The Balakot Strategic Shift


The Balakot Strategic Shift

26 February 2019 marked a turning point in India’s fight against terrorism. The events of that day signified a strategic shift in the Indian approach from ‘Counter Terrorism’ operations inside own territory to ‘Counter Proxy War’ inside Pakistan.


What is the change?

This change from a defensive to an offensive approach manifested itself in the form of the pre-emptive strike by Indian Air Force (IAF) fighter aircraft against a Jaish-e- Mohammed (JeM) training camp at Balakot in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, a non-military target across the International Border (IB). India’s actions against Pakistan sponsored terrorist groups has until then been confined to the Line of Control (LoC), primarily by way of fire assaults.

Limitations of previous approach –

  • Ironically, India’s approach of dealing with the Pakistan sponsored ‘Proxy War’ as ‘cross border terrorism’ was a strategic blunder.
  • What this resulted in was a tactical response: the adoption of a counter infiltration posture astride the LoC and establishment of a ‘Counter Insurgency’ grid in the hinterland.
  • There was no action plan to take on the jihadi breeding grounds inside Pakistan or raise the costs for the Pakistan Army – the real perpetrators of the new form of warfare.
  • This ‘low cost-high return’ option served Rawalpindi well, evident from the fact that, during the last three decades, the Indian security forces suffered over 5000 fatalities.

Strategic Shift –

  • In response to the deadly terrorists attack carried out by JeM cadre on the Indian Army base camp in Uri on 18 September 2016, a retaliatory surgical strike was conducted by the Special Forces, targeting the terrorist launch pads across the LoC. The action was intended to give a clear political message to Pakistan, defining India’s threshold.
  • Towards Pulwama attack, given India’s past response to major terrorist strikes, be it on Parliament in 2001 and Mumbai in 2008, Pakistan felt assured that India’s response will be muted, at best a repeat of the 2016 type surgical operation, for which its forces were well prepared. Hence, the 26 February aerial strike at Balakot came as a shock for the Pakistani political and military leadership.
  • Making a departure from its ‘denial strategy’, Islamabad confirmed that the IAF aerial strike did take place but declared that there was no damage. However, the prompt retaliation by the Pakistan Air Force (PAF) employing a package of some 20 fighter aircraft the next very day vindicated India’s claims of the effectiveness of the Balakot strike.
  • As a politico-military action, the Balakot operation was an astounding success. It achieved the strategic aim of conveying a clear message to Pakistan that, here on, the proxy war will be fought on its soil. The Pakistan military also felt the heat. The international community stood by India and even Pakistan’s closest allies, China and Saudi Arabia, were rather tight lipped in their response, advocating restraint.

What can be expected?

After a while, Pakistan’s likely strategy in the near future would be to scale down the intensity of terrorist activities to small actions by local militants. After the situation de-escalates, Pakistan is expected to be back at its game, may be with greater vigour, as spare Taliban hands from Afghanistan could well be diverted to the Kashmir Valley.

Way Ahead –

  • The growing China-Pak nexus is a reality which cannot be wished away. Ironically, due to the neglect of military modernisation, the Indian Army has been repeatedly pitched against a better equipped enemy. To address this serious flaw, a concerted effort is needed to accelerate the capacity building of our Armed Forces. This entails enhancing defence budgetary allocations, fast-tracking arms cum equipment acquisition procedures and indigenisation of defence production.
  • In tune with Joseph Nye’s conception of ‘Smart Power’, India needs to combine its resources into a successful strategy through the intelligence integration and networking of diplomacy, defence, development and other tools of hard and soft power. In other words, defeating Pakistan’s Proxy War is a national effort demanding the employment of all components of ‘National Comprehensive Power’.
  • There is an urgent need to formulate a ‘Counter Proxy War Doctrine’ that is multi-pronged and all-encompassing. There has to be a ‘zero tolerance policy’ against Pakistan providing safe haven to terrorists. A relentless diplomatic offensive to isolate Islamabad must be sustained and cooperation with nations like Iran, Afghanistan and Bangladesh, which too are victims of Pakistan sponsored terrorism, must be scaled up.
  • On the economic front, a concerted effort is required to tighten the noose around Pakistan through international bodies like the IMF and FATF.
  • Militarily, all options must be on the table including covert ones, to punish Islamabad if it continues with its misadventure. Simultaneously, internal fault lines need to be addressed on priority.


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India’s tryst with 5G


Every successive generation of cellular mobile telephony has drastically increased the data speed, from 384kbps in 2G to 56 Mbps in 3G and 1Gbps in 4G.


What is 5G?

