THE NEWS IN PROPORTION
03 December 2016
Firdaus Ahmed : Subcontinental Musings
May 08 2016
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CONFLICT IN NUCLEAR AGE
World War II redux in the nuclear age
A mega Indian Army exercise aimed at sharpening Army's deep strike capabilities in enemy territory concluded last month in Rajasthan. Firdaus Ahmed analyses why having the strike capabilities in this nuclear age might be a mixed blessing.
Mar 03 2016
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SYRIAN CEASEFIRE
Can India provide a new lens to the ISIS challenge in Syria?
Is military combat the only way to deal with the Islamic state and its likes? Firdaus Ahmed ponders about the role India can play in making the ongoing temporary ceasefire in the five-year old Syrian civil war a more permanent one.
Jan 16 2016
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DOCTRINAL DISCONNECT
Modi worsens India’s doctrinal muddle
In light of events in Pathankot, Firdaus Ahmed analyses Prime Minister Narendra Modi's speech, given to the military brass last month at the Combined Commanders’ conference aboard the INS Vikramaditya, on the way forward with Pakistan.
Dec 17 2015
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INDIA AGAINST ISIS
Fighting the ISIS: Why India should measure its steps
The Indian defence minister’s recent interactions indicate an overt leaning towards military action against ISIS under the UN flag. While it may not be difficult to explain this stance, or even find apparent justification for it, there is a need for a more cautionary approach, says Firdaus Ahmed.
Nov 16 2015
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INDIA’S PAK STANCE
Pakistani “idiocy”: A general gets it half right
Commanding general of Western Command, KJ Singh recently described Pakistan’s repeated military posturing in the broad framework of history as “the hallmark of being idiotic”. But can India really afford to say that? Firdaus Ahmed presents an incisive inward-looking analysis.
Sep 04 2015
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GEOPOLITICS AND THE MILITARY
What is really driving India’s Pakistan strategy?
Our government and the National Security Adviser are promoting 'defensive offence' as India's Pakistan strategy. Fridaus Ahmed explains why that's not the case and that our strategy is more 'offensive-compellence' than 'defensive offence'.
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Aug 05 2015
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CIVIL MILITARY RELATIONS
Look who’s doing yoga now!
The Indian military has so far maintained a dignified distance from the civilian and government affairs. But now there appears to be an increasing proximity between the military and the government. This does not bode well for India, writes Firdaus Ahmed.
Jun 18 2015
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DISPROPORTIONATE RESPONSE DOCTRINE
The seeds of India’s ‘tough guy’ image
Firdaus Ahmed deconstructs the various levels of state and individual dynamics that have led to India’s recent military doctrine of ‘disproportionate response’, as evident in various instances of encounters and killings, including the recent crackdown at the Myanmar border.
May 29 2015
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ANTI-MUSLIM BIAS IN THE MILITARY
How deep does our prejudice run?
Several recent media reports as well as scholarly literature point to a deep-seated communal bias in certain sections of Indian society. Firdaus Ahmed looks closely at the military and its mutations to explore if it can remain insulated from similar prejudicial leanings.
Apr 27 2015
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MODI'S CHINA VISIT
China policy: Will economics trump the military stance?
The Indian army’s evolving China strategy, leading to its preparedness for an offensive on that front, seems to have undergone a bit of dilution, as evident in North Block posturing. Is it merely a run-up to Modi’s China visit or is there more to it? Firdaus Ahmed explores.
Mar 24 2015
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A NEW ROLE FOR INDIA
What will it mean to have India as a ‘security provider’?
As India is poised to take on the role of a mature power centre in the Indian Ocean region, Firdaus Ahmed wonders if it will stick to its traditional defensive, accommodative strategic culture or if the move to a rightist polity will bring to the fore a different doctrine altogether.
Feb 10 2015
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POLITICS AND DEFENCE
Challenges of the brass in a political minefield
A recent announcement by the army chief that officers of all ranks of the army will donate a day’s pay to the PM’s relief fund for Kashmir floods has triggered an interesting exchange, throwing light on the broader trends of politicisation within the military. Firdaus Ahmed has more.
