Pakistan as Second Fiddle

If India is a friend of the United States, Pakistan is only an ally. 

The difference, say Pakistan online commentators, explains why President Bush's visit to Islamabad on Saturday is unlikely to generate the warmth or positive headlines of his three-day stay in India. Thursday's suicide bombing that killed a U.S. diplomat underscored the country's volatility and White House security worries.

"Coming from India where he sealed a landmark nuclear deal and cemented the foundations of a long-term strategic relationship with the largest democracy in the world, President Bush will have to work around the realities of Pakistan where democracy has yet to take roots," says the News, the flagship paper of the country's largest newspaper chain.

Conventional wisdom in Pakistan holds that the bureaucrats read Dawn, the military reads The Nation and the intellectuals read the Daily Times. But across the spectrum of the country's English-language news sites runs the conviction that Pakistanis who expect a lot from the United States are bound to be disappointed.

Pakistanis know "their relationship with the US is not intrinsic but based on expediency and currently driven by its pivotal position in the war on terror," writes retired Lt. General Talat Masood in Dawn, the leading daily of Pakistan's political establishment.

As for promoting democracy in a political system dominated by President Gen. Pervez Musharaff, "the US will continue to follow the existing policy of sidelining it in favour of its immediate strategic imperative of fighting the war on terror," he predicts.

Former foreign secretary Tanvir Ahmad Khan, writing in the liberal Daily Times, also says the United States is using Pakistan for its own purposes. "Despite President Musharraf's claim to have outperformed all other countries [as a U.S. ally in the war on terror] and perhaps because of it, a disproportionate part of the relationship with Pakistan still appears to be a case of sub-contracting Bush's war against radical Islam ..."

In another editorial, the DT editors say that Pakistan's expectations of a civilian nuclear deal like India's are unrealistic.

The Nation, a conservative, nationalist and pro-democracy daily, says the nuclear deal will enable India to "divert some of the high technology its gets to military purposes," and undermine the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty that Washington professes to support.

By contrast, the paper says that Pakistan has been slighted.

The government, they say, "rightly maintains that it has clearly gone out of its way to be on the 'right side' of the so-called War on Terror and it is the West's compensation that has left something to be desired. It needs little reminding that Islamabad has had to suffer negative social, political and economic fallout of toeing Washington's [line] since 9/11, yet the latter's response has been mostly rhetoric, with a more notable material tilt towards New Delhi."

In other words, expectations are low.

By Jefferson Morley |  March 3, 2006; 1:17 PM ET  | Category:  Asia
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Comments

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Nearly every important person in Pakistan's government has mentioned that they would prefer not to catch Osama bin Laden. How does that square with Pakistan's role in the war on terror.

Posted by: Arun Khanna | March 3, 2006 02:02 PM

The day Pakistan gets its economic house in order (which is beginning to happen, albeit very slowly) is the day it will start getting more than just transient, military need-driven attention from the U.S. To expect anything more is naive. Pakistan can only get its economic house in order once it gets its political house in order. That may take another 20 years.

Posted by: JG | March 3, 2006 02:11 PM

Arun,

Would you please post some edivence to support your claim?

Thank you.

Posted by: Karim | March 3, 2006 02:13 PM

In the grips of a one man's military rule for most of its history, Pakistan is already a "failed" state.Bush and his Neo Cons in his adminisration are betting on the wrong horse in Musharraf. Pakistan's military rulers' existance and its foreign policy is solely predicated up on only one issue and that is Kashmir. Bush and his hypocritical champions of Democracy are better off letting him wither in the winds in the short run and support a democratic uprising of some of the secular forces that have been destroyed by Musharraf for the past six and a half years. Because after Musharraf what?

Posted by: Arvind Bhatt | March 3, 2006 02:13 PM

Pakistan is actually India! Islamist destroyed the Gandhi's non-violence by hizaking the Pakistan agenda. USA should help India to restore our greater Bharat by cutting off all its aids to Pakistan. then only, democracy will spread in south asia, and then to the middle east. We must realize that in the greater struggle for a pluralistic and democratic world order, Gandhi must win and Pakis must lose.
Bikram

Posted by: Bikram | March 3, 2006 02:32 PM

From the cold reception Bush got in Pakistan upon his arrival it is evident that he is an unwelcome guest who has just gate-crashed in. No high-ranking government official was at the airport. Even Bush had to bring with him two red-attired small girls (holding some stale flowers) from India so that he could show the TV cameras that he was 'showered' with rose petals at the 'reception'. If Bush had any self-respect left in him, he would have flown right back home from India.

Posted by: Parthasarthy | March 3, 2006 02:40 PM

I wonder why Pakistani news papers do not mention AQ Khan network when they talk about why US would not give pakistan Nuclear Technology.

Posted by: RK | March 3, 2006 02:45 PM

Pakista is a failed state. They have a terrible records on human rights. I think Pakistan should not be rewarded with anything.

Posted by: neo-tan | March 3, 2006 02:52 PM

Karim,

Well, Osama is hiding in pakistan. Supported by the local people(pakistanis).

