US Policy on Kashmir Can Ratchet Up Anti-Americanism in India

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If the Obama administration wants to know why anti-Americanism gets ratcheted up in different parts of the world, it need not look anywhere else, but look hard at the dangerous Af-Pak policy it is toying with at the expense of India and the inevitable fallouts that might result.

What kind of talks Under Secretary Nicholas Burns have in mind when he allegedly carried the US message to India that dialogue with Pakistan should resume once again? Can India trust Pakistan to walk the talk after nothing serious has been done after the Mumbai attacks that was hatched and perpetrated from Pakistani soil?

And talk with whom in the wake of the release by Pakistani courts of Hafeez Mohammad Saeed, the leader of the banned terror outfit, the Lashkar e Taiba, now masquerading as an NGO by the name of Jama’at-ud-Da’wah? His organization has been responsible for numerous terror attacks in India involving loss of innocent lives including the latest carnage in Mumbai last year.

Columnist Tavleen Singh has been spot on throwing the poser to the US administration when she wrote in the Indian Express why no one asked William Burns when he was in Delhi whether his country would be persuaded to have a ‘dialogue’ with Pakistan if Osama bin Laden were similarly arrested and released? This so called Professor Saeed proudly boasts of his organization’s covert jihad in Indian Kashmir.

When Under Secretary Burns spelt out his nation’s message that a solution to Kashmir should factor in the wishes of the Kashmiri people, he was bolstering the hands of the rogue elements in the Pakistani administration and the military. Weren’t they also singing the same tune even after 65% of the people of the state came out and voted in a free and fair election?

It is these narrow US-centric interests pursued by the Obama administration at the expense of the largest democracy in the world that rankles. And who is being shielded to bring forth messages like these from the US? A nation called Pakistan that is overtly expressing its covert operations to terrorize India over the decades which has been part of its state policy. To move Pakistani armed forces toward the Af-Pak border is more of a necessity to get the US ‘ war in Afghanistan going than getting justice for India .

Pakistan has moved much of its troops to the western border but left out a huge chunk that is eyeball to eyeball with Indian troops in the India’s Kashmir border. Veteran journalist M J Akbar rightly calls the US advice on Kashmir lunacy in a piece written for Times of India. If the US wants India to pull back troops so that on the other side Pakistan is ‘rest assured’ to move theirs to shore up the western sector where American interests are at stake, it would leave Kashmir in the buff. M J Akbar wrote in the same column, “If America wants a DMZ (De-Militarized Zone) in India they will first have to ensure a DTZ (De-Terrorised Zone) in Pakistan .”

But that is exactly what the US is shying away from so as not to irk Pakistan into not aiding their war effort on the west citing compulsions in the Indian border. With branded terrorists like Hafeez Sayeed walking free in Pakistan, can there be a chance of Indo-Pak dialogue resumption? Who would take care to stop the infiltration of terrorists into India through the mountainous terrain of Kashmir?

To get India to bare up the Kashmir border has been brewing in the US-UK administration as David Milliband also mentioned Kashmir and India’s role as a major node on the terror war hub when he came visiting India few months back. And shielding Pakistan has been going on for some time when a US official also sanctioned the initial customary denial by Pakistan that the terror attack on Sri Lankan cricketers emanated from outside.

Either the present US administration has got it all wrong on South Asia or is falling back on the age old tack of getting through with US interests even if it means treading on a few toes. What makes it more appalling is the new wave of change that the world had believed in along with millions of Americans when Obama took office could end up being too abrupt and premature. If terror acts and justice meted out to perpetrators get recalibrated to suit US interests, change may be believed by Americans, but not by Indians.

If the US cannot bring in to bear on Pakistan to bring in the element of trust instead of expecting India to take suicidal steps, it would be paving the way for renascent anti-Americanism to rear its head among a large cross section of Indian society once again.

Susenjit Guha is a freelance writer based in Kolkata. Contact Susenjit at [email protected] or at NewsBlaze.