The Modi-led Indian government is essentially anti-Muslim and anti-Pakistan, as is evident from the persecution of Indian Muslims, the reign of terror let loose by the Indian security forces against Kashmiri Muslims, persistent cross-border firing along the LOC, bellicose blustering by the Indian ministers and Generals and the avowed agenda of the Indian government to isolate Pakistan.
Modi is a staunch follower of the Indian leaders, who opposed tooth and nail the partition of India and the creation of a separate homeland for the Muslims of the sub-continent, who even today have not reconciled to this reality. Reportedly addressing budget session in the Parliament last month, he subjected Congress to scathing criticism for having accepted the partition of India in 1947 and also reiterated that India could have taken Kashmir, if instead of Jawahar Lal Nehru, Sardar Vallabhai Patel was the Prime Minister at the time partition. This adequately reflects the mindset and the deep down anti-Pakistan feelings that Modi harbors, as well as, provides an insight into the rationale for the policies that his government is pursuing.
India is taking advantage of the strained relations between US and Pakistan over the war on terror, particularly the arm-twisting tactics employed by the Trump administration to put pressure on Pakistan and the dynamics of the new global politics. The US and its western allies are hell bent to prevent China from becoming the number one economic and military power, and simultaneously trying to ensure that Russia does not re-emerge as a potential challenger to US status as the only Super Power of the World. They are trying to prop up India as a counter-balance to the burgeoning Chinese influence in the region and beyond. India logically becomes strategic partner of US and the West in view of their strategic interests in South Asia and South East Asia. In lieu of India doing their bidding in this scheme of things, they are prepared to turn their backs on what was happening in Kashmir and what policies India pursued viz-a-viz Pakistan.
The US-India nexus is a potential threat to the peace and security in this region and it would not be an exaggeration to say that India was trying to import instability in the region which ultimately would also harm her own interests, though the Indian leaders blinded by their desire to establish their hegemony in the region do not realize it at the moment. In the permeating scenario, the possibility of any amity between India and Pakistan seems almost non-existent, particularly till the time the Modi government is in saddle in India.
The new strategy unfurled by President Trump to deal with the situation in Afghanistan is also a perfect recipe to aggravate instability in the region. My considered view is that US was not going to get out of Afghanistan in the foreseeable future and her strategy seems to keep the situation in a fluid state, as instability in the region could help it to undermine CPEC, the biggest ever economic initiative ever unleashed at the global level. The US and India fear that the successful implementation of the OBOR and CPEC would surely make China the number one economic power in the world, besides changing the economic profile of the participating countries especially Pakistan. Viewed from that perspective, the only way that reality can be stopped from unfolding is to foment instability in the region.
The emergence of IS in Afghanistan as ascribed to US patronage by none other than the former Afghan President Hamid Karzai cannot be dismissed lightly. US support for the Islamic State is also corroborated by independent global sources.
Reportedly, the US is mulling options to put further pressure on Pakistan, which might entail cutting off military assistance to Pakistan permanently. The US notwithstanding the fact that Pakistan has rendered unprecedented sacrifices in the war against terror and dismantled the entire infrastructure of the terrorist outfits, is not prepared to acknowledge the effort and continues to insist that Pakistan had not done enough and terrorists based in Pakistan were still using its soil to launch attacks within Afghanistan. The argument preferred is that Pakistan was not restricting the flow of fighters and weapons across its border with Afghanistan. That surely is a very absurd suggestion. Granted that Pakistan was not doing enough or able to stem cross-border movement of the terrorists, the question arises: what were the US and Afghan forces doing on their side of the border to prevent it?
It is pertinent to point out that when operation Zarb-e-Azb was launched in North Waziristan, Pakistan Army leadership and Pakistan government did take the US military commander and Afghan government into confidence and asked them to make sure that the terrorists running from North Waziristan did not escape to Afghanistan. But unfortunately, that cooperation never materialized, with the result that the Haqqanis and TTP leaders crossed over to Afghanistan. The TTP has been executing terrorist attacks within Pakistan using Afghan territory and in spite of repeated pointers and requests, very little has been done to deal with the issue. The Haqanis are Afghans and they have returned to Afghanistan after operation Zarb-e-Azb. Reportedly and also acknowledged by the US military commanders, 40% Afghan territory is beyond the control and writ of the Afghan government and obviously the terrorists are using that area to launch terrorist attacks against their chosen targets.
Pakistan has unilaterally started fencing of the border between the two countries and a number of forts and watch-posts are also being established to monitor the cross-border movement. Pakistan shares a porous border of 2430 Kms with Afghanistan and it is not physically possible to seal it completely. If at all that is what the US feels can prevent terrorism in Afghanistan, then it becomes the combined responsibility of US and Pakistan to undertake the project. That is not being done.
The foregoing ground realities testify to the fact that the US administration was not sincere in resolving the Afghan conundrum and was instead interested more in precipitating the situation to the chagrin of the regional countries including Pakistan and of course China, which probably has the biggest stake in peace and tranquility in the region.
Peace in Afghanistan means peace in Pakistan and Pakistan would be the last country to undermine its own strategic and economic interests by supporting the elements which were out to destabilize the situation in Afghanistan. The US stance about Pakistan continuing to provide sanctuaries to the terrorists is logically wrong as well.
I am afraid in the backdrop of the bigger global game that the US and its allies have unfurled, Pakistan will have to brace for the negative fall-out of the US-India nexus in our region, for a long time to come.
n The writer is a freelance columnist.