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India: Pakistan will be an American colony......

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    India: Pakistan will be an American colony......



    WASHINGTON: In an occasional jab at belittling Pakistan, BJP foreign policy experts like to point out that long before that country and Afghanistan came into existence, India shared a common border with the Persian civilisation. Now something new is afoot at the start of the 21st century. The way things are going, the United States could soon be straddling India and Iran, creating an unprecedented American pocket of influence in the region.

    On the eve of Prime Minister Vajpayee’s visit to Washington DC, his second in two years, Indian strategists are suddenly having to weigh the consequences of this unexpected development on its north-western borders. It is now beginning to seem that apart from being a frontline state and an ally of the United States, Pakistan could end up being an American colony.

    With each passing day, Islamabad is having to give up more and more air bases to the US war against terrorism. More and more US soldiers are being inducted into the region. If the history of such expeditions is any indication, then American forces, spooks, and advisors will be around in the region for a long time.

    Indian military planners are already beginning to reflect on what it means to have US air bases, aircraft carriers, spy satellites, drones, and eavesdroppers in the neighbourhood. Even at the height of the American influence in Pakistan in the 1980s, Washington did not have such an array of technical inputs and human intelligence in place.

    At any other time, such an air and sea armada would have caused the Indian intelligentsia to break out in rashes. But these are extraordinary times. The feeling in Indian circles is that the return of US influence over Pakistan may actually help New Delhi’s cause by reigning in an unstable and unruly neighbour.

    “It is an entirely difference scenario from the 1970s when the US actually tilted towards Pakistan. Now, for its own safety, Pakistan needs to be ‘righted’,” says a senior Indian military strategist now in Washington.

    To illustrate the changing geo-strategic dynamics in the region, the soldier-official who preferred not to be identified by name, pointed out that even as Prime Minister Vajpayee set out to Washington over the weekend via Russia, the American destroyer USS O’Brien, was steaming in to dock at Chennai.

    The last time the Seventh Fleet, of which O’Brien is a part, sailed in those waters in 1971, it had distinctly hostile intentions. “Things have changed; and things are changing as we speak,” says the official.

    Such changes are reflected in the exchanges between the two sides almost every week. In an interview to this newspaper last week, Admiral Dennis Blair, Commander-in-Chief of the US Pacific Command, indicated that navy-to-navy cooperation would form the most significant component of the Indo-US strategic ties.

    British Prime Minister Blair, who is due to visit India for the third time in three years later this month, also spoke of intense cooperation in information technology that the US hoped to have with India in the military sphere. The same mantra was repeated in New Delhi on Monday when Defence Secretary Donald Rumsfeld spoke of India as a "critical country in the high-tech world."

    For once, Indian officials and planners seem acutely conscious of the need to be the receipt of high-tech from the USand not just the giver. Addressing the on-going exchanges between the two sides on defence and military cooperation, one official said New Delhi would be seeking "technologies instead of platforms" from Washington.

    "We don't want to end up with finished systems which will make us dependent on the whims and vagaries of the American sanctions systems. We would rather have the technologies and build them into our own systems," the official explained.

    Such a dialogue will begin in earnest when a group of experts from the two sides under the rubric the Defence Policy Group meet later this year in New Delhi. Although the mechanism was established several years ago, the group has not met after the sanctions regime came into effect following the May 1998 nuclear tests.

    From times of India

    All people are equal, but some are more equal than others. We call these "corporations."

    Sour grapes...


      More Indian whining...