4 Dec 2011

Why India needs to intervene

Despite the anger in Pakistan regarding the NATO strike, it would be a wise decision for India to play the peacemaker between Pakistan and USA.

With the emotions of the populace boiling up, it is rare to see the leaders of a country take the right decision instead of the popular one. The leaders in Pakistan are faced with the same puzzle at the moment. With anger against the NATO and the USA rising, it would be wise for the Pakistani leadership to look at their present situation in a whole some manner and not overlook one aspect just because the pressure on the other aspect to be viewed is greater.

All the warnings, talks and decisions that are being given/taken by the civilian government/army in Pakistan would have tremendous consequences not only for Pakistan but also for the region as a whole. The US-Pakistani relationship has had a lot of bumps ever since the Abottabad raid but since then, this can be said to be the single worst incident in the relations of the two country. 

US presence in Pakistan and Afghanistan is essential for India's national security and also the security of the Indian interests is heavily dependent on the US presence there fore the time being at least, as India starts to play a greater role in Afghanistan and have a greater say in matters. Thus, the removal of the US boots from Pakistan would be a major blow to India and its interests. With the vacating of the Shamsi Airbase (if that happens), the entire incident would be a major strategic victory for the Taliban, which has many sympathizers in the Pakistan Army, which is making attempts to come back to power in Afghanistan.

India would now require to act in order to protect its interests. First of all, the Indian administration must ensure that Pakistan gets the message that India sympathizes with them and then slowly and steadily work would need to be done to ensure that the US do not vacate the Shamsi Airbase. Many in Pakistan have already viewed this 'accidental' attack as a direct attack by USA and India on their sovereignty, which has already been an issue of contention between the once upon a time allies (USA and Pakistan) for quite some time. Any more fuel into this fire would only result in consequences for the entire region including China, who want the US to exit from the region in order for them to achieve a greater level of influence on the struggling Afghan civilian government.

With the exit of the US troops from the region it would be very easy for the Taliban to take back control of the areas near the North-Western border of Pakistan and Afghanistan, which has very limited government presence with majority of the area being tribal in nature guaranteeing a firm base for the Taliban to make a comeback into the region and the regional politics.

India would need to bring the two allies to the table and ensure that both of them engage in a healthy discussion and sort out their differences at the earliest, if India wants to ensure a peaceful and stable neighbourhood. Manmohan Singh could play a major role in bringing the two to the table using the respect and influence that he has earned in the government circles of the both, the US and Pakistan.

Till then it can be expected that with the pressure on the government and the army in Pakistan building up to take a strict action against the US, the relations between the two allies can only expected to go downhill, if there is one. The US would need to play calmly at the moment in order to prevent the situation from worsening. But it sure isn't going to be a easy journey to keep track of unless and until India does not intervene.