“A politician thinks of the next election. A statesman, of the next generation.”
–James Freeman Clarke
They say darkest hour can bring out the truth within people. Today, Pakistan is in the midst of a crisis, and we are being forced to reckon with truths we have hitherto chosen to remain oblivious to. Our great nation, with all its potential, is in the grip of an internal turmoil stemming from a lack of direction and vision within its leadership, which in turn is bringing the entire country down. Great leaders are said to inspire greatness in others, by envisioning and creating policy directions that will bear fruits for generations. What we have instead is a greater lack of clarity than ever – resulting in the confusion and uncertainty we are fast becoming accustomed to.
Haphazard mistakes, to which we seem prone, are further complicating our already complex international relationships. The most recent debacles include the embarrassment of our entirely unprepared Advisor to the Prime Minister for Foreign Affairs, Mr Sartaj Aziz at the Heart of Asia Conference, embarrassment at jumping the gun in a race for ‘credit’ by overstating Russian interest in the CPEC followed by its categoric denial by Russia, as well as the release of the entire transcript of the new US President-elect Donald Trump’s phone call – a humungous, childish diplomatic faux pas if there ever was one.
The successful launch of the China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) mega-initiative is oft cited as the silver lining of this particular cloud. It most certainly is a historical achievement in the midst of innumerable geo-political and strategic challenges, as the ‘game changing’ Chinese investment of over $50 billion is the biggest by any country in Pakistan in recent times. CPEC certainly looks set to re-establish Pakistan’s economic potential within the global arena, and has generated many positive headlines for a country that has suffered greatly from the fallout of the global War on Terror, by emphasizing the geostrategic importance of these new trade routes in lieu of the far too familiar reports on violent extremism. The CPEC and One Belt One Road Project have been like a much needed reboot for a stressed economy.
Unlike common perceptions however, the CPEC project has come to fruition as a result of years of visionary policies, hard work and preparation, and is not a victory of any one government. Long before the formal launch of the project, intensive effort was put into laying the groundwork for it by the Pakistan People’s Party (PPP). The CPEC is a victory of the will of the Pakistani people, as was perceived by an actual ‘statesman’, who planned and prepared, as ‘for the next generation’, and belonged to the aptly named PPP.
While detractors may disagree, the PPP has undeniably been the only party in the country’s history with a truly long-term, democratic vision, and leadership that has strengthened and stabilised the country time and time again, irrespective of who gets credit for it at the end of the day. Its leadership has always had one priority only – to serve the nation by placing it on the path to progression and prosperity. The formulation of long-term policies that were continued even after the end of PPP tenure, simply because they were too important to be rolled back, is a basic hallmark of visionary statesmanship, and represents how statesmen conduct themselves when in power.
The importance of such visionary leadership is often underestimated, nor is the concept too often understood properly. There is a unique set of characteristics which sets statesmen apart: principles, vision, a moral compass, and an innate ability to unite differing factions.
The founding father of PPP, the late, great Shaheed Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto, had a clear vision, and a plan to achieve it. A vision that would lead to Pakistan becoming a frontrunner and leader in the international arena, and a plan that played a vital role in the ‘reorientation’ of Pakistan’s foreign policy in the 1960s, defining then and today, the contours of Pakistan foreign policy. Similarly, it is an undisputed fact that had he not set the foundation and groundwork for the country’s nuclear programme in the 1970’s, Pakistan would not have had the capacity to conduct nuclear tests in response to India to establish nuclear deterrence in the region in 1998.
PPP’s contribution in setting and enhancing the tone of Pakistan’s relations with international partners, particularly China, over several decades is immense. In Bhutto’s Pakistan, relations with China attained unprecedented geo-strategic and geopolitical importance. This anchoring of Pakistan’s foreign policy was also noted by the former US Secretary of State, Henry Kissinger, who praised Bhutto in his book ‘Years of Upheaval: The Second Volume of His Classic Memoirs’, as a ‘a man of extraordinary abilities, capable of drawing close to any country that served Pakistan’s national interests.’
