Two very different, but quite compelling, books on the military problems of the region: Stephen Tankel’s Storming the World Stage traces the history of Lashkar-e-Taiba and its complex relationship with the Pakistan army, concluding that this is unlikely to change; and Srinath Raghavan’s War and Peace in Modern India recounts in elegant detail the diplomatic and military history of the conflicts that peppered the first fifteen years of India’s independence.
Katherine Boo’s Behind the Beautiful Forevers is an unforgettable walk through the Annawadi neighborhood, next to Mumbai’s airport. Ward Berenschot’s Riot Politics links the ever-present search for patronage in India’s cities to the grisly communal violence that breaks out there from time to time . Steve Inskeep’s Instant City weaves together the ethnic stew, political infighting and scarcity that make up Karachi.
In its dealings with the United States, Pakistan starts from the threat it perceives from India and emphasises India’s shortcomings. It will continue to use the United States as a balancer, barring a major improvement in India-Pakistan relations.
This excerpt from our book describes on the basis of our experience and extensive interviews how we believe Pakistan looks on India and on U.S.-India relations, and how Pakistan expresses these views in its dealings with the United States. It’s a perspective many will not agree with or welcome, but it affects how Pakistan deals with both India and the United States.
Tezi and I, then a married couple of three years standing, first came to Pakistan on diplomatic assignment 37 years ago. Our second son was born at our house in Islamabad. We’ve been following developments in the country with great interest, often mingled with anxiety, ever since…. What we’ve tried to do is to analyze the themes, techniques, and styles that have characterized Pakistani negotiations with American civil and military officials in recent years and to reach some conclusions about how these are likely to shape up in the future.
Our book, How Pakistan Negotiates with the United States: Riding the Roller Coaster, was launched at the U.S. Institute of Peace in Washington on April 12. We were joined by Stephen Cohen, Brookings Institution, and by Akbar S. Ahmed, Ibn Khaldun Chair of Islamic Studies, American University.
Before the 1947 partition of India, few Americans knew or cared about the princely state of Jammu and Kashmir. Tucked away in the high western Himalayas, Kashmir, as it was commonly called, was an amalgam of territories widely varied in language, culture, religion, ethnicity, and economic development. Its disparate regions had been cobbled together by the dynastic ambitions of the state’s rulers abetted by British imperial design. In the first half of the nineteenth century, these maharajas,Hindus of the Dogra ethnic group based in the Jammu area of the state, had with British backing created one of the largest states in Britain’s Indian empire. Situated along India’s border with China, touching Afghanistan, and close to the Central Asian regions of Czarist Russia and, later, the Soviet Union, it was also one of the most strategically placed.