  • 5G is the next generation of mobile standards being defined by the International Telecommunications Union (ITU) – a specialised agency of the United Nations for information and communication technologies responsible for allocation of global radio spectrum and development of technical standards.
  • Along with high data rate, 5G will also reduce latency, save energy, and enable massive device connectivity, paving the way for next-generation applications such as autonomous vehicles, smart homes and cities, and massive machine-to-machine communications for industries.
  • 5G – also dubbed as a game-changer in mobile telecommunications – is ready for full-scale commercial deployment by 2020.

5G Technology –

5G networks will have the requisite data speed and capacity to support massive machine-to-machine communications as well as low-latency and high-reliability services, essential for time-critical applications such as self-driving cars. They also come with increased security, stability and reliability challenges.

The three main technology categories underpinning 5G deployment are –

  • Enhanced Mobile Broadband (eMBB) can enable high user mobility, especially under scenarios requiring high data rates across a wide coverage area or ultra-high speed connection such as on trains or in thickly populated areas. It can also support Virtual Reality and Augmented Reality services.
  • Massive Machine Type Communications (mMTC) can support a very large number of connected devices, such as in the case of Internet of Things (IoT), with varying requirements of quality of service and located in a small area such as an industry or a production facility. This enables high density of connectivity (around one million connections per square kilometre) for smart cities, smart power grids, smart industries, etc.
  • Ultra-Reliable Low Latency Communications (URLLC) lays down stringent requirements on latency, which is as low as one millisecond (compared to 50 milliseconds for 4G LTE), as well as reliability in terms of packet loss of better than one in 10,000 packets. Enabling communications in mission critical applications, this technology finds applications in robotics and autonomous vehicles.

How will it be different?

  • Traditionally, 2G and 3G mobile networks relied on microwave wireless backhaul to connect cell sites with the nearest switching centre. With increasing data flow, 4G LTE introduced IP-based connectivity, replacing copper- or microwave-based cell sites with optical fibre.
  • 5G applications and use-cases will generate immense amount of data, and therefore, one of the fundamental requirements for timely and effective 5G deployment is optical fibre based strong backhaul infrastructure.

Is India 5G Ready?

  • India, with the second largest mobile phone subscriber base globally, has also joined the race for 5G – notwithstanding the delayed adoption of previous generations of mobile networks. The commercial launch of 3G services took place in Japan in 2001, but arrived in India only in December 2008. 4G roll-out in 2012 came three years after the first commercial launch in 2009.
  • Like its predecessors, 5G is also likely to rest upon either technology imports or equipment made by foreign vendors in India. While hopping onto the 5G train, India has to bridge significant infrastructure gaps and work out economic benefits for the consumer interest in 5G services.
  • India will have to make a quantum leap in optical fibre penetration for 5G deployment. At present, with approximately 1.5 million kilometres of optical fibre cables, under 25 per cent of the cellular network towers have optical fibre backhaul, the remaining rely on microwave backhaul. The sheer lack of utility ducts along roads/highways means escalated costs and high turnaround time. On top of that, issues like Right of Way derail fibre connectivity plans.

India’s 5G plan –

In September 2017, the Government of India had constituted a High Level 5G India 2020 Forum to evaluate and build a roadmap or action plan for 5G deployment in India by 2020. The forum also looks into the possibilities of designing and manufacturing products and solutions in the country as well as generate IPR on the subject. The report of the Steering Committee of the High Level Forum laid out three priority areas in 5G:

  • Deployment – An early roll out of 5G services to maximise the value proposition of 5G as a technology.
  • Technology – To build indigenous industrial and R&D capacity, especially for the design and Intellectual Property.
  • Manufacturing – To expand the manufacturing base for 5G technologies, which includes both semiconductor fabrication and equipment assembly and testing.

Way forward –

  • Outrightly joining the 5G bandwagon may not be the best option for India, as some of the lucrative use cases like autonomous cars and connectivity in high-speed trains do not at present fit the Indian requirement.
  • 5G, beyond the consumer segment, should also appeal to the industry for specialised applications.
  • Keeping in mind that India is a price sensitive market, 5G affordability will depend upon lower spectrum and equipment costs, efficient usage of the spectrum and network and infrastructure sharing across operators.
  • The idea, at the end of the day, should be “Designed and Made in India”, and not just “Made in India”.


Also Read: Getting ready for 4th Industrial Revolution

On the learning curve : transforming education outcomes in India


Among the lakhs of employees on the payrolls of State governments in India, the education department, unarguably, has the largest share of employees. Besides frontline service providers (teachers), there are a number of other officials and administrators who form an important part of the educational set-up.