Shaheed Z.A. Bhutto was far from being the last of the PPP’s leaders with great vision. In the aftermath of his martyrdom, the mantle was picked up by his daughter, Shaheed Mohtarma Benazir Bhutto. The Shaheed Benazir, who not only became the new Chairperson of the party but also Pakistan’s only, and twice elected female Prime Minister, continued her father’s legacy of consolidating Pakistan’s ‘special ties’ with China, by conducting her first official trip in 1989 to Beijing. It was the farsightedness of Shaheed Benazir Bhutto that laid the foundation stone of the Fish Harbor Project during her visit to Gwadar on December 14th, 1989, and five years later, resulted in the initiation of a project to develop Gwadar port as ‘an alternative seaport’ (1994), with the help of China.
The life of Bhutto’s daughter was also tragically cut short, but her vision was carried forward and executed once again under Party Co-Chairman and Former President, Mr Asif Ali Zardari, who truly opened up new pathways for Pakistan into the region. Under his leadership, many new precedents were set in the domain of foreign policy that were in line with the vision of both father and daughter. His tenure brought clarity to Pakistan’s relations with many important countries and all key regional players. The record speaks for itself; Pakistan’s relations with major powers and immediate neighbours remained amicable, clearly defined and non-confrontational, be it China, the United States, Russia, or our immediate neighbours: India, Afghanistan, and Iran.
The former President visited China alone nine times during his tenure, and helped generate consensus on significant bilateral issues, moving the contract for Gwadar from Singapore to China, because of which the Chinese Premier Li Keqiang proposed the CPEC initiative during his visit to Pakistan in 2013. He was also the first to categorically state that politics would not be allowed on the Chinese investment.
PPP also set a precedent for bringing powers like Russia closer, a feat which previously would have been considered impossible. With the thaw in relations with Russia came Moscow’s nod of approval for the first time for Pakistan’s entry into the Shanghai Cooperation Organization – another landmark achievement. Relaxation of tensions with both Afghanistan and India, and the signing of the ‘Afghan Transit Trade Agreement’ are further examples of what visionary national policy formulation looks like.
The incumbent government ought to take a leaf from its predecessor’s book, particularly in such complex times, and focus on similar visionary projects instead of the shortsighted/money-pit ‘pet projects’ it currently appears to be focused on. We are all Pakistanis first, and such we seek from the state leadership that is visionary, patient and mature. As Shaheed Z.A Bhutto famously said “You cannot defend the soil unless you know the smell of that soil.” The antics of self-congratulatory regimes will do much harm long-term if not checked, and it is in the interest of all to pay heed to the lessons of history, before any irreversible damage is incurred. Pakistan needs clear direction – and an actual Foreign Minister to begin with. Now more than ever, we need true statesmanship, to lead the country into the future that it deserves.
Same version of the article appeared in The Nation
“Rhetoric is a poor substitute for action, and we have trusted only to rhetoric. If we are really to be a great nation, we must not merely talk; we must act big.”
2016 has been a year marked by upheaval and radical change in every sphere – and not much of it is positive. With the deteriorating relationship between the US and Russia over the past year, the global nuclear order was facing its greatest challenge since the end of the Cold War. That is, until November 9th 2016 and the historic US elections that, come January, will have placed Mr Trump in the Oval Office, and with it marked the end of Pax Americana as we have understood it.
If the President-elect’s campaign promises are to be considered any roadmap for his policies, with the inauguration of this new US administration, the world will be ushering in a new, unprecedented era of nuclear uncertainty. While ‘unpredictability’ – a defining characteristic of the ‘Trump philosophy’ – may have won him the White House, it is fast becoming the single most worrisome feature of his tenure for all that had hailed Obama’s global zero agenda and looked towards the US to lead the way towards it.
