On his recent visit to Pakistan, US President George W Bush met with Pakistani cricket captain Inzaman-ul-Haq and opening batsman Salman Butt on the grounds of the US embassy in Islamabad. The baseball-loving leader was shown how to bat and bowl using tennis balls instead of harder cricket balls.
As an outcome of his visit, the Pakistani’s were left feeling that Bush had switched teams half way through the game, due to a seismic shift in American policy to favor India. In stark contrast to the high profile agreements with India, Pakistan received ,what was perceived by their local press, to be a stern reprimand for its faltering commitment to the war on terror — President Pervez Musharraf looked understandably disappointed as he stood beside the American president at their joint press conference after their meeting in Islamabad.
President Bush is wary of India’s impact on the US economy, but to him, this relationship is much more than economics. India is the world’s biggest democracy, a shining, though not perfect, example of the kinds of values America wants to spread around the world. As proof that President Bush wants to encourage and reward India, he took the highly unusual step of offering US help with its civilian nuclear program.
The Times (Pakistan) put it best when they stated, “The difference between the two relationships [of the US with India and Pakistan] springs from the fact that India interests the US, but Pakistan worries it. Therein lies the qualitative difference. ”