by Waseem Shehzad (News & Analysis, Crescent International Vol. 47, No. 2, Rajab, 1439)
Relations between India and Pakistan have not been good since the two countries emerged from the bowels of British colonialism in August 1947. There are many issues causing friction, indeed hostility. The unresolved issue of Jammu and Kashmir tops the list but there are others — the standoff at the frozen peaks of the Himalayas in Siachen, Sir Creek, Wuller Barrage, Indus Water Treaty, Indian subversive activities in Balochistan, and a host of others.
Political and military tensions have also prevented normal trade relations between the two neighbors. In recent years, Indian encroachment in Afghanistan and subversive activities in Pakistan’s Balochistan province by supporting terrorists have only heightened tensions.
At the root lies the Indian establishment’s refusal to accept Pakistan’s very existence. Given this reality, it is difficult to create any semblance of normalcy in relations. If a country is not prepared to recognize your very existence, what can you do but to take steps to protect yourself as best as possible?
Unfortunately, India has also created a lobby for itself inside Pakistan. There is a segment of the Pakistani elite that is mesmerized by Bollywood and the vulgar culture it promotes. These Indian-doting Pakistanis, while Muslim in name, are Hindus in essence. They occupy important positions in the media and on other platforms where they influence public opinion. Some even go so far as to argue why Pakistan was created since there is little to distinguish between the cultures of the two countries. From their perspective, they are correct. After all, they are neither Muslims, nor Hindus. For them religion, morality, decency and honor have no meaning or value. To satiate their base instincts, they are prepared to destroy Pakistan from within. They serve as India’s Trojan Horses!
In recent years, other factors have contributed to deterioration in relations between India and Pakistan. One is America’s failure in Afghanistan to militarily subdue the Taliban. The ragtag band of resistance fighters has given the American military a bloody nose. Washington blames Pakistan for its failures.
Unfortunately, Americans have a habit of blaming others for their failures. Just because they have massive quantities of weapons that they use indiscriminately against defenceless civilians and yet fail to achieve their military and/or political objectives, does not give them the right to seek scapegoats for such failures. No general is willing to admit that he has failed; more so the Americans.
They demand large numbers of troops and a vast array of weapons from their political bosses but despite this they complain that their hands are tied. They do not have enough weapons or troops to fight the insurgents, the generals moan. The Taliban continue to fight with light weapons and have no more than 30,000–35,000 fighters, yet they have beaten the pants out of the Americans. There is a simple explanation for the Americans’ failure: they are cowards.
In order to exert pressure on Pakistan, the Americans have joined hands with the Indians. The Hindus have been given a free hand in Afghanistan from where Indian, Afghan, and American-backed terrorists mount terror operations inside of Pakistan.
Last month, the Pakistan army in a daring operation against the terrorist outfit Tehrik-e Taliban Pakistan (TTP) in South Waziristan captured a number of them, including several CIA operatives involved in terrorist activities inside Pakistan. The capture of CIA operatives has been kept mum; the Americans do not want this to come out into the public domain. Even the US-doting Pakistani media has hushed up the matter so far. Since the capture of CIA terrorists, American officials have made a beeline to Islamabad offering various inducements to get their operatives released (remember the Raymond Davis affair of January 2011 when the CIA contractor murdered two Pakistanis in broad daylight in the streets of Lahore? He was whisked away after a deal).
Inside sources say that Pakistan has demanded that Fazalullah, head of the TTP, be handed over. The TTP is based in Afghanistan’s Kunar province from where it launches attacks against Pakistan.
While this is a new twist in the tortuous relations between the US and Pakistan, the Hindus of India, despite American appeals, refuse to send troops to Afghanistan. They know the risks it would entail. They are, however, eager to give a helping hand by trying to slow down and potentially disrupt the ambitious China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) project. This $50 billion project of connectivity and development, if properly implemented, will prove a game-changer for the entire region. India sees itself as being left out while the US is chafing that its hegemony is being undermined and will ultimately be eliminated.
The Americans tried to use the Indians to face off against the Chinese militarily but after getting stern warnings from Beijing, the Indians backed down. Aware that they would get a drubbing from the Chinese as they did in November 1962, the Indians retreated from their standoff at Doklam Plateau located in a triangle where the borders of China, Sikkim and Bhutan meet. India has no direct border with China in this area but it sees Sikkim and Bhutan as its colonies. Think of Hindu imperialism!
After failing to get India to fight China, the US is now using Delhi against Pakistan. This is done through giving the Hindus a much greater role in US-occupied Afghan-istan as well as help with sabotage activities in Balochistan. In both instances, the purpose is to weaken and destabilize Pakistan.
The US and India also want to divest Pakistan of its nuclear weapons. In this quest, they are joined by the other evil regime — Zionist Israel. A nuclear weapon in the hands of Muslims is simply intolerable for the imperialists, Zionists, or Hindu Nazis.
To exert more pressure, India has escalated oppression of the Kashmiris inside Colonized Kashmir as well as intensified shelling of border villages along the Line of Control (LoC). Scores of villagers on the Pakistani side have been killed in recent weeks.
Those people inside and outside Pakistan who ask Islamabad to improve relations with India ignore the ground realities. India is not interested in living as a good neighbor; it wants to establish its hegemony in the region, something Pakistan can never accept. Besides, “non-violent” India has a horrible record of either attacking or threatening to attack each of its neighbors.
In Pakistan’s case, it is even worse. India views Pakistan as a rival and wants to cut it down to size. This was precisely the reason why India invaded and separated East Pakistan from West Pakistan in November– December 1971. Pakistan has no choice but to remain vigilant in the face of Hindu exceptionalism, militarism, and aggression.