|By Lt. General P.C. Katoch (Retd)
Former Director General of Information Systems, Indian Army
The US National Intelligence Agency (NIA) has blamed Pakistan for deteriorating India-Pak relations and warned that the ties might worsen further if another "high- profile" terrorist attack emanates from across the border this year.
Testifying before the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence on May 11, Daniel Coats, Director NIA said, "They (Indo-Pak relations) might deteriorate further in 2017, especially in the event of another high-profile terrorist attack in India that New Delhi attributes to originating in or receiving assistance from Pakistan", adding, "Easing of heightened India-Pak tension, including negotiations to renew official dialogue, will probably hinge in 2017 on a sharp and sustained reduction of cross-border attacks by terrorist groups based in Pakistan and progress in the Pathankot investigation". Coats further said that Pakistan is concerned about its international isolation due to its dwindling position against India's rising international status, expanded foreign outreach and deepening ties with the US, adding, "Pakistan will likely turn to China to offset its isolation, empowering a relationship that will help Beijing to project influence into the Indian Ocean".
He noted that Pakistan will probably be able to manage its internal security but Pakistani-based terrorist groups will present a sustained threat to the US interests in the region and continue to plan and conduct attacks in India and Afghanistan, adding that the emerging CPEC will probably offer militants and terrorists additional targets. Shortly after the above testimony, US imposed sanctions against Hayatullah Ghulam Muhammad (Haji Hayatullah), Ali Muhammad Abu Turab, Inayat-ur Rahman, and a purported charity managed by Inayat-ur Rahman, the Welfare and Development Organization of Jamaat-ud-Dawah for Quran and Sunnah (WDO); in a bid to disrupt funding of LeT and its front for charitable activities, the Jamaat-ud-Dawah, the Taliban, Jamaat-ul-Dawa al-Qu'ran (JDQ), ISIS and ISIS-Khorasan. Coats statement "Pakistan will likely turn to China to offset its isolation" is laughable - where is the "likely" Uncle Sam? The sanctions part again makes no difference because names of terror organizations change at the drop of a hat in Pakistan, accompanied with new set of front organizations. Sure, the US has stated that future Indo-Pak relations depends on Pakistan including investigations in the Patahankot IAF base attack, but this is a bland statement with no pressure on Pakistan.
There is actually no change in the US policy in giving Pakistan a free-hand in exporting terror as long as it helps keep the US mainland safe and US assets in foreign countries not targeted by Pakistani proxies. Saying that Pakistan will likely turn to China because of India's rise is poor joke considering it is US that turned a blind eye to China proliferating nuclear technology to Pakistan and both US and China supporting Pakistan is the mother hatchery of global terrorism.
Successive US administrations and all western think tanks love to keep up the narrative of nuclear war in the Subcontinent but have done sweet nothing to penalize Pakistan despite its fast multiplying nuclear arsenal, particularly tactical nuclear weapons (TNWs). The bottom-line is that the Trump administration has proposed no penalties for Pakistan for fomenting terror in India and Afghanistan. It continues to buy the same Pakistani narrative, supported by the US and China past decades' that poor little Pakistan too is 'victim of terror'. Naturally, the US would not dare speak about China's support to Pakistan's terror export. In fact, Coats's testimony is unambiguously clear that as long as Pakistan's double dealing continues, there won't be any imminent threat to US interests.
Not without reason Ashley J Tellis of Carnegie Endowment had stated in 2012, "India being continuously subjected to terror actually suits many (read including US and the West) India is a sponge that absorbs global terror." All this is based on the straight jacket created by the CIA that break up of Pakistan would be dangerous for the world, despite the fact that the US has broken up and ravaged so many countries. Kevin Hulbert, former CIA Station Chief in Islamabad describes Pakistan as the bank that is "too big to fail", or "too big to allow to fail" more appropriately, because allowing the bank to fail could have catastrophic impacts on the greater economy. He doesn't elaborate if the bank he talks of is the bank of proxy forces, available to both US and China to further their own national interests - 'boots by proxy'. So, he very conveniently adds, "In the end, while Pakistan is not the most dangerous country in the world, it probably is the most dangerous country for the world. There seem few levers to pull in Pakistan today, but if we pursue a strategy of containment or disengagement, things will only get worse". The Indian media is known for its propensity over sundry statements by US with respect to Pakistan, as by Director NIA in instant case, hallucinating Pakistan is being put on trial will continue. However, we should be pretty clear that that India has to fight its own war against terror.