Two books titled ‘Deception – Pakistan, The United States and the Global Nuclear Weapons Conspiracy’ by Adrian Levy and Catherine Scott- Clark and ‘Military Inc.- Inside Pakistan’s Military Economy’ by Ayesha Siddiqa are valuable reading for scholars of national security and indeed all those responsible for formulating national foreign and security policies in India.
US and some European authorities were fully aware of transfer of nuclear warhead technology and missiles from China to Pakistan…
The first book reveals that every US administration starting from Jimmy Carter was not just aware of the unfolding of Pakistan’s nuclear programme, but turned a benign blind eye to it and even supported it indirectly through aid injection. Concrete evidence available from both US and Western intelligence sources was not only subverted but even kept from the Congress. Assessments and reports were either destroyed or tampered with and in one case an important official whose factual reports were not palatable was sacked and falsely framed.
US and some European authorities were fully aware of transfer of nuclear warhead technology and missiles from China to Pakistan and the A. Q. Khan network that was selling nuclear know how and hardware to North Korea, Saudi Arabia, Iran and Libya. This illicit trade was being financed amongst others by Libya and Saudi Arabia as also through US aid money! Authors of the book state that ‘In reality, Khan’s confession was a ruse. It takes more than one person to make a mess of this proportion. Khan was the fall guy and his performance papered over the true nature of what many now believe was the nuclear crime of all our lifetimes and undoubtedly the source of our future wars. The nuclear bazaar Khan claimed to have orchestrated certainly existed ,but where the public and private stories diverged was that the covert trade in doomsday technology was not the work of one man, but the foreign policy of a nation, plotted and supervised by Pakistan’s ruling military clique, supposedly a key ally in America’s war on terror. The true scandal was how the trade and the Pakistan military’s role in it had been discovered by high-ranking US and European officials, many years before, but rather than interdict it they had worked hard to cover it up.’
The deception in the book cuts across nations and within nations across institutions and individuals. What really emerges is that in the harsh world that we live in today morality, trust or chemistry between leaders in diplomacy is of little consequence. At the altar of perceived national interest, anything goes! While the comprehensively researched book chronicles the intricacies of clandestine nuclear proliferation, missile proliferation, illegal international trade in nuclear components and materials and internal and international subterfuge, what really stands out is the huge gap between what national governments preach in public and what they practice in private.
Today, the world watches with bated breadth at the events unfolding in Pakistan and irony is writ large on this unfolding drama. Those that were trained to bleed India are likewise training their guns on Pakistan as well.
At one level, one cannot but feel surprised at the depths to which concerned leaders and their bureaucracies or militaries (in cases like Pakistan) could stoop to in deceiving not only other countries but their own institutions and people. At another, level, however, is the stark real politic of today’s complex world where the end justifies the means and those defining the former are pursuing agendas sometimes far more complex than mere national interest. It speaks volumes of our collective national security consciousness that even as the primary victim of this entire deception saga has been India, there has barely been comment or discussion on these revelations. Clearly as far as national security is concerned, successive governments are more comfortable with the ‘see no evil’ policy, hoping that the problem if ignored long enough will simply vanish! In the context of this security backdrop, it is worth revisiting some of India’s recent diplomatic initiatives.
In the second book, with respect to Pakistan military’s role the author concludes that ‘The most serious consequence of the military’s involvement in economic ventures relates to their sense of judgment regarding political control of the state. ….. In this respect, economic and political interests are linked in a cyclic process: political power guarantees economic benefits which, in turn, motivate the officer cadre to remain powerful and to play an influential role in governance.’ With this internal dynamics of Pakistan, it is not hard to see why it is against the interest of the Pakistan military to improve relations with India. On the contrary, unless it keeps the bogey of India as an enemy alive, its claim as the country’s saviour and consequent influence in governance will be threatened. Not with standing this reality, the then Prime Minister took the bus to Lahore. The resultant Kargil cost us over 500 military lives and Nawaz Sharif his elected government! Pakistan army emerged the winner with a General as the first ever CEO of a nation!
