Dr. Ashley Tellis Speaks to the House Committee on Foreign Affairs on LeT

Editor’s Note: This testimony was brought to our attention by the Editor-Coordinator of the US-India Friendship.net.  This Blog is an excellent source for information about US-India relations.

Dr. Ashley Tellis is a senior associate at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, specializing in international security, defense, and Asian strategic issues. Previously, he served as senior adviser to the U.S. Ambassador in New Delhi and on the National Security Council staff as special assistant to the President and senior director for Strategic Planning and SouthWest Asia. Prior to his government service, Dr. Tellis was senior policy analyst at the RAND Corporation and professor of Policy Analysis at the RAND Graduate School. Dr. Tellis was also intimately involved in negotiating the civil nuclear agreement with India while on assignment to the U.S. Department of State.

Dr. Tellis gave his testimony to the U.S. House Committee on Foreign Affairs on March 11, 2010. The title of the testimony is Bad Company—Lashkar e-Tayyiba and the Growing Ambition of Islamist Militancy in Pakistan.  The full text can be downloaded from the Carnegie Endowment site. Below are some excerpts from his testimony:

The Situation on the Ground in Pakistan:

  • It remains the spearhead of the Pakistani military’s campaign against India.
  • LeT remains primarily Pakistani in its composition, uses Pakistani territory as its main base of operation, and continues to be supported extensively by the Pakistani state, especially the Army and Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI).
  • LeT’s ambitions extend beyond India. The organization’s close ties with al-Qaeda in Pakistan and its support for the Afghan Taliban’s military operations pose a direct threat to U.S. citizens, soldiers, and interests.

U.S. Policy Recommendations:

  • Be candid about Pakistan’s role: The United States should stop pretending that LeT is an independent actor. Candid recognition that the organization receives protection and support from Pakistan would go a long way toward solving the problem.
  • Be prepared to take action if Pakistan is unable or unwilling: If Pakistan cannot or will not take decisive action against LeT, then the United States and its allies should be prepared to act in its place.

Dr. Tellis is an expert and his views are sound. Unfortunately, the U.S. policy towards Af-Pak has always been short-term in its outlook. Download and read his entire testimony.

His view that LeT is the spearhead of the Pakistani Military campaign against India was of particular interest to us. We have argued that, after its humiliating defeat in the 1999 Kargil war, the Pakistani Army decided to wage a covert war against India’s civil society. We think this strategy has succeeded brilliantly and its pinnacle was the attack on Mumbai. We discussed this theme in detail in our article The Mumbai Attack – It Was Not Terrorism.

The US-India Friendship.net Blog is a good source of information and articles by experts. One article featured on this Blog attracted our interest. This Forbes.com article, written by a New Delhi based writer named Ashok Malik, is titled The Best American President India’s Ever Had.

We have written our own articles about the vision of President George W. Bush and his accomplishments in Foreign Policy. This is a non-consensus view, to say the least. We have caught a lot of flak for this opinion from our friends who lean to the left, mainly because it is a fashionable view at the moment. Ironically, Indian-Americans tend to be more aggressive in claiming to be anti-Bush. Apparently, that is a prerequisite for invitation to Manhattan parties. 

The Forbes.com article by Mr.Malik presents the view of real India about President Bush. A couple of excerpts are below:

  • In his speech in New Delhi, Bush seemed to see India exactly as Indians imagine it to be: “A vibrant, modern nation built on an ancient civilization”; “a force for stability and peace in one of the most strategically important regions in the world.”
  • As more than one person in his audience observed, Bush was different from American/Western visitors who either talked down to Indians, sometimes inadvertently, or sought to clumsily second guess them. Bush did neither.

The message of President Bush to India was clear “Don’t try and do things to win credits for a Security Council seat, just do what you think is right for your country. The rest will take care of itself.” 

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