Predicting Trump’s policies on nuclear issues will undoubtedly determine how the new international security order will pan out in the coming years. Several experts, including Mr Krepon have argued that the future will be almost entirely dependent on the people appointed as Trump’s advisors – the ones he ‘chooses to listen to’. But to whatever extent Trump shifts US policies will also be dependent on the ground realities he is inheriting. As such, in order to determine the future, one must first ascertain where it is we actually stand right now.
In the context of nuclear non-proliferation and disarmament, President Barack Obama’s Global Zero Agenda, announced in April 2009, is particularly important. The rhetoric behind the former President’s Prague address was ‘a world without nuclear weapons’. And the idea itself was a beautiful one: joint efforts to curb nuclear proliferation, the threat of nuclear terrorism, and measures to eliminate nuclear weapons altogether. He spoke “clearly and with conviction, [of] America’s commitment to seek the peace and security of a world without nuclear weapons,” by pledging to take “concrete steps” like a complete ban on nuclear testing, prohibitions on further production of fissile material, effective measures to halt proliferation, diplomatic resolution of the Iran and DPRK nuclear issues, with the aim of re-engaging them into non-proliferation regimes as well as any other necessary measures.
Eight years on, and with some exceptions, the Prague Agenda has become something of a “political mirage”. While pushing nations like Pakistan and India to practice restraint, the US continued to emphasise the importance of its nuclear arsenal for its national security. New declassified data by the Pentagon (analysed by the Federation of American Scientists (FAS) shows that in 2015, the US dismantled only 109 retired warheads – the lowest recorded number since 1970. Simultaneously, the Obama Administration also pushed for a fund of a trillion dollars for the upgradation and modernisation of nuclear weapons over the next three decades. This included funds for a new class of nuclear capable ballistic missiles, nuclear submarines, new stealth bomber, upgrades to the current stock of nuclear weapons, a new cruise missile project, and billions of dollars of other programs. The US Navy seeks to introduce 12 new nuclear submarines, estimated at USD 100 billion, and the Airforce bombers – while no official figures have been released – are estimated at approximately USD 55 billion. The rhetoric by the leader of the free world is further frayed by the fact that between 700-800 nuclear missiles remained on hair-trigger alert during his tenure, ready for launch in seconds. This is particularly disturbing since in the past, US early warning systems have been known to send incorrect alerts of nuclear attack due to technical glitches.
The CTBT bill has been another key item on the agenda, but has failed to pass neither from the US Congress, nor the several other key nuclear states. The 2010 Nuclear Posture Review stated that the sole purpose of nuclear weapons is to deter a nuclear attack on US and allied soil, in contradiction of the American ‘First Use’ policy. The Prague agenda also raised questions of whether the US 180 B61 tactical nuclear weapons deployed in Europe would be removed, but instead we have seen programs for upgradation, to make them ‘useable’.
The rhetoric of Prague was followed by the rhetoric of the Nuclear Security Summit (NSS) initiative, aimed at securing nuclear-related material and technology. Given the exacerbating ground realities however, consensus continued to elude the NSS. In the final summit, Russia did not even participate, while other relevant players – Iran and North Korea – were deliberately kept outside the process, placing a question on the importance and authenticity of the NSS.
Similarly, progress on the Conference on Disarmament (CD) remains dormant due to the discriminatory policies of major powers toward smaller states. This has particularly damaged strategic stability in South Asia, where unilateral deals with India – a non-NPT strategic partner of the US – have undermined the non-proliferation regime, and enhanced the possibility of an arms race in the region. This includes deals like the Indo-US Nuclear Agreement, inclusion into the MTCR and now a push for unilateral Indian membership of the NSG, as well as significant assistance on ballistic missile defense systems and anti-satellite technology. Ironic, considering Obama’s remarks in Prague: “Rules must be binding. Violations must be punished. Words must mean something. The world must stand together to prevent the spread of these weapons.”
It has also resulted in a lack of development on the issue of FMCT and other important agendas of CD, such as Negative Security Assurances, Prevention of Arms Race in Outer Space (PAROS) and Nuclear Disarmament. The DPRK alone has conducted four nuclear tests since Obama’s Prague speech.
