'pa­tri­o­tism'

The Pak Banker - - 4EDITORIAL -

ders. And it doesn't mat­ter how much we blame other coun­tries that part­nered with us in our blun­ders. And of course the orig­i­nal sin of the eight­ies was com­mit­ted by the then Soviet Union via the 1979 in­va­sion of Afghanistan.

Fast for­ward to where we now stand. Af­ter sev­eral rounds of Pak­istan-US di­a­logue on the cur­rent strate­gic en­vi­ron­ment, on our re­spec­tive con­ver­gences and di­ver­gences on the se­cu­rity sit­u­a­tion within and be­yond our re­gion, the US un­der­stood among other fac­tors, Pak­istan's need for the F-16s. Pak­istan's long and hard bat­tle against ter­ror­ism is now ob­vi­ous to its worst crit­ics. There is dif­fer­ence of opin­ion even within Pak­istan on the speed with which CT op­er­a­tions must be con­ducted, on the ur­gency with which po­lice re­forms are re­quired, on how rapidly cross-bor­der ter­ror­ism must be ad­dressed, on how soon the Rangers op­er­a­tion must be be­gun in Pun­jab. Also in­ter­nal de­bate as well as ex­ter­nal di­a­logue es­pe­cially with Afghanistan, China and the US on how best to deal with the Afghan Tal­iban while sup­port­ing Kabul's call for peace in Afghanistan.

The Afghanistan peace and rec­on­cil­i­a­tion ef­fort has now drawn the four key coun­tries linked to peace in Afghanistan to a com­mon plat­form via the Quadri­lat­eral di­a­logue. Con­se­quently, be­yond all de­bates and dif­fer­ences and in­deed greater ex­pec­ta­tions from Pak­istan, also lies a con­sen­sus that never be­fore have Pak­istan's state in­sti­tu­tions en­gaged in CT op­er­a­tions with this level of com­mit­ment and con­sis­tency.

But the view in Delhi, de­spite con­tin­ued Nawaz-Modi en­gage­ment, ap­pears to be un­re­lent­ing in any tri­an­gu­lar set­ting that in­volves In­dia, Pak­istan and a third coun­try. Hence soon af­ter the DSCA an­nounced the sale of the F-16s, the In­dian govern­ment's chronic crit­i­cism sur­faced. It be­gan with the Fe­bru­ary 13 tweet of Vikas Swarup of the In­dian Min­istry of Ex­ter­nal Affairs.

"We are dis­ap­pointed at the de­ci­sion of the Obama Ad­min­is­tra­tion to no­tify the sale of F-16 air­crafts to Pak­istan. We dis­agree with the ra­tio­nale that such arms trans­fers help to com­bat ter­ror­ism…The US am­bas­sador will be sum­moned by the Min­istry of Ex­ter­nal Affairs to con­vey our dis­plea­sure". And he may have been.

While no In­dian protes­ta­tions can undo this no-big-deal F-16 sale, the re­ac­tion be­yond the of­fi­cial In­dia is also in­ter­est­ing.

For ex­am­ple C Raja Mo­han is In­dia's pride strate­gic affairs writer. Brows­ing through Twit­ter, I came across his lat­est piece on the sale of F-16s to Pak­istan. His punch-line was: "What re­ally both­ers Delhi are the neg­a­tive political con­se­quences of US mil­i­tary as­sis­tance to Pak­istan - the pro­mo­tion of the army's dom­i­nance over Is­lam­abad's na­tional se­cu­rity pol­icy, the con­tin­u­ing desta­bil­i­sa­tion of Afghanistan, and the per­sis­tent sup­port to anti-In­dia ter­ror groups." This is lin­ear­ity car­ried to po­etic lev­els - hav­ing more to do with the sen­ti­ment of pa­tri­o­tism and less with hard anal­y­sis.

As Mo­han traces In­dia's decades­long ob­jec­tion to the US sale of F-16s to Pak­istan, he links ev­ery pos­si­ble de­vel­op­ment in Pak­istan's con­ven­tional and nu­clear build-up with US mil­i­tary sup­port to Pak­istan. In his long list he in­cludes Pak­istan's sup­port of mil­i­tancy, its sup­port to "sep­a­ratist groups in Pun­jab and in Kash­mir", Zia's "Is­lami­sa­tion" and the de­vel­op­ment of a "nu­clear ar­moury" and "ex­pan­sive cross-bor­der ter­ror­ism." A cri­tique of In­dian pol­icy to­wards Pak­istan by Mo­han is com­pletely miss­ing.

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