November 10, 2011

Feeding the snake

India is blundering with Pakistan just as the US did before, says N.V.Subramanian.

9 November 2011: Whilst in India, the former American president, George W.Bush, said, "If the US had not befriended Pak, Pak would have been more dangerous. But now, US patience is wearing thin." On the other hand, the Indian foreign minister, S.M.Krishna, says India's "trust deficit" with its troublesome western neighbour is "shrinking".
Who's right?
Right or wrong, it's Pakistan's victory, though evanescent.
Pakistan is a state which has never become a nation. What binds it since its simultaneous independence with India is hatred for India. Seeds for this hatred were sown during Partition and nurtured by Jinnah.
Jinnah had a contorted worldview for Pakistan. He thought Pakistan's geography to be so unique that the West would need it to balance Soviet communism. And so it turned out till the end of the Cold War.
This Western embrace of Pakistan ironically weakened Pakistani democracy and encouraged military control of politics and frequent coups. The militarization of Pakistan fed its hatred for India leading to wars and the loss of East Pakistan.
Avenging the loss of East Pakistan or Bangladesh became Pakistani military and intelligence obsessions leading to renewed attempts to seize Jammu and Kashmir. US/ Saudi actions against the Soviet intervention in Afghanistan provided Pakistan the opportunity to replicate a low-intensity war in J and K.
While India has bled in Kashmir and Pakistani terrorism has spread to the rest of the country, the blowback for Pakistan has been no less severe and possibly ruinous. Jihadis are overrunning Pakistan in the west, north-west and parts of south Punjab. Nuclear weapons and fissile materials are under threat of terrorist captures. Sectarian killings are common. Karachi is at war with itself. The minorities are under threat.
Pakistan is slowly but surely going under.
Since finding and killing Osama Bin Laden in Pakistan, the US is upset with its military and intelligence service. US forces in Afghanistan readying for a drawdown are being attacked by Pakistan-backed Haqqani group terrorists. Its embassy in Kabul was boldly targeted.
The US has no idea how to handle Pakistan. Its drone campaign was successful but it is being curtailed under Pakistani pressure. US military aid denial has not brought Pakistan to its knees although its "all-weather" friend, China, has declined a bailout.
Pakistan is still adamant to install a terrorist government friendly to it in Kabul once US and NATO forces withdraw. Pakistan needs friendly Afghanistan both to hold Pashtun territories and to gain "strategic depth" against India. Facing trouble on both the US and Chinese fronts, Pakistan may be forced to mend fences with India.
This is how this writer interprets Pakistan's cagey and confused offer of MFN status to India.
Pakistan's history tells that it has no vision as a state and exists in order to hate India. Its present show of constrained friendship with India is opportunistic. If and when the situation permits, it will return to employing terrorism as state policy against India. The JuD which is another face of Lashkar-e-Toiba is out of Pakistan's list of banned terrorist organizations.
So why is the Indian foreign minister gushing about Pakistan?
Pakistan is adept at selling itself as a "balancer" state. Previously, the US felt Pakistan was indispensable to bringing peace and stability in Afghanistan, although the opposite is true. Now, India believes the same.
In the past, the US tried and failed to straighten out Pakistan. India perseveres at similar illusions today. At no cost will Pakistan give up Kashmir. Because it is going down, Pakistan is seeking common ground with India. While growing trade ties are good for both states, politics cannot be built on it, or lasting peace.
Pakistan's tiny pro-India constituency can always be overrun by the fundamentalists and terrorists who are aligned to the army and ISI. The elected government is weak. And if you are president Asif Ali Zardari, every day is frittered away in firefighting.
Too late has the US realized the blunder of stoking Pakistan's militant ambitions. Now India is feeding the snake.
N.V.Subramanian is Editor,, and writes internationally on strategic affairs.


Anonymous said...

who is going to make upa ii believe this.the goi is weak and will do anything to have peace even if that is short term and will lead to a long term damage for india in coming decade.this government shows consistence sign of not having a vision to lead india into a new era.

Anonymous said...

imagine misfits like our foreign minister, S.M.Krishna. He is the wrong man for this job. You never trust the taqqia masters, the PAKIs or any other moslems.