OF INDIA AND SOUTH ASIA
SUMMARY: Revision 2005
"We no longer discuss the future of India. We say the future is India" said the Indian Commerce and Industry Minister at the conference organized by the US-India Business Council in 2004. He predicted that India would certainly have achieved 100 % literacy, become a developed country, enjoy the same fundamentals as the United States by 2030. Clearly, many politicians and journalists have some problems with the stats! Let's go to the specifics!
The population of India attains 1,100 million in 2004. It would grow to 1,450 million in 2030. The global GNI accounts for 675 $Billion in 2004. According to an optimistic hypothesis, the India GNI would attain 4,760 $Billion in 2030 (Compared to 18,000 in China). Sure, India will be a great power but certainly not a super power. In fact, India is afflicted by over population, great poverty , and a constant risk of religious violence. We think that the influence of religion is the main cause of these problems.
According to our diagnosis, a massive investment in education is the key medicine that we must propose. Firstly, Education is the only way to favor family planning acceptance. Secondly, only mass education can alleviate poverty in getting a higher growth rate. Thirdly, education is the only way to appease religious conflicts which are increasing in the region.
The region is not peaceful. With the growing muslim population in India, religious conflicts can occur. We cannot consider this fact with benign neglect: India and Pakistan have built up a military nuclear power: In this context, the Western countries must support the friendly democracy of India. It should be the best demonstration that the world war against Islamism is not a clash of civilizations or a clash between the riches and the poor's. It will prove that it is the war of the united civilizations against a single barbarism.
Let's us examine the region: Geography, History, population, economy, and political situation. Our examination will take notice of three bad symptoms: over population, great poverty , and a constant risk of religious violence.
The sub continent has an area of 4.8 Million square kilometers ( USA: 9,269,000; Europe- 25 Countries: 4,150,000; India: 3 million, Pakistan :797,000; Afghanistan: 653,000) and includes 8 countries: Afghanistan, Pakistan, Bhutan, India, Nepal, Bangladesh, Sri lanka and Maldives. Afghanistan, Bhutan and Nepal are landlocked countries. Maldives and Sri lanka are Islands.
The region is divided into three main geological areas: the Himalayas, the Indo-Gangetic Plain, and the Peninsula. Arising in the northern mountains, several major rivers ( the Ganges, Brahmaputra, and Indus), flow to the coast and have supported civilizations for thousands of years. Look at the next map (Source CIA)
The Indus Valley civilization dates back at least 5,000 years. Between 3000 and 1500 BC, the first cities used brick structures, and underground water systems. Aryan tribes from the Northwest invaded about 1500 B.C. and their merger with the earlier Dravidian inhabitants created the Indian culture. In the 800, the region was invaded by Arabs, who brought Islam and then by Mongol (Tamerlane in 1398). Vasco de Gama discovered a sea route to India in 1498 and opened another chapter in the history of India.
British rule in India began in the AD 1700s. By the 19th century, Britain controlled all Indian lands, except Afghanistan. India was the gem of the British Empire. A small number of British ruled this immense subcontinent, establishing peace and building up massive infrastructures (By this time, the Indian Railways was the largest in the world). The British brought also their habits (english language, Cricket, Polo, Tea time and so on ). Nonviolent resistance (Gandhi and Nehru) brought independence in 1947. When the British left India, the Indian considered them as friends rather than enemies.
However, the unity of India did not resist any more due to the impossibility to make muslim cohabiting peacefully with other religions (Hindus, Christian, Buddhists and so on). The subcontinent was divided into the secular state of India and the smaller islamic state of Pakistan. In 1971, East Pakistan became the separate nation of Bangladesh. As Ceylon, it became independent in 1948 and its name was changed to Sri Lanka in 1972.
1-I visited India and Nepal in 1963 and 40 years later
in 2000. There was one major change that I observed: Over population.
All the quiet areas have disappeared. Visiting the Taj Mahal in the
60, you could expect to be alone. Today, it is constantly crowded. In
the 60, Katmandu (Capital city of Nepal) was a little town. It is today
a large area of decaying buildings and slums.
