Session on "Why Indo-Pakistani Rivalry Will Persist"

who is the pro who was the director of the center on american and uh global security at indiana university in the us uh he will be sharing his perspective on this very unique idea and uh steering the discussion would be ms suhassini heather who is the foreign affairs editor for cnn ibn and is the prime time anchor for the channel and the face of foreign affairs in indian media so before i hand over the stage to miss heather i would like to request you all to please turn your mobile phones on silent yes miss heather please um good evening all of you and we’re going to try and keep this as interactive as possible so i’m hoping to speak just very little as little as is necessary uh i have to say that as soon as i saw the the the title of the talk i felt several red flags go up immediately there was going to be one side completely to that end of the room that was going to say what do you mean rivalry between india and pakistan you know that sort of seems to suggest there’s any kind of parity and of course many in india don’t think there is and on the other hand there would be many on the other side of that room who will say that frankly it sounds a little gloomy to feel that the india pakistan rivalry will persist forever and i’m going to leave it to professor smith ganguly to explain exactly what his idea is of course it’s uh it’s more than 10 years i was recounting since uh i i i read his book called conflict unending and and conflict and ending has proven more or less to be right uh not not not because of the thing you know and as i was thinking um really about the subject i did say the obvious that there will be people who will say that you know when you say rivalry there is no rivalry when it comes to gdp for example there is no rivalry when it comes to the kind of importance perhaps that the two countries have on the international scene many would argue that inside india there is no rivalry when it comes to um the you know the the human development indicators the treatment uh of all sections of society the security situation itself but on the other if we look at the unresolved conflicts between india and pakistan today we really do have aspirations to many of the same things where we are in clash with each other we have we certainly have a rivalry over tracts of land not just up in kashmir but in other parts we certainly have a rivalry over the same water streams and that’s only going to get worse and now we have this new rivalry over should i say air or spheres of influence as the afghanistan situation comes more and more into focus so the question really is this unending is this how it’s going to be and i’m hoping that professor ganguly will also give us the other side which is really how do we head from here because if if i may say i think in the last decade we have tried everything we’ve tried the no talking that um uh that didn’t really lead us anywhere we’ve tried the talking which seems to have even got made the situation worse at times and brought on unexpected consequences we’ve tried what we are in right now which is somewhere in between where we seem to be talking but not talking officially and that doesn’t seem to be leading us anywhere not in an audience like this but often ideal with the skeptics the the people who don’t just believe that the india pakistan rivalry will continue to exist but those who believe that there is no point to try and resolve it that in fact india can safely uh plan to look away from its neighbor and they don’t really need to resolve any of the problems with it because its neighbor has its own internal problems its own internal contradictions that they think are going to lead it to the brink of somewhere and i always um i always hear new examples of this but i have to just end with the surreal week i had last year in may where i went up to a village called pikiwind in punjab it’s about an hour maximum from amritsar to cover the funeral of sarajeet singh who had died inside a prison in lahore and i was stunned by the kind of anger i was stunned by the kind of hatred the sort of words we heard particularly over the body of this man you know about what should be done to pakistan and it was it was a really really heated moment and i felt internally i felt somewhere very disturbed by this except that a week later i crossed over uh to pakistan and to cover the elections and i came back

and um uh and as i was there in amritsar i saw the pictures coming in from a place called manakpur from i think the village is called jati umrah which is the hometown village of the sharifs and here you had exactly i mean it’s exactly the same area the same people perhaps just 10 days later coming out in large numbers and hoping that the sharifs would come and visit and talking about you know brotherhood between india and pakistan and it was as if the entire uh uh you know everything that i had seen 10 days ago was completely washed out so there is that contradiction constantly and when we talk about rivalry we have to bring in the idea that the personal experiences of most pakistanis in india and personal experiences of most indians and pakistan actually belie any sense of rivalry it’s over to you thank you very much first of all the use of the term rivalry uh obviously uh suggests some notion of equality or some notion of parity i don’t use it in that sense at all um it’s simply that in the literature on international relations um uh there’s a whenever two states are locked into a relationship of hostility and particularly unlimiting hostility as in the case of india and pakistan for well over 60 years now one tends to refer to that as a rivalry it does not in any way suggest uh or confer a degree of equality or parity to the relationship um so let me uh clarify that at the very outset um having done that the talk is divided into four distinct segments um what and it’s and as the very title suggests that why the indo-pakistani rivalry will persist it is not going to be an uplifting talk i may as well make that clear at the very outset i know this is going to distress some people but it’s best to have honesty in advertising that there’s no point suggesting that at the end i will somehow conclude by saying that oh there are some straws in the wind that tell us that things are somehow going to change and are uh there’s a distinct possibility of improvement for the foreseeable future i do not see any prospects for improvement and at the very outset um the first segment of my talk will deal with two commonplace ideas or two commonplace expectations about why the rivalry might be might subside or might there might be some amelioration of the rivalry and i’m going to undermine both of those popular expectations then what i’m going to do is talk briefly about the conditions under which general conditions under which rivalries can end um then i will talk about three cases and most of most people in this room are have at least a rough familiarity if not aware of the particulars of the three cases when the rivalry showed some signs or the possibilities of termination but ultimately did not and finally i’ll conclude by saying um what are the conditions under which the rivalry might actually end though i’m deeply pessimistic well the first argument about why the how this rivalry might end is sort of very much in the air at the moment particularly with the election of nawaz sharif there’s a great deal of talk that you know the pakistan may finally grant india most favored nation status this could actually lead to an opening up of trade the opening up of trade could create economic interdependence economic interdependence in turn will generate constituencies for peace both in india and in pakistan and thereby one should be able to tackle much more sort of nettle some issues more protracted political issues which hitherto have escaped resolution well unfortunately i’m going to damn this very hopeful scenario why because there’s a vast body of literature in international politics that tells us that despite economic interdependence rivalries don’t end um the united states for example in la is locked into a rivalry with the people’s republic of china it has a very substantial trade deficit has that prevented the prc from

