Pentagon’s disclosure about Pakistan using militants as proxies to fight the army in India and preserve its interests in Afghanistan could not have come at a better time for India. For one, it is bound to deflate some of the self-righteousness with which Pakistan has been trying to grill India over the Kashmir issue in the international fora. For another, it lends credence to India’s heightened threat perception vis-ŕ-vis Pakistan — a feeling that has been strengthened in the course of the past several months of repeated border violations, increased militant activity in Kashmir and attacks on Indian establishments offshore, in Afghanistan for example. There are now direct claims from al Qaida-affiliated militants about their aim to create mayhem in India. The Pakistan-connection of several militant attacks on Indian soil has been established before, the most revealing being the 26/11 attacks that were masterminded by the Lashkar-e-Toiba. In spite of irrefutable evidence in support of India’s allegations, Pakistan has not only botched the investigation into the crime but has also deliberately hurt Indian sentiments by continuing to back the LeT chief, Hafiz Saeed, who continues to spew hatred against India.
Pentagon, or the political establishment in the United States of America, which has itself blacklisted Hafiz Saeed and declared the LeT a terrorist outfit, could not have been unaware of its anti-India activities, or that of several other militant groups in Pakistan. The US has had Pakistan under its radar for a long time, has had proof of its duplicity, and has even gone public with the information at times, particularly in the case of Afghanistan, where Pakistan’s dalliance with terrorists came in direct conflict with American interests. The bid to humour both the nuclear-powered nations of the subcontinent, especially Pakistan, whose assistance was crucial to US military operations in Afghanistan, may have stopped the US from acknowledging Pakistan’s backroom activities against India. Perhaps greater consciousness of what lies at stake if terrorism were to spread — now in an unbroken arc from West Asia — into the heart of the Indian subcontinent may have prompted Pentagon to admit to what is at best a badly-kept secret. The question is will this also prompt a revision of the US policy on Pakistan? Most pertinently, will this affect US’s funding of the Pakistan military, which dictates the show?