In­dia's Pak­istan ob­ses­sion

The Pak Banker - - 4EDITORIAL - Muham­mad Umar

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.

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