declaring this new uh air defense interdiction zone no did it stop the united states from sending in two b-52 bombers to assert the fact that it challenges this declaration of this zone absolutely not you look at the war plans of the pentagon they’re not planning to go to war against albania they’re planning to go to war against the people’s republic of china and yet economic interdependence is at an all-time high um investment in the prc is substantial the u.s has it runs a substantial trade deficit with the prc so you have all manner of economic interdependence it has not in any way ameliorated the strategic relationship so the idea that economic interdependence somehow will ameliorate or improve the indo-pakistani strategic relationship is just wishful thinking let me give you another concrete historical example which people tend to forget in 1914 just before europe plunged into the first world war economic interdependence was at an all-time high amongst the countries of western amongst the countries of europe there was no western europe at the time that’s an artifact of the cold war did that prevent kaiser wilhelm from embarking on aggressive war absolutely not so if economic interdependence is this solvent historical evidence and aggregated quantitative evidence of other examples of economic interdependence certainly doesn’t support the proposition so those of you who have reposed great faith in uh you know the mfn status the growth of uh the subsequent growth of economic relations i hate to throw cold water but unfortunately economic interdependence will not guarantee a more conducive strategic relationship and i can dwell on this at greater length during the question and answer period a second a variant of this it’s not directly this version but a variant of this argument is that economic interdependence in turn will generate people-to-people contacts people-to-people contacts in turn will create constituencies of peace in both countries and you know there’ll be candlelit vigils along the waga border uh people will have greater faith in each ot in one another but that ignores something very fundamental when has the pakistani military consulted the population of pakistan about how it should conduct relations with india outside northern india does the vast majority of india’s population even care about pakistan one way or another except in the moment of a crisis so the notion that people-to-people contacts would miraculously improve the relationship just doesn’t hold up furthermore during the cold war there was extensive people-to-people contact during particularly in certain periods of the cold war especially the latter part of the cold war between the soviet union and the united states there were academic exchanges there were exchanges of cultural troops there were exchanges of civil society organizations did that bring down the berlin wall absolutely not what brought down the berlin wall is someone lost the cold war and who lost the cold war the soviet union lost the cold war because the reagan administration ran the soviet union into the ground by extraordinarily high levels of defense spending the soviets simply couldn’t keep up with the dynamism of the american economy and gorbachev at one point came to the recognition that this was a losing proposition and he just decided to start dismantling certain institutions and because he recognized that the economic competition was a lost cause and of course what didn’t help was the ill-fated soviet invasion of afghanistan that proved to be the tombstone of the soviet empire uh so it’s not people-to-people contacts it’s not sort of the exchange of cultural troops of the bolshoi ballet going to new york city and american jazz performers going to moscow and greater contacts amongst peoples and young children you know school children uh traveling back and forth that led to greater and mutual understanding instead it was sort of the hard realities of political and strategic power that ultimately led to the soviet collapse and the

very anemic successor state russia was not in a war was not in a position to continue the rivalry so the rivalry ended by someone losing rivalry i know this is not uplifting but one has to be true to one’s craft i am i’m a pro professor of international politics this is what i study the evidence points in a direction contrary to where my heart might lie uh my heart might lie in people-to-people contacts and notions of economic interdependence but the evidence points in a completely different direction okay let me turn to the second segment of how this rivalry might end and how do generally rivalries end uh we can talk about four different factors which contribute historically to the end of rivalries first of all rivalries end when there is a substantial shock now the shock could be endogenous from within a society or an exogenous shock externally for example losing a major war might convince uh key people key constituencies within a country that look you know we have fought multiple wars we’re getting nowhere and in the last war we were soundly beaten it’s time to make peace in large part this is what contributed to the peace that sadat initiated with with israel because the 73 war despite initial successes by the egyptian army was proved to be a disaster for egypt and he came to the recognition that yes it’s wonderful to have this pan-arab cause and support the cause of the palestinians but as far as egypt is concerned where are we going this is a losing proposition so the shock of the 73 war in many ways led to a set of revised expectations on the part of the egyptian elite and the egyptian military thereby creating an opportunity for uh for peace but just sharks alone won’t do it you also have to have an entrepreneur someone who seeks change and sadat was someone who sought that sort of change so it’s a shock merely provides a revision of expectations and i’ll apply these to the indo-pakistani cases in a moment so revised expectations the presence of a change seeking entrepreneur and then of course what might help this process along is if external actors bolster this and the u.s played a role in brokering and bolstering the possibilities of rapprochement between egypt and israel and then subsequently the us did much to bolster it and continues to do so by providing substantial amounts of economic assistance to maintain a very uneasy and somewhat fragile piece but it basically meant an end to that particular rivalry so there are four components here the first is shocks revised expectations the presence of change seeking entrepreneurs and then the role of external actors who might actually help sustain and nurture that peace or the beginnings of a piece how about applying these propositions then to some cases of the indo-pakistani rivalry i’m going to start with one that some of you in this room and some of whom i know and respect a great deal who act probably actually have some familiarity with this but not everyone does between 1962 and 63 there was actually a set of six negotiations between india and pakistan between zulfiqar ali bhutto and sardar swaran singh who was the foreign minister at the minister for external affairs at the time it came in the wake of india’s disastrous defeat at the hands of the people’s republic of china in 1962 in large part uh it was because of american fairly crude american and british pressure american pressure in the form of avril harriman who subsequently became ambassador to the soviet union and duncan sands who was a british member of parliament so there was anglo-american efforts to broker a peace between india and pakistan so external actors played an important role in catalyzing this process there was also a set of revised expectations in pakistan because there was a perception that