----------1950----- 2005----- 2030----- 2050
the subcontinent is over populated: The density per square
kilometer could attain 500 in 2050. Considering the Himalayan and the
highlands, you can easily imagine the huge concentrations in the deltas
and their consequences ( Pollution, traffic, rubbish, drinking water
and so on ).
3-In all these countries, the most worrying fact is the low literacy rate: 60% in India, 40% in Bangladesh, Pakistan and Nepal ( 90% in Sri Lanka ). In accordance with this fact, I observed that the practice of English was sharply declining among poor or middle population in India ( In the 60, any taxi driver spoke fluent english. Today it is quite an exception ).
Today, we are hearing many optimistic talks about the future of India. Clearly, many journalists and politicians have some problems with the data's! let's go to the specifics!
131-The big pictures
Firstly, we shall focus on India. Its GNI attains 674 $Billion in 2004. The next drawing with the main Indian economic indicators( Yearly GDP growth rate in %, the Gross capital formation in % of GDP, the exports and imports of good and services in % of the GDP, the % of high technology exports in manufactured exports and the amount of foreign investments received each years in $ Billion ).
1-The growth rate increased in 2003 and 2004. The 9% reached in 2003 fuelled the optimistic visions about the future. However, since 1999, the average growth rate is about 6%. It could seem a good result but it is not sufficient compared with the increase of population. As result, the GNI per capita remains low ( $620-Rank: 159 out of 208 countries. Taking in account the purchasing power parity method, the GNI per Capita reaches $3,100. Rank: 145 out of 208 in 2004).
gross capital formation is medium compared to other Asian standards
(45% in China).
Of course, India has made amazing success in auto, motorcycles and apparels ( color televisions and refrigerators). At another level, the medical school in New Delhi is one of the best in the world and India could become the drug factory of the world for generics. Right now, India is also a major exporter of software services ( Unfortunately, they produce just 3 % of GDP and employ less than 0.5% of the non farm labor force!).
The other countries of the sub continent also get medium results. The GNI attains 181 $Billion in 2004 and the next drawing shows the yearly growth rates ( Afghanistan: 60% of the global GDP is supposed to come from the poppy farming for coke!-We do not take in account Maldives: 0.6 Billion and Bhutan: 0.5, because they just merit benign neglect in economic matter).
More detailed stats would show the same results as for India: Since 1990, the growth rate is not sufficient regarding the increase of population. As result, the GNI per capita remains low : 520$ in Pakistan, 400 in Bangladesh, 930 in Sri Lanka in 2003. The gross capital formation is weak ( About 16 to 25% ). The rate of high technology exports is quite zero in all these countries.
In visiting more than 120 countries in the world, I can assume that I never met as much dirtiness and poverty as in the subcontinent. It is not the same great poverty as in South America: Because of overpopulation and huge concentration, poor people live in filth. There are more beggars than in Africa (No beggars in China or in South East Asia).
In the 60, traveling in India, I thought that poverty was overstated. Of course, many people were sleeping on the pavements of Bombay but I also observed some quite and comfortable districts. Today, the business districts such as in Bombay or New delhi are not protected any more. Traffic and pollution are awful. The inhabitants walk on poor pavements with dirty water, eat junk food sold by charioteers merchants and meet large crowds of aggressive beggars. Today, you cannot adventure yourself in the little streets of Old Delhi. It is said that the size of Indian middle class exceeds the population of the USA or the European Union. Once again, it is a hype: In fact, the "middle class" is merged into an ocean of dirtiness and poverty.
Of course, IMF and World Bank experts argue that the poverty rate dropped from just under 41 % of the population in 1992-93 to less than 29 % at the turn of the century. Sorry, I do not agree with that. I think that the negative externalities (pollution, insecurity, lack of open space ) mainly due to overpopulation have certainly outpaced the small increase of income. In fact, about 300 million Indians continue to survive on less than $1.25 a day and a majority of the population lives in utter poverty without access to health care, housing, drinking water and education. Just consider another indicator: The BBC estimated that there are up to 100 million child laborers in India. Many work in the informal sector in hazardous conditions, and several million are bonded laborers.