The intelligance agency ISI would know about him. Everybody knows its in Musharaff's interest to not catch Osama.
And everybody knows he is going to do what is in his interest.

Posted by: PA | March 3, 2006 02:53 PM

Pakisani public needs to stand up against Mullahs. Mush needs Mullahs to keep him in power. Bush Should tell Mush to get rid of these fanatics.

Posted by: neo-tan | March 3, 2006 03:05 PM

What India is to America today, same was Pakistan 20 yrs ago. That was a time when Pakistan's economy was growing by over 7%/yr, while Indian economy was a stallion closed one with only 3% growth rate. America used Pakistan against the then superpower, USSR. What Pakistan got from siding with the US is nothing hidden. Let's wait and see where India ends up sucking up to the US. I am not convinced that India is tremendously ahead in anything then Pakistan. India is still a poor country, but just favored by world powers at this time for their own interest. So, Indians, enjoy it while you can, you never know when the world turns back on you!

Posted by: Tausif Khan | March 3, 2006 03:13 PM

The unfortunate outcome of the nuke deal is that, under extreme political pressure, President Musharraf will have to adopt a bellicose stance towards anything Indian. Every Pakistan government, military or democratic, has always fallen back on this age-old strategy of India-bashing to diverst the populace from raging domestic issues. Unfortunately, it almost always works because Pakistan's inferiority complex arising from being consistently outperformed by it's larger, more powerful neighbor is too deeply entrenched. In their eyes, India's gain is their loss. Images of Bush buddying up with Manmohan Singh (Indian PM) will be percieved as a slight by Pakistan. This has the potential of de-railing the India-Pak peace process. In the coming days, we shouldn't be surprised if China cozies up with Pak to initiate some arms deal.

Posted by: ND | March 3, 2006 03:20 PM

In the coming days, we shouldn't be surprised if China cozies up with Pak to initiate some arms deal.

China has already issued a ludicrous statement yesterday urging India to give up nuclear weapons. Too funny.

Posted by: Fact check | March 3, 2006 03:23 PM

Tausif,
I dont know where you get your numbers from. But numbers aside, one reason why the world would trust India is that India is the world's largest democracy. It is not mere coincidence that Indian PM is a highly qualified economist and Pakistan is still mired in military rule. What good is any progress without freedom and democracy?

N

Posted by: ND | March 3, 2006 03:27 PM

Whatever state pakistan is at right now .. all its making.
First, from the day one ..pakistan was at war with India.
Second Pakistan had and continue to have bad leaders, they never cared for their citizens.
Third ruled by Army. It spells always Doom
Fourth, leaders used Islam to cover up their failures
Fifth, nurtured Taliban and other terrorist Orgs.
Sixth , have very special relationship with dictatorial countries .. Saudi, china, burma, iran, libya ..
endless ....

Pakistan can come out of this mess ..by
1) Friendly relation ships with neighbours ( India, Afghanistan)
2) Dismantle ISI and its related terrorist Orsg
3) Invest in free education and health for children
4) Encouraging free press
5) Sending diplomats and business men around the world for Investment ..
6) Encourage Tourism

I hope pakistanis are intelligent enough ..
to pick from here..

Posted by: Sriram | March 3, 2006 03:32 PM

Tausif,
Your comparision between now and the 60's is being clever by half - yes, the US was a key ally of Pakistan at that point ( and still is) and did make use of Pakistan - no body doubts that. Heck, it was ready to form an alliance with Maoist China to counter Russia! It always indulges in realpolitik that furthers its interests - just like any other country would want to.

How ever, the US refuses to be stuck in the past - it now sees that Islamofascist terrorrism and China's growing strength as two things that it has to destroy and diminish respectvely - both these things are going to take a long time and it thinks it can count on India more and more in combating these two threats - besides, the personal relationship between citizens of the two countries has grown warmer over mutual respect/admiration of their diverse societies - that is a significantly different from the US Pakistan relationships which even at the best of times seemed more strategic than anything else. Most Pakistanis would readily admit that. How many people in Pakistan admire the US for its contributions to democracy, economic order, diversity like so many people in India genuinely do ? That "people factor" itself was one major reason for the current state of relations between the two democracies.

Posted by: | March 3, 2006 03:38 PM

To Tausif Khan,

It might be true that the US might use up India, but atleast as of now one thing is sure, the army in India is *under* the political wing. The army assists the govt and overrules it! On any given day, any govt in Pakistan could be in coup - and therefore in a soup. If there is one thing in India - it is democracy. Democracy is ugly, un-fair at times, profiteering at most of the times, *but it works*; it lives and let live. I guess that is the most important aspect!

Posted by: PM | March 3, 2006 03:38 PM

Bikram, you need to switch to decaf

Posted by: Jas | March 3, 2006 03:39 PM

Tausif Khan compares Pakistan's relationship with US 20 years ago, with that of India today. Not quite.

To my knowledge, Pakistan's prior
relationship with US was based solely on the cold war politics, and the US foreign policy needing to have bases all over the world, and Pakistan needing the military and economic aid from US. The current Indo-US relationship has many facets, and is much more balanced; one could even argue that it is US that is toadying up to India, not the other way around.