india was especially weak that india was especially weak because of the disastrous 62 war and thereby perhaps in a mood to make concessions this was of course a fundamentally flawed assumption because sardar swaran singh proved to be actually a rather able negotiator and managed to simply drag on the talks indefinitely without agreeing to very much there was a fleeting moment when there was some discussion of the valley being conceded to pakistan and the rest sort of carved out but ultimately sadashwaran singh said that was not an acceptable proposition and the talks ended in a deadlock that didn’t get very far but as you see many some of the components were there a shock was there there were some revised expectations but no change seeking entrepreneurs and yes there were external actors who supported the process but certainly there was no serious revision of expectations in india and nor were there serious change seeking entrepreneurs either in pakistan or in india ayub khan simply wanted a pound of flesh that’s not seeking real meaningful change in the relationship that’s simply trying to exploit an adversary so that didn’t work very well the closest in my judgment that the two countries came to probably an accord and close to a rapprochement is 7172 the shimla accord i’m not going to go over the particulars of the shimla accord uh to any great degree but the thing to bear in mind here and this is why i think the two countries came closest to the rapprochement in the 60 odd years of a hostile relationship is because one critical institution in pakistan was firmly discredited after the 1771 war and that’s the military the military had to return in disgrace to the barracks and consequently it provided an important opening it was a major shock it led to a fundamental revision of expectations about sustaining the rivalry with india unfortunately bhutto was more of a deft politician than a real change seeking entrepreneur mrs gandhi made important concessions as we well know and some of them people regret today that perhaps she as an astute politician probably shouldn’t have made some of those concessions without extracting reciprocal concessions from bhutto but this was a moment which might have actually terminated the rivalry had things evolved differently in shimla for the fourth the third case is of course 1999. the shock comes in the wake obviously of the 1998 nuclear tests this fundamentally changes calculations on both sides because the prospects of major war now or at least major conventional war really become impossible and cargill was not a major conventional war it was a limited war fought under a nuclear umbrella and for very limited goals using limited uh uh limited uh forces it was confined to a particular area it was not a major war by any definition um with the mutual overt nuclearization of both parties a major conventional war it was obvious was now going to be for all practical purposes impossible no one was going to initiate a major conventional war for the fear of nuclear escalation so this comes as a significant shock to the regional system thereby changing expectations bhajpai i think was quite sincere of trying to find a breakthrough through the lahore peace process so bhajpai can be seen as a change-seeking entrepreneur there was obviously considerable external pressure especially from the united states to seek some kind of rapprochement between india and pakistan because of the firm belief mistaken or not in washington that the possibilities of nuclear war in the region were exceedingly high given the proximity of these two countries the long history of conflict and the um the eyeball to eyeball confrontation at various points along the border

consequently there was a re-palpable sense of fear in washington uh about the possibilities of a nuclear conflagration so there was considerable pressure for rapprochement so many of the elements of the model that i described were actually in place and yet you didn’t see ultimately a breakthrough and instead ended up getting betrayed in cargill largely because the military was not on board the military had not revised its expectations and we don’t fully know what exactly was sharif’s role to what extent he was complicit to what extent was he duped to what extent did he choose not to know what musharraf had told him about the plans for cargill that still remains somewhat murky and the subject of a debate so here are three cases of varying levels of the possibility of a rapprochement um but ultimately no rapprochement so how might a rapprochement come about i think it would require three major conditions to be present to see a rapprochement emerge in indo-pakistani relations the first and this is perhaps the tallest order frankly speaking it would require the pakistani military to fundamentally revise its world view as far as india is concerned there’s no way of sanitizing this i know this is a deeply pessimistic view but all the work that i have done on into pakistani relations and i’m now finishing yet another book on the decade between 2009 to sorry 1999 to 2009 and nothing in my research suggests otherwise unless the military is firmly discredited in some fashion i thought that some of this might come about in the wake of the debacle involving osama bin laden and if any one of you in this room actually believes that the pakistani military was unaware that he was living in abutabad i suggest that you might want to get your head examined um because uh i have been to pakistani military containments and the commander of a military containment knows how many stray dogs live on the outs outskirts of the continent and the notion that there’s this man from who just happens to show up one day in abu dhabi and build a mansion with exceedingly high walls out of which not an animal stirs let alone a human being and that that the groceries are brought in no one goes out to shop and i am not the least bit curious about who lives there then this is has to be the most foolish commandant in in the history of the pakistani military if not all militaries in in the entire world this is a polite fiction that the united for various states reasons but there’s no reason why a an academic in a free country should have to believe in these kinds of polite fictions um so i had thought that in the wake of this their very successful raid that led to the death of osama bin laden i thought this would discredit the military but miraculously they managed to resurrect themselves and somehow portray themselves as victims of a rather crude american intrusion into pakistan’s sovereignty they turned this into the narrative of victimhood rather than the complicity in harboring the world’s most wanted terrorists on their soil and especially within spitting distance of the continent so it would require a shock of some magnitude like 71 which would lead to the discrediting of the pakistani military in the current political order in the political dispensation within pakistan second it would also require a leadership which recognizes that this rivalry this pursuit of unremitting hostility towards india isn’t really is in pakistan’s interest that they have tried multilateral negotiations they have tried bilateral negotiations they have tried resort to three wars they have tried a strategy of asymmetric conflict

