Aslam Khan reports that 500 naval troops, will form the first contingent of Pakistani forces to be surreptitiously sent to Iraq in late March,
According to the source, the Pakistani contingent would not take part in the combat missions and would take part only in relief activities and patrolling within the Iraqi sea limits. He said some doctors might also be included in the contingent for medical relief operations.[The News/Jang]
So Pakistan is taking its new-found status as a major non-NATO ally of the United States seriously. But this tallies with Satish Kumar’s opinion
In the new dispensation, Pakistan will be subjected to a situation where, as a subsidiary ally, America’s enemies will have to be regarded as Pakistan’s enemies, and Pakistan’s assets and resources as America’s assets and resources.[Daily Times]
All this is fine, except for the bungling Colin Powell who made and retracted noises this week to the effect that the US may indeed sell F-16s to Pakistan. Strengthening Pakistan’s nuclear delivery capabilities is not just against India’s interests, its against US interests as well.