Other surveys report that the situation is quite the same in all the subcontinent. In Afghanistan, much of the population continues to suffer from shortages of housing, clean water, electricity, medical care, and jobs. In Pakistan, the UNO developing program shows that 120 million people ( On 150! ) are poor or trying to come over the poverty. According to this report 40 Million are living under the below level of poverty and 10 Million are at the dead end of poverty. Due to poverty, the cases of suicide and Islamic madness are increasing. In Bangladesh, the U.S. Agency for International Development has reported that almost half of children aged 10 to 14 are working mostly as domestic servants and farm workers. Sri Lanka which gets the best results in the region is affected by frequent cyclones and floods( In late December 2004, a major tsunami took nearly 40,000 lives in Sri Lanka). Nepal is among the poorest and least developed countries in the world.
133-Prospects for 2030
to our calculations, the global GNI could attain 5,110 $Billion
in 2030 . Look at the next drawing (In $billion)
India-- Others-- Total
Regarding India, a growth of 10 % a year should be necessary over a long period for rising living standards. Unfortunately, the growth rate does not depend on wishful thinking's. A 10% growth rate ( Like in China ) is not presently feasible because India suffers of low education and bad infrastructures.
On the other hand, some experts think that a 7% growth rate could be expected for the next five years. As a result the reform lobby would become stronger and would be able to surpass leftist opposition and to reform education and the static caste system. Having more confidence, the country could reach a 8% growth rate until 2030. According to this hypothesis, the India GNI would attain 4,760 $Billion in 2030.
Regarding Pakistan and Bangladesh, the extend of Islamism will downgrade the economic prospects and we cannot extrapolate the former growth rate. We think that the future rate (2.5%) will be quite aligned on the growth rate of the population (2.4% in Pakistan)
Considering the size of the population, India is the greatest democracy in the world. New Delhi is lobbying for a permanent seat on the United Nations Security Council. The other countries are partly free with many reservations. Since its liberation, Afghanistan has registered many progress on the road to Democracy. A constitution was adopted and Free elections were a success. After winning the election on 10 Oct 2002, the General Mushraf will led the Pakistan for the next 5 years. In Sri lanka, Bangladesh and Nepal people can change their government through elections.
However, the democratic rule is undermined by:
1-Grand and petty corruption: Regarding corruption India is ranked in 71st place out of 102 countries and Bangladesh is the world’s most corrupt country! Go to corruption in the world.
2-Civil wars: In Nepal, a maoist insurgency, launched in 1996, is threatening the regime. In Sri lanka, tensions between the Singhalese majority and Tamil separatists erupted into war in 1983. After two decades of fighting, the government and the Tamil formalized a cease-fire in February 2002, with Norway brokering peace negotiations. In Pakistan, the army is chasing Bin Laden in the tribal zones. In Afghanistan, the situation remains unsafe.
3-Religious violence: They occurred on a large scale with the partition of India. In our opinion religious conflicts are the main threat in the entire region (See below). In fact, stability and progress toward democracy only rely on the western educated upper class in all these countries including India. Other considerations are just lip services!
We can take notice of three bad symptoms: Firstly, over population, secondly, a great poverty , thirdly, a constant risk of religious violence. What are the causes of these symptoms?
It is well known that People are addicted to religion in Muslim countries such as Afghanistan, Pakistan and and Bangladesh. In India, too, religion plays a leading role. Visiting India and Nepal after a forty years interval, I found the same spiritualist atmosphere. Even today, you can easily meet Fakir everywhere (And notably in Nepal). Since the Hindu believe that a men can reincarnate as an animal, vegetarianism is often practiced and cows are free to wander in the towns. People frequent the temples, pray and bring offerings.
Considering the massive influence of religion, we think that it is the cause of problems such as overpopulation, great poverty and religious violence. There is too much religion in the minds.