for well over a decade and not one centimeter of indian soil has been conceded so under these circumstances perhaps it’s time to pursue a different strategy and simply start accepting the fact that india is a going concern it has its own share of problems but it’s not about to go away as a working entity and nor is it about to suddenly wake up and see the light and say well now it makes perfect sense to hand over kashmir that’s not about to happen that’s not in the cards consequently it will require a fundamental revision of expectations on the pakistani political leadership and what might help this along obviously is for external actors to disabuse pakistan that its strategy over the long term can somehow bring india to the negotiating table to make significant territorial concessions in kashmir and in part we caught a glimpse of this for the first time and number of you in this room will remember this and that was on the 4th of july 1999 when sharif went flew to washington dc ruined president clinton’s weekend plans on the 4th of july that’s the most important american holiday a secular holiday and sought clinton’s intervention on behalf of pakistan and clinton’s exact words were the sanctity of the line of control has to be maintained and that borders cannot be redrawn in blood if external actors most notably the united states were to disabuse pakistan of its illusions that somehow or rather external actors most particularly the united states will support pakistani adventurism either tacitly or explicitly that would have an extraordinarily salutary effect unfortunately on a number of occasions particularly during the cold war the 1999 episode is obviously 10 years after the cold war when pakistan wasn’t that important in the american strategic calculus during the cold war unfortunately the u.s bolstered pakistan for its own rather parochial reasons and this emboldened pakistan’s reckless behavior it created a certain kind of moral hazard in the wake of 2014 especially if the us draws its forces down to mere 10 to 12 000 and is no longer reliant on pakistan for supplying its troops and especially if the rapprochement with iran continues and char bahar can become a point of transit rather than karachi pakistan’s importance to the united states will diminish dramatically no one understands this better than my good friend hussain akane former pakistani ambassador to the united states who said in a public talk once that look my country depends upon geostrategic rent um we take advantage of the fact we exploit the fact that we are at a particular geostrategic crossroads and on a number of occasions have managed to extract as much as we can well that may actually be coming to an end um i doubt that the united states will rely on pakistan in the same fashion that it did during the cold war during the soviet occupation of afghanistan and then subsequently for the prosecution of the war against the taliban and al-qaeda more recently pakistan’s strategic significance is going to be dramatically diminished and thereby there will not be there’ll be some of course some res residual sentiment which persists uh in washington long after strategic uh interests have diminished a certain kind of nostalgia for what pakistan has done for the united states on various occasions but nostalgia aside it’s simply not going to have the same strategic significance consequently as clinton demonstrated in 1999 there’ll be a much greater propensity to read pakistan the riot act

if it does not if it continues to engage in various forms of military adventurism especially if the indo-us relationship assumes a greater significance which i strongly suspect it will the current political paralysis in new delhi notwithstanding this is simply a particular phase that the country is going through to reiterate then it would require a fundamental discrediting of the pakistani military it would require a change in the expectations or revision in the expectations of the political leadership and a conducive external environment short of these three things present i’m afraid i don’t see the prospects of an immediate breakthrough thank you very much thanks a lot professor gangali and thanks for giving us that alert uh in advance that we shouldn’t expect much hope coming out of your talk because we might have been seriously depressed um i i i wanted to open the floor actually as soon as i uh as is possible but i do want to just ask you about one of the uh one or two things that you did say um to begin with your uh as you ended you spoke about the idea that pakistan’s strategic value for the us may actually diminish is that necessarily a good thing because what we’ve seen in the past is when pakistan’s value diminishes for the u.s the u.s kind of takes its eye off that ball rather than raising any of this riot act that you were hopeful the u.s would do in fact what it ends up doing is allowing pakistan pakistan’s internal compulsions more or less to take over so my question really is given what we have seen in the period from 1990 495 to about 2001 is a repeat of that essentially what we’re seeing a situation where in a sense the us is no longer so interested in this part of the world a situation where pakistan is actually finding its feet regardless of those doomsday scenarios pakistan today has a fairly stable uh polity uh its economy is certainly doing better than it has in years the karachi stock exchange i think was one of the best performing markets in the world uh in the past year 44 up um given the fact that uh despite your the idea uh i mean some somebody from pakistan might be able to counter that but certainly we don’t uh that that the military retains its veto but in fact nawaz sharif has been able to produce a situation now as somebody wrote this week where come january 2014 nawaz sharif has a fairly new parliament so and a very stable one with a good majority in it he has a new army chief someone he has picked over um uh the heads if you like of the military establishment uh he has a he doesn’t have a a a chief justice who could be for want of a better term of pain uh to him uh and he is looking at a a fairly better situation economically than he had before i could even go into some facts and figures which i don’t want to extrapolate on on in terms of how many suicide attacks have happened in the last quarter as opposed to the quarters before that because you can never really tell with that situation but given all of that uh pakistan is in a comparable situation to the early 90s not doing too badly afghanistan is some would say in a comparable situation about to see the taliban come come in if whether that happens or not remains to be seen india is going into an election and is certainly preoccupied with its own problems is that really the time we want to see the u.s sort of take its eye off the ball the u.s won’t completely take its eye off the ball but on the other hand the u.s is not going to um be peddling any fairy tales like the general uh that i’ve looked into general musharraf’s eyes uh or words to that effect uh and i can tell that this is a man who has eschewed any ties with terror we were told these fairy tales on a number of occasions and some of us despite our american citizenship said these are fairy tales and we weren’t invited back to washington again for the next several years but since i have no aspirations to serve in government i stuck to my guns and said i don’t believe in fairy tales i stopped believing in them ever since i was six years old and as an adult i don’t believe in fairy tales i don’t think musharraf has any intentions of abandoning this asymmetric war strategy against india or nurturing hopes of using it in in in afghanistan and um this best hope uh i’ve been hearing about since the days of ayub khan so this is the latest best hope um

