By: BIBHUTI PATI
Naxatra News: The recent US $1 billion civilian and military aids announced by the US President Barack Obama during his budget announcements for year 2016 has caused serious concern in the Indian political, defense and foreign establishments as Obama has not given any guarantee that the huge financial allocations which officially was meant to help Pakistan for fighting terror, economic development, safety of nuclear installations and improving ties with India.
This Afghanistan centered US financial aid to Pakistan is a clear indication of Obamas doubled standard two faces. But it is nothing new, almost every time US leaders or top officials have visited India and gone back through Pakistan, surprisingly their voices change in Pakistan and they satisfy Pakistan in many ways. Obama did the same thing, Modi should realize and understand US-PAK politics against India otherwise Modi will do the same mistake as the previous government has done. If Modi will not be concerned about this US-PAK gambit, then India’s national interest will suffer and the BJP government will fail to protect Indias foreign diplomacy policies.
"Michelle and I returned from India- an incredible, beautiful country, full of magnificent diversity-but a place where, in past years, religious faiths of all types have, on occasion, been targeted by other people of faith, simply due to their heritage and their beliefs- acts of intolerance that would have shocked (Mahatma) Gandhiji, the person who helped to liberate the nation," says US Prez Barack Obama after returning from his India visit. Why has he said this? Is it his diplomacy with India and Modi?
Prez Obama advised India to be more religiously tolerant. Later he also said that Mahatma Gandhi would have been shocked at the level of religious intolerance in India. But, a few recent incidents of attacks of Indian and US Muslims have proved that religious intolerance in the US is growing rapidly and US government has failed to control it. Are you shocked now Mr. Prez?
But the real shock is, when Modi broke his silence, attacked hate mongers and said "Center vows to act against religious violence," and now after that why is Modi silent on Obamas double standard faces and did not reply to Obama even after Hindu temple has been vandalized with hate message and an Indian attacked in US?
The US department had said that the financial aid would help Pakistan stop reemergence of Taliban fighters in the strife-torn neighboring Afghanistan from the US and forces belonging to North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) will almost totally withdraw by the end of 2016. Since, the Obama administration like previous government continues to consider Pakistan as its strategic ally in the South Asian region; the state department said the financial aid would contribute in bringing stability on Pakistans western border.
Pakistan lies at the heart of the US counter-terrorism strategy, the peace process in Afghanistan, nuclear non-proliferation efforts, and economic integration in South and Central Asia, the State Department said. Naturally, India was surprised when the US President announced US$1 billion financial assistance to Pakistan few days after his visit to India. Though Indian foreign office treaded very cautiously and made a candid response saying how the US spends its tax payers money is "entirely its prerogative," said Syed Akbaruddin, the spokesman of Indias Ministry of External Affairs.
What is surprising is the fact that even after fully aware that Pakistan has not shown any sustain commitment to dismantle terror infrastructure set up on its soil before and aftermath of 26/11 terror attack on Mumbai, Indias commercial hub that killed a large number of Indian and foreign nationals. It seems the US and its western allies are more interested in doing business with Indian than pressurizing Pakistan to put an end on importing terror activities to other countries particularly India. The recent financial aid to Pakistan by the US also confirms the general perception back home that the US plays a double standard as far as Indo-Pak relations are concerned.
India shares the US view behind the aid that it has been given to Pakistan keeping in view the situation in Afghanistan particularly after the US and NATO forces leaves that country. But, why without any condition that the money given for civilian and military use will not be siphoned off or used for strengthening terror infrastructure. There is not mention of such a condition in the announcement the US President Obama made while unveiling his budget for the year 2016. Does it not mean that the US still considers Pakistan as its important ally than India notwithstanding Indian Prime Minister rolling out all possible opportunities to the US? The recent financial assistance to Pakistan also demonstrates the certification give to Islamabad by Washington that it has prevented Al Queda, Taliban and their offshoots like Lashkar-e-Toiaba and Jaish-e-Mohammed from operating its territory. India attempted to play it down as the current government at helm of the affairs is a corporate friendly and is more interested in foreign direct investment than the security of the country and its people. Besides, the US has not yet taken any notice of continued firing at western border between the two arch South Asian rivals. Interestingly, the skirmishes at the border in Jammu and Kashmir were only halted after the US asked Pakistan not to do so at least during Obama’s visit to India.
Indeed, trust between the US and Pakistan hit a low after Mumbai attack and killing of worlds most wanted terrorist Osama-bin-Laden as Washington realized that Islamabad has been using its financial aid for purposes other than military and counterterrorism. That was also the time when India pursued a pro-active role vis-a-vis Pakistan mounting pressure on its western neighbor to bring perpetrators of 26/11 to book; New Delhi came closer to Washington on strategic point issues. However, the US failed to rise to the occasion and took little notice of Indias concerns even as New Delhi reached out to global community headed by Washington to prevail upon Islamabad to act on the dossier provided by India and arrest all those culprits whose names and other details were given to the neighboring authorities. This attitude was another example of the US double speak towards India.
When America and its allies began launching massive military operations in Afghanistan to flush out Taliban and Al Qaeda fighters and sought infrastructure assistance from Pakistan, the then Pakistan authorities demanded huge financial grant in lieu of the help arguing that it is Americas fight not a global fight against terror and if the US wants to engage Pakistan in this fight it will have bear all the expenses as military fight has become very costly. The US readily agreed to Pakistans condition. However, In case of Indias fight against terror, the US most of the time either opted to remain as a spectator or paid lip service.
Another instance of double standard by the US towards India could be judged from a development when some miscreants misbehaved with Hindu Indians and attempted to disfigure temples in the US, the Obama administration remained moot and instead issued sermons to India that it must adhere to secularism. The sermon issued on the part of the US was certainly not unwanted or unwelcome one, however, the natural law of justice demands and equal treatment by both sides.
It would be much better and in the interests of Pakistan and its neighboring countries if the US instead of arming Pakistan with military equipments in the name of fighting against terror, help establish democracy and bring a stable government which would be friendly to all peace loving countries in the neighborhood in particular and in the world in general. The US has never attempted to take that risk because a democratic and stable Pakistan would help strengthen peace and tranquility in the South Asian region that could be detrimental to the US strategic interests in the region.
There is no harm in providing financial assistance to Pakistan for humanitarian and economic development and for fighting counter terrorism, but there has to be a check balance apparatus put in place as Pakistani administration which mainly controlled by military has a track record of diverting the assistance meant for development and other peaceful purposes to upgrading military forces and promoting terror activities at the western border.
The relations of the US with Pakistan and India have never been on the same footing and seem unlikely as the priorities of the US concerning two South Asian nuclear armed nations wary. The US sees more business related opportunities in India to beat economic recession back home with the help of second largest growing economy in the world whereas Pakistan is a strategic partner for its close proximity and influence among militants both in Afghanistan and bordering areas of Pakistan particularly its terror-hit North West Frontier Province that has been a hotbed of terrorism and a strong hold of Haqqani network. The US marines despite making all out attempts have not been able to detect and dismantle Haqqani network, which keeps various terror organizations very well connected with each others.
Of late, the civil administration including those political parties, which owe allegiances to a liberal and democratic system of governance, have started raising their voices against countrys dependency on the foreign financial assistance arguing that a little of such foreign aid is channel to civil administration to invest into developmental works and major part goes to military, which uses it for other purposes.
By: BIBHUTI PATI