An IDC Analysis


New Delhi, 04 April 2002  

The CIDS Lt Gen P S Joshi and his team including Rear Admiral Rocky Chopra and others are in USA and will meet the Pentagon people where the India–USA–Pakistan situation will no doubt be discussed. They will also meet Andrew Marshal. The Americans will get a first hand account of the forthcoming Indian CDS structure and how our top brass function.

USA has also cleared some items like the GE Engines and Raytheon WLRs and now the difficult part of drawing up contracts will begin, which can be long drawn out as India's MOD has little experience in dealing with American arms’ business. The Defence Procurement Board is raw and has yet to cut its teeth. The pushes and pulls will be severe but Indians are good at it so we wish the new System ‘God Speed’.

India's top leadership has doggedly kept the Indian Army mobilised now for three long months and that in the long term will tell on morale. The uniformed view is abundant on this that such protracted action, despite the Naval Band entertaining them on the borders, can be counter productive. However the average age of India's CCS is 71 and the youngest –– former Major  Jaswant Singh is 67. The NSA Brajesh Misra who saw some onslaught by RSS on him has been low key and silent and he too is in his 70s while the others are past 75.

So IDC are concerned. The Media had reported that mobilisation will help ruin Pakistan's economy, but no such thing seems to have happened. Pakistan has increased its reserves to $3.5 billion, growth rate is up to 3.2% and the debt has reduced. This better economic state has come about due to US support.

Now Musharraf is toying with the idea of a referendum in May and then elections in October Pakistan style. By this he will be able to profess Democracy. Former IMF hand the Finanace Minister of Pakistan Shaukat Aziz has done an admirable job. It is also well known that Musharraf is doing a good job under the circumstances and making all efforts to convince the world that Kashmir is an indigenous struggle.

Israel's pressure on Palestine President Arafat does help him to cohere the Muslim world, which is still divided. At this juncture Ambassador Blackwill met Home Minister Advani and discussed India–Pakistan relations just when the militants in Kashmir have been active –– and the world as Mohan Guruswamy puts it, is now concerned about Hindu militancy bordering on terrorism. IDC see Narendra Modi having to go, as every media report connects him with the veiled hand of the RSS.

The times are interesting. Hence IDC append this report in the NEW YORK TIMES that shows that Pakistan is fully cooperating with the US in going after the Al Qaeda terrorists hiding in Pakistani territory. An IDC fan sent it to us and it is a must ‘read’ for Indians.

The question is: how far can Musharraf go in helping the US? IDC agree Musharraf is playing his cards pretty well. We think he will go quite far in cultivating the US, if he succeeds in winning the Pakistani people's endorsement at the likely referendum next month and thereby his legitimacy as the Ruler.

India needs to take these facts into account in shaping its foreign policy. The further implications for India and how India responds to the situation, keeping in view Musharraf’s interview with Malini Parthasarathy (reported in THE HINDU of April 1, 2002) are questions that need to be addressed.

New York Times, April 1, 2002

Pakistan's Bold Alliance: U.S. Ties Holding Firm

By Raymond Bonner

News Analysis

ISLAMABAD, Pakistan, March 31 - President Bush has said repeatedly that in waging war on terrorism, the United States will work with countries that want to cooperate, but is prepared to act on its own.

The Pakistani government has demonstrated how firmly it is in the camp of cooperation, most lately in allowing the F.B.I. and C.I.A. to conduct a raid with Pakistani police here last week that rounded up more than 30 men with suspected links to Al Qaeda. The raid also demonstrated how valuable that cooperation can be: one of those apprehended, Abu Zubaydah, is suspected of being a top lieutenant of Osama bin Laden.

Today, Pakistani officials said the men had been turned over to the United States.

That action will surely bring some protest from nationalists and Islamists. But defying predictions that there would be huge street protests like those that roiled tribal areas in the days after the United States began bombing Afghanistan, most protests have been moderate, suggesting that the Pakistani leader, Gen. Pervez Musharraf, has some political space to carry out his pro-American, antiterrorism policies.

"In general, his policies of supporting the campaign against terrorism have not been challenged, except by religious groups," said a senior Western diplomat. The mainstream political parties "recognize he has handled the situation well," he said, "but there are limits to this support."

