Pakistan’s Stability: The Global Stakes
In his interaction with students in the St. Xavier’s College in Mumbai last month President Obama had stressed that “we want nothing more than a stable, prosperous, peaceful Pakistan.” Later, in New Delhi, he emphasized the need to deny terrorists safe havens in Afghanistan and Pakistan, and defeat terrorist networks like the Lashkar-e-Taiba. Pakistan should also bring the perpetrators of the Mumbai attacks to justice.
President Obama was greatly concerned with Pakistan’s stability as a nation state. In Mumbai he said that India is “the country with the biggest stake in Pakistan’s success. I think that if Pakistan is unstable, that’s bad for India. If Pakistan is stable and prosperous, that’s good.” His solution to alleviate the ‘security instability’ in the region was evolving trust through dialogue between India and Pakistan, addressing less controversial issues first and more contentious issues later. Currently, the Indo-Pak dialogue is in recess after the Mumbai 26/11 attacks, and incontrovertible proof becoming available of the ISI’s involvement in this episode. An early resumption of this dialogue is unlikely.
Three questions arise against this backdrop to adjudge the state of stability and instability in Pakistan. Why and how has Pakistan compromised its stability? What are the implications of Pakistan’s instability for regional and international security? And, what can external actors like India and the United States do to stabilize Pakistan?