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Why is India hesitant in its policy towards Iran?

 The slow progress on Iran policy can have long term strategic implications for India

With sweeping changes occurring in West Asia after the lifting of sanctions against Iran by the US on 16th January, Iran is all set to play a major role in the geopolitics of this region. But India’s Iran policy seems to stuck in stasis. In May 2015, the long standing Chabahar port deal was finalised with Iran. The port is slated to be operational by the end of 2016. This will link India with Afghanistan and Central Asia. Calling off the sanctions is a welcome opportunity to be seized.  All indications towards the end of 2015 pointed towards this development and India should have been ready. It seems the government did not think that sanctions would be lifted so soon.

In a speech delivered at the India International Centre, Delhi on 18th January, Mr Gholamreza Ansari, Iran’s ambassador to India said, “In the changed circumstances in West Asian region, India cannot follow a policy of patient waiting any more. I have often been advised to be patient on big India-Iran projects. Does India want to wait for centuries before capturing the right opportunities?” Iran had asked India to conclude the bilateral agreement quickly at the Joint Commission Meeting(JCM) on 28th December 2015.  The main hitch was amendment to ‘withholding tax’ with which India exempted crude payments to Iran, if it was done in Rupees. There was a sense of urgency for this to be done before lifting of the sanctions. With sanctions gone, the need no longer exists as payments will have to be done in dollars. During the sanctions regime, Iran could not trade in dollars. It is free to do so now. There are no barriers to trade. The Indian products like Basmati rice, soyameal, sugar, and pharmaceuticals will have to compete with other countries.

Lack of coordination between ministries is also affecting the important Chabahar project. Iran wanted a loan for developing the rail network from port. In spite of the ministry of external affairs stressing the urgency, the department of financial services and ministry of railways did not move with the desired speed for reasons unknown. As per the deal in May 2015, the contract was supposed to be signed by November last year. If the government does not have the money, could it not invite the private sector? If sufficient guarantees of security is given, then private players will be willing to get involved. After all, there are other projects in Iraq and Syria worth thousands of crores that would interest them. The government only needs to give a push to get this going. After all, Modi is known for his clinical efficiency to get things done.


Guru Aiyar is a Research Scholar at Takshashila Institution and tweets @guruaiyar

Featured image: Holy shrine of Abdulazim in Tehran by David Stanley, licensed by creativecommons.org

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Kudos to TRAI—India ain’t a banana republic

The TRAI letter to Facebook on the issue of Free Basics has demonstrated that our institutions have enough discretion to stall veiled attempts in shaping public policy  

Asserting itself, TRAI in a strongly worded letter on 19th January, criticised Facebook calling its Free Basics campaign a “crude” attempt. It accused the social networking site of turning the consultation over differential pricing of data services into an “orchestrated opinion poll” to push its Free Basics. The company had run an aggressive campaign with full page newspaper ads. Reportedly, it spent more than Rs 300 crores. Free Basics allows users to access certain sites without data charges. However, there is nothing free about it. In addition, Facebook reworded the TRAI’s questions in its consultation paper into template responses which reduced users’ choice. The regulator had sought the views of stakeholders on differential pricing on data services being offered by operators. The responses sent by Facebook did not adequately cover the issues that TRAI was bringing out. The regulator pointed out that such interpretations as done by Facebook would have dangerous ramifications for policy making in India.

The number of responses received by TRAI is also bone of contention. TRAI said that it received only 1.89 million responses. Facebook on its part, stated in an email on 13th January that no mails could be delivered to the TRAI id after 17th December, 2015 and contested that it had sent more than 11 million responses. TRAI promptly replied as to why Facebook had to wait for 25 days before bringing this to notice. There was a certain degree of coercion and a lack of transparency in the manner that Facebook took the consent from its subscribers. The regulator had asked Facebook to tell its users to specifically answer queries raised in the paper. The responses sent by Facebook were not relevant to the questions posed by the regulator and instead it was a veiled attempt for its ‘Save Free Basics’ campaign. However, the regulator has stated that it will consider all the relevant responses sent by Facebook.

This stand off between the regulator and Facebook has come at a time when the social media giant is trying to vigorously establish its footprint in India. With this approach, TRAI has effectively demonstrated that it will not stand for being bullied by a multi national corporation trying to have its way. Whether Facebook backs off, or escalates this further remains to be seen.  On 21st January, TRAI is holding an open house on differential pricing and net neutrality involving all stakeholders. It will be interesting to watch the development as it will have a major impact on the internet services.


