Hagel's insulting remarks about India still roil

Washington Post:
The appointment of Chuck Hagel as the new U.S. secretary of defense Tuesday may have overcome fierce Republican opposition in the Senate, but it has stirred a fresh controversy here.

A video clip of a speech Hagel made in 2011, which shows him being critical of India’s role in war-torn Afghanistan, was released by the Washington Free Beacon and is now being circulated among Indian foreign policy analysts.

“India for some time has always used Afghanistan as a second front, and India has over the years financed problems for Pakistan on that side of the border,” Hagel remarked in his speech at Oklahoma’s Cameron University.

Officials in Islamabad have often accused India of using its consulates in Afghanistan for spying and for financing separatist rebels in Pakistan.

Indian officials can be extremely touchy about their role in Afghanistan, a cautious and difficult balancing act of engaging with Kabul without upsetting its neighbor and nuclear rival Pakistan too much.

India also worries about how the U.S. views its role, particularly as the impending 2014 draw-down of combat troops from Afghanistan nears.

Opposition politicians and foreign policy analysts in India are demanding a clarification from Hagel.

“Chuck Hagel’s simplistic remarks surfacing amid the rushed U.S. exit from Afghanistan, co-option of Paksiatan as facilitator with benefits, and beatification of unreformed Taliban, have India on edge,” said K. C. Singh, a former Indian diplomat. “The situation requires immediate retraction of Hagel’s statement to avoid damage to India-U.S. relations, particularly defense cooperation.”
Maybe he just has a hostility to countries whose names start with "I."   He made the same kind of goofy remarks about Israel.  The common thread besides the initial letter of each country is that the opposition to both springs from radical Islam, and I don;t recall Hagel going after that group despite the spelling.

India deserves better treatment than this from the head of the US Defense Department.  None of what Hagel says appears to be true in any material sense of the words.  It looks like Hagel was just pandering to radical Islamist in Pakistan.


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