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Why India backed down (Indian folly)

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    Why India backed down (Indian folly)

    Very interesting analysis and 100 percent on the mark. I know lot of guppies do not read long articles so I have hi-lighted the important points.

    http://www.atimes.com/ind-pak/DF14Df02.html

    India considers radical review of US ties By Sultan Shahin NEW DELHI - Determined and coercive US diplomacy has helped reduce somewhat the possibility of India and Pakistan blowing each other up. But in the process the United States has provoked a great deal of disappointment and anger in India, the one ally in South Asia it could count on for unquestioning support, perhaps even more than from its longtime European allies. The result is a growing call in Indian pro-establishment circles for a radical reassessment of the country's ties with the US and, as Washington moves inevitably toward mediating the Kashmir dispute, these calls are going to grow even more strident. The one measure that has actually helped defuse tensions somewhat is also what has infuriated India. This is the travel advisory issued on May 31 to US diplomats and tourists to leave India. Such a warning had already been issued with respect to Pakistan after the terrorist attacks in Karachi on May 8 in which more than 10 French workers were killed. The May 31 advisory said, "This travel warning is being issued to alert Americans to the fact that the department has authorized the voluntary departure of non-emergency personnel and all dependents from our embassy and consulates in India. The Department of State warns American citizens to defer travel to India. Conditions along India's border with Pakistan and in the state of Jammu and Kashmir have deteriorated. Tensions have risen to serious levels and the risk of intensified military hostilities between India and Pakistan cannot be ruled out." This resulted in an exodus of many Western diplomats and tourists as most European governments followed suit with similar advisories. It was forced "home leave" for hundreds of foreigners stationed in India and Pakistan whose governments feared that an armed conflict, even a nuclear one, might break out any time. The United Nations, too, fell in line. Some staffers termed the orders from New York "abrupt" and "surprising". "In a meeting of UN staff in Delhi it was decided that dependants of international staff will be sent on home leave," said Feodyor Starcevic, director of the UN information center. Not willing to blame the United States at first, Indian officials, analysts and business executives blamed Pakistan and the US media. They said Pakistan may have damaged India to the tune of hundreds of millions of dollars with its loose talk about initiating nuclear war in the region and that the US administration played into the hysteria created by the media, raising fears of a nuclear war in the subcontinent to fever pitch. One observer noted that Indian industry may have received a crushing blow even before the first bullets had begun to fly. The US representative of the Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FICCI), Prasanto Biswal, said, "The travel advisory is terribly damaging. It will hurt business and destroy the little tourism we have." No immediate estimates are available, but Biswal and others said that depending on how things pan out over the next few days, business travel could be severely affected and the little tourism that comes India's way could be wiped out. The United States is India's largest trading partner with bilateral trade in the region of US$15 billion. The Times of India's Washington correspondent, Chidanand Rajghatta, pointed out some other dimensions of the damage caused by the advisory: "The state department's decision to pull the plug on India will impact directly on not just business travel but also the increasingly inter-linked commercial transactional activity, since the advisory urges Americans already in India to leave. It could also hurt US businesses since many American orders are processed in India under a back office systems aimed at reducing transaction costs for American consumers." Gradually, disappointment began to grow into anger and Indian officials started suggesting that the travel advisory implicitly rewards Pakistan's policy of nuclear blackmail and brinkmanship. There is no acknowledgement of the fact in India that it was almost immediately after this advisory that New Delhi started noticing and agreeing with the US that the level of Kashmiri infiltration across the Line of Control (LoC) had indeed come down. Also, New Delhi started quoting with approval Pakistani President General Pervez Musharraf's pronouncements about closing the training camps permanently and stopping the flow of terrorists into Kashmir, although he has been saying this since his famous January 12 speech to the nation. India said that Musharraf finally seemed to be acting on his assurances that he would put an end to infiltration of militants across the LoC. The Indian government said it had intercepted messages to this effect. And it was only after the advisory and the news of thousands of foreign nationals leaving, tourist and hotel bookings being canceled, business contracts being put on hold, and the economy being badly hit that New Delhi became amenable to pressure from US officials, Deputy Secretary of State Richard Armitage first and now Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld, to start taking measures to ease the tensions somewhat. These measures still do not include bringing back the army from the international borders and the LoC, as India would like to see more progress in the ground situation in Kashmir, but even the diplomatic and other measures taken have somewhat reduced the tensions. Intense shelling across the LoC in Kashmir, however, continues, killing scores of civilians and soldiers, mostly on the Pakistani side, according to Indian news media reports. The prime minister of Azad (Free) Kashmir (Pakistan-occupied Kashmir for India), Sardar Sikandar Hayat Khan, has put the entire blame on India. The fact is that Pakistan, too, is continuing with heavy shelling. If the number of Indian civilians killed is minimal, that is largely because most of them have migrated from the border areas to safer places. Both countries claim that the shelling is retaliatory. The travel advisory has not been withdrawn so far. Indeed US President George