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TCA Raghavan
Articles by TCA Raghavan

Making sense of the Islamabad mandate

A government with doubts about its legitimacy makes it difficult to be optimistic about Pakistan in the short term

Pakistan election results 2024 LIVE: Supporters of Imran Khan’s PTI in Karachi on Saturday. (REUTERS)(HT_PRINT)
Published on Feb 12, 2024 08:00 AM IST

Strategic mistrust key to Iran-Pak relations

Both countries have sought to maintain the veneer of a harmonious bilateral ties as befitting neighbouring Islamic nations with historical associations.

File picture of Pakistani and Indian national flags.(Reuters)
Published on Jan 22, 2024 04:16 PM IST

In Pakistan, new script, old actors

Nawaz Sharif’s homecoming seems to be part of a structured script that underwrites the country’s politics and the fluid nature of its civil-military relations

Pakistan's former Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif addresses his supporters.(AFP)
Published on Oct 25, 2023 10:16 PM IST

In transition, Pak set for more turbulence

Pakistan’s future will get some sense of clarity as it prepares to be guided by a caretaker government. But more fissures remain for the distressed country

Pro-Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) party lawyers shout slogans during a protest rally against the arrest of former Prime Minister Imran Khan, in Muzaffarabad(AFP)
Published on Aug 11, 2023 07:58 AM IST

Don’t hold out hope for better ties with Pakistan

India-Pak relationship is minimally stable. But the political flux in Pak, the troubles of the army and terrorist attacks in Jammu and Kashmir do not bode well

The overall context of the India-Pakistan relationship and the extent of domestic confusion in Pakistan ruled out the possibility of any meaningful bilateral engagement at the recently concluded SCO meet in Goa (AFP)
Updated on May 08, 2023 06:42 PM IST

Musharraf leaves behind a tangled political legacy

Musharraf also came to realise that stability in Pakistan would remain precarious if its western and eastern borders were simultaneously active. Egged on by the US, he showed a willingness to engage with India that left many flabbergasted

For Musharraf, domestic extremists posed the real threat to Pakistan. To critics, he was never able to commit himself to exorcising Pakistan from its dependence on terrorist groups (AFP)
Updated on Feb 07, 2023 08:48 AM IST

Maintain equanimity in dealing with Pakistan

Recent statements by Pakistan PM Sharif on bilateral ties come at a time when the country is mired in political and economic uncertainties. While not letting its guard down, it won’t be wrong to view this development positively

The India-Pakistan terrain is so bleak and differences on many issues so stark that any references to living in peace and wanting good relations are welcome, no matter how large a pinch of salt we may take alongside it. (AFP)
Published on Jan 19, 2023 07:47 PM IST

Pakistan’s period of calm is temporary

The recent appointment of a new army chief has stemmed the turmoil, but only temporarily, in Pakistan. Only an election can settle the political conflict. Till then, contestations will continue, and India will have to remain alert

Pakistan’s political spectrum today is made up almost entirely of those who have, at some point of time, been proteges of the army but then also been burnt by it. In brief, there is no one the army can bring itself to fully trust or see as a safe option (via REUTERS)
Updated on Dec 07, 2022 08:11 PM IST
ByTCA Raghavan

Pakistan is battling headwinds, yet again

Imran Khan’s decision to take on the army and whip up popular opinion has coincided with the retirement of army chief Qamar Bajwa at the end of November. This sets the stage for protracted uncertainty at a time the country is facing a raft of economic and social problems

The first half of General Qamar Bajwa’s tenure saw the marginalisation of Nawaz Sharif; the closing part of it has seen a reversal of that policy and Imran Khan as the target (AP)
Updated on Oct 27, 2022 07:36 PM IST
ByTCA Raghavan

Pakistan’s immediate future looks bleak

It is clear that a smooth transition will be resisted at every stage, including by those loyalists who hold high office, beginning with the President of Pakistan, Arif Alvi, who proceeded on leave rather than administer the oath of office to the new PM-elect

While Shehbaz Sharif stands elected as PM, this by no means implies that order will now prevail (ANI)
Updated on Apr 12, 2022 07:24 PM IST
ByTCA Raghavan

Pakistan’s opposition, public increasingly irked by the military’s role in politics

Whether this present front of opposition unity and better atmospherics between the leaders of the PML-(N) and the PPP, therefore, heralds something new happening in Pakistan is too early to say.

Pakistan opposition leaders Bilawal Bhutto Zardari, son of slain former Pakistan premier Benazir Bhutto (R) and former Pakistani premier Nawaz Sharif and brother of Shahbaz Sharif (C) and his daughter Maryam Nawaz Sharif (L) arrive for press conference at the end of All Parties  Conference (APC) in Islamabad on September 20, 2020(AFP)
Published on Sep 28, 2020 07:54 PM IST
ByTCA Raghavan

Balakot highlighted lowering of India’s threshold on terror

In many ways, the Balakot strike shares features with the 1965 India-Pakistan war. Many in the international community saw our response as a dangerous escalation of a localised conflict over Kashmir to the full spectrum of an India-Pakistan war.

