Month: August 2008

  • Send troops to Afghanistan

    A significant Indian military presence in Afghanistan will alter the geo-strategic landscape in the extended neighbourhood, by expanding India’s power projection in Central Asia. The Pakistani establishment will be compelled to divert its energies from their eastern to their northern borders. India can counter cross-border terrorism effectively only if it has the capacity to strategically ratchet up pressure either of Pakistan’s fronts.

  • Hold steady in Afghanistan

    India must train the Afghan police to augment its counter-insurgency capabilities and must invest more in human and economic capital in the Pashtun population in the southern and eastern part of Afghanistan that are most affected by the Taliban insurgency.

  • The myth of Taliban tribalism

    Previous governments in the region were able to “rule” the Pashtuns by exploiting tribal divisions, whether undermining individual leaders by exacerbating tribal division or simply by enacting rules that hold tribal leaders responsible for their community’s actions. The current structure of the Taliban, as a de-tribalised insurgency, means that the usual methods of working within the tribal system are far less effective, if at all.

  • Making a leader

    THE FIRST, the primary, indeed the cardinal attribute of leadership is professional knowledge and professional competence. Now you will agree with me that you cannot be born with professional knowledge and professional competence even if you are the child of the prime minister, or the son of an industrialist or the progeny of a field marshal. Professional knowledge and professional competence have to be acquired by hard work and by constant study.

  • When it’s good to slow down

    The reaction to the modest increase in the still-administered prices of energy products in India recently is a clear example of leadership failure at all levels and across the political spectrum. Short-term political gains and misguided public angst dominate national interest. When the Congress Party returns to Opposition benches, they will return the compliment. It hurts and will hurt India. Badly. It appears that the Indian democracy subsidises mediocre and inferior leadership more than the Indian government subsidises commodities.

  • Profiting from education

    What Indian education urgently requires is a different way of approaching the matter. The ostensible reason for not allowing private for-profit institutions is to safeguard the interests of those who are poor. But one can be sceptical of that and a reasonably argue that through its monopolistic control, the government and its agents find an opportunity to extract rents from the supply-constrained market.

  • Four books about Pakistan

    As a documentation of the Pakistani armed forces’ business activities, Dr Siddiqa’s book is unrivalled, and has become indispensable for anyone who wishes to understand the Pakistani establishment. But Dr Siddiqa need not have set it in an academic framework of a comparative study of military establishments and their commercial activities.

  • Issue 17 | Aug 2008

    This month we take an in-depth look India's Afghanistan policy: while on the one hand Indian initiatives are focussed on long-term development, the sustainability of these initiatives is circumscribed by Afghanistan's security environment. We say goodbye to Field Marshal Sam Manekshaw by recalling excerpts from his lecture on leadership and discipline. Now that the UPA government is free of the Communist constraint, will it move forward on the economic reform agenda? The brief from PRS Legislative Research attempts to guess what might be in store when Parliament convenes later this month. We round-up the issue with a look at the why and what next about rising inflation, the roots of India's service economy, and the need to liberalise education to further strengthen those roots. In the books section, the editor picks four good books to read about Pakistan