Statement of the CGPI, June 17, 2002
The US Defence Secretary Donald Rumsfeld made a significant announcement during his high-profile visit to the sub-continent last week. As part of its proposal of "assisting" in monitoring the line of control in Kashmir, the US made an offer of sale of highly sophisticated and costly sensors to both India and Pakistan to detect "infiltration by terrorists" at the LoC. In this context, Rumsfeld expressed American interest in strengthening the bilateral mechanism of "sharing" information and intelligence on terrorism.
The government of India has jumped at this offer. Even as India rejected Pakistan's suggestion, at the recent Alma Ata summit, for joint patrolling of the line of control, as "impractical", it has been vocal in its opposition to a role for any "third party monitoring" in the area. Apparently, the Indian government sees no contradiction in admitting "third party technology" in the monitoring mechanism! Defence Minister George Fernandes has declared, "no price is too high" when the country's defence is at stake, referring to the high cost of the military hardware which India will have to buy. According to news reports, the sensors will be in place very soon.
Meanwhile, Donald Rumsfeld used the occasion of his trip to the sub-continent to fly some kites. He claimed that he had received intelligence that implied that Al-Quaeda was active in the region adjoining the LoC. Rumsfeld did not elaborate whether they were in Indian held Kashmir or Pakistan held Kashmir. When the Pakistan government "angrily" dismissed this suggestion, Rumsfeld "clarified" that he had, as of now, no verifiable evidence of Al- Quaeda presence in Kashmir.
While it is clear that Rumsfeld had no evidence for this claim, it would be shortsighted to ignore this as a warning. Obviously this claim has been made to prepare the ground for American military engagement in the sub-continent, to provide a justification to the American people, as well as to the people of the sub-continent, for the US' continued presence here. It should not come as a surprise to anyone, if indeed, in a few months, Al-Quaeda presence in the sub-continent becomes a verifiable reality! In just the same manner, Bill Clinton, three years back, had declared Kashmir to be the "most dangerous place on earth". At that time, the Indian government had reacted "angrily" to this suggestion, declaring there was no need for American "peace-mediation" in the region. Bill Clinton clearly aimed at ensuring an entry point for the US into this region. Three years down the line, the US imperialists have the entry point they wanted, now with the willing connivance of the Indian government.
The US imperialists policy in the sub-continent is to egg on both the Indian and Pakistani bourgeoisie against each other with promises of support, provided they completely co-ordinate their plans with the USA and act as it bids them to. Both the governments are being armed to the teeth by the US and other imperialists. The imperialists are making huge profits through the sale of sophisticated arms to both countries, and South Asia has become one of the most militarised regions in the world. Imperialism means war and conflict. It means conquest of new territories, markets and sources of raw materials, and the redivision of the world through economic as well as military means, through pressure and blackmail, through the deliberate incitement of local conflicts. Just the past decade has seen US imperialism in action in Somalia and Iraq, in Bosnia and in Serbia, and now in Afghanistan. They have all been for the one common aim of advancing the US imperialist economic, political and military stranglehold in various regions and this is the aim US imperialism is pursuing in South Asia today.
The US is using the very noble sounding cause of "war against terrorism" in pursuit of its policy. This cannot hide the fact that imperialism is the source of terrorism on a world scale and that US imperialism has been and remains the biggest sponsor of terrorism worldwide. By alleging that some countries are sponsoring terrorism, US imperialism is seeking to justify its policy of intervention and war. In the context of the sub-continent, this strategy suits the Indian government as well. India's big bourgeoisie is utilising it to constantly repeat its propaganda that Pakistan is the base of terrorism in South Asia. This is aimed at covering up the role of the Indian State as one of the principal sponsors of terrorism in South Asia.
If we review the developments of the past four years after India and Pakistan became nuclear power states, as well as the developments of the entire period since the end of the Cold War, there has been a consistent thread in the strategy of the US policy towards South Asia. Arm both countries to the teeth. Keep tightening the screws on both the regimes through blackmail and promises of support and make sure they remain on bended knees. Ensure that tensions remain extremely high through the organising of terrorist killings on both sides of the border. Keep fostering enmity and suspicion in both governments against each other. Make sure that there is no possibility of peace between the two regimes and all channels of communication between India and Pakistan go through Washington. US imperialism has the ruling class of India and Pakistan and their governments by their throats.
The Indian working class and people cannot afford to forget the bitter lessons drawn from history. British colonialism declared that Hindus and Muslims could never live in peace in one country. Using the services of their agents, they organised the bloody partition of the country along communal lines. The history of the sub-continent since 1947 reveals that partition of the sub-continent has exacerbated the problems in the region. The Indian big bourgeoisie has used the existence of Pakistan as a bogey to whip up anti-Muslim hysteria, divide the working class and people, and diverting attention from itself, the capitalist system and colonial legacy, which is the root cause of the miseries of the workers and peasants of various nations, nationalities and tribal peoples who constitute India. The Pakistani ruling class has done the same thing. Since 1947, the British imperialists, the US and Soviet social-imperialists, have all pursued the policy of playing off India and Pakistan against each other and acting as "peace-brokers" to advance their imperialist interests in the sub-continent. The imperialists and the ruling class of India and Pakistan have benefited from this. It is the workers and peasants of the sub-continent who have been the losers.
The presence of US imperialism in the sub-continent means war. Peace cannot be established without the expulsion of this anti-people force. However, neither the Indian nor the Pakistani ruling class will ever take this bold and necessary step of throwing the imperialists out. Only the working class and peasantry of India and Pakistan can do so. For this, they must take political power into their own hands and put an end to the capitalist system and the colonial legacy.
A dangerous situation has been created. There is urgent need to thoroughly expose and oppose the diabolical game plan of the US imperialists for the conquest of South Asia. The situation demands that the Indian and Pakistani working class and peasantry simultaneously target the treacherous ruling class of both countries. The working class and peasantry of India, as well as the patriotic intelligentsia need to take serious note of this situation and to act to change it in favour of the peoples.