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November 2006, Vol. 1, No. 2

Dear Colleague,

PerkovichThe Carnegie Endowment for International Peace's South Asia project is proud to announce the launch of South Asian Perspectives. This new e-newsletter will seek to keep policymakers, students, academics and others informed about significant political and economic developments occurring in South Asia and the key policy debates surrounding them. The publication presents selected analysis and opinions from the South Asian media and policy circles. Combined with regular insights from Carnegie scholars, we hope that this initiative will help promote a better understanding of a region that continues to play an increasingly important role in international affairs. While our aim is to provide a balance of views from South Asia, we will also attempt to include views that are not commonly heard in the U.S. media.

We welcome your input in making this publication serve your needs better. Please contact Anirudh Suri (Asuri@CarnegieEndowment.org) or me with any other questions or concerns.

Warm regards,
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George Perkovich
Vice President for Studies–Global Security and Economic Development
Carnegie Endowment


In this issue:
  1. Carnegie Analysis/Events: India-U.S. nuclear deal update; disengaging military from politics in Pakistan; trade, security and emergence of China and India; nuclear Pakistan
  2. Views from South Asia:
    INDIA: India-U.S. nuclear deal; North Korean nuclear test; judiciary vs. executive; re-organization of parliamentary composition; Indian IT industry’s security efforts; economic reforms; energy policy
    PAKISTAN: Elections 2007; dealing with the Taliban and Afghanistan
    BANGLADESH: Domestic politics; president as chief advisor of the caretaker government
    NEPAL: Hopes for a new interim government
    SRI LANKA: Peace talks in Geneva; Supreme Court judgment
  3. In-Depth Analysis: Missile defense in South Asia; U.S.-India nuclear deal; Afghanistan; Pakistan-China economic relations; India’s anti-terrorism efforts; Asia’s future security structure
  4. Feature: India Debates: Special economic zones
  5. Additional Resources: Former Indian Foreign Secretary Shyam Saran speaks on India’s vision for South Asia

 

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Editor's Note

Led by Pranab Mukherjee, the new Foreign Minister, India awaits the approval of the U.S.-India civil nuclear cooperation deal, hoping to become part of the solution—not the problem—on non-proliferation issues. Domestically, Indians vigorously debated the issue of Special Economic Zones (see our Feature section) and the clash between the judiciary and the executive. The issue of free and fair elections in Pakistan in 2007 continues to be discussed, with demands of a truly independent Election Commission and international monitoring. Despite the apparent breakdown of peace talks between the Sri Lankan government and LTTE in Geneva, dialogue might continue. Bangladesh experienced a fresh bout of violence as the president also became the chief advisor to the caretaker government in the run-up to the next general elections, while Nepal slowly inched closer to an interim government including the Maoists.


Anirudh Suri

Editor, South Asian Perspectives

Carnegie Analysis/Events

kimNorth Korea’s Test and Congressional Delay: Implications for the U.S.-India Nuclear Deal by Anirudh Suri



DurraniOn October 17, Carnegie hosted Lt. Gen. (Retd.) Asad Durrani, former Director-General of Pakistan's Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) who spoke on "Disengaging the Military from Politics in Pakistan."

  strategic asiaOn October 19, the Carnegie Endowment co-hosted an event with the National Bureau of Asian Research on “Trade, Security and the Emergence of China and India.”


On October 24, Lt. Gen. Kidwai, head of the Strategic Planning Division in Pakistan’s nuclear establishment, spoke on “Nuclear Pakistan: Perceptions and Reality” and described Pakistan’s nuclear command structure in detail. Presentation slides are expected to be posted on the Pakistani embassy website soon.
Views from South Asia
INDIA

~ Foreign Policy ~ india

U.S.-India Nuclear Deal Update

Brahma Chellaney warns against expending too much political capital on a deal that has already been mired in such exaggerated notions of what it might deliver, stressing that if the deal collapses after a long, distressing roller-coaster ride, embitterment would be its legacy (Asian Age, October 6, 2006).

Bharat Karnad urges India to stick by the demand for NPT status as a weapon power to ensure India’s inclusion in the group that configures a follow-on non-proliferation regime which is bound to come, sooner or later. (Asian Age, October 24, 2006).

North Korean nuclear test
B. Raman argues that nervousness mounts in Pakistan about fresh enquiries by the U.S. that might bring out hitherto unknown (to the international community) information relating to cooperation between Pakistan and North Korea in the nuclear and missile fields (Outlook, October 26, 2006).

nuclear testC. Raja Mohan argues that in the aftermath of the North Korean nuclear test, India “must discard its current tentativeness on combating the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction and join the other great powers in devising new strategies against nuclear proliferation” (Indian Express, October 11, 2006).