W Bush said on the eve of the Rumsfeld visit that the situation is worrying and precarious, meaning that the advisory cannot be withdrawn. The greatest worry for India, however, is that now US officials, Armitage in particular, are saying that with the specter of nuclear war hovering over the world, the Kashmir dispute has reached the top of the international agenda. This means that Pakistan has succeeded in internationalizing the dispute, and if that is the case, even without any further US pressure Pakistan would not need to continue with its ruinous policies of the past two decades - after all, training and sending terrorists across the LoC was taking a heavy toll on Pakistan's economy and disturbing Pakistani social life as well. India now seems to have agreed to what was anathema to it until recently. It is now officially considering Rumsfeld's proposal for the ambit of Indian-US military cooperation to be expanded to allow US Special Forces to operate in Jammu and Kashmir. This is part of a plan to de-escalate tension between India and Pakistan and monitor the LoC. But in view of Indian sensitivities, US military deployment is officially being described by both India and the United States as part of the continuing war against al-Qaeda. There will be no reference to the LoC or to the need to verify on the ground the extent of Pakistani compliance with Musharraf's assurances on ending cross-border infiltration, as a speculative report in the Times of India pointed out before the Rumsfeld visit. The excuse of war against al-Qaeda's network can provide a politically safe rationale for the Hindu fundamentalist Bhartiya Janata Party-led government to allow US troops in, something that the BJP constituency has been particularly averse to. Both sides are evaluating the legal implications - such as rules of engagement, immunity and sovereignty issues - of US forces operating alongside the Indian military. There is media speculation "that recent official Indian claims of al-Qaeda being active in the Valley and of 'Arab-looking terrorists' being shot dead by the security forces in Kashmir are part of the government's efforts to prepare the ground for joint Indo-US military action". In the days and weeks to come, anonymous official sources told the Times of India, India could very well declare that al-Qaeda and other "bad guys" are operating in Kashmir and thus the government had invited the US to help deal with them. A section of Indian officials has already started speaking of the possibility of some recent incidents, such as the massacre at Jammu, as being the handiwork of al-Qaeda militants. India has very conveniently claimed in recent days that about 3,000 al-Qaeda militants were waiting on the Pakistani side of the LoC to cross over into the Indian side. The idea of joint Indian-US forces deployed to check this kind of terrorist infiltration will probably not raise the ire of ruling Hindu fundamentalists. Rumsfeld did indeed give currency to the al-Qaeda camouflage for international patrolling of the LoC, but he also pointed out that he had no evidence for same. An editorial in Wednesday's Times of India brings out the somber and reflective Indian mood at the present juncture and the popular view of the US intervention. Titled "Coercive mediation", it says, "The Americans are here. And by this we don't mean Team Rumsfeld, now on another of its familiar visits to the region. As George W would no doubt drawl: 'Make no mistake, the US is here to mediate.' Of course, the Americans will say, as will the Indians, that this is only to ensure the subcontinent doesn't turn into a nuclear hellhole. And yet, there are enough signals that the US is slowly, but surely, enlarging its role. If in 1999 president Clinton intervened to roll back Kargil, today Bush and Co are frenetically toing and froing between India and Pakistan, setting out a step-by-step mechanism for restoring peace. "Add to this hectic two-way counseling the presence of American troops in Pakistan and a significant joint US-UK proposal to patrol the Line of Control, and the future begins to look distinctly triangular in that most sacred of all lands: Kashmir. After all, from the LoC to Kashmir is but a short step. And yet, 'mediation' has barely to be mentioned, for official India to go into denial mode." India's peace constituency is, however, not unduly worried. Indeed it is happy that Bush is playing the peacemaker. In one typical comment, Vinod Mehta, the editor of Outlook newsmagazine, advised the Indian government to take US pressure and mediation with grace. He said, "One loss has to be conceded to this month-long pseudo-nuclear crisis. There will henceforth be much greater international focus on Kashmir and much greater pressure on India to begin a sustained and substantial dialogue with Pakistan. Till now, the pace and nature of this dialogue has been determined by New Delhi. That will no longer be possible. We will be pushed, prodded, jostled, threatened, blackmailed into speeding up the process. Come to think of it, that may not be such a bad thing." But this is not the establishment view. While official India is doing things under economic and political pressure, the establishment is seething. No one has expressed this anger better than K Subrahmanyam, the former chief of the National Security Advisory Board. In two articles titled "Superpower retreat" and "Supine superpower", he accuses the US of succumbing to Pakistan's nuclear blackmail and thus allowing what he calls "the nuclearization of terrorism". "Whether this was a momentary loss of nerve on the part of Washington or a permanent cerebral stroke incapacitating the superpower, the next few weeks will tell," he says. A livid Subrahmanyam is reduced to working out conspiracy theories involving the US and Pakistan. He says, "It is possible that the Pakistani nuclear threat was an elaborate charade to which the US was privy and which was intended to stop India from any adventurist action. This supine behavior on the part of the sole superpower does not reinforce credibility in its much proclaimed counter-proliferation strategy. This could only strengthen the opinion among some sections in Japan or Iran which are neighbors of potential rogue states that they would have to go in for their own nuclear deterrence." His prescription: "In these circumstances, the world as well as India may have to adjust themselves to a new international security paradigm in which the sole superpower does not have the will to commit