Bangalore International Centrehad arranged a Talk on his Book “The Warrior State – Pakistan in the contemporary world” by Prof. T V Paul, James McGill Professor of International Relations,McGill University, Montreal, on 26th July, 2014 at 6.30 PM. Mr.Anand K Arni, Former Special Secretary, Cabinet Secretariat, GOIchaired and moderated the discussion. This was arranged in collaboration with Takshashila Institution.
Through a lucid talk, aided by power point presentation, Prof. Paul explained about the struggling of Pakistan seemingly from its birth, to build a proper democracy and a secure state. Today it ranks 133rd out of 148 countries in global competitiveness. Its economy is as dysfunctional as its political system is corrupt; both rely heavily on international aid for their existence.
He outlined the dangers of the reality that Taliban forces occupy many key areas of the country and engage in random violence. Since Pakistan possesses over a hundred nuclear weapons there can be reasonable apprehensions that such weapons could fall into terrorists’ hands. To explain the obsession of Pakistan to build itself up militarily even at the cost of economic development, Prof. Paul argued that the “geostrategic curse”—akin to the “resource curse” that plagues oil-rich autocracies—is at the root of Pakistan’s unique inability to progress. Since its founding in 1947, Pakistan has been at the center of major geopolitical struggles: the US-Soviet rivalry, the conflict with India, and most recently the post 9/11 wars. No matter how ineffective the regime is, massive foreign aid keeps pouring in from major powers, their allies and global financial institutions with a stake in the region. The reliability of such aid defuses any pressure on political elites to launch the far-reaching domestic reforms necessary to promote sustained growth, higher standards of living, and more stable democratic institutions. Prof. Paul suggested that excessive war-making efforts have drained Pakistan’s limited economic resources without making the country safer or more stable. Indeed, despite the regime’s emphasis on security, the country continues to be beset by widespread violence and terrorism.
There was a lively interaction with theaudience after the discussion.