President Musharraf’s Visit to USA –– India–US Waiting Game?

An IDC Analysis


New Delhi, 16 February 2002

IDC had reported the visit of Musharraf in our Media Watch but we see a waiting game by USA to see whether Musharraf will survive and whether his long drawn up plans fructify, otherwise USA could fall flat on its face. USA also wants elections in Pakistan this October so the whole Great Game of Oil in the region, strategic interests and India–Pakistan stand off and war on Terror are the big challenges for President Bush and his excellent Vulcan team of Power players .

Defence spending in USA is up and the budget is to be $379 billion equal to India’s official GDP. The article below brought to our attention by an NRI in USA is the best to explain USA’s dilemma and Musharraf’s visit to USA. He got $1 billion, a lot of praise and nothing else .Yet this should not let India think USA will ever let down Pakistan in favour of India .It will support India to gain a biz access into our Potential and a strategic toe hold for the East without letting our own relations with Russia get disturbed.

We should grab it with both hands but be clear what we want economically, strategically and in resolving Kashmir –– USA is groping for these answers while it establishes a military relationship. Maybe our Leaders are not uncertain what we want from USA. USA is doing its best to get Musharraf to curb terrorism, which is our only demand .The BJP Government feels all this can wait till the next elections when they are in full power and they will propel India forward .A bird in hand is better than two in the bush has been IDC philosophy.


Pervez Musharraf couldn't have dreamed of a warmer welcome. In his long-sought first official visit to the White House, the beaming Pakistani president won lavish praise Wednesday from a grateful President Bush, who said Pakistan's help has been critical to the U.S. war against terrorism.

  • ''I want to remind people from Pakistan that I didn't mention many world leaders in my State of the Union (address). But I mentioned President Musharraf for a reason,'' Bush said. ''I'm proud to call him friend.''

  • But even as Musharraf basked in the warm reception midway through a three-day visit to Washington, his trip raises questions about just how stable the Bush–Musharraf partnership could be in the coming months or years.

  • U.S. officials appreciate Musharraf's support. But they also worry about his tenuous hold on power in a deeply divided and impoverished nation, as well as his personal credibility in the wake of a series of questionable public statements.

  • The kinship is new: Musharraf took power by leading a military coup in 1999, and the United States kept him at arm's length until Pakistan's help became crucial to military success against neighboring Afghanistan and its Taliban regime.

  • U.S. officials say they believe Musharraf favours dramatic change for his country. Bush lauded a speech Musharraf gave last month in which he promised to move Pakistan away from religious extremism and tolerance of terrorism and toward, as Bush put it, ''a progressive, modern and democratic Islamic society.''

  • Musharraf gave the speech to defuse tensions with India after terrorists attacked India's Parliament. India blamed the incident on Pakistan-based terrorist groups that have long had ties with Pakistan's intelligence services.

  • Experts question whether Musharraf is serious about ending state support for terrorism. ''One must take his latest statements about wanting Pakistan to be a secular Muslim society with a grain of salt,'' said Ted Galen Carpenter, a foreign policy analyst at the Cato Institute.

Other comments by Musharraf also illustrate stark divisions between Islamabad and Washington, as well as concerns within the Bush administration about his personal style.
Some examples:

  • At times, Musharraf sounds like a peacemaker, stressing that differences with India, including a feud over the divided Himalayan region of Kashmir, should ''be settled through peaceful means.'' Pakistan, which is predominantly Muslim, says the largely Muslim province should be free of Indian control. India, a secular but largely Hindu country, has control of just less than 50% of Kashmir.

  • But at other times during his trip, Musharraf has sounded bellicose: He blamed India for current tensions, and called his nuclear rival's military build up ''aggressive,'' ''massive'' and ''provocative.''

  • Musharraf keeps calling for U.S. mediation for Kashmir. ''We believe the United States can help South Asia turn a new leaf,'' he said Wednesday. But Bush keeps rebuffing the request and says only the two countries can solve the dispute.

  • Musharraf has a penchant for provocative statements that cause shudders in the Bush administration. The latest example: Tuesday, he suggested that India either plans or has conducted a nuclear test. U.S. officials scoff at the suggestion.

  • Last week, Musharraf said India might be behind the kidnapping of journalist Daniel Pearl, an assertion that U.S. and Indian officials dismissed.

  • In January, Musharraf said he thought terrorist leader Osama bin Laden had died from kidney disease. Asked about that during a visit to the Pentagon on Wednesday, Musharraf wouldn't repeat it. He said instead, ''I would certainly think that he is in Afghanistan either dead or alive.''

  • Massive security around Musharraf –– every audience member was searched twice before being admitted to a speech Tuesday –– spoke to another nagging concern, the stability of his regime. His decision to crush some terror groups has triggered a powerful backlash among Muslim fundamentalists.

  • ''There's still worry that his government may not survive in the long run,'' says David Albright, a leading expert on Pakistan's nuclear program. ''I don't think that issue is completely settled.''

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