Give Kashmir, take pipeline

Shaukat Aziz blows two myths in one blow

In recent weeks, Mani Shankar Aiyar’s soft-headed attempt to mix India’s energy security with naive visions of Pakistani benignity strengthened the hand of those who argue that a pipeline to procure gas from Iran (and passing through Pakistan) is a solution to both problems.

For a government that fears hiking foreign investment limits in Indian companies due to concerns over national security, there was more than a hint of irony when it was prepared to pawn off its energy security in Pakistan’s routinely hostile hands.

And as soon as Pakistan confirmed that India really wanted the pipeline, its in-house macro-economic genius proved just how much it is willing to hold its own economy (and that of India) to ransom to further its pursuit of Kashmir.

“We are ready to allow transit facilities and also foolproof security (to gas pipeline) but India will have to deal with Kashmir issue in an equitable and peaceful manner through meaningful talks so that progress can be made on other areas including gas pipelines,” Prime Minister Shaukat Aziz said in an interview published in ‘Pakistan Observer’ today.Aziz said gas pipelines from Turkmenistan, Iran and Qatar have to go through Pakistan into India.

“Fact remains that India for its economic sustainability, direly needs these gas pipelines,” he said.

Aziz said that his “government is mindful of the stark reality that people of the subcontinent are hostage to Kashmir issue.

“South Asia needs economic and social growth. We need to eliminate poverty, disease and evil of extremism from this region. And this cannot happen unless the two nuclear neighbours resolve Kashmir dispute”. [HT]

It is not a hawkish general or a wild-eyed jihadi who is linking the security of the pipeline to India yielding on Kashmir – it is Shaukat Aziz himself, blowing the myth that Pakistan’s newest Prime Minister, a technocrat to boot, will shift the focus from thorny foreign policy issues to pragmatic bread-and-butter issues.

India should disabuse Pakistan of entertaining any notions that suggest that it is in any way able to hold India’s ‘economic sustainability’ to ransom – for if any economy is hostage to the Kashmir issue, it is Pakistan’s.

Related Link: Niraj argues that regardless of whether this is a genuine threat or mere bluster, it is a wake-up call for the pipelines’ advocates.

6 thoughts on “Give Kashmir, take pipeline”

  1. Unfortunately for him and for us, Mani Shanker Aiyar is highly prone to making a fool of himself and all those he represents.
    As for the Paki leadership – just when you thought that they cannot do something more disgusting than what they have been doing so far, they come up with something like this. We would have thought that they would have loved to have this new bargaining chip against India, but with all the effort put in by Iran, the Ambanis et al, we probably have a fool-proof mechanism proposal, where Pak cannot cut the supply coming in from Iran even if they wanted to. Hence this fresh round of desperation.

  2. I was about to write a post about this on my blog… but then realized that I should first check The Acorn.

    I think Mr. Aziz’s statement is good for India and perhaps a stupid thing to say from Pakistani point of view. Hopefully, sensibility will prevail in the current Congress government. But then, we can rely on Aiyar and such chutiyas (sorry can’t resist) to still go ahead with the pipeline.

  3. The stand of Pakistan on the gas pipeline is childish. What it has to realise is that the gas does not originate in Pakistan but will merely transit through that country. By putting up hurdles Pakistan risks antagonising Iran and former soviet countries.
    If a different supply route is chosen then it will be pakistan which stands to lose more than others.

  4. Aaah. What one misses here is the fact that now, finally, the GOI may wake up to the real desirability of taking back POK and the Northern territories.

    Who says that the pipeline HAS TO pass through Pakistan? Since POKand Gilgit are legally Indian territory, they’ll be linking central asia and Iran (via Afghanistan) directly through Indian territory only. (:-)

  5. ” taking back POK and the Northern territories. POK and the Northern territories”

    As if India had not made of mess of Kashmir already, how do you think India will run POK let alone Northern Terr,
    I think India should seriously look at alternate energy sources. Not only Gas and Oil.

  6. Dude Preetam, you should seriously consider a crasher in sarcasm and its antecedents…. Do you seriously think that if we could have taken back POK, then we wouldn’t have done so by now?

    As for homilies about ‘alternate sources of energy’, its like wishing there were no disease because our healthcare system is so bad. I mean, get real dude! If there existed a viable alternate resource, would’nt we all have jumped onto it by now? Even as we speak $bns are being poured into answering this question but so far the best we could do is come up with some hybrid tech that can at best reduce oil consumption, not eliminate this addictive dependence.

    But come, we both being niceguys, lez end on a positive note. Let us both solemnly declare our total support for alternate sources of energy and hereby condemn all attempts at sarcasm and humour in serious blogs like this one!

    (Kyun preetam miyan, (:-0)Happy?)

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