The Haryana case study –

  • A successful example of implementing reforms can be seen in Haryana, which has created a race among its administrative blocks to be declared as ‘Saksham’ (Hindi for abled/skilled), i.e. have 80% or more students who are grade level competent.
  • Under this campaign, State officials nominate their block for the ‘Saksham Ghoshna’ once they are reasonably confident that their block has achieved the 80% target — as a result of remedial programmes, teacher training and internal assessments.
  • This self-nomination is then followed by rigorous rounds of third party assessments to vet their claims.
  • If a block is found to be ‘Saksham’, the block officials are recognised by no less than the Chief Minister, and a large-scale ‘show and tell’ event is organised to honour them.
  • Further, when all blocks in a district are declared as ‘Saksham’, the entire district is also accorded ‘Saksham’ status.
  • According to the latest third party assessment in February 2019, 94 blocks out of a total of 119 in Haryana have been declared ‘Saksham’ and overall grade competence has been assessed at 80%, which is a giant leap in learning outcomes when compared to the overall grade competence of 40% in 2014.

Taking lessons –

  • The valuable lesson from all this is that inducing competition among administrative units helps invigorate key stakeholders to work in tandem in order to achieve intended outcomes.
  • Competition also makes abstract goals such as ‘learning outcomes’ more real by defining exact ‘actionable’ metrics on which improvement is desired.
  • Further, with encouragement from above, such campaigns lead to a shift in the mindset of a State’s education administrators, many of whom otherwise believe that high learning outcomes are almost unachievable.
  • Political commitment to improving the quality of education backed by strong review and monitoring mechanisms can spur meaningful activity in States.

States get scores –

  • Since its inception, the NITI Aayog has developed the State-level ‘School Education Quality Index’ (SEQI), which seeks to make improvements in learning outcomes a focal point of governance.
  • It gives scores to States based on their educational performance and puts this data out in the public domain.
  • The SEQI uses three data sources, including the National Achievement Survey, to come out with 33 indicators to measure education outcomes, of which the largest weightage (48%) is given to learning outcomes.
  • By having a two-fold ranking system — one which recognises well-performing States via an overall performance score, and a delta ranking that measures the level of improvement made by States from their base year — the NITI’s Aayog’s State ranking not only encourages competition among States but also rewards and motivates other States to consistently improve.

Aspirational Districts programme –

  • The NITI Aayog’s Aspirational Districts programme, launched in early 2018, has 112 under-served districts across the country competing with each other in order to achieve targets in five crucial sectors; these include education, which has among a weightage of 30%.
  • These districts are monitored real-time and ranked on the basis of their progress. The follow-up for each indicator is handled by the respective Ministry in charge of the same, while NITI Aayog handles the data compilation and dissemination.
  • Most importantly, there is a constant focus on recognising and disseminating best practices of select districts to other States, which act as a reward for well-performing local administrations while providing impetus to other districts to adopt similar measures.
  • The fact that this programme has huge support and buy-in from the Prime Minister personally ensures that all stakeholders are spurred into action and energised to achieve the stated goals.

Way forward –

Given the success of these initiatives, it is abundantly clear that the right incentive structures for stakeholders lead to administrative efficiency, which then improves the quality of service delivery. States therefore need to induce competition and give a boost to put all key actors in education in the driver’s seat to improve their learning levels.

SourceThe Hindu

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Explained – Geneva Conventions


India has demanded the immediate return of Indian Air Force pilot Wing Commander Abhinandan Varthaman, captured by Pakistan after his Mi-21 fighter aircraft was shot down in Pakistan-occupied Kashmir during a dogfight with Pakistani fighter jets on Wednesday. India has also lashed out at the “vulgar display of an injured personnel of the Indian Air Force in violation of all norms of international humanitarian law and the Geneva Convention”.


What are the Geneva Conventions?

  • The 1949 Geneva Conventions are a set of international treaties that ensure that warring parties conduct themselves in a humane way with non-combatants such as civilians and medical personnel, as well as with combatants no longer actively engaged in fighting, such as prisoners of war, and wounded or sick soldiers.
  • All countries are signatories to the Geneva Conventions.
  • There are four conventions, with three protocols added on since 1949.

Does the captured pilot count as PoW?

  • The provisions of the conventions apply in peacetime situations, in declared wars, and in conflicts that are not recognised as war by one or more of the parties.
  • Even though India and Pakistan have been careful not to use the ‘w’ word for the operations each has conducted on the other’s territory over two successive days — India has said its airstrikes were a “non-military” intelligence-led operation — both sides are bound by the Geneva Conventions.
  • This means the IAF officer is a prisoner of war, and his treatment has to be in accordance with the provisions for PoWs under the Geneva Conventions.

What are the provisions for PoWs?

