21st century’s ‘defining’ partnership?

On June 8, India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi was warmly applauded while addressing the US Congress; this was in sharp contrast to the almost decade-long ban imposed on his entry into the US because during his term as Chief Minister of Gujarat, his party the BJP organised the riots in Gujarat wherein hundreds of Muslims were massacred.

The Congress and Senate majority leaders praised Modi for explaining how crucial Indo-US alliance was for promoting global peace, which President Obama had earlier called the “defining partnership of the 21st century” partnership with a country that, according to Modi, trained thousands of terrorists who split Pakistan (a US ally) in 1971, which the US Congressmen couldn’t recall.

Ironically, Modi urged the US Congress to help target the backers of terrorism being “incubated in India’s neighbourhood” (ie Pakistan). But no Congressman asked Modi to explain why Kulbhushan, a RAW agent, was heading a network that was fuelling terrorism in Baluchistan and Sindh, reflecting the Congressmen’s loss of even recent memory.

This memory loss allowed Modi to claim that, in the territory stretching from India’s Western border (ie from Pakistan) to Africa, terrorism is being perpetrated by Lashkar-e-Taiba, Taliban, and ISIS, ignoring the Maoists, Naxalites and Kashmiri freedom fighters although decades-long denial of their demands made them a lasting threat to India’s internal security.

Nor did the US Congressmen ask Modi about the role of BJP’s militant wings RSS, Shiv Sena and Hindutva, in dividing the Indian nation on the basis of colour, caste and faith although majority of the Indians believe in secularism. Seemingly, US Congressmen didn’t point to these harsh realities because terrorising Muslim everywhere is a common Indo-US aim now.

No US Congressman told Modi that, for India, with a multi-racial and multi-religious population, the route to ensuring peace and prosperity is adopting secularism as the state philosophy that Modi’s extremist BJP abhors. Proof: in the post-independence era, Modi presided over the biggest massacre of the minority Muslim community in Gujarat.

How under Modi’s administration RSS rules the roost was proved by the fact that on June 8, Indian authorities barred Pakistan’s High Commissioner in India from joining a diplomatic gathering in Nagpur arranged by the UN because RSS had threatened serious consequences of the Pakistani High Commissioner’s attending this UN-sponsored function.

Seemingly, the Republican Congressmen admire Modi for his anti-Muslims psyche. That’s why they demand Indo-US alliance under Modi’s rule. If Donald Trump is elected the next US president, this alliance will suit the Republican aim of further destabilising the Muslim world – aim set for them by George W. Bush who crafted the farce called “9/11”, to justify the “US war-on-terror”.

Events of the past quarter century prove that politically-backed extremists rule the roost in India. After the August 6, 1992 Babri Mosque tragedy, Samajwadi Party chief Mulayam Singh Yadav claimed that the then President Shankar Dayal Sharma knew about this impending tragedy but did nothing to prevent it because, led by L K Advani, BJP’s Karsevaks were going to destroy the mosque.

After Babri mosque’s demolition, under a BJP government in Uttar Pradesh, frenzied BJP Karsevaks butchered over 2,000 Muslims, while the Congress-led regime in Delhi watched passively. Thereafter, Mumbai witnessed a widespread rioting in which 900 individuals were killed and over 2,000 injured, but the inquiry of this tragedy didn’t point a finger on BJP’s militant wings.

During hearing of case about the February 18, 2007 attack on Samjhauta Express, wherein mostly Muslims passengers were killed, Kamal Chauhan, member of BJP’s Hindutva militant wing, told the baffled media reporters waiting outside the court, that he planted explosives in the Samjhauta Express for killing its Muslim passengers.

Attacks on the Indian Parliament and Mumbai’s Taj Mahal Hotel followed the Samjhauta Express tragedy. In July 2013, Satish Varma, a former Indian home ministry official, told the court of inquiry that Indian intelligence agencies were unhappy with the incumbent government’s ‘orchestration’ of these attacks because these attacks were carried out by India’s secret agencies for a defined purpose – drafting of anti-terror laws.

Yet India blamed Pakistan for these tragedies. In the latest case (attack on Pathankot airbase) too, initially Pakistan was blamed but, later, its government and intelligence agencies were excused but with the allegation that they had no control over non-state actors who attacked the Pathankot airbase. The implied message was that, given this profile of state control, Pakistan’s nuclear assets were unsecure.

This Indian stance duplicates the US mindset. While explaining to CNN’s Larry King (during an interview on February 11, 2010) the reason why Pakistan worried him more than Iraq or Afghanistan, the US Vice-President Joe Biden had said “it’s a big country, it has nuclear weapons that can be deployed, [but] it has a significant minority of radicalised population.”

As for the US record of “democratising the world”, beginning with its invasion of Korea in 1952 it made the world increasingly unsecure. About the current phase of this effort, the revelations General Welsley Clark made about a 2001 Pentagon plan for destabilising seven Muslim states beginning with Afghanistan, is no secret because he exposed it in a TV talk show.

In an article in The Independent on September 11, 2010 Robert Fisk very aptly wrote “Indeed, on this grim ninth anniversary – and heaven spare us next year from the 10th – 9/11 appears to have produced not peace, justice, democracy, or human rights, but monsters; they – of both Western and local variety – have prowled Iraq and slaughtered 100,000 souls, or 500,000, or a million, but who cares.”

In this backdrop, calling the Indo-US alliance the “defining partnership of the 21st century” is shocking though it manifests yet again the US philosophy of befriending “anyone” for securing US interests, and allies – prime example thereof being Pakistan – can be sacrificed for achieving this aim. Yet the US expects Pakistan to “do more” to serve the US interests.

While the US occasionally appreciates the successes of the Operation Zarb-e-Azb, it won’t strengthen Pakistan’s capacity for eliminating terrorism. Example: its refusal to provide F-16 fighter jets. Instead, the US kills inside Pakistan the Taliban leaders convinced by Pakistan to end Afghanistan’s decades-long US-triggered civil war. Is this how the US promotes world peace?

Given the track record of India’s attitude towards its neighbours, the “defining partnership of the 21st century” implies an anti-Pakistan alliance. Given its access to Afghan intelligence agencies the US knows (and approves?) the way India has been financing terrorist outfits tasked with destabilising Pakistan; to confront this very threat Operation Zarb-e-Azb was launched.

While this frightening scenario builds-up, Pakistan doesn’t have a full-time foreign minister, let alone lobbyists in Washington to expose the lies the Indian lobbyists keep telling the American parliamentarians. Never before in Pakistan’s history was the importance of foreign relations downgraded as at present; it is high time the Prime Minister was held accountable for this prolonged neglect that is compromising the country’s future and its security. -Business Recorder