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Defence Minister Johnston and Australia’s role in Pakistan September 27, 2013

Posted by southasiamasala in : Afghanistan, Gordon, Sandy, India, Pakistan , comments closed

Sandy Gordon

As we wind down in Afghanistan after a twelve-year war, new Defence Minister David Johnston reportedly says we need to keep our counter-insurgency skills honed, including for possible use in Pakistan (SMH, 21 September 2013).

Mr Johnston and his advisers need to think such statements through. Does he mean a limited role in advising Pakistan on counter-insurgency or does he envision a more robust involvement in maintaining stability? Either way, there is no useful role for Australia, either singly or in concert with its friends and allies.

Pakistan is both a supporter of the insurgency in Afghanistan and involved in counter-insurgency against groups like the Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) within Pakistan.

In the former role, the Pakistani military and its intelligence service, the ISI, support Afghan anti-government groups like the Haqqani network and harbour the Taliban leadership in Quetta. US intelligence believes the Haqqani network, with support from the ISI, was involved in the bombing of the Indian embassy in Kabul in 2008, in which 58 died. The network also allegedly killed the Karzai government’s chief peace envoy, Burhanuddin Rabbani.


India will never become a superpower September 20, 2013

Posted by nishankmotwani in : Guest authors, India , comments closed

Lawrence Saez

The end of the Cold War and the era of “unipolar” US dominance that followed has led many to wonder about the future of international power. Who will rival, or perhaps even replace, the US?

At least one obvious candidate has emerged. Although it would be premature to categorise China as a global superpower, it is quickly developing into the US’s most plausible challenger. But in discussions of globally important matters – Syria, financial crisis, the NSA fallout and so on – one name is curiously absent: India.

When the dust settles on a rearranged global system, might India also become a global superpower? My answer is no.


Back to the drawing board as ‘shining’ India stumbles September 18, 2013

Posted by nishankmotwani in : Guest authors, India , comments closed

Anthony D’Costa

The news of “shining” India spiralling downward is everywhere. With estimated growth rates halved from the highs of 9% on average in the last decade, and the rupee tumbling, the luster of the “new” India seems to be a maya, an illusion.

Worse, the economic “miracle” no longer seems to work. The Indian “dream” has become distant for the stirring, aspiring middle class households, given the paucity of employment opportunities, made worse by the lack of relevant skills for the twenty-first century.

For many long-time India observers, including myself, there was no miracle, if by that we mean something unexplainable or the handiwork of the divine. India as a society and as a nation was on the go well before the vaunted economic reforms of 1991.