The Biden administration has unveiled a $450-million deal to modernise Pakistan’s F-16 fleet without informing India and without any concern this could harm America’s so-called strategic relations with India. Somehow Pakistan remains strategically important to the US administrations over India, no matter the proclamations by America.
|The Author is Former Director General of Information Systems and A Special Forces Veteran, Indian Army|
America’s Joe Biden Administration has openly rekindled its love affair with Pakistan, not that the CIA had stopped bedding Pakistan’s ISI. Soon after Biden became the POTUS, the US signaled it wants to re-establish “strategic” ties with Islamabad. The FATF delegation which recently visited Pakistan was given a lavish treatment. Pakistan will be out of the ‘grey list’ of the FATF in October 2022 with Washington’s blessings. Military aid and assistance to Pakistan was resumed by the US knowing full well that bulk of the financial aid is lapped up by the military and used to promote terrorism. The IMF also has opened its coffers for Pakistan courtesy America with an immediate loan of $1.1 billion.
It is no secret that the US looked the other way while China gave nuclear technology to Pakistan. Both China and the US have armed Pakistan to the teeth; China against India and US doing similarly together with the utopia that Pakistan will move away from China (sic). The US equipped Pakistan with F-16 fighter aircraft initially in the 1980’s, to fight the Soviet Union then in occupation of Afghanistan – not for counter terrorism. This American action was also concurrent to Pakistan arming and training the Mujahideen, with assistance both from the US and China, to oust the Soviets from Afghanistan.
Presently, Pakistan maintains four active squadrons of US-supplied F-16 fighter aircraft. The Biden administration has now unveiled a $450-million deal to modernise Pakistan’s F-16 fleet without informing India and without any concern this could harm America’s so-called strategic relations with India. This is despite the US being aware that Pakistan used F-16s to cross the Line of Control in J&K during 2019.
According to US Secretary of State Antony Blinken, the US is helping Pakistan maintain old F-16 fighters and there is no talk of delivering new F-16 aircraft to Pakistan
It is common knowledge that the location of al-Qaeda leader Ayman al-Zawahiri in Kabul killed in Afghanistan in an American drone strike was not only shared by Pakistan but the drone overflew Pakistani airspace for and after the strike. Pakistan on its part is not only providing ‘proxy’ boots on ground to the West, but is also supplying artillery ammunition for Ukraine, which is picked up by the British and packaged by them for onward supply to Ukraine. So, it is little wonder that US Secretary of State Antony Blinken keeps harping on America’s commitment for expanding the US-Pakistan partnership.
According to Antony Blinken, the US is helping Pakistan maintain old F-16 fighters and there is no talk of delivering new F-16 aircraft to Pakistan. Following a meeting with the Indian External Affairs Minister S. Jaishankar on September 27, 2022, Blinken said, “This is a maintenance programme for the F-16s that Pakistan already has, these are not new aircraft, not new systems, not new weapons,” According to him, Washington's support for the Pakistan Air Force allows the country to repel terrorist threats. At the same time, the US is urging India and Pakistan to use diplomatic methods to resolve differences.
The hilarious part is the Biden administration justifying the latest $450 million package deal to modernise Pakistan’s F-16s by claiming that these cutting-edge avionics would advance counterterrorism? No doubt Jo Biden is suffering from dementia, as is demonstrated by him publicly, especially when his teleprompter has a snag, but F-16s to improve counterterrorism is akin to ‘pipping’ Pakistan and ‘pimping’ for Pakistan’s generation of terror.
Pakistan can get away with anything; give refuge to global terrorists like Osama bin-Laden and others, continue its state policy of terrorism, terror-financing and even be the cause for American and British nationals killed in Afghanistan.
All this proves that Pakistan can get away with anything; give refuge to global terrorists like Osama bin-Laden and others, continue its state policy of terrorism, terror-financing and even be the cause for the Americans and the British military personnel and civilian nationals killed in Afghanistan. Yet, successive American and British administrations continue to woo Pakistan, while US Presidents, including Donald Trump and Joe Biden outwardly announce they would not tolerate Pakistan generating terrorism.
Whatever happened to the famous ‘Blackwell Plan’ to balkanize Pakistan? Isn’t this the right time to execute it by establishing an independent Balochistan with global support to cut off Pakistan and China’s access to the Arabian Sea? Given the dire state of Pakistan, what can be a better opportunity? But no, the US will not even think about it because it is too scared of taking up a fight directly with China. Moreover, America itself has been running amok over the past decades, attacking and destabilising regions to make money through wars. Its claims to righteousness, global order, democratic values are a farce – a country that uses terrorist organisations and appoints itself as a global policeman.
If the financial support to the 9/11 terror attacks from within Pakistan, together with multiple occasions when Islamabad double-timed America could not affect Washington’s love for Pakistan, it never will. What more can one expect after Pakistan engineered America’s humiliating defeat and rout from Afghanistan by supporting the Taliban and helped the Taliban through the so-called US-Taliban peace accord? The love-hate relationship between the Taliban and Pakistan is only because the Taliban (both Afghan and Pakistan) want the Talibanisation of Pakistan, but under the skin they both are as radicalised with similar aims. This is also a reason why the US loves a radical country like Qatar.
If the financial support to the 9/11 terror attacks from within Pakistan, together with multiple occasions when Islamabad double-timed America could not affect Washington’s love for Pakistan, it never will.
Somehow Pakistan remains strategically important to the US administrations over India, no matter the proclamations by America. That is why the US cared two hoots for China’s invasion in Eastern Ladakh in 2020. Years after the 1962 invasion of India, declassified documents in the US revealed that to Nehru’s call for assistance in wake of the Chinese aggression, the US response was to give some weapons to India but make sure that India and China never join hands. This US policy towards India has not changed much, save for the fact that the US wants to sell more and more weapons to India, capture the Indian market and keep hoping for a Sino-Indian war.
This is also one reason for the US to support and prop up Pakistan, aside from Pakistan being the conduit for its outreach to the Taliban in Afghanistan and to China. Under the circumstances, America’s friendship towards India will remain superficial, egged on by India’s defensive mentality. Whether another 9/11 would change the American attitude towards Pakistan remains doubtful, even as both Pakistan and Afghanistan have become a haven for terrorist organisations.