and so there’s that so i don’t think the us will take its eye off of pakistan completely it’s just that it will not uh be peddling fairy tales on the the three things that you mentioned in pakistan um that’s perhaps putting the most positive gloss on it uh number one not a fairy tale exactly no no no you’re not telling fairytales i’m talking about american administrations especially the bush administration which was noted for fairy tales uh i know that’s i know bush is loved in india but not by someone like myself for a whole variety of reasons uh and not to mention well never mind um but three things um uh on stability um until tomorrow morning when there is a major attack in lahore on the economy the entire economy is in hawk they are dependent on the imf providing a new tranche of resources in the absence thereof pakistan would be defaulting on major multi uh major deaths the military’s veto as you yourself conceded is still there uh yes he’s installed someone of his own liking but believe me there is a rather tragic history of that the last time he did that yes not just him someone lost his head uh um also bear in mind that uh zulfiqar ali bhutto appointed ziya because he thought zia was suitably pliable so there’s a habit of things not working out very well uh despite the same last names here so i’m a little my i maintain my skepticism all right fair enough uh and and the other question really because you spoke about the shocks to the system you spoke about the change seeking entrepreneurship and there is this sense of the external role and uh i do want to come back to the u.s to ask why it is that the us itself has not changed its essential policy you mentioned hussein uh if you go through his his latest book he makes it extremely clear on the basis of the archives that not only has pakistan pursued a certain asymmetric warfare strategy or any of the other you know talk and then uh come back with a with a roots shock for india and all the rest but that the us has continued exactly the same policy that when it needs to it ends up sending the required cash to pakistan it signs those checks uh and and at other times uh it behaves as if you know it feels like the victim in all of this 20 billion dollars were spent in one decade in pakistan helping pakistan bolster the case of terrorism and then they found osama bin laden right there and as you yourself said nobody would really believe uh that it wasn’t uh with with the collusion of of people in power so the question really if the u.s is not changing its tactics is there any hope for this to become a factor in that rivalry um the you’re absolutely right i mean the incapacity of the american political establishment to um to learn in any meaningful fashion from persistent uh errors of policy uh it remains a bit of a puzzle uh the the one of the rare exceptions was 199 uh was the fourth of july 1999 when uh clinton instead of equivocating about who started the conflict was categorical in naming pakistan as the aggressor that was a rare moment of of clarity i think in considerable part the explanation or the the most the best explanation i can come up with for this persistence of of flawed american policy towards pakistan stems from a certain relationship that was forged in the early cold war years and that in large measure i think shaped elite attitudes towards pakistan which became fairly deep seated in the establishment and um even in the face of contrary evidence uh this has not been um fully um undermined uh it’s been only very partially undermined and people keep uh looking for for straws in the wind which might suggest that well you know on this occasion the pakistanis will finally their interests will dovetail with ours but in considerable part i think this has to do with the early cold war experience where pakistan did play a vital role for its own reasons um in helping the united states we tend to