Guru Aiyar is a research scholar with Takshashila Institution and tweets @guruaiyar

Featured image: Uniqeulycat(Cathy) Smith licensed from Creativecommons.org

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Rohith Vemula’s suicide—is it the Rajeev Goswami moment of NDA II?

The recent suicide by a Dalit scholar has all the makings of turning into a powder keg if not handled with seriousness by the government 

The suicide of Dalit scholar Rohith Vemula on at the University of Hyderabad may well turn out to be the Rajeev Goswami moment of present Modi government. To understand the issue, there is a need to go back to  an event under the National Front government of VP Singh in May of 1990. Rajeev Goswami was a student of Delhi University when he attempted self immolation as a protest against implementation of Mandal commission recommendations by the government. Though his attempt failed, it succeeded in galvanising a large part of the student community and other sections of the society to protest against affirmative action of the government. The reservation debate in India has been centred around this. The subsequent fall of VP Singh government can be said to have begun with the Goswami incident. To his credit, Rohith has not blamed anyone in his suicide note, but the signs are very obvious as to what led him to take this extreme step.

Modi, who was elected with a thumping majority in 2014 may finally have to do some reality check now. To dismiss this incident as something trivial and not attributable to the administration will be total naiveté. Rohith, along with four other students of Ambedkar Students Association (ASA), had been expelled by the university for ‘anti-national’ actions. His fellowship grant had been stopped for the last six months. The trigger for action against him was a scuffle in the campus that he got into with Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad (ABVP) activists on 3rd August, 2015. The reason for the scuffle was a protest by ABVP in Delhi against screening of the documentary film titled Muzaffarnagar Baqi Hai. The documentary, which is critical of all the political parties, shows that the riots were engineered by the BJP. This incurred the wrath of ABVP which tried to stop the screenings in other cities by violent protests.

The time has come now even when most diehard optimists and supporters of the present central government will say that enough is enough. Dadri lynching, virulent comments on the social media against activists and civil society members, majoritarian discourse and now this. Unfortunately, each such incident is brushed off as a law and order problem. Reportedly, Bandaru Dattatreya,union minister for labour had asked the university to take action against the students. However, what merited such harsh disciplinary action of expulsion is not yet clear. If universities are autonomous bodies which run on central grants, the fact that a central minister should be so involved does need to be questioned. It is also not clear whether the inquiry that preceded the suspension of Rohith was an impartial one or not. The role of the Vice Chancellor is under a cloud.

By allowing a larger than life role for ABVP and not stopping it, the government is allowing the fringe elements become mainstream—an unintended consequence. Mere cosmetic action of filing of FIR against ministers and the vice-chancellor won’t do. The development narrative of the government is getting derailed by recent happenings. Will this become the trigger for a strong backlash by the Dalits? Will it become the rallying point for the opposition? It has all the makings of becoming one if not handled with seriousness and sensitivity that is required.


Guru Aiyar is a research scholar with Takshashila Institution and tweets @guruaiyar

Picture credit:Blake Emrys No more hate, licensed from creativecommons.org 

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Time to end lists

India’s endless handing over of lists of wanted terrorists has become something of a joke with continuing shifting of focus and redlines which can be mitigated by establishing a hotline between ISI & RAW

Each time there is a terror attack, India adds new list of terror suspects on the most wanted list. This list is handed over to Pakistan after much hullabaloo. Much is being made of reported arrest of Maulana Masood Azhar of Jaish-e-Mohammad (JeM) after the recent Pathankot attacks. What we seem to be missing is that Pakistan arrested the 26/11 mastermind Lakhvi within a week. He became a free man in no time. Masood Azhar is an interesting case because it was India who handed him over after the infamous swap after Kandahar hijacking in 1999.

The Multi Agency Centre (MAC) of India coordinated a two week effort with various other agencies to hand over the latest list. Former Research & Analysis Wing(RAW) chief Vikram Sood says that India is tracking so many groups and attacks that we lose focus. Another RAW chief AS Dulat has a different view who says that let us forget Dawood Ibrahim and we should focus on getting Masood Azhar for the Pathankot attack now. There is merit in what the RAW chiefs say having had the ring side view of talks and diplomatic initiatives at the apex level.