Regarding the Muslim states such as Afghanistan, Pakistan, and Bangladesh, just report to greater Middle east: People suffer of schizophrenia. It means that the mind is dissociated: The subject nurtures a world vision that does not correspond to the reality. As a result, when he acts according to his dreams, he does not perform any result. Then, he thinks that other people are responsible of the failure and are plotting against him. Finally he rushes in anger and becomes dangerous.
As we have said, the most significant fact is the sexuality more restrained than in other regions due to the religion. The aggression resulting of the sexual frustration, instead to be channeled to some productive goals, leads to a vision that does not correspond to the reality. It is the beginning of the schizophrenia!
As Karl Marx wrote nearly a century and a half ago, Hinduism is an amazingly resilient religion and, despite repeated foreign invasions, the religion has remained vibrant and thriving.
The Bahagavad Gita (which can be found in hostels bed stands throughout India and Nepal) is like the Bible for the Christians. It is a very beautiful text that I encourage you to read. The Gita is a pantheistic philosophy. God is both the universal soul and the mineral and living universe. The human soul as part of the universal soul is immortal. Consequently the mind of a deceased person is reincarnated as the germ of a new born. This philosophy based on metempsychosis was the basic belief of all Indo European populations before the widespread of monotheism ( Pythagoras, Platonism, Orphism and so on, until the New Age movement). Shoppenhauer used to say that it was the only religious dogma which was not absolutely in opposition with science. Go to "Spiritual Odyssey" on this site.
Just like the ancient Greek and Roma, the Hindu civilization has no problem with sex. This observation is witnessed by the erotic sculptures on many Hindu temple (The most famous are in Katmandu-Nepal). In the middle class, Indian women are free and behave as everywhere in the civilized world. They go out, drive their cars, lead top managerial positions and so on. In rural areas, they are quite conservative. However, the sexual frustration does not turn in aggression and is channeled toward an internal quest of spirituality or at a lesser level to some platonic romances (In accordance with the mainstream of Indian movies entirely dedicated to romantic love stories). As a result, Hinduism favors peaceful feelings ( No violence). In short, Hindu are very friendly and tolerant: For example, people do not bother if you visit their temple.
Unfortunately, this beautiful philosophy has been denatured by some popular practices. For example, in the past the belief of ancient Aryans in the preservation of personal identity after death led them to incinerate the deceased with food, clothing and his living wife! ( This horrific ritual was abolished and does not exist any more ). However, gender inequalities remain in rural areas and the dowry is still practiced on a large scale. What is more, the Hinduism has facilitated the implementation of a social evilness: the caste system.
22-Religion favors high fertility rates
In the three Muslim countries ( Afghanistan, Pakistan and Bangladesh ) the religion bears a major responsibility in the high fertility rates. Firstly, the muslim countries led by Algeria have constantly been reluctant toward family planning and contraceptives (Conference of Bucharest). They stated that family planning was a Western conspiracy for reducing the power of the developing countries. This situation explains that the fall of the fertility rates happened later and less rapidly in Muslim countries than in no Muslim ( With similar level of income ). Secondly, many muslim religious leaders are opposed to contraceptives and this situation is not likely to improve with the surge of radical Islamism.
In the 1980, faced with the problems resulting from overpopulation, Bangladesh, and Pakistan have officially promoted Family planning. However, due to gender problem, many people tend to favor large families. Go to world population and gender.
In India, the family planning was launched in 1950. Its results seem quite poor. Indian complain that muslims do not follow the official family planning line because of their religious beliefs. Truly, stats show that the Muslim share of population has risen from 10 % in 1951 to 15 % in 2001. As a result, some Indian leaders are calling on Hindus to abstain from birth control for preventing India to be islamized. Finally there is a race for numbers which is menacing the fragile Indian family planning.
The growing muslim population is not the only cause of the family planning failure. In rural areas, people still believe that a family with no sons, has no heir. In this context, families may have a lot of "unwanted" daughters before to get a son and this situation tends to favor large families: Surveys show that the couple had to have at least six children in order to have a 95 % probability of raising a son to adulthood!
