WASHINGTON: Pakistan's former president Pervez Musharraf charged Thursday that arch-rival India seeks to “create an anti-Pakistan Afghanistan” as part of a bid to dominate South Asia politically and economically.
Musharraf said Afghanistan sends its intelligence staff, diplomats and soldiers to Pakistan where they are “indoctrinated against Pakistan,” something he said India must stop and the United States should be concerned about.
“In Afghanistan, there is some kind of a proxy conflict going on between Pakistan and India,” Musharraf told a leadership forum sponsored by the Atlantic media corporation.
“India is trying to create an anti-Pakistan Afghanistan.” It's ambition, he said, is to “have a weak Pakistan so that it can be dominated, so that it doesn't have any confrontationist attitude which doesn't go well with India's vision of dominating the region.”
Musharraf said he understood that India does not seek to take over Pakistan militarily, but rather it wants to dominate Pakistan in the area of foreign policy, economic policy, trade and commerce.
“That is how you suppress, you control or dominate another country,”according to the former army chief who seized power in a 1999 bloodless coup and resigned as president in 2008.
“Afghanistan's intelligence, Afghanistan's diplomats, Afghanistan's soldiers, all the army, security people, they all go to India for training,” where they are “indoctrinated against Pakistan,” he added.
While he was in power, he said he personally offered Afghanistan free training but “not one man has come to Pakistan for training.”
He added: “India must stop it.... I would say that the United States needs to understand Pakistan's sensitivities. I see there is a lack of concern for Pakistan's sensitivities.”
Musharraf spoke after Afghan President Hamid Karzai signed a “strategic partnership” with India on Tuesday.
The partnership, the first such pact between Afghanistan and another country, deepens already friendly Delhi-Kabul ties and aims to boost trade, security and cultural links between the countries.
Fearful of encirclement by its wealthier neighbor, Pakistan has long focused on Afghanistan, arming warlords against the Soviets in the 1980s, backing the Taliban in the 1990s and hedging its bets in the 2000s.