Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Bush biased?

US President George W Bush's remarks at the Asia Society in Washington and its impact on the Pakistan media definitely call for a dissection. While a section of the press acknowledges that Washington has played a key role in cementing ties between the nuclear-armed rivals, another believes that Uncle Sam is increasingly "tilting towards India".

"By working for peace and insisting that the two South Asian states resolve the conflict on Kashmir, President Bush has paved the way for a more tranquil South Asia thereby making it easier for Washington to pursue an effective foreign policy in the region," the Dawn says. "Bush correctly observed that "there was a time when there was so much distrust between India and Pakistan that when America had good relations with one, it made the other very unhappy and nervous".
But going by what other dailies have to say, it appears as if the distrust and the insecurity still exists.

"While Washington claims it is following a policy of de-hyphenation in South Asia, no one can fail to note a continuously growing tilt on its part towards India," says The Nation. "De-hyphenation of India and Pakistan by the Bush administration in its relationship with them is all right. But this should not become outright discrimination," the Frontier Post says. The discrimination that the media talks about and which the Musharraf Govt has been trumpeting is the much-discussed Indo-US civilian nuclear deal. Pakistan some time back had asked for a similar nuclear deal, which the Washington politely declined.

It had told Islamabad that the Indo-US civilian nuclear deal was only India specific and such co-operation with Pakistan was unlikely because of its track record. "Pakistan is as much energy starved as is India. And for meeting its present power needs and the future demands, it is…endeavouring to produce energy locally through various sources, including nuclear. Yet the Bush administration has concluded deal with India for supply of the US "civilian nuclear technology," the Frontier Post says in its editorial.

Also, the fact that US shall make a 'one time waiver' for India and urge Nuclear Suppliers Group to begin nuclear commerce with India has not gone down well with Islamabad. Citing reasons for tilt towards India, The Nation says, "President Bush is obviously unwilling to annoy India which the US now considers a strategic ally. "The US is keen to build India as a counterbalance to China and as a country playing on Washington's behalf the role of a sheriff in the region," the paper says.
(Written on February 25, 2006 for Hindustan Times)

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