Even if TS doesn't agree with my assessment, how does he explain the perennial military rule, with army generals toppling elected officials? The political instability has a lot to do with what is Pakistan today; and its perception around the world.

Posted by: Krishna | March 3, 2006 03:41 PM

Tausif Khan compares Pakistan's relationship with US 20 years ago, with that of India today. Not quite.

To my knowledge, Pakistan's prior relationship with US was based solely on the cold war politics, and the US foreign policy needing to have bases all over the world, and Pakistan needing the military and economic aid from US. The current Indo-US relationship has many facets, and is much more balanced; one could even argue that it is US that is toadying up to India, not the other way around.

Even if TS doesn't agree with my assessment, how does he explain the perennial military rule, with army generals toppling elected officials? The political instability has a lot to do with what is Pakistan today; and its perception around the world.

Posted by: Krishna | March 3, 2006 03:42 PM

sorry for the duplicate post; chalk it to unfamiliarity with this site.

Posted by: Krishna | March 3, 2006 03:43 PM

The hypocrisy of this deal has left me gob smacked. We have our government preaching to the world about human rights and WMD'S but we give sensitive technology to a nation that has a brutal human rights record. They are engaged in fighting "insurgencies" up and down the nation from Assam to Kashmir and employ savage methods to keep these regions in check. Inter religious violence is also on the rise with Christians and Muslims being persecuted by right wing Hindu organisations who I might add were in the corridors of power a few years back.

If we are to criticise anyone at least be consistent.

Posted by: David Walsh | March 3, 2006 03:59 PM

Just touching on Krishna's point political uncertainty is also a problem in Pakistan and with Nuclear weapons on the soil that could be recipe for disaster. Just how long will Musharaf retain power? Where are these elections he promised? He has done a great job fighting the terrorists but this is also in Pakistan's benefit as they have bought nothing but misery with their Jihadi culture. Thankfully most Pakistani folk do not buy into it.

Posted by: David Walsh | March 3, 2006 04:03 PM

David,
It is easy to sit here in the cozy confines of the US and talk about "savage methods"... you will, thankfully, never see any of the violence that is perpetuated by the separtists. The non-violence methods of Gandhi were well and good when you were fighting the British, who - for all the faults of colonialism - at least adhered to some rules of engagement.

Just because some fringe group asks for it, you cannot just take a chunk of your country and give it away.. think back to 150 years ago in the US when you were fighting hard to keep Texas and other confederacy as part of the Union... were those methods "savage"?

Posted by: Sri | March 3, 2006 04:13 PM

They are engaged in fighting "insurgencies" up and down the nation from Assam to Kashmir and employ savage methods to keep these regions in check. Inter religious violence is also on the rise with Christians and Muslims being persecuted by right wing Hindu organisations who I might add were in the corridors of power a few years back.

It might interest you to know that some of those Christian and Muslims minorities are also engaged in "savage" and unethical behavior against others. The violence in India's northeast is not helped by American Baptist groups funding terrorism and insurgency with money and weapons as evidence showed a few years ago. How would the U.S. like it if India funded those Hispanic elements in the U.S. who feel the land should go back to Mexico? Or funded some Native Americans who feel they should have a separate country?

Posted by: Fact check | March 3, 2006 04:25 PM

I see a lot of counter arguments between the holders of Indian ( Hindu) names and the Islamic names (Pakistanis).It is not surprising becuaue of the fact that Pakistan was created by the clever and lunatic plus violent use of Islamic religion.Now that a lot of water has flown along the Sindh and the Ganges, the new generation of Paksitanis and Indians( especially those living in the west) should forget the religious rivalry ( actually it´s better to forget religion altogether)and come up with fresh ideas to create a secular, prosperous, democratic and modern world deviod of poverty and disease ( a lot of it is present both in India and Paiksitan). The nuclear deal between India and the US is highly controversial and have pluses and minuses for both the countries...so it is not realsitic to bring this nuclear deal to ingnite the rivalry between the 2 countries.Current realities of the world political scene ( let us just accept it without any argunents) has made it mandatory for the closer US-India relationship; militarily, financially , techinologically and by many other factors..this is a historical reality that the deal was struck. So, instead of being schizophrenic about it both Pakistanis and Indians should accept the reality.

Posted by: Charmingsnow | March 3, 2006 04:25 PM

David, what brutal human rights violation are you talking about? None of the methods employed by Indian forces in dealing with insurgents (read: "terrorists") are any different than the ones used by US forces in Gitmo or Abu Ghraib or that used by forces of any other country protecting it's citizens from terrorists. As for the WMDs, all the members of Security Council are sitting on nuclear arsenals large enough to destroy civilization. Why not start disarmament from there?

N

Posted by: ND | March 3, 2006 04:26 PM

First of all, Pakistan needs to understand this:

1- Give all minorities equal rights and respect.
2- Respect its citizens, the way pakistani get slaughtered around the world is appalling.
3- Have True Democratic Government.The Army of Pakistan is so corrupt they should not be allowed to interfere in politics at all.
4- Get Rid of Mullahs.

5- Respect your neighbour including India.

