Blackwill continues to denigrate Pakistan
By Khalid Hasan
WASHINGTON: Former US ambassador to India, Robert Blackwill, now a lobbyist for India, in a speech at a local university on Friday, while extolling India’s virtues, kept referring to Pakistan as “the P word”.
Normally, this phrasing is used for words that cannot be uttered in polite company or at a family gathering. Invited to speak on India as a rising power by the Johns Hopkins University, Blackwill, when asked where India-Pakistan relations were going, answered, “India is not going to agree to territorial change in Kashmir” and the “Pakistani elite, especially the military elite” should understand that clearly. He decried what he said the “Pakistani military elite” had been doing over Kashmir for the last 50 years and said that unless that came to an end, there could be no permanent peace. “India is not going to return any part of Kashmir to Pakistan,” he declared. In the 21st century, he said, if there were to be peace between the two countries, it would have to come through open borders and with time the “sovereignty issue” will come to matter “less and less.” However, he added, he saw no sign of change in the thinking of the Pakistani “military elite.” He also criticised President Pervez Musharraf’s address to the UN General Assembly earlier this month, describing it as a speech that could have been made 20 years ago. He also asked Pakistan to put an end to “cross-border terrorism”, while emphasising that good relations with India would depend on Pakistan becoming a democratically-governed country.
Blackwill saw India playing a major role in world affairs and argued that if India with its present capabilities and achievements had been located in Europe and not Asia, it would have been accepted as a global power. He argued that despite India’s “heart-breaking poverty,” its growing numbers of HIV victims, its neglect of the girl child, India would become a power in the world. He stressed that this would happen “despite the existence of other Indias.”
He insisted that there is no linkage between a rapidly advancing India and the India that is riddled with poverty, disease and illiteracy. He said there were many commonalities between the US and India. He listed them as: preoccupation with terrorism and Islamic extremism; worry over weapons of mass destruction falling into the hand of terrorists; energy security; and the rise of Chinese power. He said India shares each of these vital interests with America in a way no other state does. He expressed confidence that the US-India nuclear agreement signed in July this year between President George Bush and Prime Minister Manmohan Singh would pass through Congress.
A South Asia watcher who heard the former ambassador and academic speak said later, “Since Blackwill has to sing for his supper, naturally this is what he is going to say, but the nuclear deal is going to hit one roadblock after another on Capitol Hill.”