An IDC Analysis


New Delhi, 11 October 2002

The secret conversations between Chou En Lai and Kissinger in 1971 before India attacked Pakistan have now been released and they show international politics and relations are looked at by every nation with self interest. China explained how it viewed the 1962 War and its relations with India and its stance on the border and Ladhakh. China seldom changes its stripes and is zooming economically and may offer support to USA on Iraq. This is in their self-interest. India has a challenge to articulate its self-interest and seek a place in the sun. To fulfill its dream, the Kashmir issue has to be resolved while the economy can weather other storms well. The Pakistanis have shown off that they are now capable of launching SHAHEEN-II also known as HATF-IV and the world has seen their tests on TV just when the Americans were being fed data on Iraq's missile capability. These are interesting times for the area, and Yashwant Sinha in Germany on 08 Oct emphatically assured all that India would not go to war with Pakistan. PM Vajpayee in Cyprus has issued different signals. Viewed from New York the world gets confused messages and wonders why the two nations cannot at least talk to each other instead of showing off their military prowess and articulate their nuclear capabilities.

As the election results from Kashmir have started coming in, the world is becoming aware that people there have cast their vote for a democratic change from in power from Farookh Abdullah痴 National Conference to others. In contrast, Musharraf's sham of a democracy via an election is something that will cause ripples in the world to accept Pakistan as a democracy of sorts.

The US is supporting Pakistan and Musharraf but for how long, is the question being posed . The world will also witness Saddam Hussein go to the polls to re-inforce his rule for the next five years just when Bush is talking of war.

Ariel Sharon is to meet Bush on 16th in Washington at the same time as the Congress and UN will decide on what to do with Iraq with resolutions. One of our viewers has stated that if George Bush's "war on terror" were remotely rational, or even roughly reasoned, then its next target might be Pakistan, not Iraq.

The Guardian has in a well-argued editorial said that India must lay a lot of cards on the table to USA and declare its bottom line on Kashmir. This is the Foreign policy challenge before India 末 keeping self-interest safeguarded.

Pakistan is juggling its foreign policy and can topple at any time, but India needs to have USA on board.


(The Guardian, Tuesday, October 8, 2002)


If George Bush's "war on terror" were remotely rational, or even roughly reasoned, then its next target might be Pakistan, not Iraq. It should be said that the US is not justified in pre-emptively and unilaterally attacking either country - or any other sovereign state for that matter. But on the basis of Mr Bush's own "axis of evil" criteria at least, Pakistan sits squarely in the theoretical firing line. When it comes to weapons of mass destruction, Islamabad's unregulated, uninspected nuclear bombs put it way ahead of Iraq and Iran. When it comes to delivery systems, the US was obliged only last weekend to rebuke General Pervez Musharraf's regime for its alarming show-trial of a medium-range missile.

Pakistan, or elements of Pakistan's intelligence and military services, had well-established links with the Taliban in next-door Afghanistan 末 Mullah Omar was widely seen as a Pakistani creation. Leading al-Qaeda figures, and possibly Osama bin Laden, are supposedly holed up in Pakistan. Accelerating terrorist outrages, including attacks in Karachi on westerners and Christian worshippers, have followed al-Qaeda's cross-border retreat. From here it is but a short jump to the shipping lanes of Yemen and the airwaves of Qatar's al-Jazeera. And according to India, Pakistan is still the prime, deliberate exporter of terrorism in other directions, into Kashmir and Gujarat. By most "war on terror" measures in fact, Pakistan, with its ruptured economy, unstable politics and military government is a state both failed and rogue that is over-ripe for regime change.
Canny Gen Musharraf's strategic leap into Mr Bush's febrile camp one year ago explains his survival so far, his apparent immunity from US prosecution. Last month's timely handover of top al-Qaeda suspect Ramzi Binalshibh was the latest down-payment on an expedient deal that keeps the 82nd Airborne Division at arm's length and the soft loans coming. But that said, all the evidence suggests Pakistan's many-headed terrorism and security problems are if anything worsening as the religious parties agitate, assassination plots brew, and public opinion, according to one poll, swings against extradition of terror suspects to the US.

Gen Musharraf, for whatever reason, has plainly failed to fulfill his solemn June pledge to bring a "permanent" end to the infiltration of militants into Kashmir. Over 600 people have died there in the course of the current state elections. Last spring's referendum, which made Gen Musharraf president with sweeping powers, was an undemocratic embarrassment. His exclusion from public life of many of Pakistan's established politicians is another. For these and other reasons, how certain can he be that a US administration obsessed with al-Qaeda, losing its grip in Afghanistan, possibly emboldened by Iraq, and pricked on by Delhi will not eventually turn on him?

The answer is that he cannot be certain, for US policy is neither rational nor reasoned. It will, therefore be far better all round, that Gen Musharraf honour his personal promise to return to barracks and leave politics to the politicians after this week's general election. Only a strong, popular, democratic government, working with but not for the military, has any long-term chance of rehabilitating Pakistan economically, defanging the terrorists, and persuading India to end its threats and start a meaningful dialogue.

Only fair, unrigged elections can bring the sort of regime change Pakistan really needs and stymie the threat of escalating US interventionism. If Gen Musharraf reneges and the election is stolen, the Pakistani people will know whom to blame.

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