Friday 6 September 2002

The Eagle Spreads its Wings (UPI)

M.D. Nalapat

MANIPAL, India, Sept. 6 (UPI) -- Since partial economic liberalization freed the Indian economy from the "Nehru" rate of growth -- 2 percent -- India has escaped from the South Asia box designed for it by China and its former Cold War adversary, the United States.
At the same time, Pakistan, with a real economy nine times smaller, is no longer able to generate enough torque to pin India down through sub-continental squabbles.
In the early 1990s, Kashmir represented around 50 percent of India's security problems. Today, that share of the Pakistani army's project has dipped to 20 percent.
China, insurgent bases in Myanmar, Bhutan and Bangladesh and the danger of proliferating Hindu and Muslim extremist groups has overtaken that unhappy vale, while the Pakistani military establishment appears determined to battle India to the last Kashmiri.
This freedom from fear of defeat in Kashmir has led what I describe as the Indian strategic eagle to spread its wings.
Geopolitically, India approximates an eagle with its torso over the country, one wing-stretching out toward the Middle East and Central Asia and the other positioned over Southeast Asia.
One talon is grounded in southern Africa, while the other locates itself in prospective partner Indonesia.
The head of the eagle is turned toward Tibet and Yunnan, two Chinese provinces with significant past and future cultural and economic synergy with India. 
That eagle is now spreading its wings.

Tuesday 3 September 2002

Indo-Pakistan Nuclear Myth (UPI)

M.D. Nalapat

MANIPAL, India, Aug. 31 (UPI) -- Since the mid-1980s, there has been a vigorous campaign by academics in the United States and Europe to say that a "high" risk of nuclear war exists between Pakistan and India. Most of these scholars are "South Asia experts", a school formed in the crucible of the Cold War, when Soviet-allied India ranged itself politically against the United States, while Pakistan did the opposite, as did post-Deng China.
Since the beginning of economic liberalization in the mid-1990s, the rate of economic growth in India has risen from 2 percent during the Jawaharlal Nehru period to nearly 9 percent under Narasimha Rao.
Today, because of the inefficiency of the Vajpayee government, the rate of growth has fallen to 5 percent. India can easily achieve a double-digit growth rate, given a better government.
During 2001 several conferences on international investment pointed out that India was emerging as a better investment destination than China.
The reasons given were that: 1 -- more than 200 million Indians spoke English; 2 -- the country was a democracy with a Western legal and educational system; and 3 -- culturally the Indian people belonged to the same Indo-European family as the West.
The fact is that investment into India began to increase, from $1 billion five years ago to nearly $4 billion now. This is still far below China's huge totals, collectively estimated at $300 billion.