~ Domestic Politics ~

Judiciary vs. Executive
Pratap Bhanu Mehta discusses the“face-off” between the judiciary and other branches of government especially in the context of the debate over reservations (Indian Express, October 18, 2006) while explaining in a separate article that Supreme Court judgments are often an attempt to broker a compromise between different principles, competing sources of authority and even readings of currents in society (Indian Express, October 26, 2006).

Harish Khare emphasizes that it is imperative to re-align the judiciary with the same democratic obligations and restraints that are observed by other institutions (Hindu, October 26, 2006).

Re-organization of Parliamentary Composition
K. C. Sivaramakrishnan stresses that in any system based on parliamentary constituencies, the periodic delimitation to maintain the seat-population ratio is critical (Indian Express, October 17, 2006). In a separate article, he argues that increasing the number of MPs, if done fairly and over a period of time rather than abruptly, would mean more and better participatory democracy in India (Times of India).

Harsh Mander disagrees and believes that expanding the number of MPs which would simply reproduce all that is wrong with our political system, at considerable expense to the taxpayer (Times of India).


~ Economics ~

Indian IT Industry
: The Indian IT industry ponders the security of India from a data protection viewpoint
Sucheta Dalal, worried by the questions raised about the quality of India’s IT security, urges the IT industry leaders and its trade bodies like NASSCOM to clean up their act and ensure that dubious companies are not allowed to ride the BPO bandwagon and tarnish India’s image (Financial Express, October 16, 2006).

Kiran Karnik, President of NASSCOM, asserts that India is very secure from a data protection standpoint and reaffirms that the Indian IT industry is keeping all procedures under review in order to make India the “Fort Knox” for data (Hindustan Times, October 15, 2006).

Economic Reforms:
Governance issues seem to be the main hindering block for higher growth prospects
Subir Gokarn expresses pessimism about India’s ability to achieve 10% growth rates based on his assessment of low expectations about reform initiatives and poor governance, suggesting that only rapid easing of bottlenecks and outstanding governance could do the trick (Business Standard, October 23, 2006).

Striking a similar chord, Nirvikar Singh argues that the country’s governance gap continues to be the main problem, while discussing the possible impact of foreign capital inflows, capital account convertibility and the role of the financial sector in infrastructure development (Financial Express, October 12, 2006).

Energy:
N.K. Singh discusses issues of supply management and regulatory oversight in the energy sector in India and demands clarity that would enable the market to reasonably project long-term shifts in fuel prices, thus allowing investors to make decisions on investments (Financial Express, October 7, 2006). Note: This article is the second article in the series. For the first article, click here.


energySudha Mahalingam highlights the pressing need to manage gas markets and advocates that the market should be allowed to discover the gas price through competitive bids and the government should dispense subsidies through the budget in a transparent manner (Economic Times, October 2, 2006).

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PAKISTAN
~ Domestic Politics ~pakistan

Anwar Mooraj, terming the meeting between Nawaz Sharif and Benazir Bhutton in London as significant, urges for a neutral caretaker government and an independent Election Commission to be put in place for the 2007 elections to be free and fair (Dawn, October 30, 2006).

In a similar vein, Kunwar Idris advocates the need for all political parties to come to a consensus about the formation of a neutral interim government in the run-up to the 2007 elections (Dawn, October 22, 2006), while Anwar Syed stresses the need for the U.S. to push for a legitimate government in Pakistan and calls for various networks of groups to monitor the elections (Dawn, October 22, 2006).

~ Foreign Policy ~

Najmuddin A. Shaikh outlines a strategy to deal with the Taliban menace and advises Pakistan to work with Afghanistan and the international community to eliminate this menace using non-military means, including strong economic incentives and greater economic development (Dawn, October 11, 2006).


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BANGLADESH
~ Domestic Politics ~ bangladesh

M. Abdul Latif Mondal highlights the constitutional conundrum presented by the president taking over as the chief advisor to the caretaker government that has been installed in Bangladesh and points out that by exercising his conscience and judgment in the right direction, the president could still save the nascent democracy of the country (Daily Star, October 30, 2006).

Harun-ur-Rashid lays out the road ahead for the president and outlines the critical tasks that he will have to undertake to exhibit neutrality in discharging his duties towards holding peaceful, free, and fair election of the 9th Parliament of the country (Daily Star, October 31, 2006).

