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Is the United States a true friend ?

Is the United States a true friend ?

Author: M V Kamath
Publication: News Today
Date: January 1, 2009
URL: http://newstodaynet.com/col.php?section=20&catid=58

When Margaret Alva spoke the truth, she was summarily deprived of the secretaryship of the Congress Party. When A.R Antulay sought to plant a lie, he is being hugged to its bosom by the same party which wants his unpardonable remarks to be quickly forgotten.
Actually, let us face it, Antulay is a disgrace to the country, let alone the party he professes to serve. His record as Chief Minister of Maharashtra dragged the administration into dust. Sycophancy was the name of his game. To raise money for party funds he stooped to such low levels that it makes a disgraceful chapter in itself, unparalleled in Maharashtra's post-independence history.

What he hinted in the matter of Karkare's murder by Pakistani terrorists is nothing new. Not so long ago, in August 2006, Antulay had told the cabinet that the serial blasts in Western Railway coaches on July 11 that year could be the handiwork of Hindu fundamentalists, in order to bring Muslims into disrepute and trigger communal riots. Antulay's behaviour has all the handmark of a disturbed mind. He should have been asked to resign, but he has been forgiven.

That is only one aspect of the heinous Jihadi attack on Mumbai. What was a great tragedy has now been reduced to a sickening farce. No one knows what the UPA government stands for. There is shilly shallying in Delhi over how to deal with Pakistan and teach it a lesson it won't ever forget in a hurry. Does anyone remember the 1962 war that China unprovokedly waged against India bringing shame to the country and Nehru to his knees? India had done nothing to provoke China.

Certainly it had not sent a dozen terrorists to Hong Kong or Beijing to cause chaos and confusion. Yet Mao ordered a war against India to teach it "a lesson". India not only lost the war but lost its face as well. Pakistan unleashes terrorism on Mumbai. Weeks have passed and Delhi still does not know what to do. Pranab Mukherjee for long kept saying that India will "keep its options open". After weeks of silence, Prime Minister Dr Manmohan Singh says - no doubt under pressure from Washington - that war is not an option.

Who is speaking for India? What options are open now for it? Given the delay in making up its mind, India has given Pakistan all the time to get ready to face any military consequence. Pakistan's Army Chief Gen Ashfaq Parvez Kayani now claims that his forces can mount an equal response "within minutes", if India carries out any strikes on Pakistan. A war, in the circumstances, even if India changes its mind, will be even-sided. Nations which wish to wage war do not give prior notice to their enemies. In any event, even if India wants to make a surprise attack on Pakistan territory, would the United States sit back quietly and watch the scene? Pakistan has been getting all sorts of aid from Washington.

When, recently, Senator John Kerry was in Delhi, he mentioned that the U.S planned a $15 billion dollar aid package for Pakistan with a guaranteed military component. The U.S desperately wants Pakistan's military help to NATO forces to fight al Quaida and the Taliban in the tribal areas close to Afghanistan. This explains Delhi's dithering. Time is running out with every passing day, shortening our chances of success. As matters stand, we are only advertising our limitations. Pakistan, one an be sure, will not accede to any of our demands and knowing our weakness, it will finally draw India, willy-nilly, to the negotiating table for predictably inconclusive talks. Some
men and women who were shot dead in Mumbai would thus have died in vain. One can only say that the UPA government has lost a golden opportunity to bring Pakistan to its knees. It is a crying shame. One should not be surprised if, after a few more weeks, the jihadis will strike again at some other city and we will go through the same farce all over again. We will be told by Pranab Mukherjee that India is keeping all its options open.

In Islamabad Pakistani army officers must be laughing their heads off. If one wants to take action, one keeps one's mouth shut. Gen. Musharraf did not give India prior notice when he triggered the Kargil conflict. Hitler fooled British Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain who, in , signed away Czeheslovakia's freedom, only to say that he had won "peace in our time". That 'peace' was followed by a dreaded aar that lasted five long years. Peace can be established not by holding talks between India and Pakistan, but by the United States summarily cutting off all aid to Pakistan. That the U.S will not do for its own selfish reasons. It still wants Pakistan as an ally, and if we do not understand that simple truth, we understand nothing.

Washington is two-faced and speaks with a forked tongue. It has to be told firmly that its trust in Islamabad is unacceptable to Delhi. We have been fooled enough. Worse, we have been behaving like cowards, wanting to hit but unwilling to strike, because of American pressure. We still have not learnt to differentiate between enemies and pseudo friends. With just a week for her term to end, Condoleeza Rice has been talking big in public while privately, it is obvious, she has been giving the wink to General Kayani. It is open to speculation whether her successor in the Obama cabinet will take her cue from her predecessor or strike a new path.

But does the United States also have any options? President-in-waiting Barack Obama has claimed Afghanistan as his main target and he cannot be expected to change his views. India should bluntly tell Obama that it will not, under any circumstances, be a strategic partner to the United States in its adventure in Afghanistan unless he brings Pakistan todismantle all terrorist organisations, including the most vicious of them all, the Inter Services Intelligence (ISI). Whether on the unclear issue or on the issue of Pakistan-inspired terrorism, we are playing second fiddle to Washington with nothing to gain.

It was the United States which originally set up terrorist organisations to drive the Russians out of Afghanistan and we are now paying for its folly. The United States can't have both Pakistan and India as its friends at the same time. It has to chose one or the other. India must show that it has its own foreign policy and it must not only say so, but prove it to the hilt. But that, unfortunately, is beyond the capacity of the UPA government. For Pakistan, it is a win-win situation. We have mud on the face.


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