Then I think Pakistan may be able to claim some respect in the world.

Posted by: neo-Tan | March 3, 2006 04:30 PM

Sri this is typical knee jerk reaction to something to a concern that should be addressed. Using the old "historical" bashing tool against me and my nation still does take away the realties on the ground as to what is happening in various states. No one is asking India to give away vast swathes of land but at least give people their rights. Also when I looked last quite of few of these are popular among the people especially when they are state specific.

Bringing the civil war into this I'm sure is not a fair comparison but yes I am aware of the Scorched-earth tactics etc that were used and they are to be condemned but as far I can see you seem to think everything is ok and point to my own history rather than talking about the issue at hand.

Posted by: David Walsh | March 3, 2006 04:33 PM

...rather than talking about the issue at hand.


No offence, but it would help if you were armed with more knowledge and facts instead of presenting a one-sided view of the complexities of India.

Posted by: Fact check | March 3, 2006 04:38 PM


Fact check American Baptist groups funding terror? Could you produce some evidence of sorts to back up your claims? Something like amnesty, human rights watch etc because your claim is very serious. As for Abu Gharib etc like I said I condemn such episodes and these people are bought to trail through our courts and accordingly punished. Can you say the same for your troops who have committed atrocities on civilians?

How would I like if India funded Hispanic groups now you are bordering on plain nonsense. If you can give me example of massive negative sentiment against the US government by the Hispanic minority that is comparable to the separatist movements you have in India please do...

Posted by: David Walsh | March 3, 2006 04:41 PM

David,
Nobody is justifying the violence now or back in 1860s USA. But we all learn history for a couple of reasons. One obvious one is not to repeat it... but another reason is to start putting the now and here in a better perspective.

You may not be aware of the same separtist violence that India went through with the state of Punjab back in the late 80s and early 90s. It was eventually resolved (with much bloodshed on either side and several losses to the First family) and now Punjab is a thriving state with fully integrated with India... you can keep bringing people to the bargaining table only if both sides are willing to talk.

I am merely pointing out that the ground realities are very different from where we stand...(see the riots that were recently started in Gujarat and you will see that the first act of violence was battening down the doors of a train of Hindu pilgrims and setting fire to it)... I am not going to get into a pointless discussion of all the violence that we have seen for the last 50 years.

Posted by: Sri | March 3, 2006 04:46 PM

The "hype" about India being a Superpower is far from truth but the country is definitely rising. India's growth is messy, chaotic and largely unplanned. The government needs to wake up to fulfill the needs of its majority, build infrastructure and develop human resource. But it has vast and growing numbers of entrepreneurs who are ambitious - Infosys, Ranbaxy and Reliance - and leadership - Nehru, Manmohan Singh - with vision. The current PM might not be the most powerful politician but his quiet determination is keeping India move forward - on economics, politics and foreign policy.

Pakistan, on other hand, is seriously jeopordized by its military rulers and "Kashmir-centric" foreign policy. I honestly believe its people and resources are as good as India's, but it urgently needs to push for political reforms. The rhetoric of hate should give way to regional partnerships and peace. Democracy should be restored.

India and Pakistan (and other nations in the subcontinent) need to collaborate to prosper; divisions will only bring poverty and contempt.

Posted by: Ronin | March 3, 2006 04:48 PM

Ok Sri fair point.

Posted by: David Walsh | March 3, 2006 04:49 PM

The rhetoric of hate should give way to regional partnerships and peace. Democracy should be restored.

India and Pakistan (and other nations in the subcontinent) need to collaborate to prosper; divisions will only bring poverty and contempt.[Ronin]

Well said.

Posted by: David Walsh | March 3, 2006 04:50 PM

Unfortunately there is a legitimacy to the claims of brutality on civilians on the part of the armed forces while tackling the terrorists in Assam, Kashmir- it cannot be brushed away, totally. At the same time it is an enormous stretch as David suggests to say that these incidents define the way India treats its own people - it is not perfect at all times, it never will be but it is WAY BETTER than how neighbors from China to Pakistan to Burma have treated/treat their citizens.

To have a billion people with a billion differences co-exist peacefully and have continuing faith in democracy even when it has churned out some of the worst political leaders is a tribute to the average Indian.

BTW, Gitmo is a blot on the US any way you look at it - and as some one pointed out there was a lot of violence in the war with Native Americans and the Civil War.

How ever it would again be an amazing stretch, if we take these separate incidents and use them as country defining characteristics - the US went through its dark periods and learned from it - just as we hope to learn from the tragedies on civilians that inevitably happen while fighting insurgencies and terrorism.

India's democracy gives people a chance to talk about these in the open, for Indians themselves to disagree with their Governments on how best to fight terror, and to hope to learn from the past for a better future.

Posted by: Nagarajan Sivakumar | March 3, 2006 04:52 PM

Well, here is a BBC story. This part of the story is not covered as well, and since in India it's not politically correct to take minorities to task for their own egregious behavior, so you won't find Amnesty paying much attention to it yet, although Hindu Human Rights has. It is no secret that ever since independence and before, Christian missionaries have salivated over the possibility of carving out a christian homeland in northeast India. They were emboldened by the creation of Pakistan. Their activities were detailed in an in-depth study of it decades ago.

http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/south_asia/717775.stm
From the story:

"The NLFT is accused of forcing Tripura's indigenous tribes to become Christians and give up Hindu forms of worship in areas under their control.