My colleague, Pranay Kotasthane in his analysis has laid out some assumptions one of which is that Pakistan can be brought to target militants of all hues and colours (Peshawar school tragedy in December 2014 altered its calculus). The perpetrators of that massacre have been hanged after due process of law.  Presently, there is a hotline existing between the DGMOs of both the armies. This hotline pertains to matters which are more of operational nature pertaining to infiltrations on the border.

Establishing a hotline between ISI & RAW can be one of the policy options. If a hotline between ISI & RAW is realised, then the question of these endless lists will no longer become salient or generate the emotive appeal that they do at present. Even at the height of the Cold War, the Central Intelligence Agency(CIA) & Russian KGB maintained contact with each other. Otherwise, the US could not have exchanged its spy pilot Francis Gary Powers for captured Soviet agents. All the indications are that such arrangements do not exist at present. Even if it exists, it does not seem to be working. A hotline between the spymasters shall surely keep the escalatory matrix in check. Because both know what their own ‘boys’ are up to. This is not to argue that just by establishing a hotline, we can expect peace. The spy chiefs, after all further the national interests of their own countries. The aim is to ensure stability in a highly volatile environment.


Guru Aiyar is a research scholar with Takshashila Institution and tweets @guruaiyar

Featured Image credit: Spies at ajcann.wordpress.com licensed from creative commons.

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Why Free Basics is a bad idea

Free basics violates the basic principle of net neutrality despite being within the four corners of the law and must not be allowed


In the last couple of days, Facebook has inundated Indian newspapers with full page ads about Free Basics. The savvy marketing seeks to woo the consumer by asking an innocent question like who could be possibly against free internet? Mark Zuckerberg has tried to make a convincing case in his blog post in the Times of India. In trying to corner a slice of rapidly growing Indian market, free basics junked its old avatar of Internet.org and tried to position itself as messiah of the poor and needy. What could be the main objections to Free Basics? What did the campaign for free basics achieve?

There is nothing ‘free’ about it. When Free Basics planned to launch with Reliance Jio network, its aim was to corner a giant share of the Indian market with selective apps and ads riding on its application. Of course the apps on Facebook are free but what about other start-ups and entrepreneurs/businesses? Simple analogy will be to compare a newly built superhighway, which allows only Mercedes or Audis to operate and discriminates against all other forms of transport. The Telecom Service Provider (TSP) will provide good network speeds for Facebook. What stops TSPs from giving slower/limited access to other websites? Mark Graham, Associate professor of Oxford University argues that free basics is able to read all the data passing through its platform in whatever form it may be. Big data is the oil of the future. E-commerce companies are ever hungry for data. Making Free Basics succeed would only mean cartelising the Internet with some specific telecom service providers having a greater share of the market. Free Basics would ride on some specific TSPs and nothing stops it from setting its own terms and conditions.  It would mean shifting from the consumer to certain clients and their business interests. Nikhil Pahwa, well known Internet activist quotes evidence from research to say that less & low income groups prefer access to unrestricted Internet. Free basics is no way altruistic or charitable in its approach.

There are times when media blitz campaigns have certain unintended consequences. Facebook’s campaign has had one positive effect. It coalesced the Indian middle class opinion that those who cannot afford connectivity must be provided some basic free connectivity as an entitlement. This is a little surprising because the middle class sentiment is largely pro free markets and anti subsidies. The public policy on this subject is yet to emerge with some sense of clarity. The government’s National Optical Fibre Network(NOFN) project is expected to be in place in two to four years which will form the backbone infrastructure for Digital India. This is not an argument for freebies. But neither Free Basics is the answer. For the time being, focus must be to prevent Free Basics from succeeding.


Guru Aiyar is a research scholar with Takshashila Institution and tweets at @guruaiyar.

Featured image credit: Link-up with Mosman Library on Facebook, licensed under Creative Commons.

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The question of gender justice in religious places of worship

The prohibition of entry to women in Sabarimala shrine is being contested by lawyers in the Supreme Court which will open a pandora’s box for other faiths too


The Supreme Court on 11th January, has asked the government of Kerala that why women cannot be given entry to the Sabarimala temple. Gautam Bhatia, a Delhi based lawyer has offered interesting insights into the case. The SC is hearing a 10 year old petition filed by Indian Young Lawyers’ Association (IYLA). The case is coming up for hearing again on 18th January. Women between the ages of 10 and 50 have been traditionally denied entry in the temple on the grounds that they are ‘impure’. This has been a custom going back 1500 years. The Travancore Devaswom Board (TDB) which administers the temple is responsible for enforcing this custom.

