Category Archives: Strategic Forecast

The Raddul Fasaad Fallouts: Will it succeed where Zarb-e-Azb failed?

The Raddul Fasaad Fallouts: Will it succeed where Zarb-e-Azb failed?

NIAS Strategic Forecast No. 13 | Author: D Suba Chandran | March 2017

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To cite: D Suba Chandran. “The Raddul Fasaad Fallouts: Will it succeed where Zarb-e-Azb failed?,” NIAS Strategic Forecast No. 13. Bangalore: International Strategic and Security Studies Programme, National Institute of Advanced Studies, March 2017.


February 2017 was perhaps one of the worst months in Pakistan’s recent history. A major suicide attack on a rally in Lahore in Punjab was followed by a bigger attack on a Sufi shrine (Qalandar) in Sehwan in Sindh. In between, there were suicide attacks on a court premises in Charsadda in KP. The second major attack, on 16 February 2017, also by a suicide bomber took place in Sehwan in rural Sindh (around 200 kms north of Karachi) was in a Sufi shrine (of Lal Shahbaz Qalandar); the attack was owned by the Islamic State in Pakistan. After a spate of horrific terror attacks, Pakistan has launched a new counter-terrorism offensive – Raddul Fasaad. The scope of the new military operation is larger than Zarb-e-Azb.

Will Raddul Fasaad succeed where Zarb-e-Azb failed? Or, will Raddul Fasaad create more problems and have unintended fallouts for Pakistan, given the current political support (or the lack of it) and the absence of long term political objective to military operations?

Military Courts in Pakistan: Will they return? What are the implications?

Military Courts in Pakistan: Will they return? What are the implications?

NIAS Strategic Forecast No. 12 | Author: D Suba Chandran | January 2017

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To cite: D Suba Chandran. “Military Courts in Pakistan: Will they return? What are the implications?,” NIAS Strategic Forecast No. 12. Bangalore: International Strategic and Security Studies Programme, National Institute of Advanced Studies, Januaury 2017.


During the first week of January 2017, many in Pakistan were surprised, when the government allowed the earlier Parliamentary legislation on the military courts to elapse. The civil society in Pakistan, to a large extent, responded positively to this development and wanted the government to take control and initiate a political and legal process to address terrorism. However, two press releases – post 7 January 2017 from the PMO and the military’s ISPR hint at the return of military courts.

A section within Pakistan also wants to extend the military courts for the following reasons. They consider that the regular courts are not fool proof, take time and allow the militants to escape from getting convicted. They also argue that the military courts dispense justice at a faster pace and death sentences will convey a strong message to the terrorists and prevent them from pursuing a violent course. So, will the military courts get re-established? And what will be its long term political implications?

“LoC, J&K and New Delhi:New Pak COAS & Likely Challenges for India”

“LoC, J&K and New Delhi:New Pak COAS & Likely Challenges for India”

NIAS Strategic Forecast No. 11 | Author: D Suba Chandran | December 2016

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To cite: D Suba Chandran. “LoC, J&K and New Delhi: New Pak COAS & Likely Challenges for India,” NIAS Strategic Forecast No. 11. Bangalore: International Strategic and Security Studies Programme, National Institute of Advanced Studies, December 2016, available at


Pakistan has a new Chief of Army Staff. Gen Bajwa has been appointed as the new COAS in November 2016, following the retirement of Gen Sharif. After taking charge, Gen Bajwa has made reshuffle within the organization; there is a new Chief of the ISI and also a new Chief of General Staff. In short, there is a new team at the helms of Pakistan’s military and its ISI. From an Indian perspective, it is important to analyse and even forecast, Gen Bajwa’s likely India strategy. The Indo-Pak trend that was set by Musharraf on Indo-Pak relations, especially related to LoC and Kashmir, and pursued by Gen Kayani was broken during the end of Gen Sharif’s tenure.

Given the recent trend in India’s posture towards Pakistan, one could expect an assertive strategy towards Pakistan. What is likely to be Gen Bajwa’s response and road map vis-a-vis India?

Pakistan’s New Army Chief: The Sharif Balance Sheet & the Bajwa Forecast

Pakistan’s New Army Chief: The Sharif Balance Sheet & the Bajwa Forecast

NIAS Strategic Forecast No. 10 | Author: D Suba Chandran | November 2016

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To cite: D Suba Chandran. Pakistan’s New Army Chief: The Sharif Balance Sheet & the Bajwa Forecast. NIAS Strategic Forecast No. 10. Bangalore: International Strategic and Security Studies Programme, National Institute of Advanced Studies, November 2016, available at


nsf-10For the first time in the last two decades, Pakistan’s Army Chief retired as per scheduled without an extension… The government has announced Gen Qamar Bajwa as the next Army Chief. What are the major challenges for Gen Bajwa? Of course, it is not a clean slate for him; the legacy of his predecessor Gen Raheel Sharif will play an important role in shaping his options. Will he continue where Gen Sharif left, or will he chart his own roadmap? What is the Sharif legacy? And what is the Bajwa forecast?