Last year, they issued a ban on the Hindu festivals of Durga Puja and Saraswati Puja.

The NLFT manifesto says that they want to expand what they describe as the kingdom of God and Christ in Tripura."

Anyone who gives money to these groups is funding terrorism, either advertently or inadvertently. I have met Americans who have gone to the northeast to support these people. The Southern Baptists, whose bigoted statements about Hindus are well known, give money to these people. They often visit Baptist churches around the world for fund-raising drives.

Posted by: Fact check | March 3, 2006 04:53 PM

Well said, Nagarajan. There are two sides to every story.

Posted by: Fact check | March 3, 2006 04:56 PM

Indian state Terror :
the biggest act of terror after 9/11 took place was in the indian state of gujrat when 2000 innocent , mostly muslims were butchered by the state sponsored terrorists lead by the government of Narandar Modi .

How come muslims terroirsts are bad where as those who murder muslims and other minorities are let off the hook in india and other countries ?

Posted by: Alost | March 3, 2006 04:58 PM

If you can give me example of massive negative sentiment against the US government by the Hispanic minority that is comparable to the separatist movements you have in India please do...

So are you sayng that if there was massive negative sentiment by separatist Hispanics in the U.S. it would be ok for India to interfere and encourage them, perhaps even donate money to them?

Posted by: Fact check | March 3, 2006 05:00 PM

OK... I am done with this forum now... it was at least a dialogue with David... now it is getting into the same insane Hindu/Muslim argument... bye guys.

Posted by: Sri | March 3, 2006 05:00 PM

David Walsh is a Pakistani Masquerading as an American. Shame on you David!

Posted by: | March 3, 2006 05:04 PM

Ignore David Walsh. He is trying to highjack the issue. His intentions are very clear - To get away from the discussion on Pakistan.

Posted by: American - Indian Descent | March 3, 2006 05:08 PM

As far as the human rights go Both India and Pakistan has similar records.

Posted by: neo-tan | March 3, 2006 05:16 PM

David,
There were also a few things which people wont readily admit when talking about tackling state specific
insurgencies - the Government in it's drive to maintain territorial integrity at any costs, more often than not panicked and over-reacted in dealing with the insurgencies. It was concerned about how if states like Kashmir or Assam became free ,it would be unsustainable to political stability in India - It was deeply suspicious of Chinese and Pakistani intent to try and produce cracks in the Indian union, especially after the wars it was forced to fight with both of them.

All it knew was that these states were for long a part of the Indian civilisation even though there was temporary popular discontent while facing the insurgencies, it was not ready to listen to their grievances, even though it should have.

But if you look at the overall efforts made,there has been enormous progress in peace in Kashmir over the last 4 years.

When people try to cite the Civil War, they not only talk about how brutally it was fought (Scorch Earthed policy by Sherman et al), they also point to how Southerners genuinely felt the need to be a part of the Confederate States to protect Sothern culture and its way of life. Even today, you can see few people expressing pro-Confederate solidarity by having the rebel flag in bumper stickers etc. How ever ultimately after the war, wounds healed,and the Union was ultimately saved. Southerners today are almost jingoistic about being American !

The Civil War is still an intense topic of debate - we are not pointing it to look away from India's own problems but to point out that people belonging to different states in India could always have serious pangs for a distinct identity - but ultimately, we hold out hope that we can listen to their concerns within the framework of the Indian Union itself. and that people ultimately realize that their worst problems with their Government is not going to take away their Indian identity.

But i would readily accept that they need to be listened to - the Government has already shown that in Kasmir and hopefully continues to do so.

Posted by: Nagarajan Sivakumar | March 3, 2006 05:21 PM

Pakistan is not a viabe state if it is not aided by foreign money (Especially the US) and if their leaders do not keep the rehtoric against India going. It's like a bro parting from elder bro on some principle issue. If you go deeper into the history, Jinnah the creator Pakistan, was actually against such an idea until late 30's. By strictest defination, he wasn't even a muslim. He joined the band wagon only due largely to his ego issues with Nehru.

If world is able to read itself of religious nonsense, there is no issue between Ind and Pak. Most Pakis and Indians have common culture. If it were not for their leaders and some rotten mullahs, most pakis are peace loving folks as much as Indians. Yes, there is an issue of inferiority complex in their psyches.

May almighty (whoever it is), bring our nations to path of peace...

Posted by: Man Mohan Singh | March 3, 2006 07:08 PM

I enjoyed the debate between David and Sri.
Lesson learnt....debate is healthy in solving problems, violence should be condemned in all forms.It only begets violence.

