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June 8, 2011

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Pakistan’s demographic genie

SHAHID JAVED BURKI, former finance minister of Pakistan reviews the trends in Pakistan’s demographics and population policies in the wake of its six-fold growth in population since its inception in 1947 with a forecast of a further doubling over the next four decades for “Reaping the Dividend”, a joint study by Woodrow Wilson center’s Asia program and the Fellowship fund for Pakistan.

In his wide-ranging essay titled “Historical trends in Pakistan’s demographics and population policy”, he reviews the historical trends in Pakistan’s population trajectory, the effects of large-scale migration and diaspora, growth projections, rapid urbanisation and alternate future scenarios of reaping either a demographic dividend or a catastrophe for the population, which, at a median age of 21 was one of the youngest in the world.

He states that it was imperative for Islamabad to conduct a population census coupled with a household survey and then design an urban policy to enhance the human capital of the population and also address the issues arising out of rapid urbanisation, failure of which would result in a high cost for Pakistan.

Crossing the Japanese nuclear rubicon

TAKENORI HORIMOTO of the Shobi University in Saitama highlights recent developments and stumbling blocks in the increasingly close relations between Tokyo and New Delhi.

In his Asia-Pacific bulletin for the East-West Center, “The Japan-India Nuclear Agreement: Enhancing Bilateral Relations?”, he argues that the developing pattern shows the growing realization of shared strategic concerns between Japan and India: that of a rising China and calibrating relations with the United States.

He cautions that although there were indications of Tokyo’s eagerness in enhancing its strategic and economic relationship with New Delhi, a smooth conclusion of an Indo-Japan nuclear deal was not a foregone conclusion as such a deal would signify Tokyo’s abandonment of half a century of anti-weapon advocacy while the aftermath of the earthquake and tsunami in Japan had further complicated the calculus of Indo-Japan nuclear co-operation.

New India’s foreign policy influences

ASHOK MALIK and RORY MEDCALF analyze the impact of three dynamic, non-traditional sources of influence on Indian foreign policy — an ambitious business community, a vocal diaspora and a rambunctious and aggressive news

media.

In a Lowy Institute analysis, “India’s New World: Civil Society in the making of foreign policy”, they argue that there has been a greater and unavoidable democratisation of the crafting of India’s diplomacy due to a widening of the institutional sources where the flag followed trade, migrants acted as influence multipliers and ‘tabloid’ television informed middle-class opinion.

They conclude that it was impossible to map the trajectory of Indian diplomacy without parallel engagement and assessment of civil society, the media, trade imperatives of individual industries, and the interaction of the diaspora and domestic, highly localised politics.

Security transition in Afghanistan

SHANTHIE MARIET D’SOUZA, fellow at the Institute of South Asian Studies in Singapore argues that large low-quality recruitment, high attrition and desertion coupled with non-standard training methodologies has affected the effectiveness of the Afghan national security forces, resulting in a mismatched ethnic composition and the rush to pass responsibility onto this relatively new and fragile force could prove disastrous for the country and the region.

In an ISAS study, “Prospects for ‘Transition’ in the Afghan Security Sector: A Reality Check?”, she draws attention to indiscipline, illiteracy, drug abuse and corruption as key problems in the backdrop of a rapid expansion of the army and police force creating serious concerns of leading to a hyper-militarised state with weak civilian governance structures.

She concludes that a sustainable transition in the Afghan security sector could only be achieved in combination with a corresponding transition within the civilian sector with strengthened government institutions.

Chinese fissile material stockpile

HUI ZHANG of the Belfer Center’s Project on Managing the Atom reviews the history of China’s production of highly enriched uranium (HEU) and plutonium for nuclear weapons and uses new public information to estimate the amount of highly enriched uranium and plutonium China produced at its two gaseous diffusion plants in Lanzhou and Heping and two plutonium production complexes at Jiuquan and Guangyuan.

In an article for Science and Global Security, China’s HEU and Plutonium Production and Stocks, his new estimates for China’s HEU and plutonium range from production of 20 ± 4 tons of HEU and 2 ± 0.5 tons of plutonium while current stockpile estimates range about 16 ± 4 tons of HEU and 1.8 ± 0.5 tons of plutonium available for weapons, at the low end of most previous independent estimates (ranging between 17–26 tonnes of highly enriched uranium and 2.1–6.6 tonnes of plutonium).

He concludes that while Beijing’s current fissile stockpile could be sufficient for its current modernisation programme, these new estimates would be signi?cant to assess China’s willingness to join a ?ssile material cutoff treaty and a multilateral nuclear disarmament.

India’s evolving international role

GARETH PRICE of the Asia Task Force of UK Trade and Investment examines India’s growing influence on international affairs, trade and investment, security and democracy, and the environment and states that India’s ability to play a greater global role would evolve more naturally once its domestic development challenges were met.

In a Chatham House report, “For the Global Good: India’s Developing International Role”, he reviews India’s history as a provider of aid to developing countries in areas such as information technology, education and low-cost alternatives in the health and agricultural sector, led mostly through the private sector and NGOs.

He concludes that India found it easier to forge deeper partnerships with other emerging powers than with established developed countries, in line with its perceived national interest, with non-interference as a cardinal principle of India’s policy-making, affecting its approach to development as well as to broader foreign policy issues.

Peace in Nepal

INDRA ADHIKARI of the Institute of Defence Studies and Analyses reviews key issues around integration of Maoist ex-combatants as part of the broader Nepalese peace process comparing with the experiences in post-Apartheid South Africa.

In an IDSA commentary, “Relevance of the Nepal Army Proposal on Integration”, he analyses the Nepalese army’s proposal of creation of a separate but mixed force drawn from ex-combatants and the existing security sectors in a separate directorate under the Nepalese army and states that this would be a balanced approach. He concludes that this proposal addressed the Maoists’ insistence on integration of the ex-combatants as well as non-Maoists’ anxiety that the army could face a professional crisis and politicisation.


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