Senator Chuck Hagel’s nomination as US Secretary of Defense has been confirmed by US Senate. It always seemed a distant possibility because of his opposition by the Senators under the influence of pro-Israel lobby. His views on Israel were well known and had angered Israel and its sympathizers in the Capitol Hill. His detractors also tried to pitch Indian lobby against Hagel confirmation when a day before his final confirmation, one of his speeches on Afghanistan was made public. In his speech, he had clearly said that terrorism in Pakistan, in which nearly 50,000 innocent Pakistani civilian had lost lives, is funded by India. This has confirmed the dreaded estimates that Pakistan’s terror outfit, TTP, is in fact an Indian proxy. In Chuck Hagel’s words, India has over the years “financed problems” for Pakistan in the war-torn country. He also said that 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. And you can carry that into many dimensions, the point being [that] the tense, fragmented relationship between Pakistan and Afghanistan has been there for many, many years.
Indian lobby has been quite active to use his anti-India remarks and provide ammunition to the Republican Senators to oppose his confirmation. It may be kept in mind that Chuck Hagel has always been considered pro-India, therefore, his eye-opening remarks have shocked many the world over. As Nebraska Senator for two terms from 1997 to 2009, Hagel was member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, frequently travelled to South Asia and voted in favor of the historic India-US civilian nuclear deal. During his trip to Pakistan he told the then Pakistan President Pervez Musharraf that a similar agreement was not on cards with Islamabad, because of the proliferation issues with his country. Hagel’s nomination has bitterly split the Senate, with Republicans turning on their former colleague and Democrats standing by Obama’s nominee.
Republican lawmakers excoriated Hagel over his past statements and votes. They argued that he was too critical of Israel and too compromising with Iran. They cast the Nebraskan as a radical far out of the mainstream.
With Hagel’s confirmation, allegations that India is one of the biggest state-sponsors of terrorism in South Asian regions have been confirmed. In fact, it is now official; coming from US Secretary of Defense.