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Showing posts from August, 2022

Indian Diplomat Sharat Sabharwal on Pakistan's "Resilience", "Strategic" CPEC, China-Pakistan "Nexus"

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Retired Indian diplomat Sharat Sabharwal in his recently published book "India's Pakistan Conundrum"  disabuses his fellow Indians of the notion that Pakistan is about to  collapse . He faithfully parrots the familiar Indian tropes about Pakistani Army and accuses it of sponsoring "cross-border terrorism". He also writes that "Pakistan has shown remarkable resilience in the face of adversity".  "Pakistan is neither a failed state nor one about to fail", he adds. He sees "limitations on India’s ability to inflict a decisive blow on Pakistan through military means". The best option for New Delhi, he argues, is to engage with Pakistan  diplomatically . In an obvious message to India's hawkish Hindu Nationalist Prime Minister Narendra Modi, he warns: "Absence of dialogue and diplomacy between the two countries carries the risk of an unintended flare-up". Ambassador Sabharwal served as Indian High Commissioner to Pakistan f

PEACE Cable: Pakistan's Tenth High Bandwidth Submarine Cable Ready to Go Live

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Pakistan and East Africa Connecting Europe (PEACE) cable, a  96 TBPS (terabits per second), 15,000 km long submarine cable, is now ready for service. This brings to 10 the total number of  submarine  cables currently connecting or planned to connect Pakistan with the world: TransWorld1, Africa1 (2023), 2Africa (2023), AAE1, PEACE,  SeaMeWe3, SeaMeWe4, SeaMeWe5, SeaMeWe6 (2025) and IMEWE. PEACE cable has two landing stations in Pakistan: Karachi and Gwadar. SeaMeWe stands for Southeast Asia Middle East Western Europe, while IMEWE is India Middle East Western Europe and AAE1 Asia Africa Europe 1.  PEACE Cable. Source: Cybernet PEACE is a privately owned submarine cable that originates in Karachi,  Pakistan  and runs underwater all the way to Marseilles, France via multiple points in the continent of Africa.  It is being built as part of the Digital  Silk Road  sponsored by  China . Cybernet is the local landing and global connectivity partner of  PEACE Cable  System in Pakistan. It is de

Stimson Poll: Vast Majority of Indians Believe Nuclear War Against Pakistan is Winnable

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Vast majority of Indians, including those who oppose Prime Minister Narendra Modi, believe that nuclear war is "winnable", according to the results of a  Stimson Center  poll released recently. They want their country to build a bigger nuclear arsenal than China and  Pakistan  combined.  Responding to the clamor for more nukes,  Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi said in 2019 that Indian nuclear weapons were not kept as mere showpieces.  Strong belief about India's ability to win a nuclear war against Pakistan cuts across party lines with 91% of those who support Mr. Modi and 85% of those who don't.  Recently, a group of researchers at  Rutgers University  considered a hypothetical nuclear conflict between India and Pakistan as they believed such a conflict was the most likely. The group warned that an India-Pakistan nuclear exchange will be catastrophic for the region with tens of millions of immediate fatalities in the war zone, followed by hundreds of millions of

Have Deadly Monsoon Floods Replenished Groundwater to End Long Drought in Pakistan?

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Pakistan has seen unprecedented rains followed by massive  floods  in the current monsoon season. Hundreds of people have lost their lives and tens of thousands have been rendered homeless. After the unfolding of the tragedy, it's now time for renewal. New green shoots are sprouting in  Thar desert , indicating the end of the long-running drought in Pakistan. The large Indus Basin aquifer has been significantly recharged. Groundwater has been replenished to a large extent for many years to come, raising hopes for more water for growing crops and raising livestock.   Sunset in Lush Green Thar Desert After Monsoon 2022. Credit: Emmanuel Guddu Greening of Thar Desert in Sindh, Pakistan. Source: Emmanuel Guddu The heavy monsoon rains will help to kick-start the sowing of major  Kharif (autumn) crops  including rice, cotton, sugarcane and corn after about a month's delay.  “There was 40% less water available for the Kharif season (during May-June 2022),” an official of the Ministry

