07 AUGUST 2020
Firdaus Ahmed : Subcontinental Musings
Oct 26 2008
Military cooperation with the US: A mixed bag

A future government that is without the check of a strong opposition could strike out on a course that is markedly divergent from India's past record of abstinence from geo-political conflicts, writes Firdaus Ahmed.

Sep 21 2008
In Muslim India, an internal battle
The struggle to wrest back interpretations of Islam from the extremists could give security a boost, but more importantly, it could halt the marginalisation and ghettoisation of Muslims in India, writes Firdaus Ahmed.
Aug 27 2008
Mid-year chakravyuh
With the government firmly in ostrich mode on issues of internal security, and the external situation appearing more complex than our laid-back approach can handle, India awaits its Abhimanyu, writes Firdaus Ahmed.
Jul 09 2008
Making nuclear sense
As the strategic enclave, comprising organisations dealing with nuclear weapons and high-end technology has grown, the agenda of political discourse has been usurped by 'high politics'. This has wide implications for democracy, writes Firdaus Ahmed.
Apr 05 2008
Is Vox Populi good enough?
In Advani's worldview, populist sorrow over the Babri Masjid demolition, and Narendra Modi's re-election after the Gujarat riots amount to democratic endorsement of whatever happened, and is sufficient political accountability. Thankfully, the Supreme Court doesn't agree, notes Firdaus Ahmed.
Feb 29 2008
Successful deterrence? Hardly.
The absence of open conflict between India and Pakistan since both became nuclear states is cited as proof that deterrence works. But there have been unacknowledged conflicts, and just as importantly, a closer look at each instance shows other factors are also at work, writes Firdaus Ahmed.
Jan 03 2008
Internal security agenda for the new year
The happenings in Pakistan, which have culminated in the unfortunate assassination of former Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto, are equally portentuous for India. India needs to contain the Pakistani predicament at the border, notes Firdaus Ahmed.
Dec 03 2007
Expansion in Indian nuclear theology
Retired Army Chief General Shankar Roychowdhury, writing in a popular security magazine, says India's nuclear doctrine must be revised to cover the additional threat of sponsored nuclear terrorism that could, as part of Pakistan's proxy war, prove to be the 'Future Shock'. Firdaus Ahmed analyses the General's views.
Oct 15 2007
Unacceptable underside of 'deterrence by punishment'
India's doctrine of 'deterrence by punishment' is least credible in the most likely scenario of Pakistani nuclear use. But the tenets of this doctrine are not above revision, and times of relative peace offer a better opportunity to find the way forward, says Firdaus Ahmed.
Sep 20 2007
The Nagaland model for Kashmir
Pakistan, under pressure in the Global War on Terror (GWOT), has restrained its hand in the proxy war. By most accounts, Kashmir appears headed towards peace. This is the right juncture to approach the issue politically, both in its external and internal plane, says Firdaus Ahmed.
Mar 29 2007
This summer, at a border near you
The United Stated-led Global War on Terror is all set to come up to India's doorstep this summer, with Pakistan's move from being a 'frontline state' to becoming a theatre of war. For India, a reflexive anti-Pakistani stance or a fashionable pro-American one are not the only choices, writes Firdaus Ahmed.
Jan 03 2007
The Indian Army: crisis within
The army may have delivered on its mandate of ensuring the return of an environment more conducive to law and order since more than a decade, in Kashmir. But the recent spate of suicides and fratricides within are showing that the army is under stress, a slide that the political side can and must prevent, says Firdaus Ahmed.
Sep 15 2006
Lessons from recent wars
The impact of 9/11 has brought in a greater permissibility in the use of force by states. With terrorist attacks taking their toll of innocents by design, a move away from the earlier restrictions on use of force appears defensible. Like its strategic partners, India too might act on this higher latitude for war, writes Firdaus Ahmed.
Jul 06 2006
Grand manoeuvre, yes, but to what end?
That Ex Sanghe Shakti concluded in the plains of Punjab without much ado indicates the determination of both India and Pakistan to keep temperatures below the now usual levels of the summer campaign in Kashmir. However, this positive should not cloud the questionable premises of Ex Sanghe Shakti, writes Firdaus Ahmed.
Apr 17 2006
Politicisation and the Indian military
While agreeing with General S Padmanabhan who says in his recent book that "politicisation of the military is a self defeating exercise in a democracy," it is difficult to concede that "greed for fish and loaves of office" is how the politician would corrupt the military establishment and wrench it from its apolitical moorings, writes Firdaus Ahmed.
Mar 01 2006
Muslim headcount: A useful controversy
The furore over the counting of minorities in the armed forces has taken attention away from what such a survey might reveal. Are the minorities adequately represented in the security services? This question too should concern secular-minded citizens, says Firdaus Ahmed.
Dec 30 2005
Security agenda: 2006 and beyond
Now that political alienation has been redressed to some extent by democratic changeovers, the presence of the Army in Kashmir can be more boldly reduced. The coming year is one of many possibilities, but it will be followed by an even more important year, and the opportunities at hand now must not be lost, writes Firdaus Ahmed.
Oct 14 2005
Of nukes and counter-nukes
What is the threshold for Pakistan to use it nuclear weapons? Public statements by knowledgeable insiders addressing this question may only be a decoy, and at any rate the pressures of war might trigger unforeseen lower thresholds for the use of nukes. Alertness and public scrutiny are both warranted, writes Firdaus Ahmed.
Aug 31 2005
Second Strike and false security
In Second Strike: Arguments about Nuclear War in South Asia, Rajesh Rajagopalan articulates that ‘the probability of nuclear weapons use is less in the India-Pakistan feud'. This is comforting, and perhaps on that account, dangerous, because of the false sense of security its conclusions give rise to, says Firdaus Ahmed.
May 29 2005
Political courage, and the next step
Permitting Musharraf to sell the notion that what could not be wrested from India in a decade and half long jihad has been obtained through diplomacy can help with this. Doing so would deflate the legitimacy that jihadi forces seek from their presence in Kashmir, says Firdaus Ahmed.
Mar 22 2005
An illusory battleground
Among military planners, it is common to devise war games to counter any nuclear attack by enemy states. The theories put forward in such games, however, are not always grounded in reality. The peace community should alertly challenge such thinking, says Firdaus Ahmed.
Dec 01 2004
Hail to the new chief
The new army chief, Lt. General J J Singh, has drawn much attention as the first Sikh to head the army. More interesting than this sidelight, however, is the fact that he takes office at a time of great opportunity for peace, as political relations with Pakistan have taken a small turn for the better. Firdaus Ahmed welcomes the new commander.
Oct 01 2004
Preparing for the wrong war
Conventional wars are passé, but the military planning for conflict is still rooted in the past. Meanwhile, human security does not get the deserved attention. Firdaus Ahmed wonders how this can win or keep the peace.
Sep 01 2004
Special powers, mixed results
The key challenge facing the security apparatus at all levels is to combat the idea that while carrying out their duties the armed forces can act outside the scope of the law, says Firdaus Ahmed.
Jun 01 2004
A new security agenda
While defense may be at the heart of security concerns, it is not necessarily the most important sector for security, says Firdaus Ahmed.
Firdaus Ahmed is a freelance writer on security affairs, and writes a monthly column on peace, security, and related issues for India Together.