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SRI LANKA
~ Domestic Politics and Peace Process ~ sri lanka

Shylashri Shankar argues that the Supreme Court’s opinion that the merger of the Tamil majority north and eastern provinces was invalid will impair the already feeble attempts to draw moderate Tamils into a Sri Lankan nation (Indian Express, October 18, 2006) while N. Sathiya Moorthy suggests that by holding the newer illegal, the Supreme Court may have only forced the LTTE's hand to come clean on violence and war (Daily Mirror, Colombo, October 23, 2006).

Amantha Perera contends that the peace process seems confined to the trash cans as both sides decide to exploit it for tactical advantage, even as they seek consolidation through hostilities on the ground (Outlook India, October 16, 2006, free registration required) while N. Sathiya Moorthy is optimistic that the Sinhalese polity is moving away from the days of "Sinhala Only" to "Sri Lanka First" and argues that both the Sinhalese polity and the Tamil leadership should give each other a sincere chance (Daily Mirror, Colombo, October 15, 2006).


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NEPAL
~ Domestic Politics ~ nepal

Shailendra Kumar Upadhyay supports a referendum to decide the future of the monarchy and recommends letting the UN deal with the issue of arms in order to facilitate the formation of an interim government including the Maoists and allow the country to focus on the polls for the Constituent Assembly. (Himalayan Times, October 31, 2006)

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In-depth Analysis
Ghazala Yasmin studies the implications of Missile Defense in South Asia and argues that Pakistan and China need to make a concerted diplomatic effort to prevent India from acquiring the missile defense systems. Failing this, both China and Pakistan need to calculate the minimum qualitative and quantitative requirements in order to restore the credibility of their nuclear deterrents. (Strategic Studies, XXVI Autumn 2006 Number 3)

Sumit Ganguly
and Dinshaw Mistry argue that if properly implemented, the India-U.S. nuclear deal would recognize the reality of India's nuclear weapons, address India's energy needs without undermining the nonproliferation regime, and considerably strengthen the U.S.-India strategic partnership (Outlook India, October 20, 2006, free registration required).

Syed Adnan Ali Shah analyzes the impact of the internal situation in Afghanistan on its neighboring countries focusing on the ongoing insurgency, poppy cultivation and narco-trade, refugee outflow and the presence of foreign troops in Afghanistan. (Strategic Studies, XXVI Summer 2006 Number 2)

musharref and singhB. Raman analyzes the statements of Indian and Pakistani officials to understand the feasibility of the joint Indo-Pakistan anti-terrorism mechanism in light of the evidence that the Indian government has accumulated pointing towards the ISI’s involvement in the Mumbai blasts. (Outlook India, October 23, 2006, free registration required)

In a series of two articles based on his upcoming book, Brahma Chellaney provides a brief peek into Asia’s future security structure and argues that India and Japan will balance China’s power (Asian Age , October 10, 2006), even though common interests could be the basis for Asian cooperation (Asian Age , October 11, 2006).

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Feature: India Debates
~ Special Economic Zones: To Have or Not to Have? ~

farmerS. Narayan discusses the issues surrounding the subject of Special Economic Zones (SEZs) and recommends formulation of a land use planning and geographic dispersal policy, along with rehabilitation and resettlement measures and a thorough scrutiny of the kinds of industries these SEZs will attract, as a way forward (Financial Express, October 11, 2006).

Venkitesh Ramakrishnan identifies the different stake-holders and their interests in the issue, describing the battle between the Commerce and Finance Ministries and the implications of SEZs for the different industries including the IT-ITES industry (Frontline, vol. 23, Issue 20).

Former Prime Minister V.P. Singh highlights the potential problems posed by the manner in which the concept of SEZs is being operationalized by the UPA government, terming SEZs as a trigger for social unrest (Frontline, vol. 23, Issue 20).

Union Minister of State for Commerce Jairam Ramesh recognizes the fears articulated by different actors but maintains that there is no merit in the argument that the SEZs Act should be scrapped forthwith, suggesting that we should give the SEZs some time to stabilize (Frontline, vol. 23, Issue 20).


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Additional Resources
Shyam SaranIn a speech given to the Indian Council of World Affairs, New Delhi, outgoing Indian Foreign Secretary Shyam Saran spoke about the Indian government’s effort to construct an overarching vision for South Asia, so that India does not deal with its neighbors in an ad-hoc and reactive manner, but in accordance with policies that fit into and promote this larger vision. Click here to read the speech.

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  Editorial Staff

Editor:
Anirudh Suri, junior fellow, South Asia Program, Carnegie Endowment

Associates:
Gretchen Smith, program assistant, South Asia Program, Carnegie Endowment

Carnegie Endowment for International Peace
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