover how do we achieve it within the constraints that democracy poses us.China had a cultural revolution from 1966-78, which was imposed on the entire population and was not at all peaceful. In India, any acceptable change has to be brought in an extremely careful manner.

Therefore reservation is one way to empower women. Since 1993, 1/3rd of the seats in panchayats have been reserved for women. This has been referred to as "the greatest social experiment ever". Upon adding the numbers, there are more women elected representatives in India than the rest of the world.

Skeptics might argue that it is still the men who take most of the decisions and women are mere proxies. Most probably it is true. But at least it has brought some amount change in the general attitude of the people towards women. This has got them an entry point, something that would not have been possible without reservation. Changing the rural mindset is not easy. A young boy in a remote village grows watching his father ill-treat his mother. He begins view this as acceptable and is more likely to do the same when he grows up. With such a system in place, it would at least stop such outdated ideas from percolating to the next generation.


Today there are a large number of NGOs that are helping women sarpanches in performing their duties These sarpanches are slowly making their presence felt. They known to focus much more on basic issues like drinking water, sanitation and education. They are much more honest. Since then, the reservations for women have been increased to 50%. I would go on to suggest that this number should be further increased to 75-100% in areas such as Haryana and some part of Punjab where Gender ratios are extremely poor and female infanticide is prevalent.

Moreover, reservation is important because it has been observed that once the seat is dereserved, almost 40% of woman choose not to contest. India's poor record on HDI index can expect to receive a boost in the long run. A professor(with over 25 years of teaching experience) of mine was once discussing this issue. He recalled, how over all these years the psyche of female students changed. While female students of the 80's and 90's would be vocal and aggressive about their rights, the present day female students almost expect equality.As they say, this is how democracy works, slowly.

Is reservation really needed at the highest level?
Reservations at the bottom is needed to bring about social change but is it really needed at the top. Or should merit prevail as we should be more bothered about who is more qualified to lead the country?

India's biggest strength is its democracy and diversity. The idea of India is unique because of its unity in diversity. It has been a tradition in India since the very beginning to have representations of all communities and regions. So all Union Cabinets formed till date have ensured that all communities are well represented. With its abysmally low 10% of elected women representative doesn't goes well with its idea of World's Largest democracy.
"Ninety countries have some kind of quota..That's half the countries of the world. On one level you might have a political party adopting its own informal quota—in the UK —on the other level you can have a legislative quota. You can see combination of those in different countries." (Source)
One of the major reasons why women are so under-represented is because they have their family responsibilities. This has been well recognized by nearly half of the world and it is time that we also consider this option seriously. Let us not forget that even in the best and most admired companies in the world, the female representation in the boardrooms is extremely low despite good gender ratios at lower levels. The most important reason for this that is again the family responsibilities. In something as important as nation building, it is important to give women their due representation.

Are reservations really going to make any difference? 
Reservations are not a panacea and mere reservation is not going to solve everything. Furthermore, just looking around at women politicians Most of them are from political families. Women Empowerment does not means election of such women from political families. In fact such reservations could reduce merit. Wives, daughters, mothers, daughters-in-laws of politicians could be running the show. Another option is that a certain tickets from political parties are reserved for women. The counter-argument given to this suggestion is that women shall be given only losing seats.

Another risk is that this reservation may extend to perpetuity. The caste based reservations introduced in 1950 were supposed to last only 10 years. They have been extended regularly. It is quite possible that the women reservation might take a similar course. Presently this reservation has been made for 15 years, but most probably it shall be there for a long time. In my opinion, there should be a clear road-map to gradually reduce the % of seats reserved for women to around 15%. This would make a balance between merit and social inclusion.

At this point of time, it is impossible to predict whether reservations can bring about any major difference.


Do we need sub-quotas?
Some of the parties like JD(U) and RJD are calling sub-quota for minorities and OBC's. Even though reservations are supposed to eliminate differences, they actually end up doing exactly the opposite. Caste based reservations are a classic example of the same. Reservations based on religion is therefore a dangerous territory.