Picture of Jaish-e-Mohammed (JeM) facility destroyed by Indian Ar Force strikes in Balakot, Pakistan on February 26, 2019.(ANI Photo)
Updated on Feb 14, 2020 05:08 AM IST
ByTCA Raghavan

HTLS 2019: Knowledge is essential to create $5-trillion economy

Knowledge production and foreign policy go hand in hand. Thus, stronger investment in the university system will ensure multidisciplinary and indigenously driven scholarship.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s September visit to Vladivostok for the Eastern Economic Forum, where he met Russian President Vladimir Putin, signals India’s interest in the Far East.(Reuters image)
Updated on Nov 26, 2019 04:14 PM IST
ByTCA Raghavan

India has done well to go ahead with Kartarpur | Opinion

Security concerns should be addressed. But they cannot be allowed to trump landmark political initiatives

That the Kartarpur corridor’s inauguration coincides with the 550th birth anniversary of Guru Nanak is a further plus, and makes it a landmark decision in India-Pakistan relations and for Sikhs in India(PTI)
Updated on Nov 11, 2019 08:03 PM IST
ByTCA Raghavan

Opinion | What the US-Iran tensions mean for India

The recent spike in tensions between the United States (US) and Iran has a familiar ring to it. But that does not reduce the risks for the two parties as well as the other countries in the region and beyond it. Hydrocarbon flows through the Strait of Hormuz and the Persian or Arabian Gulf have been a permanent cause of worry when the US-Iran relations have moved into the high-tension zone.

A woman walks past a mural painting along the wall of the former US embassy, Tehran, June 22, 2019(AFP)
Updated on Jul 04, 2019 11:58 AM IST
Hindustan Times | ByTCA Raghavan

Pakistan is on a path of its own

Downturns in relations with India often have their origins in the internal civil-military equations in Pakistan and this is a factor which we have no real policy instrument to deal with

Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan applauses as he is observes the fly-past by Pakistan Air Force (PAF) JF-17 Thunder fighter jet during the Pakistan Day military parade in Islamabad, Pakistan March 23, 2019(REUTERS)
Updated on Jun 13, 2019 03:45 PM IST
ByTCA Raghavan

Islamabad must now act decisively on terror

It is high time that Pakistan recognised the incubation of several terrorist groups operating on its territory.

A strategic response (by Pakistan) would involve recognising the continuous incubation of externally directed terrorist groups in its territory and acting against them.(PTI)
Updated on Mar 07, 2019 07:31 AM IST
ByTCA Raghavan

In 2019, India must be open to opportunities and vigilant against threats

The challenge for 2019 and indeed for the years ahead is of how to interface with this new power within us and which effects all equations with our neighbours or will inevitably do so

Navjot Singh Sidhu addresses the media after attending the groundbreaking ceremony for the Kartarpur Corridor, November 29. The Kartarpur Saheb opening shows that in the India Pakistan context bilateral developments follow their own logic and can surprise even the hardened cynic(Sameer Sehgal / Hindustan Times)
Updated on Dec 28, 2018 09:35 AM IST
ByTCA Raghavan

Global scrutiny may not bring changes in Pakistan

26/11 Mumbai terror attacks: The Mumbai carnage saw an international condemnation that cut across all divisions in demanding that action be taken against its planners and perpetrators. None of that happened

In the file photo, fire brigade officers are seen fighting fire at Taj hotel.(Hemant Padalkar/HT Photo)
Updated on Nov 25, 2018 08:03 AM IST
Hindustan Times, New Delhi | ByTCA Raghavan

Opinion | India must lead the way but also step aside in South Asia

Regional engagements have their own logic and it is to our advantage to follow that logic to the full. Our neighbourhood has never been so narrowly defined.

The first military exercise of Bimstec countries was held in Pune in September, 2018.(HT FIle)
Updated on Oct 04, 2018 12:15 PM IST
ByTCA Raghavan

1988 and the beginning of the Barelvi assertion

The Barelvis asserted themselves as a political force in the recent Pakistan general election carving out space for themselves in the area hitherto occupied by mainstream Islamist parties many of whom are affiliated to the Deobandis. Massive demonstrations of street power have generally characterized Barelvi assertion in Pakistan in the past two years.

