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‘Indian military aid to Afghanistan may lead to more Pathankot like attacks’

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French South Asian security expert Christophe Jaffrelot (second from right) at the Jaipur Literature Festival. Photo: IANS
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Jaipur: The Pakistani security establishment is unlikely to be happy with the Indian military aid to Afghanistan, and in the short run this could lead to more Pathankot-like attacks, says South Asia politics and security expert Christophe Jaffrelot.

“If India helps Afghanistan militarily, it could result in more Pathankots,” Jaffrelot, a professor at the Centre for Studies in International Relations at the Paris Institute of Political Studies and author of several books on India and Pakistan, told IANS in an interview at the Jaipur Literature Festival on Thursday.

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi visited Kabul and agreed to provide helicopters to the Afghan forces, and the attacks on the Indian Air Force (IAF) base at Pathankot in Punjab and the Indian consulate in Mazar-e-Sharif in Afghanistan followed, he said.

“The Pakistan Army has not taken the Indian offer of helicopters in a very good way. They already have a constant temptation to use jihadi groups against India,” said Jaffrelot.

“In the 10 years of (Congress rule), India gave Afghanistan aid but no military aid. You had talks, skirmishes, talks, skirmishes… India could live with that. It cannot live with a Pathankot every month,” he said.

On Pakistan, Jaffrelot, whose most recent book “The Pakistan Paradox: Instability and Resilience” (2015), dealt with the country’s curious paradoxes, said the world has to change its approach towards Islamabad.

“One solution will be to stop bailing it out… force it to reform its fiscal structure. The rich don’t pay taxes there. The state has no resources for development,” he said.

“The way must be trade, not aid,” he said, noting increased trade with Pakistan will also create more employment in the populous country. “This has to be among the first steps.”

Earlier, at a session titled “The Pakistan Paradox”, Jaffrelot maintained that a crackdown by the Pakistani security establishment on certain military groups makes “no real difference” for India.

“Recently, the head of the Lashkar-e-Jhangvi was killed in an ‘encounter’… The Pakistani forces only crack down on any group when it gets out of hand – and set up new ones. They still distinguish between ‘good’ and ‘bad’ Islamists.”

Jaffrelot, who has also studied Indian politics, especially the Hindu right and has authored “The Hindu Nationalist Movement and Indian Politics” (1996), “India’s Silent Revolution – The Rise of the Lower Castes in North India” (2003), “Saffron Modernity in India: Narendra Modi and his Experiment with Gujarat” (2015), also cautioned against the rise of majoritarianism in India.

“There is a risk of India becoming a mirror image of Pakistan… it would not be a very wholesome prospect,” Jaffrelot told IANS.

Noting it was a global trend with the success so far of Donald Trump in the race for the US presidential candidacy and right and far-right wing political parties in Europe, he said India had so far resisted this with its diversity and secularism.

“Majoritarianism, which would imply the majority community or Hindus are first-class citizens and minorities are not, can happen in practice, it dosn’t need a constitutional change. Israel is an example. They have not changed the law, but still,” he said, adding any such change would have implications.

“Things like ‘ghar wapsi’, beef ban, ‘love jihad’ and the like would lead to more estrangement, and ‘ghettoisation’ of the minority communities,” he said,

Apart from the security aspects of such an outcome, India would lose its “moral high ground” and its “soft power” would diminish,” he warned. (Vikas Datta, IANS)

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Microsoft Surface Pro Now Available In India

There is a full-size glass trackpad with five-finger multi-touch capabilities that allows for ultimate precision and the keyboard is wrapped in soft Alcantara material

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Global chip-maker Qualcomm Technologies and Microsoft have collaborated with leading retailers from across the world to offer new "always connected" Windows 10 PCs powered by the Qualcomm Snapdragon Mobile PC Platform. Wikimedia Commons
  • Microsoft released its Surface Pro in India
  • It is a high-resolution tablet with 12.3-inch touch-display
  • Customers can buy the Surface Pro from a number of retailers in India

Microsoft on Thursday announced its Surface Pro notebook and accessories are available in India. Surface Pro features a high-resolution 12.3-inch “PixelSense” touch display that supports the new Surface Pen 4.

The first generation, 2-in-1 detachable of the Microsoft Surface series — with a configuration of Intel Core m3, 128 GB SSD, 4GB RAM and Intel HD Graphics 615 — will cost Rs 64,999.

Microsoft introduces its Surface Pro Indian markets. Wikimedia Commons
Microsoft introduces its Surface Pro Indian markets. Wikimedia Commons

Customers can buy the device through more than 130 commercial resellers, the company said in a statement.

“We are delighted to announce the launch of Surface Pro in India and offer our consumers another superior device that will enable them create, study, work and play virtually anywhere,” said Vineet Durani, Director, Windows and Devices, Microsoft India.

Also Read: Microsoft Announces Indian Languages Support For e-mail Addresses

With a new hinge that adjusts to 165 degrees, users can now put the device into “Studio Mode”, thus, creating the optimal position to write or sketch.

It also has a tilt functionality that detects the angle of the Surface Pen to enable more natural shading.

At 8.5-mm thickness and weighing 767 grams, the notebook packs the in 7th-generation Intel Core processor with a fanless design.

Surface Pro has a battery life of 13.5 hours. Wikimedia Commons
Surface Pro has a battery life of 13.5 hours. Wikimedia Commons

 

Its battery supports up to 13.5 hours of life.

There is a full-size glass trackpad with five-finger multi-touch capabilities that allows for ultimate precision and the keyboard is wrapped in soft Alcantara material. IANS