Brig Syed Mushtaq Ahmed (Retd) dispels four virulent myths that have been making the rounds. These include: 1. Balkanization of Pakistan 2. Pakistan is a failed state 3. Pakistan is an epicentre of terrorism 4. The threat to Pakistan’s nuclear arsenal. He believes that the common objective is to debilitate and defang Pakistan—the only Muslim nuclear power that could threaten US, India, and Israel.
Nepal has had a bitter history of power transitions and political instability. In yet another attempt to maintain democratic structures and bring political stability, Nepal is poised to hold its parliamentary elections on 20th November. This will be the 11th such election since 2008, after Nepal abolished its 240-year-old monarchy.
For decades, the West has had its eyes set on Pakistan’s nuclear weapons, going as far as to stir up paranoia against it. The recent statement by President Joe Biden is just another notch in America’s extensive propaganda campaign against Pakistan. Sarmad Ishfaq points out the fallacies in the West’s perceived notion of Pakistan’s nuclear insecurity. He highlights how Pakistan’s nuclear weapons are secure and in turn proves that the countries questioning Pakistan have many nuclear-related issues themselves.
Maryam Jilani traces the development and awareness of menstruation and menstrual products in India. Beginning with Arunachalam’s ingenious machine, to the present call for sustainable and green menstruation. Maryam believes that the collective efforts to deliver and emphasise the significance of accessible and sustainable menstrual products will accelerate Indian women’s progress.
With PM Indira Gandhi’s approval, Operation Blue Star commenced on June 1st, 1984. The aim of the operation was to dispose of the Sikhs responsible for the separatist movement – Major General Shabaig Singh and Jarnail Singh Bhindranwale in particular. Operation Blue Star was one of the largest operations conducted by the Indian army—and one of the worst massacres in Sikh history.
“How the BJP Wins: Inside India’s Greatest Election Machine” by Prashant Jha is thought to be a journalistic guide and an insightful analysis of the Indian electoral system, especially concerning the rise of the Bharatiya Janta Party (BJP) under the leadership of Narendra Modi. A clear and responsible dissection of the success story of the BJP government following its big and decisive victory in the Lok Sabha elections of 2014 has been presented with the skilful connection drawn between various elements that are playing a role in making the rise of the BJP possible.
Maryam Jilani studies the narratives of women’s emancipation and agency in three countries: France, India, and Iran. While the three of them have dissimilar geographical, cultural, and political climates, one common feature would be the weaponisation of veiling and how it is used to marginalise and discriminate against specific fractions of the population.
The death of Queen Elizabeth II prompted diametrically opposed viewpoints. One group mourns her loss, while the other deems her guilty of the Empire’s crimes. The brutal crimes were marked by colonialist ambitions and a penchant for slavery throughout the years. Sarmad Ishfaq recounts the Empire’s horrific brutalities against the people of India, Kenya, and Yemen (to name a few) and the Queen’s apathy towards it all.
The 22nd annual summit of the Council of Heads of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) was held on September 15 and 16 against the backdrop of a geopolitical upheaval challenging the world order. The leaders discussed regional and global challenges and resolved to achieve common goals of climate resilience, connectivity, digital sovereignty, peace, security, and economic development, notwithstanding the conflicts among member countries. Prospects of multilateral cooperation were discussed at the Samarkand meeting, but of greater interest were the side-line meetings between heads of states, especially between Xi and Putin.
The No First Use (NFU) Policy, a very well-crafted and sought-out characteristic of the Indian nuclear doctrine, is on the verge of being revisited and modified by the current BJP government. Lyba Mobeen aims to scrutinize the prevailing sentiment among public officials, strategists, and policymakers regarding this policy change. She concludes that given the track record of the fascist and extremist Modi government since 2014, such a perilous and alarming policy amendment can be expected. Resultantly, another wave of an arms race and security dilemma will commence in the South Asian region.
After depriving Jammu and Kashmir of its autonomy by revoking articles 370 and 35A, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) has now taken another definitive step towards suppressing the people of Kashmir. The BJP has announced a new electoral process that allows non-locals to register as voters in Indian administrated J&K, thereby impacting the region’s political system and voter turnout. Maryam Ibrahim notes that this decision has garnered immense criticism from the Indian opposition parties and Kashmiri politicians, and raised concerns among the Kashmiri locals. Today, they fear whether they’ll have any rights left.
In its quest to contain the Chinese influence by supporting India, the US has compelled Pakistan to seek an alliance with Russia and China. Huda Raza and Sher Ali Shahid analyze the Indo-US strategic partnership, particularly in the realm of nuclear technology, and its impact on the balance of power in South Asia. The authors note that the India-US nuclear deal represents a shift in the US foreign policy from Pakistan to India. Although the two parties claim that the deal is for peaceful purposes, it poses a threat to the stability of South Asia and elevates Pakistan’s security dilemma.
“India and Central Asia: The Strategic Dimension” presents an Indian diplomat’s perspective on Indian foreign policy. Phunchok Stobdan, the author of the book, analyzes the significance of Central Asia for India and the different ways of connecting the two to solidify India’s regional influence. He evaluates the security challenges in the path of linking India and Central Asia, and proposes solutions to overcome them.
Hamna Binte Waqar examines the change in the cyber security realm with the advent of the NSO Group’s Pegasus spyware. After targeting several countries, governments, and individuals, the software has created an uproar in international politics and media. It is now seen as a threat to the national security of states and as an unconventional weapon capable of extracting private information and generating propaganda. While Pegasus has faced continuous backlash, the need to adapt to the transition in the modes of warfare has slowly made it a sought-after weapon in the contemporary security market.
The West believed that the sanctions on Russia would completely leave the latter immobilized. Hafsa Ammar notes that while that was very likely, Russia’s influence and resources insulated itself from economic shocks. One significant Russian resource would be crude oil, as it has now become the primary oil supplier to both China and India—a position that once belonged to Saudi Arabia.
The G20 is a strategic platform connecting the world’s major economies, with annual summits being hosted by one of the G20 member states. India will be hosting the G20 summit for the first time in 2023. Needless to say, some of the meetings are expected to be held in the Indian Administered Jammu & Kashmir. Huda Raza believes that this move disregards the sanctity of the internationally recognised disputed status of the territory.
Muhammad Azam Khan draws attention to the climatic catastrophe in Pakistan and India. While the two states are divided by borders, they’re united by the similar impact of the changing climate on their territories and populations. The rise in global temperatures has led the two neighbors to experience severe droughts, floods, heatwaves, and water shortages.