New Delhi, 21 January 2003
there is an outcry and anger in India, especially in political
circles, over USA treating Musharraf, like we in India treat our
sons-in-law with kid gloves. In an earlier analysis on
oil in the Central Asian region and again at this juncture we wish
to recall the Indian custom where the son-in-law and his
parents, we call them "Samdhis", are treated with
love their daughters and will sacrifice anything to get them
married and after marriage keep them happy. After all their pride is
at stake. Most marriages in India are still marriages of
convenience, in large measure arranged and fixed just
see the Matrimonial Columns. Then again, the Dowry money and
goodies including jewellry provided by the girl's parents at the
time of marriage, though banned and illegal, is still in vogue and
customary. In many cases it is demanded, or else the marriage
is called off. A similar situation seems to exist between Pakistan
and USA with Musharraf being the proverbial son-in-law. USA
for the time being is loosely courting and engaged to Pakistan.
Hindu reported that Russia, India's best friend had signed an MOU
through Gazprom with Pakistan to build a $3.5 billion pipeline from
Iran to Pakistan and feasibility studies are on. Musharraf is to
visit Russia soon. Kyrgistan also signed an MOU to supply oil
through a pipe line via Afghanistan. UNOCAL and US leaders like Bush
and Cheney have great interest, personal and national in the
future of the oil from the Central Asian Republics.
always wanted a part of the action but Pakistan has borders with
Iran, China and Afghaistan and is the best warm water port for
exports of oil from the region. Pakistan is also geographically
located astride the Oil sea route from the Gulf.
war against Iraq as per Stratfor is also all about oil, and India
can do little about Pakistan's geographical position, but accept it.
In the future we may have to cooperate on oil. Then again Muslim
nations secretly support Pakistan and some are looking to share its
nuclear know how for Bomb technology, which they may well do if USA
ditches Pakistan. It shared the know how with North Korea.
knows all this but we tend to be ostrich like, not facing
reality, and AG Noorani in latest Frontline has alluded to it. This
makes Musharraf cocky. Luckily our economy is doing well, and so
when we are militarily and economically stronger Pakistan will
learn that at the height of the Kargil war R K Misra discussed a
border along the Chenab River as track two with Ambassador Naik and
that is now the deal Pakistan raises with USA.
wonder how many who were busy with Pravasi Bharitya Divas
followed PM's speech at Petrotech last week, when he said that India
must increase its OIL RESERVES. It came at a time when Iran's offer
for a pipeline to India and Pakistan was in the air, and the deal if
it comes about it will have to be underwritten by Pakistan. An
agreement was signed by the leaders of Afghanistan, Pakistan and
Turkmenistan to launch a US$3.2 billion gas pipeline. The agreement
defines the legal mechanisms for creating a consortium to build and
operate the pipeline. The project, which will carry natural gas from
Turkmenistan's huge Daulatabad-Donmez field, is expected to bring
Afghanistan more than US$300 million in transit fees annually and
create some 12,000 jobs in Pakistan. USA will try to implement it.
SECURITY, which Mr Kelkar attended to when he was in Petroleum
Ministry, needs India's attention today. We reiterate that India has
look to energy security with reality and one day necsessity may
make us join hands with Pakistan or control it for Energy Security.
Today it seems an impossiblity, but then the Berlin wall came down,
the cold war ended abruptly and Russia collapsed.
the time being USA has to treat Pakistan with kid gloves, and we
hear PM and NSA Brajesh Mishra who met USA's Condelezza Rice
understand this. It is a dilemma for other Indian foreign policy
Prof Steve Hoffman who was in India for the umpteenth time had this
to say. The elite of Pakistan and the Military are in close touch
with the US Establishment and he mentioned that Ambassador Mahilaha
Lodhi of Pakistan who did extremely well in USA, now supports
Musharraf in Pakistan. If USA ditches Pakistan it could become an
Islamic diehard state so the elite tell USA "Help us to help
ourselves not become Islamic." USA's dharma is to help create
open societies. Neo-conservative Republicans love this language.
