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Obama's India Visit Disappoints Pakistan

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi (R) reaches out to shake hands with U.S. President Barack Obama on January 25.
Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi (R) reaches out to shake hands with U.S. President Barack Obama on January 25.

Pakistan wasted little time in expressing its displeasure over U.S. President Barack Obama's pomp-filled visit to neighboring archrival India this week.

Hours after Obama concluded his three-day tour of India on January 27, Sartaj Aziz, national security adviser to the Pakistani prime minister, said Islamabad was opposed to "policies of selectivity and discrimination."

The comment was a sharp rebuke to Obama's support for inclusion of India in the coveted Nuclear Supplier Group (NSG).

"Pakistan is opposed to yet another country-specific exemption from NSG rules to grant membership to India, as this would further compound the already fragile strategic stability environment in South Asia, further undermine the credibility of the NSG and weaken the nonproliferation regime," he added.

Equally perturbing was Pakistan's reaction to the conclusion of an India-U.S. nuclear deal, which Aziz said would have a "detrimental impact on deterrence stability in South Asia."

Islamabad also opposed Washington's apparent backing of New Delhi's bid for a permanent seat on the UN Security Council.

"A country in violation of United Nations Security Council resolutions on matters of international peace and security, such as the Jammu and Kashmir dispute, by no means qualifies for special status on the Security Council," Aziz noted.

Pakistan and India have long fought over the disputed Himalayan Kashmir region. Each country controls parts of Kashmir but claims the entire region.

The India-Pakistan rivalry escalated after the two nations declared their nuclear prowess by conducting atomic blasts in May 1998. Since then, they have narrowly escaped a full-fledged war on several occasions.

Pakistani media were equally ready to question the warming of relations between India and the United States. Days before Obama’s arrival in New Delhi, his visit had become a heated topic for Pakistani primetime television talk shows.

Reports and editorials in the Pakistani press presented Obama’s visit as the start of a new coalition against Pakistan's alliance with China and a harbinger of Washington's plan to impose Indian hegemony in South Asia.

In its January 27 editorial, the Urdu newspaper "Nawa-i-Waqt" noted that, two days before his Indian visit, Obama warned Pakistan to take steps to end terrorism and called India his country’s natural ally.

"His tone was a clear message to Pakistan that, apart from the United States, Pakistan must also accept Indian policies in the region," the paper's editorial said.

The January 27 editorial of another Urdu language newspaper, "Jang," said Washington is promoting New Delhi to counter Beijing's rising influence in the region.

Leading Urdu language newspaper "Daily Mashriq" noted that while Obama held meetings in New Delhi, the Pakistani Army chief was touring Beijing. An editorial in "Mashriq" called on China and Pakistan to "develop closer ties to meet future challenges in the region."

The English-language daily "The News International" said Islamabad was worried over the growing Indo-U.S. ties. "For Pakistan, the worry may be that greater economic cooperation will automatically be followed by further political cooperation, leaving Pakistan out in the cold."