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India vs Pakistan: Why Cant We Just be Friends? Paperback – 7 Jun 2016

3.9 out of 5 stars 46 customer reviews

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Product description

About the Author

A former Pakistani ambassador to the US, Husain Haqqani has also been a journalist, academic and advisor to four Pakistani prime ministers, including Benazir Bhutto. He is the author of Pakistan between Mosque and Military and Magnificent Delusions: US, Pakistan and an Epic History of Understanding. He is currently Director for South and Central Asia at the Hudson Institute in Washington D.C.

From the Publisher

Question In March 2016, Pakistan’s national security adviser shared intelligence with his Indian counterpart about a plot by Pakistani terrorists to attack Shivaratri celebrations in Gujarat. Indian diplomats believe this gesture was motivated by the Pakistani government’s attempt to preempt a potential crisis in bilateral relations, and not by concern for possible Indian casualties. What are your thoughts on this?
Answer Husain Haqqani: Pakistan’s decision to share intelligence was likely a tactical one and related to Indian and American pressure following January’s terrorist attacks on the Pathankot Air Force base in Indian Punjab. I doubt it represented a strategic shift away from support for Jihadi groups. India had cancelled scheduled talks in response to the attack and Pakistan’s Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif was eager to resume dialogue. That it reflected genuine concern for possible Indian casualties was less likely. An immediate benefit of that move has manifested in the statement by the Indian National Investigation Agency chief Sharad Kumar who has said India has yet to find evidence to establish the complicity of Pakistan government and its official agencies in the Pathankot terror attack.
Question You mention in the book that the intelligence sharing between Indian and Pakistani agencies first started in 2003, when the two sides begun meeting secretly to reduce terrorism across the Line of Control in Jammu and Kashmir. Despite these ongoing efforts by the two countries to intercept terrorists, the 26/11 attacks in Mumbai could not be prevented. Why did this happen?
Answer Husain Haqqani: Indian and Pakistani intelligence agencies have sporadically shared intelligence, going back to 1987 –something I point out in my book. Yet the fact is, the ISI and RAW simply do not trust each other enough for the two intelligence services to consistently exchange intelligence about likely terrorist attacks. In the ISI’s worldview, RAW caused Pakistan’s break-up in 1971 by supporting Bengali nationalists, and wants to repeat its success in Sindh, Balochistan and Khyber-Pashtunkhwa. For RAW, it is the ISI’s repeated use of terrorism and its efforts to encircle India through covert operations in neighboring countries that perpetuates the India-Pakistan conflict. Both agencies have played ‘Spy versus Spy’ for several decades. India has alternated between engaging Pakistan and trying to ‘name and shame’ it internationally as a terrorism incubator. The length and depth of engagement through talks has not been enough to reassure Pakistan that India does not mean harm. India’s attempts to isolate Pakistan have only aggravated Pakistan’s fears about Indian conspiracies. The result is exacerbation of irregular warfare, without raising the international cost of that strategy to levels that Pakistan might not be able to sustain. The engagement and intelligence sharing has to be sustained, not sporadic, for it to bring long-term positive results and shutting down of terrorism on a permanent basis.
Question What in your opinion is the biggest impendent to establishing sustained cooperation between the two countries?
Answer Husain Haqqani: India and Pakistan see each other through the lens of partition. Sixty-nine years and four wars later, the two countries are either engaged in direct hostilities or embroiled in a cold war. Normal diplomatic relations cannot exist amidst deep psychological scars and suspicions. India-Pakistan talks start and get derailed, often only to be resumed with much fanfare until the next round of terrorist attacks, accusations, and cancellation or postponement of talks. Seven decades of separation have created issues and bred psychoses that make it difficult for most people to even remember the unities of the preceding centuries. Once Indians and Pakistanis start dealing more with each other their similarities could re-emerge and the contrived animosities could begin to diminish. The chances of that happening appear slim at the moment. India and Pakistan are unlikely to open their borders to each other while they suspect the other of being bent on destroying them. Students, businessmen, doctors and patients, even musicians and artists, are all seen at the moment as potential spies and even potential terrorists. For a new India-Pakistan relationship, Pakistanis would have to give up Jihadi fantasies while Indians will have to stop their regression into communal fervor.
