US appeasing India's foe
Daily Pioneer ,Delhi etc -5 October, 2009
Despite India's constant protests regarding the misuse of American aid by Pakistan, US President Barack Obama recently urged sustained and expanded support for Pakistan at an international meeting. The objective ostensibly was to strengthen Pakistan to defeat terrorism. Mr Obama said, The violent extremists within Pakistan pose a threat to the region, to the United States, and to the world. Above all, they threaten the security of the Pakistani people. This, in spite of former Pakistani President Pervez Musharrafs candid admission that under his regime Pakistan had misused US military aid to arm itself against India.
There are two forces leading men and nations. One is self-interest and the other fear. For obvious reasons the US President is motivated by self-interest as any patriotic leader should be. However, he is besieged with two problems that he inherited from his predecessor: Iraq and Afghanistan. American jubilation at the overthrow of Saddam Hussein in Iraq has been replaced by despair. The people of Iraq have neither been won over, nor have the last of anti-American forces been vanquished. As of June 18, this year 4,315 US military personnel had died in the Iraq since 2003. Whereas 29,395 is the number of US servicemen who have been wounded in hostile action in that country.
Currently, the US Defence Department says it is spending about $ 4.5 billion a month on the conflict in Iraq, which translates to $ 100,000 per minute. The objective of the war in Iraq has changed several times over. First, it was about weapons of mass destruction that the Saddam regime was purportedly harbouring. But after Saddams capture and subsequent execution, the objective of the war effort was changed to exterminating the Al Qaeda, something which still is nowhere near accomplishment.
Similarly, the US war effort in Afghanistan was aimed at dismantling the Taliban led by Mullah Omar and hunting down Osama bin Laden. Here too the US is nowhere near achieving its goals. Its efforts to purchase loyalty either in Iraq or Afghanistan have not succeeded. As far as the official figures go, the US has spent $ 642 billion on the military effort in Iraq and another $ 189 billion on Afghanistan.
There is an old saying that it is better to have a wise enemy than a foolish friend. Of course, it is not for India to advise the US how it should handle its relations with Pakistan. But it should know that no matter who is in charge in Islamabad, it is the ISI and the Pakistani Army that are the real centres of power. And these two institutions are against wiping out the terror infrastructure that operates both in Afghanistan and India.
This is because terrorism ensures the primacy of the ISI and the Pakistani Army in Pakistani society. Whatever Pakistani politicians say, it doesnt seem to matter to the ISI or the Pakistani Army or to the fundamentalists in that country. Pakistan raised the Frankenstein of fundamentalism for its own strategic interests. But the monster today has a mind of its own.
The bonhomie that we often see between Indian and Pakistani leaders is a farce. So are Pakistans repeated pledges to crack down on anti-India terror groups. Every time the issue is brought up Pakistan makes a show of moving against the terrorist. But in reality all this is for US consumption, so that the latter continues to fund its anti-terrorism drive.
Whatever be the composition of the Government in Islamabad, it is a puppet in the hands of the US. The real problem is that the US does not care what Pakistan does with its financial and military aid as long as its own security is not compromised. It is least bothered about whether or not Pakistan is using American aid to fund terror activities against India or arming itself to counter Indias military prowess.
Using groups like the Lashkar-e-Tayyeba and the Jaish-e-Mohammed to spread terror in India has been Pakistans policy for quite sometime now. Tough statements by our leaders over the years have amounted to nothing. Not even once has Pakistan responded positively.
On the other hand, when our own security agencies act tough against terrorists there is no dearth of human rights activists to cry foul. What is even more incredible is that some Government leaders even sympathise with terrorists for their own selfish political interests. The truth is that unless we make the cost of terrorism prohibitive, not only for the terrorists but also their supporters, the menace of terrorism is going to plague India for a very long time.
This can be done only by using force and by having strong anti-terrorism laws. The Government has to decide what comes first, Indian citizens and our secular, democratic way of life or the terrorists and their supporters.
In the name of people-to-people contact, dialogue, or peace talks vis-à-vis Pakistan we have been taking one faltering step after another. And in return we have been rewarded with countless terror strikes that have killed hundreds of Indian citizens. What is the use of these conciliatory steps when they lead not only to the terrorist attacks but also to other problems such as proliferation of fake currency? Machiavelli had said, A man who wants to act virtuously in every way necessarily comes to grief among so many who are not virtuous. This is quite applicable to a country like ours.
Joginder Singh, IPS (Retd.) Former Director, CBI, India
Note ;I have great pleasure in introducing S. Joginder Singh , whose honesty and integrity as CBI chief , remains a shining example .from where he was transferred by a third rate Indian PM , when Joginder was going after a politician involved in corruption.
Joginder is a dear old friend since we joined our civil service training on June 1, 1961 at the National Academy of Administration Mussourie, UP .He is also one of us three Trustees now of Foundation for Indo-Turkic Studies (FITS) , which was founded in 1999 .Dr JP Singh IAS (Retd) is the other Trustee. The founding Trustee RK Takkar , a very capable civil servant , unfortunately passed away two years ago.
TARAFITS is owned by FITS.