As proud proclamations of the US’s $450 million aid package to Pakistan do the rounds, India appears less than elated. A shrill silence envelops the matter, and for good reason. The aid is supposed to help in the ‘sustainment’ of Islamabad’s F-16 fighter jets, as claimed by the Pentagon. But the bald eagle isn’t really bald, is it? Unfortunately for the US, India isn’t too thrilled to see its nemesis stocked and sailing.
Is Pakistan US’ Frankenstein?
History is unequivocal in support of India’s displeasure. Pakistan and India are known to share murky relations, fuelled by various territorial disputes, ideological differences, and not to forget, ample shreds of evidence revealing Pakistan’s militant operations within Indian territory. However, contrary to minimal expectations of sanity, but with all pomp and circumstance, the US has regularly replenished Pakistan’s begging bowl with hefty alms; some odd 85 F-16 aircraft. The sole motivation for this act of generosity stems from US’s attempt to enable Pakistan to wipe out terrorism that thrives on Pakistani soil. Or so the US claims. You see, the US views every relationship as transactional. This could be the US’s way of repaying Pakistan for the supposed help in killing Ayman al-Zawahiri, the former Al-Qaeda chief, late in August.
According to reports, Pakistan had provided information on his residential location in Kabul, and according to a basic geographical sense, the US drones could only have been launched from a Pakistani military base. This unusually kind disposition of Pakistan was, in turn, a product of Biden’s help with a desperately required IMF bailout for a cash-strapped, nay, maimed Pakistan economy. From what can be gathered, Biden also wishes to exploit Pakistan’s stronghold in intelligence accumulation inside Taliban-ruled Afghanistan. The cherry on the cake, the Taliban definitely likes Pakistan better than the US. A tough call, I’m sure.
Another motivation for the US to help our damsel in distress can be traced to its hegemonic aspirations. While the USA can easily bully Latin American and smaller European nations, it finds its influence slipping in Asia. So, who is the US losing to? He who cannot be tamed. Or at least not by the US. That’s right, Xi Jinping. With China’s growing domination in Asia, the US feels threatened. Humiliated even. And with China’s increasing closeness to Russia and North Korea, it can easily lead Asia, and subsequently the world. This is where Pakistan, US’s Frankenstein monster comes in.
It is a politically unstable country, currently simmered in an economic crisis. Tale as old as time. Its energies are occupied with framing the deadly ‘terrorist’ Imran Khan and ticking tea off the nation’s diet. The US is pouncing on this very vulnerable situation in Pakistan and establishing a presence. Moreover, by helping Pakistan militarily, it hopes to isolate China in the face of the growing proximity between China and Pakistan. To the US’s advantage, Pakistan is one of the few non-aligned Asian nations that doesn’t always not-align. Moreover, little rocket man’s tendency to develop, well rockets, irks China. And Russia focused on its war in Ukraine currently, will soon have to deal with the remnants of its aggression in the form of lasting foreign criticism and potentially crippling Western sanctions. It simply cannot be an ally to China in the near future. So, if the US can steal China’s new toy, it can alienate the malady in red and establish a stronghold over Asia. Checkmate!
India has been silent on the matter so far. At least publicly. Does it have reason to be worried? Yes. Pakistan has been accused of using its F-16s against India in the dogfight that the two nations engaged in after the Balakot strike. And India has reason to believe that these F-16s will continue to be used against India, as opposed to expectations that Pakistan might actually use these to terminate militancy. To India’s relief, the rusted F-16s were withering away due to a lack of maintenance, rendering them incapable of flight. And Trump, despite being the ‘Mentally deranged US dotard’ had brains enough to not re-equip unscrupulous Pakistan. But now, Biden has decided to give flight to Pakistan’s terror. Quite literally. And to appease India amidst increasing discontent, the Biden administration seems to think that vilifying China will do just the trick. So, the US publicly denounces China’s efforts to disengage at PP-15 as insufficient and promises India support against the ‘terrible threat’ from Beijing. Well, Beijing, if the shoe fits!
Aishani Mathur is a columnist for Wion.