Atanu Dey On India's Development

India’s Development and the Terrorist State of Pakistan

Economic development is a complex matter which touches every aspect of a society, public as well as private, domestic as well as foreign. One cannot seek to understand (and subsequently act to change) the existing order by narrowly focusing on a just a few aspects of development. It is in that spirit of eclectic investigation that I recently wrote on the true weapons of mass destruction. Understanding conflict and how to minimize conflict is as important to development as the use of IT tools and other such mundane matters.

Resources directed by an economy for defense is not available for other beneficial uses. That India spends — or is forced to spend — a non-trivial percentage of its GDP for acquiring weapons is deplorable considering that millions of its citizens could have led better lives if those resources were directed towards development. Rich economies can afford the luxury of amassing insanely large stockpiles of weapons of mass destruction. But India cannot and should not.

India lives in a dangerous neighborhood. At the drop of a hat, the Terrorist State of Pakistan threatens “thousand-year wars” against the kuffar state of India. The dictator of the terrorist state of Pakistan, General Musharraf, threatens to vaporize major Indian cities if India were to go in hot-pursuit of the terrorists that Pakistan sends across the border.

A reader, Zenil, recently wrote that labeling Pakistan a terrorist state is a serious charge. Indeed it is, for terrorism is a serious matter. Pardon me for calling a spade a spade. Pakistan is a terrorist state. Pointing that out at every possible occassion is a duty of anyone who does not hold a brief for terrorists. It would be wonderful if by denying reality we could change it, but it ain’t so. I could proclaim how “India is Shining” till the cows come home. But that would not alter the fact that India is an abjectly poor overpopulated misgoverned third world country. And I make it a point to say it is so because I want others to realize that it is so with the hope that they will wake up and do something to change that unfortunate reality. I am as patriotic as the next guy but I am not blind.

So I suggest to Pakistanis that don’t like their motherland labeled as a terrorist state to please do something about it rather than object to someone calling Pakistan a terrorist state.

Let me be clear about one thing: it does not give me any particular pleasure that Pakistan is a terrorist state that is hell-bent on the destruction of India merely because India is largely Hindu and the Islamic god has decreed that Hindus cannot be allowed to exist in peace. Killing “non-believers” is a deep religious obligation in Islam. Nearly an infinite set of references can be given to support that but I will confine myself to just one source from the land sacred to Islam — Saudi Arabia.

It is our opinion that whoever claims the acceptability of any existing religion today — other than Islam — such as Judaism, Christianity and so forth, is a non-believer. He should be asked to repent; if he does not, he must be killed as an apostate [sic] because he is rejecting the Quran.

That is from a booklet in English circulated by the Jeddah D’awah Center in Saudi Arabia.

Zenil writes, “calling Pakistan a failed state … makes us feel good,but that doesnt solve the problem…”. It does not make me feel good that Pakistan is a failed state. In fact it puts the fear of god in me (to use an expression) because it endangers India. One has much to fear from a suicidal person who has nothing left to lose. So also, the Islamic maniacs with their fingers on the nuclear trigger and their hearts set on the pleasures of paradise would be a greater threat to India than the Chinese would be.

I don’t know how India can shift resources away from defense spending to development spending given that the terrorist state of Pakistan is propped up by the US at every turn. Over the next five years, the US has promised the TSP $3,000,000,000 (three billion dollars), half of which will be for military hardware. There goes the neighborhood.

I have a theory — a real huge conspiracy theory — that explains why the US supports Pakistan, only part of which I have explored in my piece on Dollar Auctions and Deadly Games. I will go into that in the next few days.

  • Nitin


    You have made some very pertinent points. It is true that India spends a lot of money on defence. It is also true that India’s economic and social development could do with a lot more money. But when an attempt is made to link the two, things begin to get cloudy.

    Firstly, India can achieve greater growth and development by pursuing policies that give economic freedom to its people, than by simply spending less on defence.

    Secondly, I am loath to accept that the Indian economy is hostage to Pakistani blackmail – for this is what the argument about peace-with-Pakistan-for-economic-development is all about. India’s economy continued to grow happily in 2002 when troops were mobilised and the world was worried about a nuclear nightmare. Terrorism killed thousands in the 1990s, but economic growth happened because of the end of the license raj.

    I’ve made some arguments here and here.

    Besides, if you take the Reagan parallel, India can win if it simultaneously focuses on economic reform and force Pakistan to give up its designs or alternately spend itself to penury.

  • R. Singh

    Very interesting. Here’s a note I had written sometime ago for a few folks.

    Hope it’s useful.

    This note/thoughts were based on a quote by Michael Jordan:

    There are plenty of teams in every sport that have great players and never win titles. Most of the time, those players aren’t willing to sacrifice for the greater good of the team. The funny thing is, in the end, their unwillingness to sacrifice only makes individual goals more difficult to achieve. One thing I believe to the fullest
    is that if you think and achieve as a team, the individual accolades will take care of themselves. Talent wins games, but teamwork and intelligence win championships.

    And the note was:
    The concept is as follows: “Look at optimizing the other person/people’s time value and efficiency”.

    We often focus on optimizing our time, our value – look at identifying our faults & working on them and improving. If we were to help others to optimize their time, the value would be much larger. For example: If I were to go on holiday for 3 days and were to leave my phone mail system as is. Each person calling would have to listen to 4 rings before being able to log his/her message. But If I were to set the ringer to one ring, I have saved the other person 3 seconds. 20 people leave messages for me and I’ve saved everyone 1min. Another possible example. If I (could somehow) improve my communication such that I were able communicate this message in a shorter, clearer and crisper form and as a result if I could save 5 min of your time. You would add more value to yourself with that 5 min. And that would have a multiplier effect.

    A different perspective to the old perspectives. Our job is to improve the value of the product to Sales so that they can sell it more easily. Improve their efficiency & value. Or to improve the value of the product to the customer such that he/she saves time and improves his efficiency – that would be customer delight.

    My point is that we should focus on both – improving our efficiency and helping the system improve it’s efficiency. This has implications for teams, groups, Orgs, societies, countries.