5:06 pm - Tuesday September 25, 2018

India please note: Russia, Pakistan get closer – rediff : रूस व् पकिस्तान की उभरती दोस्ती के खतरे

रूस व् अमरीका का शीत युद्ध अब पुनः चालू हो गया है . अमरीका व् यूरोप ने रूस के साथ छल किया . उसके टूटने के बावजूद पश्चिम जगत ने रूस को दुश्मन मान के उसे नयी तकनीक का कोई लाभ नहीं दिया . आज भी युक्रेन  क्रिमीआ के चलते उस पर अनेक प्रतिबन्ध लगे हुए हैं . राष्ट्रपति ट्रंप को भी रूस से मित्रता करने की आजादी नहीं है .

भारत को ताशकंत समझौता याद है जिसमें तकालीन प्रधान मंत्रि श्री लाल बहादुर शास्त्री की मृत्यु हो गयी थी और भारत को हाजी पीर वापिस करना पडा था . पाकिस्तान के दुस्साहस भरे हमले के उपरांत भी उसे सब कुछ वापिस मिल गया . इसी लिए उसकी कारगिल करने की दुबारा हिम्मत हुयी .किसी अगली लड़ाई मैं रूस के निष्पक्ष हो जाने की संभावनाएं बढ़ रही हैं . वह भारत व् पकिस्तान की हथियारों की आपूर्ती अवश्य रोक सकता है . ऐसे मैं भारत को अपनी सुरक्षा के नए उपाय सोचने पड़ेंगे . रूस भारत व् अमरीका की दोस्ती से दुःखी है . उसके ब्रिक्स बनाने के प्रयास का फायदा चीन की हठधर्मिता से नहीं मिल रहा . चीन भारत के साथ यथा स्थिति पर भी समझौता नहीं करना चाहता और तवांग की मांग पर अड़ा  हुआ है . इसके कारण ब्रिक्स सफल नहीं हो रहा क्योंकि बिना सीमा समझौते के भारत व् चीन मैं विश्वास नहीं बन पायेगा . चीन अभी अपनी नयी शक्ति के घमंड मैं है और वह अपने को अमरीका के बराबर की शक्ति बनाना चाहता है . अमरीका इसलिए भारत कप विकसित कर रहा है क्योंकि चीन की विस्तार वादी नीतियों से जापान , ऑस्ट्रेलिया , आसियान इत्यादि देश घबरा गए हैं . भारत को वह तुच्छ  मानता है .

पाकिस्तान रूस व् चीन की मदद से अफगानिस्तान मैं अमरीका को निकाल देने के सपने देखने लगा है . चीन पाकिस्तान को यह हिमाकत नहीं करने देगा .परंतु रूस सीरिया की तरह पाकिस्तान को समाप्त नहीं होने देगा . गोवा मैं उसने पाकिस्तान का खुल कर साथ दिया था . ईरान अभी तो हमारे साथ है क्योंकि उसे भी पाकिस्तान से खतरा है .पान्तु दस वर्षों बाद की स्थिति कोई नहीं बता सकता . उसने हमारे द्वारा खोजा फरजान गैस भण्डार रूस की कंपनी को दे दिया है .अमरीकी कूटनीति के चलते रूस ने चीन से तेल बेचने के करार कर लिए हैं और वह चीन पर आश्रित है .वह ग्वादर बंदरगाह का उपयोग भी करने के लिए उत्सुक है .रूस अब भारत का विश्वसनीय साथी नहीं है क्यंकि न तो पाकिस्तान न ही चीन के विरुद्ध वह हमारी खुल कर मदद करेगा .

भारत नार्थ साउथ कोरिडोर पर काफी काम कर रहा है . भारत के रूस से व्यापारिक रिश्ते बहुत खटाई मैं है . सिवाय हथियारों के हम और कुछ रूस से नहीं ले रहे हैं .रूस अब सिवाय रक्षा के ,टेक्नोलॉजी मैं हमसे बहुत आगे भी नहीं रह गया है . इसलिए उससे आयात व् निर्यात बढाने की बहुत संभावनाएं नहीं हैं .