forget that francis gary powers the u2 pilot who was shot down over the soviet former soviet union um flew off from an air base in peshawar the u.s had substantial reconnaissance and intelligence and surveillance assets in pakistan which were enormously useful in the early cold war there’s a lovely bit in hussein piece where lyndon johnson is trying to keep that base open and and ayub khan is saying no no we have to shut it down and lyndon johnson sends him a letter to say of course we have this great relationship and the u.s has in the past and then he spelled it out um been able to invest three five zero zero zero zero zero and goes on into the number of millions so it’s it’s not as if that relationship has changed i don’t want to take much more of the audience’s time because i know that they will have questions for you do you want to just raise your hands and i’ll come around go ahead sir a very simple question do you think two parts one is this exogenous thing might come at the end of 2014 from afghanistan considering the durian line will be completely exposed to both the internal and the external influence and the amount of bhutan population which is not only in karachi lahore but everywhere number two over the years the only time pakistan has actually listened to the us is whenever it was the question of military aid and the funds going to the military thank you um yes i think the durian line could indeed become explosive once again in the wake of 2014 because it’s an unresolved issue and it’s an issue of considerable significance to any regime in in afghanistan and if they’re not about to just completely um uh overlook it and um yes um uh the um the cutting off of military assistance certainly um can will focus the mind of the pakistani military unfortunately many within the u.s military establishment and some in the state department will immediately make the argument that we com we cannot completely uh turn the tap off over here because this would lead to a loss of leverage in pakistan and very quickly the chinese or the saudis could fill in this gap and this argument carries considerable weight in in in washington dc so i don’t i fear that i think that a complete secession of external assistance is not going to take place um i don’t think it’s going to have the same significance i don’t think it’s going to be the volume is going to be as as much i don’t think external credits are going to be provided to pakistan to purchase american weaponry um but there will be a constituency which will argue that we can ill afford to completely abandon pakistan um so that constituency will remain it the strategic significance will decline dramatically but i don’t think there is going to be a complete termination of the relationship but same token doesn’t india risk losing leverage over uh policy makers in pakistan by simply walking away from talks by simply not restarting the dialogue no i’m not suggesting an end to the dialogue all i’m suggesting is that don’t expect economic interdependence or the opening up of civil society contacts with each other to serve as a solvent to this relationship i’m suggesting that an another set of factors a constellation of factors has to be in place before we can see expect a breakthrough economic interdependence or greater ties between civil society uh are not going to be the mechanisms for a rapport all right um i found your the second part of your comments quite persuasive but i do i do not share the first part but unfortunately i think the logic can be can stand on a different basis the reason i don’t buy the first part is that the analogy with the west the cold war is not quite because the cultural context the proximity and all

those are quite different now coming to the second part which is where my question is you know at one time three or four years ago especially dealing a lot with the pakistani diaspora in the united states there was a view they bought this first two points about the shock internal shock to the system and the revision of expectations there was genuine concern about implosion amongst the pakistanis themselves and perhaps in the elite now do you and the idea was that either there would be an implosion for political and combined with economic reasons but somehow that fear seems to have abated in the last year or two and what is your take on that and what why do you think that fear has abated is it that the political process has gained some traction is that the sole reason are there reasons um why has that fear of implosion abated in considerable part because pakistan because one regime however inept however corrupt actually managed to survive five years and the military did not intervene did not unravel the regime um and uh that nawaz sharif now is it appears is trying to get a grasp over the military is threatening to prosecute general musharraf and that there is at least a kind of a semblance of stability but i use the word semblance and the other thing is that quite frankly where else i mean pakistan had reached the reached a point where it really couldn’t go much further short of imploding and quite frankly many of the indicators that had suggested an implosion are frankly there take for example one complaints understandably in this country that some major metropolitan areas the shortages of electricity shortages of water sanitation and the like but in pakistan last summer you were witnessing power cuts of up to 12 hours in major metropolitan areas like lahore this is simply unsustainable those problems haven’t gone away there are certain structural problems that pakistan still confronts they might have been ameliorated a little bit uh in the recent past and the uh the successful transition of one regime to the one democratic regime to the next has provided a bit of breathing space um uh but um uh the many of the fundamental social and economic problems that besieged the country and could overwhelm the country are still very much there my question is i tend to look at india self-critically yeah and the one of the things that i would like to share here is that i but the way i see it is that we have pakistan learned one thing from us which was negative for us and that is the love of the chinese but everything as negative in my view we have taken from there the love of consumerism the love of religious revivalism and finally the love of americans i think if you put it in perspective and look a little inward you will find that the problem between india and pakistan is has got somehow laced with the problem of religious revivalism which is global which is not confined to south asia somehow these this very aspect has become the engine of this relationship whether you see it in the form of terrorism whether you see it form of revivalism now therefore the prescription whatever it is or or whatever route we take we have to look inward how can two diverse forms of religious revivalism reconcile with each other i would like to you know get your opinion on this should we just take a few more questions and then you can sort of yeah i think um go ahead right at the back

and then the lady here no my name is karni singh i just wanted to stretch that point if osama bin laden’s presence in abdavat canteria was could have been known or was known there must have been at least two or three core commanders or guys who would have changed and obviously south asians are not very good with secrets and you know across time uh you know synchronically and diachronically if things are known and it still doesn’t spill out in the wider setup and the pakistan army american army american espionage i mean do you think there is a possibility that even americans could have known i mean and if that is so then what does that foretell all right the lady here hi um i just wanted to go back to your question on economic interdependence and people contact um just to give you a view from my point uh there has been i mean we talk about economic interdependence in people’s contact not changing things for both the countries but the fact is that both the countries have not indulged in economic trade to the level that it should have been people’s contact as well uh except for the family and trends visa has been negligible the younger generation in both india and pakistan do not have the same idea of hatred or rivalries that the past generation had and there should be a chance uh to be given to both these generations or even the old generations to have some contact at some level except for the peace activist and the journalist exchange there has been no exchange between the two countries do you not think this would be at least the starting point a fair level to start uh to give you an id to have this um rivalry or the hatred reduce at some level because the idea of rivalry in both countries is half baked we go back to the partition time and we go back to the you know jingoism and the patriotism but to just bring it on to the current ground realities i think uh just wanted your perspective do you not think this would lead to a change at least at some point okay thanks for bringing in ray of hope in years i i’m not sure professor gangly if you’ve seen the google ad that has uh that has got a lot of people talking in in india of this old gentleman oh yes and the one yeah there were two here i’m going to take two more questions and then we’ll see if we have time for another round yeah yeah do you see the emergence of civil society in pakistan if so then why do you not you see the contacts at civil society level making some improvements we have seen at our level in some small ways we’ve been involved in building contacts you see and we have seen some results on the economic side of people being protected all right and if you could just pass it to the gentleman thank you um i’ve dealt with pakistan but a long time back especially on the economic side but my question to you is uh slightly different from everything that has happened including what you’ve said while i agree that establishing let’s say a two-way better economic relationship may or may not lead to incentives for peace in my mind and i want your opinion on this would it not serve india’s interests much better if pakistan becomes economically strong and would it not be in one sense a more responsible position on india’s side to help pakistan achieve that along with the united states and various other actors in the scene this is number one the second question while i agree entirely that there is a sort of a veto held by the pakistan military where relations between india and pakistan are concerned assuming that that is so and recognizing that that is so rather what can india do to improve relations with the military is it a possibility are there openings that are available in uh in your research have you seen any possibility of that becoming something worth looking at thank you all right um i think there’s just one gentleman with a hand up so we’ll just take that last one and then you can you have six of them yeah you’re right that’s by my account it’s also six yeah don’t you think the the psyche of asian is to keep on fighting particularly punjabi in pakistan in bengali they