  • The treatment of prisoners of war is dealt with by the Third Convention or treaty.
  • The Third Convention is unambiguous about how prisoners must be treated: “humanely”. And the responsibility for this lies with the detaining power, not just the individuals who captured the PoW.
  • In this sense, the wide publicity given to the video recording of a blindfolded Wing Commander Abhinandan identifying himself to his captives could be held as a violation of the Geneva Conventions.

What rights is a PoW entitled to?

  • Article 14 of the Convention lays down that PoWs are “entitled to in all circumstances to respect for their persons and their honour”.
  • In captivity, a PoW must not be forced to provide information of any kind under “physical or mental torture, nor any other form of coercion”.
  • Refusal to answer questions should not invite punishment.
  • A PoW must be protected from exposure to fighting.
  • Use of PoWs as hostages or human shields is prohibited, and a PoW has to be given the same access to safety and evacuation facilities as those affiliated to the detaining power.
  • Access to health facilities, prayer, recreation and exercise are also written into the Convention.
  • The detaining power has to facilitate correspondence between the PoW and his family, and must ensure that this is done without delays.

What do the provisions say about the release of prisoners?

  • Parties to the conflict “are bound to send back” or repatriate PoWs, regardless of rank, who are seriously wounded or sick, after having cared for them until they are fit to travel”.
  • Parties to the conflict can also arrive at special arrangements for the improvement of the conditions of internment of PoWs, or for their release and repatriation.

Who monitors whether the Geneva Conventions are being followed?

  • The Geneva Conventions have a system of “Protecting Powers” who ensure that the provisions of the conventions are being followed by the parties in a conflict.
  • In theory, each side must designate states that are not party to the conflict as their “Protecting Powers”.
  • In practice, the International Committee of the Red Cross usually plays this role.

SourceThe Indian Express

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Political Funding | Business Standard

The laws relating to electoral and political funding have gained traction of late. Let us look at the regulatory space regarding the funding of political activities and how they compare to other common law jurisdictions of the UK and the US.

Political Funding in INDIA

Political Funding | Contributions to political parties

  • The laws that govern electoral funding in India are the Representation of People Act 1951(RP Act), Conduct of Election Rules 1961, Companies Act 2013 and Foreign Contribution (Regulation) Act 2010 (FCRA).
  • There are no limits on contributions made by individuals under the RP Act.
  • Under the Companies Act, companies are allowed to contribute subject to certain requirements: (1) the company must be a non­government company; (2) it has to be over three years old and the contribution cannot be more than 7.5 per cent of the aggregate net profit in the past three years; (3) the contribution must be approved by a board resolution.
  • ‘Foreign contribution’ is not allowed by virtue of Section 3 of the FCRA.
  • The Finance Act 2016 permitted foreign companies allowed to operate in India to contribute.
  • Contributors are entitled to claim tax deductions under Section 80GGC and Section 80GGB of the Income­Tax Act 1961.

Political Funding | Disclosure requirements

  • Political parties must report all contributions above Rs 20,000 received from any individual or company to the EC.
  • Under the Companies Act 2013, a company must detail the total amount of contribution and the name of the party in its P&L account.
  • In 2013, the EC framed a scheme for contributions to electoral trust companies, making them liable to disclosures in their Annual Reports.

Political Funding | Penalties for violations

  • For political parties, failure to comply with regulations may lead to loss of income tax exemptions.
  • For companies there may be loss of tax exemptions and fines that may extend to five times of contribution and imprisonment of up to six months for directors.

Political Funding in UNITED KINGDOM

Political Funding | Contributions to political parties

  • The rules governing electoral funding in the UK are primarily found under the Representation of People Act 1983 and Political Parties, Elections and Referendums Act, 2000.
  • No restriction on political contributions made by individuals or companies that have obtained prior shareholder approval.
  • No restriction on contributions for companies with partial government ownership or firms undertaking.
  • However, contributions above £200 may be received only from ‘permissible donors’.
  • There are restrictions on anonymous donations above £500.
  • Foreign contributions are not allowed under UK law.

Political Funding | Disclosure requirements

  • Registered political parties must maintain accounts of all donations on a quarterly basis.
  • Parties must detail the names and addresses of donors contributing over £7,500 per year.
  • Compulsory audits for parties with contributions over £250,000 in any financial year.
  • All reported information is made available on the website of the Electoral Commission.

Political Funding | Penalties for violations

Fines, forfeiture of contribution amounts and imprisonment (eg. Up to one year for making of a false statement to an auditor).

Political Funding in UNITED STATES

Political Funding | Contribution to parties


  • US election activity is governed by the Federal Election Campaign Act 1971 and the Federal Election Commission (FEC).
  • No limits are prescribed on individual expenditures (Buckley v Valeo 1976 & McCutcheon v FEC 2014).
  • Independent expenditures by corporates, associations and labour unions are now permitted (vide Citizens United v FEC 2010, which followed the rationale laid down in Buckley) on grounds of free speech.
  • There is a ban on direct corporate contributions and limits on individual contributions to a single candidate or a Political Action Committee (PAC).