भारत को इन परिस्थितियों मैं रूस से खरीदे  सब हथियारों का गोला बारूद व् कल पुर्जे बनाने की तकनीक हासिल करने को प्राथमिकता देनी होगी . किसी भारत पकिस्तान युद्ध को हमें अपनी शक्ति से जीतना होगा . इसके लिए यद्यपि हम रूस से सामान खरीदते रहें फिर भी हथियारों की आपूर्ती मैं रोक से हमरी युद्ध जीतने की क्षमता पर कोई प्रभाव नहीं पढ़ना चाहिए . दुसरे रूस को सुखोई , मिग , ट्रायम्फ  मिस्साईंल   प्रतिरोधक रक्षा प्रणाली  बेचने से रोकना होगा . चीन पाकिस्तान को अपना बाज़ार मानता है . वह अपना बाज़ार रूस को नहीं देगा . इसलिए पकिस्तान आर्थिक रूप से रूस के लिए महत्वपूर्ण नहीं है . परन्तु रूस को अमरीका से अफगानिस्तान का बदला लेने से रोकना ही भारत के लिए महत्वपूर्ण है . रूस को पकिस्तान की किसी भी अहमियत का न होना समझाना होगा .

भारत स्विट्ज़रलैंड की तरह अंतर राष्ट्रीय स्थिति बना सकता है . परन्तु चीन के साथ यदि दो दो हाथ हुए तो यह स्थिति घातक होगी .विदेश निति के इन नए पहलुओं पर गंभीर चिंतन की आवश्यकता है .

India please note: Russia, Pakistan get closer

‘Russia’s interest lies in boosting Pakistan’s grit and capacity to withstand US pressure,’ says Ambassador M K Bhadrakumar.

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov, left, with his Pakistani counterpart Khawaja Asif after their meeting in Moscow, February 20, 2018. Photograph: Maxim Shemetov/Reuters
IMAGE: Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov, left, with his Pakistani counterpart Khawaja Asif after their meeting in Moscow, February 20, 2018. Photograph: Maxim Shemetov/Reuters

Afghanistan, no doubt, was what brought Pakistani Foreign Minister Khawaja Asif to Moscow on a ‘working visit’ on February 20.

This was Asif’s second meeting with Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov in the past 5-month period. They last met in New York on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly session in September.

The Russian ministry took pains to highlight Asif’s visit. A ‘working visit’ cuts out protocol frills and gets straight to transacting business.

Yet, Moscow made an exception and issued a glowing ‘curtain-raiser’ to hail Asif’s arrival. There must have been strong reasons to do so.

The regional backdrop is indeed tumultuous.

The new Cold War is slouching toward the Hindu Kush and Central Asian steppes and Pakistan’s geography is regaining the criticality in strategic terms reminiscent of the 1980s.

The Russian statements have become highly critical of the US regional strategies in the Afghanistan-Pakistan region.

Moscow has concluded that the US is determined to keep an open-ended military presence in the region.

On the other hand, Russia is being kept at arm’s length from the Afghan problem.

Instead, Washington is directly engaging the Central Asian States, bypassing Russia, including at the military level.

Clearly, Washington is working hard to undermine Moscow’s leadership role in the region in the fight against terrorism and to challenge Russia’s notion of being the provider of security to the former Soviet republics neighboring Afghanistan.

Given the experience in Syria (where the US is covertly encouraging ISIS and al-Qaeda affiliates to make the going tough for the Russia and to create new facts on the ground that weaken Syria’s unity), Moscow is increasingly weary of the US intentions vis-à-vis ISIS in Afghanistan.

To be sure, the growing presence of ISIS in the northern and eastern regions of Afghanistan facing the Central Asian region deeply worries Russia.

Moscow has repeatedly hinted that US could be facilitating the transfer of ISIS fighters from Syria and Iraq to Afghanistan. But the Americans move on, ignoring the Russian barbs.

The pattern in Syria is repeating. Lavrov brought up the US-ISIS nexus in the discussions with Asif.

The Russian side has floated the idea that the Regional Anti-Terrorist Structure of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation can be put to use ‘to develop practical measures to curtail the ISIS influence in Afghanistan and prevent it from spreading to Central Asia.’

From Lavrov’s remarks following the talks with Asif, it appears that the SCO summit, which is scheduled to be held in Qingdao, China, in July, may make some moves/initiatives on the Afghan problem.

Last year Russia injected a new lease of life into the SCO-Afghanistan Contact Group. China will host the next meeting of the Contact Group.