With this history fresh in public minds, after his meeting with Gen. Musharraf in Havana in 2006 in the context of Pakistan supported terrorism, the PM said: ‘General Musharraf has assured me that Pakistan has no hand in perpetrating this. He did not go into the past. He said that whatever has happened in the past, let’s work together in the future and I believe this is the best we could get in the circumstances’. Indeed the PM went as far as to say that even Pakistan was a victim of terrorism. In an article at the time this writer was constrained to make the following obvious point: ‘One can sympathize with Musharraf’s sentiment about wanting to forget the past, but does that mean that this is a man one can trust and do business with? Is the Pakistan army, which wields ultimate power, an institution that one can trust? Forget India, even elected governments in Pakistan have learnt the answer to these questions the hard way’.
Today, the world watches with bated breadth at the events unfolding in Pakistan and irony is writ large on this unfolding drama. Those that were nurtured by the CIA and ISI to train their guns on the Soviet forces are now training their guns on their erstwhile masters. Those that were trained to bleed India are likewise training their guns on Pakistan as well. And the General that we were willing to trust is not trusted by the majority of Pakistan’s own people !The US is now so anxious about the safety of Pakistan’s nuclear arsenal, which it allowed to grow under its benign patronage, that contingency plans to neutralize it are being reported in US media. So even as Bush and Mush publicly claim to be on the same side in the so called war on terror, each has his own contingency plans against the other’s designs!
If India ever has to bear the consequences of a nuclear attack, it will be the outcome of a conspiracy that in various degrees embraces not just Pakistan and China, but the US and some European countries as well!
Let us look at China. In response to a question on whether China would support India’s case in the NSG, the PM, after his recent trip to China said ‘I cannot say I have got a firm definite answer but my own feeling is that the relationship of trust and confidence is now establishing and we are succeeding in that……’ . Not with standing this optimism, there was no mention of the border issue even though at the conclusion of President Hu Jintao’s visit to India in November 2006 it was pledged that the process of exchanging maps indicating respective perceptions of the entire alignment of the LAC on the basis of already agreed parameters would be completed as soon as possible. One could even have over looked this silence at the alter of improving relations on other fronts, had it not been for the fact that during the last year alone over 140 violations by the Chinese troops have been reported including provocative acts of destroying some unmanned Indian posts. Not to mention China’s frequent claims to the state of Arunachal!
If all this were not confusing enough, recall the 18 July 2005 US-India joint statement which amongst other things stated that: ‘President Bush conveyed his appreciation to the Prime Minister over India’s strong commitment to preventing WMD proliferation and stated that as a responsible state with advanced nuclear technology, India should acquire the same benefits and advantages as other such states.’ Neither the Hyde Act nor the negotiated 123 Agreement conform to the spirit of allowing India ‘the same benefits and advantages as other such states’. Rather than feeling aggrieved, we are being told that India’s international standing will suffer, if it were not to follow through on its commitment!
The PM in his statement in the Lok Sabha on 13 Aug 2007 on Civil Nuclear Cooperation with the US stated that: ‘This historic initiative has received the steadfast support of President Bush and senior members of his Administration. The strengthening and enhancement of our bilateral relations is an objective that has received his unstinting personal support and commitment. This Agreement is a shining example of how far we have progressed.’ Ironically, the PM also stated ‘We stand for the strengthening of the non-proliferation regime as the infirmities in this regime have affected our security interests. We will work together with the international community to advance our common objective of non-proliferation’.
As we learn from the above book, the ‘infirmities’ that have affected our security interests have been promoted by none other than President Bush and all his predecessors. The tragedy is that the US has allowed Pakistan and China to violate all non proliferation norms to the serious detriment of our national security while we have remained mute spectators to this international deception. Clearly the ‘unstinting personal support and commitment’ has more to do with promoting the US self interests than India’s national security. That is why; there have been many voices of caution in India.
We neither have the political will nor the national resolve to put national security above all else.
If India ever has to bear the consequences of a nuclear attack (and clearly such a scenario must now be termed as a possibility, even if remote), it will be the outcome of a conspiracy that in various degrees embraces not just Pakistan and China, but the US and some European countries as well!
What, one wonders, were our foreign and security policy establishments doing to safeguard India’s own national interests and security through all these years of subterfuge on the part of these nations? A plea of ignorance neither suffices nor is a panacea for our security predicament. The conclusion one regrettably arrives at is that our approach to national security is that of a soft state. We neither have the political will nor the national resolve to put national security above all else. To add to this rather frightening security scenario, the nation is being told that the Indo US nuclear deal, (that will inevitably emasculate our fledgling strategic nuclear programme), is the best deal for India.
Courtesy: The Telegraph: First Published in 2008.