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America Will Not Ditch Pakistan
Despite deepening ties with India
Fiza Fatima Asar (FizaPK)     Print Article 
Published 2006-08-21 12:13 (KST)   
The international scenario is undergoing flux, in which long-standing alliances are yielding to newer ones, with speculation as to the formation of divergent blocs. Immediately after 9/11, Pakistan took the lead among U.S. allies in the latter's war against terrorism.

The alliance became such that a nation like Pakistan, constantly taken to task for its nuclear weapons program was not quizzed when it became known that its nuclear weapons mastermind Dr. A.Q. Khan -- widely regarded as the founder of Pakistan's nuclear weapons development program -- had been making deals with other countries (on Feb. 5, 2004, the President of Pakistan, General Pervez Musharraf, announced that he had pardoned Dr. Khan -- Ed). Now the old "friendship" is changing its tone.

More recently, Pakistan's effectiveness in the war against terrorism is being questioned. There are rumblings that it is not helping enough in curbing the insurgent elements in Afghanistan.

On the other hand, in his March 2006 trip to South Asia, President Bush hailed India for its efforts in promoting democracy in Afghanistan. This would only set the stage for an even stronger alliance between India and the United States. That friendship is underscored by the U.S.-India nuclear deal currently underway. Pakistan, for its part, was disappointed and even shocked at the way it was being sidelined by the United States.

Against this background, there are growing concerns among analysts as to what the U.S. long-term South Asia policy will be. It should be clear that the U.S. will cherish its alliance with India, in view of India's extremely large population, which translates into a vast number of consumers and workers. The question, however, is whether the U.S will shun or be critical of Pakistan or whether it will try to treat both evenhandedly.

There are fears among many Pakistanis that there might even be a time when Pakistan would treated no differently from other Muslim countries.

Analysts are even concerned as to the advisability of the U.S. reprimanding Pakistan and fostering its relationship with India to the extent that even a nuclear deal is felt necessary. These are of a mind that India should not be allowed to assume a larger-than-life position in South Asia that would destabilize the balance of power in the larger region, which includes Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, Nepal, Bhutan, and Maldives, apart from Pakistan and India.

A book entitled "U.S.-Indian Strategic Alliance into the 21st Century" will be published soon by a renowned American military historian, John H. Gill, in which he expresses his notion that it is to the benefit of both India and the United States for the latter not to isolate Pakistan, rather, that much can be learned by the Americans from a U.S.-India strategic relationship, which could promote stability in the region and not just more rivalry.
©2006 OhmyNews
Other articles by reporter Fiza Fatima Asar

  Linked Story - A Cold War in Asia?...

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