India's Pakistan obsession
PAKISTAN'S obsession with India is quite understandable but India's obsession with Pakistan makes absolutely no sense. Pakistan has a population of two hundred million, whereas India's population exceeds 1.2 billion. Pakistan's gross domestic product (GDP) is roughly $930 billion dollars, whereas in India it is over $8 trillion dollars. Pakistans GDP growth rate is estimated at 4 percent, whereas Indias economy is growing at over 7 percent. Including military reserves, India has an army three times the size of Pakistan's, 3.4 million versus 1.1 million, with a budget six times greater than Pakistan's, $40 billion versus $7 billion. This is just a quick snapshot of Indias superiority over Pakistan. Choose any category from geography to economy to conventional military capabilities, and India has better indicators across the board.
In the past year two major think tanks based out of Washington DC have encouraged the American government to work with Pakistan in an effort to bring the country into nuclear orders mainstream. Their recommendations are based on the fact that Pakistan has made a number of efforts to match its export control lists with those of the Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG) and Missile Technology Control Regime. Not only this, Pakistan fully complies with Resolution 1540, which establishes legally binding obligations on all UN Member States to have and enforce appropriate and effective measures against the proliferation of nuclear, chemical, and biological weapons, their deliv- ery systems, including by establishing controls. The 1540 Committee at New York has nine experts and a Pakistan is proud to have Mr. Zawar Abidi working at the Committee as an expert there are no Indians in that elite group. Pakistan is one of the most proactive States in implementing UNSCR 1540.
Pakistan proactively participates in initiatives like the Nuclear Security Summit (NSS) and the Global Initiative on Countering Nuclear Terrorism. Pakistan's Centre of Excellence for Nuclear Security (PCENS), praised by President Obama during the 2010 NSS is a regional hub for sharing best practices in nuclear security and training. PCENS is already running courses for regional countries, while India has nothing like it.
During the previous National Command Authority meeting, Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif indicated that Pakistan would ratify the 2005 Amendment to the Convention on the Physical Protection of Nuclear Material. This is another positive step to build Pakistans credentials for NSG membership. Despite all of this, America still shies away from supporting Pakistan's interest in membership of these export control arrangements. Pakistan meets the criteria for membership of these regimes like any other non-NPT State (Other nuclear weapon States that are not signatories to the nuclear nonproliferation treaty (NPT) include Israel and India). This political apartheid against Pakistan must end to improve the credibility of the nonproliferation regime.
The only reason America chooses not to back Pakistan for membership to these regimes is because of the strong Indian lobby in Washington DC, obsessed with denying Pakistan any opportunities to develop a strong relationship with the United States.
This obsession is not just limited to nuclear related issues. Scores of antiPakistan news stories broke out last month after the United States announced it would sell Pakistan F-16 fighter jets so it can be better equipped to eliminate terrorist hideouts in the areas along the AfghanistanPakistan border. This negative Indian media attention to a defense matter between Pakistan and the United States led to the US decision of delaying the sale.
It was hard to comprehend as to why the United States was so easily swayed by the Indian lobby. America recognizes Pakistans struggles in the fight on terror, yet for some reason they give into false Indian propaganda against Pakistan. This sort of Indian obsession with Pakistan is very unhealthy. It not only hurts Pakistan but India as well, and leads to further disharmony in the overall region.
Pakistan on many occasions has tried to alleviate Indian concerns by offering them an opportunity to enter into a strategic restraint regime. Pakistan is ready to walk the talk but Indian hubris and revisionist mind-set prevents it from entering into a strategic restraint regime with Pakistan.
India must realise that the obsession with Pakistan is a sickness that is creating a whole host of new problems for both countries and the region. India must understand that their current course is leading to strategic instability in South Asia, and that is dangerous. India has to give up their unhealthy obsession with Pakistan. They must work with Pakistan to ensure peace and stability in the region. Working against it will benefit no one.