Isolating the wrong bug

Neo

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Isolating the wrong bug
JAVED NAQVI

Bilaterally, 2016 was about India trying to isolate Pakistan over terrorism, but failing to convince any big player to stand with Delhi. Chinese President Xi Jinping, for instance, all but snubbed Prime Minister Narendra Modi at the Goa summit of the five-nation BRICS leaders. He did not see the need to agree with Modi’s characterization of Pakistan as the mother-ship of terrorism.

There were murmurs in Islamabad about US President-elect Donald Trump. His pronounced Islamophobia would lead him into the Indian camp or so it was feared. A read-out of his chat with Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif revealed the opposite; a surprisingly friendly Trump who not only likes Pakistanis but was looking forward to visiting the country.

And, finally, Zamir Kabulov, representing President Vladimir Putin at the Heart of Asia conference in Amritsar ticked off both India and Afghanistan for what appeared to be their coordinated criticism of Pakistan at the meet. Kabulov did one better. He praised the speech of foreign policy advisor Sartaj Aziz as a friendly one, and cautioned the participants against indulging in blame game over a critical issue in which everyone had an important stake.

Unwittingly for India, Pakistan scored three out of three on the issue of isolation. It was not an endorsement of everything Pakistan does or doesn’t do with terrorists but a reminder that international diplomacy is a more serious business than a persistent expression of prejudice as policy.

India was handed the consolation prize. It found the support of Afghanistan and Bangladesh for its charges of terrorism against Pakistan, which is not how Modi intended it to be. Let’s assume that Bhutan also stands with India as it does on most issues of its foreign policy. Has the outcome been a good one for India?

There are valid and not-so-valid reasons for Prime Minister Modi’s shifting approach towards Pakistan. He has to respond to acts of perceived terror from across the border. That is a given for any Indian leader, more so since the end of the Cold War when things turned overtly turbulent between the two.

That apart, there’s little else that can be cited as legitimate reason for not making progress with talks in 2017. It is fair criticism by India and others that Pakistan is either not able to rein in its extremist free agents or is unwilling to take up the issue seriously. These are the people that the world would happily want to isolate for Pakistan’s benefit and also for everyone’s own good.

And since India is currently focused on the isolation of Pakistan, it might consider paring down its objective to the nub of the problem, to the terror groups or their extremist cheerleaders who need to be tamed or shackled.

In order to make a genuine case about the free agents that disrupt bilateral ties, India may also wish to do something about freelancers like the Shiv Sena at home. It is galling to see movie actors and producers lining up at the doors of this or that self styled agent of national honor.

Does the state of India endorse Raj Thackeray and others who hate Pakistan and who would not allow the desirable cultural exchange between the two people? If it doesn’t see eye to eye with Thackeray but also lacks the political wherewithal to deal with him frontally, then it should be prepared to understand the frustrations of Pakistanis vis-a-vis the hate-filled Hafiz Saeed, among others. The new year could be about isolating the right viruses in both the countries.

The year 2016 began for India-Pakistan ties with a damaging terror attack on the Pathankot Airbase on January 2. It predictably ground to a halt their already iffy dialogue. More attacks and claims of retributive surgical strikes across the LoC during the year made it only worse for both.

To complicate matters, the Indian prime minister has proved to be a man of shifting moods for want of a better explanation. He calls and meets Prime Minister Sharif at will. Then he shuns him and wrecks their peace talks – again at will.

Reasons for Modi’s behavior range wildly. They have included a crucial state poll of domestic utility or the Pakistani envoy in Delhi sharing a cup of tea with the Hurriyat leaders. But then there was also a provocative attack or two on Indian army camps in Kashmir and elsewhere. All these were, however, factored in previous agreements between the two as a pre-existing condition. They had agreed not to let terrorists manipulate their bilateral ties.

The Lahore Agreement was signed in the shadow of a cold-blooded massacre in Kashmir. The Mumbai terror attack ironically produced the Sharm el-Sheikh agreement. That’s how mature nations manage their affairs. Even if a reasonable agreement or two end up with a brief shelf life, it is a move forward and not a regression.

