- The Washington Times - Wednesday, October 17, 2001

NEW DELHI Secretary of State Colin L. Powell arrived last night in the Indian capital, where the United States' new security relationship with Pakistan is forcing the government of Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee to re-examine its 3-year investment in building a strategic partnership with Washington.
As Mr. Powell was flying from Islamabad, the Indian Foreign Ministry contradicted his comment from earlier in the day that the Kashmir dispute is "central to the relationship" between India and Pakistan.
Disagreeing with Mr. Powell's remark made in the Pakistani capital, spokeswoman Nirupama Rao said that "terrorism" sponsored by Pakistan in Kashmir not Kashmir itself was the problem.
"There should be no confusion between cause and effect," she told a news conference here. "The present situation in Jammu and Kashmir is a consequence of state-sponsored terrorism and not the cause, as being portrayed in some sections."
Mr. Powell landed in New Delhi after talks in Islamabad, where he and Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf exchanged pledges of mutual support while the United States pursues its military goals in Afghanistan.
Mr. Vajpayee is under mounting pressure from within and outside his government to consider military retaliation in case of continuing attacks in Kashmir by Pakistan-based groups. One such group claimed responsibility for a major attack on the Indian Kashmir legislature that killed 42 persons late last month.
Government sources said Mr. Powell will hear firsthand that India is unwilling to help Gen. Musharraf in any way until he cracks down on terrorist bands staging operations from Pakistani territory.
Soon after the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks on the United States, India, in a tectonic shift in its strategic posture, offered to open its military bases to Washington in the campaign against terrorism.
Despite a close relationship with Moscow in the 1970s and 1980s, India never provided Soviet forces access to its military facilities. Mr. Vajpayee dismissed criticism by opposition parties, defending the strategic shift.
Since then, however, the national mood in India has changed, with concern and anger increasingly visible over Washington's pampering of Pakistan and its military regime. The common Indian reaction has been to question Washington's portrayal of Pakistan, accused by New Delhi of being a front-line sponsor of terrorism, as a front-line opponent of terrorism.
India is concerned that Washington will have to put on hold new planned initiatives with New Delhi as it coddles Gen. Musharraf and ensures Pakistan's continued cooperation with the military campaign in Afghanistan.
India is particularly concerned that it may have to bear the brunt of the unintended consequences of the new U.S.-Pakistan partnership, as it did earlier when some of the covert U.S. military aid to the Afghan anti-Soviet rebels in the 1980s was siphoned off by Pakistani intelligence to ignite a bloody insurgency in Kashmir after 1989.
Today, as the military campaign seeks to flush out terrorists from their Afghan hideouts, the only escape route for these extremists is eastward into Pakistan, where they can mingle easily with fellow Pashtuns.
Some of these terrorists, New Delhi fears, may then move to Kashmir with Pakistan's encouragement or connivance. If that happened, India would face greater terrorist violence, including attacks on major Indian cities.
India sees itself as a front-line victim of international terrorism. It has expressed disappointment that the United States wants to tackle the problem by going after the child (the Taliban), but not the father (Pakistan).

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