Posted by: Ajay | March 3, 2006 07:33 PM

you dont become a super power if the US says overnight that you are to use you against china. with 500 million people living in abject poverty india should be realistic. for the pakistanis who have visited india the amount of squalor and hunger is depressing. ive heard indians saying forever that they are a super power now and the americans love to stroke their ego's to get their own ends cheaply. the new strategic situation will mean that india would have to do america's bidding and get technology but loose its freedom. democracy and human rights got nothing to do with their relationship if they did USA would raise the killing of 70000 kashmiris and a democratic plebiscite as envisioned by the UN. all in all its a alliance of conveniance for the US against china

Posted by: realist | March 3, 2006 08:02 PM

Pakistan's military class rules Pakistan and their keen focus on war with India over Kashmir (with religious fervor) wastes little precious resources Pakistan has. Pakistani ruling establishment thinks and acts with narrow mind of milking US some dollar (as if 1980s is revisited) and keep Afghanistan de-stablized to prolong the "war on terror" without acknowledging the fact that globalization is REAL and getting in sync with it is what saves Pakistan. The case of Kashmir is over and it should be. Today a Kashmiri on the side of India has more potential to prosper than on the Pakistani side and it would be another Nepal if Kashmir is independent from either of these two countries.

So, there is no rational in Pakistani politics and the moment they realize and correct themselves, it would be decades to jump start to match India's economic progress but will never be able to catch up with India. After all, India has the potential to become one of the world's super power but the same can never be said about Pakistan.

As an Afghan Citizen I will never forgive Pakistan for what it did to us with the moblization of Taliban in the past, now and, more likely, will continue in the future.

Posted by: A Citizen of Afghanistan | March 3, 2006 08:32 PM

Pakistan is a strong stable state and is growing in all spheres. The media ignore this since they are obsessed with "war on terror".

The hateful comments by Indians on this forum show they are still a very immature nation.

Mr Arun Khanna should provide evidence of his allegations instead of just allegations, which are insults in disguise. He is as immature as the other Indians posting on this form.

Posted by: Aamir Ali | March 3, 2006 08:32 PM

Deal With the Devil

Stalin once said that foreign policy is an extension of domestic policy. President Bush's visit to India serve that purpose. The nuclear lobby stands to make billions by selling nuclear reactors to India and has actively pressured this event. Since the US needs the exports and india today can afford to pay, there is a mutual self-interest driving this "partnership".

Of course if Pakistan was to tomorrow get a few billions from Saudi Arabia or the UAE, the "natural" alliance would tilt towards Pakistan.

It is only money that is talking gentlemen. No country or foreign policy is so moral as to preclude a deal even with the devil if self-interests are met.

Posted by: Oscar Mayer | March 3, 2006 09:25 PM

Maybe it's just me, but lately I am finding that amongst educated folks (or atleast folks who use web), Pakistanis seem to be fairly moderate.

Anyway, We are all proud of where India is heading. We also know Pakistanis are no different from us. The economy there is doing good, but the hold of fundamentalists hasn't been shaken or so I think. I say that cause both taliban/kashmiri insurgents have a foothold. So my question to Pakistanis is, is there a realistic chance of getting rid of extreme elements? Do moderate pakistanis even want to get rid of them? Is there a debate internally or amongst opinion makers on where country should be heading ? If so, what are the schools of thoughts?

Posted by: jp | March 3, 2006 10:03 PM

Condi Rice's world view that "big states have spheres of influence" - that the US should accomodate - has clearly come into play with this Pakistan / India play.

Clearly the US under Condi's leadership has decided that India is the big state in the region and India's sphere of influence should include Pakistan.

Unfortunatly the US has never really had a debate about whether Condi's theories make good policy or whether in 30 years the US will have to confront the big state monsters that we have built around the world.

Posted by: Mike | March 4, 2006 04:27 PM

See? My name? that was easy. :-)


Indians, Don't be tempted into bashing America. No "American" spends so much time trying to attack India and criticize "human rights abuses" in india.

"David Walsh"s or "John Smith"s on these fora str more likely to be a "Mohammad Ali Khan"s from pakistan ;)

And dont blame Indian muslims either; The indian muslims who frequent these fora are more likely to be twice as civilized as the hindus. (I'm a hindu btw) CALM down.

Posted by: Rt. Hon. James Wilkinson III ., Esq. | March 5, 2006 06:23 PM

This is off-topic and I apologize, but something Mr. David said caught my attention.

"As for Abu Gharib etc like I said I condemn such episodes and these people are bought to trail through our courts and accordingly punished."

Funny, I follow the news vigorously and have yet to see anyone but a low-level soldier get 10 years. Everyone else was acquitted or discharged with a slap on the wrist.

How about all the ghost detainees that are dying in the "care" of the CIA and military interrogators ? I have YET to see a top commander get in trouble over this.

Rules of engagement allows soldiers to kill enemies on the battlefield when their lives are in danger - not when we strap people who are still presumed innocent to boards and simulate drowning. And that's if they get lucky.

It's all a whitewash.

Anyway, back to the India vs. Pakistan discourse.