Political Funding | Disclosure requirements

  • The Federal Election Campaign Act 1971 (FECA) mandates the disclosure of all donations to candidates, parties’ committees and PACs.
  • The appointment of a treasurer is mandatory for each party (Section 432 of FECA) and details of all contributions to be sent to the treasurer within prescribed timeframes – the treasurer must file a report of such contributions with FEC.
  • There are reporting requirements for various types of committees – any committee receiving total contributions of over $10,000 per annum must report all contributions over $200 per year.
  • Contributions, of $1,000 and above, received within 20 days of an election must be notified to the FEC within 48 hours.
  • All candidates, party committees and PACs must submit reportable data to the FEC for maintenance of a public database.

Political Funding | Penalties for violations

Violation of regulations may lead to a Matter Under Review or a FEC enforcement case and/or fines under FECA’s Administrative Fine Program

Kulbhushan Jadhav – A Patriot or Spy | RSTV

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A Pakistani military court has sentenced a former Indian navy officer Kulbhushan Jadhav to death for espionage and sabotage in Pakistan. India has denied that Jadhav was a spy and has dismissed the Pakistan court’s proceedings as farcical. India has also said that if the death sentence were carried out, it would amount to premeditated murder. Repeated requests of India for consular access to Jadhav were denied by Pakistan. Pakistan’s version of events is very different from India’s claims. Pakistan has claimed that Kulbhushan Jadhav was responsible for espionage, sabotage and terrorism in Pakistan and that he had been tried according to the law of the land in a fully transparent manner while preserving his rights under the Constitution of the Islamic Republic of Pakistan. Pakistan has killed ‘alleged’ Indian spies earlier also. In 1999, an alleged Indian spy was hanged and in 2016, an Indian citizen in jail for sixteen years, convicted of sabotage and terrorism was killed by his fellow inmates even while efforts were on to bring him back to India.

Kulbhushan Jadhav | Credibility of the ‘spy’ claim

Iranian Ambassador in Pakistan has confirmed that Pakistan has abducted the former Indian naval officer from Iranian territory. This was also reiterated by the German Ambassador to Pakistan when he said that Taliban terrorist groups abducted Jadhav from Chabahar and sold it to Pakistan. Even the Government of Pakistan has confirmed that they have not apprehended Kulbhushan Jadhav from Pakistan. He was abducted from Chabahar (Iran) and possessed an Indian passport which may not be the case with an otherwise claimed ‘spy officer’. He was tried in Pakistan’s military court where the evidence was not presented and he was convicted on the basis of assumption and suspicion alone.

Sartaj Aziz, Foreign Affairs Advisor to Pakistan’s Prime Minister issued an absurd statement in response to this issue in which he listed out instances of terrorism in which Jadhav was involved into. There was no evidence provided by Sartaj Aziz regarding Jadhav’s involvement in any of those instances and the timeline provided by Sartaj Aziz itself stands on illogical grounds – it claims that Jadhav was arrested by Pakistan in early March 2016, the first confessional video of him was made on 25th March, First Information Report (FIR) was launched on 8th April and the interrogation was done on 2nd May 2016. Therefore, without any judicial proceedings, Jadhav was kept and tortured for two consecutive months. According to the statement, Pakistan approached India in January 2017 for ‘letter of assistance’ to find credible evidence against Jadhav, despite three proceedings of the trial being finished by November 2016. This shows that proceedings were being carried out without sufficient evidence before January 2017 in the military court of Pakistan. Hence, this timeline of events provided by Sartaj Aziz is prone to outright rejection by the world community as it opens up the debate of Pakistan being a ‘rogue state’.

Kulbhushan Jadhav | The tale of ‘two identities’

Kulbhushan Jadhav was found possessing two passports, one of a ‘Hindu’ name Kulbhushan Jadhav and the other was a ‘Muslim’ name of ‘Mubarak Patel’. Hence, the question being asked here is why would an innocent man possess two passports with different names?

There is no evidence that Government of India provided Kulbhushan Jadhav with the second passport, as there is a possibility of Pakistan creating the second passport to solidify its claim of Jadhav being a ‘spy’. It is obvious that Indian intelligence agencies are not so unwise that they will provide their agents with an Indian passport to send them across to a hostile territory without a diplomatic immunity. Many terrorist modules that India has busted in its territory were found to be possessing fake Indian passports. This is one of the reasons, why Pakistani Government is not willing to provide India with a consular access to Jadhav as in that case, India may bust the claim of Jadhav possessing an original Indian passport.

