Indo-US strategic game & regional impacts

Dr Muhammad Khan:

Destabilising the Province of Balochistan by India through its proxies is part of its grand strategy. India is involved in the destabilisation of this province ever since the independence of Pakistan and India assuming the role of successor state of British India. Owing to its geopolitical significance, the province has been a target of former great game between British India and Tzarist Russia. The major powers, especially the cold war rivals kept their interests in the geopolitics of province until the cold war ended in 1990. India remained part of these conspiracies throughout. Earlier it was part of Soviet covert exploitation of the province in the name of sub-nationalism and in the contemporary environment; it is part of the US strategic interests in this region.
Indeed, as far as Pakistan is concerned, there is a convergence of Indo-US strategic interests. These strategic interests can be better implemented in the destabilisation of Pakistan, especially the province of Balochistan, constituting 45% of Pakistani territory. The current wave of militancy in the province, killing of lawyers’ in front of Civil Hospital in Quetta in August 2016, attack on police training academy in Oct, 2016 and now on November 12, 2016 the most inhuman attack on Shah Noorani Sharine in Khuzdar district, each incident killed over sixty innocent lives.
These attacks have created a panic and fear among the people, who want peace and economic prosperity in the province. These attacks and conspiracies are meant to destabilize the province and to create distrust amongst the masses over the state and its security forces. It is worth mentioning that, hectic efforts have undergone in the restoration of law and order situation in the province of Balochistan by security forces in the last one decade. The element of sub-nationalism and religious based militancy was brought to minimum level in last three years. This sudden eruption of the militancy since mid of this year is a proof that, again there is an upsurge in the militancy. Although the RAW network under Kulbashan Yadeve was successfully blasted, but the retaliation seems to be more severe, strong, and reactionary in nature. Indeed, establishment of peace for a longer time in the Province was not in the interest of the Indo-US strategic alliance.
The immediate reason, why this strategic alliance wants to destabilize the province is the development of Gwadar Port and China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC). Since it was conceived in late 1990s, India has been directly opposing the construction of Gwadar Port and later establishment of CPEC. U.S too has been opposing the projects through its indirect strategies. Since there was operationalisation of the Gwadar Port on November 13, 2016, therefore, the militancy by these allies was operationalied too. The current intensity of the militancy in the province is a direct opposition of Gwadar and CPEC.
Apart from India, United States would go all out to create hurdles in the construction of CPEC, since it connects its peer competitor, China with key Asian capitals and economic hubs through Gwadar and CPEC, therefore, such a reaction and destabilisation of the province was a natural outcome. However, this does not obsolve the state from its primary responsibility of ensuring the safety and security of the people of Pakistan from the militants and militancy. The Government must perform its basic responsibility by securing the lives of the people.
Indo-US strategic allies have a larger agenda, indeed global in nature and wider in scope. Both desire separation of Balochistan and formulation of a Greater Balochistan by joining Pakistani Balochistan and Iranian Sistan-o-Balochistan. In this regard, there should be no illusion in the mind of Iranian leadership that, the alliance is friend of Iran, as they have been perceiving India for a long time. In the past, there has been a strong relationship between Iran and India, based on Indian enmity with Pakistan, which tainted the Pak-Iran relationship.
Then, the Iranian Nuclear Deal with P5 plus One is still in limbo. The new US President, Donald Trump may decide otherwise, to the likings of republicans and Israeli Government. The Chabahar Port, being constructed by India may be used in the strategic disadvantage of Iran tomorrow. Then, the militancy being promoted by the alliance in Pakistani Province of Balochiatan, may have its impacts on the adjoining areas of Iran. The current strategy of this Indo-US alliance is not only against Pakistan, but it is meant to destabilize Pakistan, Iran and Afghanistan. Instability of this nature will allow US to maintain its presence in Afghanistan and continue conspiring against all three with India being one of the beneficiaries of this entire strategic game plan.
There is awareness between Pakistani and Iranian leadership about this Indo-US strategic game, but still they need to come closer and sort-out their two decades long misapprehensions. However, Afghanistan feels differently and being used as an Indian Vassal State. Its policies are totally Indian dominated and against Pakistan. Its leadership is totally dictated by New Delhi and there is nothing with them for the state and society of Afghanistan. India is brazenly using Afghan soil against Pakistan and there exist a strong Co-relation between RAW and NDS to promote the terrorism in Pakistan, which may proliferate to Iranian soil too.
The political and strategic leadership of Pakistan, Iran and Afghanistan must reconcile their past, burry the differences and think about the new challenges, the region is facing in the wake of Indo-US strategic planning. This need a strategic vision, overcoming the years of distrust and forward looking approach with clarity, sincerity for harmony amongst three states, regional stability and economic prosperity of their states and poor people. There are always strong grounds for such an initiative, provided there is a will and determination among the leadership of these countries.
*The writer is International Relations analyst based in Islamabad.