Posted by: Really... | March 6, 2006 05:00 PM

I am not particularly interested in bashing either Pakistan or India. We need Pakistan because of al-Qaida and Afghanistan. They are our ally in the war against al-Qaida. You give India something, then you give Pakistan something. I see no profit in insulting an ally.
The internal affairs of India and Pakistan are their own business and not our business. We do need to attempt to mediate any differences between the two countries. No one needs any nuclear weapons going off on the Indian sub-continent. Concentrate on essentials people!

Posted by: P. J. Casey | March 6, 2006 05:41 PM

The people of India and Pakistan have so much in common yet they often view each other with suspicion as soon as Religion surfaces in their conversation. In the present day and age, religion should be least important factor in judging people and any nation.

Essentially, the biggest strength of India is its democratic system with a diverse culture and ethnic groups well integrated into one India with equal opportunity for all. That cannot be said for the majority in Pakistan whose biggest enemy is "Mullahism" and home grown extremism bred rapidly since the Soviet Invasion of Afghanistan in 1979 and rising anti-Punjab sentiment that runs deep.

If Pakistan wishes to become a normal nation it has to accept the realities of the World to get rid of extremism and become a secular Country giving equal rights and opportunity to everyone including the minorities. Thats what Jinnah wanted and said when he gave his first speeech to the first national assembley session in Karachi. The same speech Advani read to accept Jinnah as a secularist, which I believe he was.

Lastly Pakistan strive hard to re-introduce a democratic system like India which is the only way to solve their problems to give hope and opportunity to the vast majority and permanently bar the Army of having any role in running the country.

Posted by: Al Khan | March 6, 2006 08:05 PM

And so George W. Bush carries on with his campaign to disobey and undermine international law at every turn. Who the hell is this man to claim the right to tell India that it's okay to develop nuclear weapons -- in flagrant violation of the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty? Bush is showing his contempt for international law, and so the rest of the world will continue to show its contempt for him, and for the country he represents. Once again, an arrogant American president has broken the law. America, and the world, will pay for this.

Posted by: Sanjay | March 6, 2006 11:37 PM

Sanjay,

I'm not exactly a fan of GWB, but I'm curious as to why you seem so worked up about this deal with India. India's a nuclear power. It's a fact. Eventually America had to recognize that.

It seemed almost inevitable to me that the world's most powerful democracy (U.S.) and the world's largest democracy (India) would eventually enter into a strengthened strategic partnership when the world's largest country (China)--which doesn't even pretend to aspire to liberal democracy--has a military that's rapidly growing in both size and sophistication, and which seeks greater influence in Asia.

What exactly do you find so distasteful about America's and India's move here? What would you have done differently? And, how exactly do you think "America, and the world, will pay for this"?

Posted by: LWP | March 7, 2006 02:41 AM

JP,

In my opinion, what Pakistan/USA (by applying Pressure) is trying to do is to reverse the affects of 80's polcies. Then (in 80's) and Now miltary dictators carried out those policies.
Pakistan is a moderate nation. Most of the religious Fanatics thrived due to miltary policies. Now the same Miltary trying to correct this mistake.
As far US/India relation goes it is there to create pressure on China to keep them honest.

Posted by: neo-tan | March 7, 2006 03:30 PM

LWP, it's "distasteful," as you put it -- illegal and criminal would be a more fitting characterization -- because it undermines international law, which ultimately is our only hope to avoid an Armageddon. But of course you Americans don't believe in the law. You only believe in the America-right-or-wrong, might-is-right law of the jungle. Which is why this world is in such a mess today.

Posted by: Sanjay | March 7, 2006 10:24 PM

Sanjay:

You wrote: "LWP, it's "distasteful," as you put it -- illegal and criminal would be a more fitting characterization -- because it undermines international law."

That this agreement is "illegal" is not at all clear to me. India's not a signatory to the NPT. More importantly, this agreement involves the sharing of civilian nuclear technology. My understanding is that the US specifically required India to separate the use of this technology from its military nuclear programs.

Furthermore, I'm not aware of any "criminal" sanctions built into the NPT, so how you can characterize this deal as "criminal" is likely more of an emotional reaction rather than a legal allegation.

You wrote: "But of course you Americans don't believe in the law."

Well, as a lawyer who has lived, studied and worked in various parts of the world, I can say with relative certainty that this statement is just nonsense. The US has one of the most (if not the most) sophisticated and rights-protecting legal systems in the world. Unless you live in the UK, I rather doubt the same could be said for your country.

Additionally, when it comes to "international law," there are very few important sources of international law that you could cite to which would even exist without America's involvement. The Bush II Adminstration has been less committed to some treaties and international institutions than previous administrations, but sometimes (e.g., the ICC) there have been very good policy reasons for that--and, sometimes (e.g., Kyoto) there are not-so-good policy reasons for that.

You wrote: "You only believe in the America-right-or-wrong, might-is-right law of the jungle. Which is why this world is in such a mess today."

Given that you're a reader of the Washington Post, I'm assuming that you're probably a relatively intelligent person, but this statement is just intellectually lazy. Though this may not be true of you specifically, it certainly smacks of the sort of nonsense one often sees from posters on this site who come from failed societies and want to blame all of the world's problms on America.