However, this suggestion mustn't be rejected outright without examining whether there is a need for such a reservation. There is no doubt that women across all communities face numerous hurdles to rise. However, it is incorrect to assume  that this is homogeneous across all communities.Women in some communities face much more hurdles than other because some communities are more orthodox than the others. The following statistics clearly indicate this.




                                                                              (Source: 1, 2)

So while women reservations bill will benefit the women in SC's and ST's, Muslims and OBC women are not likely to benefit much and their representation in Parliament is likely to remain low. For e.g., presently out of 543 members in Lok Sabha, there are only 3 Women Muslim members. If one tries to think of prominent active Women Muslim Politicians, the only name that comes to mind is Mehbooba Mufti. But even she comes from a Political family and she is more likely to take up issues on Kashmir rather the empowerment of Muslim Women.


Furthermore, reservations for OBC's and Muslim women is not easy because there aren't any seats reserved for these communities. Moreover, Muslim population is varies across the country and hence the formula cannot apply across all states. One possible solution is increasing number of seats in Rajya Sabha and nominating members from these communities. Another important thing is that with 33% reservation, the total reserved seats would go upto 48% (22.5%+33%-(22.5/3)). Any further increase to reservation would mean that less than 50% seats are available in the unreserved category.

While the real empowerment of Women can take place at the grassroots level, women leadership across all communities needs to be created at the highest level so that they can take up women issues. Therefore, I believe there is a need to examine the feasibility of sub-quotas within quotas.


Conclusion

There is an old adage, when you educate a man you educate an individual when you educate a woman you educate a whole family. However, reservation is an easy shortcut. Without proper backup steps, it is unlikely to make any significant impact.

Happy Woman's Day
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Monday, March 1, 2010

India and Pakistan - future scenario

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Thank You Blogadda :)

Sixty three years ago, the two countries started their journey, torn by bitter memories of partition. The relations between the two nations have been troubled right from the start. Two similar examples from around the world the come to mind - West Germany and East Germany, and the two Koreas.

There are some basic similarities. These countries too had to go through a bitter partition. They followed different political systems and were bitter rivals of each other. One essential difference is that they essentially were one country - i.e. both East and West Germany claimed that they represented the entire Germany. Same is true in case of North and South Korea. In case of India and Pakistan, their rivalry is essentially over Kashmir. Though India was earlier a united country, it is extremely unlikely that partition can be reversed.

The German Story
After the Second World War, both East and West Germany were essentially poor and devastated. But West Germany under the allied influence, introduced free market reforms. It also benefited by large scale aid by the US. By the 1960's and 70's, there was large and visible difference in conditions on the two sides of the border. People in East Germany wanted to move to the West in search of a better life. The Berlin Wall was constructed to stop this. The difference in living standards continued to increase. Perhaps it was the aid from Soviet Union that was keeping things just about together in East Germany. In late 80's, Soviet Union was badly battered in Afghanistan. As a result, it could not continue its aid to the East. The Berlin Wall collapsed.

The Korean conundrum
The story between North and South Korea is somewhat similar. Both countries have remained bitter rivals since the end of the Korean War in 1953. Both countries have contrasting political and economic systems. While North Korea is a totalitarian dictatorship with centralized economy, South Korea is a democratic country with free markets. North Korea implemented land reforms, introduced free health care and education. At one point of time, its HDI indicators were better. However, gradually South Korea's export led economy has moved way ahead. Today its HDI indicators are much better. Its per capita income is $20,000 as compared to a minuscule $1100 in North Korea.

Sung Yoon Lee in his article in ForegnPolicy says,
In contrast, beyond North Korea's southern border lies a free and affluent Korea, one that claims sovereignty over the entire peninsula and to which millions of Northerners would move if given the choice. By its mere existence, Seoul poses an omnipresent existential threat to Pyongyang.
In his article, Lee predicts that North Korea like East Germany cannot survive forever. It will collapse at some point of time. It must be noted that it currently receives aid from China (just like East Germany did from Soviet Union) and South Korea without which vast proportion of its population would die of hunger.

