FRIDAY TIMES, APRIL 4, 2003
America and the sub-continent
America’s real interest in Pakistan is that we do not become a rogue
state; no more, no less
WHAT IS AMERICA’S INTEREST IN THE SUB-CONTINENT?
Let us first look at India. Mumbai is now home to at least three
dozen American companies including Kodak, Heinz, Monsanto, Warner
Bros, Federal Express, Bank of America, Bankers Trust, Parke Davis,
Intel, JP Morgan, Kellogg, Pfizer, Procter & Gamble, American Int’l
Group, Exxon-Mobil, Delta and Boston Consulting.
Delhi has AT&T;, GE, General Motors, Oracle, Pepsi, Unocal, Xerox,
Lockheed, Raytheon, Rockwell, Honeywell, Adobe, AES, Alcoa, American
Express, Northrop, McKinsey, Amway, Polaroid and Coca Cola. Bangalore
has Caterpillar, Dell, Sun, Texas Instruments, NCR, Hewlett Packard,
Motorola, Lucent, IBM, Novell, Ingersoll-Rand, American Data and
MetLife. Hyderabad has Microsoft, Cognizant, Chip Engines and
Brigade. Chennai has Ford, Caltex, Tenneco, Covansys, Diebold,
Citibank, Ernst & Young and Price Waterhouse.
A large majority of US corporate giants are now dependent on Tata
Consultancy, Infosys Technologies, Wipro, Satyam Computer Services,
HCL Technologies, Patni Computer Systems, Silverline Technologies,
Mahindra, Pentasoft, Mascot, Mascom, Mastek, Polaris, L&T; and
Hexaware (all Indian software giants).
Almost all large US companies now use Indian software giants to do
their inventory control, customer service, technical support,
insurance claims processing, mortgage processing, document
management, bank reconciliation, check processing, credit card
processing, inventory management, transport administration, billing
services, account payables, payroll services, data analysis or data
management. Indian IT companies, in return, earn India a handsome $10
billion a year which is projected to double in the next few years.
Here’s a list of major US entities that have, over the past decade,
become dependent on Tata Consultancy: Alcoa, American Express, AIG,
AT&T;, Boeing, Citibank, Compaq, IBM, JC Penney, Kellogg, Lucent,
Microsoft, Nike, Northwest Airlines, Schlumberger, Dell Computer,
Ford Motor, Hewlett Packard, US Dept of Defense, EMC, Merrill Lynch,
State of Pennsylvania, Texas Instruments and Unocal.
Here’s a list of US companies that are now dependent on Wipro:
General Motors, Xerox, Sun, Cisco, NCR, JP Morgan, Morgan Stanley,
Farmers Insurance, Seagate and Home Depot.
Bill Gates, Microsoft’s chairman, during his recent Indian tour
announced that his company would be investing an additional US$400
million to “expand its activities and promote technology development
in India.” Oracle, the world’s second largest software company, is
planning on doubling its Indian operations. The announced expansion
plans will create extra 1,800 jobs. Oracle currently employs a staff
of some 2,000 in India.
What are our goals and what is America’s interest in Pakistan?
Our armed forces live for Kashmir. So do our religious parties. The
defense budget (including pensions) stands at Rs180 billion; nearly
6% of our GDP. All the jihadi organisations put together collect an
additional Rs70 billion a year for the same cause. The total is a
wholesome 8% of our GDP.
There have only been a handful of countries on the face of the planet
that used to spend as high a percentage of their GDP on defense as
does Pakistan. The list includes Yugoslavia, the Soviet Union,
Afghanistan, Iraq, Syria, Mozambique, Somalia and Yemen. Yugoslavia
is no more. Split into Bosnia-Herzegovina, Croatia, Macedonia,
Slovenia and Serbia & Montenegro. The Soviet Union is no more. Split
into at least 15 pieces that few even bother to count: Russian
Federation, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Armenia, Belarus, Georgia,
Moldova, Ukraine, Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan,
Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan. The conclusion being that almost every
country that has been spending a disproportionately large portion of
its GDP on defence has either split up, is in a state of civil war or
is economically insolvent.
Our military government is now engaged in a dicey double-dance,
appeasing the Americans on the international front and using the
mullahs on the domestic front. Internal policy is all about derailing
democracy and splitting up democratic forces. External policy is
nothing but India-centric.
The khakis and the mullahs both have an identical view of national
identity and that of national security. Both oppose the establishment
of a constitutional democracy and are against the idea of sovereignty
belonging to the people of Pakistan. Both are in favour of curbing
fundamental freedoms of the citizens of Pakistan. Both use Islam and
India to distract the population from real issues. Their common enemy
outside of Pakistan is India. Their common enemies within Pakistan
are the mainstream, moderate political entities. In 1947, Deobandi
lashkars attacked Kashmir. In 1971, Al Badar and Al Shams fought the
Mukhti Bahni alongside 22 Baluch, 32 Punjab, 22 FF, 29 Cavalry and
platoons of SSG. In the 1990s, the religious parties provided
pretexts to the overthrowing of both Nawaz and Benazir. JUI madaris
have been and continue to be recruiting grounds for jihad on the
Western as well as our Eastern borders.
On March 31, US Secretary of State Colin Powell, in an interview to
the New York Times, said that the “Indo-Pakistan and the whole
subcontinent problem” was part of the “broader agenda” that the US
plans to go back to after Iraq.
America now needs India to grow. Top American companies have all set
up their back-offices (inventory management, payroll, etc.) in India.
India, in return, has accumulated US$70 billion in foreign exchange
reserves. Pakistan produces nothing that can help America grow. We
possess nothing that could be of value to American companies. The new
façade we have now erected is just too transparent. Our goals do not
overlap America’s. America’s real interest in Pakistan, as a
consequence, is that we do not become a rogue state and that we do
not become an agent of instability in the region. No more, no less