Obama Sides with India Against Pakistan Over Afghanistan

obama in indiaPresident Obama’s visit to India last week further cemented the US alliance with Hindu-dominated India in its long proxy war over Afghanistan against Muslim Pakistan.

Forgotten in public discussion is India’s active arming and support of the US-backed Northern Alliance in the 2001 war that overthrew the Taliban in Kabul. That war displaced Afghanistan’s Pashtuns, the country’s largest tribal population, from its traditional dominance of Afghan’s politics, and opened a channel for expansion of India’s interests instead.

India’s strategic interest is to prevent Pakistan from consolidating its presence in Afghanistan. “Balancing against India appeared to be a particularly strong impetus for Pakistan’s support of the insurgents”, according to a 2008 RAND study by Seth Jones [“Counterinsurgency in Afghanistan”, prepared for the Secretary of Defense, 2008]. The report identified several examples of India’s deep involvement in Afghanistan:

  • Hundreds of millions of dollars in funds for Afghan political candidates and elected government officials in Kabul;
  • Construction of the Afghan parliament building;
  • Indian road construction near the Pakistan border, whose stated purpose was to “help the [Indian] armed forces meet their strategic needs by committed, dedicated and cost-effective development and sustenance of the infrastructure”;
  • Large new Indian consulates in Afghan cities including Jalalabad, Kandahar and Herat, which Pakistan accuses of fomenting terrorist and secessionist activities in the southern Pakistan state of Baluchistan.

obama in indiaAccording to RAND, assisting the Taliban in Afghanistan was for Pakistan “a way to balance against Indian influence in Afghanistan.”

The background of this power struggle is the dispute over Kashmir, which has been the focus of three wars since 1947 when the retreating British left the region dismembered. A promised United Nations plebiscite for Kashmir never took place, presumably because its majority-Muslim population would have opted for autonomy or merger with Pakistan.

Muslim communities in the Kashmir region have continued their resistance against Indian-imposed martial law, a crisis that is intensifying beyond control. When the Indian writer Arundati Roy recently tried to visit and report on Kashmir for the New York Times, she was vilified and threatened by Indian extremists.

Instead of pushing for a plebiscite on Kashmir, which would offend India, the US turns a blind eye to the brutal daily violence inflicted by India’s security forces against the Muslim population there, which depends on Pakistan for support.

The US makes no effort to settle the Kashmir crisis as compared to constant diplomatic activity towards an Israeli-Palestinian peace. While tilting towards India as a strategic partner against China, the US also cements India as its strategic partner inside Afghanistan, thus escalating the spiral of regional tensions on several fronts.

tom haydenThe White House and Pentagon have intensified pressure on Pakistan to abandon its basic strategic positioning against India and instead turn its military against the insurgents within Pakistan, consisting of the Pakistan Taliban and the Afghan Taliban harbored in the Quetta Shura and tribal highlands.

President Obama invoked the name of Mohandas Ghandi during his India visit without acknowledging that Ghandi was assassinated by an Indian Hindu nationalist extremist in 1948. The president might have asked, what would Ghandi say today about Kashmir or being used in a perpetual war with Muslims. 

Tom Hayden

Tom Hayden is the author of 17 books, a former California state senator and a longtime peace activist.

Republished with the author’s permission.


  1. Someshwar Dasgupta says

    The author seems to be oblivious of the history of India… He should first visit India to experience the secular ideas & tolerance that form the basic fabric of society here. India has more number of muslims than in Pakistan. Indian muslims are far superior than those in Pakistan in terms of literacy. India’s former president & eminent scientist Dr. APJ Abdul Kalam is a muslim. India’s current vice president Hamind Ansari is a muslim. Bollywood Superstars like Shahrukh Khan, Salman Khan, Amir Khan, Javed Akhar & several other stars are muslims, Cricket stars like Zaheer Khan, Irfaan Pathan etc are muslims. India has several different languages, caste, religions living harmoniously together for decades. Kashmiris know it very well that their future will be doomed if they go with Pakistan & also if they become independent they will used to foster terrorist orgenisation like Taliban for wage proxy wars. Pakistani military & intelligence agencies like ISI have forced the Pakistani state to use terrorism as a state policy.
    If you look at history Hindu Kings wage war only to protect there kingdom but Muslim Kings do it it expand there terrotary. Arab Muslims first attack Iran (then Persia) & killed millions of innocent zoroastrian who were forced to accept islam or get killed. Zoroastrian came to hindus as refugees & still we have largest number of persians in India. We have largest No. of Tibetian refugees who came to India after they were forced to live like a 2nd grade citizen in their own country by forced chinese occupation. Most of the muslims in India & Pakistan are descendants of Aryan (Hindu) clan who were forcefully converted to islam or accept islam after getting married in that religion. It is the hindu kings like chattrapati shivaji maharaj, rajputanas & sikhs who gave the muslim invadors a brave fight to protect the hindu & sikh religion. Hindus have most tolerant of all the religions which can be testified from the fact that we pray different gods & we speak in different languages but still strongly bonded together.

