Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Kerry Annoys Indians; Hyphenates India and Pakistan

US Secretary of State John Kerry's current visit to India has aroused Indian media's anger with the Times of India  protesting that the secretary has "sought to draw parity between India and Pakistan".

In an article titled “Kerry’s soft line on Pakistan a sore subject,” Indian newspaper The Hindu complained: “Departing from his predecessor Hillary Clinton’s line of commiserating with the victims of the 2008 Mumbai attacks, he opted to sympathize with the victims of the Uttarakhand flash floods instead.”

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For the last several years, Indian elites have been quite obsessed about de-hyphenating their country from Pakistan and fusing it with China by inventing such words as "Chindia". However, it's also clear from the Indian media reactions to Kerry's words that India's rivalry with Pakistan inflames far more passion in India than does India's self-proclaimed competition with China.

Robert Kaplan of Stratfor questions the Indian policy elite's obsession with hyphenation with China in a recent piece as follows:

Indian elites can be obsessed with China, even as Chinese elites think much less about India. This is normal. In an unequal rivalry, it is the lesser power that always demonstrates the greater degree of obsession. For instance, Greeks have always been more worried about Turks than Turks have been about Greeks. China's inherent strength in relation to India is more than just a matter of its greater economic capacity, or its more efficient governmental authority.

Kaplan goes on to say the following about India-Pakistan hyphenation:

The best way to gauge the relatively restrained atmosphere of the India-China rivalry is to compare it to the rivalry between India and Pakistan. India and Pakistan abut one another. India's highly populated Ganges River Valley is within 480 kilometers (300 miles) of Pakistan's highly populated Indus River Valley. There is an intimacy to India-Pakistan tensions that simply does not apply to those between India and China. That intimacy is inflamed by a religious element: Pakistan is the modern incarnation of all of the Muslim invasions that have assaulted Hindu northern India throughout history. And then there is the tangled story of the partition of the Asian subcontinent itself to consider -- India and Pakistan were both born in blood together.

It's a rarely acknowledged  fact in India that most Indians are far more obsessed with Pakistan than any other country. But the ruling dynasty's Rahul Gandhi, the man widely expected to be India's future prime minister, did confirm it, according to a news report by America's NPR Radio. "I actually feel we give too much time in our minds to Pakistan," said Rahul Gandhi at a leadership meeting of  the Indian National Congress in 2009.

The rise of the new media and  the emergence of the "Internet Hindus", a term coined by Indian journalist Sagarika Ghose, has removed all doubts about many Indians' Pakistan obsession. She says the “Internet Hindus are like swarms of bees". "They come swarming after you"  pouncing on any mention of Pakistan or Muslims.

Here's a video demolishing the Chindia myth:

Related Links:

Haq's Musings

India's Hostility Toward Pakistan

India-Pakistan Military Balance

BRIC, Chindia and the Indian "Miracle"

India's Twin Deficits and Soaring Imports From China

India Near Bottom on PISA and TIMSS Tests

Poverty Across India


Riaz Haq said...

Pakistan's annual GDP rose to $252 billion (184.35 million pop times $1368 per capita) in fiscal 2012-13, according to Economic Survey of Pakistan 2012-13 estimates based on 9 months data.


By contrast, India's GDP for 2012-13 shrank in US $ terms to $1.84 trillion from $1.87 trillion a year earlier because the Indian rupee from 47.80 to 54. to a US dollar, according to Business Standard.


Riaz Haq said...

Here's a Hindu newspaper report on Indian corporate foreign debt:

July 8, 2013:
India’s international investment position (IIP) saw significant deterioration in the year-ended March 31, 2013. The country’s net liabilities to other countries rose by $57.8 billion to $307.8 billion over the course of the year. This caused the net IIP to worsen from a negative 14 per cent of GDP to a negative 16.7 per cent.

The International Investment Position compares what India owes to entities located overseas (liabilities) relative to what it is owed by foreign entities (assets). In recent years, India’s liabilities have been expanding while assets have stagnated.


Liabilities have soared on the back of exporters taking more short term credit, and loans and deposits flowing in from overseas. A break-up of the country’s international liabilities indicates that overseas trade credit, loans and deposits extended to India, grew by 13.8 per cent in 2012-13 from 2011-12 levels. This amounted to 18.4 per cent of GDP in March 2013, up from 16.8 per cent in 2012-13.

This was a weak year for inbound foreign direct investments, which grew only by 5.1 per cent. Portfolio investment expanded by 10.4 per cent during the year. This was mainly in the form of equity inflows.

In contrast, Indian companies remained rather cautious about investing across the border. International assets — which capture investments in foreign currency — stagnated at 24.3 per cent of GDP compared to 24.5 per cent a year ago. This was driven by the 0.8 per cent decline in the foreign exchange reserves.

Portfolio investments by Indian companies fell by 6.6 per cent, but direct investments overseas rose by 6.3 per cent. This depicts the value of the country’s direct investment abroad, portfolio investments, equity and debt security investments, trade credits, loans and reserve assets, among others, as a proportion of its cumulative economic output in a given year.

