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Monthly Archives: June 2015

Connectivity and Economics

In the context of globalization, connectivity, diplomacy and trade are not stand alone activities, rather these are parts of a comprehensive concept. If the political and territorial disputes are settled then borders become a source of flow and not obstruction. Connectivity and mobility are essential contributors towards prosperity and wellbeing of the people. Pakistan is well on its way for improving intra-city and inter-city connectivity; and mobility within the country as well as with its neighbouring countries. A number of time bound mega projects are at various stages of planning and implementation. In recent years, Chinese influence has globally risen despite considerable inertia from regional counterparts as well as world powers that actively pursue a policy of containment in terms of China’s influence in the region. As part of its strategies in other parts of Asia, China has expanded its influence principally through its economic power and soft power projections and vision regarding regional connectivity and increasing trade that would ultimately help China to emerge as an alternative to the Europe and the United States. Pakistan is poised to gain from regional connectivity programmes, for this it should continue to consolidate the political consensus to be part of these projects and improve law and order situation, especially in the areas through which these connectivity arteries are planned to pass.

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Fragility of Pak-Afghan relations

[Featured Image: Courtesy the Diplomat]. It would be naïve to take Pakistan-Afghanistan relations for granted. Complexity demands continuous steering and frequent course corrections. Home to this reality, the leadership of the two counties is maintaining frequent contacts at various tiers. Afghanistan and Pakistan enjoy a unique relationship that has many shades which keep morphing into each other in a number of ways; at times throwing up diverse and daunting challenges, and at times oozing out comforting brotherly sentiments and environment. Afghanistan-Pakistan, bilateral relationship appears to have come of age, however the gains are fragile and are not irreversible—hence needing careful handling and nurturing.

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An overview of our military expenditure

Last year’s economic performance was marginal; most of the macro-economic targets were missed, some widely others narrowly. Unless requisite structural reforms are implemented, this trend is likely to continue. Under the circumstances Pakistan is under compulsion to maintain an increasingly expensive military capability to deter India from any misadventure. Keeping in view prevailing internal and external threats, modest hike in Pakistan’s defence budget stands justified; even though Pakistan would like to reduce its military spending and divert the funding for social sector development. Unfortunately key to defence spending cut is with India and not Pakistan. However, at the same time, there is need for economic belt tightening within the armed forces—especially in the domains of work services and procurement, both through domestic and international markets. There is a need to enhance procedural control over the contractual transactions. A reappraisal of tooth-to-tail ratio is, indeed, long overdue.

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Madness, the Modi style

Overwhelming poor ratings for Prime Minister Modi government’s first year’s performance have upset the Jan Sangh tea boy. He thinks Pakistan bashing would solve all problems that he has driven India into.  Modi is fast losing balance , it is unfortunate that the BJP has thrown-up a Prime Minister who has been a practitioner of terrorism as Chief Minister of …

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Peace in Afghanistan: a distinct possibility

One could now hope that Afghan peace process has gathered requisite critical mass and it would now continue moving forward. Long wait for the honest broker is over, China has filled the void. The other important factor is Pakistan’s distancing away from the current Spring Offensive by the Afghan insurgents, led by the Taliban. The only spoiler left in the …

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