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Tuesday, September 09, 2014


My book Think South Asia has been self-published. It can be downloaded free from my blog links to the right in its epub, mobi and pdf formats. A print on demand can be ordered at cost price from Cinnamonteal from the link given to the right. The details of my book are below:
 First eBook edition published in India in 2014.
First print edition published in India in 2014 by CinnamonTeal Publishing.
ISBN: 978–93–84129–38–5
Copyright © 2014 Firdaus Ahmed
Firdaus Ahmed asserts the moral right to be identified as the author of the work.
Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this book are the author’s own and the
facts are as reported by the author, and the publisher is not in any way liable for the same.
Although the author and publisher have made every effort to ensure that the information
in this book was correct at the time of going to press, the author and publisher do not
assume and hereby disclaim any liability to any party for any loss, damage, or disruption
caused by errors or omissions, whether such errors or omissions result from negligence,
accident, or any other cause.
Ebook Development and Cover Design: CinnamonTeal Publishing
Cover art: Firdaus Ahmed
CinnamonTeal Publishing,
Plot No 16, Housing Board Colony
Gogol, Margao
Goa 403601 India

For my parents
Whose standing by me made everything possible
And without whom nothing would have been possible

Acknowledgements 13
Preface 15
A Second Modi-Sharif Meet Required to Kickstart
Bilateral Talks 19
Mr. Doval as NSA means for Indian National Security 23
Modi on the security front 27
What Did Manmohan Singh Mean by ‘Disastrous’? 31
Ideologues as ‘strategists’ 34
Implications of a NaMo foreign policy 38
Indo-AfPak: Chanakya to the Rescue? 41
Daulat Beg Oldi: More than a storm in a tea cup 44
India’s security under Modi 47
Rescuing Tribal India: The Nagaland Model 51
Compellence, Deterrence or Defence?: Saxena Task
Force and India’s Defence Reforms 54
After Osama: Should New Delhi Engage Pakistan
or ‘Wait And Watch’? 57
Getting a Peace Movement Going 60
Revisiting Intelligence Reform 63
What Holds India Up? 66
Pakistan: Divining a Way 69
The Coming Decade of Nuclear Risk 72
The Debate in Obama’s Wake 75
Book review - India Over the Years 78
India’s Grand Strategy: On Track 81
India’s Coin Policy: ‘Peace Preceding Talks’? 84
Countering the Naxal Threat-IV: Military as an Option? 87
Revisiting ‘1971’ 90
The Bright Side of ‘Asymmetric Escalation’ 93
Questioning India’s Military Trajectory 96
India at 60: Acquiring Escape Velocity? 100
Surgical Strikes: Missing the Mark 103
Making Obama’s War Also India’s 106
Pakistan Owes Much, But Not Suicide 109
On Disarmament Prospects in South Asia 112
War Clouds Gathering 115
Emulating the US 119
Yet Another Nuclear Controversy 122
Vignettes of India’s Security Culture 125
From ‘No First Use’ to ‘No Nuclear Use’ 129
Agenda for the Next Government 132
A Strategy for ‘Af-Pak’ ’ 135
Not Quite an Empty Threat 138
National Security Adviser: Reviewing the Institution 141
Afghanistan: Appraising the Future 144
The Myth of ‘Weapons of Peace’ 147
Getting it Right: Rereading India’s Nuclear Doctrine 150
Reconceptualizing Internal Security 153
Musharraf and the ‘TINA’ Factor 156
For a Return to Lahore 159
Tackling Intervention in South Asia 162
Querying India’s Grand Strategy 165
In the Line of Fire: Pakistan Army 168
Pakistan’s Possible Nuclear Game Plan 170
For a Paradigm Shift 172
The Price of Malgovernance 175
The Price of Malgovernance 177
The Police and the Example of the Armed Forces 180
Missiles and Crisis Stability 182
The Post-Parakram Peace Agenda 185
Indian Peacekeeping in Iraq? 188
The ‘Peace Initiative’: A Tactical Gambit 191
The Sole ‘Lesson’ of the Iraq War 193
For a Return to Clausewitz 196
The General Did Not Bite! 199
Moving Beyond Realism 202
Lessons from the Present Crisis 204
The ‘Vision Thing’ 206
Politicisation: In the Context of the Indian Military 211
The Coming Threat of Politicisation 214
India’s Brass: What the Controversy Misses 218
The Military at the High Table? 222
Modi and the Military: Not Quite an Innocent Beginning 225
The Loc Incident Calls for Self-Regulation by the Army 228
Countering Insurgency and Sexual Violence 232
Dear General, Please Stay Out of Politics 237
Interrogating Security Expansionism in India 239
The Indian Army: Organizational Changes in the Offing 242
An Issue in Civil-Military Relations 245
10 Years Later - Making Kargil Serve A Purpose 248
Kargil: Ten Years On 252
The Calculus of ‘Cold Start’ 255
Limited Nuclear War, Limitless Anxiety 259
Rethinking Civilian Control 264
The Lesson from Sam Bahadur’s Triumph 267
The Day After ‘Cold Start’ 270
Kargil: Back In The News 273
Menu For The New Chief 276
‘No’ To ‘Cold Start’ 279
The Logic of Nuclear Redlines 282
A Smoke Screen called Limited War 285
The Need to Revisit Conventional Doctrine 288
The Impetus Behind Limited War 290
Preparing for ‘Limited Nuclear War’ 292
Modi’s Kashmir 297
Pathribal: Back in the News 300
The Military in Kashmir 304
Opinion 307
Vanzara Gets it Right 311
Distancing from Cloak and Dagger 314
AFSPA in J&K: Why should it go? 318
Jammu and Kashmir: Need for a Political Solution 321
Kashmir: The Way Forward 327
A Roadmap for Kashmir 331
Addressing the ‘Central’ Issue 334
Lessons from India’s Kashmir Engagement 337
Kashmir: Revectoring Indian Strategy 340
Life Under Modi 345
Strategising for the Modi Era 348
The Next Polls and Beyond 352
Muslim Absence from the Strategic Space 355
Doing More with the Military 359
Elections 2014: The Worst Case Scenario 362
What if Modi Makes it to Race Course Road 366
Afzal Guru: The Man Who Knew Too Much 370
Taking on Mr. Modi’s Chief Cheerleader: Chetan Bhagat 373
The Unfolding Gameplan of Majoritarian Extremists 376
Minority Affairs - More than just a visit 379
Not So Easy, Mr. Modi 382
Chetan Bhagat: Caught at it Again 385
Catching up with the SIT Chief 388
Mr. Bhagat: Please Get Off Our Backs, Will You! 391
A Reply for Mr. Narendra Modi 394
An Open Reply to Modi’s Open Letter 396
Blasting the Terror Narrative 399
The Gujarat Revelations 401
Blast from the Past - The Varanasi Explosion 404
Muslim India: A Security Perspective 407
The Counter Narrative on Terror 410
Understanding Minority-Perpetrated Terrorism 413
Haldighati II: Implications for Internal Security 416
Widening the Discourse on Terror 419
Muslim India as ‘Threat’ 422
Terrorism’ and Intellectual Responsibility 425
The Fiction Of ‘Minority Terror’ 427