Kulbhushan Jadhav | Diplomatic options available to India

The Indian High Commissioner in Pakistan has already requested Pakistan’s Foreign Secretary for the charge sheet and judgement against Jadhav. India has repeatedly (more than thirteen times) issued a demarche to Pakistan for providing a consular access of Jadhav to India. Hence, India has lost all the conventional diplomatic channels with the ‘rogue state of Pakistan’ in terms of seeking justice for the former Indian naval officer.

India cannot even seek the interference of ‘International Court of Justice’ because India does not recognise the jurisdiction of the ICJ in matters relating to India and Pakistan. Pakistan’s objective is to carry out a propaganda by demonising an innocent Indian citizen as a ‘threat to the nation’ by diverting the issues of domestic failures to this constructed demonic figure.

There is a provision under the optional protocol to Vienna Convention on Consular relations concerning compulsory settlement of disputes. Both India and Pakistan are signatory to it in 1976 and 1977, respectively. This protocol has been used by various countries in the past when the death sentence has been awarded to their citizens by a foreign country. It is yet to be seen if India would be willing to explore the opportunities provided by this provision to secure the release of former Indian naval officer.

Kulbhushan Jadhav | Prisoner-swap agreement on the cards?

There are talks about India having in its possession a retired Lieutenant Colonel of Pakistan Army, who went missing from Lumbini in Nepal. There is no evidence of this preposterous claim of Pakistan, either by the Government of Pakistan or by its army.

In the case of Pakistan wishing for a prisoner swap agreement, why did it go public with the case? There is still a possibility of a prisoner swap between India and Pakistan, but Pakistan would try to garner a high price from India by pushing for a resumption of talks on Kashmir which were hindered after Pakistan’s continuous proliferation of terrorism on Indian soil.

Kulbhushan Jadhav | Doubtful intentions of Pakistan

Pakistan may be deliberately creating tensions between India and itself to draw the attention of world community and sort out its unfulfilled objective of separation of Kashmir from India. But the whole world accepts that Pakistan is the epicentre of terrorism and it is fermenting and instigating terrorism in India for almost three decades now. To divert attention from its home-grown successful industries of terrorism, Pakistan makes a counter allegation that India is creating troubles for Pakistan in both Balochistan and Karachi, which is not accepted by any democratic and responsible country.

Kulbhushan Jadhav | Conclusion

As a defender of human rights and democratic behaviour, India has pointed out Pakistan’s mishandling of Balochistan and Sindh issue whereby it has almost reached the level of wiping out its own population through military action. India does not believe in interfering in the internal matters of any sovereign nation and has kept this record high since ancient history. Pakistan wants to use Jadhav’s case to create a moral equivalence and demonise India in its objective to wipe out its own citizens of Balochistan and Sindh provinces who are seeking independence from Pakistan’s misrule.

India must deal with this situation in complete firmness that it holds currently and proceed with the time-tested notion of reciprocity in diplomacy.

Shadow of a death sentence on Indo-Pak ties : RSTV Debate

Agreement on Audio Visual Co-Production | PIB Summary

The Union Cabinet chaired by the Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi has approved the agreement on Audio Visual Co-Production India and Bangladesh.

Audio Visual Co-Production | Salient features

  • The Agreement would cover co-production of films, documentaries, and animations films.
  • An audio-visual co-production made in accordance with the proposed Agreement shall be entitled to all the benefits which may be accorded to any national audio-visual work by both countries in accordance with their respective laws and regulations.
  • It will lead to exchange of art and culture among the two countries and create goodwill and better understanding among the peoples of both the countries.
  • Co-productions provide an opportunity to create and showcase our soft power.
  • It leads to generation of employment among artistic, technical as well as non-technical personnel engaged in the arena of Audio-Visual Co- production including post-production and its marketing, thus adding to the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) of both the countries.
  • The utilization of Indian locales for shooting raises the visibility / prospect of India as a preferred film shooting destination across the globe.

India has so far entered into audio-visual co-production agreements with Italy, United Kingdom, Germany, Brazil, France, New Zealand, Poland, Spain, Canada, China and the Republic of Korea.

For more information keep visiting Raj Malhotra IAS Academy

India US Strategic partnership

India US Strategic partnership has taken a fresh turn after the declaration of the “Defence Appropriations Bill . As part of a defence appropriations bill of over $600 billion, the US Congress passed legislation that designated India as a “major defence partner”. Under its provisions, India will be treated at par with the US’s closest allies when it comes to the transfer of defence technologies.

India US | Background

India US defence cooperation started in 1995 with the Agreed Minute on Defence Relations. The process of defence cooperation may well have proceeded apace following this agreement. However, after May 1998 following the Indian nuclear tests, all such collaboration effectively ground to a halt. It required multiple round of talks to place the incipient security relationship back on track.

