|By Lt. General P.C. Katoch (Retd)
Former Director General of Information Systems, Indian Army
Writing in the Washington Post on March 3, Dan Lamothe in an article titled 'The US And India Are Deepening Military Ties - And China Is Watching' has referred to Admiral Harry B Harris Jr, US Pacific Command urging India to pursue even closer military ties with the US to strengthen a relatively new partnership in the region, as China expands its military footprint in ways that alarm its neighbors. Harris was speaking at the Raisina Dialogue which is a new Indian initiative focused on geopolitics and geo-economics. In his article, Lamothe draws attention to China's actions of installing military radar, HQ-9 surface-to-air missiles and fighter jets on several atolls in the South China Sea (SCS) in recent months. Lamothe also states that US Defense Secretary Ashton B. Carter and Frank Kendall, undersecretary of defense for acquisition, technology and logistics, are expected to visit India next month as the two countries continue to deepen relations. But then the US-India Defence Technology and Trade Initiative (DTTI) meetings are being held every six months, and US firm AeroVironment has already announced UAV partnership with Dynamic Technologies for co-developing the 'Cheel' UAV under the DTTI.
US Navy's Admiral John Richardson, visited India last month when India hosted a spectacular international fleet review. There is no doubt that India too is concerned about the Chinese aggressive portends in the SCS, disregard of the UNCLOS and international laws, and usurping of global commons. The India-Japan-US Trialogue is periodically being held, to which the US had recommended last year that Australia be added. At the same time Admiral Harris being from US Pacific Command, his area of responsibility extends from the Indo-Pak border eastwards. But while Lamothe says 'The US And India Are Deepening Military Ties - And China Is Watching' he fails to see the other side of the coin - 'The US And Pakistan Are Deepening Military Ties - And India Is Watching'. Indo-US cooperation and ties cannot be limited to cooperation on the high seas, Make in India and the DTTI. The fact remains that Pakistan continues to orchestrate terrorist attacks in both India and Afghanistan, of which there is more than enough evidence but the Obama administration is purposely not only looking the other way but also going on giving military and financial aid to the Pakistani military. Look at the farce of putting a price on the head of Hafiz Saeed who is given the red carpet by Pakistan, roaming free and spewing venom to generate more and more terror against India.
The recent action by the Obama Administration of sanctioning sale of F-16s is not a small matter either. These fighter jets will be used for butchering the hapless Baluchis or fighting against India and Afghanistan. Regional reporters in Pakistan have repeatedly said that before any air or artillery attacks in North Waziristan as part of Op 'Zarb-e-Azab', prior information is passed on by the military enabling terrorist leadership to escape. John Kerry's excuse that these F-16s are for 'maintaining balance' fools no body, as doesn't his perfunctory admonishment of Pakistan in context of latter's rapidly growing tactical nuclear weapons. It is also on record that the US looked the other way when China indulged in proliferation of nuclear technology to Pakistan and Pakistan proliferated further. Ironically, the US did not even question AQ Khan. As for Afghanistan, US scholars admit there is no way Pakistan can persuade the Taliban to join the peace process, US having failed over the years and with Chinese interests both in Pakistan already secure — yet the Pakistani charade continues. Ask the Afghans and they will tell you how many millions of Pakistanis have entered their country, how Pakistan is supporting and arming the Taliban and ISIS, and how Pakistani regulars are undertaking terrorist attacks in Afghanistan in conjunction their terrorist proxies. In India we have a situation today where Pakistan continues to perpetrate terrorist attacks through state supported so called non-state actors. This has become routine and the fact remains there are NO non-state actors in Pakistan because Pakistani Military-ISI is a State by itself whose protégés these terrorists are. Where is the cooperation from the US despite all the evidence and admissions by say David Headley, Shuja Pasha, even Musharraf, and Michael Hayden, former CIA Director through his book 'Playing to the Edge' expressing frustration about Pakistan not taking action against terrorist groups, particularly against al-Qaida, Taliban, LeT and the Haqqani network? Under this backdrop, readers can decide which military ties are deepening and who is watching.