Comparing India and Pakistan
Can such an eventuality occur in the Indian Subcontinent ever. On one side we have India, a democracy (with its own flaws), an rapidly growing economy and rising living standards.But it is also the home the largest number of poor, there is growing rich-poor divide and a growing Naxal violence. On the other side of the spectrum is Pakistan, at best is a military controlled democracy, a country that is battling with an identity crisis, is a nuclear weapon state, is said to be source of terrorism worldwide.

Small signs of such a thing are present. Pakistanis today are worldwide seen with suspicion. They are lined up and frisked separately at airport. Many Pakistanis abroad claim themselves to be of Indian origin in order to escape this. Some Pakistanis artists like Musicians also want to get hold to an Indian Passport. Of course, these people are a small minority.

But is such a thing really possible. My answer to that will be for the moment, NO. The difference in prosperity in the two countries isn't that huge. India's rank according to HDI index is 134 while that of Pakistan is 141. As per Wiki, India's per capita income $1022 while that of Pakistan is $1017. Our Gini ratio is actually  higher at 36.8 as compared to just 30 for Pakistan. Historian William Dalrymple too writes that there is little difference.
On the ground, of course, the reality is different and first-time visitors to Pakistan are almost always surprised by the country's visible prosperity. There is far less poverty on show in Pakistan than in India, fewer beggars, and much less desperation. In many ways the infrastructure of Pakistan is much more advanced: there are better roads and airports, and more reliable electricity. Middle-class Pakistani houses are often bigger and better appointed than their equivalents in India.
However, he goes on to point out some major differences - landholdings. democracy and education. Soon after independence, land reforms were introduced in India. This was promised the Congress. In fact, this is often referred as one of the reasons of creating Pakistan, (protecting the interests of Zamindars). In Pakistan, this feudal system still exists and as a result there is inequality and social tension. Pakistan has seldom enjoyed Democracy. However, often freedom is difficult to directly quantify when it comes to measuring prosperity. Regarding education in Pakistan, he writes
No problem in Pakistan casts such a long shadow over its future as the abject failure of the government to educate more than a fraction of its own people: at the moment, a mere 1.8% of Pakistan's GDP is spent on government schools. The statistics are dire: 15% of these government schools are without a proper building; 52% without a boundary wall; 71% without electricity.

This education gap is the most striking way in which Pakistan is lagging behind India: in India, 65% of the population is literate and the number rises every year: only last year, the Indian education system received a substantial boost of state funds.

But in Pakistan, the literacy figure is under half (it is currently 49%) and falling: instead of investing in education, Musharraf's military government is spending money on a cripplingly expensive fleet of American F-16s for its air force. As a result, out of 162 million Pakistanis, 83 million adults of 15 years and above are illiterate. Among women the problem is worse still: 65% of all female adults are illiterate. As the population rockets, the problem gets worse.
Currently, India's literacy rate is 65% and should increase to 80-85% by 2030. One obvious concern here is what is the quality of this education and are these people employable. And I am sure even in India, there are schools that don't have proper building or electricity(particularly in the Naxal belt).

Nevertheless, India is way ahead of Pakistan in terms of education. But another concern is that a large proportion of the population receives education through the outdated Madrassa system.The so-called secular forces are merely promising reservations for them, even though in 60 years, reservations haven't made enough impact on SC's and ST's. Reservations were supposed to be an instrument that removes the caste identity. Instead it has only strengthened it. A divide based on religion is even more dangerous. Ironically, it has been the so-called communal party that has talked about reforming the madrassas, something that has been looked with suspicion by the community.

Future Scenario:2030
Where will be in 2030 economically, this is an important question. Will there be any difference in level of prosperity with respect to Pakistan change?

