Singapore: India has a challenging task
to support Afghanistan while managing a "trust" deficit with
Pakistan which does not view its role in the war-torn country
favourably, a UK-based international security expert said here
India had a more important role in the security of
South Asian region but faced neighborly acrimony, Professor
Alan Hatcher, founder and deputy chairman of the International
School for Security and Explosives Education.
Hatcher`s take on India`s role in regional and global
peace covered South Asia and the Indian Ocean.
India has a challenging task to support Afghanistan
while managing a "trust" deficit with Pakistan, he noted.
"Though India is doing well in managing with the
trying issues with its two neighbors, its involvement has
become a complexity between New Delhi and Islamabad, and New
Delhi and Kabul," he told PTI in an interview.
Nevertheless, India would remain an important global
player on security matters. For the immediate term, Hatcher
would want the Indian Navy to expand its role in managing the
Indian Ocean security, where pirate attacks could turn into
terrorist-related blasts especially on major ships.
Speaking about China`s role in war-ravaged Afghanistan
he said, "China has a role to play in Afghanistan though
Beijing has not appeared to say much about the ongoing trouble
in its southern neighbour."
In an interview with PTI in Singapore, Hatcher pointed
out the importance of stability in Pakistan to China, and
cited the proposed but pending oil and gas pipeline from the
Persian Gulf to China through Pakistan.
"Such resource-based infrastructure will benefit the
Chinese economy, while Beijing support to Pakistan and
Afghanistan on international platforms including the United
Nations would make things much easier for the South Asian
region," he observed.
He cited an example of China`s endorsement of a United
Nation resolution on Iraq which eventually led to the pull out
of the American forces.
"China has the political influence to support
Afghanistan at the UN, even working against the United
States," he stressed.
Beijing-based regional security and energy experts
were also keeping a close watch on how their southern
neighbour was managing in the long-run, with the hope that a
peaceful Afghanistan would prosper economically from which
Chinese economy would benefit, according to Hatcher.
"China is always interested in regional peace, be it
in South Asia or South China Sea," said Hatcher, who has a
honorary chair at the Zhejiang University at Hangzhou.
He dismissed concerns about China showing military
power to gain territorial jurisdiction though there were a
number of territorial issues within the region and with its
bigger South Asian neighbour, India.
"In my experience with the Chinese they tend to look
inwards a lot and do not concern themselves too much with
global affairs and that in accordance with Confucius believe
in defensive measures rather than offensive ones therefore
they should contribute to a peaceful world, albeit with a
bigger say in the global security issues," he told PTI.
The Indian navy has been playing a vital role, but it
would be important to have a more "aggressive approach" in
managing the security of expanded Oceans, stretching to
African coasts, he said.
A specific case for India is to increase the role of
its naval forces in the broader Indian Ocean, ensuring
security against pirate-type activities from African coast
through to the Straits of Malacca and even across the South
China Sea, stressed Hatcher.
"Pirate attacks are no longer simple, but are shaping
into a new global war, which the terrorists can easily
emulate," said Hatcher who advisers several government
security agencies around the world and had predicted new
terrorists methods of operations.
Hatcher said he believe the terrorists have plans to
hijacking oil tankers and blowing them up to achieve their
ulterior motives as has been several severe cases involving
Somali pirates hijacking vessels and holding sailors as
hostage with ever increase rates of ransom demands.
"Such scenarios should not be ruled out, and should be
tackle without giving any opportunity to the terrorists whose
forms and shapes are never know," he said.
He underlined the importance of securing the Ocean
trade flow soonest as the global terrorists are working out
options for their operations than the world’s best security
forces could provide protection for.
Hatcher, who has served in the British armed forces
and has been in security industry for 40 years, works on
several security related issues and has annual Asian
conference on Global Security, which is scheduled for March
this year in Singapore.