Asian Lite profiles TV Paul, an Indo-Canadian academic and the author of The Warrior State. Paul says Pakistan’s leaders lack vision, obsessed with India
Pakistan’s failure to utilise foreign aid for socio-economic development has contributed to its sorry plight and such is the obsession of its political elite with military security that the country hasn’t developed even after 67 years of independence, an Indo-Canadian academic and author says.
Discussing his book, “The Warrior State” (Vintage House), T.V.Paul compared Pakistan with South Korea and Taiwan and noted that the two nations once relied on foreign aid but today were shining examples of development.
“If you look at South Korea and Taiwan, they too were once dependent on foreign aid. But they used the money wisely and focussed on trade and internal development. They improved their niche resources like technology, and strengthened their welfare systems,” Paul, a professor of international studies at Montreal’s McGill University, said.
South Korea was one of the poorest countries after the 1950 Korean War and so was Taiwan after it broke away from mainland China in 1949.
“Whereas Pakistan used the money in building its military and nuclear weapons – something it is extremely proud of. But its political elite never had the vision to develop the country,” Paul added.
What fuels Pakistan’s mass acceleration of military weapons is its embittered and egoistic stance against India, Paul said, adding: “It is more of a conflict over status with India.”
“They thought themselves as co-equals with India, but they lost Bangladesh and Kashmir. So this is the perfect case of a brother who didn’t get his share.
“This is one of the biggest reasons for its embitterment,” he said.
Originally from Kerala, Paul, who has written 15 books and is an authority on political affairs in South Asia, is currently promoting the book in India.
Paul feels Pakistan’s biggest failure lies in its leaders “having no vision”.
“In these two nations, economic security became national security, but Pakistani leaders don’t have any strategic vision. A country without a goal or a vision is wasting its time,” he said.
According to the book, since 2001, Pakistan has received over $15 billion as aid, and its major allies – China and the US – don’t allow it to go bankrupt either.
“The fact that Pakistan has enough capacity to sustain for a long time with the help of foreign aid makes it difficult for them to tread the path of development and peace with India,” Paul pointed out.