The fact is that with the admission of Pakistan and India as full members, SCO now represents all key neighbours of Afghanistan.

At the media briefing after the talks with Asif, Lavrov outlined that Russia and Pakistan have common ground in regard of the Afghan situation.

The Pakistani foreign ministry readout stated that the two ministers ‘agreed to closely coordinate in all Afghanistan-related processes for a regional solution of the Afghan conflict.’

Indeed, the articulations from both sides regarding the talks in Moscow on Tuesday suggest that Russia and Pakistan intend to work closely together to coordinate their approaches to the Afghan situation.

Russia has promised to step up military support for Pakistan’s counter-terrorist operations.

Significantly, as per a decision taken earlier, a new commission on military-technical cooperation between the two countries is being set up.

Of course, this is happening at a time when the Pakistani military is preparing to face any cuts in US military aid.

To be sure, the talks in Moscow took place in the new Cold War conditions.

The critical difference today, compared to the eighties, would be that, as the Russian foreign ministry curtain-raiser put it, ‘Today, Pakistan has become an important foreign policy partner of Russia.’

‘Both countries cooperate productively at international organisations, in particular at the UN and its agencies. Cooperation between Moscow and Islamabad is based on coinciding or similar positions on most issues facing the international community, including terrorism and religious extremism.’

‘Opportunities for joint work expanded considerably after Pakistan joined the SCO as a fully-fledged member in June 2017.’

‘The fight against terrorism is a key area of cooperation. The situation in Afghanistan arouses common concern. We are particularly concerned about the growing influence of the ISIS terrorist group in Afghanistan and its efforts to consolidate its positions in the country’s north and east.’

‘We advocate a regional approach towards resolving the situation in the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan. We expect participants in the Moscow format of consultations on the Afghan issue and the SCO-Afghanistan Contact Group to work productively.’

The pronounced convergence over Afghanistan can be expected to create synergy for an all-round expansion and deepening of the Russia-Pakistan relationship.

Lavrov gave an upbeat account of the relationship as it stands today. Russia’s interest lies in boosting Pakistan’s grit and capacity to withstand US pressure.

Interestingly, Lavrov and Asif also discussed Syria where the US has lately switched to an offensive mode against Russia. Again, Asif voiced Pakistan’s opposition to the sanctions against Russia.

Why US threats no longer perturb Pakistan

US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, right, with Pakistan Foreign Minister Khawaja Muhammad Asif at the State Department, Washington, DC, October 4, 2017. Photograph: Yuri Gripas/Reuters
IMAGE: US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, right, with Pakistan Foreign Minister Khawaja Muhammad Asif at the State Department, Washington, DC, October 4, 2017. Photograph: Yuri Gripas/Reuters

A concerted move by the United States and its Western allies to bring Pakistan back into the ‘watch list’ of the so-called Financial Action Task Force — FATF — leaps out of a morality play from the Middle Ages — an allegorical drama with Washington assuming moral attributes.

For the benefit of the uninitiated, FATF is a progeny of the G-7, conceived in 1989 supposedly to study and monitor money-laundering methods and discern compliance.

In more recent decades, it strove to morph into a watchdog on international terrorism and a Western instrument to exercise jurisdiction on ‘terrorism financing’.

Pakistan, like many countries, has been in and out of the FATF’s watchlist since 2008. It was, curiously, commended in 2013 for making ‘sufficient progress’ and was dropped from the watchlists since 2014.

 

 

The move to reinsert Pakistan into the FATA watchlist is political in nature in the present context when the US is crafting coercive instruments to pressure Islamabad to cooperate with the Trump administration’s strategy to force a military solution to the Afghan war.

Put differently, it is yet another instance of the double standards that the West adopts on international terrorism.

Thus, there is blood in the hands of the US on account of its covert support for extremist groups in Syria, including the Islamic State. But FATF remained indifferent.

Specifically, Russia has openly alleged that the US is sustaining al-Nusra, the al-Qaeda affiliate in Syria, which figures in the UN Security Council’s black list as a terrorist organisation, in northern Syria and is using ISIS fighters to carve out a ‘zone of influence’ along the Euphrates river.

Turkey, a NATO ally, alleges that the Kurdish militia in Syria is a franchise of the PKK (which the US too brands as a terrorist organisation) and yet the Pentagon uses it as its proxy in northern Syria’s killing fields to push back at the Syrian regime and its allies.