The discrepancy between rhetoric and reality is a consequence of ignoring the simplest of premises, i.e. security is a prerequisite to disarmament. Essentially, when ground realities are ignored and unilateral, dual policies enacted, rhetoric remains just that, and sustainable peace cannot be achieved. Under the Obama Administration, convenient commercial interests have trumped international regulatory regimes. Such is the legacy that will be inherited by the Trump Administration, and this fact must be remembered when considering the options the new President will have and the choices he may like to make. The onus now lies on us to ensure that this Administration understands our perspective and realities, so that hypocritical practices are discarded to pave the way for a more stable nuclear world order.
Same version of the article appeared in The Nation
2 Nov 2016, BRUSSELS: President Centre for Pakistan and Gulf Studies, Senator Sehar Kamran (TI) presented Pakistan’s case for membership of the NSG on Wednesday at a Roundtable talk at the European Institute for Asian Studies (EIAS) in Brussels. The talk was attended by experts from EIAS, including the Institute’s CEO Axel Goethals, and experts from CPGS, and was organized to discuss the Pakistani perspective, both in terms of its compulsions and credentials for becoming part of the prestigious Group.
Senator Kamran highlighted Pakistan’s numerous achievements within the nuclear field, as well as its untapped market potential. She also raised concerns about the discriminatory treatment currently being faced by Pakistan in terms of the international push for India’s unilateral membership of the NSG. ‘Continuing discriminatory and asymmetrical policies in South Asia and the unilateral membership of India will be detrimental for the region as a whole’, she said.
Senator Kamran also raised the issue of the increasing Indian hostility towards its neighbor and its impact on regional stability and prosperity. She expressed her concern over the attempted sabotage activities inside Pakistan that are targeting the CPEC and attempting to fan unrest in parts of the country, with the objective of detracting international attention from Kashmir and isolating Pakistan internationally.
Senator Kamran said that Pakistan has paid the highest amount of sacrifices in the war against terror. India’s continuous blame game against Pakistan without evidence must be noticed in order for Pakistan’s position and defense compulsions to be understood.
Mr. Goethals also admired Pakistan’s counter terrorism efforts, and praised the resilience of the Pakistani people in the face of such difficulties. The discussion also considered the importance of regional connectivity, highlighting the success of the EU model, and emphasizing the importance of the initiatives that are being taken to strengthen this connectivity in South Asia, including Pakistan’s membership of the SCO and the development of the CPEC Project.
Same version of the article appeared in Daily Times
10th October, 2016, Islamabad: President Centre for Pakistan and Gulf Studies (CPGS), Senator Sehar Kamran (TI) has strongly condemned Indian Premiere Narendra Modi’s statement of attributing terrorism to Pakistan at the recent BRICS Summit held in Goa. She said this statement is in-line with the current Indian propaganda and its bid to isolate Pakistan in the international community, but is failing to find partners to shoulder its claim due to its own provocation and aggressive posture.
Senator Sehar Kamran said that in 2016 alone, India violated ceasefire at the Line of Control more than 90 times. She said the current Modi regime has entered into a blind alley in its baseless campaign against Pakistan; it has now become extremely difficult to find support internationally. Despite their best efforts, India cannot divert global attention from the atrocities New Delhi is committing in Indian-Occupied Kashmir. She said the world has witnessed how India is involved in covert activities inside Pakistan and trying to sabotage Pakistan’s interests by sending people like Kulbhushan Yadav and pursuing Ajit Doval’s ‘Offensive Defence’ doctrine.
Senator Sehar Kamran said peace in South Asia cannot be achieved unilaterally. Pakistan has been proposing talks but New Delhi keeps running away from dialogue due to its domestic compulsions and politics, which revolve around an anti-Pakistan narrative to divert attention away from their internal problems, she added.