It is interesting to note that the best success of family planning have been registered in the state of Kerala which had been for long a communist and atheist government. It means that poverty does not explains the high fertility rate. The success of family planning in the poor classes of Kerala shows the role played by an adequate education counterbalancing religious superstitions and outdated social practices.
23-Religion favors benign neglect for great poverty.
Hinduism, through metempsychosis explains the differences that exist between people. Some are healthy, others are tormented by physical handicaps. Some are rich, others at the brink of starvation. According to Hinduism, these differences result of previous lives. A bad man in a previous live is today reincarnated in a poor or in an animal. A man who did good in a previous life, enjoys to day a wealthy and healthy life.
conception explains the permanence of the caste system. At first glance,
the castes are just like the former Orders in our feudal society (Nobility,
clergy and so on): The highest caste is the Brahmins who used to work
as priests. The next highest caste is the "Kshatriyas" who
rule and guard the land. They used to be the kings and soldiers. Next
are the "Vaisyas" who are merchants and traders. The last
caste is the "Sudras" who were servants and craftsmen, and
finally the "Dalits" or untouchables.
This religious belief results in a a social rigidity and a benign neglect for poor people. Firstly, you may observe that most people in power belong to the indian upper caste: The brahmin (Top rank army officers, great families, scientists and professors educated in England and so on ). In India, the upper class is a nobility (and in Pakistan too) who largely dominates parliament and the bureaucracy ( By comparison, there is no nobility in China: The upper class is moving and changing). Secondly, due to the religious background, the Indian upper class is very disdainful with poor people. They do not have any compassion and, in our opinion, this fact also explains the prevalence of great poverty in indifference.
Of course, constitution forbids discriminations based on caste. People say that caste rigidity is more flexible than in the past. However, the lower cast (And notably the 160 million "untouchables") continue to face discrimination.
On the other hand, it could be said that the system is an asset. Truly, India is a very stable country because it relies on a structured society with a global acceptance of fixed classes and roles: No one could reasonably expect a revolution or a landslide political movement in this country. Nevertheless, I think that this outdated framework is not an asset for creativity and growth.
In Muslim countries, minorities face societal discrimination. With the fundamentalist surge, atrocities, including murder, rape, destruction of property, and kidnapping are more and more frequent.
In India, as we have said above, the religion favors peaceful feelings. There are no reports of problems with the Christian minorities ( For example, in Madras and Pondichery, former french colonies). However, in spite of their peaceful feelings, Hindus are obliged to challenge the growing aggressiveness of the large muslim minority in India.
This story began with the independence. India was founded as a secular state, but the partition of British India in 1947 into India and Pakistan led to the largest migration in history. Hundreds of thousands of persons were killed and about 10 million people changed sides ( Muslims in India made their way to Pakistan and Hindus in the new Pakistan moved to India). However, a large muslim minority remained in India
Then, the secular Congress party governed India for 50 years. In the early 1990s, tensions between India's Hindu and Muslim communities escalated. in early 2002, a train car carrying a group of Hindu pilgrims back from the city of Ayodhya, was attacked and set on fire by a Muslim mob. At least 56 people were killed. Hindus rioted and carried out revenge attacks on Muslims. More than 1,000 people were killed.
It means that India is threatened by the huge flow of fanaticism notably since september 2001.
We have to focus on India. Considering our diagnosis, a massive investment in education is the key medicine that we must propose.
Firstly, Education is the only way to favor family planning acceptance. As we have seen, only education can diminish religious obscurantism, superstition, and negative social behaviors which are the causes of over population. Secondly, only mass education can alleviate poverty in getting a higher growth rate. Thirdly, education is the only way to appease religious conflicts which are increasing in the region.
Lack of education is the primary obstacle to the nation's development. The task of bringing education and infrastructures into the twenty-first century is immense.
India is proud of its universities, pool of scientists and skilled professionals. In the recent years, many business schools have been implemented with MBA cursus. Unfortunately, this top level framework only targets the elite. India has to educate the masses: This country needs more vocational schools and long life learning centers for adults in order to get short term results. Once again, compared to China, the Indian results are bad: Let's us extract the following data from the World Bank little data book 2004.