It is not that Pakistan- India ties are horribly intractable or that they are perpetually doomed. The seemingly incurable Kashmir issue was primed for resolution in Agra. There is no valid reason to believe that horrific bloodletting of the kind we are seeing in Kashmir today is the only way forward between the two in 2017. So what if they both looked inextricably doomed in 2016.
 

Failed_pakistani

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@Neo ,It was Pakistan who was taking up the Kashmir issue in UN and trying to play "Kashmir Victim card" and thus making it an International Issue.
BUt what was the response?
Because of the attempts of modi government India successfully isolated pakistan on this issue in international forum.
The repsonse of UN :
As the Valley unrest neared 70 days, the UN Human Rights chief said that an international probe was "needed crucially" in Kashmir, even as India hit back saying the violence was "choreographed from across the border". India also questioned the reference to Indian and Pakistan-administered areas, stating that the entire Jammu and Kashmir is an integral part of India.

UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid Ra'ad Al Hussein at the 33rd session of the Human Rights Council, said he had requested India and Pakistan to allow teams from his office to visit both sides of the Line of Control -- "in other words the India-Administered Jammu and Kashmir and Pakistan-Administered Kashmir".

Hussein said they had received reports of "excessive" force used against civilians on the Indian side and also of "conflicting narratives from the two sides" about the unrest, that has seen over 80 deaths so far.

"I believe an independent, impartial and international mission is now needed crucially and that it should be given free and complete access to establish an objective assessment of the claims made by the two sides," Hussein said, adding that while Pakistan has acceded to his request for a visit to its side, "but in tandem with a mission to the Indian side", India had yet to do so.

India, in its reply, said that while it acknowledges the role of the OHCHR for protection of human rights "more would be gained if primacy were accorded to cooperation over confrontation" as the guiding principle.

India sharply rebutted the UN Human Rights chief's reference to India and Pakistan - administered Kashmir. It said the whole State of Jammu and Kashmir is an integral part of India and "Pakistan remains in illegal occupation of a part of our territory. The two cannot and should not be equated".

"The neutrality of the phrase 'Indian Administered Kashmir' is, therefore, artificial," it said, adding that Jammu and Kashmir has an elected democratic government, but that is not the case on the Pakistani side.

It hit out at Pakistan, saying the current unrest "has been choreographed from across our border since the death of a known terrorist belonging to an internationally proscribed terrorist organization" in July - referring to Hizbul commander Burhan Wani. India said it has shared evidence of terrorists "who came across the border with instructions to target our security forces by mingling with protesting crowds and using human shields".

"Terrorism, I would emphasise, is the most egregious violation of human rights," the statement said.

It said that Jammu and Kashmir has started to move towards normalcy after sustained efforts by both the Central and state governments, "including the exercise of maximum restraint" by security forces, 7,000 of whom have sustained injuries.

In a strong rebuttal of the UN Human Rights chief's request for unconditional access to both sides of the LoC, the statement said "India's robust democratic institutions and processes have sufficient tools for redressal of grievances".

It stressed on constructive dialogue and cooperation as best means for the protection and promotion of human rights, adding "countries often have unique national circumstances, and it is important to invest trust in their efforts".

The statement said that while India has been appreciative of the High Commissioner's efforts at improving efficiency and streamlining OHCHR's work, it remains "concerned at persisting ambiguities in OHCHR governance and administrative arrangements".

"High Commissioner's proposed Change Initiative requires more clarity," it said.

India's curt response comes amid marked escalation by Pakistan at internationalising the Kashmir issue. Relations between the two neighbours has reached a low point.
@Kunal Biswas @safriz.
 

Mikesingh

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Chinese President Xi Jinping, for instance, all but snubbed Prime Minister Narendra Modi at the Goa summit of the five-nation BRICS leaders. He did not see the need to agree with Modi’s characterization of Pakistan as the mother-ship of terrorism.
How can the master go against the interests of its concubine?
 

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