Certainly there are problematic areas of the world with lots of poverty, disease, warfare, and generally poor social organization. Yet, most of those areas have been that way for a very long time (longer, indeed, than the American Republic has even existed), and would still be problematic today with or without American involvement.

Let me note this, though: During the 60 years that the US has been the world's dominant power, the number of liberal democracies has increased from 13 to about 80. America has not been directly responsible for all of that success, but it has been directly involved in much of that development (in Europe and Asia), and it has provided the stability to the international system that has been integral to most of that development.

As I noted earlier, India is the world's largest democracy. Given that China (a country that borders between authoritarian and totalitarian) is becoming more powerful and is clearly interested in exerting more influence in Asia, it makes perfect sense for the US and India to develop a strengthened strategic relationship.

Posted by: LWP | March 8, 2006 02:31 PM

Oh come off it, LWP, do you really expect anyone to believe that ideological tripe? We have a democracy thanks to the U.S.? Hardly. What about all those democratically elected governments the U.S. has had overthrown. And your contorted attempt to justify your nation's outlaw stance on treaties like the International Criminal Court and Kyoto is laughable.
Please let's not kid ourselves; Bush has given his benediction to India's status as a nuclear power. He has no right to give anyone such power and has made himself every bit as much an outlaw as India did when it produced the bomb in violation of the non-proliferation treaty in the first place.
Go on deluding yourself that yours is a country of laws. We in the rest of the world know otherwise.

Posted by: Sanjay | March 9, 2006 01:31 AM

Sanjay:

You wrote: "Oh come off it, LWP, do you really expect anyone to believe that ideological tripe?"

Well, I think a reasonable observer would conclude that my post actually involved analysis. In contrast, your posts appear to be largely emotional reactions (no analysis at all) predicated upon an ideological pre-dispostion.

"We have a democracy thanks to the U.S.? Hardly."

Since I don't know which country you come from, I can't answer that question. I can say, though, that there are many countries in Europe and Asia for which the answer to that question would quite obviously be "yes." If you don't agree with that, I seriously question your knowledge of history and/or your ability to think objectively.

"What about all those democratically elected governments the U.S. has had overthrown."

It's true that the US has supported some regimes that were not democratic, and it's further true that the US has a few times intervened in democratic developments (mostly in Latin America). Some of those situations I can't excuse (e.g., Chile), some of those situations (e.g., Nicaragua) make some sense given the problems the "elected" regimes presented and given the geopolitical context of the time.

My point was not to suggest that the US has always and everywhere been a good actor. That's not true for any nation-state...or individual, for that matter. My point was that the US, because it is a liberal democracy (in fact, the world's oldest continuously existing liberal democracy), has generally supported democratic development as evidenced by the significant increase of liberal democracies during the time the US has been the world's dominant power.

Put another way, if China had been the dominant world power during that time (if China accounted for 30% of the world's economic power and 50% of the world's military power, as the US does), do you honestly think there would have been such a surge in democratic development? If you do, I again question your knowledge of history and/or your ability to think objectively.

"And your contorted attempt to justify your nation's outlaw stance on treaties like the International Criminal Court and Kyoto is laughable."

Well, I'm glad you had a good laugh. What's slighly disconcerting, though, is your apparent inability or unwillingness to read and think carefully. I did suggest that there are good policy reasons for the US to decline to be a part of the ICC. I did NOT suggest that there are good policy reasons for the US to decline to be a part of the Kyoto protocal. If you had read carefully, it would be obvious that the opposite is true.

Furthermore, irrespective of my position or your position on the policy issues presented by the ICC and Kyoto, there is nothing "outlaw" about the US's stance given that the US is not legally bound by either. Your use of the term "outlaw" further suggests, though, that you view these issues through a dull ideological prism rather than an objective analytical mind.


"Please let's not kid ourselves; Bush has given his benediction to India's status as a nuclear power. He has no right to give anyone such power and has made himself every bit as much an outlaw as India did when it produced the bomb in violation of the non-proliferation treaty in the first place."

I have yet to see a serious commentator assert that the US's deal with India violates the letter of the NPT. There is to be no sharing of military nuclear technology. And, India is not a signatory to the NPT. While there are reasonable people who have criticized the deal from a policy perspective, your continued assertion that Bush and India are "outlaws" again undermines your credibility.

"Go on deluding yourself that yours is a country of laws. We in the rest of the world know otherwise."

Well, as I noted in my earlier post, since I am a lawyer, and since I have lived, studied and worked in various countries around the world, I suspect that I have a better perspective on this issue than you do. As I noted earlier, and as any reasonable and intelligent observer would also know, the US has a very sophisticated, rights-protecting and stable legal system. And, the US has made very significant contributions to the development of international law and international institutions.

The fact that you appear to believe otherwise probably says more about you, your ideology and your apparent personal agenda than it does about the reality of the situation. You should give that point some serious and honest reflection.

If you expect to have credibility in your criticisms of US policy (and there are good reasons to be critical of some things), you need to be more fair and objective in your presentation.

Posted by: LWP | March 9, 2006 02:25 PM

Arun,

sorry, but that's hardly evidence. in fact, its untrue.

Posted by: Fahd | March 21, 2006 10:18 AM

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