US expert's 'options' to bring Pak to toe its line to bring peace to region

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Washington, Dec.31 (ANI): The tumultuous situation in Pakistan may prove catastrophic for the region in times to come, and finding a fitting policy to address the issues is as difficult as searching for a lost pin in a desert.

There are some options which can resolve issues, however experts believe that it would require an enormous and careful effort, as they could also prove disastrous.

Senior fellow at the Brookings Institution, Stephen Cohen, while looking ahead a few years in South Asia has listed a range of policies that might be considered regarding Pakistan.

The first option regarding Pakistan is to look the other way, even if Islamabad has 'friendly' relations with the Afghan Taliban. The working assumption seems to be that Pakistan's role is not determinative to the conflict in Afghanistan," Cohen said.

According to Cohen, another option is to bring India to 'balance' Pakistan by providing an alternative land route to Afghanistan, and to demonstrate that Pakistani threats to cut off the supply lines there can be circumvented.

The third option would be more dramatic, and assumes the worst case scenario in Pakistan. It would be a policy of containment. After we discover that our aid package will not have much of an impact, and that Pakistani nationalism trumps Pakistani national interest, and the United States remains the most hated country in Pakistan, should we then treat it like an enemy and contain it, bringing in the Indians, he said.

Cohen explained that another option included offering a full-scope security guarantee that would cover the threat to India.

"This would make perfect sense if Pakistan were a status quo power vis ' vis India: the nuclear weapons in the hands of both countries ensure (I hope) that there will be no major war between them, but it would also require Pakistan to cease its irredentist ambitions regarding Kashmir," he said.

Cohen said there is also a comprehensive policy that would place India at the center of South Asia, with the United States working in partnership with New Delhi to 'fix' Afghanistan and Pakistan, once and for all.

Then the last option is to offshore the balancing act, cut and run, as the US has 'no real interests' in South Asia, he said.

"All we need to do is to tilt one way or another from time to time to maintain the regional balance and to step in to prevent a nuclear war every four or five years," Cohen added. (ANI)

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