Pakistan is a power coming out of its slumber that can upset any major power in a given theater. Now America needs her more than ever if she wants an honourable exit from Afghanistan. Raja Mujtaba
By Alam Rind
President Obama after spending three days in India left for Indonesia on November 8, 2010 that was followed by G-20 meeting in South Korea and Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation summit in Japan before returning home. His visit to India can be termed as a success from US point of view. Business deals worth $10 billion were concluded. These deals are likely to create around 50,000 new jobs in USA and help the country to wriggle out of recession. On the other hand Indians managed to purchase a large chunk of military and nonmilitary hardware. The major military purchases include 10 Boeing C-17 cargo planes, artillery radars, aircraft engines etc. Interestingly a tussle over the price of 10 C-17, which was quoted as $4.1 billion in the preliminary agreement signed during the visit, has surfaced. Indian Air Force is unhappy over unrealistic price while the top executives of the company hold that the $4.1 billion price tag excludes cost of engines and certain spare parts. Surprisingly Indian Air Force was expecting the cost of aircrafts to be around $3 billion. This huge difference in perceived and asked prices is likely to pose tough challenge for those negotiating final prices. If both side stick to their ground it may turn into an ugly irritant causing friction in the relations between the two countries.
While the Indian government was busy purchasing military hardware and convincing US President to relax conditions on the sale of dual use technologies, Indian media impatiently looked for anti-Pakistan remark that could be ascribed to US President. President Obama although was made to stay at Hotel Taj Mahal refrained from committing mistake similar to that of Prime Minister Cameron. While he asserted that extremism is hurting Pakistan he emphasized that a strong and prosperous Pakistan is in the interest of India. He even offered mediation on Kashmir if both the parties agree. His assertion that Kashmir is a long standing dispute between the two countries is an adequate acknowledgement that the problem of Kashmir needs to be resolved. Another observation is lack of remarks on Indian role in Afghanistan though he encouraged India to continue developmental works. All this reflects on the type of balance American’s want to create in the region. As Americans will not be able to realize their Asian ambition without the support of Pakistan they have started respecting Pakistan’s regional hope to have a friendly Afghanistan.
While Americans are trying to keep Pakistan on their side by engaging into strategic dialogue and to some extent addressing her legitimate concerns. They are building India as a military power that critically disturbs regional balance of power. Few believe that India is being nurtured as a counter weight to China. The theory seems to be embedded in Washington’s desire to be sole leader of Asian security structure with US lead bilateral alliances as its backbone. In contrast to the American thinking, Chinese believe in multi-polar world, relative security and staunchly feel that technological advancement is always temporary as it can be surpassed through human innovation and ingenuity.
American resolve to impose hegemonic stability in the region is likely to be contested as absolute security of one state leads to absolute insecurity of other states. It is demonstrated by the fact that US is using force more frequently now than it did in the Cold War era. The fact that nothing is absolute and any nation can develop weapons for its self defense will force US to interfere in the internal affairs of the weaker nations to maintain her hegemony for longer duration. That is going to reduce these countries to a status of satellite states impeding their development and growth. But Asia is the home major powers of the world. The countries with whom Americans can deal only on a “win-win” proposition. While surrounded by the major powers of the world and located on future energy gateway, Pakistan needs to make smart choices.
Pakistan enjoys friendly relations with China and at the same time is US ally in GWOT. It is a stated fact that US will face difficulties in securing a respectable exit from Afghanistan without Pakistan’s assistance. At a time when Americans are in the process of imposing hegemonic stability in Asia, China must be feeling the heat of their presence. China will not like to see Pakistan converted into US satellite state.
It is time for Pakistan to play her cards correctly. Pakistan must strengthen her economic relations with China. Strong economic ties with China will protect Pakistan from unnecessary American interference in its internal affairs. It will also add to its security and will provide greater leverage while dealing with USA and India.