Diplomacy between USA and Pakistan is akin to a floating iceberg. For the most part, it looks like a tip that floats above the water occasionally rattling with chunks falling into sea. For most, it is the submerged massif not observed by the common eye that causes ripples and is more meaningful. Someone compared USA and Pakistan toan estranged couple that fights their ways through differences but close to divorce, exigencies prevail. Something always happens when they are about to cut the nuptial cord. Then they renew their wedding wows. The same can be said of the Joint US-Pakistan Statement after the deliberately hyped meeting between President Obama of US and Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif of Pakistan. What began as a charge sheet against Pakistan on terrorism and a nuclear capability,whimpered into a rather long communiqué high on gobbledygook with punctuated spaces for the Dos, Don’ts and friendly neighborhoods (India).

Surprisingly the statement was released even before the meeting was over. But the submerged part of the iceberg would soon make ripples when General Raheel Sharif arrives in USA. That is when a tete a tete on most contentious subjects related to India, Afghanistan and Nuclear would take place.

The first chunk that fell off the iceberg was a report by Reuters that said,“At a time of heightened tensions between nuclear-armed rivals India and Pakistan, U.S. President Barack Obama urged Pakistan on Thursday to avoid developments in its nuclear weapons programme that could increase risks and instability”. This is a clear reference to India’s nuclear strategy in South Asia in which it is hell bent on fighting a limited conventional war with Pakistan under the nuclear shadow. In the Indian nuclear logic, its high altitude Russian bombers, a better missile defence system, strategic depth in Nicobar-Andaman Islands and a preamble in US-India Nuclear Agreement provide prospects of a second strike and residual capability as also US nuclear umbrella. Hence it can use this leverage to dissuade Pakistan from a retaliatory nuclear strike to conduct cross border raids or even a Cold Start type operation.

Technically, India by choosing the plutonium route complicatedthe development ofminiaturised warheads. Plutonium has a much shorter half-life and needs more testing which is not possible without a Pakistani response. India processes plutonium from uranium and thorium routes. Thorium produces a different radioactive isotope which is still untested and cannot be weaponized without series of tests. Pakistan stuck to Uranium and has mastered the technology. Hence Pakistan’s edge in battlefield weapons deters Indian conventional offensives into Pakistan. Secondly, Pakistan’s long range missiles can now strike as far away as Andaman. This maintains a nuclear balance if not an edge for Pakistan. This does not auger well with India and its declared nuclear ally, USA.

It appears that Pakistan is undeterred by the implied preamble of an extended US umbrella in Indo-US Nuclear deal. USA has been forced to reassert this position. A flurry of US diplomatic visits in the past year and body languages of John Kerry, Peter Levoy and Susan Rice certainly suggested that something was not right on the nuclear front. Indian Prime Minister Modi and National Security Advisor MrAjitDoval had been directly threatening Pakistan with conventional and unconventional responses. Indian strike formations carried out military manoeuvres close to Pakistan’s border and are still positioned accordingly. A flashpoint already exists in a very hot line of control. Indian support of terrorists groups in Pakistan, separatists and some political elements is now documented. USA is warning Pakistan from using the employment of battlefield nuclear weapons against Indian conventional forces in case of attack. President Obama and his security advisors believe that any such use threatens the nuclear stability in South Asia. From a Pakistani viewpoint, it maintains PEACE.

Pakistan’s policy of ‘First Use’ against India is well enunciated, but the deterrence regime lacked political will. The Raheel factor has suddenly made this doctrine credible and dissuaded India from any major adventure. So egging on India and not stopping them from overt and covert aggression against Pakistan is OK but if Pakistan uses the threat of the weapons of peace, it is sacrilege. These are typical double standards. Whereas Pakistan is an ally in need, India remains a long term strategic ally whose domination Pakistan must acquiesce in a long drawn war. Volumes could be written on strategic nuclear cooperation between India and USA and more so with BJP security advisors.

Why must ISIS figure in a joint statement when it was created in the Middle East by bad US policies and adventurism of Arab monarchies, Turkey and military Industrial complexes? Pakistan had nothing to do with it. My prediction is that soon enough these foot prints will emerge in Afghanistan and Pakistan on the same patterns as Middle East. Placing Dai’sh in the region creates issues for Pakistan, Russia and China.

If Pakistan could acquiesce to inclusion of LET in the communiqué then why not Indian occupation of Kashmir made very clear by a recent court ruling in IHK? It stated that IHK is not an integral part of India. If USA and UN give weightage to Bombay dossiers prepared by India and ignore the role played in it by FBI informants, why any reference to Pakistani dossiers on India is avoided? Notwithstanding international law and numerous UNSC Resolutions, this reiterates the prevailing world order in which India is a preferred strategic partner.

Last but not least, the communiqué is an endorsement of the ruling elites of Pakistan. In stride all macroeconomic policies have also been endorsed. These include nonproductive mega projects, very high cost inefficient energy, a surge in indirect taxation and snowballing consumerism. Emphasis on vague without tangibles is nothingness; Economic Growth, Trade and Investment, Education and Civil Society Cooperation, Climate Change and Energy, Promoting Global Health,Cybersecurity has no meaning and were never the focus of these talks.

Pakistan had desired a compatible nuclear deal that was denied with diplomatic jargon and US media.

The best reflection of US warmth towards Pakistan will become apparent when its investors move towards exploitation of lignite coal in Thar and help Pakistan redraw its water management template. These two projects will meet Pakistan’s energy needs, provide employments, boost agriculture and industry and put Pakistan on the road to economic prosperity. Recently, when a US political officer asked me to name one thing USA could do for Pakistan, I replied, Lignite Coal.