There was another marker in 1988 with a long after life: the publication of Salman Rushdie’s (in photo) Satanic Verses and the chain of events that this triggered.(AP)
Published on Sep 22, 2018 06:31 PM IST
ByTCA Raghavan

For Imran Khan, the real battle against Nawaz Sharif lies in the villages and towns of Punjab

As Pakistan heads for its next general election, Khan’s strengths are obvious. For his followers, he retains the aura of the cricket captain and represents the principle of merit and performance

Pakistan opposition leader and head of the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf Imran Khan leaves Parliament after attending a session in Islamabad on May 23, 2018(AFP)
Updated on Jun 21, 2018 08:02 AM IST
ByTCA Raghavan

Nawaz Sharif’s comments expose Pakistan’s duplicitous stand on terrorism

Former Pakistan prime minister Nawaz Sharif’s comments on the Mumbai 26/11 attacks trial expose the civil-military tensions in Pakistan

Former Pakistani PM Nawaz Sharif with former law minister Zahid Hamid as he leaves after addressing a press conference in Islamabad, on May 10, 2018.(AFP Photo)
Updated on May 25, 2018 08:26 AM IST
ByTCA Raghavan

What Indo-Pacific means for India

It is the most recent and the most nebulous (in terms of defining with clarity), and the most straightforwardly strategic in its orientation. From an Indian perspective, it appears a natural evolution of our ‘Look/Act policy’ as an increasingly larger share of our GDP is accounted for by external trade of which a growing proportion traverses through this region. The term also has obvious linkages to ‘Asia Pacific’, which has been in use for a long time but with the obvious difference that the Indo-Pacific strongly evokes a maritime perspective.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi (R) shakes hands with French President Emmanuel Macron in New Delhi, March 11, 2018. The visit of the President of France, Emmanuel Macron, saw a Joint Strategic Vision of India-France Cooperation in the Indian Ocean Region, and this document refers to India’s central position in the ‘Indo-Pacific’,(REUTERS)
Updated on Mar 31, 2018 03:25 PM IST
ByTCA Raghavan

Pakistan remains the epicentre of terror and unrest

Pressure from the United States on Pakistan is after a series of terror attacks in Afghanistan; and this is likely to continue

Demonstrators gather during a protest against US aid cuts at the Pakistan-Afghanistan border post, Chaman, Pakistan, January 5, 2018(AFP)
Updated on Feb 15, 2018 12:23 PM IST
ByTCA Raghavan

India-Asean ties: An incremental relationship that’s set to move ahead

As seen in history, India-Asean ties will be influenced by the wider world, and it will be test the strength of this relationship. The China factor must be seen in this context

(From L-R) Thailand's Prime Minister Prayut Chan-O-Cha, Vietnam's Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc, Prime Minister Narendra Modi , Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte and Singapore's Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong pose for a photo during the 15th Asean-India Summit, on the sideline of the 31st Asean Summit, Manila, November 14, 2017(AFP)
Updated on Jan 24, 2018 06:32 PM IST
ByTCA Raghavan

Another December in Pakistan: A legacy of accumulated history

This December is however also witnessing an intense contest between a weakened government and what appears to be the rest of Pakistan’s political spectrum. Is this the normal raised level of static as the country enters the last lap before the general election? Or is the next act of the so called ‘creeping coup’?

Former Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, left, listens to his brother Shahbaz Sharif during a party meeting in Lahore in October(AP)
Updated on Dec 23, 2017 08:30 AM IST
ByTCA Raghavan

This political turmoil in Pakistan marks the coming out of the Barelvis

The Barelvis are generally regarded as pluralistic and adherents of a softer, more moderate approach; although this image is gradually changing much like everything else in Pakistan

Supporters of the Tehrik-e-Labaik Pakistan Islamist political party, beside a sack full of shotgun and teargas shell casings used on them by police, at their protest site at Faizabad junction in Islamabad, Pakistan on November 27 2017(REUTERS)
Updated on Dec 05, 2017 08:36 AM IST
ByTCA Raghavan

Nawaz Sharif under fire: Is Pakistan’s history of regime change repeating itself?

Next year Nawaz Sharif would become the first ever elected PM to finish his full term. Whether Pakistan will sacrifice this on the altar of a mythical probity in public life remains to be seen

Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif speaks to reporters outside the premises of the Joint Investigation Team, Islamabad, Pakistan, June 15(AP)
Updated on Jul 26, 2017 08:32 PM IST
ByTCA Raghavan

The Kulbhushan Jadhav case in the ICJ changes the goalposts for India and Pakistan

India’s approaching the International Court of Justice (ICJ) to resolve the Kulbhushan Jadhav case in Pakistan is a break from tradition, where India has always been reluctant to bring bilateral relations to an international forum. But this move could mean that relations between India and Pakistan are headed in a new direction.

The Government of India’s approach has always been to try and limit exposure of bilateral issues to outside influences, legal or otherwise. Thus the approach to the International Court of Justice (ICJ) on Kulbhushan Jadhav is a step in a new direction for both India and Pakistan(AFP)
Updated on May 12, 2017 12:04 AM IST
ByTCA Raghavan
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