Perhaps recognizing those limits, General Musharraf has not given the Bush administration everything it wants. On Saturday evening, he made that clear once again.

In spite of pressure from Washington, he told a meeting of Pakistani newspaper editors that he would not hand over Ahmed Omar Sheikh, the chief suspect in the murder of the American journalist Daniel Pearl. Mr. Sheikh has been indicted in the United States, which fervently wants his extradition. But the case is sensitive to Pakistan.

"I am going to hold his trial inside the country and punish him for the crime he has committed in the country," General Musharraf said.

Few countries have done as much for Washington in the war. Pakistan's willingness to take on strident nationalists and Islamic extremists is in marked contrast to Indonesia, for instance, also a Muslim country, but one whose president, Megawati Sukarnoputri, would be most unlikely to ever permit the F.B.I. to carry out a joint raid like the one here. Today, senior officials in Indonesia were again quoted as saying they had no evidence that a radical cleric, Abu Bakar Bashir, had been involved in terrorist activities, a conclusion at odds with that reached by other countries in the region, notably Singapore.

The Bush administration has recognized the contributions of General Musharraf, inviting him to Washington and commending his courage.

But the administration has been slow to deliver on promises of police assistance, and has not removed duties and quotas on Pakistani textiles, a move that would give a vital lift to the economy of this impoverished country.

Without some tangible benefits like those, there is a question of how long the Musharraf government can continue to mobilize public opinion behind its antiterrorism policies.

Washington has also at times taken actions that seem to undercut General Musharraf. Ten days ago, for example, it ordered all dependents of embassy employees to leave the country, out of concerns about security. "This is certainly not a good sign," said the interior minister, Moinhuddin Haider said,. "If everybody starts packing up and going home, it doesn't make a very good impression," he added. "We have to show some courage."

That General Musharraf has survived this close alliance is a lesson that Washington hopes other leaders can learn, particularly President Megawati in Indonesia.

Most recently there has been a noticeable absence of protest in Pakistan over the role of agents from the Federal Bureau of Investigation in the raid. No major newspapers have editorialized against it, and General Musharraf's mainstream political opponents have not criticized it.

There is certainly a radical element opposed to General Musharraf's policies. It is loud and violent and it has allies among Pakistan's military and intelligence corps. But for the moment the key military officers have stayed in line, and the Islamic political parties and radical leaders have failed to turn out anything but paltry crowds for anti-Musharraf or anti-American rallies.

This is not to deny the existence of a deep current of anti-Americanism in this Muslim country of 140 million. The hostile sentiment arises not only because of America's policy in Israel, but much closer to home because of American policies in the region.

After the Soviet Union invaded Afghanistan, the United States arrived in force, training, arming and equipping guerrilla groups, including the mujahedeen. When that war was over, the United States basically abandoned the region. "Pakistan was left with drugs and Kalashnikovs," a Western diplomat said here. "Pakistan felt betrayed."

In now siding with the United States, General Musharraf and his advisers have not erased this resentment, but in the main, Pakistanis appear to put national interest over past grudges. Religious extremism and sectarian violence have rent this nation.

"We have taken a very strong stand, because we believe that to have security in Pakistan we cannot have extremism here," said Mr. Haider, the interior minister.

It is not a risk-free policy, as Mr. Haider knows personally. His older brother was assassinated in Karachi last December. That attack was widely seen here as a retaliation against the government's policy of siding with the United States and cracking down on extremist groups in Pakistan.

But the government vows to carry on. "Our resolve to continue this policy remains firm and strong, because it is good for Pakistan," Mr. Haider said.

Still, he would like to see a little more cooperation from the United States. The Musharraf government has given Washington a list of what it needs for its war against terrorists, starting with simple things like computers and printers for the provincial police, who are in the front line.

The government has also asked the United States to install a computer system for the immigration service at the country's 18 land, air and sea ports of entry. Mr. Haider said that only the airport in Islamabad had a computerized system. He said he thought the new equipment would arrive within two to three months, but American officials are now saying that it would be at least a year before everything was delivered.

Ticking off the other help that Pakistan would like from its more powerful partner in the war on terrorism, Mr. Haider referred to lifting the duties on textiles, but also called for foreign investment and relief from the country's $38 billion debt. "We need help quickly," he said. "These are very critical times."

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