In a tweet, President Trump has accused Pakistan of giving nothing but lies and deceit in exchange for millions of dollars in US aid. India’s right-wing political outfits were quick to respond, calling it a victory for India. Sudheendra Kulkarni, Chairman of ORF, Mumbai tells Sputnik why Trump’s tweet does not hold much water.
New Delhi (Sputnik) — US President Donald Trump began 2018 with an attack on Pakistan for giving “safe haven to the terrorists.” Consequently, the US cut down on its 225 million dollar aid package to Pakistan the next day.
India’s right-wing parties and hardline elements were quick to call it a “diplomatic victory” for Prime Minister Narendra Modi. However, experts are not impressed with outfits considered close to India’s ruling party jumping the gun to celebrate Trump’s statement.
Experts opine that America is part of the problem of terror prevalent in West Asia and is not the solution it is projecting itself to be. Sudheendra Kulkarni, Observer Research Foundation Mumbai Chairman, and noted columnist talked to Sputnik on his view about Trump’s tweet and the security scenario in South Asia with respect to Indo-Pak relations.
Sputnik: Sir, it is noteworthy that some of the most appreciative comments on the Trump tweet on Pakistan have come from some of the prominent political outfits in India. What is the reason for this?
Sudheendra: There is a tendency in India that when Pakistan suffers we should be happy, this is a myopic and prejudiced view and blinds India to travel any path to improve the relationship with Pakistan which will forever continue to be our neighbor.
Sputnik: Who are the people in India celebrating the Trump tweet?
Sudheendra: The ultra-nationalists in India are the ones celebrating the tweet and they think any stoppage of aid will make Pakistan mend its ways, but it is far from true. The tendency to think that because Pakistan has created problems for India, anyone who creates a problem for Pakistan is a friend of India, is a myopic and self-damaging view.
Sputnik: Were you surprised at the kind of welcome reception which Trump’s tweet got from India. What factor makes this happen?
Sudheendra: What has happened in India particularly in the last one year is that since Trump has become President of the US, he has become an icon for the ultra-nationalists in India who are the ones who do not much like the peace process to be sustained.
Sputnik: Do you think such a rebuttal was sooner or later obvious for Pakistan to have from America? Where are the fault lines in the Pakistani approach?
Sudheendra: Without being lectured by any outside authority, Pakistan needs to fight terror in all its forms, within its territory, without any ifs and or buts. Pakistan has created problems for itself. In the last almost 40 years since the end of Soviet-Afghan war, Pakistan took money from Saudi Arabia and arms from the United States of America to help both of these countries to achieve their purposes in the region. And in the process, Pakistan invited religious extremism and later these extremists groups were used by Pakistan to create problems for India. The result today is that more people have been killed in Pakistan than in India due to terrorism.
Sputnik: Do you also foresee a solution to the India-Pakistan animosity too in the approach?
Sudheendra: The solution does not lie in the present dangerous path taken by Pakistan to encourage religious extremist groups who breed terrorism or the Indian approach of trying to get the help of an external power like America to create problems for Pakistan in the hope that it will benefit India. It will not help India in any way.
Sputnik: What is important for Pakistan to do to fight terror?
Sudheendra: Pakistan’s government and importantly Pakistan’s Army have to wage its own war on terror without any external pressure or compulsion. This reality should not be denied that Pakistan till now has been selective in fighting terror. Those terror group who target India have been protected and hence there is a strong anti-Pakistan sentiment in India and this is not good either for Pakistan or for peace and prosperity in South Asia.