The ratio of net foreign liabilities to GDP is regarded as an indicator of default risk. This indicates that the country’s liabilities to external parties have been rising as a proportion of its economic output.


Riaz Haq said...

Here's Australian survey summary about what Indians see as key threats and issues:

74% of Indians are optimistic about the prospects for India's economy
80-85% of Indians see shortages of energy, food and water as big threats to their country's security, while 94% consider Pakistan a threat, and 83% consider China a threat
95% of Indians support the democratic rights of fair trial, free expression and the right to vote
96% of Indians think corruption is holding India back


Riaz Haq said...

United States President Barack Obama telephoned Pakistan Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif on Friday to inform him about his decision to visit India as chief guest of the Indian Republic Day.
Chinese President Xi Jinping had planned to visit Pakistan in September this year just before he had paid his maiden visit to India but had to cancel the trip at the eleventh hour because of volatile political situation in Pakistan.
Chinese Premier Li Keqiang had made India the destination of his first foreign visit in May 2013 but had proceeded straight to Pakistan after concluding his India visit.
Nawaz Sharif expectedly adopted the me-too approach and asked Obama to visit Pakistan also but Obama did not make any commitment. Sample the quote of the Pakistan Prime Minister's Office: "The President (Obama) also assured the Prime Minister (Sharif) that he would undertake a visit to Pakistan at an early date, as soon as the situation normalizes in the country."
And if Japan promised $35 billion investment in India for the next five years when Prime Minister Narendra Modi visited Japan in August-September, China too has committed to invest $45.6 billion for economic corridor in Pakistan over the next six years when Sharif recently visited China.
The political message emanating from this is clear: the world is still hyphenating India with Pakistan.
Pakistan may be going through the self-destruct mode with myriads of problems. Top foreign leaders may be avoiding visiting Pakistan for security reasons and political instability and top cricket playing countries may have refused to play cricket in Pakistan for the same reasons.
And yet the fact is that the world is still cajoling Pakistan. The world is careful not to annoy Pakistan while improving relations with India. Why? The world is not much interested in forging trade and economic ties with Pakistan, a $250 billion economy, but deeply conscious of Pakistan's highly strategic location and Pakistan's biggest USP of being the only Islamic nation armed with a nuclear bomb.
One must notice a subtle new trend with regard to Pakistan over the years. When it comes to important foreign officials visiting Pakistan the number of security and intelligence officials is far more than the number of presidents or prime ministers or ministers visiting Pakistan. The reason is obvious. Foreign officials visit Pakistan largely to discuss their own country's safety and security, at risk mainly because of Pakistan's numerous sins of omission and commission.
That's why one would hardly hear about Pakistan attending major world summits like G20, G8 Plus, ASEAN, EAS (East Asia Summit) or BIMSTEC etc simply because Pakistan is not a member. Leaders of Pakistan have been so uni-focal on needling India by raising and nurturing terror machines for decades that they did not realise how much the world has changed and progressed in the past two decades.
For decades, the Pakistani military has indoctrinated its politicians as well as the masses as to how India is the biggest threat to the survival of their nation. What has been happening in Pakistan for the last one decade is absolutely different. Terrorist and fundamentalist outfits, flourishing in Pakistan, have emerged as the biggest threat to Pakistan.
More people have been killed in Pakistan by home-grown terrorists than in all the India-Pakistan wars till date. This is a fact which is now being acknowledged even by the powerful Pakistan Army also.
Against this backdrop, it should be embarrassing for India to be bracketed with a country like Pakistan. But the diplomatic heft which Pakistan had till about 2001-02 is no longer there.
Therefore, Nawaz Sharif may have urged Obama to raise the Kashmir issue with India during his January visit but in the heart of his hearts Sharif would know full well that nothing much is going to happen on this front...


Riaz Haq said...

BBC News - Why is #India media facing a backlash in #Nepal? #GoHomeIndianMedia http://www.bbc.com/news/world-asia-india-32579561 …

One biting (Nepalese) cartoon showed a (Indian) TV reporter in the pocket of a gleeful Indian soldier posing with a box screaming Aid for Nepal.

"The shrillness, jingoism, exaggerations, boorishness and sometimes mistakes in coverage have rankled the host community," Kanak Mani Dixit, editor of the highly respected Himal magazine, tells me.
Indian media's overdependence on access-based journalism means that a disproportionate amount of coverage often ends up on eulogising how their government and its agencies handle crises - there was similar criticism of the media's coverage by flood-affected people in the Kashmir Valley last year.

Some channels also pretty openly identify themselves with the ruling government and the bias is amply reflected in the coverage.
"The mainly social media backlash in Nepal does point to an irritation of local people with the way their tragedy has been covered by India," says Kanak Mani Dixit. "It is possibly time now for India's news channel to introspect and give some due respect to the host country."

