Thursday, June 18, 2015

The paranoia over Ford Foundation

There is an irony in the government’s crackdown on Ford Foundation that seems to have escaped most observers. In the 1960s, the principal critics of the Foundation were the Indian Left, which maintained a steady drumbeat of attacks on the Foundation and its projects in the country, along with a generalised attack on all such institutions which have played such a significant role in transforming the country. The critique really takes aim at NGOs and civil society institutions that provide depth to the Indian democracy. But their role in promoting education and agriculture has been forgotten.

The deeper motivation, however, seems to be the same. The Left believed that these groups were fronts for the US intelligence agencies and their aim was to undermine India’s non-aligned or independent status. The Sangh Parivar seems to now be mirroring this belief. It believes that its political trajectory is on the ascendant and the only forces that can undermine it are foreign powers — principally from the West. In this, there is a remarkable congruence between the government of India and the government of the People’s Republic of China, which, too, has cracked down on NGOs based on a similar belief.
During the Cold War, some western foundations did play a role in assisting their respective country’s political objectives. A closer look at the Church Committee revelations in the 1970s come up with little or nothing with regard to India. Indeed, Mrs Indira Gandhi was convinced she was being targeted by the CIA in the run-up to the Emergency, through the funding of Socialists and the Sangh Parivar by the US.
Ford Foundation, which has been around since 1951, seems to be targeted because it supported Teesta Setalvad, who has run an NGO seeking to prosecute those responsible for the 2002 Muslim massacres in Gujarat. You may argue there is no evidence linking Modi and his government to the massacres, but you cannot ignore the fact that the massacres did take place and that scores of people responsible for it haven’t been punished. Pushing for the application of the rule of law can hardly be considered a crime.
NGOs like Greenpeace can be pesky institutions, challenging the might of the state. But they play an invaluable role in holding up a mirror to the governance and societal institutions and aid in the process of their transformation. This is true whether it relates to reduction of hunger, community development, adult literacy, women’s empowerment, protecting the environment, caste discrimination, or exercise of arbitrary power.
As for Ford, one of its key roles was in encouraging the profession of economics by funding research and training institutions like the Institute of Economic Growth, Gokhale Institute of Politics and Economics, the NCAER, IIMs in Ahmedabad and Kolkata. Among its earliest grants in the early 1950s was to set up training institutes for village extension workers, rural public health training centres, and for five agricultural colleges. So intense was the commitment that Foundation officers were sitting in on planning meetings of the Delhi University, which got massive funding of over Rs 5 crore to re-organise its library and its other schools. This was thrice what the UGC was offering for the five-year plan period. This is just a synoptic rendering of the role such institutions have played in Indian life.
The Foundation has not only helped nurture significant academic scholarship in India, but has also played a role in the intellectual life of the US itself. It helped create the Public Broadcasting Service and supported arts and humanities in the country; it promoted desegregation and voter registration of the Black people. Abroad, it has helped set up the Grameen Bank in Bangladesh, and backed Palestinian NGOs. It has followed an essentially liberal agenda, which has been criticised by conservatives in the US. And now, we are seeing a similar phenomenon in India.
Neither the Left, nor the Right seems to have much confidence in the Indian people, who have displayed a feisty sense of independence, and nor do they realise that manipulating the politics of a vast and diverse country like India is not a simple task. It is one thing to back the Colour Revolutions in eastern European countries, which are the size of an Indian state, and quite another thing to deal with a country which is a continent in itself and is a flourishing democracy. And more often than not, such manipulation usually backfires — as was evident in the case of Iran in the 1980s and Ukraine today.
There is one thing the government and critics of foundations and NGOs fail to realise. India of 2015 is not the India of the 1950s or 1970s. We are a self-confident, resilient society with institutions that have gained considerable depth; communications technology has bound the country far more securely than it ever did in the past. More than that, we are also a transparent and open society where backroom deals and manipulation are not easy to implement.
Mid Day April 28, 2015

The upgrading of India's forces is still a long way off

Speaking at the Annual Unified Commanders’ Conference for Tri-Services Commanders in New Delhi on Thursday, Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar said that the Government was committed to modernise the armed forces, but “that there is a need to exercise financial prudence and optimise all available resources”. 
Parrikar does not realise that the principal blame for the fiscal irresponsibility of our armed forces rests on the political leadership of the country. 

Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar said that the Government was committed to modernise the armed forces, but 'that there is a need to exercise financial prudence and optimise all available resources'
Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar said that the Government was committed to modernise the armed forces, but 'that there is a need to exercise financial prudence and optimise all available resources'

His statement comes in the wake of a somewhat modest increase of 11 per cent in the 2015-2016 Union Budget. It comes, too, following two decisions whose implications are yet to be digested. The first was the surprise decision to bypass the longrunning plan to buy and licence manufacture 126 Rafale aircraft at about Rs 1,00,000 crore, and, instead, go for a government-to-government deal to get 36 aircraft off the shelf. 

The second was the report that the government would halve the size of the proposed Mountain Strike Corps which officially cost Rs 60,000 crore, but would have actually required an outlay of Rs 120,000 crore when taken with its ancillary formations for logistics, engineering and medical services. 
The approximate requirement of capital expenditure for the 2012-2017 defence five year plan is Rs 6,00,000 crore. 
But if two big ticket items take away Rs 2,20,000 crore at the outset, you can imagine what it would do to the overall modernisation of the armed forces which is already behind in key areas like artillery, submarines and air defence systems. 
At the root of the problem lies poor political leadership of the armed forces. The Army and Air Force are only following the logic of the highest political guidance they get, called the Defence Minister’s “Operational Directive”. 
In the 1980s, this directive was for the armed forces to maintain a posture of dissuasive deterrence vis-à-vis Pakistan and one of dissuasive defence in relation to China. 
Translated into policy, it meant that the Army could plan defensive strategies which could involve deep strikes into Pakistan. 
However, with regard to China, the idea was to defend Indian territory with a plan that did not involve any incursion into Chinese territory. 
However, in the mid-2000s this changed and the Operational Directive called on the forces to be prepared to fight and win an all out two-front war that could involve coordinated action by Pakistan and China, covering the entire spectrum from sub-conventional to that involving the use of nuclear weapons. 
This assessment was not based on any rigourous exercise like a White Paper or a Defence Strategy Review, but a several paragraph long document drafted by the babus and the military and signed off by the minister. 
Its simple rationale was the growth of Chinese communications network and deployments in Tibet. 

IAF shifts base 
As part of this, the Air Force began to shift high performance fighters to eastern bases. After all, their wartime task was to dominate the geographic region upto Tsangpo in Tibet even while suppressing Pakistani air power. 
Naturally, they wanted new acquisitions like the Rafale to perform their enhanced task. Instead of redeploying forces from the Pakistan border, where the threat has receded, the Army raised two new mountain divisions and a new strike corps and ancillary armoured and artillery formations to face China. 
The strike corps would provide the Army the wherewithal of carrying the battle into the Tibetan heartland. 
The military being the military simply being counted what it would confront. They did not take into account the fact that any allout war involving three nuclear armed states could have the most horrific consequences, and, indeed, trigger off a global holocaust. 
And, for this reason, it is not a very likely or rational scenario. 
At worst, India could be involved in limited, possibly coordinated, skirmishes like Kargil with Pakistan or China. 

What India needs is a Strategy Defence Review (SDR) based on expert assessments and one that has the imprimatur of the National Security Council. 
Such a document should be issued every five years and lay out and prioritise the strategic tasks of the armed forces and the broad contours of the manpower, equipment and technology resources needed to achieve them. 
It should examine the issue through the prism of the regional and global balance of power, and our economic capacity. 
Indian staff and guests cheer as INS Visakhapatnam, the first Indian Navy P15-B stealth destroyer, is launched in Mumbai
Indian staff and guests cheer as INS Visakhapatnam, the first Indian Navy P15-B stealth destroyer, is launched in Mumbai

Equally, where required it should direct retrenchment and restructuring of forces. Flowing from this the Government needs to treat the Long Term Integrated Perspective Plan (LTIPP) and the five year plans with greater seriousness. 
The 2007-2012 Defence Five Year Plan and the 2007-2022 LTIPP were never approved while the 2012-2027 Plan was only formally approved because of the V.K. Singh contretemps. 
Yet these plans and their consequent acquisitions involve the expenditure of hundreds of thousands of crore. 
For the sake of its security and the health of its economy, the country deserves better from its leaders. 
Mail Today April 27, 2015