itself to a war against terrorism or towards effective countering of nuclear blackmail. The present Indian strategy is based on certain assumptions of superpower behavior. The May 31 events [the issue of the travel advisory] call for a radical reassessment of our assumptions of superpower behavior. The possibility of the US not pursuing the war against terrorism or countering nuclear blackmail has to be factored in our calculations." Indian anger is not just caused by the issue of the travel advisories on May 31 and consequent loss of face, not to speak of the economic loss. It has been building up since mid-April when the US and European countries started expressing concern at the genocide of Muslim minorities in the BJP-ruled western Indian state of Gujarat that had been continuing then for about six weeks. (It has not completely stopped, even now after three months, though the level of violence is much reduced.) India simply could not understand why the world bothered, after all, 15,000 massacres like this had been perpetrated in the half-century since independence, as Defense Minister George Fernandes pointed out in parliament, expressing India's surprise at the inexplicable hue and cry. Gujarat, though, was the first major massacre of the electronic-media age. As pictures of unspeakable brutality and unimaginable depravity were beamed across the globe, civilized governments felt obliged, sometimes by their own laws, to express concern. The US expressed the mildest possible concern, for which it is being criticized now by its own official Commission on International Religious Freedom. The commissioner, Felice Gaer, who chaired the hearings on "Recent Communal Violence in Gujarat, India, and the US Response", said in her opening remarks on Tuesday, "The commission believes that it is important for the US government, in its work with the Indian government, to help foster a climate of greater religious tolerance. The commission is thus very concerned that the US government had not spoken out forcefully against the attacks on Muslims in Gujarat. And we hope to look more closely into the US response and develop recommendations to our government on these matters in accord with our own legislative mandate." Another longtime observer of India, Robert Hathaway of the Wilson Center, was also critical of the role of the US in this tragedy. He told the commission, "The US must take care not to convey the impression that a moderate response to the horror that has unfolded in Gujarat indicates a failure of compassion, a willful decision to turn a blind eye to the tragedy." But unaware of the ways and compulsions of the civilized world, India couldn't understand this. It felt angry at what it thought was the US betrayal and unwarranted interference in its internal affairs. It feels the US should give it the same unquestioned support that it has itself offered to the US. After all, India had not expressed (nor felt, to tell the truth, as some even in the US had) any sympathy for the thousands of innocent Afghans the US killed in the war against terror. Why the US or any other country should worry about the hapless Gujarati Muslims is beyond India's comprehension. Why couldn't the West behave in the fashion of the Muslim world, which has not felt the need as yet to show any compassion for their co-religionists? And on top of Gujarat comes the US pressure to wind down the military threat to Pakistan. Even if this is accompanied by a Pakistani promise to stop infiltration in the Indian part of Kashmir and actual monitoring of the LoC, it is going to devastate the militant Hindu fundamentalist constituency of the ruling BJP, which has lost most of the elections to state assemblies, municipalities and village councils held since it came to power four years ago. The very last nail in the BJP coffin would be the compulsion to start a meaningful, substantive dialogue with Pakistan on Kashmir. For its militant cadres are bound to wonder what the use of this party is if it can't help them kill Muslims and Christians within India, even in those few states they rule, and it can't teach the "treacherous" Pakistan a lesson. The US may have its own compulsions in not making Muslims the world over even angrier with it than they already are, but if it wants a loyal ally in BJP-ruled India, it could do nothing better than start reading the BJP and its ideological mentor Rashtriya Swayamsewak Sangh's literature and understand its compulsions too. Remarks like the following made by Hathaway in the congressional hearing on Tuesday are not going to be helpful at all. He said, "There are clear limits to what we as a government can say publicly, but we must speak privately and candidly. We keep talking about being natural allies ... what sort of friendship is it if we can't speak candidly?" Admitting there was a feeling among some in India that Gujarat was a domestic affair, and that the US had no business interfering in this, Hathaway said, "This is an erroneous and self-serving falsehood. We should be under no compulsion to accept the view that recent events in Gujarat are a strictly domestic Indian affair, and therefore off limits to international scrutiny, any more than we accept similar arguments from China, Serbia or Sudan." Such remarks will merely exacerbate existing tensions in Indian-US relations and strengthen the position of those strategic analysts who are calling for a fundamental reassessment of these ties, which had appeared to be burgeoning before September 11. Until that fateful date, everything was well between the two countries. Pakistan was on the verge of being declared a failed state and perhaps a terrorist state as well. The most favored ally of the sole superpower in this region, India had started fancying itself as the "Israel of South Asia", on the verge of being allowed to teach Pakistan a lesson. But September 11 has changed all that. Today Pakistan has the gall to demand from the US-led world parity with India in conventional warfare capability so that it doesn't need to flex its nuclear muscles ever again; it is calling for denuclearization of South Asia, and to top it all it is calling for a substantive peace process to solve the long-festering Kashmir dispute. And the US seems to be capitulating. The US needs to do better than that if it wants to keep the world's biggest democracy on its side. (©2002 Asia Times Online Co, Ltd. All rights reserved. Please contact [email protected] for information on our sales and syndication policies.)