India has to accept reality. Musharraf has the toughest job in the
world and ADB just congratulated him. Oil could be his saviour if he
decides to cool it on India's Kashmir border.
this context, one of our viewers brought to our notice an article in
Wall Street Journal by Ralph Peters (a retired Army officer), who
explains USA's longterm interests lie in India. Even he misses the
"son in law" point. We post some excerpts.
OF THE INDUS
WALL STREET JOURNAL, JANUARY 15, 2003
a voice on the airwaves generalises about Pakistan, I want to ask,
"Which Pakistan do you mean?" Beyond the facade of a flag
and customs officers at major airports, there is no integral,
unified State behind the name. Does the pundit mean the feudal
territories east of the Indus river, which resemble 15th century
England with electricity? Or the tribal lands to the west, where the
blood feuds and clan rule of medieval Scotland are supercharged by
the Pentagon spokesperson mean the mega-city of Karachi, which the
government cannot rule firmly, or the frontier settlements where
Islamabad does not even pretend to rule, deferring to tribal elders?
Mughal Pakistan yearning for the "liberation" of Kashmir,
or Pathan Pakistan dreaming of a Pukhtunistan between Kabul and
Peshawar? Mohajir or Baluch Pakistan? Or Islamic Pakistan, blaming
unbelievers for its self-inflicted failures? Today's Pakistan is a
military pretending its sponsor is a functioning state.
a firm believer in democracy and the rule of law, I nonetheless
recognize that military government is the best, if feeble hope, for
keeping Pakistan together and making any progress at all. Even the
most nationalistic Pakistanis will tell you that the civilian
politicians pandered to cancerous extremists and ignored the law
whenever they could not exploit it to family advantage.
now heads an internally divided government, in which some
elements cooperate impressively with American counterparts,
while others work to protect violent extremists and preserve
is but a man of limited vision. And that vision focuses
obsessively on the reunification of Kashmir. Since the events of
9/11 returned America's attentions to Pakistan.
has left Pakistan in a strategic muddle as he and his
paladins attempt to placate the U.S. in its war against
terrorism, while hesitating to pursue the bold actions against
fanatics and renegades necessary if the state is ever to grow
healthy not least because the extremists have been
fervent allies on the Kashmir issue.
9/11, Musharraf and his supporters needed to purge the extremist
elements that had crowded into the Inter Services Intelligence
agency and, to a lesser extent, the military. Instead, Musharraf
played musical chairs at the top, while leaving the radicalised
field structures largely intact. He now heads an internally
divided government, in which some elements cooperate
impressively with American counterparts, while others work to
protect violent extremists and preserve terrorist networks.
present, Washington has no choice but to work carefully with
Gen. Musharraf, a head of state who insists on a sovereignty he
cannot enforce over territory that continues to harbour both
international terrorists and Afghan renegades. There are no
better options available to Washington than continuing to
pressure the Pakistani government behind closed doors, while
avoiding any public humiliation of a leader who, however
imperfect, remains preferable to any known alternatives. On the
crucial issue of the hot pursuit of terrorists across the Afghan
border into Pakistan, the U.S. must not be deterred, but must go
to all possible lengths to maintain public deniability.
the best for which we can hope is that Pakistan will continue to
muddle through, never quite collapsing. Incremental progress
against Pakistan-based terrorists may be the best level of
cooperation we realistically can expect, given the indecisive
nature of the Musharraf regime. Increasingly, Pakistan looks
like a problem that can only be contained, not solved.
the long-term strategic and economic interests of the U.S. lie
across the border in India and we must manage our engagement on
the subcontinent artfully.
the U.S. should endeavour to defuse nuclear confrontations, it
must avoid any involvement in the insoluble Kashmir issue, in
which an honest broker would merely alienate both parties.
Washington must plan for various scenarios were the current
government in Islamabad will fall, if Gen. Musharraf were to be
assassinated, or, the worst case, if hostilities were to break
out between India and Pakistan.
Gen. Musharraf, the U.S. is bound to a Hamlet, a man torn
between action and inaction. We cannot exit the stage, but we
should avoid too close an embrace of the leading actor.