On 06 February, 2018, Karachi Editors Club (KEC) arranged a seminar on USA, India and Israel Triangle Alliance: Threat or Challenge at Beach Luxury Hotel Karachi which was participated by
Idea was fine as on this subject a lot of confusion exist among people of Pakistan. Various intellectuals, dignitaries from academia, ex-diplomats of Pakistan who served as ambassadors of Pakistan abroad and retired high officials of Pakistan’s armed forces addressed the seminar. A speaker blamed Pakistani people that they all are carrying negative mindset.
Frankly speaking 99% people of Pakistan want to live in peace with prosperous life. It is the only 1% elites who make confusion and they belong to all political parties and institutions. So basically people of Pakistan who are in fact prey to this class (elites) are positive in upholding Pakistan, whereas people with buckets of wealth including almost all media anchors on the backing of TV owners are creating confusion to meet their own agenda.
No doubt Pakistan sooner or later would get true democracy. Leadership would not fall from sky. It would emerge from us but when, nobody knows. However all political parties and institutions who have ruled Pakistan are now on the back-foot. This signifies that night is now going to be over.
Now coming to the main subject the question is that whether Pakistan has any concerns about the deepening ties between USA, India and Israel? Ordinarily, a third country should have no concern about relations between other countries. But naturally USA-India-Israel ties would mainly focus on USA and Israel’s efforts to tip the balance of power in the region in favor of India, especially against Pakistan and China.
Pakistan is having lot of hopes on development of Gwadar and CPEC projects with the help of China creating space for both countries to have some regional advantage. So currently it looks crux of the whole issue in emergence of resistance from India, USA and Israel on this very subject. Apart from some questions on viability of CPEC, unprecedented Chinese financial and construction effort is rapidly developing Pakistan’s strategically located Arabian seaport of Gwadar into one of the world’s largest transit and transshipment cargo facilities. The two countries launched the 15-year joint mega project in 2015. Under the cooperation deal construction or improvement of highways, railways, pipelines, power plants, communications and industrial zones is under way in Pakistan with an initially estimated Chinese investment of $46 billion.
But apart from this with the changing world, USA, India and Israel carry other interest as well in formularizing their alliance impacting other countries and regions.
Ironically Israel has its economic ineptest as well as it is now the second biggest defense equipment supplier to India, supplying 41pc of its foreign purchases during 2012-2016 according to Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI). Another question is that what binds USA, Israel and India together, located as they are thousands of miles apart across so many countries? There at least three things that are prominent. First all three share an enmity with Muslims, despite India and Israel being home to proportionately large Muslim populations. It was not surprising, therefore, to see the Israeli prime minister facing protests not just from Muslims of India but also from liberals who see the Zionist state as an embodiment of usurpation of lands and repression of local populations (Kashmiris and Palestinians). Second, both countries face anti-state struggles for the right for self-determination and against the occupation of their territories for more than half a century. India especially would like to learn the techniques of repression Israel has employed against Palestinians, to quell the Kashmiri movement for freedom Third, both are concerned that a Muslim nation should never acquire nuclear deterrence and would readily cooperate to eliminate such a possibility.
In this regard for example Israel provided crucial support to India during the Kargil War.
It does need the attention of our leadership that these developments are taking place at a time when the Middle East is burning and strange alliances are taking place in the Islamic world, like the unannounced Saudi alliance with Israel, against Iran and the proxy war being fought in Yemen. Pakistan can neither afford to ignore the exceptional Israel-India ties, nor can it disregard its geopolitical imperative of having a long border and historical brotherly ties with Iran. Equally, the implicit and explicit support of the US in cementing Saudi-Israel alliance, on the one side, and Indian-Israel alliance, on the other, has to be taken into account. While underlining the close proximity of Indian-Israel lobbies in Washington, Arab countries be impressed how grievously Pakistan’s strategic interests are compromised by this alliance.
Pakistan, therefore, has to redouble its efforts in forging stronger strategic relations with China Turkey and Iran. Such an approach is indispensable to maintain the balance of power in the region and also to avert the possibilities of throwing the region in endless turmoil.
Most importantly with the end of the Cold War and the emergence of the United States as the sole superpower, New Delhi has now realized that it could benefit from Israel’s close relationship with Washington. This was considered essential to assuaging lingering American concerns over India’s intimate relationship with the Soviet Union during the days of bipolarity.
To top it all off, the crumbling of state structures in the Arab world following the American invasion of Iraq in 2003, and culminating in the collapse of the Syrian state in 2011 in the wake of the short-lived Arab Spring, made it apparent to New Delhi that major Arab states were in no position to pursue active foreign policies and had become largely redundant as far as Indian foreign policy was concerned. This loosened the remaining shackles on the development of India’s relations with Israel.
