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Back Again

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At the time when former Pakistan PM Imran Khan was alleging a ‘conspiracy’ by foreign powers to oust him, the claim had seemed contrived. The new government of Shahbaz Sharif has even released audios of Imran planning how to use a diplomatic message sent from the US to bolster his allegation. However, events since Imran’s ignominious ‘dismissal’ from power, developments seem to support his charge. It is clear that his decision not to allow use of Pakistan airspace to the forces departing from Afghanistan and his repeated boasts of this ‘absolutely not’ stand angered the United States. And, now, it is hitting back.

The honours and respect being bestowed on Pakistan Chief of Army Staff General QJ Bajwa these days by the US is clear appreciation of the role played by him in Imran Khan’s ouster. The grant of 450 million dollars for ‘upkeep’ of Pakistan’s F-16s is part of this ‘rapprochement’. Pakistan is also allowing itself to become a conduit for supply of arms to Ukraine, thereby clearly taking sides in the conflict.

It seems, under President Biden’s leadership, the Democrats believe that, rather than invest in the complex relationship with an independent minded India, it is better to use Pakistan as a tool in the region. Considering the dire conditions that exist in that country nowadays, persuading the establishment to tow its line will also not cost very much. Pakistan, too, has realised that its forever ally, China, has a purely transactional interest in its well-being and is incapable of the ‘generosity’ the US has often shown in the past.

In the brief time that Biden has been President, there has also been an increase in hostility towards India and Indians, which is evident from the incidents taking place on a daily basis. Despite the intention to celebrate Diwali in the White House, nothing concrete is being done by the Federal and State Governments to dampen this resentment against the Indians’ growing clout. This is an indication that fresh stereotypes are being manufactured which will lead to yet another period of engagement with Pakistan detrimental to India’s security. It will also jeopardise the efforts to keep the Indo-Pacific region secure from China. It seems that, under the usual fake narrative, the military-industrial complex is being allowed, once again, to further its objectives under the guise of US interests. This region and the world will end up paying the price.