These bad figures do not only result from a shortage of public funds. Recent research shows that across India, 25 % of teachers are absent from school on any given day. That figure can jump to 40 % in remote schools. It means that more private schools ( But not religious schools ) should be implemented in order to compensate the weakness of the public sector.
the government must free up more money for education. Since
India has limited public resources, It means a redistribution of money
( Going presently to the army) in favor of education. It means also
a fiscal reform in order to make the upper class contributing to the
education burden. Some experts (Notably IMF) use to
say that the best way is to increase the current growth rate because
the growth will free up the money for improving education. I argue that
the causal order is not growth and then more education. The real development
path is first education because it is the condition of growth ( Anyway,
with its present level of education, India simply cannot get a growth
rate of 10% over a long period). I know that IMF is constantly professing
that social services are best achieved through making the cake bigger
rather than trying to cut it up in a different way. However, I claim
that education is the first condition to fulfill in order to make the
The same could be said about infrastructures. India has inherited the large railways infrastructures from the British Empire. Today, it is really difficult to see what has been done since the independence in this vital matter. In fact, the former socialist policy had deprived the country of good transport and communications networks for decades. For example, the roads are very bad. Never drive between Agra and New Delhi. The traffic is a nightmare ( Use the first class luxury train. It is more expensive but you get a better chance to arrive alive in Delhi). Once again, there is an infrastructure gap with China.
It would be necessary to launch a large investment program in roads, rehabilitation of towns and so on. Such a program could bring jobs to the unskilled people who form the largest segment of the labor force. Regarding telecom, the government should privatize. A large part of the fiscal reform would involve making the public sector more efficient, bringing direct benefits to the poor. Of course it should imply to attack one of the plague of the Indian economy: Bureaucracy and corruption.
33-Eliminate bureaucracy and corruption
Let's imagine that you have fixed an appointment with an Indian civil servant. Firstly, when you arrive he is not in office. You have to wait according to your social position. Secondly, when you enter his office, you face a desk with a fantastic pile of reviews, books, papers and rubbish. Thirdly, he will certainly misguide you into a bureaucratic jungle. Finally, he makes you understand that some money (Not for him but for other anonymous persons!) could ease everything!
With the legacy of the socialism, infinite controls, red tape, mismanagement and corruption are quite synonymous of public services. By comparison, our European bureaucracy looks like a paradise.
Corruption has to be controlled and eliminated. The obvious remedy is to remove government from many areas of activity and to extend the economic liberalization.
34-Extend economic liberalization
For long, India has been a statist economy with import substitution just like in other undeveloped countries. Thanks to the green revolution in agriculture, it succeeds in reducing shortage of food. It benefited also during this period of a massive food aid from the US. However the economy only got poor results until the early 1980. By this time, Rajiv Gandhi introduced reforms with import liberalization and the removal of some licensing. As a result, India knew a more rapid growth than before. On the other hand, the country increased its fiscal deficit and debt.
In 1991, a more extensive reform program began with a wide liberalization notably regarding trade, finance an the private sector. As a result, India got a better growth. The software industry in Bangalore and India's success in call-centers attracted the world attention. It was the begin of the story describing India as the "next knowledge super power"!
In fact, the liberalization has just begun: Most sectors of India's economy remain shielded from global competition by high tariffs (Averaging 20% in 2004) and restrictions on foreign direct investments. Moreover, labor regulations and red tape inherited from the past socialist planned economy impede the private sector. Just like the "old europe", India needs a radical deregulation of Economy ( For example, software industry and call-centers are successful because they are exempt from labor regulations).
The government is facing a political debate just like in Europe. There is not a consensus on liberalization. Many indian economists believe that cutting central bureaucracy will simply add new unemployment. The electoral defeat of the last government in 2004 has been interpreted as a referendum against the increasing openness of the Indian economy. It has been said that the vote revealed the popular disapproval of the privatization or the emphasis on computer science and information technology.
