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Pakistan Base

December 17, 1985

If there is any credence to the rumor about United States' intentions of building a naval base at Pakistan's port Gwadar, (Dec. 1), then the matter will be of grave concern to India as well as Iran.

If these reports are true, this will be yet another example of U.S. intentions of being the policeman of the world, self-appointed. As such, the $3.2 billion aid package has set off an arms race between India and Pakistan.

In addition, a naval base not far from India's border at the shore of India's historical enemy, could damage Indo-American relations. A U.S. naval base here could serve manifold functions. It could be used against Iran in case of a threat to the smooth flow of oil through the Persian Gulf. Hence, Iran will not take this naval base lightly.

Upon improvement of relations, it could invite the U.S.S.R. to build its own base at one of the Iranian ports nearby to counter the American threat. Also, the U.S. naval base at Gwadar, at the time of any future Indo-Pakistan war, could be used to spy on India so as to help Pakistan in the conflict. Or it could be used to dispatch the 7th Fleet at a moment's notice near India's waters to threaten that country as was done in the Bay of Bengal during India-Pakistan-Bangladesh War in 1970-71.

Thus, such a base at Gwadar could strain already fragile relations between the United States and India. The U.S. government must realize that Indian democracy and its 730-million people are of far more importance than Pakistan's temporary dictatorship. Militarization of the Arabian Sea and the Indian Ocean will create the tension which no country in the neighborhood wants or can afford. One wonders when will the U.S. government realize that it is futile to be the policeman of the world. The United States must realize that it is in its own interest to support the forces of democracy rather than ruthless military dictatorships.

CHAITANYA H. DAVE

Los Angeles

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