Question What do you think are some of the challenges the Pakistani government faces when intercepting terrorists activities by homegrown organization, both within and outside its borders?
Answer Husain Haqqani: The key challenge is of changing a narrative where jihadis are seen as equalizers in an eternal conflict with a much larger India that is perceived as an existential threat to Pakistan. In Pakistan’s strategic thinking, the idea of using irregular warfare as an equalizer against a much larger India dates back to 1948. Over time, the idea of irregular warfare has been gradually expanded to include support for various insurgencies and terrorist attacks. The doctrine received a shot in the arm during the 1980s, when the United States decided to bleed the Soviet Union in Afghanistan by supporting Pakistan-based mujahideen. Pakistan adopted terrorism as a low-cost means of bleeding India. The expansion of Jihad, however, has disrupted Pakistani society. Many Pakistanis realize that the country’s embrace of terrorism as strategy has rebounded; it endangers the lives of Pakistanis, engenders lawlessness and makes Pakistan a potential international pariah. Still, Pakistan’s generals remain fundamentally wedded to the idea of irregular warfare. Pakistan still has an unfinished strategic agenda in Afghanistan and Kashmir and, given its lack of military and economic strength, irregular warfare with the help of Islamists remains, in the generals’ view, a cheap and easy option.
Question Why did the Pakistani government not prosecuted those accused in the 26/11 attacks?
Answer Husain Haqqani: The last two civilian-led governments in Pakistan have attempted to push back against terrorism as they seek to build better ties with India. The Zardari-Gilani led-PPP government arrested Lashkar e Taiba terrorists involved in the 26/11 attacks including mastermind Zaki ur Rehman Lakhvi. However, prosecution is difficult in a system where jihadis, especially those targeting India, are seen as ‘the good guys’ fighting India. Further, Pakistan’s military-intelligence establishment still remains fundamentally wedded to the idea of irregular warfare as a cheap and easy option to ‘bleed India’ in order to achieve its unfinished strategic agenda in Afghanistan and Kashmir.
Question What are focusing on in your current role as the Director for South and Central Asia at the Hudson Institute in Washington DC?
Answer Husain Haqqani: I am currently working on my next book, ‘Reimagining Pakistan’ along with overseeing a number of research projects on India’s potential role as a major power, stability and democracy in South and Central Asia and US policy towards the region. I am also working on a larger study on the state of the Muslim world, a dream project of mine for some years now. It is one of those projects that germinates over a long time before being completed.
Question Do share with us one of your fond memories of being a diplomat.
Answer Husain Haqqani: There are many, ranging from discussing baseball with President Bush in the oval office to talking about cooking daal and qeema with President Obama. I was never fascinated by protocol and was always interested in people and policy more. Hosting schoolchildren at the embassy for a ‘Seeds of Peace’ event or hosting a qawwali evening was more fun for me than the cocktail party circuit.
Question Tell us about your favorite place in Pakistan.
Answer Husain Haqqani: I was born and raised in Karachi and Karachi remains my favorite city. I did not grow up rich but enjoyed Karachi’s egalitarianism and cosmopolitanism at the time when I grew up. It is a city dominated by ethnic Muhajirs, like myself, but it speaks many languages, serves and eats many types of cuisines and is home to several different religions. I like diversity and Karachi is Pakistan’s most diverse city in every conceivable way.
Question What are you reading right now?
Answer Husain Haqqani: I am currently reading Matt Ridley’s ‘The Rational Optimist –How Prosperity Evolves.’ Ridley makes one realize how, notwithstanding the dominance of bad news in the media, life is getting better for most human beings around the world.

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Product details

  • Paperback: 200 pages
  • Publisher: Juggernaut; Latest edition (7 June 2016)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 8193237250
  • ISBN-13: 978-8193237250
  • Product Dimensions: 20.1 x 1.5 x 14 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars 46 customer reviews
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #4,645 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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