Jan 07 2015
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TERROR BOAT CONTROVERSY
What the maritime 'non-incident' on New Year’s Eve tells us
The recent episode in which a mysterious boat was intercepted by India off the coast, and blew itself up, may or may not have anything to do with Pakistani terror, but has important implications for national security strategy, external relations and domestic political dynamics. Firdaus Ahmed explains.
Dec 19 2014
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CULTURAL NATIONALISM
Where veterans refuse to give up, what does the future hold?
The increasing power and influence of veterans of the Indian army, known for their natural affinity towards the right wing regime in power, holds important implications especially when one considers the extent of its permeation into the serving structure. Firdaus Ahmed explains.
Nov 17 2014
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THE POLITICS OF JUSTICE
Is the army court’s verdict on the Machhil killings enough?
The recent award of life sentences to the army personnel involved in the 2010 Macchil killings in J&K sends out a positive message, but there are deeper layers in the justice system that need introspection and overhaul in the pursuit of reconciliation. Firdaus Ahmed explains.
Oct 31 2014
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SECURITY STRATEGY
Can PM Modi pull it off?
The aggression and pace of the new government’s decisions and activities relating to national security, just as in other areas, may be due to the eagerness to prove itself different from a sloth, ineffectual predecessor. However, the image that it creates comes with its own set of risks, writes Firdaus Ahmed.
Sep 22 2014
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FOREIGN POLICY
Sunburn warning for India’s day in the sun
India’s foreign policy moves under the Modi government have so far been aggressive, but sustaining the heat on the external front without a resolution of critical internal and regional positions comes with its own risks, writes Firdaus Ahmed.
Aug 21 2014
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FOREIGN RELATIONS
Indo-Pak talks: Getting past the eyewash
The calling off of talks between India and Pakistan is being attributed to the latter’s interactions with separatists, with an extended reference to incursions along the LoC. Firdaus Ahmed digs beyond the obvious to highlight the more likely cause behind the move.
Jun 25 2014
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NUCLEAR DYNAMICS
Will Modi relook at ‘massive’ retaliation in India’s nuclear doctrine?
Regardless of how it is interpreted, India’s doctrinal promise of ‘massive nuclear retaliation’ in the event of nuclear first use by the enemy would be more than strategically flawed. At a time when India is now poised to review its doctrine afresh, Firdaus Ahmed digs deeper.
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Apr 10 2014
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A NUCLEAR-FREE WORLD
Getting ‘practical’ on No-First-Use
PM Manmohan Singh’s plans to minimise nuclear risks, as articulated at a recent conference, revolves around formulation of a ‘global no-first-use’ norm. Firdaus Ahmed points to why a practical solution is less about global norms and rests more likely on issues closer home.
Mar 17 2014
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NUCLEAR DOCTRINE
One gaffe too many
The slips in the use of words in India’s official nuclear doctrine may be inadvertent but, nevertheless, point to a worrying amateurishness in the domain, says Firdaus Ahmed.
Nov 19 2013
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POLITICS AND SECURITY
The relevance of Vanzara's letter
In his resignation, Vanzara gave no indication that obeying illegal orders bothered him. Instead, his lament is that he was used and thrown. In right-shifting India, it may next be the military's turn if the shift from Gandhinagar takes place, writes Firdaus Ahmed.
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Oct 17 2013
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ARMY CULTURE
Soldiers, not servants
The army would like to point to low morale and push for higher pay. But as far as the troops are concerned, morale may have more to do with the way they are treated by officers, and this is what needs changing, writes Firdaus Ahmed.
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Aug 13 2013
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LINE OF CONTROL
An ambush loaded with meaning
The assault at the Line of Control appears to be a well-planned ambush. It comes at a time when India and Pakistan are tentatively inching closer. It is a message not only to India but also to the Pakistani civilians keen on better relations with India, writes Firdaus Ahmed.
Feb 11 2013
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MUSLIM MARGINALISATION
A good school for Maqbool
The refrain of late has been that a Muslim middle class is developing, implying that Muslims are beginning to do well in the country. Why, then, is it so hard to find Muslim children in elite schools, asks Firdaus Ahmed.
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Firdaus Ahmed is a freelance writer on security affairs, and writes a monthly column on peace, security, and related issues for India Together.



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