New Delhi, India – If a recent report in the leading U.S. daily The Wall Street Journal is to be believed, the Obama administration is to intensify efforts to make India resolve its tensions with Pakistan, a priority for the progress of “U.S. goals in the region.”
U.S. President Barack Obama has directed his officials to intensify diplomacy aimed at easing tensions between the two countries, asserting that without detente between them the administration’s efforts to win Pakistani cooperation in Afghanistan would suffer.
The Obama directive, apparently issued last December, concluded that “India must make resolving its tensions with Pakistan a priority for progress to be made on the U.S. goals in the region.” Accordingly, the Pentagon has put more pressure on New Delhi.
Pakistan wants Afghanistan to provide so-called “strategic depth” against India and therefore insists that India, the most popular country in Afghanistan, stop all its activities, primarily aimed at socio-economic development in that country.
Despite Pakistan being the most hated country in Afghanistan, the Obama regime has legitimized what could be a Pakistani veto on affairs concerning Afghanistan. Pakistan wants Afghanistan to provide so-called “strategic depth” against India and therefore insists that India, the most popular country in Afghanistan, stop all its activities, primarily aimed at socio-economic development in that country.
But this is not all. With Obama under increasing pressure to order a troop withdrawal, Islamabad calculates that not only will it be able to secure a Pakistan-centric solution in Afghanistan, but it will also manage to convince the Americans to rediscover the virtues in the pre-Bush policy of hyphenating India with Pakistan.
The Bush administration had ensured that India and Pakistan must not be seen through one another’s prism. This policy hurt the Pakistani establishment, which always considers that India and Pakistan should be treated as equals by the international community.
In its recent strategic dialogue with the United States, Pakistan presented a 56-page wish list that included, among other things, a plea for a civilian nuclear deal similar to that concluded with India. The United States has already pledged a US$7.5 billion, five-year assistance package for Pakistan’s energy, water, agriculture and education sectors. US$1 billion in reimbursements for fighting the Pakistani Taliban will also begin flowing to Pakistan soon.
In addition, Pakistan will receive significant defense supplies in the coming years, including P-3C Orion maritime patrol aircraft, five 250 TOW anti-armor missile systems, six AN/TPS-77 surveillance radar systems, six C-130E transport aircraft, twenty AH-1F Cobra attack helicopters and new F-16s. Needless to say, most of these items can only be used against India, not the Taliban in Afghanistan.
Kashmiri separatists should realize the true color of the Pakistani establishment when it says that India is blocking water that belongs to Pakistan ““ in fact, India does not utilize the water even for irrigation purposes.
It is against this background that Obama’s directive must be seen. Its core feature is that Pakistan’s support is essential for operations in Afghanistan; therefore U.S. representatives must be sensitive when Pakistan complains about India, whether it is about Kashmir or the nonexistent water dispute.
In fact, Kashmiri separatists should realize the true color of the Pakistani establishment when it says that India is blocking water that belongs to Pakistan. Though this charge is absolutely rubbish – in fact, India does not utilize the water even for irrigation purposes, something it is entitled to do under the Indus treaty – the question arises as to where India could divert the water.
If water from the Sindh, Jhelum and Chenab rivers could be diverted, it could only be to the state of Kashmir to the benefit of Kashmiris. If so, why should Pakistan worry about something that would benefit the Kashmiris? This only exposes how Pakistan sheds crocodile tears for the Kashmiris.