Same version of the article appeared in The Nation
10th October, 2016: President Centre for Pakistan and Gulf Studies (CPGS), Senator Sehar Kamran (TI) has raised strong concerns over reports of a radioactive leak at the New Delhi airport. The airport was reportedly sealed off ‘after officials suspected a consignment containing radioactive material had leaked.’
Senator Kamran said this incident raises further serious question marks on the credibility and reliability of the Indian state machinery when handling radioactive material. She highlighted that unfortunately, this was not a stand-alone incident, but merely an ‘add-on’ to the list of nuclear and radiation-related accidents which have occurred in India. The world has not yet forgotten the death of the scrapyard worker in Delhi in 2010 due to radiation poisoning, an accident that also injured an additional seven people, she added.
Senator Sehar Kamran also called upon the global community, the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) and the Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG) member states to look into India’s abysmal track record of nuclear-related accidents as they move towards the next NSG plenary session where discussions will be held over the Indian bid for full, unilateral membership. The core premise of India’s application is its claim to being a responsible nuclear power, but what we continue to witness, even if the past is ignored, is contrary to such assertions. Senator Kamran further state that a formal investigation ought to be launched to investigate this matter properly.
Same version of the article appeared in The Nation
By Senator Sehar Kamran (TI)
September 29, 2016
“There is no flag large enough to cover the shame of killing innocent people.”–Prof Dr Howard Zinn
Historians agree that major underlying causes, which resulted in the outbreak of the First World War, were ‘nationalism, imperialism, arms race and an alliance system that repressed and bullied the smaller states’.
The consequences led to the death of 17 million people, and even more wounded.
A 102 years on, it is unfortunate that we seem to have come full circle, especially where the belligerence of bigger state bullies is concerned.
In the context of Pakistan-India relations, three out of those four causes perfectly fit the current scenario.
This ever-repetitive circle of allegations and war threats, aggressive posturing that lies beyond the realm of rationality to ‘thrash’ the other, simply to reassert/reaffirm the narrative of being a major power is at play again by India, particularly in the aftermath of the Uri attack.
As Pakistan successfully continues to fight its war against violent extremism and terrorism in the form of operation Zarb-e-Azb, external threats to its territorial sovereignty and integrity are mounting on its borders, bothon its Western, and recently on the Eastern, fronts.
India is strategically increasing pressure on Pakistan under the premise of its Kautilyan policy of encirclement.
Following the Uri attack, the world is witnessing the jingoistic Modi regime -infamous for the Gujrat massacre of 2002 – thumping its ’56 inch chest’ once again while chanting slogans of war, and blaming Pakistan for perpetrating this attack without any concrete evidence.
The hyper-nationalist right wing regime, instead of answering for and addressing the atrocities that are being committed by Indian forces in Indian Occupied Kashmir since July 8th and have left more than 120 innocent Kashmiris dead, is currently engaged in a war of words with Islamabad, putting humanity to shame in Indian held Kashmir.
Issuing statements to the tune of ‘revoking’ the Indus Water Treaty or surgical strikes inside Pakistan not only reflects a dangerously irresponsible policy mindset, but also echoes the ramblings of an unstable regime caught between the rhetoric of ‘Shining India’ and making the world cognizant of the ‘greatness of India’.
For a country, which is an aspirant of a permanent seat on United Nations Security Council and the Nuclear Suppliers Group, as well as the largest country within South Asia, India has little to show for its perceived ‘greatness’.
History bears witness to the fact that India has had border clashes and disputes with all of its seven neighbor states, barring none, exposing its heinous face and aggressive ambitions time and time again.
Today, this ‘aspiring leader’ has opened a multi-front war against Pakistan.
The biggest offense right now is directed against the China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC).
The $46 billion dollar flagship project by China’s ‘One Belt One Road’ initiative, even after nine months of its inauguration, is still not acceptable to India.
And to highlight its unacceptability and official policy to actively sabotage the progress on this mega-project, India is working on a multi-front strategy.
