India fomenting trouble in Balochistan, Pakistan meddling in northeast:

Taliban Islamabad, April 7  India is “fomenting trouble” in Balochistan while Pakistan is “meddling” in its neighbour’s northeast, an editorial in a leading English daily contended Tuesday, urging both nations to immediately restart the process of normalising their relations.

“India has been a favourite of Afghanistan to ward off Pakistan’s natural neighbourly dominance,” Daily Times said, adding: “Recent strategies have become more dangerous.

“India is fomenting trouble in Balochistan and has big money invested in Iran to back up this penetration from the Iranian side,” said the editorial, headlined “India and Balochistan”.

“More ominously,” it said, “India is working in tandem with the regional states to prevent the filling of the post-NATO power vacuum in Afghanistan by Pakistan, which is seeking ’strategic depth’ against India”.

“On the other side,” the editorial said Pakistan “is still reported to be meddling” in India’s northeastern states of Manipur, Assam, Nagaland, Tripura, Meghalaya “with help from its friends in Bangladesh”.

Noting that it was not a “popular suggestion,” Daily Times said India and Pakistan “have to vow to give up their covert wars and move in the direction of normalisation” as pledged in the various SAARC resolutions.

The “sooner” the two countries restarted their normalisation process “the better it would be for both”, the editorial said, adding Pakistan was keen on it, while India “will have to come to it” after the April-May general elections.

“There is no alternative to peace between the two nuclear powers,” the newspaper added.

It also reproduced a discussion carried by American journal Foreign Affairs’ website quoting RAND scholar Christine Fair as saying: “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 (through which it supported the Northern Alliance) and is likely doing so from the other consulates it has reopened in Jalalabad and Kandahar along the border,” Fair said.

She went on to add: “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 (Border) Police force for security. It is 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”, Fair contended.

It also said Fair “may not have substantiated the allegation that India has opened ‘dozens of consulates’ along the Durand Line to bother Pakistan, but she has told the world that India’s Jalalabad and Kandahar consulates have offices along the border”.

It also noted India has put over $1 billion into Afghanistan’s reconstruction - against Pakistan’s $300 million - “when richer countries didn’t feel moved enough to invest, and thus, has a kind of privileged position among the allies who are in Afghanistan under a UN Security Council resolution”.

Attempting to put India’s presence in Afghanistan “in perspective”, Daily Times said this had to be seen “as an old flanking move” to Pakistan’s “own strategy” in India’s northeastern tribal states.

In 1995, the editorial said, the Pakistani embassy in Kabul was attacked “when India’s friend Ahmad Shah Massoud controlled Kabul; in 1996, when the Taliban entered Kabul backed by Pakistan, the Indian embassy pulled out of the country”.

As for the Indian consulate in the Iranian border city of Zahedan, “Pakistan used to complain to the Shah of Iran in the 1960s about there being ‘too many Indians’ in the mission.

“So, India and Pakistan have been playing spy games with each other since 1947. We should also recall that the rebellious Nagaland leader in exile, Mr. Phizo, was actually received in Pakistan in the 1950s,” the editorial pointed out.