It means that the Indians, like in many other countries, want to benefit of the economic reforms. Instead of trying to become a world global trader (Like China), India would have better to focus on its huge internal market. It needs to raise the purchasing power of the poor people and the only way is to create more jobs, notably for the unskilled. I think that the infrastructure program (See above) could bring an opportunity. It does not imply a public deficit. It just calls for a State and fiscal reform and measures against tax evasion.
a bit of advice addressed to the elite: You can meet many Indian policymakers
(Politicians, professors, economists, scientist) in all the conference
rooms of the five stars hostels all around the world (And notably in
the UN meetings). They talk at large about the sustainable development,
the international cooperation, the defense of peace. They look politically
correct and the audience applauds! I think that these policymakers (All
from the upper caste!) would have better to care about their poor population.
They need a more pragmatic and down to earth approach. They
have to convince their population and to engage the reforms (and firstly
education) that the Indian people is waiting for so long.
The region is not peaceful. It was and it remains the cradle of the Jihad. As a result, religious violence between Hindu and Muslim could escalate.
41-The cradle of jihad
Following the 11 September 2001 terrorist attacks, the US toppled the Taliban for sheltering Bin Laden. I have to underline that some mysteries remain about this Afghan affair. In the 80, with some American friends, I helped the Afghan resistance against the Soviet Union. I organized and chaired many meetings with Afghan freedom fighters. Sure, they belonged to the hard core Islam but they were profoundly pro Western. I never understood why these fellows suddenly turned their anger against the West. As Ruyard Kipling said, it's another story.
Anyway, as long as Bin laden is alive, the North Western region will remain a threat for the world security. It is difficult to understand why Bin Laden is constantly escaping. There are two possibilities: Firstly, he benefits of many complicities among people who are in charge of the chase. Secondly, he is not any more in the tribal zone and just rests is some remote palaces of the Arabic peninsula (You cannot imagine the number of remote palaces that are scattered in the rugged desert of the Hedjaz. These palaces belong to some rich Saudi families and nobody investigate in this direction). It is also another story!
The main uncertainty is in Pakistan. Considering that 70% Pakistanis are illiterate, just imagine this nuclear country ruled by the talibans! The present situation can be stabilized as long as President Musharaff governs this country. The right question is : How long, will he can resist to the fundamentalist surge ? Once again, it is another story.
42-The Indian -Pakistan litigations
The separation in 1947 of British India into the Muslim state of Pakistan (with two sections West and East) and India was never satisfactorily resolved. The main litigation regards the dispute over the state of Kashmir. Despite the fact that people of both countries lived together for about thousands of years, it seems impossible to create good relations without solving Kashmir Dispute. India and Pakistan have fought two wars - in 1947-48 and 1965 - over the disputed Kashmir territory. A third war between these countries in 1971 resulted in East Pakistan becoming the separate nation of Bangladesh. India and Pakistan came to the brink of war again after an attack in December 2001 on India's parliament killed 12 people. New Delhi blamed the attack on Pakistani-backed Cashmere separatist militants.
We cannot consider this Kashmir dispute with benign neglect because the two nations have built up a military nuclear power: In response to Indian nuclear weapons testing, Pakistan conducted its own tests in 1998. However, The recent discussions between Pakistan and India may be a start toward lessened tensions (New Delhi and Islamabad have restored full diplomatic ties, reopened air links and resumed a bus service between Delhi and the Pakistani city of Lahore).
43-Islamism in India
The thorny problem of Kashmir is not the main worry. With the growing muslim population in India, large scale religious violences can occur. Moreover, a growing muslim minority could campaign to secede ( With new muslim states). It represents a risk for India to disintegrate. In such a context, Pakistan and other islamic countries would support the muslim separatists. Due to fanaticism, a global war, including nuclear exchange could occur.
In our opinion, the sub continent is the only region in the world where the nightmare of a nuclear confrontation could become a reality before 2030.
In this context, the Western countries must support the friendly democracy of India. We must emphasize the importance to display a Great Alliance with India ( And China ) because it should be the best demonstration that the world war against Islamism is not a clash of civilization or a clash between the riches and the poor's. It will prove that it is the war of the united civilizations against a single barbarism.
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