Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Coming Nuclear Flashpoint : India, Afghanistan and Pakistan

If the West has had any success in Afghanistan, it has been in encouraging India to make a massive investment there of economic aid, infrastructure projects and national prestige. New Delhi is the largest regional investor in the country, and ranks second among all donors. With the West’s looming defeat in Afghanistan, however, India’s success will prove Pyrrhic, and may well set the stage for another, perhaps nuclear, confrontation between Pakistan and India.

The seriousness with which Islamabad views this issue is seen in the fact that, per the media, up to 30 percent of Pakistan’s ground forces are now stationed on the country’s western border. This redeployment degrades the country’s strength on its border with India and has been made to fight what Islamabad believes are rebellious, India-supported militants in its tribal agencies and Balochistan Province.

Indian officials also have talked of their intention to use Afghanistan as a springboard for exploiting economic opportunities and accessing energy resources in Central Asia. Military-oriented Indian publications like the Indian Defense Review, moreover, haven’t been shy about crowing over how the growing Indian presence in Afghanistan is making the Pakistan Army more ‘worried with each passing day [that] its so-called strategic depth is becoming shallower by the minute.’ 

Michael Scheuer is the author of ‘Imperial Hubris’ and former chief of the CIA’s Bin Laden Issue Station. He writes regularly for Non-intervention.com

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