Pakistan declared itself a nuclear power by conducting underground nuclear explosions in 1998. This single event was going to have far reaching regional and international implications which might lead Pakistan to assume a leadership role among Muslim nations. Such a development would mean replacement of existing regional and world order with new one which would be unacceptable to India and western powers shaping the existing regional and world order. Hence the prime consideration of India and western powers was to keep Pakistan away from assuming leadership role among the Muslim nations. The event of 9/11 provided India and western powers an opportunity to bring Pakistan to their terms and Pakistan’s Musharraf regime, due to short-sighted political considerations, helped western powers and India to achieve their nefarious designs and Pakistan was kept away from assuming much needed leadership role among the Muslim nations; the same short-sighted political considerations are still part of policies adopted by present regime in Pakistan. Pakistan’s likelihood of assuming leadership role among Muslim nations in post 1998 nuclear explosions era was the greatest casualty of 9/11 from Pakistan’s view point.
Pakistan’s declaring itself a nuclear power in 1998 was strategically important not only for Pakistan but also for regional and world powers, and for Muslim nations particularly Afghanistan, Gulf states, CIS, Israel’s neighboring states. A nuclear Pakistan might extend security assurance to the Gulf and Arab states against Israeli threat. A nuclear Pakistan might encourage newly born CIS to come out of Russian clutches to make new regional alliances. A nuclear Pakistan might keep India away from becoming investment paradise for western powers. In return Pakistan might forge close economic and trade relations with CIS, Gulf states and other regional states including China which was poised to become economic super power in coming decades. The new political and economic alliances at least at regional level would result in re-distribution of military and economic power at regional level and resultantly at world level too at the cost of military and economic power of India and western powers. The accumulative impact of all these developments would be a nuclear Pakistan with a leadership role among Muslim nations. Hence prime objective of India and western powers, in post 1998 era, was to keep Pakistan away from assuming a leadership role among the Muslim nations.
The event of 9/11 provided India and the western powers an opportunity to achieve their objective; they adopted two pronged policy to achieve their objective. Firstly they kept Pakistan busy and weak by involving Pakistan in so called war of terror; and secondly all out efforts were made to develop India’s economy so that India, which was also Pakistan’s competitor in winning over military and political friendship of some important Muslim nations, might create hurdles in Pakistan’s way to assuming a leadership role among Muslim nations.
The so called war of terror Pakistan was involved in after 9/11, proved to be fatal for Pakistan’s economy. The hundreds of suicidal bomb blasts conducted by so called Taliban and causing more than fifty thousand human casualties virtually made Pakistan a deserted place for foreign investment and also for local investment in KPK. This war kept consuming Pakistan’s military resources for more than a decade and kept Pakistan’s military power busy in dealing with local insurgency. Consequently Pakistan’s hands were kept too full to assert its presence internationally and to assume a leadership role among the Muslim nations.
As a parallel strategy all out efforts were made to develop India’s economy. India had adopted the policy of liberalization of economy during 90s but India was not able to attract such a huge foreign investments from western powers in 90s as it was able to attract in a decade in post 9/11 era. During 1991-2001, India received only US$ 17000 m (est) as FDI; whereas during this decade, India’s GDP grew from US$ 274 b in 1991 to US$ 493 b in 2001. Whereas during 2001-2010, India received US$ 178331 m (est) as FDI; during this decade India’s GDP grew from US$ 493 b in 2001 to US$ 1708 b in 2010. We can see that India’s economy grew by lesser than 100% during 1991-2001 i.e. pre 9/11 era; but India’s economy grew by almost 350% during 2001-2010 i.e. post 9/11 era. What makes the difference is the FDI. During pre 9/11 decade i.e. 1991-2001, India received only 17000 m as FDI; but during post 9/11 decade i.e. 2001-2010, India received 178331 m as FDI. In other words, India received more than 9 times greater FDI during post 9/11 decade than that received during pre 9/11 decade.
It needs not overemphasized that trend of FDI inflow in any state is greatly influenced by the level of investment security in that state; a state having hot borders cannot be labeled as safe heavens for FDI. The prevailing hostility between Pakistan and India during 90s was not allowing foreign investors to choose India as safe heavens for FDI. It was 9/11 event which brought Pakistan under pressure to discontinue hostility with India especially with reference to Kashmir dispute. It was Musharraf’s regime which paved way to make India safe heavens for FDI and compromised over Pakistan’s vital national interests due to its short sighted political considerations and lack of political vision and political courage. It was bad luck of Pakistan that at a crucial juncture of its history its reins were in the hands of a person whose shortsightedness could push Pakistan at least 15 years back, and help India and the western powers to achieve their nefarious objectives.
By imploying successfully two pronged policy, explained above, India and the western powers were able to keep Pakistan away from assuming leadership role among the Muslim nations. Now 14 years after the 9/11event, India is a strong economy of US$ 2 trillion (est) and posing a serious challenge to Pakistan to win over Iran and Afghanistan to its side. Moreover India is also forging close defense ties with Saudi Arabia and is having good relations with other Muslim countries too. In short, India, basing on its economic might and developing close defense and political ties with some important Muslim nations, is able to block Pakistan’s way to assuming leadership of the Muslim nations. The western powers, particularly USA and UK are also extending all out support to India to win over friendship of important Muslim countries. That is why we see that USA did not block India’s way to have commercial transactions with Iran though USA had imposed economic sanctions on Iran; but when Pakistan tried to undertake gas pipeline project with Iran, USA did not approve it. Similarly western powers are encouraging India to assume greater military role in Afghanistan and to develop close military ties with Arab nations as well (continued).