News & Views
ONE of the primary functions of a diplomat is to build and improve relations with his foreign host country. But G Parthasarathy, former India’s career diplomat and ambassador in many countries, had served as consul-general in Karachi and India’s high commissioner in Islamabad but did not contribute towards improving relations. In his recent article captioned ‘The Chinese way’, G. Parthasarathy stated: “Unable to repay its debts to China, Sri Lanka is handing over the power plant, Hambantota Port and possibly the airport to Chinese control in a debt/equity swap…Sri Lanka now spends 90 per cent of all government revenues to service debts,” which is not true. Drawing parallelism with Sri Lanka, he conjectured that Pakistan would also face similar situation. Just ask the Sri Lankans how devastatingly they had been stabbed in the back and bitten by Indian establishment.
It was India’s RAW intelligence agency that had recruited Sri Lankan Tamil youth in multitudes, who were trained by the Indian army in its training centres, armed and bankrolled them, and unleashed them on the neighboring island state to subjugate it. For almost three decades, the Sri Lankans had tried to quell the India-sponsored blood-soaked Tamil militancy. India has arrogated to itself the role of determining the extent of independence and sovereignty its neighbours will enjoy. In 2009, India had rebuked Sri Lanka for expressing a desire to procure radars and other smaller equipment from Pakistan and China, M.K. Narayanan, then India’s National Security Advisor, had said: “We are the big power in this region. We strongly believe that whatever requirements the Sri Lankan government has, they should come to us. And we will give them what we think is necessary,” he declared.
Regarding CPEC, Parthasarathy wrote: “The entire project is premised on the belief that the Chinese-built Gwadar Port on the Makran Coast of Balochistan will emerge as a major industrial hub and naval base…Inter-provincial rivalries have also risen, with concerns that the prime beneficiary of the project will be the dominant Punjab province, with little or no economic benefit for the already alienated people of Balochistan… It is a project that enters Pakistan through the PoK, disregarding the fact that New Delhi considers this as part of its territory.” The author was part of Indian officialdom, which is why he peddles official version. The question is how India could consider it as part of its territory when it is a disputed territory and UNSC resolutions has given the people of Kashmir right to decide about their future through plebiscite under the aegis of UN to join India or Pakistan.
Last year, in one of his articles he had tried to create misunderstandings between Pakistan and brotherly countries like Saudi Arabia and Iran. He bragged that Saudi Arabia and Arab Gulf neighbors would be cooperating with India in dealing with Islamic radicals and seeking enhanced security cooperation with New Delhi. But within few days of publication of Parthasarthy’s article, OIC Contact Group on Jammu and Kashmir had met on sidelines of 13th OIC Summit and reiterated OIC’s continued support to people of IoK in their just struggle for realization of their right to self-determination in accordance with UNSC resolutions. This knocks bottom of Parthasarathy’s pretence that Arab countries are disillusioned with Pakistan. India had succeeded for a while in creating misunderstanding between Saudi Arabia and Pakistan as well as between UAE and Pakistan.
However, with the arrest and confessional statement of RAW terrorist Kulbushan Yadev, India stands fully exposed, as Pakistan has now concrete evidence of India’s vile activities and state terrorism. Pakistan had rightly taken up the matter with Iran, and sought its help to arrest Kulbhushan’s accomplices who are still in Iran. The Chief of Iranian Armed Forces Major General Muhammad Baqeri warned Pakistan that “Iran would hit terrorist safe havens inside that country if the government does not control militants who carry out cross-border attacks. The border area on the Pakistani side has turned into a haven and training ground for Saudi-hired terrorists, who enjoy the US endorsement.” After General Baqeri’s threat, Pakistan’s chattering classes and liberal fascists started raising questions as to why three of Pakistan’s neighbors do not trust Pakistan, and accuse it of nurturing terrorist outfits.
They conveniently forget that India right from day one did not accept Pakistan in its heart. Afghanistan had refused to recognize Pakistan when all the countries of the world had accorded recognition. As regards Iran, Pakistan had excellent relations for over three decades but since revolution in Iran, differences emerged perhaps because of good relations between Pakistan and Saudi Arabia. Of course, Pakistan cannot compromise on its security, be it neighbors, friends or otherwise; and hurling threats to Pakistan would further spoil the relations. In the past, Pakistan had stood by Iran and supported its right to use nuclear technology for peaceful purposes. In November 2009, India had joined the US in voting against Iran in a resolution passed by IAEA censuring Iran over its controversial nuclear program, and demanding to stop uranium enrichment. Earlier, India had voted against Iran in September 2005 and February 2006, whereas Pakistan had abstained.
Indian think tanks and government are averse to the Chinese investment in Sri Lanka and elsewhere; earlier it had launched a propaganda campaign against CPEC. However, India is trying to woo Sri Lanka by forging economic ties in order to counter growing influence of China. On Wednesday, a pact on economic cooperation was signed in the presence of visiting Sri Lankan PM Ranil Wikremesinghe and his host Prime Minister Narendra Modi. According to Indian external ministry’s statement, “both sides expressed their commitment to ensuring that this mutually beneficial agenda is expeditiously implemented.” India is spending fortune in grants and investment in Sri-Lanka, Nepal, Afghanistan and Bangladesh, but will not be able to sustain it or match the resources of China. It has failed to honor its commitments so far as Iran is concerned, but Iran and India’s interests converge in the region.
—The writer is a senior journalist based in Lahore.