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Modi, media, military a dangerous combination

Bollywood has a strange effect of taking you away from reality and that is exactly what sells in a country of 1.4 billion people. Unfortunately, in the electioneering season it can also cloud the judgement of beleaguered political leaders.
What follows for the next three weeks is a classic example of falling prey to deceitful narratives, built on flawed intelligence information.It is here that the role of the Indian media in fanning war hysteria comes in. If the spin doctors could embroil the US and the West in Iraq and countless other conflicts, why couldn’t this be done in India? With over 400 TV channels and 200 million whatsApp users, the world’s largest, this was easy.
To justify military action, a new terminology of non-military pre-emptive strikes’ was coined.While the air incursion had all the elements of copying the US- Israeli airpower model used against benign victims, the Indians ignored Pakistan’s resolve and military potential.The Indian Air force tasked to boost Mr Modis vote-bank must have put in their Tom Cruises in their best machines, to undertake the task of eliminating battle-hardened terrorists. How the incursion was executed and where the bombs were ultimately thrown is another story.
Of consequence is how the Pakistan Air Force clinically struck back. Taking on six targets, shooting down two aircraft and capturing one pilot is a rare feat and an embarrassment which will haunt the IAF for decades.Meanwhile, sensing a nuclear showdown, the world powers which had edged India pulled back to their own agendas; the Trump-Kim summit, Brexit, Venezuela and so on. The release of the Indian pilot and calls for talks by the Pakistani Prime minister have fallen on deaf ears.
With the BJP chief Amit Shah asking people to vote for Modi, a mere eight hours after the Jaba fiasco, the realisation of a plot has finally dawned on the Indian opposition. The media-bollywood hypnotized public is slowly waking up to reality.As Modi bemoans for the Rafale machines, it is clear that a semblance of sanity has crept in. It is now an Indian battle of the sane voices versus the insane.The sane club is appalled at the combined failure of the strong Indian political and military systems, and calls for reappraisal and restraint. It is bewildered at the brazen use of military might for political gains.The ordinary Indian realizes that without a resolution of the Kashmir issue the region will remain embroiled in a brutal circle of violence. It yearns for the Gandhi, Nehru and later, Mother Teresa era, when India had some character.
The non-aligned movement, support for the Palestinians were at least a semblance of Indian balance and a just and righteous image.The sanity propagators are also deeply concerned about the rise of Hindutva doctrine, the slow painful death of Indian secularism and the perils of playing around with Pakistan’s deterrence regime.They recognise gains of an engagement strategy with Pakistan and understand that the only way forward is to coexist in harmony. It is only then that the potential of seemingly endless possibilities of prospering together, sharing benefits of mutual trade and energy with Afghanistan and Central Asia can be realised.
The insane club led by Modi, media and the military is sluggishly coming out of stunned disbelief. They very well know that the world supports India for its money, and not for its principles.
It’s already put the contingency plan in motion. The events have not gone as portrayed in the movies.It’s time for the media wizards to sound the victory mantra on every event. Spin a web of lies and deceit.Consequently, the fantasy of Abhinandan’ the hero, who shot an F-16; in reality, the poor guy didn’t know what hit him. The assumption that Pakistan is down on its knees, India must get new intel capabilities and weapons ASAP.
Get Rafale’s or whatever from the experienced Israelis to exact revenge, accelerate the covert operations and hybrid war in Pakistan, isolate it internationally, and if all else fails, plan another Pulwama to settle scores.With dreams of Indian grandeur, it is the insane group currently in majority which worries Pakistan.After Pulwama, the BJP under a struggling Modi is deaf, dumb and blind. A very thin line separates the regimes policies from active coercive terrorism.Practically, with no international condemnation for its actions, it feels emboldened to go a step further.This would again be a serious miscalculation.
