Tuesday, March 29, 2005

Sleeping with the regional bully

In yet another highly biased nay ignorant New York Times (NYT) editorial - Fuel for South Asia's Arms Race (03-29-2005) - which seems to be written by an Indian intern, in a typical hypocritical manner blasts Bush administration for giving its front-line ally Pakistan few F-16 fighter aircrafts, which acually amounts to peanuts.

The NY Times states, “The United States has far better ways to reward Pakistan for its helpful but selective pressure on Al Qaeda and the Taliban than President Bush's decision last week to break with 15 years of policy and sell Pakistan high-performance fighters whose only plausible use is to threaten India.”

Here is a newsflash for NYT, the only country Pakistan had fought wars is India. The only country which has moved its military against Pakistan is India. The only country that has dismembered Pakistan is India. The only country’s government officials to have publicly threatened Pakistan’s sovereignty after it exploded its nuclear weapons in 1998 is India. The only country in a clear violation of Shimla Accord to have illegally occupied parts of Azad Kashmir - Turbat and Kamar-la is India. The only country to have threatened Pakistan’s security by putting its million men armed to teeth military on Eastern Pakistani border for a year is India, and still for some illogical reason NYT believes using F-16s in the defense of Pakistan from its hostile and overwhelmingly armed eastern neighbor is appalling and are threatening to India?

The NY Times states, “Decades of swollen military budgets have virtually bankrupted Pakistan, leaving its government unable to afford adequate spending on education and job-creating economic modernization. Instead, its leaders have fed the Pakistani people a diet of belligerent nationalism and projects like nuclear weapons that are designed to enhance a sense of prestige.”

Had the NYT editorial staff done its homework, it might have dawned on them that there are worst countries than Pakistan, e.g. India has the world’s largest population (close to 700 million) that lives below the poverty line, i.e. less than $2 per day. Thanks to huge looses to American jobs, only in very recent years India has been barely able to increase its GDP to a level where now they can afford to go on a wild weapons buying sprees, and that too when it still has 700 million dirt-poor Indians who still lack the basic necessities of life like clean drinking water, nutritious food and sanitation system. Even today, over 700 million Indians answer nature’s call under wide open blue skies. It is well advised that NYT editorial staff should research the basic facts before going to lengths to defend its favorite son, i.e. India. It is India that is busy accumulating conventional and strategic weapons like there is no tomorrow. How come NYT always fails to notice India’s mad dash to become the regional power, but bends out of shape over Bush administration giving a chance to Pakistan to defend itself from the regional bully?

The NY Times states, “…Congress should think hard about the messages the United States wants to send to future proliferators. Pakistan developed nuclear weapons of its own after refusing to sign international nonproliferation treaties. Worse, it has spread nuclear weapons technology to Iran, North Korea, Libya…”

NYT is right in advising the Congress. While Congress is at it, how about it also take a note of which South Asian country has caused the most regional instability and has been in armed conflicts with virtually all of its neighbors? I am sure the name that will come to mind is India. As far as nuclear proliferation goes, how will we punish US and Soviet Union for starting the tradition?

The weapons systems India had been buying in only last couple of years range from Russian aircraft carrier (along with Mig-29 war planes), French and German subs, Russian top notch SU-30MKIs, new Russian main battle tanks, French Mirage-2000N (nuclear capable strategic bombers), ballistic missiles, mid-air refueling tanker to Phalcon AWACS systems, and for some unknown reason people like NYT editorial staff are blaming Pakistan for starting an arms race by daring to purchase mere 24 F-16?

It’s a high time that NYT comes out of its deep comma and take a notice of how the armed to teeth regional bullies like India have made the life of its smaller neighbors unbearably insecure. The Bush administration has prudently and justifiably tried to neutralize the bully’s aggression by barely reducing India’s overwhelming numerical military dominance.

As far as peace is concerned, there will never be a long lasting peace in South Asia and in specific between India and Pakistan as long as both countries either fear or trust each other, and this can only be achieved by bringing both countries at close parity in military terms. Either disarm both of them or equip both of them at parity where they will mutually respect other country’s potential to severely damage its national interests.

Adnan Gill

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