The challenge to enforcing the custom by the board brings judiciary to interpret the laws pertaining to rights guaranteed by the constitution to individuals.  Article 25 (1) guarantees to all persons the right to freely profess, practise, and propagate their religion. Article 26 (b) grants to religious denominations the right to manage their own affairs in the matter of religion. However, Article 25 (2) allows state intervention in religious practice, if it is for the purpose of “social welfare or reform or the throwing open of Hindu religious institutions of a public character to all classes and sections of Hindus”.

The temple board has argued that the custom is essential to the practise of the religion.  If the board fails to prove that prohibiting women is an essential religious practice, then it cannot claim immunity under Article 26 (b). Women worshippers can also argue that prohibiting them from access violates their right to worship under Article 25(1). This takes us to the question of interpreting the law from the aspect of ‘state-shrine’ relationship.  Article 25(1) is enforceable against the state and not individuals, or corporate bodies. If the board can argue that it is corporate body, Article 25 (1) cannot be applied.

If this be so, then IYLA can argue that it is the duty of the state to guarantee a woman’s right to worship. The women devotees may ask the court to direct the state to take all necessary steps to guarantee their access and safety to the shrine.  Interestingly, judgement in this case will open up issues pertaining to other religions also. There is a case pending in Bombay High Court, filed by Muslim women asking for the recognition of their right to enter the inner sanctum for worship at the Haji Ali shrine in Mumbai. The question of gender justice in religious institutions is the charter of state which is responsible to enforce the constitution. Being a secular state, the governments have not interfered in the matters of individual religions which are administered by their respective religious bodies. The ramification of judgement in this case will be then to find a solution which will advance the constitutional guarantee of equality, non-discrimination and freedom of religion.


Guru Aiyar is a research scholar with Takshashila Institution and tweets at @guruaiyar.

Featured Image credit: Law.gov–opening up primary legal materials, licensed under creative commons.

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An app for a pothole

The problem of filling up dangerous potholes in our roads can be tackled with the use of technology leading to reduction in spinal injuries

On 13th January, The Hindu published a report on how it takes riding over just 6 potholes in an auto rickshaw to mess up with your spine. The experiment was carried out by Satish Chandra, a scientist with the National Aeronautical Laboratory (NAL), Bangalore. His finding indicated that the effect of riding over a pothole is worst in a two wheeler. The same Hindu report also stated that civic body has stopped keeping track of potholes. What is the reason that civic bodies are not able to keep track of the roads and how can it be mitigated?

Radically Networked Society The infusion of technology and app driven lifestyle with a high urban penetration has place great deal of knowledge in the hands of citizens. With the use of smartphones increasing at a geometric rate, it is more likely that an enlightened local citizen of a precinct has granular knowledge of the roads than the municipal authorities. The challenge here is more understood from a structural perspective. The government including the municipal authorities is hierarchically organised. Whereas the rest of the citizens are connected with abundant knowledge but diffused leadership. No one seems to be really in charge.

Understanding the challenge. If we try to apply this to understand as to who is in charge of road maintenance, the perspective becomes clear. There are multiple stakeholders who are answerable for the road condition- local ward corporator with his own hierarchy, defence authorities (in some cases the roads pass through the military areas) etc. Each of these organisations have their own structure. At times, it does happen officials at the apex are connected, but the actors the lower levels may not have the same level of awareness.

Going Forward. The Bangalore traffic police has come up with an app named ‘public eye’ for reporting traffic violations. All one has to do is to take a picture of traffic violation and the violator with his mobile phone and share it with traffic police who then will send the notice of fine to be paid by the offender. It is yet to be ascertained whether this has succeeded or not. For it is the appearance of a uniformed policeman which has a greater deterrent effect. But the idea certainly has merit and may be worth trying to minimise spinal injuries through a greater check on potholes. A similar app can be developed for potholes in the roads. The civic authorities claim that the potholes have been filled up based on the report by the contractor. Despite checks and balances, potholes appear in no time. One of the main reasons being use of sub standard material by the contractor. If citizens can give a feedback on the state of potholes by using an app, then the corporator can keep the tabs on contractor. This may lead to lower incidences of spinal injuries. We may not eradicate the problem completely, but lessen its severity. A beginning can be made.