    #2
    Excellent article. It remains an analysis though and it is fair to say that a lot of Indian thinkers are feeling this way.

    Reading beyween the lines though, a lot of the article is about pent-up frustration on the part on India. It now looks as if the Indians are experiencing what it feels like to be in Pakistan's shoes, namely, being a US sweetheart one minute by fighting the Soviets and helping the US in the region, and then being unceremoniously discarded the next.

    Indians should learn that it is not easy having superpowers as boyfriends. Problem with Indians is that they always take these things personally and act prickly and haughty, as if they were the father in a Bollywood movie, disappointed with the daughter's choice of a groom.

    Pakistan on the other hand has been flying by the seat of its pants diplomatically. I don't believe that Pakistan indulged in nuclear blackmail as it was the Western media that painted the spectacle of a nuclear war, not Pakistan. The Western media simply fed on the frenzy, and used Pakistan's stand of not ruling out first-use as an excuse to highlight the possibility of nuclear war.

    Next few months should be interesting, with the weather in the Valley becoming more pleasant, and the Israelis and Indians working together. Let's see how the proposed joint monitoring works out. If infiltration falls, Indians do not have any more excuses to brow-beat Pakistan. Indeed, Rumsfeld has taken assurnaces from India that they will not react in a knee-jerk manner and immediately blame Pakistan for any terrorist attacks in IOK. This has effectively taken the wind out of Indian sails, as this was always the refuge of the Indian justification to threaten Pakistan at every opportunity and sabre-rattle.

    Comment


      #3
      Originally posted by alooparatha:
      Indeed, Rumsfeld has taken assurnaces from India that they will not react in a knee-jerk manner and immediately blame Pakistan for any terrorist attacks in IOK. This has effectively taken the wind out of Indian sails, as this was always the refuge of the Indian justification to threaten Pakistan at every opportunity and sabre-rattle.

      Seems like they have taken the advice of their new master to the word.. There was an attack on puppet Farooq Abdullah in IOK. I wonder who are they blaming this time, I think its Bangladesh coz they recently captured 16 Al-Qaeda terrorist crossing over from their eastern neighbour http://www.dailystarnews.com/200206/...1308.htm#BODY2 ...



      [This message has been edited by Abdali (edited June 15, 2002).]

      Comment


        #4
        ABDALI

        PLAY YOUR GAME - GUESS MY MOTTO

        Comment


          #5
          If this type of "let's feel good by reciting comfort words" is what you guys want, sure this is a sop. If you're looking for some real understanding of facts, events and possibilities, you'll have to look elsewhere away from this kind of crap. I'll tell you why, though it shouldn't be necessary to state the obvious.

