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

Video US, Japan Offer Lessons as Eurozone Launches Huge Stimulus

Euro falls after European Central Bank announces a bigger-than-expected $67 billion-a-month quantitative easing program More

Saudi King’s Death Clears Succession Route

Prince Mohammed Bin Nayef is Saudi Arabia's New Crown Prince-in-waiting More

Cloud Hangs Over US Counterterrorism Efforts in Yemen

Sources say resignations of Yemen's president, government has left US anti-terror operations 'paralyzed,' yet an American military 'footprint' remains 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.
Worldwide Photo Workshops Empower Youthi
X
Julie Taboh
January 23, 2015 11:08 PM
Last September, 20 young adults from South Sudan took part in a National Geographic Photo Camp. They are among hundreds of students from around the world who have learned how to use a camera to tell the stories of the people in their communities through the powerful medium of photography. Three camp participants talked about their experiences recently on a visit to Washington. VOA’s Julie Taboh reports.
Video

Video Worldwide Photo Workshops Empower Youth

Last September, 20 young adults from South Sudan took part in a National Geographic Photo Camp. They are among hundreds of students from around the world who have learned how to use a camera to tell the stories of the people in their communities through the powerful medium of photography. Three camp participants talked about their experiences recently on a visit to Washington. VOA’s Julie Taboh reports.
Video

Video US, Japan Offer Lessons as Eurozone Launches Huge Stimulus

The Euro currency has fallen sharply after the European Central Bank announced a bigger-than-expected $67 billion-a-month quantitative easing program Thursday - commonly seen as a form of printing new money. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London on whether the move might rescue the eurozone economy -- and what lessons have been learned from similar programs around the world.
Video

Video Nigerian Elections Pose Concern of Potential Conflict in 'Middle Belt'

Nigeria’s north-central state of Kaduna has long been the site of fighting between Muslims and Christians as well as between people of different ethnic groups. As the February elections approach, community and religious leaders are making plans they hope will keep the streets calm after results are announced. Chris Stein reports from the state capital, Kaduna.
Video

Video As Viewership Drops, Obama Puts His Message on YouTube

Ratings reports show President Obama’s State of the Union address this week drew the lowest number of viewers for this annual speech in 15 years. White House officials anticipated this, and the president has decided to take a non-traditional approach to getting his message out. VOA White House correspondent Luis Ramirez reports.
Video

Video S. Korean Businesses Want to End Trade Restrictions With North

Business leaders in South Korea are calling for President Park Geun-hye to ease trade restrictions with North Korea that were put in place in 2010 after the sinking of a South Korean warship.Pro-business groups argue that expanding trade and investment is not only good for business, it is also good for long-term regional peace and security. VOA’s Brian Padden reports.
Video

Video US Marching Bands Grow Into a Show of Their Own

The 2014 Super Bowl halftime show was the most-watched in history - attracting an estimated 115 million viewers. That event featured pop star Bruno Mars. But the halftime show tradition started with marching bands, which still dominate the entertainment at U.S. high school and college American football games. But as Enming Liu reports in this story narrated by Adrianna Zhang, marching bands have grown into a show of their own.
Video

Video Secular, Religious Kurds Face Off in Southeast Turkey

Turkey’s predominantly Kurdish southeast has been rocked by violence between religious and secular Kurds. Dorian Jones reports on the reasons behind the stand-off from the region's main city of Diyarbakir, which suffered the bloodiest fighting.
Video

Video Kenya: Misuse of Antibiotics Leading to Resistance by Immune System

In Kenya, the rise of drug resistant bacteria could reverse the gains made by medical science over diseases that were once treatable. Kenyans could be at risk of fatalities as a result if the power in antibiotics is not preserved. Lenny Ruvaga has more on the story from Nairobi.
Video

Video Solar-Powered Plane Getting Ready to Circumnavigate Globe

Pilots of the solar plane that already set records flying without a drop of fuel are close to making their first attempt to fly the craft around the globe. They plan to do it in 25 flying days over a five month period. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video How Experts Decide Ethiopia Has the Best Coffee

Ethiopia’s coffee has been ranked as the best in the world by an international group of coffee connoisseurs. Not surprisingly, coffee is a top export for the country. But at home it is a source of pride. Marthe van der Wolf in Addis Ababa decided to find out what makes the bean and brew so special and how experts make their determinations.
Video

Video Yazidi Refugees at Center of Political Fight Between Turkey, Kurds

The treatment of thousands of Yazidis refugees who fled to Turkey to escape attacks by Islamic State militants has become the center of a dispute between the Turkish government and the country's pro-Kurdish movement. VOA's Dorian Jones reports.
Video

Video World’s Richest 1% Forecast to Own More Than Half of Global Wealth

The combined wealth of the world's richest 1 percent will overtake that of the remaining 99 percent at some point in 2016, according to the anti-poverty charity Oxfam. Campaigners are demanding that policymakers take action to address the widening gap between the ‘haves’ and the ‘have nots’, as Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More

All About America

AppleAndroid