India's defence spending, BJP's policies and U.S.-India defence collaboration and its impact on regional peace

 by Brian Cloughley

South Asia defence analyst and author of ‘A History of the Pakistan Army’

In May 2016, India’s defence minister, Manohar Parrikar, established a committee with the remit to “Recommend Measures to Enhance Combat Capability and Re-balance Defence Expenditure of the Armed Forces”. Its Chairman, Lt Gen (Retd) DB Shekatkar, presented his report last December, and although there has been no public notification of its full content, it is apparent that the committee proposed some measures that if adopted, would save money and modestly improve combat capabilities.

One major recommendation that is unlikely to be adopted, however, is to increase the defence budget to at least 2.5 per cent of GDP from its current 1.6%. It is doubtful that any government in Delhi would be prepared to implement such a significant rise unless the country was actually at war, or about to be so committed.  As has been evident from societal reaction in some NATO countries to President Trump’s insistence that they increase their defence budgets to two per cent of GDP, any diversion of scarce funds from such spheres as education and health can be not only economically sensitive but politically unpopular and socially divisive. 

CITIZEN’S FORUM

 

The Devaluation of Colour

 

by Syahirah Anwar

 

If history has taught us anything, it is that colour matters. The world has seen a long-standing struggle in trying to create colour equality, and one would think that since we are living in the 21st century, we would have moved on from the obsession of what a person’s skin colour is. But that is far from the truth. In fact, we are sadly living in a world where a person’s skin colour determines the value of his or her life.

Back in Islamic history, Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him), in his final sermon, made a poignant statement: “There is no superiority for an Arab over a non-Arab, nor for a non-Arab over an Arab. Neither is the white superior over the black, nor is the black superior over the white — except by piety.” This strong statement shows Islam’s stance against discrimination based on one’s skin colour, but the reality today shows otherwise, both from the non-Muslim and the Muslim world.

SECURITY 

Wake Up Pakistan, Iwt 1960 was an Illusion

by Suleman Najib Khan 

 

The Indus Water Treaty (IWT) signed on 19 September, 1960 was supposed to be a path to peaceful co-operation, good neighborliness and progress. Tragically, we observe that Indian Water Aggression (since 1947) has continued with undiminished intensity. They only toned down their rhetoric after the Treaty but never really abandoned their objective; to steal the waters of the Indus basin till the state of Pakistan, as existing today, would collapse economically. India does not respect any International Water Law, or the rights of a lower riparian. She has virtually stolen the waters of the Chenab (after the treaty). Chenab is one of the three Western rivers flowing through Indian held Kashmir (IHK).

SECURITY 

by Hasan Y. Rizvi

Managing Director at KRATOS – Security Consultants

 

 

KRATOS is a highly specialized safety & security firm dealing primarily in Security Management,

Close Protection and Risk Mitigation Strategy.

 

 

The sight of guards in blue uniforms deployed at residences, offices, banks and other facilities has become commonplace in Pakistan, considering the current security climate and state of affairs. However, what is truly alarming is the lack of ‘quality control’ within the industry itself.

SPORTS 

by Nomaan Qazi

 

Gone are the days when batting used to be a show of only the top six men in the team line-up and the remaining five used to be mere roll-overs. Those were the days of pure cricket when the cricketing royalty ruled and any team around the world on any given day comprised specialist batsmen, a specialist wicket-keeper and specialist bowlers. They were only assigned to do their own particular jobs rather than being asked to hide the shortcomings of their team mates by playing out the roles they didn’t specialize in.

 As the game has developed, the perception of the game has completely transformed. With more formats coming up cricket has increased the world over. Franchise T-20 league cricket is very much on the rise in most parts of the cricketing world and obviously that shortened form of cricket creates high demands from all eleven men of a team to contribute with the bat. This aspect has arguably converted the various pure tail-enders in to men who can hang in there and make a somewhat sizeable contribution.

CITIZEN’S FORUM  

by Asmatullah Niazi

 

Over the past few years, Karachi often makes the news for all the wrong reasons - violent crimes, riots, chaos, shootings, murder, kidnapping, terrorism and more. But that was not always the case of this beautiful seaport city that lies strategically on the Arabian Sea.

After Pakistan’s independence in 1947, Karachi became the nation’s first capital, and it served very well as the country’s capital. Compared to the other areas of Pakistan, Karachi was considered to be relatively peaceful, and it quickly became home to many Muhajirs who were escaping from the anti-Muslim sentiments that was evident in India.

At that point in history, Karachi was known to be a welcoming city, which was ready to embrace immigrants from diverse community. The differences were being celebrated, unlike today, where it has become one of the many causes for divide.

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