Guru Aiyar is a research scholar with Takshashila Institution and tweets at @guruaiyar.

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Not a very bold step for defence procurement

The revised Defence Procurement Procedure 2016, unveiled recently is only half a step forward, lacking imagination and bold policy initiatives


The government of India has recently come up with the revised Defence Procurement Procedure 2016 (DPP) announced by Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar on 11 January. One of the key decisions is a proposal for a new category of acquisition. The nomenclature used is Indigenous Design Development & Manufacturing (IDDM) which is the government’s avatar for Make in India. On surface, it seems very good. On closer inspection, there is nothing Indian about it or indicate a large step forward in defence policy.

As per the new DPP, domestically designed equipment with 40 per cent indigenous components or foreign designed equipment with 60 per cent local components will be considered for buying. Make in India category has been divided into three parts—first 90 per cent government funded, second is industry funded and the third is for micro, small and medium enterprises. The DPP has tremendously increased the offset threshold for foreign contracts from Rs. 300 crore to Rs. 2000 crore with 30 per cent of the contract value to be procured from within India.

All major developed economies have transitioned to being powerhouse economies because of the vast military-industrial complex they possessed. According to renowned futurist Alvin Toffler, every revolution in wealth creation has a parallel revolution in war making. The reverse is equally true. Which means robust defence industrial base would automatically mean a vibrant economy. Some of the greatest inventions & innovations in production are rooted in defence science & research followed by two assembly lines—defence & civilian. Space applications for radio astronomy stemmed from invention of radar in the Second World War. Boeing manufactures some of the best passenger & military aircraft from its factories. European industrial development matured because of rapid advances in military technology.

There are two challenges to India’s private sector becoming an active player in defence R & D and production: the monopoly of defence public sector units (DPSUs) and the favourable terms that foreign suppliers enjoy. DPSUs are well known for their archaic approach. DRDO has not delivered the cutting edge research that was expected of it. It is a well known fact that a majority of DPSUs are merely assembling foreign kits. There is also discrimination in treatment of Indian vendors vis-a-vis the foreign ones. A foreign vendor gets most of his payment on self-certification of project progress while the Indian vendor has to wait for wait for government inspector’s certification. This may result in several months’ delay in payments. The latest DPP may work towards expanding the number of players in the tendering process. But it certainly has not created a level playing field. It seems a given that the upwards of $ 100 billion that India is forecast to spend over the next decade could mostly end up in foreign markets. The government could have come with more radical reforms. DPP is a step forward but much more could have been included.


Guru Aiyar is a research scholar with Takshashila Institution and tweets @guruaiyar

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India’s national security doctrine-need of the hour

The Pathankot terror attacks have exposed the gaps in our security apparatus and the urgent need to have a well articulated national security doctrine.


The recent terror attacks in Pathankot have, once again highlighted the gaps in our security apparatus. The jury is still out on what should have been the best response. But certainly, battling five or six terrorists for over 80 hours does not justify the response structure. The 26/11 attacks about seven years ago seemed to be the moment of epiphany. The government of the day immediately set about the task and established a National Counter Terror Centre (NCTC), National Investigation Agency (NIA) and the National Intelligence Grid (Natgrid). NIA has taken off well but the Natgrid is far from fruition and has got embroiled in a turf war. The NCTC ran into major challenges with some of the states opposing it.

How does the the government go about the job of enumerating its national security doctrine? Doctrine, by definition is a stated principle of government policy mainly in foreign or military affairs. The difference between doctrine and strategy is that doctrine is only prescriptive in nature; strategy is descriptive — it describes on a broad perspective on how resources are to be used to achieve some goal. The best example to understand the difference is the Gulf War ’91 in which the US practised a doctrine titled AirLand operations.The US commanders used this doctrine to articulate their strategy for a decisive victory. Therefore, the AirLand doctrine was the stated policy of the US government. Doctrines evolve after a strategic review. The debacle in Vietnam compelled the US to carry out a soul searing review which resulted in a coherent doctrine. It is an intellectual exercise involving multiple stakeholders in the government, armed forces, academia and think tanks backed by a rigorous iterative process. This is not to argue that we delve into specifics. No government announces as to how its special forces will be deployed and secrecy needs to be maintained. A doctrine will not spell out how a raid will be carried out.