But then again it’s a forty- day Indian style election season. Under the circumstances, who so ever wins the contest has implications not only for the region alone but also for the world? In the meantime, it would be prudent to keep Mr Modi away from the movies.The writer is director of policy and doctrine at the Centre for Aerospace and Security Studies. He can be reached at The 14th February Pulwama incident handling reflects the implausible chain of events, which has ensnared the Indian government in a dangerous vicious cycle.What follows for the next three weeks is a classic example of falling prey to deceitful narratives, built on flawed intelligence information. It is here that the role of the Indian media in fanning war hysteria comes in.
If the spin doctors could embroil the US and the West in Iraq and countless other conflicts, why couldn’t this be done in India? With over 400 TV channels and 200 million whatsApp users, the world’s largest, this was easy. To justify military action, a new terminology of ‘non-military pre-emptive strikes’ was coined.
While the air incursion had all the elements of copying the US- Israeli airpower model used against benign victims, the Indians ignored Pakistan’s resolve and military potential. The Indian Air force tasked to boost Mr Modis vote-bank must have put in their Tom Cruises in their best machines, to undertake the task of eliminating battle-hardened terrorists.How the incursion was executed and where the bombs were ultimately thrown is another story. Of consequence is how the Pakistan Air Force clinically struck back.Taking on six targets, shooting down two aircraft and capturing one pilot is a rare feat and an embarrassment which will haunt the IAF for decades.Meanwhile, sensing a nuclear showdown, the world powers which had edged India pulled back to their own agendas; the Trump-Kim summit, Brexit, Venezuela and so on.
The release of the Indian pilot and calls for talks by the Pakistani Prime minister have fallen on deaf ears. With the BJP chief Amit Shah asking people to vote for Modi, a mere eight hours after the Jaba fiasco, the realisation of a plot has finally dawned on the Indian opposition.The media-bollywood hypnotized public is slowly waking up to reality. As Modi bemoans for the Rafale machines, it is clear that a semblance of sanity has crept in.
It is now an Indian battle of the sane voices versus the insane.The sane club is appalled at the combined failure of the strong Indian political and military systems, and calls for reappraisal and restraint.It is bewildered at the brazen use of military might for political gains. The ordinary Indian realizes that without a resolution of the Kashmir issue the region will remain embroiled in a brutal circle of violence.It yearns for the Gandhi, Nehru and later, Mother Teresa era, when India had some character. The non-aligned movement, support for the Palestinians were at least a semblance of Indian balance and a just and righteous image.
The sanity propagators are also deeply concerned about the rise of Hindutva doctrine, the slow painful death of Indian secularism and the perils of playing around with Pakistan’s deterrence regime. They recognise gains of an engagement strategy with Pakistan and understand that the only way forward is to coexist in harmony.
It is only then that the potential of seemingly endless possibilities of prospering together, sharing benefits of mutual trade and energy with Afghanistan and Central Asia can be realised.The insane club led by Modi, media and the military is sluggishly coming out of stunned disbelief.
They very well know that the world supports India for its money, and not for its principles. It’s already put the contingency plan in motion.The events have not gone as portrayed in the movies. It’s time for the media wizards to sound the victory mantra on every event.Spin a web of lies and deceit. Consequently, the fantasy of ‘Abhinandan’ the hero, who shot an F-16; in reality, the poor guy didn’t know what hit him.The assumption that Pakistan is down on its knees, India must get new intel capabilities and weapons ASAP. Get Rafale’s or whatever from the experienced Israelis to exact revenge, accelerate the covert operations and hybrid war in Pakistan, isolate it internationally, and if all else fails, plan another Pulwama to settle scores.With dreams of Indian grandeur, it is the insane group currently in majority which worries Pakistan. After Pulwama, the BJP under a struggling Modi is deaf, dumb and blind.A very thin line separates the regimes policies from active coercive terrorism. Practically, with no international condemnation for its actions, it feels emboldened to go a step further.This would again be a serious miscalculation. But then again it’s a forty- day Indian style election season.