Flights of Utter Fancy

In all the confusion that hangs over the Modi government's decision to procure 36 Rafale fighters `off the shelf ', we need to focus on the real issues.First, the imperative of plugging the shortages in the Indian Air Force (IAF)'s combat strength. Second, to once again kickstart the decades-old effort to develop a fighter of our own. We started to design and build our own combat aircraft in the late 1950s.The HF-24 Marut programme was a spectacular, though limited success.The country failed to build on it and allowed the capabilities built up through the programme to rust. Over the years, India has licence-manufactured or assembled the MiG -21, the Jaguar and the Sukhoi Su-30 MKI.Yet it has picked up little by way of an aviation design and manufacturing capability . Whatever we have is, unsurprisingly , the progeny of the HF-24 programme.
Many institutions, primarily the IAF itself, must share the blame for the current state of affairs. As Admiral Arun Prakash has noted, had the IAF assumed `ownership' of indigenous projects like the HT-2, HJT-36 trainers and the LCA (light combat aircraft) Tejas early enough, it would not be seeking advanced fighters or even trainers from abroad today .
But is there is a way forward? The first challenge is to deal with the crisis in 2017 when four MiG-21 and five MiG-27 squadrons retire. This amounts to some 200 aircraft. Al ready , there are some eight `number plated' squadrons -formations without aircraft. This amounts to another 150 aircraft. The remaining six squadrons of MiG-21 Bisons are soldiering along, but are in the last stages of their lives.
More to Come?
The IAF brass seems to be insisting that these far-less-capable machines be replaced one-on-one by advanced fighters, which is simply not economically feasible. Even so, 36 Rafales will not do the trick. So presumably the government will go for another tranche, when it has the money . As of now, the statements of defence minister Manohar Parrikar have resulted in more confusion than clarity .
Plugging gaps is one challenge. Developing indigenous design and development capability is another.Here, all is not lost. Today we have the LCA Mk 1 flying and the engineers and designers who have worked on it remain with the Aeronautical Development Agency . Despite its limitations, brought on by a flawed design, it is a good flying machine and perfectly capable of delivering close air support and functioning as a lead-in fighter trainer (LIFT).
Some years ago, a well-known German company had offered to assist HAL (Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd) to industrialise the LCA's production and market it abroad, as it felt there was definite market for 250-odd LCAs in this role. The German company did not even merit the courtesy of a reply .
There has been a lot of talk about a Mark II version of the LCA aircraft with a slightly better (GE414) engine. However, the structural changes it requires will add weight to the existing design and negate the advantage of the new engine.
We need to cut to the chase and go straight for the design of a twin-en gined fifth-generation fighter, the Advanced Medium Combat Aircraft (AMCA) which is on the drawing board. The government needs to give it a determined push.

Action is in Asia
The US has the F-22 fifth-generation fighter in combat service since 2005 and is now developing the F-35. China has two fifth-generation fighters -the J-20 and J-31 -under development with Pakistan as a potential customer. Russia has its T-50 FGFA.The French, Germans and British seem to have dropped out and want to develop unmanned aircraft like the Neuron.
The action is in Asia, with Japan (Mitsubishi ATD-X), Turkey (TAITFX) and South Korea (KF-X) having fifth-generation fighter programmes.All of them have understandably sought deep design and development expertise from established companies like Lockheed Martin, Saab, BAE Systems and Boeing.
There are formidable technological challenges in such an enterprise and we need the help of established players to hold our hands. We have got little by way of R&D spinoffs and we will simply end up amortising the development costs of yet another fighter like the Mirage 2000 and Su-30MKI and, perhaps now, the Rafale.
At the heart of the problem is the dysfunctional defence management and planning process. The IAF -and the Indian Army's -inflated assessment of their requirements are related to the defence minister's operational directive to the armed forces that they prepare for a twofront war. This has led the IAF to claim that it needs 42 fighter squadrons and the Army to raise a new Mountain Strike Corps.
The chance of an all-out two-front war with nuclear-armed Pakistan and China are near zero; local skirmishes are always possible.
The difference between planning for all-out war and a limited one is hundreds of thousands of crores of the taxpayer's precious money .What the country needs is much sharper assessments of the threats it confronts through a document which is based on expert assessments and approved by the Cabinet Committee on Security.
Economic Times April 25, 2015

Sunday, May 24, 2015

Scripting a west side story: Modi’s visits to France, Germany and Canada adapt lessons learnt from China’s economic miracle

