June 14, 2011

QUOTE OF THE DAY: Shyamala B. Cowsik

Shyamala B. Cowsik

Indian Foreign Service (Retd.)

The significant point about this article ( "Dealing with India in the U.S.-Pakistan relationship" ) is that it is not a tongue in cheek or ironic summing up of the chronic Pakistani hostility towards India. On the contrary, everything the authors have said about Pak tactics to paint India as duplicitous, aggressive and an existential threat to Pakistan is stated without any of the kind of qualifying analytical comments that would have indicated where the authors stood on these issues.

One does not, hopefully, expect them to confuse the readers of The Hindu, but any unwary American reader would be led to suppose that the authors and their subject are of one mind. This is, after all, not reportage, but a commentary, and there are no comments at all here.

Two examples of this kind of sophistry are:

1. "In its crudest form, this approach focuses on dire Indian plots to undo Pakistan by breaking it up into smaller units, or making it a vassal state, or both. This fear is fed by one of the most traumatic events in Pakistan's history, India's support for the breaking away of East Pakistan in 1971. The memory of this time is still vivid".

There is nothing to indicate that Pakistan brought the Bangladesh disaster on itself thru its own policies, or even a hint of the genocide inflicted on East Pakistan by Yahya Khan before India was forced to intervene. If this was a journalistic report, it would have been slammed as slanted reportage of the worst kind.

2. "It will continue to look for support from the United States and other outsiders to keep it strong enough to deter the aggressive Indian designs that it considers its primary challenge. Only a marked improvement in its relations with India, including significant steps toward a settlement of their Kashmir dispute, will lead Pakistan to change this policy".

This again seems to endorse the Pakistani obsession with "aggressive Indian designs", and the concluding obiter dictum about "a marked improvement in its relations with India, including significant steps toward a settlement of their Kashmir dispute" being the "only" way to "lead Pakistan to change this policy" is pure duplicity. For this is NOT a summary of the Pak viewpoint, but clearly the view of the authors, one of the very few comments as such in this article.

Surely analysts as uniquely experienced and knowledgeable, between the pair of them, about India and Pakistan and the history of our relations (Howard was the US ambassador to Bangladesh (1984-87), Political Counsellor at American embassies in India (1977-79) and Pakistan (1974-77), and twice Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for South Asian affairs, and his wife served in the U.S. embassies in Pakistan, India, and Bangladesh, and was also Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for Near East and South Asia, before there was a separate South Asian division) know full well that the Pakistan ruling establishment, the Army-ISI combine, will NEVER change its endemic hostility towards India, for that is both their raison d'etre and their passport to power and domination in Pakistan.

If this article does in some measure reflect current Administration thinking, as the diplomatic credentials of the authors have led some to speculate, it is the same tired old mantra, as I hope our MEA and PMI realise. Meanwhile, The Hindu has kept up our age-old tradition of "fairness' towards our enemies by undoubtedly paying this couple a nice fat sum for inflicting this piece on the Indian public. It only remains to be seen how well their book, for which this is obviously a teaser trailer, sells in India.


Anonymous said...

The very interesting thing about the article,is that in the whole article, there is not a SINGLE mention of terrorism! That speaks for itself.

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