India Uncut

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Thursday, June 30, 2005

Focussing on the possible

Brahma Chellaney writes in the Japan Times:
For a strategic partnership to emerge, Washington and New Delhi need to resolve their differences on two key issues -- stringent technology controls against India, many dating back to the 1970s when India conducted its first nuclear test, and [George W] Bush's coddling of the one-man junta in Pakistan.

Not only are U.S. actions bolstering the military-mullah complex that runs Pakistan, the supply of major combat systems and multibillion-dollar aid also encourages Pakistani dictator President Gen. Pervez Musharraf not to dismantle the terror infrastructure that his military maintains against India. The F-16 decision comes on top of the action to arm Islamabad with P-3C Orion maritime reconnaissance aircraft, TOW anti-tank missiles and Phalanx defense systems -- all hardware that will be aimed not against al-Qaeda but against India.
To me, it is wishful thinking that the USA will scale back their relations with Pakistan because of us. The US needs the Pakistan regime on its side to finish its battle against al-Qaeda, and in its broader quest to secularise Islam. At the same time, it needs India to offset the growing clout of China in the region. These are both win-win games, and we should also look to get whatever we can out of the US without bringing Pakistan into it. Unless, of course, it is to urge the US to put pressure on Pakistan to open up trade with India, another win-win scenario. As Otto Von Bismarck said, "Politics is the art of the possible." There is enough to gain if we are realistic in our dealings, and patient.

(Link via email from Jim O'Neil.)
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