Prof Abdul Shakoor Shah
THE US-China hostility has put the South Asian security, peace and stability at stake. China-India confrontation backed by the US is endangering the regional balance of power. If the current situation prolongs, South Asia will be pushed to a nuclear flash point. The US-Indian ties have pulled Pak-India bilateral dialogue to the worst margin. The US’ South Asian policy is and has always been Indian centric. The US-China economic, psychological and trade war is being fought in the Asian grounds. The US is hankering after some regional giant to cope with Chinese influence in South Asia, Central Asian and in the Middle East. The US might Choose Pakistan for this purpose as it has done against Soviet Union but now the situation is the opposite. Pak-China all weather friendship has compelled the US to favour India. India itself has been reluctant to align with the US, but now it is Indian compulsion to align itself with the US as it is left with no alternative after losing Russian back. There is least possibility of India-China cooperation as Pakistan is a die-hard friend of China. The US’ new Administration must put immediate heed to South Asian security before the evil eye blinks. All the South Asian powers are trying for stable and peaceful Afghanistan except India. India is backing terrorist activities in Afghanistan to pull on the US stay in the region for her vested interests. The Indian Army brass and political high ups are threatening Pakistan to attack Azad Kashmir and Gilgit-Baltistan. If the US is not taking serious interest in South Asian stability, its interests and regional security both will be jeopardized. The US is playing a double game with the South Asian states, on one hand it is proclaiming its role as mediator and on the other hand it is evidently backing and equipping India with the latest defence technology.
The US-India strategic partnership has created anxiety in the South Asian states. The smaller regional states which have always been victimized by Hindu mindset are perturbed about their sovereignty or even existence. The CPEC is indigestible both for the US and India. The emerging Pakistan and strengthening China are harbingers of Indian dream of regional supremacy. After Russian tap, the US is the last resort of Indian dreams of gaining regional monopoly. India has redesigned its terror activities and it has also appointed a special force to hinder CPEC. The US seems blind folded against Indian inhuman and callous atrocities in occupied Kashmir. Where there are the US’ interests, there seems to be no human rights violations, in fact the superpower is using the slogan of human rights and right to self-determination for her own interests rather than on humanitarian grounds. The US’ parental treatment to India will compel Pakistan to fully align with China and Russia. Pakistan has helped the US out in Afghan peace process oblivious to the reality of the US backing out from its three promises to Pakistan for being an ally against war on terror. Although the new US administration has issued some critical statements regarding Indian violation of human rights in occupied Kashmir, yet there is dire need of practical jobs rather than statements. It seems that the US-India ties will continue even after Trump. The US neither lets Pakistan and India plunge into war nor settles their long standing core nuclear flash point Kashmir. The US thinks, if the bone of contention between India and Pakistan is resolved, there will be no room for the US in the region as China-US rivalry and the US-Russia hostility. The US is also not on good terms with Iran as well. So the Kashmir issue is the sole bait for the US in the South Asian region.
The US-China confrontation and US-India strategic ties will build US pressure on Pakistan in nuclear development programs especially in regard to sea-based nuclear deterrence on the Indian demand for cooperation with the US. This will also favour the US interests in the Indian Pacific Ocean regardless of who holds office in Islamabad. The US will centralize these issues after her decamping Afghanistan. Security of Pakistani nuclear assets was also one of the three promises of the US for allying in the war on terror. The non-proliferation policy is anticipated to be revised in coming years. The South Asian states are bound to start a joint strategic dialogue to safeguard and secure South Asian security. All the stakeholders of South Asia will equally suffer by the situation created after the US-Indian strategic ties. The US had been watching Pakistan from the Afghan eyes and after its withdrawal from Afghanistan; the US will be looking through Indian lens. The regional factors are left with no alternative to build a joint strategic bloc in South Asia for their common interests. Pakistan is the major player in the arena as it can resolve the US-China and the US-Iran tensions as being closely connected to these two the US rivals economically, geo-strategically and ethno-culturally. China, Pakistan, Russian and Iran must join hands to deter the US influence in the region which is and has always been Indian centric. The US interests in the Indian Pacific Ocean also have longer term goals to strengthen its hold in the Middle East and to cope with Iranian phenomena. The Russians cannot set back in this regard though the USSR does not have any impending strategic danger, yet it will get severe jolts to its trade.
—The writer is Prof in English and columnist, based in Lahore.