By Dr Dipak Basu
THERE is a poem by Rudyard Kipling called Dane-Geld, which correctly describes the Indian foreign policy for the last decade:
?It is always a temptation to an armed and agile nation
To call upon a neighbour and to say:
?We invaded you last night?we are quite prepared to fight,
Unless you pay us cash to go away.?
And that is called asking for Dane-Geld.
It is always a temptation to a rich and lazy nation,
To puff and look important and to say:
?Though we know we should defeat you, we have not the time to meet you.
We will therefore pay you cash to go away.?
For the end of that game is oppression and shame,
And the nation, that plays it, is lost.?
Since 1991, India is paying Dane-Geld. The end result?the award of the non-NATO ally status to Pakistan, which has made Pakistan both respectable and invincible. India'sforeign policy is now in ruins.
Since 1989, when the Soviet Union departed from Afghanistan, Pakistan has been sending its army and trained terrorists to Kashmir ?to take it away by the sword of Islam?, as declared in various newspapers in Pakistan and abroad. The primary aim of that insurgency was to create terror among the non-Muslim population and drive them out of Kashmir. The process was completed in 1992, when more than 6,00,000 non-Muslim refugees came to Jammu. The response of the Narasimha Rao government was to ask the Hurriyat, the political face of the insurgency, to have as much autonomy they like, but spare Kashmir. The government took no action against those responsible for this internal refugee problem for the fear of upsetting the Clinton administration with their open sympathy for the insurgency. The US State Department has declared that the whole state of Jammu and Kashmir is a disputed area and thus does not belong to India. Robin Rafael, the special assistant of Clinton for South Asia has advised India to solve the problem of Kashmir, because insurgency according to her was home-grown. In 1991, the Afghanistan government besieged by the attacks of the Islamic Mujahideens supported by Paksitan army, had appealed to India for help. India refused to help Afghanistan, which was soon taken over by the Pakistan-supported Mujahideens who have direct links with the insurgents of Kashmir.
The response of the Narasimha Rao government was to ask the Hurriyat, the political face of the insurgency, to have as much autonomy they like but spare Kashmir.
Clinton in 1992 had asked Yeltsin not to supply India with any weapons, not to help India in missile developments, not to supply anything for India'snuclear plants, or engines for India'scivilian rocket development programmes. Clinton also asked all its allies to do the same, so that India was practically isolated during the first seven years of Clinton administration. In 1995, the Clinton administration amended the Pressler'slaw to start rearming Pakistan. The Pressler'slaw had deprived Pakistan of American military aid because Pakistan has taken delivery of nuclear weapons from China. In 1997, Robin Rafael came to Kandahar to congratulate the Taliban, created with the help of Pakistan Army. The response of India was that these would not affect the growing Indo-US relations. Very soon, Afghanistan became the virtual province of Pakistan.
However, the Vajpayee government with its very pro-American Foreign Minister, Yaswant Singh went further in its quest for a close relationship with the United States. The Vajpayee government invited Nawaz Sharief; Vajpayee himself went to Paksitan by bus, without knowing that the Pakistan Army was planning an invasion of Kashmir; even, it had planned a pre-emptive nuclear attack on India. The invasion on Kargil and the sacrifice of 400 Indian soldiers have not reduced the enthusiasm of India. It invited General Musharraf, the person who had planned the invasion, as a long-lost friend to Agra, just to be rebuffed by him, who raised very clearly the Kashmir issue.
Under pressure from the United States, as Colin Powell said recently, India started the so-called ?peace-process? and ?confidence building measures?. India'sidea was that due to the lack of people-to-people contact, all the problems between India and Pakistan have emerged and a growing commercial and cultural link will evaporate all misunderstanding.
India until the 9/11 attack on the World Trade Centre was hoping that USA would declare Pakistan as a terrorist state. However, that hope was dashed when Pakistan again became the front-line ally of the United States, as USA attacked Taliban in Afghanistan and subsequently took over that country.
Since 9/11, India has offered every facility in India, both civilian and military to the US hoping to cement its relationship with USA. Jaswant Singh went further by arguing against the purchase of defence supplies from Russia and promoting future purchase from Britain and Israel, without understanding the danger and the ruinous costs for India. All these came to an end with the US declaration that Pakistan is now ?non-NATO ally? of the US with the same standing as Australia, Japan and Israel.
(The writer is teaching International Economics at Nagasaki University, Japan.)
(To be continued)