TRUTH can be bitter, but it must be told. India, under Prime Minister Narendra Modi, has decided that it was time to take the gloves off in dealing with its recalcitrant neighbour. So, it did some plainspeaking while conveying certain messages – spoken and unspoken – to Pakistan, during the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) meeting in Goa recently.
Pakistan Foreign Minister Bilawal Bhutto Zardari landed on the Indian soil barely a fortnight after a terror attack in Rajouri district of J&K where five Army personnel were killed. India’s External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar’s body language made it clear to him where the things stood.
G20 events in J&K
In his statement issued later, the Indian EAM emphasised that there can be no justification for terrorism, and it must be stopped in all its forms. He specifically mentioned “cross-border terrorism”, without naming Pakistan. On his part, Bhutto Zardari spoke of not “weaponising terrorism for diplomatic point-scoring”.
No less a snub is India’s decision to hold the upcoming G20 events in J&K and Ladakh, a decision that has been “condemned” by Pakistan. Talking about this to the media, Bhutto Zardari said, “When the time comes, we’ll respond in a way that they’ll remember.”
External Affairs Ministry spokesperson Arindam Bagchi told reporters, “G20 events and meetings are happening across India and it is only natural to do them in Jammu and Kashmir and Ladakh, which are an integral and inalienable part of India.” In the Valley, meanwhile, news of the G20 event has brought joy and hope among the people who anticipate the economic boost it will bring.
Meeting with Taliban
The Pakistan Foreign Minister returned home to join a meeting with his counterparts from China and Afghanistan. Taliban’s interim Foreign Minister Mawlawi Amir Khan Muttaqi had to travel to Pakistan from Afghanistan with permission of a UN committee.
Interestingly, the UN held a meeting of special envoys on Afghanistan in Doha on May 1-2 where the Taliban was not invited. But China and Pakistan intend to “strengthen ties” with the Taliban regime. China has extended considerable economic and logistical support to woo them. The Dragon wants to ensure the Taliban eliminates Uyghur militant groups operating in Afghanistan. Meanwhile, the Afghan Taliban is still at loggerheads with its Pakistani counterpart. Pakistan’s terrorism is indigenous – growing unbridled – and the State does not intend to stop exporting it. Entrapped in its own web of undoing and imploding within, Pakistan is desperate. While wooing others, its hostility towards a flourishing neighbour is apparent.
Terror training camps
During the Soviet occupation of Afghanistan, Pakistan hosted training camps for Mujahideen fighters. The facts are well chronicled in Brigadier Mohammed Yousuf’s book ‘The Bear Trap’. He was heading Pakistan ISI’s Afghan desk during the CIA counterSoviet operations in Afghanistan. He co-authored the book detailing the logistical and armed support Pakistan was showered with by the US in its war against the Soviets.
Today, the Tehrik-i-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) – a platform for various militant organisations – based at the PakistanAfghan border, is flexing its muscles at both Islamabad and Rawalpindi (Army HQ). The country is also paying the price for being overwhelmingly repressive on the Baloch people and the minorities.
India’s overtures for friendship and cooperation have proved futile. A clear message had to be given. Goa provided an opportunity