There are mounting worries at home over the declining quality of Indian media and what many call the "tabloidization of news". Also, more disturbingly, as Prannoy Roy, chief of India's leading NDTV news channel worries, "Why is India becoming 'no country for honest journalism'?"

Riaz Haq said...

#Udhampur attacker is from #India Occupied #Kashmir, not from #Pakistan | http://geo.tv https://shar.es/1t6f4E via @sharethis

ISLAMABAD: The young man arrested from Udhampur for his involvement in an attack on a convoy of Indian security forces is a resident of Indian Occupied Kashmir (IOK).

Senior journalist and anchor for Geo News programme ‘Capital Talk’ Hamid Mir said the young man was a resident of a Ghat village located in Kulgam district of IOK near the Jhelum River.

The senior journalist also revealed that the attacker had worked as a bus conductor and was known popularly in the area as ‘jhalla’ (mad person).

According to Hamid Mir nine relatives of the attacker are among the fifteen people arrested from the village. The attacker’s immediate family has fled the village.

Sources told Hamid Mir that the second attacker, Nauman, who was killed is also a resident of IOK and that the plan of attack was made in Ghat village. Indian media had claimed that this second attacker was also Pakistani, belonging to Bahawalpur.

Indian media had labeled the attacker as “Kasab II” after the lone surviving gunman from the 2008 Mumbai attacks.

Indian Home Minister Shri Rajnath Singh also claimed the identity of the captured individual to be Mohammad Naveed Yakub aka Usman, resident of Faisalabad in Pakistan.

Pakistan’s National Database and Registration Authority (NADRA) dismissed Indian allegations stating that Usman is not Pakistani.

Riaz Haq said...

India's obsession: India defining itself as "Not Pakistan"

Why #Indian identity would collapse without the existence of #Pakistan. #India #BJP #Modi #Hindutva http://scroll.in/article/801362/why-does-india-need-pakistan-to-define-its-identity … via @scroll_in

... the very definition of a failed state is an artificial category. Pakistan has failed as a state on many fronts – to curb terrorism, to provide shelter and food to its most vulnerable and to protect the rights of minorities, but then in other categories it was as much a functioning state as any other. Despite the horrible law and order situation, the private sector still survived, schools, hospitals and universities functioned, and people continued to live their lives in an ordinary manner. One could make a similar argument for India if one were to focus on certain aspects of the failures of the state. The Gujarat riots of 2002, farmer suicides, and the law and order situation in the North East and Kashmir are features that could identify India as a failed state. But that does not fit the broader framework of Shining India, of a secular and democratic India, as opposed to a battle-ridden, military-run Pakistan. Terror attacks and bomb attacks in India are perceived as an anomaly in the framework of shining India whereas similar attacks in Pakistan are perceived as fitting a larger narrative of Pakistan failing.

Something similar happened to me when I visited Delhi a year later for a conference. Shashi Tharoor was to make the first speech for this peace conference. It was an immaculate speech which lay the entire blame of India-Pakistan conflict on Pakistan. There was one line that stayed with me. He said, “Pakistan is a thorn on India’s back,” essentially implying that India wants to move on and progress whereas Pakistan is an irritant. I noticed a similar sentiment at the Bangalore Literature Festival that I recently visited. One of the most popular sessions at the festival was by the eminent historian Ramachandra Guha. The historian talked about how there has been a rise of Hindu fundamentalism in India similar to the rise of Islamic fundamentalism in Pakistan. One of the members of the audience asked the question that given that India is surrounded by the “fundamentalist” Pakistan and Bangladesh, isn’t it inevitable that India would become fundamentalist.

Surprisingly, Ramachandra Guha's session also tapped this concept of depicting Pakistan as the “barbarian” other to depict India as “civilised”. I am not asserting that Ramachandra Guha said these words and, perhaps, neither was this his intention, but it felt as if he was unconsciously operating under the same framework in which India tends to look at Pakistan and defines itself as a secular liberal democracy. He was talking about the freedom of speech in India and explaining how that space was diminishing. Then, casually, he mentioned that India, despite the worsening situation, is still much better than Pakistan in terms of freedom of speech.

My intention is not to defend Pakistan or assert that Pakistan has freedom of speech. Pakistan is one of the most dangerous places for journalists in the world, where dissenting opinions are often shot down or shut up in other ways. However, there are still various nuances which I feel a lot of intellectuals in India tend to overlook. There is an entire tradition of challenging the state and the establishment in Pakistan that is usually ignored when such statements are made. One needs to visit the work of people like Najam Sethi, Khalid Ahmed, Hamid Mir and Ayesha Siddiqa to understand that there is a space in Pakistan, and has always been, to challenge the establishment. There is no doubt that the situation, like in India, is changing rapidly. But the point that I am trying to make is that Pakistan is not the “barbaric” other that it is usually understood as, compared to India the “tolerant” one. The truth is both countries have more in common than they would like to admit, yet they continue to view the other as its exact opposite.