Shashi Tharoor in his book ‘Pax Indica’ rues about the fact that India still has not carried out a strategic review (a review carried out in 1999 was given a quiet burial because it mentioned China). It is interesting to note that even usually secretive communist China publishes a defence white paper every two years. The question that needs to be asked is ‘Why is there so much of reluctance to articulate a national security doctrine?’ The US appointed a director of Homeland security in White House within eleven days of the 9/11. Such was the sense of urgency. The Indian government has done well to immediately consider the formation of a department or ministry of homeland security. But the task will remain incomplete if it is not complemented by a well articulated national security doctrine. This can be in two parts—one in the open domain, and the second, a classified part. This will surely be a robust mechanism of setting our house in order urgently. Finally.


Guru Aiyar is a research scholar at Takshashila Institution and tweets @guruaiyar.

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Why India must not Talk to Pakistan after the Pathankot attacks

The recent Pathankot attacks have put the spotlight on the impending Foreign Secretary level talks between India and Pakistan. India’s stand should be clearly not to engage in talks now.

Ever since the terrorist attacks on the Indian Air Force base in Pathankot, the public discourse is getting  shriller.  If we watch the TV news shows, for the last couple of days, the anchors are hell bent on shaping the public opinion in the favour of cancelling the foreign secretary level talks with Pakistan. There is strident criticism of Modi having made a surprise visit to Pakistan during Christmas last year. Of course, Modi demonstrated statesmanlike behaviour by going the extra mile.  India must not engage with Pakistan now and talks should be postponed indefinitely till such time conditions demanded by India are satisfied by Pakistan.

First, there is a need to analyse the statement given by the Chief of the Army Staff General Dalbir Singh in the aftermath of the operations. As reported in the TOI, the army chief is quoted to have said that “every time Pakistan bleeds us by thousands of cuts…we just talk about it for a few days and after that we let it go as usual business.” This clearly indicates that he would certainly have had sanction of the government. However, India is still far off from acquiring operational capabilities like Mossad’s Entebbe raid where an Israeli commando action in another country successfully resulted in the rescue of hostages. But this alone should not give India reason to engage in talks. Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) was responsible for 26/11 and all pointers of the Pathankot attack are towards Jaish-e-Mohammad (JeM) (NIA chief Sharad Kumar’s interview to TOI). By all estimates, these attacks have been planned well in advance and there is no connection with Modi’s surprise visit to Pakistan. Having clearly established the hand of JeM, which happens be one of the important elements of Pakistan’s Military-Jihadi complex (MJC), there is no room for doubt that the topmost echelons of the Pak army were in the know of this plan. There is a sense of deja vu (a la Kargil) when Nawaz Sharif pleads that his government is neither aware nor involved. There is certainly no need to buy this argument.

Second, let there be clarity on which stakeholders are to be involved from Pakistan. The MJC finally seems to have given its blessings to the Nawaz Sharif government to go ahead with the talks. The inclusion of Kashmir issue from the Indian side apparently has given them a reason to do so. In this, we again come to the crux of the matter — which is the Sharif that India needs to talk to? Nawaz or Raheel (Pak army chief)? Or both? It is anybody’s guess the entire agenda of Pakistani position will be guided by the Pak army. This gets us to the classic catch 22 dilemma — damned if we do, damned if we don’t. Can India talk from a position of strength? Let the policymakers remember one thing clearly-never fear to negotiate, but do not negotiate out of fear.

Third, for those who feel that let Pakistan become a failed state and implode towards doom, a sense of schadenfreude is not the best way to solve this puzzle. Our national interest must be focused at achieving 8% GDP growth. It is the fear of widening gap with India that might have finally compelled the MJC to give its green signal for talks. India has the international support. It has a convincing stand that ‘terror and talks’ cannot happen together. Pakistan’s argument of non-state actors just does not hold water. The US has clearly asked Pakistan to take action against the perpetrators of this attack. France & Japan have condemned this attack without naming Pakistan publicly. If the talks have not taken off, it is singularly because of Pakistan. Realpolitik, not morality governs international relations. To conclude, it is certainly not in India’s national interest to give a push to talks at this juncture; it is Pakistan which is on the back foot. India must seize this opportunity to shame Pakistan internationally and isolate it. This is an opportunity to be seized.


Guru Aiyar is a research scholar with the Takshashila Institution. He tweets at @guruaiyar

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