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.