Domestic political changes within India, especially with the Hindu-nationalist BJP replacing the secular Congress Party as the dominant political party in the country, have led to a major attitudinal transformation among the Indian political elite toward Israel and USA.
On US side the main thrust of Trump is to reduce the potential for large-scale destabilizing conflicts in parts of the world where those interests are greatest. This will require reducing friction among big powers in Asia, Europe and the Middle East. The new strategy will also pay more attention to Central America, where pressure from transnational criminal networks and unregulated migration stress the US southern border.
The new strategy pairs well with the administration’s intention of refurbishing America’s military and diplomatic instruments. Hysterical criticism and Trump’s tweets aside, administration policies ought to reassure friends and allies from NATO to the Middle East, Afghanistan and Northeast Asia, that the United States will honor its ongoing obligations.
That said, there is a lot of white space to be filled in. How will this White House build momentum behind its commitments to shared responsibility? In particular, what replaces Obama’s empty pivot to Asia? How will the United States compete with Beijing’s One Belt One Road initiative?
America needs a forum to coordinate with India, Japan and Australia-key allies in Southeast Asia-on how to respond to China’s effort to rewrite the rules of the commons.
The US team needs new ideas on how to deepen ties with longstanding allies and move bilateral dialogues beyond mutual security and trade deficits. It’s time to start looking at truly global issues. An initiative from India offers the U.S. another opportunity to help reset the global stage in a more American-friendly manner.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi has unmoored his country from its stagnant, non-aligned foreign policies. Moreover, India is an emerging economic power. Combined, these developments leave India poised to become a net-exporter of regional security, particularly in the Indian Ocean.
Additionally, the prime minister’s historic trip to Israel this month augurs an important shift of the Modi government on Middle East policy. For decades, India has had warm relations with Iran, if for no other reason than the country was major importer of oil. India is also principal investor in the Chabahar Port project in Iran.
Delhi has not walked away from Tehran. Still, once the Iran Deal lifted many sanctions against the regime, Delhi noticeably did not race to ramp up ties. Modi’s visit to Iran last spring was restrained and very carefully orchestrated.
Even before the recent trip to Israel there were signs that Modi was broadening and rebalancing India’s relationships in the region, stepping-up dialogue with Gulf Cooperation Council countries as well as Israel. India’s shift dovetails well with the view from Washington toward both South Asia and the Middle East. The Trump administration shows every sign of continuing the momentum toward a closer relationship with India. The recent meeting between Modi and Trump could not have gone better, and there is plenty of room to grow that relationship.
The growing strategic convergence between Washington and Delhi suggests another initiative that could help advance the administration’s notion of shared responsibility. Few steps signal shifting strategic intentions more than multilateral dialogues. They presage evolving networks of relationships – particularly when the talks span multiple strategic regions. In that respect, a trilateral dialogue among India, the United States and Israel would draw the attention from friends and competitors alike.
US participation in this dialogue would demonstrate that the White House is thinking of the long bridge that spans vital US interests and protection of the commons across the expanse of the Indian Ocean. It would also reassure the other participants Washington sees them as valued global strategic partners – not just regional allies.
Hard thinking about the opportunities and challenges posed by China’s initiative ought to be paired with a discussion of what role the United States should play in making its economic presence felt across the expanse of the Indian Ocean. China’s biggest tool these days is the checkbook. What is Washington going to bring to the table, where and why? Learning the perspectives of nations from different parts of the commons linking East and West can help the United States develop the right answers to these questions.
From terrorist attacks to Islamist ideology, the United States, Israel and India have the same problem – stopping terrorist murderers, dangerous ideologues and building common cause with the breath of the Islamic world that rejects the violence and extremism that affects those worst of all. Few topics merit joint discussions and action more.
Situational awareness in the maritime domain is a priority for all the three countries. These are topics where sharing ideas make sense. A trilateral dialogue of USA, India, and Israel might profitably address a long list of topics, from energy to artificial intelligence.
For this Pakistan has to move cautiously on all fronts i.e. internal and external. Stable Government with the backing of people of Pakistan respected by all institutions is the first requisite. Secondly, Pakistan is required to bring grief and antagonizing attitude down so as to attain its security and economic objectives with calm and peace. Thirdly, to clean all kind of extremists i.e. sectarian to linguistic. Fourthly, to find its position in the changing world targeting its security and economic interests.
For this all have to work together who so ever he may be belonging to any institution in Pakistan and public in general.
Chairman Centre of Advisory Services for Islamic Banking and Finance (CAIF), former Member of IFSB on Islamic Money Market, former Head of FSCD SBP, former Head of Research Arif Habib Investments, former Member of Access to Justice Funds Supreme Court of Pakistan, Member visiting Faculty/KASBIT/BIZTEK/Sheikh Zayed Institute University of Karachi/PAF