Not a fortnight back India’s National Security Adviser Ajit Doval betook himself to Washington and there in his meeting with his US counterpart he squawked and he complained against, what else, Pakistani-sponsored terrorism in India. Yesterday, Lt Gen HR McMaster, Trump’s NSA made an unannounced trip to Islamabad. So it was the case in the one instance of Muhammad going to the Mountain and, in the other, of the Mountain coming to Muhammad!
Did McMaster at all talk sense to the Pakistani COAS Gen Qamar Javed Bajwa or Prime Minister Nawaz on the Kashmir-directed terrorism emanating from ISI quarters, or alert them to Delhi’s long standing grievance? It’d appear not, because all McMaster said was that he “had hoped for many, many years that the Pakistani leaders will understand that it is in their interest to go after these groups less selectively than they have in the past and the best way to pursue their interest in Afghanistan and elsewhere is through diplomacy not through the use of proxies that engage in violence.”
Had this statement been confined to the first part of it, namely, “that the Pakistani leaders will understand that it is in their interest to go after these groups less selectively than they have in the past”, then Narendra Modi’s BJP regime, which seems to have made leaning on the US its foreign and security policy calling card, could have taken heart. After all McMaster would have been seen as buying into Delhi’s argument about Pakistan’s complicity. Instead, as the US NSA and his team made clear, Washington is desperately keen that the Pakistan Army not roil the Afghan scene by silk-gloving the terrorist Haqqani Network elements who enjoy safe haven on the Pak side of the Durand Line, and by implication, that it doesn’t give a damn whether GHQ, Rawalpindi, reins in terrorist gangs such as the Lashkar-e-Tayyaba and Jaish-e-Mohammad active in J&K, or not.
McMaster’s lightning visit also suggests that the Trump Administration understands well that the use of massive fuel air explosives to decimate Daesh (Islamic State) concentrations, will not do the trick. And hence that the frontline role of Pakistan is critical to a defeated US doing the obvious thing — declaring victory and getting the hell out!
In the event, there seems to be no end to lesson that Delhi is simply unwilling to learn! So, the class of Modi, Doval, Sushma Swaraj, Foreign Office, et al, sit you down, and repeat after me:
NO, the US is NOT in South Asia to support and advance India’s national interest.
NO, NO, the US is NOT in the least keen about stamping out terrorism at-large, leave alone terrorists discomfiting India, only terrorists directly threatening the US and its interests.
NO, NO,NO you can’t cut a mutually beneficial deal with President Donald J Trump — as the Indian PM expects to when he visits the US this year, unless the benefit tilts overly to the American side.
And NO, NO, NO, NO, umrika bahadur will NOT save India’s goose in any circumstances, and CANNOT be relied on to do anything other than work to bolster its own national interest at all times.
And, YES, India will have to further its own interests by itself, by whatever means and whatever it takes.
When the diplomatic geography is so little appreciated and basic precepts of international relations are ill-understood by the Indian leadership and, institutionally, by the Government of India, it is hardly to be wondered that India gets it in the neck all the time.