As recently as on Tuesday, February 20, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov repeated the allegation voiced by Moscow (and Tehran) that the US is secretly ferrying ISIS fighters from Syria and Iraq to northern and eastern Afghanistan on the border regions facing Central Asia.

Clearly, the West’s double standards are inflicting colossal damage to the fight against international terrorism.

It is not only that the US resorts to double standards but it cynically uses terrorism as an instrument to advance its global and regional strategies.

Succinctly put, terrorism has become a second tool like human rights for the consolidation of US hegemony in world politics. Look at how indignant the US State Department sounded on the Maldives situation in its latest statement on February 20:

‘The United States is disappointed by reports that Maldivian President Yameen has extended the state of emergency in that country for an additional 30 days.’

‘The United States continues to call on President Yameen to end the state of emergency, uphold the rule of law, permit the full and proper functioning of the parliament and the judiciary, restore constitutionally guaranteed rights of the people of Maldives, and respect Maldives’ international human rights obligations and commitments.’

Will the Trump administration have the gumption to make a comparable demand on Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to stop the bestiality against the Palestinians?

Of course not, because America’s political class needs Jewish money, patronage and support in electoral politics.

Such being the state of play, bordering on the cynical, the international community has done well to call the American bluff at the meeting of the FATF in Paris on February 22-23 regarding Pakistan.

The heart of the matter is that terrorism should not be politicised. Its manifestations must be uniformly condemned — be it in Palestine, Syria, Afghanistan, Xinjiang or Kashmir.

Second, the struggle against terrorism is ineffectual so long as the root causes of terrorism are not addressed.

Third, most important, this struggle must form part of global governance — that is, it must be waged from the UN platform.

The FATF belongs to a past when the G-7 ruled the roost in the world order. Today, the G-7 has become a relic of the past.

In fact, France’s own credentials to host the FATF are highly suspect, given its bloody record in the Francophone countries and in Libya. Incidentally, French special forces even today operate inside Syria to fuel the conflict.

Therefore, it comes as no surprise that Pakistan has secured wide support to stall the US move against it at the FATF meet in Paris.

Even the US’ NATO ally, Turkey, and its key partner in the Middle East, Saudi Arabia, disfavour the US move. So indeed China and Russia.

What emerges out of this sordid drama in Paris is that the US move to isolate Pakistan is turning out to be counterproductive.

On the one hand, the propagandistic move in the FATF exposes that the US’ capacity to leverage Pakistani policies is reaching rock bottom. Interestingly, an analysis by the prestigious British security think-tank Royal United Services Institute earlier this week also arrived at the same conclusion:

‘The Pakistani military is fully prepared to face any cuts in US military aid and potential threats of cross border incursions by American forces and feels its global recognition and reputation of its counter terror efforts and the military’s role is very different to what it was in 2001.’

‘As 2018 begins, it is the Americans that need Pakistan and not the other way around. US Secretary of Defence Jim Mattis has already said that he is in touch with the Pakistani military, as without them the US forces cannot move their equipment or survive in landlocked Afghanistan.’

‘If anything, Trump’s tweet has made Pakistan realise it has been wrong to trust America for seven decades. The Pakistanis have given full combat and logistical support to a war for which America has no answers.’

On the other hand, if the US intention was to use the FATF platform to isolate Pakistan and impose sanctions against it, that is also not going to work when influential countries such as Turkey, Iran, Saudi Arabia, China and Russia will not lend support to the US campaign.

Finally, if the US intention is to snuff out any nascent regional initiative on Afghanistan by creating discord among the regional States at this inflection point in the 17-year old war, that is going to be wishful thinking, because the overwhelming regional opinion happens to be that a process of national reconciliation in Afghanistan is an imperative need and a top priority in the interest of regional security and stability.

This week’s working visit to Moscow by Pakistani Foreign Minister Khwaja Asif indicates that efforts in the direction of mounting a regional initiative to promote intra-Afghan talks are gaining momentum.

Paradoxically, the FATF drama — the Trump administration’s failure to rally international opinion against Pakistan — can serve a good purpose by highlighting the geopolitical reality that the US stands utterly isolated in forcing a military solution to the Afghan war.

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