News / Asia

Analysts: Fear of India Drives Pakistani Support for Militants

Supporters of political party Pakistan Muslim League hold a picture of army chief Gen. Ashfaq Parvez Kayani in Karachi, Pakistan. Pakistan's intelligence chief, Gen. Ahmed Shuja Pasha, admitted "negligence" on the part of authorities in failing to find bi
Supporters of political party Pakistan Muslim League hold a picture of army chief Gen. Ashfaq Parvez Kayani in Karachi, Pakistan. Pakistan's intelligence chief, Gen. Ahmed Shuja Pasha, admitted "negligence" on the part of authorities in failing to find bi

The furor over the U.S. raid that killed Osama bin Laden has again spotlighted charges that Pakistan supports militant groups.  Many analysts say such support is rooted in Pakistan’s concern about what it sees as growing Indian influence in Afghanistan and in U.S. policy circles.

U.S. officials have said no proof has yet emerged that Pakistan was actively sheltering Osama bin Laden.  Nevertheless, the fact that the world’s leading terrorist was discovered in a comfortable compound not far from major military installations has again drawn attention to suspicions that Pakistan has backed Islamist militants as part of its anti-India policies.

At a recent forum, former deputy assistant secretary of defense James Clad said Pakistan’s obsession with India colors all its policy decisions. “I think Pakistan is in business to leverage outside situations, outside power, to their advantage vis-a-vis the existential threat, which doesn’t come from Afghanistan at all, but in the minds of the officer corps, which is preeminent in that country, comes from the east, from the Indians,” he said.

At a U.S. Senate hearing, former National Security Advisor, retired Marine Corps General James Jones, said Pakistan is particularly concerned about growing Indian influence in Afghanistan.

Unfortunately, their concern with India has something to do with Afghanistan.  If you’re looking at it a little bit through their eyes you’re a little bit worried, perhaps, that you have India to the east, Afghanistan to the west. And an Indian presence in Afghanistan just incites their fears for the long-term future,” said Jones.

India, which is a growing economic powerhouse, has strengthened diplomatic and economic links to Afghanistan since the fall of the Taliban government in 2001.  

U.S. officials have cited links between Pakistan’s powerful and controversial spy agency, the Inter-Services Intelligence directorate, or I.S.I., and the Afghan Taliban, which has used safe haven in Pakistan’s tribal areas as a base from which to attack U.S. and NATO forces in Afghanistan.  

Since the 1990s, the I.S.I. has also trained and deployed Islamist militant groups such as Jaish-e-Mohammad and Lashkar-e-Taiba to wage a proxy conflict with India in the Indian portion of the disputed territory of Kashmir.  But in 2008, Lashkar-e-Taiba, or L.E.T., mounted a stunning terrorist attack in the heart of the Indian city of Mumbai in which more than 160 people were killed.

The direct role of I.S.I. in the attack remains murky.  But a U.S. citizen, David Coleman Headley, had pleaded guilty in a U.S. court to terrorism charges for his role in scouting targets for the attacks.  He is preparing to testify against a Chicago businessman charged with helping him, which may shed some light on the I.S.I. role.

Owen Sirrs is a former Defense Intelligence Agency analyst who is writing a history of the I.S.I.   He says the U.S. cannot ignore the I.S.I. connection to militant groups.

“You can no longer continue to persist in the notion that, ‘well, I.S.I., it’s a problem that we can eventually work out.’  Because at bottom what we’re dealing with here is a Pakistani fear of India, a Pakistani fear of Afghanistan,” said Sirrs. “There’s a mentality that is locked up into the I.S.I. organization that is something that they’re going to have to work out themselves.  But we can no longer just pretend that this is not a problem.”

The bin Laden raid, in which U.S. Special Forces were able to helicopter in and out of Abbottabad without interference from Pakistani forces, was an embarrassment to the Pakistani military, which is focused on protecting Pakistan from India.  If the U.S. could cross our border with impunity, officials in Islamabad said, could not India do the same?

Former national security advisor Jones said he sees no sign of any change in Pakistan’s attitude. “It will take political courage, and military support of that political courage, to recognize that there is a better way here with regard to India.  But so far, they have been extremely reluctant, and in some cases resistant, to grasping that opportunity,” he said.

Islamabad is not likely to listen to the United States when it comes to India, analysts say.  Ties between Washington and Islamabad are frayed, and not just because of charges of I.S.I. support for militants.  Pakistan, which receives billions of dollars in U.S. aid, is also concerned about the growing closeness between Washington and New Delhi.  To Islamabad’s alarm, the U.S. and India came to a landmark agreement on civil nuclear cooperation - a deal Pakistan would like to have itself.  And President Barack Obama last year voiced support for a permanent U.N. Security Council seat for India.