Pakistan At 75: Highlights of Economic and Demographic Progress Since Independence

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Pakistan is a young nation with a lot of unrealized potential. As the country turns 75, it is important to recognize that all basic indicators of progress such as income, employment, education, health, nutrition, electricity use, telecommunications and transportation have shown significant improvements over the last seven and a half decades. These improvements can be accelerated if Pakistan can overcome its economic  growth constraints  from recurring balance of payments crises such as the one it is experiencing now. The only way to do it is through rapid expansion of exports and major reductions in reliance on imports such as  fossil fuels  and  cooking oil .  Income/GDP Growth: Economic Survey of Pakistan 2021-22 confirms that the nation's GDP grew nearly 6% in fiscal year 2021-22, reaching  $1.62 Trillion  in terms of purchasing power parity (PPP). It first crossed the trillion dollar mark in 2017. In nominal US$ terms, the size of Pakistan's economy is now $383 billion. The

Nehru's Secularism Was An Aberration; Modi's Islamophobia is the Norm For India

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As India and Pakistan turn 75, there are many secular intellectuals on both sides of the border who question the wisdom of "the Partition" in 1947. They dismiss what is happening in India today under Hindu Nationalist Prime Minister Narendra Modi's leadership as a temporary aberration, not the norm. They long for a return to "Indian liberalism" which according to anthropologist  Sanjay Srivastava  "did not exist".  India Pakistan Border Ceremony at Wagah-Attari Crossing American historian  Audrey Truschke  who studies India traces the early origins of Hindu Nationalism to the British colonial project to "divide and rule" the South Asian subcontinent. She says colonial-era British historians deliberately distorted the history of Indian Muslim rule to vilify Muslim rulers as part of the British policy to divide and conquer India. These misrepresentations of Muslim rule made during the British Raj appear to have been accepted as fact not just by

Remembering Salam Qureishi (1936-2022): A Pillar of Silicon Valley's Muslim Community

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Abdus Salam Qureishi, a successful technology entrepreneur and philanthropist, passed away last Saturday, August 6, 2022. He was 86. Inna lillahi wa inna ilayhi raji’un(‏ إنَّا لِلَّهِ وَإِنَّا إِلَيْهِ رَاجِعُونَ ‏). He was a pillar of the Muslim community in Silicon Valley. Qureishi rose from humble origins in the Indian city of Aligarh and became very successful in the United States. He was very generous with his time and money in supporting the community. He helped build several Muslim community centers in San Francisco Bay Area.  He also invested in companies started by young Muslim entrepreneurs. I had the privilege of meeting him on many occasions while he was still very active in the decades of 1980s and 1990s. He and his wife came to our house for dinner and Yasmeen and I were invited by him for a private dinner with him and his wife at his house in Palo Alto, California.   Abdus Salam Qureishi (1936-2022) Qureishi was born in a poor family in Singahi village in the Indian sta

Pakistan Plans to Convert Coal-Fired Power Plants to Burn Domestic Thar Lignite

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With a new 330 MW mine-mouth coal-fired power plant in Tharparkar, Pakistan has now reached 990 MW of power fueled by the local lignite. Thar coal production is being expanded and plans are in place to convert three more imported anthracite coal fired plants to burn domestic lignite as soon as its production is expanded and a rail link is completed to transport the fuel to the rest of the country. Plans call for using Thar coal in three coal-fired plants currently burning imported coal: Sahiwal Coal Power, China Hub Coal Power and Port Qasim Coal, each of 1,320MW installed capacity. These power plants may require some limited equipment changes to burn domestic lignite. It is worth noting that Pakistan contributes less than 1% of the global greenhouse-gas emissions. Using the higher polluting domestic Thar lignite is crucial to Pakistan's desperate need for cheap energy to spur industrialization for economic growth without running into recurring  balance of payments  crises.  Pakist