The silence of the US and its Western allies on Indian oppression in Occupied Kashmir does not surprise those who are well aware of their track record of hypocritical and selective stances on human rights violations and their time-tested strategy of looking at conflicts and disputes in different parts of the world through the prism of their own strategic interests.
Kashmir is a classic example of their hypocrisy and inhumane indifference to the suffering of people fighting for their inalienable right of self-determination. What a shame that they even do not mention the UN resolutions on Kashmir. While referring to events in the valley, they simply restrict themselves to ‘hopes’ of an end to the violence without ever doing anything to have the issue resolved.
In a press briefing, State Department Spokesman John Kirby, referring to the prevailing situation in Kashmir, said “we are obviously concerned by the reports of rising intolerance and violence in India. We urge the government to do everything to protect citizens and to hold the perpetrators accountable”. The inference one can draw from his statement is that the US also regards Kashmir as a part of India. The violence, as he preferred to describe it, is happening in Kashmir and not India. He said the US encourages all sides to make efforts to find a peaceful solution to the problem; this is nothing more than the usual rhetoric.
During the election campaign for his first stint of power, President Obama did recognise Kashmir as a dispute that needed to be resolved to end conflict in South Asia, and even made it one of his priorities. But when he actually assumed power his enthusiasm started ebbing away. Obama has also has been looking at the issue from the perspective of US interests in the region, which he and successive US administrations thought were best served by tilting towards India. Both the Republican and the Democratic governments have followed the same course over the years.
The Kashmir issue has become a casualty of US strategic interests, American counter-China policy under which it is trying to prop up India as a regional superpower and counter-weight to China and its commercial and political interests. Deals on civil-nuclear technology with India by the US, UK and France, NSG waiver for India in violation of the provisions of the NPT, efforts for India’s formal admittance to the NSG and support for permanent Indian membership of the UN Security Council are a ranting testimony of their hypocrisy. They do not want to annoy India or allow the situation in Kashmir to affect their ties with the country – no matter how many Kashmiris are slaughtered in cold blood.
In its ties with Pakistan the US approach has invariably been of a tactical nature – rather than strategic. It has always favoured India on crucial issues and looked at its relations with Pakistan with reference to its relations with India. In the Afghan conflict too Pak-US relations are determined with respect to the situation in Afghanistan rather than a bilateral plank.
Senator John McCain, who visited Pakistan in the first week of July, has in an article published in the Financial Times also pointed out this phenomenon in these words: “For too long, the US has viewed the bilateral relationship only through the prism of Afghanistan. To achieve real progress, the US must make clear its enduring commitment to Pakistan’s stability and economic growth”.
Emphasising Pakistan’s pivotal role for the success of the US mission in Afghanistan, he said: “The US mission in Afghanistan is immeasurably more difficult without Pakistan’s cooperation in taking on terrorists that operate across the Afghan-Pakistani border at will. That is why enhanced cooperation between Afghanistan and Pakistan is essential. Likewise, the strategic imperative for improved relations between the US and Pakistan is clear – for the safety of American troops and the success of their mission in Afghanistan, for the stability of the region and for the national security of both Pakistan and the US”.
During his visit McCain praised Pakistan’s efforts in regard to action in North Waziristan and fighting terrorism; but even he toed the line of the US administration, saying: “For its part Pakistan must take on and eliminate havens for terrorist groups such as the Afghan Taliban, the Haqqani Network, Lashkar-e-Taiba and Jaish-e-Mohammad that operate within its borders, attack its neighbours and kill US forces.
“Pakistan has the opportunity to prove the sceptics wrong again by taking on the terrorists groups that target Afghan, Indian and US forces in the region with the same energy with which it has prosecuted the fight against the Pakistan Taliban. By taking on all terrorists groups operating in its territory, Pakistan will find that the US remains willing and able to assist in this fight and develop an enduring strategic partnership.”
While his discourse rightly points out what is required on the part of the US, and the resolution of the Afghan conundrum and fighting the menace of terrorism, he has also shown an unmistakable inclination to toe the Indian line on acts of terrorism within its territory, completely ignoring the acts of terrorism within Pakistan carried out by RAW agents and India’s role in Balochistan on which three dossiers have been handed over to the UN and US administration by Pakistan.
The arrest of Kalbhushan Yadav, a serving Indian navy officer in Pakistan who has confessed to sponsoring acts of terrorism in Pakistan is an irrefutable evidence of Indian sponsorship of terrorism.
Terrorism is terrorism no matter who sponsors and abets it and wherever it is perpetrated. It needs to be condemned with equal ferocity instead of being selective to protect strategic commercial and political interests. That is sheer hypocrisy.
Senator John McCain is better advised to give up this hypocrisy and also advise the US administration to do the same if he really wants the evolution of a strategic partnership between Pakistan and the US.
The writer is a freelance contributor.
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