The U.S. Defense Secretary Mattis’ recent visit to New Delhi has been closely followed by India’s neighboring countries. This trip was also of particular importance in the backdrop of recently announced South Asia policy by Trump. American tilt in favor of India placed South Asian region into more complex and less stable.
India is contemplating buying Lockheed Martin’s F-16 Block 70 aircraft in a deal potentially worth $15bn. The US firm has offered the most upgraded version of the jet fighter to India, the world’s largest weapons importer, It is competing with Swedish defense giant Saab, whose Gripen E made its maiden flight in June 2017. A drone deal for the Indian Navy will also make a huge difference. Indo-US nexus to boost arms race in the region.
General Mattis visit focused on issues that included; ways to stabilize the situation in Afghanistan and American arms sale to India, a country that seeks revision of global and regional order. At India’s insistence, terrorism seemed the main focus in joint press briefings by both counterparts. Surprisingly, in a press conference Mattis announced, that Washington has no stomach for countries that support terrorist groups. He seesawed that “There can be no tolerance of terrorist safe havens,” “As global leaders, India and the United States resolve to work together to eradicate this scourge,” he said.
It was perhaps a hint to India because it has been involved in fomenting terrorism across it frontiers. There are evidences the Indian intelligence agency, Research and Analysis Wing RAW, has been funding Tehrik-e-Taliban for their missions. The TTP has carried out attacks within Pakistan and has close links with Afghan Taliban. Ehsanullah Ehsan, former spokesperson for TTP claimed their connection with RAW. The U.S. should exercise neutrality and demand from Indian to halt terrorism and its support for terrorists in order to stabilize the region.
The spy affair, where Jhadav have revealed that he had purchased boats at the Iranian port in Chabahar in order to target Karachi and Gwadar ports in a terrorist plot. Jhadav also confessed that “I am still a serving officer in the Indian Navy and will be due for retirement by 2022 as a commissioned officer in the Indian Navy”.
The complex trilateral rendezvous between the Pakistan, India and Afghanistan, and the narrative that is partisan shall further destabilize sub-continent and the region. American pivot towards India for resolving the afghan crisis will destabilize the region and Afghanistan a state at peace, as Stability, security, peace in Afghanistan is fundamental to the security of Pakistan. It is the open secret no one wants to talk about, the unwelcome truth that most prefer to hide. Pakistan’s Foreign Minister Khawaja Asif noted that throughout the 16-year U.S. war, Afghan soldiers have been routinely selling US-provided arms to the Taliban. And yet U.S. is blaming other countries for their failure.
The U.S. has been fighting in Afghanistan for over 16 years. The basic reason for the loss of U.S. is they are trying to build a nation on the other side of the world, without knowing their language, the culture, the religion, the ethnic and sectarian divisions or the history. Not only this, the country spend over USD 1 trillion along with losing 2,400 troops but the victory yet seems to be nowhere. So, keeping that in view, the latest step taken to send 4,000 additional troops, where 8,500 had already been there, will not have a positive an impact or the boon to attain common objective. Victory! As of the estimates, since 2010 Nato-led troops numbered 140,000, but, plaintively could not secure the country from the Taliban.
The U.S. is pouring money into a corrupt Afghanistan. Also, the peace process is possible through dialogue not by bringing more troops and weapons. The tragedy is that there never was a convincing, coherent, workable long-term plan for Afghanistan. More foots on the ground or better guns are not the answer. These precepts no longer apply if the U.S. wants to either win the war, or stabilise the region.
Given the facts, if Trump is really serious in repudiating his predecessor Afghan strategy, the wise option would be to fulfill his rhetoric campaign and pull the plug. Bring troops back to home and use the money spent in this no ending war to save lives of his soldiers. To mitigate the situation by dialogues by accepting one (India) and rejecting the old ally (Pakistan) who has been a helping hand in resolving the safe havens’ problem if applied would make him differ from what Obama applied. This would also help him uplift his flagging popularity.
DISCLAIMER: The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official policy and position of Regional Rapport.