From actively changing its maps to include the area of Gilgit-Baltistan in its domain, to removing the status of Jammu and Kashmir as a disputed zone by declaring it an integral part of State of India, to the Indian officials registering their concerns with the Chinese Premier, to including Azad Kashmir under its own borders, to starting a Baloch language radio channel from an All India Radio station, to the Indian PM acknowledging how India is sympathetic to the people of Azad Kashmir, Balochistan and Gilgit Baltistan; little can be said in India’s defense in the face of these facts.
The Modi regime needs to place blame somewhere, because it has failed spectacularly in fulfilling its promises.
India is not only struggling with their efforts to sustain their grip on Kashmir but with the terrible truths of its political and military failures in Kashmir, its inability to quell indigenous uprisings and oppression by the means of brute force alone, its incompetence in asserting itself on the world stage and in the region as a major power, and its ineffectiveness in providing a raison d’etre for why Modi’s “achaydin” are nowhere on the horizon, as well as failure in being answerable to its public and explaining the catastrophe which is Indian state policy today, as we have seen in a recent survey in which over 50 percent of Indian citizens disapproved of Modi’s Pakistan policy.
India is playing a dangerous game in this highly volatile region.
If New Delhi wants to further its ‘Doval Doctrine’ by increasing covert activities and expanding the presence of Kulbhushan Yadavs in Pakistan, then the country should remember that India also has an unresolved Junagadh, Khalistan, Naxalite and many other insurgency movements within its own territory, and has high stakes in maintaining regional deterrence.
This said, let me reiterate that we at least are cognizant of the fact that war is never the answer – it is not a solution, but if a constantly belligerent tirade against Pakistan is continued from New Delhi in its vow to ‘isolate Pakistan in the world’, then as the Newton’s third law of motion states: every action has an equal and opposite reaction.
Perhaps this will keep the Hindutva diatribe in check, which, it seems, only understands the language of power and strength.
Pakistan is getting tired.
Tired of the Indian diatribe, tired of being the only one interested in establishing peace in the region, tired of the one-sided efforts to consistently propose and maintain strategic stability in the region.
After all, for how long can the people of Pakistan be expected endure this direct affront on their state before they start pressurizing the government to issue a strong rebuttal – a ‘tit for tat’ response, if you will?
The Indo-Pakistan region houses more than 1.5 billion people who deserve better.
A blame game will not strengthen our schools, economy or public health.
‘Blame will only destroy progress.Blame will breathe more violence’.
Blame will not rid us of our problems but will only fuel the hatemongers on both sides causing more long-term harm than good.
Let us seek then to move beyond the current stalemate, for the sakes of the millions of lives and futures at stake.
Same version of the article appeared in The Nation
By Senator Sehar Kamran (TI)
September 29, 2016
To a state where many still prescribe to the Kautilyan ideal of a single sub-continental Indian State, and revere his tenets for statecraft and foreign policy, deception and misdirection come as naturally as the involuntary function of breathing.
In fact, India has mastered these arts to such perfection that it manages to point bloody fingers towards its western neighbour over any and every incident, even as it stands squarely in the middle of the carnage, so to speak, and does it so effectively that the world lambasts Pakistan instead.
The curious case of India’s relationship with North Korea is no different.
In recent weeks, particularly in the context of the American push for India’s unilateral membership of the prestigious Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG), the mud-slinging campaign has reached new highs – or lows, depending upon where you stand.
In a classic attempt at misdirection, to distract from India’s failures and shortcomings as a responsible nuclear state, an offensive campaign has been launched to shift focus onto and detract from Pakistan’s application for simultaneous entry into the NSG instead.
At least twice over the past couple of months, questions have been raised in US Congress committees on possible links between Pakistan and North Korea.
Both times, the insinuation has been shot down – there is simply no evidence.
Interestingly, the question of India’s relationship with North Korea is never raised, and this is despite the fact that flags were raised in this context as recently as March 2016 in an annual report to the UN Security Council, and highlighted again – in a fairly comprehensive manner – in an article published this June in Al Jazeera, by an Indian journalist, Nilanjana Bhowmick.
