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Showing posts from March, 2018

India-Pakistan Nuclear Arms Race

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Why has Pakistan developed and successfully tested nuclear-capable MIRV (Multiple Independent Re-entry Vehicles) and SLCM (Submarine Launched Cruise Missile)? How do these additions to Pakistan's nuclear arsenal enhance its nuclear deterrence against India? Was Pakistan forced into these technologies by India's development of anti-ballistic missiles and nuclear triad? How will India respond to these developments? Does India have multiple warhead missiles under development?

Why has Pakistan developed tactical nuclear weapons like short-range Nasr missile? Can't Pakistan use its conventional armed forces to effectively deter India's plans under its Cold Start Doctrine (CSD)? What is Pakistan's New Concept of War Fighting (NCWF) Doctrine? Would Pakistan be able to mobilize its conventional forces rapidly? Would Pakistan army, air force and navy be able to coordinate their response under NCWF Doctrine?

Why is India waging a proxy terror war in Pakistan? Why does wester…

Fast Moving Consumer Goods (FMCG) Boom in Pakistan's $152 Billion Retail Market

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Surging demand for fast moving consumer goods (FMCG) in Pakistan is attracting hundreds of millions of dollars of new investments. Expanding middle class, particularly millennials with rising disposable incomes, is demanding branded and packaged consumer goods ranging from personal and baby care items to food and beverage products.  Rapid growth in sales of consumer products and services is driving other sectors, including retail, e-commerce, paper and packaging, advertising, media, sports and entertainment. Planet Retail estimates Pakistan's current retail market size at $152 billion. It is forecast to expand 8.2% a year through 2016-2021 as average disposable income has doubled since 2010, according to research group Euromonitor International as reported by Bloomberg News.

New FMCG Investments:

Dutch consumer giant Unilever has announced plans to invest $120 million to expand its operations in Pakistan. Turkish multinational Hayat Kimya has said it will invest $150 million to man…

New US NSC Impact on South Asia; US-China Trade War; Afghan Talks Offer

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Why were Secretary of State Rex Tillerson and National Security Advisor General HR McMaster fired? Why is there so much turnover is US National Security Council and White House staff? How will the selection of Mike Pompeo as Secretary of State and John Bolton as National Security Advisor impact policies vis-a-vis Afghanistan, India, Pakistan, Iran and North Korea? Will pressure on Pakistan ease? Is US military action against Iran more likely? Will the situation in Middle East further deteriorate?



Why has President Trump imposed heavy tariffs on Chinese imports? Will China retaliate with its own tariffs on US products? Will there be a trade war? Will it hurt global financial markets? How will it impact US, Chinese and other major economies? Could it spark a global recession?

Why has Afghan President Ashraf Ghani invited the Taliban for talks? Does Pakistan have any influence on the Taliban? Will the Taliban accept the invitation?

 Viewpoint From Overseas host Faraz Darvesh discusses th…

Bumper Crops And Soaring Credit Drive Pakistan's Tractor Sales Boom

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First seven months of the current fiscal year have seen tractor sales soar 45% to 38,173 units, according to data of the Pakistan Automotive Manufacturers Association. It is driven by a combination of soaring credit availability and bumper harvests of Pakistan's top three crops by area: wheat, cotton and rice.

Tractor Sales:

First seven months of the current fiscal year have seen tractor sales soar 45% to 38,173 units, according to data of the Pakistan Automotive Manufacturers Association. This is good news for Pakistan's tractor industry that has been in slump for several years as the agriculture output was stagnant.

Pakistani farmers use tractors for a variety of usual tasks ranging from tilling and planting to harvest and transport. Tractor owners recover their costs from more efficiently working their farms and renting out equipment when they are not in their own use.

Agriculture Credit Growth:

Pakistani banks provided Rs 500 billion (nearly $5 billion) worth of agricultural…

Pakistan Day: The Other 99% of the Pakistan Story

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As Pakistanis celebrate the 78th anniversary of the Lahore Resolution of 1940 on March 23 this year, it's time to ask the following questions: How is Pakistan doing? What is the reality? How is it perceived?

The worst 1% of the Pakistan story gets 99% of the media coverage, says Lahore-based Pakistani entrepreneur Monis Rahman. In the same vein, former US President Bill Clinton has said this about the media coverage of the continent of Africa: "Follow the trend lines, not the headlines".

So what is the other 99% of the Pakistan story that gets little or no media attention? What are the trend lines that are missed by those just relying on the headlines? Let's try and enumerate these:

1. Pakistan's economy has crossed the trillion dollar mark in terms of purchasing power, according to the IMF. It is among the world's top 25 largest economies. It is also the world's third fastest growing among the trillion dollar plus economies.

