- The Washington Times - Monday, June 23, 2003

If you ask anyone age 50 or older who has followed world events, even rather remotely, which nation is the closer ally of the United States, India or Pakistan, the near universal answer would be Pakistan. That answer is based on the Cold War framework, which defined our foreign policy for nearly half a century. India was in the Soviet orbit. One of her states was even outright Communist. When Indira Gandhi was prime minister, she made a point of siding with the Soviets any chance she could. She was an especially unpleasant antagonist when issues came before the United Nations.

India is potentially a very powerful nation and the United States feared her activation against us. So, we signed on with Pakistan as a counterweight on the subcontinent. Never mind that Pakistan hardly represented the democratic ideals that we have always, in one way or another, sought to export.

And despite the billions we poured into Pakistan, we found that when all was said and done, that we didn’t exercise that much influence over Pakistan anyway. They developed nuclear capabilities over our protests, and they tested these capabilities despite our opposition. Eventually, we even ended up imposing military and economic sanctions against Pakistan, because since the collapse of the Soviet Union, a new and more virulent enemy has emerged in the form of Islamic extremism. And the United States punished Pakistan for its support of the Taliban and terrorists in India, for its nuclear program and for a coup that replaced its own government.

Following September 11, Pakistan saw its opportunity to get back into the good graces of the United States. It pledged complete cooperation in the war against terrorists. And indeed Pakistan was helpful in the war we conducted in Afghanistan. As a result, most sanctions against Pakistan have been lifted and $3.5 billion has been poured into Pakistan in the form of U.S. or multilateral aid. Pakistan, in the words of Secretary of State Colin Powell, is now a “strategic ally” of the United States.

Meanwhile, the situation in India has changed dramatically. Its government is much more favorable to free enterprise than it ever was in the past. India has come alive economically and has the potential to be a much greater trading partner with the United States than before. Of course, there is no cold war, and while India and Russia remain friendly allies, India is more open to the West and specifically to the United States than she has ever been.

And what of Pakistan? While she has paid lip service to cracking down on terrorists, there is only so far she can go, since Islamic extremists control parts of the country. Since the sanctions have been removed there is considerable evidence that Pakistan has escalated its attacks in Indian Kashmir. Some charge that the attack on the Indian parliament building (which for Indians is their universal symbol of their democracy) was orchestrated in Pakistan.

Pakistan has continued to export terrorism via Islamic extremists. This has very dangerous implications for all of South Asia.

In addition, there is considerable evidence that large parts of the Pakistani security establishment are supporting the revival of the Taliban. And if that isn’t bad enough, Pakistan has exported nuclear technology to, of all places, North Korea.

The Indian American Community, led by the political action committee USINPAC, has been urging Congress to re-examine U.S. policy on aid to Pakistan in light of Pakistan’s involvement in international terrorism. I believe this re-examination is long overdue.

Diligently walking the halls of Congress, USINPAC had the House International Relations Committee take up, and unanimously pass, an amendment to the Foreign Relations Authorizations Act that for the first time will start holding Pakistan accountable for its role in terrorism.

It would make further aid to Pakistan contingent upon that country’s complying with the following five conditions:

• That Pakistan close down all known terrorist camps operating in Pakistan and in Pakistan-held Kashmir that have been established for the express purpose of causing trouble in India (including the Indian state of Jammu and Indian Kashmir).

• That Pakistan take serious and identifiable measures to stop infiltration of Islamic extremists across the Line of Control into India.

• That Pakistan close the offices and freeze the bank accounts of all known terrorists operating in Indian Kashmir, with due regard to their re-emergence under new names and locations.

• That Pakistan take serious and identifiable measures to prevent any attack emanating from Pakistan on US service personnel serving in Afghanistan.

• And that Pakistan commit to end all proliferation of weapons of mass destruction, including any associated technologies, to any third country or terrorist group.

Thus far, we have not seen evidence of India supporting terrorist groups. Indeed, it has its own significant problem with the Islamic extremists attacking anyone who is not of their religion.

The Cold War is fading in memory. Times are very different. Pakistan perhaps, can be helpful to our war on terrorism but only if it stops exporting it. I agree with USINPAC that further aid to Pakistan ought to be tied to these conditions. I am sure the State Department would oppose such an amendment to our foreign aid bill, but the United States is unique in that it has separate but equal branches of our federal government. Congress should go ahead and pass what USINPAC is advocating. If it is really too restrictive to President Bush, he can veto the legislation. At least we will serve notice to Pakistan that they can’t have it both ways.

And while we are at it, I think we ought to seriously explore the possibility that India can be a strategic ally. In the long run it seems to me India has much to offer in that respect.

Paul M. Weyrich is chairman and CEO of the Free Congress Foundation.



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