- Jul 6, 2012
Report: What do Sindhi nationalists want? by Ali K Chishti
Ms Pande cites the Bulletin of Atomic Scientists 2011 to assert that Pakistan's nuclear arsenal is now the fourth largest in the world and ahead of countries like the United Kingdom. She says Pakistan has consistently refused to sign the Fissile Material Cutoff Treaty (FMCT). This she does to the total exclusion of India, which itself is shy of NPT and the FMCT.
Ms Pande's arguments also overlook that all states, like human beings, tend to secure their flanks. A country may wrap the idea in its own jargon but the basic philosophy revolves around the desire to have a secure and stable neighbourhood. History offers a plenty of examples of that. The US did that in Cuba in 1962 and forced the Soviet Union to remove nuclear missiles from Cuba. It even supported the jihad in Afghanistan in the 1980s and then began a war on terror in 2001. India exhibited similar behavior in 1971 by supporting the Awami League and its militant wings in what was then East Pakistan. It also backed the Nepalese government in dealing with Maoists. Pakistan tried this in Kashmir in the 1980s and 1990s, and in Afghanistan through Pashtun proxies beginning in the mid-1970s through to the 1990s. But Pakistan's policy eventually backfired, bringing enormous existential challenges for Pakistan itself.
Universally, states do seek parity with other states. If that were not the case, why would India jack up its defence budget to over $40 billion - an almost 18 percent increase - in an apparent attempt to catch up with China? Isn't it a quest for parity with China? One also tends to ask as to what led to some 30 armed insurgencies across northeastern India, particularly Assam, Meghalaya, Tripura, Arunachal Pradesh, Mizoram, Manipur, Nagaland and Kashmir? What gave birth to about 68 major groups in India designated as terrorists? Nobody talks about the UNDP report that says around 37 percent of Indian population is living below the poverty line (more or less the same as Pakistan).