have psyche to keep on fighting till death number two what’s the question is it a psyche problem oh and number two don’t you this is a type of persistency of rivalry is a industry also for usa and other countries their economy depends on this type of rivalry the military industrial complex oh okay okay thank you all right there’s quite a bit to respond to on the question of uh mutual religious revivalism um i disagree with your fundamental premise because um despite the existence of religious revivalism in the united in india india still remains the uh a constitutionally secular state it has departed in many ways there have been failures there have been shortcomings we are all aware of that but i’m not prepared to grant this kind of false equality with pakistan pakistan long abandoned any pretense of being a secular state the plight of minorities in pakistan the less said the better and let’s not even talk about what transpired in 1971 gary bass a very good friend of mine at princeton university has just come out with a book on the 71 war and now the full horrors of 71 are again being brought to the fore um so i don’t accept your proposition that there’s a kind of a moral equivalence or a functional equivalence between india and pakistan and i thereby while i have little or no use for religious revivalism in any form nevertheless don’t believe that this is the root of the problem by any means and in large part religious revivalism in pakistan if one looks more closely and everybody alludes to jenna’s great speech at the constituent assembly this is the man who uses religious revivalism in the worst kind of way and then he says well now i’ll put the genie back in the bottle furthermore jinnah was an individual i suggest you come on the 17th of december when my friend maya tudor is presenting her book at the iic on the divergent pathways between india and pakistan and i’m commenting on the book um where she demonstrates that there were there were all manner of instrumental um arrangements that jinnah made with religious revivalists so that he could bolster his political position and did not do very much to generate institutions within pakistan a number of my pakistani friends say if only jenna had lived a few years later things would be markedly different because at heart he was a secularist i don’t like saying this to them publicly absolute and palpable nonsense once you engage in this process of manipulating religious symbols look it’s happened in this country too indira gandhi did the same thing on a much smaller scale and one the country paid and continues to pay a price for that so once political leaders instrumentally use faith it’s very difficult to return the genie back to the bottle it’s zulfiqar ali bhutto when he saw his political fortune sagging that this man who was not only licentious in his personal behavior but had a particular fondness for the bottle suddenly decides to impose prohibition in pakistan starts flirting with sharia he’s the one who opens the doorway general zia who wrapped himself in piety public piety was known for his fondness for the bottle in the in the military containment i have this on very good authority zia did this largely to bolster his political fortunes so i don’t quite share your view that this is sort of organic religious revivalism in either of these two countries these are things that have been manipulated for very specific particular political ends for political exigencies and i don’t spare india i think one of mrs gandhi’s most pernicious legacies was the the manipulation of

religious sentiment for very very destructive ends it’s a very long-winded answer uh but that’s my view um did the u.s know that uh osama was hiding probably not until uh perhaps maybe six months or a year prior to the attack when various pieces of the jigsaw puzzle started to fall into place uh and there have been enough leaks uh including a terribly terribly written book by one of the um one of the special forces uh people it’s just an awfully written book but it reveals in a fair amount i’m sure they were yeah um so there’s that on economic interdependence you’re absolutely right ma’am it hasn’t been tried uh that’s absolutely true but the point is all the historical evidence from elsewhere tells us it hasn’t worked and it would be sort of a miracle if somehow otherwise social science becomes impossible if if everything is unique then you can’t have generalizations we are going to say that the indo-pakistani case is unique and somehow rather we can defy every other case then i there’s nothing i can do to argue against it but the preponderance of evidence from elsewhere suggests that this doesn’t work okay fourth on civil society in pakistan actually civil society in pakistan is quite uncivil we use the term civil society much too loosely um the lashkar-e-taiba at one level is civil society because it does not have any institutional well some people would argue it does have an institutional link with the pakistani state civil society does not mean people who are all committed to social upliftment of people’s welfare of uh the amelioration of the lives of the poor civil society simply means organizations which are not par which are not organs of the state that’s all that it means so not all of civil society in pakistan is particularly civil and the civil society organizations that equal amounts are i mean i i think when you come to civil society of course you have the example of the jamaat that there is a very large uh pakistani civil society not just in the india context but we did see it in their own democracy you’re absolutely right i mean civil society does exist in pakistan but let’s not suggest that it all of it is civil there are i mean the jamaatu dawa is a is a menace and it’s a very powerful menace much more powerful than uh many you know other pakistani organizations um five um an economically strong pakistan i would love to see an economically strong pakistan and pakistan at peace with itself that perhaps could be one of the most salutary things that could happen but let me give you a concrete example of the difficulties of dealing with pakistan even when the u.s has made a genuine effort to break away from the past and about this if i at the cost of sounding a bit self-referential a close friend of mine was closely associated with the kerry luger bill which sought to shift away money from the pakistani military and direct it towards pakistani civil society to direct it towards economic development in pakistan to direct it towards the improvement of social indicators within pakistan within weeks of kerry lugar being passed the when the pakista when the american um tried to move uh foreign service officers into islamabad who were going to disburse this aid who were going to actually implement some of these social help implements of these social programs through usaid almost immediately they were thwarted by the pakistani establishment and unfortunately the u.s because it was so dependent on pakistan at that point for access to afghanistan backed away but a very good friend of mine who’s a trained anthropologist jonah blank who was working on senator

