NEW YORK: The ruling Congress Party of India is urging the large Indian community here to go on the offensive and pressure the American Government and legislators into dropping any plans to sell AWACS, the early warning planes, to Pakistan.
The party’s wing in the United States has launched a “say no to AWACS” campaign with commercials on four ethnic Indian television programme broadcast On various news channels in New York, as well as from other U.S. Cities.
These commercials show Indian settled here one of them is usually a Sikh urging the community to flood the U.S. Administration as well as local Congressmen and Senators with letters ; Opposing the supply of the high technology plane to Pakistan. The reason cited is that AWACS would pose a serious threat to India’s security and start an arms race on the subcontinent.
The well-orchestrated campaign has surprised many observers as no decision has yet been taken to provide AWACS to Pakistan whose airspace and territory is being increasingly violated from the Afghanistan side.
State Department officials say the United States perceives the need for an airborne early warning system for Pakistan, but the matter is still, “under consideration’.
“There is a definite need in Pakistan’ for some airborne early “warning system” one official said. But exactly what system was appropriated had not been decided, he said.
Responding to questions at a meeting with the Pakistani community in New York on Dec. 14, Ambassador Jamshed Marker said military experts were busy evaluating early warning systems, including British Nimrod aircraft, to select one most suited to Pakistan.
He said the nearly 600 per cent increase in the tans border raids from the Afghanistan side had made it essential for Pakistan to acquire “some form of an early warning system”.
The Administration’s next aid package for Pakistan comes up for congressional approval next month. The 4.02 billion dollars package is about evenly split between economic aid and military sales. The current 3.2 billion American aid programmes for Pakistan expires in October, 1987.
The strong Indian lobby has already started making noises over the supply of sophisticated weapons to Pakistan Slig Harrison, an avowed Indian supporter, is among the first to do so. He particularly opposed the sale of AWACS. In doing so, he completely ignored the .acquisition of advanced weaponry by India from the Soviet Union.
Article extracted from this publication >> January 9, 1987