July 22, 2011

America is manipulating India against Pakistan solely for its benefit

US games
America is manipulating India against Pakistan solely for its benefit, warns N.V.Subramanian.

22 July 2011: Is the United States manipulating Indian sensitivities and stoking its fears vis-a-vis Pakistan and Af-Pak to advance its own strategic interests? The interpretative evidence for this is strong in the Ghulam Nabi Fai and David Coleman Headley/ Tahawwur Rana cases and in post-US Afghan scare scenarios that are frightening senior officials of the Manmohan Singh government.
The Headley-Rana affair remains enduringly mysterious. Headley spied for the 26/11 attack for the Lashkar-e-Toiba (LeT) and Rana provided him corporate cover for his frequent India visits. The US permitted a plea bargain to Headley so he wouldn't be extradited to India. And Rana's 26/11 case intriguingly collapsed while his LeT connection and role in the Danish newspaper bombing plot secure him a long sentence.
This writer believed that it was the Headley/ Rana Danish conspiracy that forced the US to blow their cover and bring them to trial. This could still be true. But there could be another reason for the US to expose Headley and Rana. This would be to put pressure on Pakistan to toe the US line on Af-Pak and hunt the Al-Qaeda and Taliban terrorists in FATA and Quetta.
Headley was a US undercover agent. Exposing him would out a US mole in Pakistan's terrorist world. Why did the US do so then? A US diplomat posted in India recently told another Western envoy that America could have "prevented" 26/11. The US chose not to do so to save Headley's operations. Then why go after him suddenly, which is strangely reminiscent of the current prosecution of Ghulam Fai?
This writer reckons the US used the Headley/ Rana case to pressure the ISI/ Pak military to cooperate fully with the US war on terror. Indian journalists in Washington say Pakistan was terrified about the Headley/ Rana affair playing to India's advantage. When the US deflected Pakistani pressure to shut down the trial, it was left with a Pak plea not to permit ISI-related papers to be presented in the trial. The oral testimonies of Headley and Rana could be always denied by Pakistan but documents presented difficulties.
Whatever was the short-term quid pro quo the US gained from Pakistan on Af-Pak, the Headley/ Rana affair suddenly terminated. The great Indian hopes of fixing Pak terror once for all from the Headley/ Rana episode (don't ask how) evaporated. This writer is convinced the US used Headley and Rana to put Pakistan on the defensive, raised expectations in India from the affair to double the pressure on Pakistan, and then, at the proper moment, threw cold water on the whole project.
This is remarkably similar to what is now happening in the Ghulam Fai case. It is inconceivable that the FBI hadn't been on Ghulam Fai's track for years. It chose now to close in on him to put the pressure on Pakistan. Some of this has already been reported. But its terrible significance has not dawned on India. The US knew about Ghulam Fai's double game for long but chose not to assist India by taking him in before. It stinks like the Headley affair. When the screws needed to be turned on Pakistan, the FBI obliged.
While India should make the most of the Ghulam Fai exposure, it should also be detached. It should not indulge in triumphalism as in the Headley/ Rana case, because, again, the Ghulam Fai affair will gently fade away. The more India reacts, the more this will strengthen the US hand against Pakistan. While this is not in itself objectionable, India should entirely know the score. The US has absolute self-interest in hounding Ghulam Fai, and is consequently manipulating Indian anger on the matter.
Finally, there are post-US-withdrawal Taliban scare scenarios being promoted by an army of US delegations to panic India to sign CISMOA, LSA, PSI, CSI and other American security initiatives resisted by this country and to buy American homeland security equipment. After 13/7 (just like following 26/11), the heat is growing on India to source homeland security systems from the US without assessing their suitability for this country or their adaptability to these conditions.
The Taliban threat is not new to India. In their medieval rule of Afghanistan up to their dislodgement from power post-9/11, the Taliban made no material difference to India's management of peace in Jammu and Kashmir. In this writer's reporting days in Kashmir in the Nineties, there was some excitable comment about a Taliban role in J and K. But the forces never felt discomfited and that remains the case.
India is well capable of handling any Taliban threat in J and K. The US did not assist India to prevent 26/11. Its early warning of the Bombay attack was shoddy. So its advice on the Taliban threat must be taken with a pinch of salt. The US has a dying role in South Asia and particularly Afghanistan. India has to make its own moves and calculations. The US is not a reliable partner in the region or anywhere. The sooner India sees through the US game in Af-Pak, the better.
Pakistan is India's enemy. If the US cannot lessen that Pak enmity, there should be no collaboration with it where India becomes the loser.
N.V.Subramanian is Editor, www.NewsInsight.net, and writes internationally on strategic affairs.

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