Gen Bajwa will also have to match Gen Sharif’s popularity. Undoubtedly Gen Sharif was one of the most popular Pakistani Army Chiefs in recent decades. He was viewed as a thorough professional soldier who took tough decisions.

The US Elections: Trump, Hillary & India

The US Elections: Trump, Hillary & India

NIAS Strategic Forecast No. 9 | Author: Amit Gupta | July 2016

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To cite: Amit Gupta. The US Elections: Trump, Hillary & India. NIAS Strategic Forecast No. 9. Bangalore: International Strategic and Security Studies Programme, National Institute of Advanced Studies, September 2016, available at


nsf-9There is global interest in the 2016 US elections because of the candidacy of Donald Trump. If one leaves aside the outrageous and distasteful statements of Mr. Trump there are some ideas that he has put forward that are quite revolutionary from an American foreign policy perspective. Similarly, Hillary Clinton, thanks to the Bernie Sanders candidacy, has been moved significantly to the left in the context of her foreign economic policy. What are these key shifts, to what extent are they enforceable, and what implications are there for India?

Neither candidate is likely to pose major problems for the Indian government since the India-US relationship has moved beyond the idiosyncrasies of a specific administration. Common interests now shape the relationship and the US has dropped its hyphenation of India with Pakistan and recognizes that Kashmir is not an easily resolvable issue. President Trump is likely to be even more unsympathetic to Pakistan on the Kashmir issue given that protesters in Srinagar have started raising ISIS flags, an action that raises the hackles of western intelligence organizations. To sum up, the India-US relationship is unlikely to undergo major downturns since the relationship is better institutionalized and both candidates are seeking to be focused on domestic issues.

The New Symphony: Emerging Indo-US Security Entente

The New Symphony: Emerging Indo-US Security Entente

NIAS Strategic Forecast No. 8 | Author: Vijay Shankar | July 2016

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To cite: Vijay Shankar. The New Symphony: Emerging Indo-US Security Entente. NIAS Strategic Forecast No. 8. Bangalore: International Strategic and Security Studies Programme, National Institute of Advanced Studies, July 2016, available at http://isssp.in/the-new-symphony-emerging-indo-us-security-entente/


NSF 8Change, more often than not, is driven by circumstances rather than scholastic deliberation. As President Obama once put it, perhaps as an unintended barb to the legions of geo-political seers that stalk Massachusetts Avenue, Washington DC, “Change doesn’t come from Washington but comes to Washington.” So it was with Prime Minister Modi’s three-day state visit to the USA (6th June to 8th June 2016). Not only did the visit lay the foundation to several strategic goals mutual to both sides, but was also punctuated by symbolism that provides a basis for the future.

When Modi suggested stepping out of the “shadows of hesitations of the past” he could not have stated in more unequivocal terms that India’s strategic orientation was now one that not only respected the status quo, but also would contribute towards ensuring that attempts to upset it would not go unchallenged. At the same time laying a floral wreath at Arlington Cemetery to the Tomb of the Unknowns (a first for an Indian PM), on the face of it, was a tribute to that one unquestioning instrument of state power who historically has laid down his all for a national cause. Underlying the salute was recognition of the role played by the military in binding and stabilizing an uncertain security milieu.

Global Transformations: Four Tectonic Shifts

Global Transformations: Four Tectonic Shifts

NIAS Strategic Forecast No. 7 | Author: Vijay Shankar | April 2016

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To cite: Vijay Shankar. Global Transformations: Four Tectonic Shifts. NIAS Strategic Forecast No. 7. Bangalore: International Strategic and Security Studies Programme, National Institute of Advanced Studies, April 2016, available at http://isssp.in/global-transformations-four-tectonic-shifts/


NSF 7To get a deeper sense of the transformations that are occurring in contemporary global affairs one notes four tectonic shifts. First, the diminishing sheen in what was the dazzling two and a half decades of double digit growth which provided global impetus to economic activity and military sway of China; as it shrinks the danger it faces is a bellicose and fractious populace that may not any longer suffer an authoritarian dispensation without the enticement of unparalleled growth. Therefore, for China and its politburo, garnering resources and control over the instruments of growth becomes an imperative. This may, to some extent explain the urge to securing resources and its flow.