This book is a compilation of my writings available on the internet
between 2003 and 2014. Since I dealt with many issues in international
relations, military strategy, internal security, strategy, civil-military
relations, Kashmir and minority affairs, it is a peacenik’s record of the
times in the security field. The writings are India centric but also cover the
region, in particular India-Pakistan relations. I have used the liberal lens
to view security and on that account the articles provide a different view
point than the usual realist one in the national security discourse. I have
consistently tried to project peace initiatives and suggest ways to mitigate
risks in the strategies adopted. In that I have taken a stand for peace.
The pieces in this book are from my blog, Think South Asia, To make them available in
one go to readers I have compiled them into this e-book. I hope these
articles would be individually of interest. Collectively I believe they
would be useful to researchers and to students in peace studies, a field
that is lacking in literature covering the region. The book would also be
relevant for students of strategic studies and political science, and for
practitioners, the media and the attentive citizen. I hope that it proves a
‘blow’ for the sake of peace.
I have divided the book into four parts comprising articles dealing
with regional peace and national security that includes my writings on
India-Pakistan, internal security and nuclear issues. Subsequent parts
are on the Indian military, Kashmir and on security issues facing India’s
largest minority, Muslim Indians.
I must thank editors of the various websites and institutions who
have accepted these pieces for publication on their websites. Without
their support and patronage over the years this book would not have
been possible. Thanks also to Queenie Fernandes and her colleagues
at CinnamonTeal Publishing for putting these commentaries between
covers. Some have even improved the readability of the articles. In
particular, I thank the Institute for Peace and Conflict Studies for its
permission to use my articles on its website for this book and for allowing
me a platform for close to a decade.
The book is to repay in small measure my family for the time lost with
them while these articles were being written.


This book is my contribution to the peace movement in India and the
region, just a drop to add to the work of those more courageous than
me at the barricades. They have given their time and sweat so that we
can live in freedom and without fear. I hope that they will eventually
triumph. This book is a small gesture of support for them.
It advances a liberal perspective on security that is relatively
marginalised not only in India, but in wider security studies in general.
The book on this account makes for an alternative reading. Since I have
persevered through the better part of this century, the book can prove a
useful record of the times seen through the liberal lens. The book can
provide ballast to the values that are currently under assault from the
ascendance of extremist ideologies.
I have taken advantage of my academic readings to examine what is
happening in the region. With me being Indian, the book is necessarily
India-centric. Since India is central to South Asia, the book covers
security affairs in the region. The idea it advances is that India and the
regional nations cannot get to peace until they ‘Think South Asia’. The
region must be seen as a whole and its nations and peoples taken as ‘One’.
There can be no ‘Other’ or ‘Othering’.
Peace and prosperity go together and therefore peace is a valuable goal.
Achieving peace requires practicable ideas in terms of peace interventions
and initiatives. It also involves pointing out the fallacy of dominant ideas
and the manner these contribute to instability and insecurity. The book
has articles dealing with both, alternative ideas and critiques of current
practice. At places it takes a combative look at the manner security is
handled, participating in a debate with those defending the status quo,
and at others it suggests ways to advance peace, lending support to
articulators of and practitioners in myriad peace movements.
The articles have been grouped in four parts. The theme in the first part
is National Security. It comprises articles on India’s security predicament
including nuclear issues, India-Pakistan relations, regional crises, and
opinions on the controversies over the period. The second part is on
India’s military. It takes an informed look at the ‘holy cow’, especially
civil-military relations. The third part is on Kashmir. Even though the
situation there appears to have improved, the issue still stands between
neighbours. For the subcontinent to firstly think of itself as one and be
one eventually, such issues would require tackling. I try and engage with
how to do this in my articles on Kashmir. The last is on concerns of
security of India’s Muslims. Since Partition, it has become ‘illegitimate’
to think of security in terms of community. It is taken as ‘communal’.
However, that India’s largest minority has found itself imposed on lately,
I have tried to articulate that India’s security cannot be at the cost of its
minorities; indeed the security of its minorities, regional and societal, is
a must for India’s security.
I hope the book proves useful in projecting views that are no doubt
shared by the majority of the attentive public.

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