No one can have a quarrel with India trying to isolate Pakistan globally using its considerable diplomatic and increasingly lethal financial muscle. But then there comes a point when we have to ask – Is the government wasting too much time on this ? Worse, can it be counter productive?
At the outset, it has to be said that using diplomatic means is a lot better (for now) than using military means. Having said that, let us think through some of the recent events.
Excessive obsession with Pakistan is actually bad for India as we are seen as vulnerable, weak and end up getting bracketed with a failing jihadi terrorist state that survives on handouts from its benefactors.
A strong person, hurt in a relationship, shrugs his shoulders and moves on. A strong Mafia don goes for the kill and makes sure the lesson is taught well. A strong nation extracts its revenge too, but doesn’t wail and holler every time someone passes by and lends a shoulder.
What can netting Masood Azhar or Hafiz Saeed accomplish? Simply replacing them with another beard? Is Pakistan running out of fanatic barbarians? Pakistan should be clearly told it has made its choice and will have to pay the appropriate price. Nothing more.
Are we saying don’t go and take them out like Uncle Sam did? By all means, do that! But don’t obsess over it and try score small semantic victories in joint statements.
India should simply issue one statement – that it will not talk to Pakistan until there is clear and present evidence of action, change of course and reserves right to use ANY and ALL options to deal with the issue. Don’t talk about it unless asked about it, even then simply refer to the earlier statement.
As far as China goes, there is so much we can learn from Chinese diplomats and their clear statements. Why can’t we simply say “We would like to China to see long term value in the relationship with India” or some such thing that simply puts the ball in PRC’s court and sets a price for recalcitrance?
Lobbying with super powers should be quiet not noisily conducted through the press.
We should also selectively loosen curbs on actors, musicians etc., who are not jihadist fanatics. That again conveys strength not weakness. This is not a call for large scale pappi-jappi or Wagah candle kissing. It also prevents Pakistan from raising the “Islam is in danger” bogey.
And for God’s sake can we avoid those “felicitation ceremonies” over the cross border “surgical strike”? It reeks of cheap Bollywood drama.
May be Narendra Modi, Parikkar and Amit Shah should sit together and watch the first two seasons of Godfather. There’s a lot to learn from Michael Corleone.
Or they can try and listen to Teddy Roosevelt’s ancient wisdom – speak softly, carry a big stick. Not the other way around.