Spy’s eye: Tame the Terror

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Democratic world must unite against Islamic extremism

India is facing a crucial moment in history as it can no-longer remain ‘non aligned’ in the face of the emerging axis of evil that is preparing to confront it literally from all sides. Sino-Pak alliance hides an anti-India military objective and the China-Pak Economic Corridor (CPEC) hyped as the symbol of China’s much publicised One Belt One Road (OBOR) covers up for the joint usurpation of India’s territory falling in Pak- occupied Kashmir by these hostile neighbours.

What should be of global concern however, is the fact that the Sino-Pak gang up and its supporters represent a non-democratic grouping and that the bonhomie between Pakistan – the land of radical Islam that considered US-led West as its prime enemy – and China – heading the world of Communism – is pushing for a new global divide - post Cold War- in which an arc of dictatorships is going to challenge the democratic world sooner than later.

The Sino-Pak axis is out to browbeat smaller countries around India, which have popularly elected governments – such as Bangladesh, Srilanka, Nepal, and even Afghanistan while at the global level it is trying to manoeuvre the Trump regime in a way that would not antagonise the US towards Pakistan and China for the present. US participation in the global meet on OBOR at Beijing indicates this.

It is extremely beneficial for India that Prime Minister Narendra Modi instinctively reached out to US, Japan, Australia, and Vietnam soon after taking over the reigns of the country and decided to strengthen bonds with India's democratic neighbours as well- steering clear of the controversies that an army- dominated Pakistan tried to create on the forum of SAARC. India must now work for a strategic bonding among the major democratic nations that goes beyond economic cooperation and aims at isolating the dictatorial regimes fronted by the Sino-Pak axis. India must start a new kind of dialogue to explain to the US the twin threat of radical Islam and Communism that India and US are together heading for, in the days to come.

The dimensions of a deep and lasting Sino-Pak axis have not been comprehensively examined by the strategic analysts of the free world. They missed the point that China had taken the best lessons from the sudden demise of USSR, that in forging an alliance with Pakistan Beijing was in fact neutralising a threat that had plagued the two Communist giants – Soviet Union and China through the Cold War years, and that this new Asian compact was trying to manage the American policy makers by exploiting the goodwill of the US that Pakistan still had because of its role as a ‘front line ally’ in the ‘war on terror’.

Chinese leadership saw to it that the People’s Republic of China remained a Communist monolith in terms of a one party dictatorship practised in the name of ‘democratic centrism’ but improved on the Soviet system by opening up its economy in a controlled way. It has followed the economic route to becoming the second Super Power and shown a certain non-precipitative approach to conflicts as it still wants to buy time. The firm embrace of Pakistan fulfils several of China’s objectives. One is to put down India – a potential rival in this part of the world. Also, China would remember that Islamic militancy induced from outside in the vulnerable Muslim predominant provinces of Sinkiang in China and Uzbekistan in USSR, was a joint US-Pak project of the Cold War era. The first thing that Pak army would have done for China now would be to block any intrusive faith-based violence creeping into China from out side.

Finally, China can use Pakistan as a foil to keep US-China relationship on course, while it aggressively pursues its global mission.

The challenge for India is to keep Trump administration firmly on its side on the issue of Islamic terror fomented by Pakistan from its soil and to expose the games played by Pak army in Afghanistan. A quid pro quo is already in play between Pakistan and China on Afghanistan as the Pak army is determined to gain 'strategic depth' there with the support of China. The advantage that China has at present is that it does not have to cross the path of the US as far as the latter's fight against Islamic radicals was concerned. The 'war on terror' is a combat between the US- led West and the Al Qaeda- Taliban- ISIS conglomerate of Wahabi extremists and China can afford to leave Pakistan to its own devices for managing US- Pak relations in the context of Islamic militancy.

India is still to clinch President Trump's unambiguous support against cross border terrorism inflicted by Pakistan in Kashmir and elsewhere. The visit of NSA Ajit Doval to America did result in a welcome development in as much as the two countries 'pledged to work as partners to combat the full spectrum of terrorist threats' thus implying the rejection of any distinction between 'good terrorists' and 'bad terrorists'. More recently, Daniel Coats, Director of National Intelligence has told a Congressional Committee that Islamabad's failure to curb support to anti- India militants and lack of progress in Pakistan's investigation into the Jan 2016 Pathankot cross border attack had caused deterioration in Indo-Pak relations. He expressed concern over a possible ‘unintended escalation’ but showed little willingness to question the complicity of Pak army and ISI in cross-border terror attacks.

Time has come for India to tell the US that overlooking the role of Pakistan and Saudi Arabia in putting the Muslim world on an irreversible path of Islamic extremism would prove disastrous for the entire democratic world.

Saudi’s open sponsoring of Salafi Islam to compete with Wahabism is hastening the world towards an ultimate war between the extremist Islam and the democracies. Salafi and Wahabi Islam operate at the same level of fanaticism the only difference being that the latter confronts the West whereas the Salafis – because of Saudi Arabia – do not take on the US. The US must give attention to that part of the ‘war on terror’, which requires the Muslim regimes to put down Islamic radicals at home. This is not happening.

The total quantum of militancy in the name of Islam has increased manifold. Nearer home the present HuM commander of Kashmir –Zakir Rashid – has reaffirmed that Kashmir was now an issue of Jehad and not a mere political struggle.

US under President Trump, it is hoped, would see

the gravity of the situation and compel Pakistan to

restore democracy in

the country and abstain from playing the sucker to Communist China.

The writer is a former director, IB

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