As she aptly points out, by training North Korean scientists and equipping them with the sensitive knowledge and information regarding nuclear weapons and missile technology, India has not only violated the UN sanctions but also undermined international efforts to stop their spread to North Korea.
Unsurprisingly and extremely artfully, India continues to present itself as staunch opponent of the North Korean nuclear weapon development programme, terming the January test ‘a grave concern’, and the pantomime is bought by the international community hook, line and sinker.
Its actions, however, in stark contrast to its very effective words, portray a very different reality.
The first five major sanctions against North Korea were issued by the UN in 2006.
Of them, the Security Council Resolution 1718 stringently prohibits all UN Member States from any transfers to the DPRK – via nationals or territory – of ‘technical training, advice, services or assistance related to the provision, manufacture, maintenance or use of missiles, missile systems or other items, materials, equipment, goods and technology’ that could potentially further the DPRK’s nuclear related programmes.
The Annual Report, as well as some other documents, highlight exactly how India has trained many North Korean scientists and engineers, who have gone on to hold key positions in its hypersensitive missile programs.
Some key names in this context include Paek Chang-ho, who received instruction in satellite communications at the Indian Centre for Space Science and Technology Education in Asia and the Pacific (CSSTEAP), which was clearly important enough to allow him to become the head of an agency responsible for DPRK’s first satellite launch; Hong Yong-il, a North Korean official in Delhi, was amongst the first of the DPRK’s students trained at CSSTEAP – he studied remote sensing technology – and went on to head a research group on the subject in his home country.
Despite India’s protestations that the courses offered at this institute are generic, it is interesting to note that all of the DPRK’s thirty or so students to date have gone on to hold similarly important positions within its nuclear program.
The fact that the state continues to apply to the institute is also telling.
This is further evidenced in the concerns raised in the annual report, which considers more than one course to be ‘directly relevant’ to the development of North Korean expertise in the field.
“It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to realise how extraordinarily unwise, and indeed irresponsible, it is nowadays to train North Korean operatives in technologies that can be used to improve and perfect their ballistic missile programme, ” opines Nicholas Eberstadt, a political economic at the American Enterprise Institute, adding that “the government of India needs to acknowledge the seriousness of this error, take accountability for it, and publicly commit that it will not be an enabler of North Korean WMD programmes thenceforth.
” And yet, Indian double-speak maintains sway within the United States, which remains sceptical of Indian complicity with the North Korean nuclear programme, even with this evidence, and certain of Pakistan’s involvement, with no evidence.
Let us remember that during the Cold War, India – champion of the Non-Allied Movement (NAM) – was both a ‘close and trustworthy ally’ of the Soviet Union, as well as a ‘loyal’ friend of the US.
Deception has time and time again been shown to be the country’s strong suit, and it has no qualms in manipulating, dodging or arm-twisting to achieve its strategic and policy objectives.
The origins of its nuclear weapons program are a testament to this.
It has a history of conducting business with countries that have been termed as ‘rogue states’ at critical junctures in time, including Iran during the embargo period, and continually growing trade with Pyongyang, despite stringent UN Security Council sanctions.
The UN Security Council Resolution 1874 of 2009 explicitly prohibits any financial transactions with North Korea which could contribute to DPRK’s nuclear, ballistic or other weapons of mass destruction related programmes or activities, and yet surprisingly, from a mere $10 million in 2000, the India-North Korea bilateral trade increased sharply to $199 million dollars in 2014.
The North Korean Foreign Minister Ri Su Yong also visited India in April 2015, apparently to hold talks with the Indian Minister for External Affairs, Shushma Swaraj, on the North Korean nuclear program.
As its long-suffering and perpetually undermined and defamed neighbours, Pakistan has vast experience of Indian demagoguery.
Despite the country’s continual proxy engagement and territorial interference in Pakistan – of which the country has provided solid evidence many a time – Pakistan is portrayed as the ‘evil’ state, with unendingly belligerent intentions.
