Saturday, May 21, 2011

U.S. Breached Pakistan sovereignty in OBL raid has Asia scrambling for protection


Operation pushes Pakistan closer to forging security ties with China, even India.An unintended consequence of the surgically precise United States military operation that killed Osama bin Laden is that not only Pakistan, but other South and Central Asian countries are looking for ways to protect their sovereignty and security.The implications of the skill and confidence with which the U.S. was able to mount a sixmonth intelligence operation to discover bin Laden's hideout and then launch a military operation to kill him without the Pakistani government, army or spy agency being any the wiser has caused concern in capitals throughout Asia.There are signs that together with movements already underway as regional governments contemplate what their neighbourhood will look like when the U.S., NATO and other allied forces leave Afghanistan starting this year, the bin Laden operation is accelerating the formation of new alliances.Much of this is under the canopy of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO), the mutual defence group founded in 2001 by Russia, China and the Central Asian states of Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan.The SCO has often been called the region's post-Soviet Union answer to the North Atlantic Treaty Organization. Certainly major motives in the formation of the group and its growth have been China's perception that it was being encircled and confined by the U.S., and both Beijing and Moscow's unhappiness about the spreading presence of American bases and influence in Central Asia.In 2005 both India and Pakistan, along with Iran and Mongolia, joined the SCO with junior "observer" status.But it has been widely signalled that at the upcoming SCO summit to be held in the Kazakhstan capital Astana in mid-June both Pakistan and India will gain full membership of the organization.SCO is purposefully a zone. Indeed, Washington's requests for observer status have been rebuffed.


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