Over the last 20 years our economy has grown consistently. In the last five years, we have grown by nearly 8%. There are rumors that we are capable of achieving 9-10% growth rates. Let us assume that we will grow at an average of 7% over the next 10 years and at 5.5% in the subsequent 10 years. The growth rates will come down because of base-effect. Despite these highly conservative estimates, India's GDP would be at least 4.2 trillion dollars. Our rate of population growth has been coming down consistently and present it is roughly 1.55% (Source). Assuming an average growth rate of 1.45% over the next 10 years and an average of 1.35 over the subsequent 10 years, our per capita GDP should be roughly 2700$ in 2030.

What would the number be for Pakistan? Under Musharraf, from 2002 to 2007 Pakistan did post impressive growth of 6-7%. But such stability in the country is rare. In 2009, the growth rate was just 2%. Assuming an average growth rate of 4% over the next 10 years and 6% over the subsequent 10 years(highly optimistic considering the frequent bomb blasts and terror attacks), in 2030 Pakistan's GDP would just be $436 billion. Assuming its population grows at 2% and 1.8% as against present figure of 2.2%, its per capita income would in 2030 would only be around $1800.


These are highly conservative estimates and the real picture might actually to be much much better than this.For example, considering current education levels in Pakistan it is highly unlikely that they can sustain such growth rates of 6% over such long periods. Despite this conservatism, India's GDP would be 10 times that of Pakistan while per capita GDP would  be 1.5 times. More likely figures are that our GDP will be 14-15 times that of Pakistan and per capita GDP will be around 2.5 times that of Pakistan.

Impact of this growth

India's GDP would be at least 10 times that of Pakistan. In another five years time, India's economy would overtake China as the fastest growing economy. This should translate into enormous leverage for us. Around 10-15 years ago, China's human rights record was severely criticized everywhere. But one hardly hears that today. China's influence was very much visible at Copenhagen.

India is bound to enjoy similar influence by 2030 or even before that. By 2030, India would have almost certainly hosted the Olympics. We are not even sure whether Pakistan could host even the Asian Games by then

I do not foresee a Germany like situation which led to the reunification of Germany. But I do expect that if there is appreciable difference in prosperity and if this grow is inclusive, domestic support for terror is should come down appreciably.

Another important thing is that if there is an appreciable and visible difference in prosperity, it shall become increasingly difficult for the Pakistani Military to continue with its astronomically high defense expenditure. Presently India spends around 2.5% of the GDP on defense while Pakistan spends around 3.5-4%. Hence, in 2030 our defense budget should be close to 100 billion dollars ( 2.5% of 4.2 trillions). This would be 25% of the Pakistan GDP in 2030. Naturally Pakistan would try and match India's defense expenditure by increasing its defense to atleast 8-10% of the GDP.

There would be increasing public pressure against this and unrest among the people would rise. This would result to much more Army control over the civilian Govt and military highhandedness. Thus most probably by 2030 Pakistan would under direct Military control.Furthermore, the increasing military asymmetry would force Pakistan to lower its nuclear doctrine. Thus the sub-continent would actually become a much dangerous place in 2030.


Limitations of this analysis
The methodology of this analysis just too simple to cover everything. First, the GDP figures are based on nominal values rather that PPP. Using purchasing parity method, the comparative figures would actually improve significantly for India.

Secondly, India has been lucky to have stable Govts. at the centre since 1999 and increasingly governance is becoming the sole criteria that is used by the people while voting. What if there is a hung Parliament. India has previously witnessed this during the 1989-91 and 1996-98. During this period, the growth was minimal and reforms were stagnant.

Thirdly, merely achieving these growth rates are not sufficient. Whether this will translate in improve in prosperity. Whether this growth will be inclusive. Whether all communities including the Muslims who are currently lagging behind in all social indicator be a part of this growth. Will the Maoists be suppressed. Will the development reach the Naxal belt.

Finally, will there be any war either with Pakistan or with China. War could change the above numbers. Of course any resolution with either of the two will also improve the numbers vastly.


These are extremely difficult questions and only time tell. However, if India plays its cards well, great glory is awaiting us. For Pakistan, it is important to understand that India's rise is inevitable. It will be their choice whether they would like to be a part of this growth or not. It is therefore important for Pakistan to understand that going forward, they will not be able to compete whether militarily or economically.
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