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Pakistan will not attend OIC moot: FM Qureshi

India’s External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj is invited to the OIC moot as a guest of honour despite strong protest from Pakistan.

India’s External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj is invited to the OIC moot as a guest of honour despite strong protest from Pakistan. FM Qureshi informed the lawmakers that did not attend the conference in UAE in protest.The invitation was sent without consultation. Hence, I have decided to not attend the session, he told the Parliament.The foreign minister also wrote a letter addressed to the OIC content of which was approved by the members of the Lower House and political parties.India is not a member of the OIC, he asserted and added that Ankara and Tehran were also displeased over extending an invitation to New Delhi.Qureshi, briefing the parliament on his conversation with United Arab Emirates Crown Prince Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, said: He said the invitation was extended before the Pulwama attack. But the crown prince showed the willingness to rethink the decision.
We have a total of 19 resolutions at the OIC – all include human rights violations committed by the Indian occupying forces in the disputed valley. Our stance will be presented at the conference by  officials from the foreign ministry.”“Any bid to grant observer’s status to India will be opposed by Pakistan at the OIC.The foreign minister further said that the decision was backed by Turkey and the country had promised to play their role in it.
In Hanoi, United States President Donald Trump said he did not want instability in the sub-continent. The US has long-standing ties with Pakistan, recently its relations with India have improved.Trump directed US envoys to play their part in de-escalating the recent situating. I thank him for the efforts.
In my trip to Moscow before the Pulwama attack, I had expressed concerns about possible misadventures from the Indian side. Today, the Indian nation and political opposition are vindicating Pakistan’s stance that Narendra Modi is escalating the situation for political gains, he said as he referred to Bharatiya Janata Partys (BJP) regional chief boasting that the air strike will secure at least 22 more seats for the party.
PM Imran tried to contact Modi thric Shehbaz Sharif lauds Turkeys supportTaking the floor after the foreign ministers address, Opposition Leader Shehbaz Sharif thanked Turkey for standing by Pakistan side in tumultuous times.Shehbaz regretted that other allies of the country did not issue statements favouring Pakistan’s stance.“It would have helped to strengthen our position globally.”The PML-N president further suggested sending a delegation to allied countries to push Islamabad’s narrative.
In the end, he thanked the armed forces for their sacrifice and paid tribute to the three armed services.PM throws ball in Modis courtPakistan should have engaged the OICPakistan Peoples Party co-chairperson Asif Ali Zardari, however, disagreed with the government’s decision to not attend the OIC conference.
“I feel Pakistan should have engaged the OIC as disengagement is not a solution. It will only drive India further.”Zardari stressed that OIC members were Pakistan’s friends. “I believe we should strengthen our ties with neighbours and allies.In 2008, after the Mumbai attack, we contained the situation through diplomatic channels by engaging our allies. I accept the government’s decision to not attend the conference but I would rather we went and held talks with the members.”The former president also thanked Pakistan Air Force (PAF) pilot Hasan Siddiqui for defending the country. “Yes, we are both nuclear-armed countries.
I would like to mention that Benazir Bhutto brought nuclear technology to Pakistan.”“We are emotional at the moment but we should not forget that wars are fought between nations and not just armies.And the nation is ready – but it should be our last resort.”“Modi’s adventurism has backfired.
God has been very kind. We managed to come out of the situation with dignity – we should hold on to it, not squander it.”Zardari said the captured pilot’s release was a welcome move. “It is soft diplomacy – and it is the need of the hour.
The move depicts us in a better light in the world. India is painting us as a terrorist state but our actions show that we are a democratic state.”Trump hints at de-escalation between India, Pakistan as US mediatesFully capable to defend our bordersFinance Minister Asad Umar began his address by paying tribute to the armed forces. “It is because of them that we can sleep peacefully at night.”Umar was impressed by Air Chief Marshal Mujahid Anwar Khan’s talk. “The forces are doing their job, the responsibility to ensure regional peace lies with the political leadership.”The PTI leader said that the nation was united at the moment, unlike India. He further urged the Modi-led government to contain war-hysteria.
“Pakistan may be going through an economic crisis but we are fully capable to defend our borders.”Pakistan to hand over captured IAF pilot to Indian authorities at Wagah BorderSupport FM Qureshi’s decisionFormer foreign minister Khawaja Asif expressed pleasure at the united front being shown to the world.
“India is using its Muslim population as leverage to become a member of the OIC. Today, they have been invited as a guest of honour, next they will vie for observer’s status.Hence, I support FM Qureshi’s decision to not attend the OIC.”He urged the Parliament to stand united and send a message to the world that Pakistan is eliminating terrorism.“The United State is ready to engage in dialogue after 17-year-long conflict. We are providing them an escape route,” he said.
Referring to PM Imran’s call to Modi – which the Indian premier ignored – Asif lamented that Nawaz Sharif was called a traitor for opening a dialogue with Modi. “Nawaz saw it coming.He urged economic development and ties. Today, Imran is doing the same thing.
And we are standing behind him [Imran],” he said as he urged for unity.Asif quipped that Imran can call Modi but shies away from shaking opposition leader’s hands.On Kashmir, he said freedom was every Kashmiri’s birthright. “Even the United Nations have endorsed that Kashmiris have a right to self-determination which India is denying.

