India’s ‘zero tolerance’ on terrorism remains strongby Opinion Express March 25, 2019 0 comments
India boycotting Pak National Day and banning JKLF show the country’s continuance on its ‘zero tolerance’ stance on terrorism
With its boycott of the Pakistan National Day celebrations in Delhi, on the ground that the Hurriyat leaders were invited there, the government has sent out a strong message that its security paradigm with our western neighbour was not just a Pulwama-specific counter-measure but had been reset for all time to come. And with its ban on the separatist outfit Jammu and Kashmir Liberation Front (JKLF), the Government reminded that there would be “zero tolerance” to the terror machinery or its promoters in the Valley. So though past invitations to the Hurriyat have gone unchallenged diplomatically, henceforth any attempt by the Pakistan High Commission or Pakistan’s leadership to engage with its leaders will not be overlooked. Its terse message came on a day when militants killed a 12-year-old boy whom they held hostage to instill fear among locals and disorient them further. India’s stand is loud and clear, that its single-minded pursuit now would be to go after the terrorist networks hosted by Pakistan, take demonstrable action with on-ground proof and get diplomatic support from around the world and the region, which are equally afflicted with this brand of proxy warfare. It also made known that it had not been cowed down by China’s technical hold on the UN proposal to designate Jaish-e-Mohammad chief Masood Azhar as a global terrorist. Instead, it would flush out threats as they emerged, now that it has an operational template post-Balakot strikes, one that doesn’t challenge the nuclear threshold and lies low on the escalation pyramid. Of course, in keeping with the goodwill that India has earned in graduating its fight against terror to a global mission, Prime Minister Modi showed that he was keeping diplomacy alive by sending a congratulatory message to his Pakistani counterpart Imran Khan on the latter’s National Day, saying it was time that people of the sub-continent “work together… in an atmosphere free of terror and violence.” While driving home the point of terror subtly, he made sure that Khan would not walk away with the optics of making all the right noises, which he attempted duplicitously during Balakot and opening of the Kartarpur corridor. Khan, too, didn’t lie low and seeing that the message was not tweeted by Modi, he let the world know and showed he was big-hearted enough to share the good wishes from a neighbour. But not before playing the same theme song of resuming dialogue to “resolve all issues, especially the central issue of Kashmir.” In other words, there was no overture of resolving terrorism before talks, apart from the cosmetic crackdown on some terrorist organisations to avoid being blacklisted by the Financial Action Task Force (FATF). Pakistan must realise that its intransigence and coercion won’t work anymore before India’s monolithic response and determined self-preservation efforts against exported terror. For while it works for Pakistan to keep terrorism alive and festering, India is in no mood to be a victim and has now adopted a result-oriented, muscular approach.
There can be no dramatic change in Pakistan’s policy of nurturing a terror factory which helps it keep its bargaining chip in the region. Then there is China, its all-weather friend, which humours it for its own sustenance as an economic imperialist in the region courtesy the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) and immunity from jihadi terror in its Muslim-majority provinces. So it sent the People’s Liberation Army Air Force Bayi Aerobatic team to the National Day celebrations to help Pakistan avoid international embarrassment at a time when India clearly has the tide of opinion in its favour post-Pulwama. And in Delhi, with most diplomats thinning out following India’s boycott, the Chinese embassy got in its own personnel as “guests.” However, post-Pulwama, even China cannot justify its selfish interests in the face of world censure on terror. And it wants to dehyphenate its economic interests in India from diplomacy, failing yet again to get Delhi on board for its transnational Belt and Road Initiative. It hasn’t told Pakistan yet its status on the technical hold on Azhar but is gauging what it would lose if it allows it to lapse. India has forced a new scenario post-Pulwama. Question is to what extent will it impact its two neighbours to come out with an evolved response than stereotypes.
Courtesy: The Pioneer