India US |  Why the defence relationship didn’t succeed earlier?

India US relations were not able to see proper light as :

  • India had remained heavily dependent on Russia for its defence supplies.
  • India had a general antipathy towards the United States, especially in the top echelons of the Government in the initial days’ post-disintegration of the Soviet Union.

India US | Improvement in the strategic relationship


  • Post-disintegration of the Soviet Union in 1991, India got the opportunity to reach out to the west and expand our relations with the west.
  • In 2000, President Clinton visited India and after that we started negotiating the India-US Nuclear deal in 2006-07.
  • President Barack Obama visited in 2010 and described US-India relationship as the defining partnership of the 21st century.
  • In the US there is a bipartisan consensus on having good, positive, strong and diversified relations with India.
  • Defence is one of the very significant and important elements of the bilateral partnership over the last several years.

India US | The Trump relations

  • Prime Minister Narendra Modi has said that he looks forward to having close ties with US and to work with the Trump administration.
  • During the election campaign itself, Mr Trump spoke many positive things about India and in his election rhetoric he said “Ab ki baar Trump sarkar”. In this context India can be hopeful and confident that the relations are going to improve.
  • There are fears in the field of H1B visas. But it is possible that American business will be able to impress upon him that the future, the competitiveness of the US industry depends upon the presence of the software professionals from India.
  • The areas of concern for India are his policies towards Pakistan, China and Russia and Obama’s Pivot to Asia.
  • There is around 3 million of Indian Diaspora in the United States which is playing a very significant role because they are highly educated, prosperous and several of them occupied top positions during Trump’s campaign. They have generated jobs for Americans and participated very actively in sliding the American economy upwards. Indian investments in the US have shot up recently too.

India US | Defence Relations

  • In 2005 India-US framework agreement on civil nuclear cooperation was signed. This was renewed in 2015.
  • Recently India was designated as “a major defence partner”. This is a designation that the US provides to its NATO members, to its allies like Japan, Australia, New Zealand and South Korea. India will also be stepping into these ranges of countries.
  • There are large numbers of initiatives on defence cooperation and one of them is Defence Technology and Trade Initiative (DTTI)..
  • Today US has become the second largest supplier of defence equipment to India with orders more than $15 billion. A relationship that started from zero in 2005 has come very far in this respect.  
  • We are effectively cooperating in the Malabar Exercise (Naval exercise). There is an immense scope of making it trilateral by bringing in India-US-Japan or India-US-Australia. India has more exercises with US than with any other country. There are so many indicators to prove that our relationship in defence and also in other areas like science, knowledge, culture is in bright spot for both the countries.
  • There are talks about Counter terrorism where we see prospects of greater relations.
  • India can be an active partner in the United States led Pivot to Asia which is aimed at containing the hegemonic position of China. 


India's Growth Story

Despite India’s Growth which had impressive show in the mid-2000s, the long-term magnitude and sustainability of this progress remains uncertain. India’s rapid population expansion requires that the country sustain long-term growth to enable job creation over time. For the country to achieve this enduring trajectory, India must correctly identify the economic fundamentals behind such growth. This should include both short-term, cyclical barriers and long-term, structural impediments that hold it back. Articulating a set of policy priorities and guiding principles that address these issues is the best way forward for India’s future economic prospects.  

India’s Growth | Hurdles


India’s high-growth phase of 2003–2008 had much to do with growth-friendly global economic conditions that have since run their course.

  • The country’s domestic structural deficiencies—namely poor human resource capabilities; a narrow and predominantly informal industrial base; and a fragmented, low-productivity primary sector—keep a lid on growth and a floor on inflation.
  • India also faces formidable long-term headwinds due to premature deindustrialization, the limitations of a services-led growth model, the plateauing of global trade, stagnation in developed economies, and the costs associated with climate change.
  • The country’s state capacity deficiencies amplify the effects of these constraints.
  • These hurdles must be seen in light of favourable tailwinds such as low commodity prices, China’s economic slowdown, and India’s relative attractiveness as an investment destination.

India’s Growth | Solutions for India

  • India needs to brand itself worldwide, like the way Dubai does on a consistent scale of time.
  • It also needs to clear few internal issues first – promote acceptance than mere tolerance, ensuring safety and security of all people on its land, recognition of cultural diversity and skill development of each and every hand volunteering for work.
  • India has a strong democratic tradition which can be advantageous if reaped well with continuity of policies. It could act as a boon in the fight against corruption too.
  • Demographic dividend can be reaped through the focus on education and vocational training by modification and replication of best international practices.
  • India needs to focus on raising standards of living of its populace which needs to be in sync with the striking down of rural and urban divide. Large scale urbanisation is being planned but rural to urban migration and overload on cities can be controlled only by providing effective employment avenues and raising standards of rural India. A democratic India cannot afford urban anarchy.