    China has disturbing the demographic balance so much in Tibet by pushing in ethnich Han Chinese from the North that local population has become minorities. India could have done that by pushing in Hindus (around 80% of Indian population) in Kashmir but instead India has made a muslim as a Chief Minister in the state of Kashmir. Farrok Abdulah’s son Omar Abdullah is now the chief minister. All the separatist groups in Kashmir were funded by Pakistan to keep the fire burning. Thousands of Hindu Pandits were killed & forced to leave Kashmir by the terrorist crossing over the border from Pakistan-occupied-kashmir. Nobody is talking about them. Pakistan has proved it credentials in war against terrorism by giving shelter to “Osama bin laden”.

    India is a role model for religious intolerant muslim or christian majority countries who are killing innocent people by useless conflicts all around the world. Pakistan should be declared as terrorist state untill they donot dismantle terrorist camps in their tribal areas, stop preaching hatred against hindus & christians in their madrassas, stop funding the terrorist activities, stop fighting proxy wars. Pakistan is ruled by it’s army & ISI at present and it was coward of them to give funds, moral support & training to people who crosses over to India & open fires at innocent civilians killing hundreds of them in Mumbai (India).

    Think again…..

  2. Joe Weinstein says

    Yes, Americans do regard India as a necessary balance-of-power counterweight to China, and rightly so, particularly in light of China’s repressive occupation of Tibet. If anything, today’s troubles owe to India early on having failed to sufficiently assert her rights and national interests – and the concordant interests of the rest of the world – in Tibet.

    Hayden now complains of US and India ‘escalating the spiral of regional tensions’. Sometimes such alleged escalation is the lesser evil, versus a unilateral cave-in.

    Hayden concludes by asking what Gandhi would think today of a perpetual ‘war with Moslems’. However, Hayden’s phrase is a dubious whitewash of the actual situation. What we have in Hindustan is not an elective war WITH Moslems, but rather a resistance to war BY Islamic supremacists.

    An unconditional pacifist will argue for unconditional surrender to the aggressors, in order to bring ‘peace’ and at any price avoid ‘war’. But anyone else will have to think twice before blaming India for now engaging in struggles not particularly of her choosing.

    Apologists for Pakistan have to explain away not only that nation’s predilection to strong-man regimes and toleration of Moslem extremism but its recent complicity in terrorism in Mumbai.

    Kissinger tilted the USA toward Pakistan, for the sake of keeping Pakistan as a channel to relations with Beijing, even as Pakistan was then attempting to deprive Bangladesh of independence. However, ordinary Americans have always had warmer feelings for India. After all, India was founded and has been run as a religiously tolerant basically democratic nation, versus the very concept of Pakistan as Hindustan’s Islam-supremacy state.

    Sure, if you presume as an axiom that being Moslem in Hindustan automatically requires your land to be part of Moslem-dominated Pakistan, you can agitate forever for Kashmir to go to Pakistan. Somehow, other heavily Moslem parts of India manage to get along without being in Pakistan.

    Hayden does ask a good question: why should the USA hands-off approach to ‘solving’ India-Pakistan contentions differ from the USA hands-on approach to ‘solving’ Israel-Palestine contentions? Consistency does not necessarily argue for being hands-on in both cases. It equally or even more strongly argues for being more hands-off in both.

    Historically in recent centuries Afghanistan (at least when left alone by the USSR and the USA) has operated largely as a mix of tribal and regional jurisdictions, rather than in the western conceptual mold of a highly centralized state. The OBushma administrations have insisted on seeing this historical pattern as a problem calling for costly big-time ‘nation-building’ intervention, whereas – in much closer accord with the historical pattern – it seems that India simply wants to avoid Afghanistan being dominated by a single group allied with Pakistan.

  3. says

    This is far from the only blunders made, but it does outline some of them. Ask yourself how Pakistan feels about India having a seat on the UN Security Committee since they have a long history of border conflict and both have nuclear arms.

    The Obama Administration is pitting both India and Japan against China. In Japan’s case, it is over a small island it contends ownership with China. Clinton has put us in that boat because, she claims, we guaranteed to protect Japan.

    If you really understand the “Ugly American” Obama Administration for what it is, you know Obama/Clinton in foreign policy with the people of Pakistan, India, China, Korea, and Japan is embarrassing.

    At this point, with the Obama Administration provoking wars in Asia, the Norwegian Parliment should revoke and retreive the Nobel Peace Prize they gave him in anticipation of MUCH better policies.

  4. Netizen says

    There is nothing “progressive” about this web site, or this author Tom Hayden is an enabler of jihhadi terroris. Such western Jihadi enablers are not appreciated amongst Muslims who seek reconciliation with other communities.

    The Darul Uloom Deoband, largest Indian Muslim seminary has declared that Kashmir’s future lies with India. The outfit is currently trying to usher in peace in the valley that has recently been ravaged with violence.

    Leading clerics at the recently held conclave in the Deoband seminary campus also sent out a clear message that the unrest in the Kashmir valley shall not be used to fuel separatism.

    There are equal if not more muslims live in India than in Pakistan. Kashmiri muslim leaders chose to join with India in 1947 since it was felt to be emblematic of founding of secular Indian republic.

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