US stopping arms aid to Pakistan

Donald Trump has been true to his word. Getting no positive response from Pakistan for stopping the aiding and abetting of terrorist organizations like the Haqqani Network, has stopped all military aid to Pakistan. The US announced on Friday that it had ‘suspended’ $1.2 billion in military assistance to Pakistan and that its resumption depended on Pakistan taking ‘decisive action’ against terrorist groups operating from its soil with direct support from the Pakistani State itself. These groups are targeting US troops and other personnel in Afghanistan. The suspension of aid will mean Pakistan will not get $900 million allocated for the Coalition Support Fund for the year 2017.  Pakistan has again played the victim card and claimed it had allowed Washington to use its military bases ‘fifty-seven thousand times’ for striking at terrorists in Afghanistan. China has dutifully come to the aid of its ‘all-weather’ friend and offered to carry on Sino-Pakistan trade in yuan instead of dollar. But whether China can effectively replace the US as a ‘donor’ country to Pakistan remains to be seen.
Mandarins in the South Block have prudently not reacted publicly to the withholding of US aid to Pakistan. Indeed, whatever Trump does he does according to his perception of what is in the interest of the US. In some cases his decisions may be helpful to India but in other cases, like visa restrictions and outsourcing of working to India these may actually go against India’s interests.  Being against Pakistan on the issue of terror does not mean that the US will always act in India’s interests. Expecting that will be naïve. India will have to resort to retaliatory strikes on Pakistan whenever it attacks our frontier outposts and kills our personnel in uniform as has been done several times in the recent past. In fact, denied of US assistance, Pakistan may become more vindictive in its attitude toward India. It should be made clear to Islamabad that such misadventures will prove increasingly costly to Pakistan.
India will have to be on constant alert against her two neighbours – one in the west and the other in the north. Strengthening of our defences all along the Himalayan border should continue on schedule. The country must be prepared for a worst case scenario of having to fight a two-front war against China and Pakistan simultaneously entirely on its own. It would be unwise to depend on the US, or for that matter on any other country, to come to our aid in such a contingency.

Thursday, 11 January, 2018