With Pakistan again cosying up to the US, can Washington be trusted?

The Pakistan-US-UK ties remain strong. Pakistan’s removal from the FATF’s ‘grey list’ and recent $3 billion IMF loan to Pakistan had an obvious nod from the US.

US Secretary of Defense Lloyd J Austin III and Pakistan’s Chief of Army Staff (COAS) General Asim Munir

The attack on a Hindu temple in Kashmore area of Sindh Province of  Pakistan on July 16 by some eight-nine “dacoits” using rocket launchers and another report of 30 Hindus, including women and children, held hostage by “criminal gangs” in the same region; is being portrayed as retaliation to Seema Haider, a Pakistani mother of four, who entered India illegally after falling in love with a Hindu boy while playing an online gaming platform. The story has all the makings of an ISI operation with the woman possibly trained as a suicide bomber and the so-called dacoits and criminal gangs the extension of ISI’s proxy boots.

On April 20, five army soldiers were killed and one seriously wounded when Pakistan-sponsored terrorists fired at an army vehicle in Rajouri sector of Jammu and Kashmir. In another incident in the same sector on May 5, five Special Forces personnel were killed. However, India did not exercise periodic political proclamations that the fight will be taken to where the threat originated from.  This would have buoyed the ISI to carry on its proxy war on India. Hence, infiltration bids into J&K are continuing, as are incidents of terrorist attacks within J&K.  

On July 16, a US-Pakistan Joint Police Training Centre was inaugurated in Nowshera, Pakistan with Donald Bloom, US ambassador to Pakistan attending the ceremony. The facility gives a foothold to the US in the area. The US is also providing the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa police with $3 million worth of armored vehicles, bulletproof jackets and helmets.

The Pakistan-US-UK ties remain strong. Pakistan’s removal from the FATF’s ‘grey list’ and recent $3 billion IMF loan to Pakistan had an obvious nod from the US. Despite the US forces' rout from Afghanistan, largely because of Pakistani support to the Taliban, the then Pakistan Army chief General Qamar Javed Bajwa made an official visit to Washington in 2022 and signed a deal worth $450 million to repair Pakistan’s aging fleet of F-16 fighter jets; recall the US giving F-16s to Pakistan on the pretext of ‘counter terrorism’.

Change in nuclear strategy

The UK has been procuring artillery ammunition from Pakistan and supplying the same to Ukraine. Britain hosts dozens of Pakistan Army officers on training courses annually. Pakistan Army officers also receive training from MI5 and MI6 (Britain’s domestic and foreign intelligence services) through courses at the Chicksands Royal Air Force Base, which is an intelligence facility in Bedfordshire. In August 2022, the then Pakistani army chief General Qamar Javed Bajwa was the Chief Guest at the passing out parade of the UK’s Royal Military Academy at Sandhurst.

In February 2023, Pakistan Army chief General Asim Munir made a 5-day visit to the UK. This was followed by British Army chief General Patrick Sanders making a 5-day visit to Pakistan commencing May 30 and promising to enhance Britain’s  intelligence and military cooperation with Pakistan.

In yesteryears, Pakistan’s nuclear strategy was to use nuclear weapons on its own territory in case an Indian offensive reached areas considered critical by Islamabad. But now the news is that Pakistan is deploying tactical nuclear weapons (TNWs). This is a dangerous development, more so because of Pakistan’s political instability and the radicalization of its army.

There is speculation that this change in nuclear strategy is on advice from China. But it could well be as suggested by the US or rather the CIA and MI-6. The logic used may be that even if Pakistan uses an odd TNW, India’s political dispensation would hesitate to retaliate, despite its declared policy of massive retaliation, for fear of the Pakistan-China nexus and Chinese reaction in the event of damage to the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor. US scholars have been saying the same in case China uses TNWs to invade India.  

US intentions suspect

Pakistan allowed Sikhs For Justice (SFJ) to establish an office in Karachi much before the Kartarpur Corridor was opened in November 2019 and the ISI linked up the SFJ with the Chinese intelligence. But the recent activism by pro-Khalistan elements in attacking Indians and Indian missions, targeting Indian diplomats, protests, posters, defacing of temples and the like by the US-led Anglo-Saxon group of the US, Canada, the UK and Australia would have been coordinated by Washington.  

The US accorded a red carpet welcome to Prime Minister Narendra Modi during his recent visit to the US. The joint statement issued by the White House said that the US and India are among the “closest partners” in the world and mentioned “warm bonds of family and friendship”. But immediately thereafter, the EU Parliament passed a resolution accusing the Modi government of polarizing the society, human rights violations and killing of Christians in Manipur. India has said that Manipur is an internal matter but don’t we know that the EU has been dancing to the tune of Washington since the end of World War II?   

It is no secret that the US wants to destabilize South Asia to meet its own strategic goals. The Middle East has finally united against the US-NATO warmongering over the past decades. A trapped Europe is already suffering America’s warm hugs and stabs in the back and Ukraine stands destroyed with America’s war on Russia. Has the game of backstabbing of India begun?

(The author is an Indian Army veteran. Views are personal.)  

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