The 15th Trilateral meeting of foreign ministers of China, Russia and India was held on December 11, 2017 in New Delhi. At the conclusion of the meeting the ministers issued a joint statement, indicating their agreement on freedom of navigation and over flights and to cooperate with, ‘swift and effective’ implementation of existing international commitments on countering terrorism, letting in the UN Global Counterterrorism Strategy, relevant UN Security Council resolutions and targeted sanctions relating to terrorism and the FATF International Standards worldwide.
The three countries’ agreement to cooperate in countering terrorism seems to be a positive development, provided India also decides to shun its dual policy of blaming others, without credible evidence, for supporting terrorism but itself using terrorism to advance its politico-military interests in the region. The global cooperation on countering terrorism is something on which Pakistan has emphasised in the last many years.
Recently also, on February 17, 2017, while addressing the security conference held in Munich, Germany, while the COAS Pakistan Army, General Qamar Javed Bajwa talked about Pakistan’s contributions in the war on terror being fought in Afghanistan, he also highlighted the need for the international community to cooperate in countering this menace.
No doubt, in the above context, the success can only be achieved, if the war on terrorism is separated from politics, especially being played in South Asia region. While talking about countering terrorism in the region, India alleges Pakistan for supporting terrorism in the region, without presenting cogent evidence, but it refuses to accept that in fact she is sponsoring terrorism in Balochistan using Afghan soil. It is despite the availability of the most credible evidence of confession statement of India’s serving naval officer and RAW spy, Kulbushan Jadhav, in Pakistan’s custody. India also does not talk about its state terrorism in Jammu and Kashmir, and terrorism against the Muslims by extremist Hindus in India. In fact, India talks of countering terrorism and blames Pakistan just to mislead major powers to harm Pakistan’s economic and security interests in the region.
During its meetings with all major powers, India discusses the issue of terrorism, not for contributing in fighting terrorism, but just to blame Pakistan for supporting terrorism and for polluting the minds of major powers about Pakistan. By blaming Pakistan, India wants to misguide major powers to convince them to place Pakistan under international sanctions. In this regard, by weakening Pakistan, India thinks that it can succeed in establishing its hegemony in South Asia and also in denuding the people of Jammu and Kashmir from Pakistan’s political, moral and diplomatic support, that can in turn facilitate India in crushing the freedom struggle of the people of Jammu and Kashmir.
The international community’s recognition of the fact that terrorism will not stop if some states continue to charge and condemn others for supporting terrorism is insignificant, because they themselves play politics but continue to use terrorism to advance their politico-strategic interests
In this India’s game plan, the US, politics in the region seem to be in support of India in view of the fact that to advance its South Asia and Indo-Pacific policies, the US needs India’s assistance. Although Pakistan should be more important to the US for bringing an early peace in Afghanistan, in its flawed Afghanistan policy, the US government has given primacy to India even in Afghanistan. This US policy creates a perception that it is probably not serious in having an early peace in Afghanistan and it wants to stay there for a long time for strategic reasons and for this purpose the US is probably prepared to retain control of the Afghan area comprising its major cities only and it can tolerate Taliban’s prevailing control over above 40 percent area of Afghanistan comprising mainly the rural areas and smaller cities.
In this strategy of the US, India is with it, again to draw maximum political mileage against Pakistan. With the US acceptance of India’s foothold in Afghanistan, under cover of helping Afghanistan in its economic development, India can encircle Pakistan, can use Afghan soil to destabilise Balochistan for obstructing the construction of the CPEC and it can create an alternate route to Central Asia through Iran, by constructing and using Chabahar sea port, and Afghanistan.
On account of blaming Pakistan for supporting terrorism, while the US and some of its western friends are already supporting India’s Pakistan specific narrative on countering terrorism due to their interests linked to India, by talking to Russia and China on the subject, India has likewise attempted to contaminate their minds regarding Pakistan’s sincerity of countering terrorism. Although both these powers will not be misled about Pakistan as they are well aware of above discussed politics of India.
In view of the above, it is significant for the international community to recognise the fact that terrorism will not stop if some states continue to charge and condemn others for supporting terrorism, but they themselves play politics but continue to use terrorism to advance their politico-strategic interests.
The writer is an ex-Army officer and a former Research Fellow of Islamabad Policy Research Institute (IPRI), Islamabad
Published in Daily Times, February 27th 2018.