Enhancing Pakistan’s nuclear delivery capacity crosses the line.
Reuters reports that the Bush administration has initiated a process that is aimed at providing Pakistan with its long-desired F-16 fighter aircraft. This move clearly crosses the line between any desire to reward for Pakistan’s service in the war against al Qaeda and an explicit strengthening of its capability to attack India. These aircraft not only bolster the Pakistan Air Force’s air-combat capability but more importantly, also broaden its capability to deliver nuclear warheads. There are no prizes for guessing who those warheads are meant for.
“What the U.S. government wants to make clear to both sides is we have important strategic relationships with both countries,” (the head of the Pentagon’s Defense Security Cooperation Agency, Lt. Gen. Jeffrey Kohler of the Air Force) said in the interview at his agency’s annual conference on security cooperation. “It’s not that we favor one country over the other. We don’t.” [Reuters]
Its not an issue of who is in ‘favour’, but an issue of who is comes under threat.
The F-16s are not some vague construct like the designation of a ‘major non-NATO ally’ for India to take lightly. To use the same cold calculus of George W Bush’s own foreign policy, handing Pakistan those F-16s is a move ‘against us’. More than merely confronting the usual criticism of fueling an arms race in the subcontinent, the United States must realise that its actions may abruptly stop the slow strategic tango with India even before the dance properly starts.
Why is the US so hell-bent on supporting the terrorist nation of Pakistan? What is in it for the US? After all, Pakistan is also broke. Why, one could ask in puzzlement, would anyone want to sell military hardware to Pakistan? My answer is this: so that India would be forced to buy weapons from the US to keep up with the terrorist nation of Pakistan. [Atanu Dey]