Tilak Devasher's book The Pashtuns: A Contested History delves into the Pashtun tribe, highlighting its geopolitical significance and far-reaching consequences in the South Asian region. Reviewer Tim Willasey-Wilsey says the book brilliantly explains how the Pashtuns were strong-armed into joining Pakistan and why the prospect of Pashtun unity poses a threat to security in Pakistan and the entire region.
Despite the current tense global atmosphere, India and its foreign policy have remained true to its core of peace and security for all and equity and justice for the developing world. Throughout history, dialogue and diplomacy has been supported as a solution to dispute. Now, as G20 President, New Delhi can sow these seeds of peace in an increasingly multipolar world.
The reference to India by Russian President Vladimir Putin at the Valdai Discussion Club may be interpreted as encouragement to New Delhi to use its good offices to nudge the warring sides to the negotiating table. Mediation is a big power game, and this may be the right time for India, at the cusp of the G20 Presidency, to start with a record of success
Tilak Devasher’s book on the Pashtuns brings out the dynamics of the Pashtun, their code, their relationship with Islam and with Pakistan. It contextualizes the current geo-political challenges in South Asia, making it required reading for those who want to understand not only the Pashtuns but regional strategic and security dynamics.
The recent SCO Summit held in Samarkand was significant not only because it was held in-person after three years but also because of its rapid expansion and the increasing attention to economic development. The SCO’s progress on connectivity, commerce and digitalization is relevant for India which takes over the presidency in 2023.
The upcoming SCO Summit led by Uzbekistan seeks to ignite a ‘Samarkand Spirit’ where nations are indivisible and not fragmented, and connected by trade and investment. This is a welcome positive note in the backdrop of the Ukraine-Russia conflict, where Central Asia is now being impacted by diminishing essential commodities, depreciation of local currencies, and reduced remittances from its migrant workers in Russia.
Delhi and Dhaka are fully conscious that they must get this vital equation right, constantly strengthening and deepening their cooperation and countering the challenges they face. In this, the contributions of the Sheikh Hasina government in nurturing the special ‘bonding’ is enormous and widely appreciated.
The relevance of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation has increased due to the clear divisions developing in the world, since the Ukraine crisis began. Several leaders will probably attend in-person, a chance to advance their regional and economic interests. India has good relations with most SCO countries, and sees the upcoming Summit as a way to secure its strategic and security objectives.
Russian President Vladimir Putin’s July visit to Iran was a geopolitical reset for both countries. The collapse of the JCPOA and the Ukraine crisis has strategically united Iran and Russia against their common adversary, the U.S. Russia is now a credible alternative to fill the investment vacuum for Iran’s defence, trade and energy sectors.
The genesis of Pakistan’s current political and economic problems lies with the pre-1947 Pakistan movement. But, its immediate problems stem from the political engineering done by the Pakistani army to install a hybrid regime led by Imran Khan who, they realised much later, was unable to deliver either on the economy or on governance.