Being his own best publicist, Prime Minister Narendra Modi had indicated just what would be the tenor of his transatlantic tour in a tweet on March 26th: “My France, Germany & Canada visit is centred around supporting India’s economic agenda & creating jobs for our youth.”
In the age of Asia-Pacific, a focus on the Atlantic may appear a tad anachronistic. But Modi is, if anything, innovative when it comes to foreign policy. Note, a planned trip to the UK was postponed till after the May 2015 general elections there.
At an overall level the visits complete the set of tours to advanced democracies of the world – the US, Japan, Australia and now France, Germany and Canada. They address the Modi government’s approach to a constituency which is at the heart of modern finance and industry – though they could well be called post-industrial cultures today.
The goal is to showcase the Modi government’s sense of purpose and determination to drive a transformational agenda in the country, as well as to create a network of strategic allies which can be of use in dealing with India’s difficult neighbours, Pakistan and China.
Given the economic thrust, it was not surprising that meetings with CEOs, participation in industrial fairs, visits to industrial and skilling institutions featured prominently in the agenda. The companies of countries like France, Germany and Canada set standards around the world. Travelling to China last week this writer saw control equipment, spectrometers, assay machines, DNA profiling and genomic measurement equipment built in France and Germany dotting the labs of the high-tech industry zone in Xian, as well as the physical presence of small, medium and large European and North American companies so important for the Chinese economic miracle.
But there are other aspects to Modi’s transatlantic tour as well. First, the connect with the diaspora, especially the important one in Canada. It formed part of a pattern that has been visible in Modi visits to the US and Australia, more cautiously in Fiji, and more assertively in Mauritius and Sri Lanka.
Second, the visits should be seen in the context of the importance of summitry in modern international relations. Dealing directly with heads of government is a far quicker way of getting business done these days. So the quality time that François Hollande, Angela Merkel and Stephen Harper made for Modi is important in an age when leaders meet each other frequently and you tend to get lost in the crowd in important multilateral summits if you don’t establish a modicum of personal chemistry through bilateral contact.
With the US president being given special authority to finish negotiating the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), we are probably on the verge of a new world trading environment with negative implications for India. The US and Canada are part of TPP, whose finalisation will undoubtedly give an impetus to a parallel Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) between EU and the US. In such circumstances, we will need all the friends we can manage in pushing our trade and investment promotion agenda.
The third aspect relates to India’s strategic goals. France has a permanent membership in the UN Security Council and both French and German companies play a role in India’s defence industry. France has been a friend in need, disinclined to use embargoes to push its foreign policy goals.
There are also some common themes in the visits. One is that of energy and space technology cooperation. Both Canada and France are important nuclear technology players. Canada was the first to help India with pressurised heavy water reactors in the 1950s and 1960s and it can offer more by way of upgrading and modernising this technology. A new pact with Canada will lead to the supply of uranium for the Indian nuclear industry. Canada is a special case when it comes to energy, given its own innovative oil and gas industry which can help India diversify its sources of supply.
Vocational education and skilling are another aspect of what advanced countries can offer India. Our current education system is at a dead end and the Modi plan for making India a global manufacturing hub rests vitally on the creation of trained manpower that can drive the Make in India dream. Germany is a leader here, but both Canada and France have their own unique systems and experiences.
A new theme relates to security. Developed democracies are now facing the prospect of a new kind of terrorist threat from home-grown religious extremists. In an era where terrorists get radicalised by the internet and move effortlessly across borders, cooperation has to be both practical and efficacious. There is, as well, a great deal of expertise in countering cyber threats in all three countries. Recall, in 2009, Canadian researchers revealed the existence of the GhostNet run out of China – which had penetrated Tibetan government in exile as well as Indian government computers.
Modi’s visits resemble roadshows with their attendant hype, even though they also have a larger strategic purpose. But like all roadshows there is a time for publicity, and a time to get down to work on the MoUs, agreements, promises and commitments.
Times of India April 20, 2015

Pakistan in the eye of the storm

Last week, Pakistan’s parliament voted to remain neutral in the civil war in Yemen, angering Saudi Arabia and the Gulf Emirates. The decision came after five days of debates and is the best illustration you could have of the moderating influences of democracy over authoritarianism. You can be sure if the whole process had been confined to backroom deals between the Sheikhs and the Pakistan military or the Sharif brothers, Pakistan would have found it difficult to resist the pressure. But because the whole thing was out in the open, it became difficult to justify what almost all Pakistanis thought would be a bad decision.

