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Pakistan Observer - - IN­TER­NA­TIONAL -

last 70 years and espe­cially since the first Afghan war when our for­eign of­fice was made to ab­di­cate its re­spon­si­bil­i­ties in favour of the ISI-CIA com­bine which ran the so-called Ji­had against the Soviet Army oc­cu­py­ing Afghanistan. At the time it was a highly lu­cra­tive propo­si­tion for both the US and Pak­istan.

The US was bleed­ing its his­toric foe in Afghanistan with­out us­ing a sin­gle sol­dier of its own. And Pak­istan was be­ing re­warded with a flood of un­en­cum­bered dol­lars for fight­ing a ‘Ji­had’ on be­half of the so-called free world. Pak­istan did not have a plan B in case the war took care of one of the two su­per pow­ers. We thought we are fight­ing a never end­ing war with­out com­mit­ting a sin­gle sol­dier of ours and would con­tinue to be paid for the ser­vices ren­dered for all times to come.

But when the Soviet Union col­lapsed and the US walked away from the re­gion, Pak­istan in­stead of aban­don­ing the so­called ji­had and re­turn­ing to nor­mal ways of life re­sorted to the way of knife de­ter­mined to bleed In­dia in held Kash­mir the way the ISI-CIA com­bine bled the Soviet Union in Afghanistan and force New Delhi to hand over on a plat­ter to Is­lam­abad what we could not win in the three wars we had fought against In­dia. We pro­moted Ji­had as an in­stru­ment of for­eign pol­icy and fought two low-in­ten­sity tenyear long ji­hads, one in the IHK on the side of Kash­miri free­dom fight­ers and another on the side of Afghan Tal­iban against the North­ern Al­liance which was be­ing aided by Rus­sia, In­dia and Iran.

These Ji­hads in­stead of achiev­ing the ob­jec­tives for which they were waged brought to Pak­istan a free-for- all ji­had in which well armed, well equipped and well funded non­state ac­tors started killing each other as well as the Pak­istani se­cu­rity forces in the name of their par­tic­u­lar ver­sion of Is­lam. Since these non-state ac­tors were be­ing used to pro­mote our re­gional for­eign pol­icy which in the ini­tial stages had met with a mea­sure of suc­cess, those that han­dled them at the high­est pol­icy mak­ing level felt like the gam­bler whose ap­petite for more of the same gets whipped up by oc­ca­sional wins un­til he losses it all and there­fore, it was more of the same all through the post-sec­ond Afghan war as well for us. But by this time the world’s sole su­per power seek­ing a strate­gic part­ner in the re­gion to counter the ex­pan­sion­ist poli­cies of China had found in In­dia an ideal side-kick and shifted gears abruptly aban­don­ing Pak­istan to the va­garies of na­ture. Now, we seem have been en­cir­cled by three hos­tile coun­tries—In­dia, Afghanistan and Iran, while our long time ally the US has gone over com­pletely to our en­emy num­ber one, In­dia. We are now to­tally de­pen­dent on China, like we were some time back on the US with­out a plan B to meet any emer­gency that would arise if we are aban­doned by Amer­ica.

China has avoided con­fronta­tion of any kind since its rev­o­lu­tion in 1949. It has not even tried to forcibly in­te­grate Tai­wan which it could have eas­ily done any time since early 1970s. It waited the 100 year agree­ment to ex­pire be­fore ac­cept­ing back Hong Kong from the Bri­tish in­stead of forc­ing its in­te­gra­tion long be­fore which it had the strength to do by the 1970s. So, Bei­jing would not en­ter into con­fronta­tion with ei­ther the US or In­dia on be­half of Pak­istan, not­with­stand­ing its ex­ten­sion of in­nocu­ous diplo­matic help here and there. So, time has now come for those who have been run­ning our for­eign pol­icy all these years to re­al­ize that they are nei­ther trained to man­age this pol­icy nor have they the ca­pac­ity to for­mu­late it. The mak­ing of the for­eign pol­icy and its man­age­ment should go back to the for­eign of­fice. Let the for­eign pol­icy man­darins come up with a pol­icy to get the coun­try out of this mess cre­ated by keep­ing for­eign pol­icy sub­servient to our se­cu­rity pol­icy all these years. Let the for­eign of­fice come up with a for­eign pol­icy that would res­cue the coun­try from the se­cu­rity mess it has been mired into by the se­cu­rity wiz­ards try­ing to pass off as for­eign pol­icy ex­perts. Here are some of the for­eign pol­icy chal­lenges the coun­try is fac­ing to­day:

Last month, In­dian Prime Min­is­ter Naren­dra Modi signed a ma­jor trans­port cor­ri­dor deal with Iran and Afghanistan. This ac­cord also helps ad­vance U.S. in­ter­ests in the re­gion, and Wash­ing­ton, there­fore, is most likely to em­brace it. And on Tues­day (June 7, 2016) US Pres­i­dent Barack Obama and the vis­it­ing In­dian Prime Min­is­ter wel­comed in Wash­ing­ton the start of prepara­tory work on six nu­clear re­ac­tors in In­dia, a key step in clos­ing the first deal stem­ming from a US-In­dia civil nu­clear ac­cord struck over a decade ago. Un­der the trans­port cor­ri­dor deal In­dia will pro­vide $500 mil­lion to de­velop a port in the south­ern Ira­nian city of Chaba­har. In­dia will also in­vest $16 bil­lion in a free trade zone around the city. The pro­posed project would in­clude new roads and a rail­road go­ing north­ward from Chaba­har to the Afghanistan bor­der. The com­ple­tion of this project is ex­pected to open up new trade routes to and from Afghanistan, Cen­tral Asia, and be­yond.

On the face of it the Chaba­har project looks mod­est in scale rel­a­tive to China’s $46 bil­lion CPEC project in Pak­istan; but its geopo­lit­i­cal im­pli­ca­tion would seem equally vast. With the open­ing of Chaba­har Iran could be­come a gate­way to the crit­i­cal sea lanes to its south and the highly cov­eted mar­kets to its north. Afghanistan could host flour­ish­ing north­ward and south­ward trade routes. And In­dia, long de­nied tran­sit rights by Pak­istan, could have di­rect land ac­cess to Afghanistan and Cen­tral Asia for the first time since Par­ti­tion.

The joint state­ment is­sued af­ter Obama-Modi meet­ing on Tues­day said: “Once com­pleted, the project (civil nu­clear plants) would be among the largest of its kind, ful­fill­ing the prom­ise of the US-In­dia civil nu­clear agree­ment and demon­strat­ing a shared com­mit­ment to meet In­dia’s grow­ing en­ergy needs while re­duc­ing reliance on fos­sil fu­els.”

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