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The Ray Davis Case: Kicking the Can, Again

The Ray Davis Case – Kicking the Can, Again  

Lahore High Court, by Omer Wazir (Flickr)

 

March 14: The much anticipated deadline the Lahore High Court set for the Pakistan government to clarify its position on the diplomatic immunity of CIA contractor Raymond Davis has come and gone, and once again Islamabad has been unwilling to take a stand. Six weeks after he shot two Pakistanis he accused of trying to rob him, Davis remains in a Lahore prison and faces trial for murder.

In this fresh episode of its continuing effort to kick a dangerous can down the road, the government reportedly told the high court that its foreign ministry had not clearly stated that Davis was entitled to the immunity Washington has outspokenly insisted he enjoys. In another instance of can-kicking, the high court then ruled that the immunity issue could be decided by the lower court that tries him. Read more

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India: Politics Drowning Policy

Teresita and Howard Schaffer report March 7, 2011 on their findings in India:

In a two-week swing through India in mid-February, we found a government overwhelmed by sweetheart deals and scandals and an economy still strong but with a worrisome softening of the investment market. Foreign policy is proceeding in a workmanlike fashion. The upshot of the scandals, however, is that the government will be even more cautious in making policy decisions, especially those that involve legislation.

Read the full story: Politics Drowning Policy

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India’s Global Challenges

Howard and Teresita Schaffer spoke to the Emerging India Summit at Emory University about India’s global and regional challenges, February 24-25, 2011.

See video recording.

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Requiem in Pakistan

 

Requiem in Pakistan  

March 6, 2011: Two assassinations in Pakistan: in January, Salman Taseer, governor of Punjab, by one of his bodyguards; last week, Shahbaz Bhatti, Minister for Minorities, outside his Islamabad home, with the Pakistani Taliban claiming responsibility. Both had called for changes in Pakistan’s blasphemy law, passed to put the power of the State, including capital punishment, behind a ban on offense to Islam, but frequently used to settle scores and otherwise oppress non-Muslims or, more generally, opponents. Read more

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The Davis Firestorm – The Schaffers’ Impressions from Pakistan

In a visit to Lahore and Islamabad in late February, Howie and Tezi Schaffer spoke with senior media representativeds, retired generals, former diplomats, military analysts, business people, politicians, academics, students and others. The conversation was “All Davis, all the time.” This incident has caused a crisis comparable to the ones that collapsed the U.S.-Pakistan relationship twice in the past. Both governments initially handled things badly but now want to step back from the brink. They have their work cut out from them.

To get the full flavor of our discussions and our analysis, click on Davis Case final.

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India’s Kashmir Policy

Howard and Teresita Schaffer’s comments on the Indian government’s latest initiatives in Kashmir. February 27, 2011.

After a summer of anguish and unrest in Kashmir, punctuated by an eloquent plea from the prime minister to “give peace a chance,” the Indian government in October appointed three non-officials to serve as “interlocutors” with all shades of opinion in Kashmir… Long-time observers of Kashmir argue that after the traumatic developments of last summer, people in the Valley are looking for ways to move forward toward more acceptable political arrangements. But they also caution that further incidents such as those that sparked last summer’s clashes could again inflame the situation. It is important in this context that the Indian government not again delude itself into thinking that the quieter atmosphere means that meaningful steps are no longer urgently needed.

Read the full commentary.

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The present situation (in Kashmir) favors India

Teresita C. Schaffer and Howard B. Schaffer speak with Samyukta Lakshman about the relationship between the U.S. and South Asia.

On Kashmir, I think the U.S. government does not favor Pakistan. It has taken a long time for Indian opinion to believe that view. I think it goes back to the Kargil attack by the Pakistanis across the Line of Control in 1999. To Pakistan’s dismay and India’s surprise, [the U.S.] supported the Indian position and declared that the sanctity of the LoC must be recognised by Pakistan.

Originally published by Gateway House on February 8, 2011.

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New Delhi’s New Outlook

A review essay by Teresita C. Schaffer of four books about Indian foreign policy: Challenge and Strategy: Rethinking India’s Foreign Policy, by Rajiv Sikri; India’s Foreign Policy: The Democracy Dimension, by S.D. Muni; The Long View from Delhi: To Define the Indian Grand Strategy for Foreign Policy, by Raja Menon and Rajiv Kumar; and In the National Interest: A Strategic Foreign Policy for India, by Rajiv Kumar and Santosh Kumar.

A few elements are common to all these snapshots of India’s foreign policy. The first is India’s desire to dominate its immediate neighbourhood. How it interprets the requirement for continued primacy has changed, seen most notable in the conclusion that a regular American presence in the Indian Ocean serves India’s interests (a conclusion Sikri might question). But whether or not an author places the troubled relationship with Pakistan at the top of India’s foreign-policy challenges, in all four studies, India’s determination to retain great-power status in South Asia is not open to serious question.

Originally published by the International Institute for Strategic Studies in the December 2010-January 2011 issue of Survival. Read the entire essay.

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Indian Ocean Geostrategic Environment: The View from South Asia

A paper by Teresita C. Schaffer on the Indian Ocean’s geostrategic importance.

For the countries of South Asia, three themes dominate the way they look on the Indian Ocean: India; China; and economics. Beyond that, their interest reflects geography, economics, political relationships, and each country’s extra-regional role. For India, the Indian Ocean has huge and growing strategic significance, and it figures importantly in relations with the United States.. For Pakistan, it is an arena in their epic rivalry with India. The strategic perspectives of Sri Lanka and Bangladesh are more inward-looking, but the major significance of the Indian Ocean is economic.

Dated February 1, 2011. Read the entire paper.

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Richard Holbrooke, an American Legend

An obituary by Teresita C. Schaffer of American diplomat Richard Holbrooke, highlighting in particular his work in Afghanistan and Pakistan.

Indians probably remember Holbrooke’s last assignment—Afghanistan and Pakistan—principally because of what it excluded: he did not have responsibility for India. He avoided any role on India-Pakistan issues, recognizing that this could only complicate his exceptionally difficult mandate. In a way, it is a shame he never had any direct involvement in U.S.-India ties. In the years before he took up his Afghanistan-Pakistan job, he visited India frequently, and was fascinated by the way it was emerging on the global scene. His twin passions for peacemaking and for power responded to different aspects of India’s post-Cold War foreign policy at a time when the United States and India were discovering how close their international interests had become.

Originally published by the News India Times on December 17, 2010.

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