Analysts say India fanning unrest in Balochistan
* RAND Corporation expert says Indian officials informed
her of ‘pumping money into Balochistan’
NEW YORK: Pakistan has legitimate concerns about India’s involvement in Afghanistan and about possibilities of New Delhi fanning unrest in Balochistan, top experts on South Asia noted in a discussion on Monday.
They said the concerns needed to be addressed for regional security.
“I think it is unfair to dismiss the notion that Pakistan's apprehensions about Afghanistan stem in part from its security competition with India," Christine Fair, a leading American expert on South Asia said. "Having visited the Indian mission in Zahedan, Iran, I can assure you they are not issuing visas as the main activity. Moreover, India has run operations from its mission in Mazar and is likely doing so from the other consulates it has reopened in Jalalabad and Qandahar along the (Pak-Afghan) border.”
Pumping: "Indian officials have told me privately that they are pumping money into Balochistan. Kabul has encouraged India to engage in provocative activities such as using the Border Roads Organisation to build sensitive parts of the Ring Road and use the Indo-Tibetan police force for security."
Fair, who is a senior political analyst with RAND Corporation, also pointed out that India was "also building schools on a sensitive part of the border in Kunar, across from Bajaur. Kabul's motivations for encouraging these activities are as obvious as India's interest in engaging in them".
She said it would be a “mistake to completely disregard Pakistan's regional perceptions due to doubts about Indian competence in executing covert operations”.
Shaun Gregory, director of the Pakistan Security Research Unit at the University of Bradford, emphasised the importance of addressing root causes of terrorism that threatened regional stability.
In this respect, he said anyone seeking greater stability in the region, or seeking to wean support for extremists and terrorists in the country" has to address Pakistan's legitimate security needs".
"This means working with neighbouring countries to draw the sting of issues such as Kashmir and Balochistan. Pakistan, for its part, must move to a fairer federal dispensation and take the opportunity for bilateral progress with India that the present context offers," he said.
Fears: Touching on a point in the context of Indo-Pak tensions and the Indian involvement in 1971 events, Stephen Cohen, a senior expert associated with Washington's Brookings Institution, said US-India nuclear deal had added to fears among some Pakistanis that the US might tilt in favour of India.
Sumit Ganguly, professor of Political Science at Indiana University, said he "never suggested that the Indians have purely humanitarian objectives in Afghanistan. That said their vigorous attempts to limit Pakistan's reach and influence there stem largely from being systematically bled in Kashmir".
"Their role in Afghanistan is a pincer movement designed to relieve the pressure in Kashmir. Whether it will work remains an open question. Meanwhile, I know that the Indians have mucked around in Sindh in retaliation for Pakistani involvement in the Punjab crisis."
However, Ganguly claimed that as much as the Indians may boast about their putative pumping of funds into Balochistan, the evidence for that was thin. app