Only Self Interest Can Bridge the Indo-Pak Divide
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Issue Net Edition | Date : 08 Mar , 2016

Despite opposition from some members of the US Senate, Think Tanks and Academics alike the US Government has gone on to approve the sale of F-16 fighters to Pakistan. The Secretary of State, John Kerry, defended his decision with the words “The F-16s have been a critical part of the Pakistani fight against the terrorists in the western part of that country, and have been effective in that fight. And Pakistan has lost some 50,000 people in the last years, including troops, to the terrorists that are threatening Pakistan itself.”[i]

There is sufficient documentary evidence to suggest that Pakistan has not only supported the Taliban after it was thrown out of Afghanistan following 9/11, but has also worked against American interests…

One need not be a soldier to understand that the Secretary was being disingenuous, in the extreme, as aircraft have little value in a counter-insurgency environment, especially so if it involves dealing with one’s own population and that too in the mountains. There can be little doubt that these aircraft are for use against India, a consistent policy followed by the US Government, in tandem with the British, ever since we became Independent seven decades ago. The need for a suitable base on the Sub Continent has never gone away for these Imperialist powers, ever since it was first proposed by field Marshal Wavell, the last Viceroy of British India.[ii]

One can certainly resonate to the arguments made by the likes of Michael Rubin and well known academic, Christine Fair, against not just the selling of the warplanes but also their anger at the duplicity shown by Pakistan in Afghanistan. There is sufficient documentary evidence to suggest that Pakistan has not only supported the Taliban after it was thrown out of Afghanistan following 9/11, but has also worked against American interests there and is primarily responsible for the casualties that US and its NATO Allies have suffered subsequently. They also believe that Pakistan presently is intent on destabilizing the Government in Afghanistan and in bringing back the Taliban. They also believe that Pakistan must be declared as a State that sponsors terrorism and must face economic sanctions.

Ms. Christine Fair, in particular, is vociferous in arguing that the United States must work with India to counter Pakistan. As she suggested at the recently concluded Observer Research Foundation- Ministry of External Affairs organized “The Raisana Dialogues” at New Delhi, the United States must look towards helping India develop advanced offensive capability so that both countries can co-jointly neutralize Pakistan’s terror producing factories. Obviously, she seems to imply that the United States would provide critical actionable intelligence and the finance and equipment required to upgrade India’s conventional military and Counter Terrorism capabilities, especially special operations, so that it can engage Pakistan.

Ms. Christine Fair is vociferous in arguing that the United States must work with India to counter Pakistan.

On the face of it such a proposal appears to be in our national interest and should be welcomed by the political establishment, the military and the public at large. More so, since most are fed up with Pakistan’s constant attempts to interfere in Kashmir and the assistance and support it provides to terrorist organizations that have attacked India over the years. However, we may do well to remember that it was academics and intellectuals, like Christine Fair, who in the past advised the US Government to tilt towards Pakistan to further their own national aims. Ms. Fair and her other colleagues may now be suggesting an opposite policy after the United states has been badly singed by Islamic radicalism emanating from Pakistan, but they do because it is in United States interest. They, it appears, are willing to fight Pakistan with the last drop of Indian blood to further their own cause.

The question we need to ask ourselves is, are we? As per media reports, in an unprecedented move the Pakistani National Security Advisor, General Nasir Khan Janjua, has informed his Indian counterpart, Ajit Doval, of the likelihood of a terrorist attack in Gujarat. Information given suggests that 10 terrorists from the Lashkar-E-Taiba and Jaish-E-Muhammed have infiltrated into the state to carry out strikes. While one cannot be certain of Pakistan’s motive in sharing this information, one can only hope that Pakistan has decided to recalibrate its relationship with us. We can wish that they have finally concluded that violence and instability within the Sub- Continent helps neither side and only plays into others interests. Both sides need to think of our interests first as only that can help us pull our billion people out of the clutches of poverty that has been our fate for these seven decades. 

[i]Rubin, Michael; We Should Not Sell Warplanes to Pakistan; Newsweek; 

[ii] Review of Narendra Singh Sarila’s Untold Story of India’s Partition: The Shadow of the Great Game by ShahidJavedBurki in the Dawn, 29Apr2007;

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The views expressed are of the author and do not necessarily represent the opinions or policies of the Indian Defence Review.

About the Author

Brig Deepak Sinha

is a second generation para trooper and author of “Beyond the Bayonet: Indian Special Operations Forces in the 21st Century.” He is currently a consultant with the Observer Research Foundation.

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3 thoughts on “Only Self Interest Can Bridge the Indo-Pak Divide

  1. After the British Crown took over Indian territory of East India Company, Queen Victoria enquired from Prime Minister Lord Salisbury as to who are the permanent friends and enemies of England. He replied: Your Majesty: England has no permanent friends, nor permanent enemies, it has got only permanent self interests. This statement has to be sole guide for conduct of the affairs of the Indian nation.

  2. The US State Department is full of Cold Warriors. For them Pakistan is a Strategic Partner but India is on the other side of the fence. Even with the removal of Robin Rafael from the critical job of helping Pakistan digest $3 billion in military and also a bit of economic aid, the State Department does not change. Before that anti Indian Secretary Of State in Madam Albright and later Hillary Clinton all smiled at you but approved billions in military aid to Pakistan.

    Modi made a valiant effort with Obama to change, but it seems nothing happened.

    There is nothing much you can do. Pakistani diplomats are smarter and use every opportunity to project themselves as useful. Although also host Osama Bin for seven years.

  3. Current sit in background of the recent developments have been very well analysed and updated. Political problem can only be solved thru dialogue, trade and mutually shared goals.Better relations will help in divertig resources for poverty alleviation. One cannot expect a change of heart in Pakistan as it is likely to continue using terrorism, drug, suport to secessionist movements in India. Cooperation of not only USA, but even other countries like Russia, China , Saudi, UAE and European Union is equally vital in combating terrorism, int sharing, and most imp funding of these movements/groups. Tragically, we have miserably failed to curb inflow of funds to these groups despite plethora of rules and watchdogs. Possible reason could be inadequate resources, cumbersome procedures and lack of will. Pleasure reading this article

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