India’s Growth | The way forward

  • Embrace a feasible growth model – Lasting economic progress is best achieved by realistically assessing India’s structural impediments and growth potential. The government must accept that sustained growth rates of 8 percent or more are likely out of reach, and it should resist short-term growth strategies that rely on bubbles and fads by instead promising less and delivering more. The government should vigilantly steer clear of both state-led import substitution and overreliance on market-based policy prescriptions.
  • Prioritize growth-friendly policies The Indian government should pursue reforms in the areas of higher and lower education; urban governance; housing, land, credit, and labor markets; and infrastructure contracting. It should also seek to shrink the informal economy and expand the tax base, while also improving state capacity and personnel management.
  • Foster greater federalism Indian states should be allowed to engage both cooperatively and competitively with the central government and with each other. Proactive bottom-up actions by state governments will be needed to effectively scale up the fragmented agricultural sector and industrial production.

Proxy War with India

There has been a discussion among the strategic and defence experts about the proxy war games being levelled by Pakistan against India. This is seen as the revival of the 1990s strategy of Pakistan to create internal conflict in India and to strive towards the ‘Qurban Ali Doctrine’ which calls for a 1000 cuts philosophy to bleed India to death (Policy of Balkanisation of India).

Proxy War | Background


The Pakistan Army and the Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) — known as the ‘deep state’ — have been waging a war against India through asymmetric means as part of their strategy of ‘bleeding India through a thousand cuts’. Pakistan’s war began in the early-1980s when the deep state backed militancy in Punjab. The war was intensified in 1989-90 when the Pakistan army and the ISI began to support an uprising in Jammu and Kashmir.

Proxy War | Against India


  • Pakistan’s war in Jammu and Kashmir and elsewhere in India is clearly a war being waged by one state against another through asymmetric means. The terrorist groups like Lashkar-e Taiba and Jaish-e- Mohammad are sponsored, financed, armed, trained and indoctrinated by the ISI. They are provided covering fire to help them infiltrate across the Line of Control (LoC) by the Pakistani Army.
  • Pakistan claims that it only provides political, diplomatic and moral support to Kashmiri insurgents whom it calls ‘freedom fighters’. In reality, the terrorist groups are ISI protégés and do its bidding, much like the Haqqani network does so in Afghanistan.
  • ISI has a separate wing that controls all the activities of all anti-India terrorist organisations. It runs the terrorist training camps in PoK and other parts of Pakistan.
  • ISI organises infiltration across the LoC with the help of Pakistan Army. Hundreds of radio transmissions between the ISI handlers and the terrorist group commanders in Jammu and Kashmir are intercepted by Indian Signals units every month.
  • Pakistan has lost no opportunity to accuse India – its army and police forces of human rights violations in Jammu and Kashmir while conducting counter-insurgency operations. It is performed through an aggressive diplomacy in United Nations, OIC and other Arab multilateral groupings.
  • Pakistan is operating a big network of printing and circulating fake Indian currency notes through its own government presses in order to undermine Indian economy.
  • Recently, the ISI has once again begun to support and provide shelter to the so-called Khalistanis with a view to launching renewed efforts to revive the separatist movement that had been wiped out from Punjab in the early 1990s.
  • Terrorist attacks targeting military and critical installations like Pathankot and Uri are testimony to the fact that Pakistan is waging a proxy war against India through asymmetric means.

 Proxy War | Way forward

Pakistan’s deep state is unlikely to back down from its strategy of bleeding India through a thousand cuts and waging an asymmetric war through terrorist organisations. The army under General Qamar Javed Bajwa, the new COAS, will continue to raise the bogey of an existentialist threat from India as hostility with India is necessary to justify the army’s disproportionately large strength and the funds necessary to equip and maintain the war machine.

  • India’s strategy should be to gradually raise Pakistan’s cost for its war against India and eventually make the cost prohibitive.
  • The political, diplomatic and military strategies should be synergised into a comprehensive strategy.
  • Only when the Pakistan army begins to hurt and bleed, will the deep state realise the futility of its nefarious designs on India.
  • It will then be forced to come to the negotiating table to discuss dispute resolution through peaceful means.

 Proxy War | Conclusion


India should not punch below its weight or above its weight, but improve its weight and punch proportionately. The strategy to target the ‘jaw’ for a ‘tooth’ has been recently adopted by India and it should keep up the momentum with a hawk’s eye over political and diplomatic strategies that could be adopted to isolate Pakistan internationally.