Af Pak Policy

The Af-Pak policy has been quite a hot topic of discussion in the South-Asian region and the neighbourhood. Not only the policy but the neologism ‘Af-Pak’ itself has created a controversy in Pakistan. But what’s in a name? America has been constantly adopting a policy of appeasement when it comes to Pakistan and China. While relation between Afghanistan and Pakistan is improving with the former recognizing the latter as its conjugal twin and the relation between India and Iran going downhill, India has to bear far reaching consequences in the post Af-Pak world. Where Pakistan is sanguine about Obama’s new Af-Pak policy, India seems worried about its national security once US withdraws its NATO forces from the area. Lets cast a glance on who’s the part of problem, what is on stake and how India is going to deal with the mess in which she is destined to be thrown in the post Af-Pak era.

The Af-Pak policy of Obama’ government has direct ramifications for India and the South-Central-Asian region. After the failure of Af-Pak policy-I, there are doubts about the successful conclusion of the Af-Pak policy-II. There are other issues that add up to the suspicion, such as, giving undue advantage to Pakistan and repeatedly ignoring the role of India in the war against terrorism. The London Conference on Afghanistan, held in 2010, gave some indications which were severely against India in terms of national security.

As it’s known to the world that Al-Qaeda and Taliban are nurtured in Pakistan and they also originate from there, Obama’s silence over the issue has created problems for India. The other strategy of Obama to escalate the troops in Afghanistan will have enduring consequences for India as the terrorist groups get deflected to India and wreak havoc. Obama’s premature strategy of first escalating the troops for a short span of time in Afghanistan and then start withdrawing it from July 2011 is only going to embolden the terror groups and, this will also encourage Indian specific terrorist outfits like LeT (Lashkar-e-Toiba) and JeM (Jaish-e-Muhammad). Obama’s policy of appeasement of Pakistan is giving a wrong signal to the terrorists.

Obama seems to be least interested in wiping out terrorism as a whole. He is more concerned about terrorism in Afghanistan and keeps quiet on the issue of terrorism being nourished by Pakistan. He has never emphasized on the need of dispatching troops to Pakistan or, attacking the non-tribal areas in Pakistan, where terrorist leaders are believed to be hiding. He doesn’t tend to take the notice of the fact that all the evil things that are done in Afghanistan are also being done in Pakistan. He went on to give Pakistan a front-row seat in the war against terrorism. Obama’s appeasement of Pakistan despite knowing the fact that it is using terrorism as its state policy is extremely worrying for India.

The other damaging aspect of Obama’s Af-Pak policy is, his entrusting China with the custody of peace and stability in South Asia and, also monitoring India and Pakistan. It’s going to further disappoint India given China’s unconditional affinity for India’s sworn enemy Pakistan and its aggressive posturing against India in recent months. Obama’s giving supervisory position to those nations that are already party to dispute in the region and constantly ignoring India in the process of making peace in the region is getting incomprehensible day by day.

We as Indians need to understand that all the steps taken by Obama’s administration in the direction of eradicating terrorism are only to suit America’s interest. The war on terrorism was initiated for the benefit of America and is being concluded with the same intention, with strategically declaring partial success as victory in the war against terrorism, as soon as its interests are fulfilled in Afghanistan. It’s not going to focus on terrorism being nurtured in Pakistan, because it’s America’s satellite state and, only appeasing this state is in the direct interest of America. Joining America in the war is not going to benefit India in any way. It’s the high time India opened its eyes to see the truth. India needs to rework its foreign policy which is more pragmatic and India-specific. It needs to be more strategic in dealing with foreign affairs and, most importantly, it should outgrow the image of being a soft-state and should decisively deal with its problems like infiltration, insurgency and cross-border terrorism to enhance its national security. Forging strategic alliances in the region will also be in India’s interest.

Sangya Supatra