2. Pakistanis have consistent…

World Happiness Report 2018: Pakistan Jumps 5 Places to 75 Among 156 Nations

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Pakistanis are happier than all of their neighbors, according to the World Happiness Report 2018. Pakistan rose from 80th place in 2017 to 75th place this year while all of its neighbors slid from last year's happiness rankings.

Comparison With Neighbors:

Bangladesh dropped 5 spots to 115 while India slid 11 places to 133 among 156 nations ranked.  China (86), Bhutan (97), Iran (106), Bangladesh (115), and Sri Lanka (116), India (133) and Afghanistan (145) all fared worse than Pakistan (75).

The United Nations' Sustainable Development Solutions Network’s (SDSN) 2018 World Happiness Report has ranked 156 countries based on criteria including per capita income, social support, healthy life expectancy, social freedom, generosity and absence of corruption.

The top of the happiness list is dominated by Western Europeans and North Americans while the bottom-ranked nations are mainly from sub-Saharan Africa.

Foreign-Born Residents:

The report ranks nations by happiness of immigrants in…

Globalization Index: How Connected is Pakistan?

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Pakistan ranks 32nd in breadth and 99th overall among 140 countries in terms of globalization, according to DHL Global Connectedness Index compiled by professors at NYU Stern School of Business and IESE Business School. Pakistan ranks 137 on depth and 32 on breadth among 140 countries as measured in 2015.  Pakistan's neighbor India ranks 133 on depth and 21 on breadth. The report blames relatively higher breadth than depth on poor levels of regional integration, depressed in particular by the animosity between South Asia’s two largest economies, India and Pakistan.

Four Pillars of Globalization: 

The index is based on international flows of trade, capital, information and people. The index measures the parameters on depth and breadth. Depth evaluates the extent to which countries' international flows are distributed globally or more narrowly focused, while breadth compares countries' international flows to the sizes of their domestic economies.

Pakistan ranks 137 on depth a…

Pakistani Military's Conventional Deterrence Against India's Cold Start Doctrine

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It is widely assumed that India enjoys substantial conventional military superiority over Pakistan. Many speculate that the difference between the conventional military strengths of the two South Asian rivals is so great that Pakistan would be forced to quickly resort to the use of nuclear weapons in the event of an Indian attack. Are these assumptions and speculations accurate? How has the situation evolved since the nations went nuclear in 1998? Are nukes Pakistan's only deterrence against Indian aggression? Let's examine the answers to these questions based on the recent work of several analysts and authors.

India-Pakistan Standoff 2001-2002:

Soon after the September 11, 2001 attacks in the United States, there was an incident with several gunmen entering the Indian parliament building and killing 14 people on December 13, 2001. India immediately accused Pakistan of involvement in the attack and vowed to respond militarily. Pakistan categorically denied India's accusatio…

Is Pakistan's Global Diplomacy Working?

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Diplomacy underlies all ties between nations. Diplomatic relations form the basis of travel, trade and investment between countries. The probability of armed conflict increases in the absence of diplomacy. In light of the recent failure to keep Pakistan off the terror financing watch list, the following question is being asked by political commentators and pundits: Is Pakistan's diplomacy working? To begin to answer this question, let's first look at where Pakistan ranks on Lowy Diplomacy Index. The 2017 Lowy Institute's Global Diplomacy Index visualizes the diplomatic networks of 60 G20, OECD and Asian nations, allowing users to view and compare some of the most significant diplomatic networks in the world.

Lowy Institute Data:

Pakistan has 116 diplomatic missions around the world. This figure includes 85 embassies, 29 consulates and 2 permanent missions. Pakistan ranks 27th among 60 countries ranked by Lowy. It ranks 7th in Asia .

Pakistan's arch-rival India has 181 m…

Pakistan is the World's Fastest Growing Steel Producer

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Steel production in Pakistan jumped 39.3% to 5 million tons last year, according to World Steel Association. Earlier, Pakistan steel industry ramped up its output from 2.9 million tons in 2015 to 3.6 million tons in 2016.

While Pakistan's steel production growth is the world's fastest,  its relatively small steel production volume of 5 million tons ranks it 28th in the world. Other nations seeing strong growth in steel production are Iran (up 21.4%), Vietnam ( 31.9%) and Egypt (35%).   Iran ranks 13th with 21.7 million tons; Vietnam ranks 19th with 10.3 million tons; Egypt ranks 23rd with 6.8 million tons produced in 2017.

Some of the key names ramping up production capacity in Pakistan are Aisha Steel Mill (ASM),  Amreli Steels and Agha Steel Industries.

ASM, an Arif Habib Group company, is planning to expand capacity to a total of 700,000 tons a year from its current capacity of 220,000 tons.

Amreli Steels Limited, country’s leading steelmaker has announced plans to increase…