(Former Director -CBI )
She termed America’s policy as incoherent. Nonetheless, at the same time, she pledged support on behalf of the Obama Administration for the civilian democratic Government of Pakistan. Her exact words were, “I think that it is fair to say that our policy towards Pakistan over the last 30 years has been incoherent. I don’t know any other word to use. We came in the 1980s and helped build up the mujahideen to take on the Soviet Union in Afghanistan. The Pakistanis were our partners in that. The Soviet Union fell in 1989, and we basically said, thank you very much; we had all kinds of sanctions being imposed on Pakistan”.
Basically Ms Clinton wanted to say that it was highly unfair on the part of the US to abandon and sanction Pakistan after taking its help to defeat the Soviet Union, and that Washington, DC should share the blame for the mess in which Islamabad finds itself. She announced an emergency $ 110 million aid to Pakistan for the humanitarian crisis in the Swat Valley.
However, Ms Clinton ignored the fact that the US imposed sanctions on Pakistan in 1990 for its transgression of nuclear red lines after having been held back from doing so by the Pressler Amendment, which was originally devised to allow the US President to certify that Pakistan had not crossed the nuclear ‘Laxman rekha’.
Earlier, Ms Clinton had described Pakistan as a ‘mortal danger’ to the US and the world. To soften the blow she had also said that while it was fair to apportion blame to the Pakistanis, it was also prudent to introspect as to what Americans had done over all these years that led to the present situation in Pakistan.
Ms Clinton said US President Barack Obama’s new approach towards Pakistan was “qualitatively different than anything that has been tried before” in the way that it supported the democratically elected Government of Pakistan and demanded transparency and honesty.
Nonetheless, the truth is that all Pakistani Governments have followed the same policy of promoting terrorism against India whether it was Kargil or the attack on our Parliament or the fidayeen attack on Mumbai last year.
US Secretary of Defence Robert Gates had this to say: “Pakistani intelligence agency is ‘playing both sides’. Though Islamabad has committed itself to being a part of the US-led war against terrorism in the region, it continues to maintain links with extremist elements.”
The problem is we cannot foresee the results of our action. No individual or country can know what is about to happen in the near future. We can make predictions based on our present or past experiences. But there cannot be consistency in the affairs of nations and men.
Lord Palmerston, the former Prime Minister of Britain, once said, “nations have no permanent friends or enemies, just permanent interests”. This is quite true in the case of US-Pakistan relations.
As far as India is concerned, we should learn something from the statement of Ms Clinton about the policies of US Governments to use others to fight their battles in Asia. Those who do not learn from history are condemned to repeating it.
Americans believe that money is the biggest magnet to get people to do their bidding. India has to fight its own battles against terrorism. There is no doubt that US aid to Pakistan will get diverted to training jihadis. This is because there is no way for the Americans to ensure that their $ 1.5 billion per year aid package is used properly. On the other hand, Pakistan’s campaign against the Taliban and Al Qaeda is not inspired by any idealism to eradicate terrorism. Islamabad’s objective is simply to carry out the mandate of its masters in Washington, DC. Evidently, this does not include the closing down of terrorist camps of anti-India groups. The US dropped any references to terrorism promotion by Pakistan in India in order to sanction huge funds for the former.
Pakistan’s war against terrorism is half-hearted. The Pakistani Army might be fighting the Taliban in one part of Pakistan. But it is still providing protection to jihadi groups operating against India. We can only hope that Pakistan is not waiting for billions of dollars to be given to it by India before it moves against these groups.
India has maintained a high degree of vigilance after 26/11 and as a result there haven’t been any terrorist attacks since. This it has been able to do through its own efforts and not by relying on the Americans. In such testing times we should hope for the best and prepare for the worst and not depend on others to fight our battles.