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Book Discussion of “PAKISTAN – Courting the Abyss” authored by Mr. Tilak Devasher

April 4, 2017 @ 6:30 am

PAKISTAN - Courting the Abyss

Book Discussion of  “PAKISTAN – Courting the Abyss” authored by Mr. Tilak Devasher

About the Book

‘Pakistan: Courting the Abyss’ by Tilak Devasher seeks answers to fundamental questions like why, for example, is Pakistan such a troubled and troublesome state? Why is its survival frequently called into question? Are its problems of recent origin or rooted in its very genesis?

Devasher views the developments in Pakistan not from 1947 when the country was created but from the perspective of the Pakistan Movement during which the seeds of many current problems were sown- the opportunistic use of religion being the most lethal of these. This has led to the incremental growth of Islamisation and its result – war between different sects of Islam.

A unique feature of the book is the section the author calls ‘WEEP Analysis’ – an acronym for water, education, economy and population. These are the long-term factors that impact on the health, well-being and longevity of any country. As the author notes, ‘The degradation in each of these parameters takes a long time to manifest itself just as rectification and reversing the trends will take a considerably longer time.’

The author cautions that collectively these WEEP factors ‘strongly suggest a looming multi-organ failure in Pakistan,’ a failure that has been compounded by being ignored by a succession of leaders, civilian and military, since its creation. Increasingly, these issues will be the primary factors impelling Pakistan towards the abyss.

While a lot has been written on the Pakistan Army and civil-military relations, the author provides some answers to the vexed question of why the army dominates Pakistan. He shows why even during periods civilian rule ‘democratic governance instead of being a tripod of the executive, legislature and judiciary looks more like a garden umbrella in which the army is the central pole around which the other organs of the state revolve.’

Overall, both for the ordinary reader and the ‘expert’ this is an extremely important book on Pakistan.

About Mr. Tilak Devasher

Tilak Devasher retired as Special Secretary, Cabinet Secretariat, Government of India in October 2014. During his professional career he specialised in security issues, especially pertaining to India’s neighbourhood. Post retirement, he has continued to take a keen interest in such issues with special focus on Pakistan.

Tilak has taken to writing after his superannuation. He has written articles for the Economic Times, Indian Express, Vivekanand International Foundation, Catch News, Daily O and South Asia Monitor. He is currently working on his second book on Pakistan.

About Amb. P S Raghavan

Amb. Raghavan is currently the Convenor of  National Security Advisory Board. He  joined Indian Foreign Service in 1979 and has served as   India’s Ambassador to Russia, Ireland & Czech Republic.

During his distinguished career , he  held  several prestigious  diplomatic positions, including stints in Moscow,  Warsaw,   London . He had several  tenures in the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA). In 1994, he was appointed Consul General of India in Ho Chi Minh City and in 1997, Deputy High Commissioner of India to South Africa in Pretoria.

Amb.  Raghavan was Joint Secretary in the Prime Minister’s Office in New Delhi, dealing with Foreign Affairs, Defence, National Security matters, Space and Atomic Energy.



April 4, 2017
6:30 am
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