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.
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.
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.
The truth is that the United States, or any other country for that matter, can never satisfy the Pakistani establishment when it comes to India. The fundamental reality is that Pakistan’s very existence is dependent on its anti-India posture. Take India away and Pakistan will have an identity crisis.
On March 17 Majid Nizami, editor-in-chief of The Nation, one of Pakistan’s leading newspapers, stated that “Pakistan is destined to defeat India because our horses in the form of atomic bombs and missiles are far better than Indian ‘donkeys.’
“If one wants to have an idea as to what would have been our condition, had Pakistan not come into existence, he should visit India to apprise himself about untold pathetic living conditions of the Muslims there at this point of time.” Nizami then added, “We were grateful to the Almighty Allah that today we had been blessed with Independence. The day is not far off when we would once again conquer India.”
In fact, if one goes by the history books written for students in Pakistan, the intensity of the anti-India venom and the ferocity with which it is being injected into young minds are mind-blowing. This great historic discovery is taught: “Previously, India was part of Pakistan.”
In these books, Muhammad-bin-Qasim, the first Muslim conqueror of the Hindu-dominated Sindh province in the 8th century, is declared the first Pakistani citizen. In Social Studies for Class VI (Sindh Textbook Board, 1997), the story of the Arabs’ arrival in Sindh is counted as the first moment of Pakistan, with the glorious ascendancy of Islam.
This textbook teaches that “The Muslims knew that the people of South Asia were infidels and they kept thousands of idols in their temples.” The Sindhi king, Raja Dahir, is described as cruel and despotic. “The non-Brahmans who were tired of the cruelties of Raja Dahir joined hands with Muhammad-bin-Qasim because of his good treatment.” According to this historical narration:
“The conquest of Sindh opened a new chapter in the history of South Asia.Muslims had everlasting effects of their existence in the region…For the first time the people of Sindh were introduced to Islam, its political system and way of government. The people here had seen only the atrocities of the Hindu Rajas…the people of Sindh were so much impressed by the benevolence of Muslims.”
Another textbook says: “Pakistan came to be established for the first time when the Arabs led by Muhammad-bin-Qasim occupied Sindh and Multan in the early years of the eighth century, and established Muslim rule in this part of the South Asian sub-continent. Pakistan under the Arabs comprised the Lower Indus Valley.”
It is interesting to note the flight of imagination of this author:
“During the 11th century the Ghaznavid Empire comprised what is now Pakistan and Afghanistan. During the 12th century the Ghaznavids lost Afghanistan, and their rule came to be confined to Pakistan…By the 13th century, Pakistan had spread to include the whole of Northern India and Bengal…Under the Khiljis Pakistan moved further Southward to include a greater part of Central India and the Deccan… Many Mongols accepted Islam.As such Pakistan remained safe for Islam… During the 16th century, ‘Hindustan’ disappeared and was completely absorbed in ‘Pakistan’…Although Pakistan was created in August 1947, yet except for its name, the present-day Pakistan has existed, as a more or less single entity, for centuries.”
The moral of the story is obvious. Unless the typical mindset of the Pakistanis is changed, India will remain their eternal enemy. That being the case, what does Obama expect India to do? In fact, it is high time that Obama and his advisors changed their mindset about Pakistan, which is entrapping the United States – offering selective help in exchange for bags of cash and weapons that are to be used against India.
(Prakash Nanda is a journalist and editorial consultant for Indian Defense Review. He is also the author of “Rediscovering Asia: Evolution of India’s Look-East Policy.” He may be contacted at Prakash.email@example.com. ©Copyright Prakash Nanda.)