By Sajjad Shaukat
Peace and brinksmanship cannot co-exist in the modern era as promotion of trade has become a necessary evil for all the nations. Although double game which entails selfish interests of the countries as presented by the old political thinkers like Machiavelli, Hobbes and Morgenthau has become invalid in the ongoing age, yet some countries are still acting upon duplicity by following their thoughts.
In this connection, today, China is India’s biggest trading partner with which New Delhi has signed a number of agreements in various fields, but with the tactical support of the US, it is playing a double game with Beijing. In this respect, in the mid of October this year, as part of its second phase of military expansion along the China front, Indian government has given the go-ahead for the deployment of BrahMos cruise missiles in Arunachal Pradesh located along the Chinese border. With a range of 290 km., these missiles are being deployed to improve India’s military reach into the Tibet Autonomous Region. The three BrahMos missile regiments raised so far have also been deployed in the western sector to counter the presumed Pakistan’s threat.
Indian new scheme has coincided with the revival of propaganda campaign that China has allegedly been deploying troops in Pakistan’s areas of Gilgit-Baltistan, Azad Kashmir and FATA. Both Beijing and Islamabad have denied this false accusation.
However, China and India had fought a bloody war in 1962 over a disputed border which despite the 14 round of talks, remains unsettled owing to Indian obstinacy.
Meanwhile, reliable sources suggest that the Indian government is planning to increase the strength of the Indian Army by almost one 100000 soldiers over the next five years. It would also be the largest increase in deployment along the China border since the aftermath of the 1962 war. It will also focus on Indian islands with the larger view of securing maritime routes crisis-crossing the Indian Ocean.
In October this year, India hosted the leaders of Vietnam and Myanmar, highlighting its intentions which it is following in relation to its ‘Look East Policy’ as it is building close security and economic relations with these two nations in East and Southeast Asia. In fact, New Delhi designed this policy to initiate its influence in the region, while main aims behind are to sabotage the interests of Beijing.
In this regard, during her trip to New Delhi, US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton on July 20, 2011 urged India to be more assertive in Asia, saying that the country should play more of a leadership role. She explained, “India has the potential to positively shape the future of the Asia-Pacific.” Clinton further said, “India should play a role as a US ally in regional forums such as the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN).” On the other hand, while showing US paradoxical approach towards Pakistan, and concealing American double game, She remarked, “New Delhi could also help promote trade links in violence-wracked South Asia, which would bring prosperity and peace to India, Pakistan and Afghanistan…Pakistan must do more to tackle terror groups operating from its territory being used for attacks that destabilise Afghanistan or India.”
It noteworthy that on October 15, 2010, Indian Army Chief General VK Singh had openly blamed that China and Pakistan posed a major threat to India’s security, while calling for a need to upgrade country’s defence. Indian former Army Chief General Deepak Kapoor had also expressed similar thoughts.
In fact, Pakistan’s province, Balochistan where China has invested billion of dollars to develop Gwadar seaport, infuriates both US and India. With the help of India, US desires to control Balochistan as an independent state in containing China and restraining Iran. It is due to these reasons that Washington and New Delhi are creating instability in Pakistan by backing Baloch separatists to complete their hidden strategic agenda. In this regard, Balochistan Liberation Army (BLA) gets logistic support from India, while another separatist group, Jundollah (God’s soldiers) is also harming the cordial relationship of Pakistan with China and Iran. In the past few years, their militants kidnapped and killed many Chinese and Iranian nationals in Pakistan, while committing other subversive acts in the province and Iran’s Sistan-Baluchistan. Tehran had directly accused American CIA for patronage and funding of that type of terrorist attacks.
It is of particular attention that Islamabad and Tehran had signed the Iran-Pakistan-India (IPI) gas pipeline project without New Delhi as the latter was reluctant in this matter owing to its pro-US tilt.
Apparently, during her visit to Islamabad, US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said on October 21 that Pakistan should encourage Taliban and Haqqani group to enter negotiations in good faith, asking Pakistan to support Afghan reconciliation process. Ms. Clinton agreed with Pakistan’s stance and pointed out, “Now US is realizing that launching new military operation in North Waziristan does not suit Pakistan’s situation.”
Despite the US recent positive approach, American blame game continues against Pakistan. In this respect, the Pentagon said in a report to Congress on October 28 that recent high-profile attacks in Kabul including the September 20 strike on the US Embassy were carried out by the Pakistan-based Haqqani network…the insurgents’ safe havens in Pakistan.”
As a matter of fact, as part of open diplomacy, American efforts are to facilitate the US objectives in Afghanistan for complete withdrawal of the US-led NATO troops in 2014. But as part of secret strategy, US which signed a nuclear deal with India in 2008, intends to make India a great power of Asia to counterbalance China—and also to destablise it including Pakistan and Iran.
In the recent years, several persons died in the terror-incidents and ethnic riots occurred in various regions of China’s Xinjiang-the largely populated Muslim province. For all the incidents, India blamed Pakistani militants for supporting the insurgency in order to deteriorate Sino-Pak ties. In fact, New Delhi which had given shelter to the Tibetan spiritual leader, Dalai Lama and his militants has been playing a key role in assisting upsurge in the Tibetan and Muslim areas of China. Recently, US President Obama also met Dalai Lama so as to indirectly encourage insurgency in China.
Besides CIA, Indian RAW and Israeli Mossad have well-established their networks in Afghanistan from where well-trained militants are being sent to Pakistan to commit terror-acts at various places of the country—also fuelling sectarian violence.
US clandestine aims could be judged from the fact that on November 2 this year, America agreed to sell India the most expensive—the new F-35 fighter jets. In a report to the US Congress, the Pentagon said, “We believe US aircraft such as the Joint Strike Fighter (JSF)…to be the best in the world”, referring to the radar-evading F-35 jet.
Particularly, unlike India, Pakistan mostly prefers to develop its arms, equipments and aircraft with the joint cooperation of China. For example, the JF-17/FC-1 is designed as a co-operative venture between Pakistan and China to replace Chinese A-5C (massively modified MiG-19), F-7P (MiG-21+), and French Mirage 3/5 aircraft. In this connection, defence analysts opine that unlike the US F-35 fighter jet, the JF-17/FC-1 fighter is better due to its quick system of surveillance, reconnaissance and target acquisition.
Nevertheless, recently, India also decided a major purchase of US F-16 and F-18 fighters. The Pentagon’s government-to-government program of foreign military sales to India has included C-17 and C-130 aircraft, radar systems, Harpoon weapons and specialized tactical equipments. Besides acquisition of arms and weapons from other western countries—especially Israel, America which has emerged as a potential military supplier to India lifted sanctions on New Delhi in order to import nuclear technology.
US also seeks stability in Afghanistan after the withdrawal of foreign troops as Washington wants to ensure Indian influence in Afghanistan. In this respect, with the backing of America, India and Afghanistan signed a strategic agreement on October 5, 2011 deepening their ties, while India wants to get strategic depth against Pakistan.
Being a peace-loving country and a close ally of Pakistan, recently China has played a key role in defusing the war-like tension in Pak-US relations, while openly supporting the Islamabad’s stand.
On the other side, despite criticism from some circles, showing its peace- approach, on November 2, Pakistan granted Most Favoured Nation (MFN) status to India.
Nonetheless, US and India are playing a double game with China and Pakistan as Indo-US new tactical move proves.
Sajjad Shaukat writes on international affairs and is author of the book: US vs Islamic Militants, Invisible Balance of Power: Dangerous Shift in International Relations