Second, the fall and rise of Russia from a one time super power to that of ‘verge’ status attempting to salvage a little of its past with neither the economic clout nor the ideological resolve. This poses a uniquely prickly predicament for, within a period of a quarter of a century to have been reduced to pariah status and then rise amongst the verge powers with little to offer but its creaking arms industry, vast  resources of primary produce in its icy wastes and a rapidly ageing demography. It need hardly be said that for Russia to view the changing challenges of the twenty first century international system in terms of early 20th Century great power struggles between governing elites emphasising hegemonic struggles, obscure imperial aspirations, competition for resources all to bolster state power is to brew a recipe for its second collapse.

China and the Arctic: Evolving Geopolitics

China and the Arctic: Evolving Geopolitics

NIAS Strategic Forecast No. 6 | Author: Teshu Singh | April 2016

To read the complete report click here

To cite: Teshu Singh. China and the Arctic: Evolving Geopolitics. NIAS Strategic Forecast No. 6. Bangalore: International Strategic and Security Studies Programme, National Institute of Advanced Studies, April 2016, available at http://isssp.in/china-and-the-arctic-evolving-geopolitics/


NSF 6There is growing need of oil and mineral resources in the mainland. The Arctic can cater to China’s future needs. In June 2014, a strategic assessment prepared by Defence Policy Research Centre of the of Academy of military science of PLA pointed, the Arctic as a key source of oil and gas as well as means of transport fossil fuels and other goods, even going as far to suggest that the region could be a ‘new Middle East and provide a new lifeline for China. Notably, access to the resources is crucial to China’s future economic, political and military expansion as a global power. It is already engaged in five year assessment 2011-2016 of the polar resources and governance that will help to formulate a better policy towards the region.

At the bilateral level, China is engaging in proactive diplomacy with the Arctic states; Iceland, Greenland, Denmark, Norway and Sweden. Also it is trying to avoid any conflict states such as Russia, Canada and the US that are closely associated with the region. China has also started developing bilateral relations with Arctic states. Unlike, the South China Sea and the East China Sea Chinese policies in the region will be pragmatic and no aggressive policies can be expected in this region. China has been advocating that Arctic is still under international waters and widely supports the term ‘global commons’ vis-a-vis the Arctic. It is closely watching the policy of littoral states towards the region and is trying to build gather supports from other countries that will share Chinese concerns on the issue of ‘global commons’ to Arctic resources, high seas and seabed resources.

Myanmar 2016: What next for the NLD?

Myanmar 2016: What next for the NLD?

NIAS Strategic Forecast No. 5 | Author: M. Mayilvaganan | March 2016 

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To cite: M. Mayilvaganan. Myanmar 2016: What next for the NLD? NIAS Strategic Forecast No. 5. Bangalore: International Strategic and Security Studies Programme, National Institute of Advanced Studies, March 2016, available at http://isssp.in/myanmar-2016-what-next-for-the-nld/


NSF 5Myanmar has witnessed significant political and socioeconomic changes during the last five years. Civilian leaders have emerged in a military dominated polity where policy decisions are made through the Parliament. With a GDP growth rate of 7.7 percent and an estimated $74 billion in 2015, Myanmar is one of the rising economies today compared to being a least developed country few years ago. The daily life of the average citizen in Myanmar is better, aided by increasing investment, employment opportunities and new found personal freedom.

While there is widespread recognition within and internationally that the military (Tatmadaw) is the main driver of the current transition, yet there are big questions: Will the military permit triumphant National League for Democracy (NLD) to govern the country peacefully? Will the meaningful changes initiated in 2011 continue? Will Myanmar under NLD move towards a more inclusive and stable development progress? Will peace be finally achieved between the centre – Bamar dominated government – and the periphery – ethnic minorities, which control parts of the states in the border areas? Will NLD succeed in addressing the thorny issue of the religious minority Rohingyas? How will the relations between Myanmar and China develop under NLD regime?

Will Pakistan Integrate Gilgit Baltistan? And What If?

Will Pakistan Integrate Gilgit Baltistan? And What If?

NIAS Strategic Forecast No. 4 | Author: D. Suba Chandran | February 26, 2016

To read the complete report click here

To cite: D. Suba Chandran. Will Pakistan Integrate Gilgit Baltistan? And What If? NIAS Strategic Forecast No. 4. Bangalore: International Strategic and Security Studies Programme, National Institute of Advanced Studies, February 2016, available at http://isssp.in/will-pakistan-integrate-gilgit-baltistan-what-if/


Suba NSF 4Pakistan government has recently constituted a committee to “upgrade the status” of Gilgit-Baltistan (GB) either into a “constitutional province” or a “provisional province” of Pakistan. This perhaps is the second major step by Islamabad in the recent years, after creating the current Gilgit Baltistan Legislative Assembly through a Presidential Order by Asif Ali Zardari in 2009.

What is the contemporary need for Pakistan to change the status of GB? Is it responding to internal demands from GB, or external pressure from China? Or is there a slow burn in the recent years, in terms of fully integrating GB, but through an administrative salami slicing? What is likely to become of the GB status?

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