The resolution is not binding, because Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif is supposed to have all authority over the armed forces. We know this is not quite true, but it does imply that it was not just the view of the Parliament that was key to the Pakistani decision. Of course, if somehow the Pakistan Army thought that by going to Yemen they could harm India, the decision to go would have been a foregone conclusion. When it comes to national interest, the one factor which always seems to trump Pakistani common sense is the perceived threat from India. Fortunately, in this instance, India was not an issue.
Pakistani defence minister Khwaja Muhammad Asif had revealed last week that the Saudis had wanted the works — Pakistani troops, warships and fighter jets to battle the allegedly Iran-backed Houthi rebels. A Pakistani refusal is bound to deeply anger the Saudis because the latter see themselves as mentors of the former and have helped Islamabad with dollops of money at various point in time. Further, the Saudis provided the Sharifs succour when they were being persecuted by Musharraf after he overthrew the government in 1999.
The 12-point resolution approved by Parliament said that Islamabad must maintain “neutrality” in the conflict, it also calls on the “warring factions” to resolve their differences through dialogue, it wanted the Pakistan government to take up the issue through the UN Security Council. And, most curiously, it thanked the People’s Republic of China for its assistance in the evacuation.
Pakistan has good reasons to have rejected what could have become a quagmire for its forces. Yemen is a vast under-developed region and prosecuting war there is no picnic, as the Egyptians learnt in the 1960s. More important is the fact that the Pakistan Army is fully committed to fighting its own civil war against a hardened enemy in the tribal areas of the north-west. It is also important to note that the war has the potential of becoming part of a larger Shia-Sunni conflict that is dividing the Islamic world in the Middle-East, and Islamabad is aware of the fact that not only does it border Shia Iran, but that some 20 per cent of its own population professes the Shia branch of Islam. Significantly, last Thursday, Iran’s Foreign Minister Javad Zarif was in Islamabad for meetings and he urged Prime Minister Sharif to avoid meddling in Yemen.
Iran is a powerful neighbour and has the capacity of making things difficult for Islamabad, considering that its other borders — with India and Afghanistan are not too peaceful. As it is, the province of Balochistan is in turmoil and Iran has the capacity of stirring up trouble there should Islamabad get out of line. Iran would not want anything to come in the way of a nuclear deal being negotiated with the US-led P 5+1, and neither — for their own reasons — would the Europeans and the Chinese.
Where does the release of Zakiur Rehman Lakhvi, the Lashkar-e-Taiba leader come in all this? We can’t be sure, but perhaps there is a connection. It could be a bone being thrown to the Sunni Islamists to prevent them from exercising their street power at this crucial juncture. As it is, the Ahle-Hadis LeT’s version of Islam is the closest to the version practiced in Saudi Arabia and this could well be some sort of a balancing act.
The reference to China in the parliament resolution is clearly aimed at telling the Saudis that Pakistan is not entirely without friends, especially since the United States has seen through its duplicitous ways and maintains an essentially transactional relationship. In October 2011, the then Prime Minister of Pakistan had described the relationship with Beijing as being “higher than mountains, deeper than oceans, stronger than steel and sweeter than honey.” But it has been abundantly evident that this love is one-sided.
The Chinese have their own interests in a stable Saudi peninsula. Half of all their crude imports come from the region and their ties with the countries of the region have been expanding in recent years. Further, its One Belt One Road initiative passes through the Red Sea. The Chinese are unlikely to underwrite any Pakistani adventurism in Afghanistan or in relation to India. Neither are they the kind of people who write out cheques at the drop of a hat. But at this juncture, Islamabad knows that beggars cannot be choosers.
Mid Day April 14, 2015
Last week, Pakistan’s parliament voted to remain neutral in the civil war in Yemen, angering Saudi Arabia and the Gulf Emirates. The decision came after five days of debates and is the best illustration you could have of the moderating influences of democracy over authoritarianism. You can be sure if the whole process had been confined to backroom deals between the Sheikhs and the Pakistan military or the Sharif brothers, Pakistan would have found it difficult to resist the pressure. But because the whole thing was out in the open, it became difficult to justify what almost all Pakistanis thought would be a bad decision. - See more at:

Pandits must be resettled in the Valley

Among the multi-layered tragedies that have afflicted J&K, perhaps the most poignant is the forced exile of the Kashmiri Pandit community. Estimates are that there are some 60,000 families, who now live mainly in Jammu and New Delhi. This could translate to 3-4 lakh people who were suddenly uprooted and forced to fend for themselves. 
In a Valley inhabited by some 70 lakh Muslims, it is hard to see how their resettlement would upset the ethnic balance. Yet those who are protesting make it out as though that would be the consequence of having the Pandits back in the Valley. 
An estimated 60,000 Kashmiri Pandit families were uprooted and forced to leave the Valley
An estimated 60,000 Kashmiri Pandit families were uprooted and forced to leave the Valley

The paranoia is manifested by claims that their return through “composite townships”, as mooted by the government, will be tantamount to Israeli settlement - but Pandits are as much entitled to live in the Valley as Muslims. 
The community had no choice but to leave. They were the objects of targeted assassination and intimidation at the onset of the Kashmir rebellion. People attacked Governor Jagmohan for their flight, but the reality is that the unarmed and scared Pandits fled as they witnessed mass intimidation and assassination of their community. 
All Jagmohan did was to ease their departure by assuring those who had government jobs that they would continue to get their salaries. 
The real blame for their departure rests squarely with the Jammu & Kashmir Liberation Front and its leader at the time, Yasin Malik. 
The violence in the Valley has receded. But the situation is not normal, as evidenced by recent incidents of attacks on security forces in Jammu, as well as the incident last week, where three unarmed police personnel were gunned down. 
Normality will not come till the union government addresses the sentiment that is exploited routinely by the Hurriyat. We must also settle with Pakistan, since Kashmir is a dispute in the books of the international community. 
But, of course, normality will also be judged by the return of the exiled Pandit community to the Valley. 
The problem now is that not many would want to go back to the Valley for economic reasons. Those who have government jobs can easily be reinserted into the system. But the others have moved on. After all, it has been a quarter of a century since they were exiled. They have been forced to join the mainstream in search of jobs and education and there may not be much left for them back home in the Vale of Kashmir. 
As it is, there is not much by way of manufacturing or services in the Vale. Yet the project of re-integrating the Pandits into the Valley has important cultural and political imperatives. Efforts have been made in the past to offer the Pandits incentives to move back. But barely 200 families have availed of the opportunities. 
The BJP is particularly keen to take up the project and as part of this, the Union Home Ministry has announced the decision to create “composite townships” and have requested coalition partner CM Mufti Mohammed Sayeed to acquire land for the purpose. 
This has been vehemently opposed by the separatists, led, ironically, by the same Yasin Malik who played a nefarious role in forcing the Pandits out. 
They have made all kinds of wild allegations about creating Israel-type settlements in the Valley. On the other hand, the Congress and National Conference charge that these townships will be akin to ghettoes. 
The word “composite” has been carefully chosen – Maulana Hussain Ahmed Madni, the founder of the Jamiat-ul-ulema-e-Hind believed India was a composite culture where Hindus and Muslims could live together and hence he and his organisation opposed partition. 
Chief Minister Mufti Sayeed has clarified that these will not be Pandit-only settlements, but include Muslims as well. Not many people realise that it was not just the Pandits who fled the Valley, but many Muslims as well. 
The key, of course, is just how the project will be executed. Pandits and Muslims have lived side-by-side in the past and even today they enjoy a composite culture under the rubric of “Kashmiriyat”. 
The idea of a composite culture has been battered by the events of the last 25 years, and what we are trying now is to see if its pieces can be put back together and a deprived people given a modicum of justice. 
The townships should not be seen as special fortresses, but a newer way of approaching the urbanisation of the Valley which requires not only proper housing, but generates job opportunities. 
As for security, there is no option but to make it part of the larger security of the Valley itself. As of now it is not all that bad, despite the isolated instances of terrorism. There are still some hardcore gunmen in the Valley, but their message is of little consequence. 
Besides composite townships, the government could also consider rebuilding the many run-down houses of Pandits in their erstwhile localities in Srinagar and other Kashmiri towns. While some properties were sold off, there are many lying more or less abandoned. The state can purchase and redevelop them. 
Reinserting the Pandits back into their old environment is a preferable option. However, at the end of the day, the process depends not only on the design of the project, but on the imperatives and desires of the individual Pandit families now living in exile. 
All options must be explored to do the right thing by them, because the state which failed to protect them owes them that. But at the end of the day, what they do, has to be their decision. 
Mail Today April 14, 2015