          1. Before: Mushy, and rest of Pakistani establishment, was singing the 'moral support' tune.
          After: Mushy says he'll do 'everything in my powers and beyond' to stop Pakistan trained terrorists crossing into India.

          Isn't that what ABV wanted him to do?

          2. Before: Pakistani establishment keeps yelling for 'international mediation' in re Kashmir. Their minister openly asks 'US should do more'.

          After: The G8 tells Mushy to do more. Dubya tells Mushy in so many words 'do what you said you'll do or else'. Rumsfield says 'you have to solve your own problems - we cannot'.

          Isn't that what ABV has been telling you guys for years?

          3. Before: Pakistani army trains and sends sewer rats brigades into India in Kashmir.

          After: Pakistani army tells sewer rats to go away and not attempt to cross the border into India.

          Isn't that what India has been telling you to do for decades now?

          The point is this: you guys could have done all these things years ago by yourself or atleast when India told you to. Noooo, you wouldn't listen. You had have another visit from US generals before you'd do it.

          Hope matters are clear now.

          Comment


            #6
            1. Before: Mushy, and rest of Pakistani establishment, was singing the 'moral support' tune.
            After: Mushy says he'll do 'everything in my powers and beyond' to stop Pakistan trained terrorists crossing into India.
            Isn't that what ABV wanted him to do?


            Always said diplomatic political and moral support and we will not change that. Isnít that what vajoo is *****ing about day in day out?

            2. Before: Pakistani establishment keeps yelling for 'international mediation' in re Kashmir. Their minister openly asks 'US should do more'.
            After: The G8 tells Mushy to do more. Dubya tells Mushy in so many words 'do what you said you'll do or else'. Rumsfield says 'you have to solve your own problems - we cannot'.
            Isn't that what ABV has been telling you guys for years?


            No vajoo claims Kasmeer is integral part of BahRAT end of discussion isnít that contradictory if US is mediating?

            3. Before: Pakistani army trains and sends sewer rats brigades into India in Kashmir.
            After: Pakistani army tells sewer rats to go away and not attempt to cross the border into India.
            Isn't that what India has been telling you to do for decades now?


            Those rats will continue to kill Indian sewer roaches in uniform send by your govt to kill innocent civilians and rape women. Until that stops and India understands itís a disputed territory political diplomatic and moral support will continue.. Isnít that what your govt. wants us to stop?

            The point is this: you guys could have done all these things years ago by yourself or atleast when Pak/UN told you to. Noooo, you wouldn't listen. You had had another visit from US master who is mediating against your wishes. On top of that you make idiotic demands to hand over 20 terrorist and stop cross border spanking but when push comes to shove you scream all the way to US mommy for mediationÖ Isnít that what we want you to do.
            Hope matters are clear now.

            Comment


              #7
              US breaks Indian taboos on mediation http://www.dawn.com/2002/06/14/int1.htm

              Comment


                #8
                Originally posted by Abdali:
                US breaks Indian taboos on mediation http://www.dawn.com/2002/06/14/int1.htm
                You said Dawn

                Comment


                  #9
                  Originally posted by Chaltahai:
                  You said Dawn
                  Oh really! dang! silly me I thought it was santa...

                  Comment


                    #10
                    Originally posted by Abdali:
                    Oh really! dang! silly me I thought it was santa...
                    Well Dawn is about as credible as Santa. So I can understand your fervent belief in fairy tales.

                    Comment


                      #11
                      Originally posted by Chaltahai:
                      Well Dawn is about as credible as Santa. So I can understand your fervent belief in fairy tales.
                      Hmmmm so is that why your Indian cronies throw around quotes from Dawn. May be they should take your advice..

                      Comment


                        #12
                        For Chlatahai:


                        Dawn is not credible? How long since you had some food bhookay?

                        Read the full story till the end and you will the see the agency which wired the story. In this case it is Reuters...hmm I guess we can't trust them either huh? What with them getting regular meals and all???

                        Comment


                          #13

                          kashmir issue cant be tied to india-pakistan nationalism.

                          ---------------------------------------

                          Despite a number of vital challenges, Pakistan may indeed be heading for an important blessing as it stands on a historical cross road, by far more profound than any other in the country's history. For the first time in years, Pakistan now has the opportunity to reform itself fundamentally, backed by the support of the international community.
                          http://www.gulf-news.com/Articles/op...rticleID=54619

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