You May Like

Missouri Town Braces for Possible Racial Unrest

Situation in Ferguson hinges on whether white police officer will be indicted for August shooting death of unarmed black teen More

Video Ukraine Marks Anniversary of 1930s Deadly Famine

President Poroshenko compares Soviet-era ‘genocide’ to current tactics of pro-Russia rebels in Ukraine's east More

S. Philippines Convictions Elusive 5 Years After Election-related Killings

Officials vowed to deliver justice as the nation marked the anniversary of the country's worst political massacre that left 58 dead, more than half media More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
New Skateboard Defies Gravityi
X
November 21, 2014 5:07 AM
A futuristic dream only a couple of decades ago, the hoverboard – a skateboard that floats above the ground - has finally been made possible. While still not ready for mass production, it promises to become a cool mode of transport... at least over some surfaces. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video New Skateboard Defies Gravity

A futuristic dream only a couple of decades ago, the hoverboard – a skateboard that floats above the ground - has finally been made possible. While still not ready for mass production, it promises to become a cool mode of transport... at least over some surfaces. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Falling Gas Prices Impact US Oil Extraction

With the price of oil now less than $80 a barrel, motorists throughout the United States are benefiting from gas prices below $3 a gallon. But as VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, the decreasing price of petroleum has a downside for the hydraulic fracturing industry in the United States.
Video

Video Tensions Build on Korean Peninsula Amid Military Drills

It has been another tense week on the Korean peninsula as Pyongyang threatened to again test nuclear weapons while the U.S. and South Korean forces held joint military exercises in a show of force. VOA’s Brian Padden reports from the Kunsan Air Base in South Korea.
Video

Video Mama Sarah Obama Honored at UN Women’s Entrepreneurship Day

President Barack Obama's step-grandmother is in the United States to raise money to build a $12 million school and hospital center in Kogelo, Kenya, the birthplace of the president's father, Barack Obama, Sr. She was honored for her decades of work to aid poor Kenyans at a Women's Entrepreneurship Day at the United Nations.
Video

Video Gay Evangelicals Argue That Bible Does Not Condemn Homosexuality

More than 30 U.S. states now recognize same-sex marriages, and an increasing number of mainline American churches are blessing them. But evangelical church members- which account for around 30 percent of the U.S. adult population - believe the Bible unequivocally condemns homosexuality. VOA's Jerome Socolovsky reports that gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender evangelicals are coming out. Backed by a prominent evangelical scholar, they argue that the traditional reading of the bible is wrong.
Video

Video Ebola Economic Toll Stirs W. Africa Food Security Concerns

The World Bank said Wednesday that it expects the economic impact of the Ebola outbreak on the sub-Saharan economy to cost somewhere betweenf $3 billion to $4 billion - well below a previously-outlined worst-case scenario of $32 billion. Some economists, however, paint a gloomier picture - warning that the disruption to regional markets and trading is considerable. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Mexico Protests Escalate Over Disappearances

Protests in Mexico over 43 students missing since September continue to escalate, reflecting growing anger among Mexicans about a political system they view as corrupt, and increasingly tainted by the drug trade. Mounting outrage over the disappearances is now focused on the government of President Enrique Pena Nieto, accused of not doing enough to end insecurity in the country. More from VOA's Victoria Macchi.
Video

Video US Senate Votes Down Controversial Oil Pipeline - For Now

The U.S. Senate has rejected construction of a controversial pipeline to transport Canadian oil to American refineries. The $5 billion project still could be approved next year, but it faces a possible veto by President Barack Obama. As VOA’s Michael Bowman reports, the pipeline has exposed deep divisions in Congress about America’s energy future.
Video

Video Can Minsk Cease-fire Agreement Hold?

Growing tensions between government troops and separatists in eastern Ukraine further threaten a cease-fire agreement reached two months ago in the Belarusian capital of Minsk. Critics of U.S. policy in Ukraine say it is time the Obama administration gives up on that much-violated cease-fire and moves toward a new deal with Russia. VOA's Scott Stearns has more.
Video

Video Chaos, Abuse Defy Solution in Libya

The political and security crisis in Libya is deepening, with competing governments and, according to Amnesty International, widespread human rights violations committed with impunity. VOA’s Al Pessin reports from London.
Video

Video US Hosts Record 866,000 Foreign Students

Close to 900,000 international students are studying at American universities and colleges, more than ever before. About half of them come from Asia, mostly China. The United States hosts more foreign students than any other country in the world, and its foreign student population is steadily growing. Zlatica Hoke reports.
Video

Video Ferguson Church Grapples with Race Relations

Many white residents of Ferguson, Missouri, say they chose to live there because of the American Midwest community's diversity. So, they were shocked when a white police officer killed an unarmed black teenager in August – and shaken by the resulting protests and violence. Some local churches are leading conversations on how to go forward. VOA’s Ayesha Tanzeem reports.

All About America

AppleAndroid