Brig Anil Gupta
The US military based in Afghanistan became more pro-active and frequency of drone attacks inside Pakistan territory increased. During the end of Obama Administration, the American think tanks, strategic analysts and opinion makers became more vociferous with the demand of forcing Pakistan to stop abetting terror in Afghanistan with particular reference to Haqqani network and Taliban. Afghan President Karzai squarely blamed Pakistan for terror activities inside Afghanistan. The American effort to withdraw its troops from Afghanistan was hampered due to worsening security environment. Pakistan did not pay much heed to American warnings because it had by now strengthened its strategic ties with Aunt Xing (China). The cross border terror emanating from Pakistan suited the strategic interests of both Pakistan and Aunt Xing in the region.
Gradually, the anger against Pakistan in US increased with bi-partisan demands of acting against Pakistan as it got increasingly exposed as fountainhead of global terror. After President Trump assumed office, the American stand hardened. Trump put Pakistan on notice and sent emissaries including his Defence Secretary and the Secretary of State to advise Pakistan to start behaving but to no avail. Finally on 01 January this year Trump tweeted, “The United States has foolishly given Pakistan more than 33 billion dollars in aid over the last 15 years, and they have given us nothing but lies & deceit, thinking of our leaders as fools. They give safe haven to the terrorists we hunt in Afghanistan, with little help. No more!” Resultantly,the Trump administration announced its decision to suspend the aid amounting to $1 billion for military equipment and another $900 million in payments to defray the cost of counterterrorism operations, saying it would remain frozen until Islamabad takes “decisive action” against the Afghan Taliban and the Haqqani network. There is widespread anger in Pakistan and it has almost decided to let go Uncle Sam and jump into the thorny lap of Aunt Xing. Pakistan is unwilling to tighten the screw on Haqqani network and Taliban due to its strategic compulsions. The defiance would depend upon Pakistan’s capacity to manage without American doles because the economic aid is yet to be banned by Uncle Sam.
This probably is the last chance, Trump Administration is planning to give to Pakistan before it takes the ultimate decision of declaring Pakistan as a “state sponsor of terrorism” and cut off all types of aid. The immediate action to follow would be to remove Pakistan from the “most favoured Non-NATO ally” status.
Pakistan military, which rules the roost, is pushing the nation into the lap of Auntie Xing without realising that China unlike USA believes in giving loans and not doles and grants. The loans carry large interest rates and failure to repay leads to strict actions by Aunt Xing. The recent example of what happened in Sri Lanka, Humbantota Port, has failed to awaken the Pakistanis. The analysts predict that the way Pakistan is becoming dependent on Aunt Xing, it may one day become its colony, recalling the days of East India Company. There are murmurs in Pak civil society against the same but nobody cares for them when the all-powerful military is portraying the Chinese Belt Road initiative, China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) as a panacea of all ills Pakistan is faced with. China’s interest in Pakistan is driven by both geopolitics and geo-economics. China has played a major role in the development of Pakistan’s nuclear infrastructure, especially when increasingly stringent export controls in Western countries made it difficult for Pakistan to acquire plutonium and uranium enriching equipment from elsewhere such as the Chinese help in building the Khushab reactor, which plays a key role in Pakistan’s production of plutonium. A subsidiary of the China National Nuclear Corporation contributed in Pakistan’s efforts to expand its uranium enrichment capabilities by providing 5,000 custom made ring magnets, which are a key component of the bearings that facilitate the high-speed rotation of centrifuges. China has also provided technical and material support in the completion of the Chashma Nuclear Power Complex and plutonium. China can easily be targeted for nuclear
(To be continued)
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