‘Heinous’ is the term most commonly used I believe, in spite of its constant attempts at reconciliation, including most recently the proposed bilateral restraint regime, which once again and in line with Indian policy, was rejected outright by the country.
India’s role in straining Pakistan-Afghanistan is undeniable, and, as Chuck Hagel points out, India may well be ‘using Afghan soil to finance problems for Pakistan’.
Its naval ambitions are known to all.
It has at the helm of its foreign affairs a hardcore nationalist ‘spy’, Mr Ajit Doval, who classifies Pakistan as an ‘Indian Enemy’ that must be ‘isolated’, and promotes the use of TTP to destabilise Pakistan internally.
All this on public record!
It is high time that India’s flimsy mask of respectability is removed and the state seen for what it is – a troublemaker with grandiose ambitions.
If the region is to step out of the perpetually looming shadow of war, apprising these facts at face value is of the utmost importance.
It is the only way the South Asian region can realistically move into the future in a sturdy and sustainable manner.
Same version of the article appeared in The Nation
27th September, 2016: President Centre for Pakistan and Gulf Studies (CPGS), Senator Sehar Kamran (TI) has termed the Indian External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj’s address to the United Nations General Assembly as a pack of lies. She said Indian Minister’s referral of Baluchistan in her speech is again an admission of the continued Indian interference in Pakistan’s internal affairs which is a clear violation of the international law and the United Nations Charter.
Senator Kamran said India has a habit of bullying its neighbor states as history shows how the country has had disputes with all of its seven neighbouring states barring none. She said blaming Pakistan even before the attackers of Uri attack were apprehended, shows the typical Indian mindset of blaming others for their own weaknesses as it a convenient way of pacifying their domestic voters.
Senator Sehar Kamran said even though Swaraj completely glossed over Indian atrocities in Indian held Kashmir but the world bears witness of how Indian Security Forces have unleashed horror and mayhem in the valley by killing more than 100 Kashmiri people, injuring thousands and has left more than 150 blinded by the use of deadly gun pellets since July 8th. She said telecommunication services have been completely suspended, and media has been denied any access in the valley.
Senator Kamran called for an independent investigations of extra judicial killings by Indian forces of the Kashmiri people. Pakistan will continue to support the Kashmiri people on moral grounds, she added.
Senator Sehar Kamran said instead of trying to resolve these issues bilaterally, India is hell bent on creating another one: the water issue. She said by suspending Indus Water Commission talks India has increased the stakes considerably high which this region perhaps cannot sustain.
Islamabad- September 26th, 2016: President Centre for Pakistan and Gulf Studies, Senator Sehar Kamran (TI) has warmly welcomed the 1st ever contingent of Russian ground forces to participate in the Pakistan-Russia joint military exercise to be held from 24th September to 10th October, 2016.
Senator Sehar Kamran said these military drills represent a landmark achievement in the history of bilateral relations between Pakistan and Russia as it will give boost to an increased military cooperation and open other avenues of mutual cooperation between the two regional countries. She said Russia is a major power and an important regional player and steps like these will solidify relations between the two countries which is the need of the hour.
Senator Sehar Kamran said that in today’s rapidly changing geo-political and geo-strategic environment, closer defence ties between the two countries are in their mutual interest due to their converging regional interests. It is vital that long-term relations between Islamabad and Moscow are established and further matured in various other domains as well, she added.
20th September, 2016, Islamabad: A Turkish Delegation based on students and journalists arranged by the Khubaib Foundation visited the Centre for Pakistan and Gulf Studies (CPGS) today. The delegation was given a brief introduction about the Centre’s aims and objectives. They were also apprised of the Centre’s mega projects i.e., SALAM, Johar: Nuclear Non-Proliferation, Arms Control and Disarmament, Regional Integration and Foreign Policy of Pakistan.
Both delegations exchanged their views on the importance of Pakistan-Turkish relations. The Turkish delegation expressed keen interest in learning Pakistan’s culture and emphasized on enhancing relations between the two countries.
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