Saturday, July 23, 2016

Time for some Straight talk

In the wake of continued Islamist violence in Kashmir, the Ministry of External Affairs issued an unusually direct statement in the form of a video featuring Minister Sushma Swaraj, flanked by her MoS-es, addressing the latest Pakistani dealings over the violence. Recently, Pakistan has tried to bring the matter up in the UN, issued statements on behalf of the civilian and military administrations (not the same thing), and passed a Senate resolution. That's certainly quite a lot even for Pakistan!

Since the Modi government came to power in the historic election of 2014, many have accused it of having virtually no Pakistan policy. And indeed, if looked at in the short term, that does appear to be the case. But on the longer term, a trend does stand out: that of using stronger language, calling a spade, a spade, really, and working towards isolating Pakistan globally (with the sole exception of China among powerful nations).Recently, the US Congress held a hearing denouncing Pakistani duplicity on terrorism and the country, bereft of a full-time foreign minister and an Army that controls the India & US relationships, has not really been able to fight back.

Last week, India's UN ambassador, Syed Akbaruddin, made an equally terse point in a debate on human rights. All this clearly shows that PM Modi, irrespective of his friendship with Nawaz Sharif, has a very firm policy on Pakistan. However, whether that will make the country stop and ponder over its perilous position - it is reducing itself to a Chinese colony by the day - or brazen it out further, is anybody's guess at this time. I'd pick the latter, given the history.

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