How much trust can we place in the United States? And who speaks authoritatively for the country? From what one notices, the Obama Government speaks in many voices. US Under Secretary of State William Burns who was in India early in June, told a press conference that the resolution of the Kashmir dispute should take into account the “wishes” of the people of the state, an impertinence that deserves to be strongly condemned.
The question of holding a plebiscite is totally irrelevant and under no circumstances will India agree to it. But there has hardly been any correction of Shri Burns’ faux pas from Washington, leaving one guessing what the Obama Government is upto. Or consider this: Addressing a meeting of the top American and Indian Corporate Executives in Washington on June 10, US Secretary of State Clinton said that she saw India as “one of a few key partners worldwide who will help us shape the 21st Century” adding that “India is already a major player on the world stage and we look to cooperate with New Delhi as it shoulders responsibilities in its new position of global leadership”. But will the US support India’s claim to Permanent Membership of the UN Security Council? It certainly wouldn’t, of what Acting Assistant Secretary for International Organisations, James Warlick, is to be believed.
According to him “We (the US) do not support extension of the veto in the UN Security Council”. So what kind of responsibilities can India shoulder without veto power as a Permanent Member of the Security Council? And may one also ask: In what sense are England and France superior to India? They should be asked voluntarily to retire from the Security Council or debarred from membership by a majority vote in the General Assembly. And if China can have the veto, why shouldn’t India? If it is to play a role that Secretary of State Clinton assigns to it? Does Hillary Clinton want India to play second fiddle to the US, a larger replica of Pakistan?
Shri Burns was even more brash. He asked India to close down the Indian Consulate in Jalalabad in Afghanistan because of Pakistani complaint that India is “fomenting trouble” through that Consulate in the North West Frontier Province and Baluchistan? Can India ask the US to tell Pakistan to shift its capital from Islamabad to Karachi because Islamabad is causing trouble in Jammu & Kashmir? Who is Shri Burns to advise us where we should set up our Consulates? The US does not want Iran to equip itself with nuclear weapons, but it is turning a blind eye to what is happening in Pakistan which is expanding its nuclear arsenal by leaps and bounds? And yet America is pouring billions of dollars into Islamabad’s kitty. Pakistan already has 60 nuclear weapons in its arsenal and is working hard to produce more. There is not a word of protest from Washington on the subject.
According to US Defence Secretary Robert Gates, the United States will look to India to be “a net provider of security in the Indian Ocean and beyond”. That is nice of him to say so, but has Shri Gates given any thought to India’s internal security problem? According to the latest findings, Pakistan is hosting 42 terror camps where over 2,000 terrorists belonging to the Lashkar-e-Taibe, Jaish-e-Mohammad and HuJi are getting training. Has Shri Gates given the matter any thought? Washington speaks with a forked tongue. It has promised to give $ 7.5 billion to Pakistan over the course of the next five years, forgetting that Pakistan has used a substantial amount of aid given to it in the past to fight terrorism only to build up its own arms with modern weapons and equipment for conventional war against India. And who has revealed this truth? A Pentagon document, that’s who.
According to revelations by the Pentagon documents, all this was done with the full knowledge of the Bush Administration. It would seem that a major 9/11 American defence supply to Pakistan under Foreign Military Financing (FMF) had nothing to do with its fight against terrorism. While the Taliban and Al-Qaeda gained ground in the tribal areas of Pakistan bordering Afghanistan, Islamabad bought eight P-3C Orion maritime patrol aircraft and their refurbishment worth $ 474 million. It also placed orders for 5,250 TOW anti-armour missiles worth $ 186 million. Besides buying more than, 5,600 military radio sets worth $ 163 million, Pakistan bought six AN/TPS surveillance radars worth $ 76 million. It is a long list of purchases which includes 500 AMRAAM air-to-air missiles, 1,450 bombs of 2,000 lbs each, 500 JDM tail kits for gravity bombs and 100 Harpoon anti-ship missiles worth $ 95 million, not to mention six Phalanx close-in naval guns worth $ 80 million. Does the Taliban or for that matter, Al-Qaeda run ships as well? Who is fooling whom? Then we have reports that the Financial Intelligence Unit (FIU) of the Government of India has marked more than 200 transactions in the country as ‘terror-financed’ under circumstances of “unusual complexity and lack of bona fide purpose”.
Will Smt Hillary Clinton kindly ask her friends in Pakistan how they spend the money given to them as aid by the US? At every stage of the game the United States is proving itself to highly unreliable. On May 20, 2009 The Times of India reported from Washington that the “US has again given what virtually amounts to a free pass to Pakistan’s India-specific nuclear weapons programme, washing its hands of reports by its own military and intelligence that Islamabad is rapidly expanding its nuclear arsenal while insisting it will ensure US aid is not spent on the country’s nuclear programme”. And who was supporting Pakistan’s perfidy?
Writes The Times of India: “Most of the batting for Pakistan was done by the State Department, but the Director of the CIS, Leon Panetta and America’s highest ranking military officer, Admiral Mike Mullen also stepped up during their day’s engagements to certify the security of Pakistan’s nuclear weapons”. The New York Times in a front page story quoted Bruce Riedel, a former White House official as saying that Pakistan “has more terrorists per square mile than any place on earth and it has a nuclear weapons programme that is growing faster than any other place on earth”. India is being taken for a ride; all the smooth talk of US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton is hogwash.
If the Prime Minister who is so supportive of the US does not know it, only God and a powerful public opinion can save the country from imminent disaster. India should have its own foreign policy and it should implement it with determination. We don’t have to be carried away by sweet talk. If the US wants any help, it must uphold India’s right to be a Permanent Member of the Security Council with veto power. It is time Britain and France are shown the door. They have been in Security Council for far too long and they are no longer the powers they once where with their Imperial pretensions.