Indian diplomatic offensive puts pressure on Pakistan The Statesman 27 Dec 2022 Maj Gen Harsha Kakar

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Indian diplomatic offensive puts pressure on Pakistan The Statesman 27 Dec 2022

          India has, in recent times, undertaken a collection of initiatives aimed at countering terrorism. In Nov this year, India hosted the ‘3rd ministerial conference on Countering Financing of Terrorism (CFT).’ Over 70 nations and 15 multilateral organizations participated. Amongst prominent absentee nations were Pakistan and Afghanistan. India was initially scheduled to hold the event in 2021 but had to reschedule it due to the pandemic.

          The event was inaugurated by PM Modi who hinted towards Pak when he stated, ‘Certain countries support terrorism as part of their foreign policy. They offer political, ideological and financial support to them. There must be a cost imposed upon countries that support terrorism.’ The Home Minister, addressing the gathering added, ‘Quite often we have seen that some countries shield terrorists and provide them shelter. Harbouring a terrorist is equal to promoting terrorism. It is our collective responsibility to see that such elements and such countries don’t succeed in their intentions.’ The recipient of the message, Pakistan, understood.

          Prior to this event, India hosted the UNSC special meeting of the Counter Terrorism Committee (CTC) in Mumbai and Delhi on 28-29 Oct and the 90th INTERPOL (International Criminal Police Organization) General Assembly from 18-21 Oct. The Delhi declaration of the CTC mentioned that it ‘expressed concerns over the continued existence of safe havens.’ This once again hinted at Pakistan and projected India’s unwavering support in the fight against terrorism. CTC members also laid a wreath at the 26/11 memorial in Mumbai.    

          As the rotating president of the UNSC for the month of December India conducted two major events. The first was a high level ministerial open debate on ‘New Orientation for Reformed Multilateralism (NORM)’ and the second a briefing on ‘Global Approach to Counter Terrorism — Challenges and Way Forward.’ Presiding over NORM, Jaishankar stated, ‘On the challenge of terrorism, even as the world is coming together with a more collective response, multilateral platforms are being misused to justify and protect perpetrators.’ This was directed towards China which blocked Indian efforts to nominate Pak based terrorists as global terrorists.

Pakistan foreign minister Bilawal Bhutto raised Kashmir in his address. He stated, ‘Parties to a dispute (Kashmir) cannot advocate multilateral process one day, multilateral reforms one day and insist on bilateral avenues the next and ultimately impose unilateral actions.’ Jaishankar responded, ‘Nor can hosting Osama Bin Laden and attacking a neighbouring Parliament serve as credentials to sermonize before this council.’

As part of the second debate, Anjali Kulthe, a nurse who saved 20 victims of 26/11 Mumbai attacks, shared her experiences. Jaishankar mentioned, ‘Her testimony is a stark reminder to the Council and the international community that justice is yet to be delivered to victims of several terrorist incidents, including the 26/11 Mumbai attacks.’ He added, ‘For too long, some have persisted with the approach that terrorism is just another instrument or stratagem. Those who invested in terrorism have used such cynicism to carry on.’ Evidently Pak was the target.   

          Pakistan, realizing that India was going all guns blazing against its ‘supporting terrorism’ policy, began conjuring counters. Mohamad Amir Rana, stated in an opinion column in the Dawn, ‘India’s major diplomatic tool against Pakistan has been to keep on talking about terrorism.’ To counter India, Pakistan had, in the past, produced fake dossiers of Indian involvement in supporting anti-Pak terrorist groups. These were presented to global entities including the UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres. No one reacted or even commented on them, aware they were fabricated.

This time Pak blamed India for the IED blast close to the residence of known global terrorist, Hafiz Saeed, in Johar Town, in Lahore in Jun 2021. Its Interior Minister, Rana Sanaullah, stated, ‘We have decided to bring our stance before the world and unveil India’s face of terrorism. We have evidence of India’s involvement in it (Johar Town blast).’ Pakistan’s minister of state for foreign affairs, Hina Rabbani, mentioned, ‘no country had used terrorism better than India.’ Bilawal Bhutto presented the dossier to the UN Secretary General a day prior to the NORM debate, hoping to offset the Indian offensive.

The reason for Pakistan’s concerns became evident when Hina Rabbani mentioned, ‘Perpetrators of terrorism are drumbeating as UNSC presidents to talk about terrorism from imaginary sources.’ Pak is aware that the world looks at it through the prism of terrorism, after all it supported multiple terrorist groups including anti-India, the Taliban and Haqqani network. Further, Osama Bin Laden was a state guest in Pakistan.

Pakistan may be out of the FATF (Financial Action Task Force) Grey List. However, continued exposure by India is a matter of concern for which they have no response. With limited options Pak is now scraping the bottom of the barrel to find a reason to accuse India.  

Bilawal Bhutto, discussing increased Tehreek-e-Taliban (TTP) and Baloch Freedom Fighter attacks in a UN press event mentioned, ‘Our intelligence agencies have solid proof of financial and organizational support and direction provided to the TTP by the agents of our eastern neighbour and by elements of the previous government in Kabul.’

He forgets the words of Pakistan’s former minister, Sheikh Rashid, who had stated post the Taliban takeover in Kabul, ‘We should know with regards that the process of Indian funding (to the TTP), which had been ongoing for a long time, has ended.’ India’s presence in Afghanistan is currently restricted to Kabul. For Pak to conjure Indian involvement, when its own security forces fail, is normal.

Pakistan is aware that it has limited takers. While many western nations backed India’s demand to sanction Pak based terrorists only China protected them by placing a technical hold. Indian actions also place unsurmountable pressure on Pak’s deep state, compelling it to desist from any major terrorist strike in India. India may finish its UNSC tenure at the end of the month, but pressure would continue as India is now the G 20 and SCO President. India has fruitfully utilized its UNSC tenure to put Pak under global scrutiny and also reveal the truth about Pakistan’s strategy of employing terrorism as a ‘part of state policy.’