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Asian markets swing on tempered trade hopes, weak data

HONG KONG: Asian markets fluctuated Thursday as optimism over China-US trade talks was tempered by Donald Trump’s top negotiator, while investors also digested weak factory data from Beijing and fresh geopolitical tensions in Kashmir.
The global rally that has characterised most of this year took a knock after US Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer told lawmakers that real progress had been made with China, but a lot of work was still needed before a pact is signed.
While his comments did not derail expectations of an agreement at some point with both sides reporting good progress and Trump delaying a deadline for a deal it did give traders pause for thought, observers said.Lighthizer said a trade deal hasnt been agreed yet, bringing some reality back to euphoric markets post-Trumps tariff extension, despite the fact Lighthizer also announced both sides had agreed on an enforcement process, said OANDA senior market analyst Jeffrey Halley.
After a negative lead from Wall Street, Asian markets swung Thursday and Tokyo went into the break 0.4 percent lower.Hong Kong was up 0.4 percent mid-morning, Shanghai gained 0.3 percent, Sydney put on 0.2 percent and Wellington was up 0.4 percent.But Singapore slipped 0.5 percent and Seoul shed 0.2 percent, while Jakarta retreated 0.5 percent and Manila lost 0.7 percent.
Also fuelling selling pressure was figures showing Chinese manufacturing activity contracted for a third straight month in February, with factories hit by the long Lunar New Year break, concerns about slowing growth and uncertainty from the trade row. Better sense-However, Zhou Hao, a senior emerging markets economist at Commerzbank AG, said the results were likely not as bad as they seemed and the outlook could be positive.
I think we still want to wait for the next months reading as this months is distorted by the holiday, he said.Also the economy could stabilise this month.
Rising input prices suggest that there is no need to worry about deflation, so the question now rests on whether the economy has enough impetus.Nervousness continues to stalk trading floors after Pakistan and India said they had shot down each others fighter jets on Wednesday, fuelling worries of a conflict between the nuclear-armed neighbours.
The developments followed the February 14 suicide bombing by militants in the disputed Kashmir region that that killed 40 Indian troops.Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan called for better sense to prevail.With politicians on both nuclear-armed sides making soothing comments overnight, the trick will be finding a mutually face-saving path to de-escalate the situation. Of course, this will be much easier said than done, and the potential for hostilities to ratchet higher remains very high, Halley added.
On currency markets the pound held gains after touching a near eight-month high earlier Thursday after MPs gave Prime Minister Theresa May more time to work on her EU withdrawal deal after she promised they could delay Brexit if necessary.Sterling was also given a boost after the opposition Labour Party said it would back a second referendum, having lost a vote on its own Brexit plan Wednesday.

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