kerry’s staff at the time was instrumental in drafting this legislation and i played a minor role in helping him draft this legislation not in not formally but informally so thinking that this might be a way to finally bolster certain groups within pakistan but here two groups were complicit first the military and the intelligence services and the political establishment immediately sought to thwart these very genuine efforts making it exceedingly difficult for the people who were tasked with carrying out these programs to actually have any meaningful effect to the point of even denying visas and unfortunately um the the state department and the department of defense proved to be craven enough because of the exigencies of the war in afghanistan not to press the pakistanis to carry out the terms of kerry lugar as had been envisaged in the legislation so it’s a difficult task even when there are people willing and able to try and shift pakistan’s priorities towards more healthy and more productive ends there are those who are hell-bent on ensuring this will not happen finally uh on the notion of psyche that’s rather something i find difficult to wrap my hands around but yes i suppose uh there is a sort of a mentality of hostility that exists uh in pakistan and in large part this is the product of textbooks this is the products of propaganda this is the product of uh you know watch pakistani soap operas uh what do they deal with about various forms of indian perfidy uh i watched pakistani television in the wake of the attacks on bombay and it was actually like living in a parallel universe where a so-called strategic analyst on a national show suggests that kasab was a member of the bjp why because kassab was wearing a rakhi on one hand which showed that kassab was indubitably a hindu and this was actually an attempt a very deft attempt on the part of raw to discredit pakistan i wish raw was that capable india would be a lot secure it’s perhaps been a while since you were uh here because we can give you some television channels to rival that on this end on that maybe i should watch indian television now um i i you know i’m afraid i don’t think we can take questions but i know that professor ganguly might be able to uh you know take some of your questions after this but i do have to wrap up this session it’s been oh the military industrial company or the military industrial complex how do you improve relations with them oh how do you improve relations with the military um that’s an extremely tall order and in part it the problem is structural the pakistani military can talk to anybody it pleases the pakistani if you notice when general uh when um mr zadari went to washington you saw the press photographs who’s walking directly behind him general kyani when the indian prime minister goes to washington does any indian chief of staff ever accompany him and carries a baton walking behind the prime minister even the even if the chief of staff entertained that idea i suspect he would be joining the ranks of the unemployed in india um so there is a fundamental structural asymmetry in india’s the pattern of civil military relations is such and i’m hardly revealing a state secret here that the military is under the complete control of civilian authority and it is precisely its mirror image in pakistan that the civilian authority is completely subservient to military authority sorry yes and yeah yes yes sure can we can no it’s not can we i mean is it possible do you think there is

is it is it possible i think it’s exceedingly difficult and the reason i was suggesting it’s exceedingly difficult is because there’s a structural asymmetry uh how does one carry out that conversation because you cannot have an indian military officer talking to his pakistani counterpart um so military to military contacts are almost impossible our prime ministers did try in new york they said that the dgmos should be speaking to each other it still hasn’t happened three months this is this is the final question on the military industrial complex on the military industrial complex um uh there really isn’t a military industrial complex in pakistan because in the us in the u.s the term actually goes back to the 1950s when president eisenhower in his valedictory address before demanding office warned about the possibilities of a military industrial complex emerging in the united states is there a military industrial complex there is a academic debate about this subject and quite frankly um i’m not an authority on this but um yes to some degree there is a revolving door in that people who have been who held high positions in the military frequently join major arms manufacturers and then in turn they can go back and lobby their friends uh in the military and there there are informal networks that exist whether that amounts to a military industrial complex i think is perhaps a stretch but are there informal networks uh where sort of one hand greases the other of course there’s no question about it and there are periodic debates and discussions about this and uh that there have been some attempts at legislation which seeks that at least there must be a cooling off period between the time you leave high office and you take up a position as a lobbyist but much of that legislation is anemic and those networks are very much in place all right um i am going to have to wrap it up over here but professor ganguly thanks so much for giving us your perspective because often it needs someone who is away from the heat of the everyday event because when you when you live in either delhi or islamabad you tend to think that today’s event is really the defining event of india-pakistan relations and sometimes you look over a period of time and say well you know that really wasn’t something uh that changed anything uh i have to put in my dissenting note in the sense that i still do believe uh that the rivalry as you put it between india and pakistan will end as the young lady over there said that there is a new generation that’s looking at it very differently and is not coming to the rivalry as you uh as you position it um with the baggage of the past and that will have to be the one hope uh that takes us all going forward but thanks so much for being a great audience uh and thank you professor gang thank you you