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Diplomatic Counter


Prime Minister Narendra Modi held a half-hour long conversation with US President Donald Trump on the Kashmir issue. It is a hard task to communicate with Trump without being misunderstood and misinterpreted, particularly on a subject he has very little knowledge of, but Modi seems to have taken the chance because, quite obviously, Pakistan cannot be allowed to go unchallenged on its preposterous claims. Considering that the most intemperate allegations have been made by Pak PM Imran Khan with the use of words like Hitler for Modi, a dignified counter will have been timely and effective.
After Trump’s faux pas on ‘mediation’, the US establishment has worked hard to correct the position without directly contradicting the President. Following the closed door meeting at the UNSC, also, the US State Department has underlined the bilateral nature of the Kashmir issue. The attempt to colour the situation in the valley as a violation of ‘human rights’ would be acceptable to the more gullible NGO activists who have agendas of their own, but will not impress the major powers who have independent sources of information, as well as a historical perspective on the matter.
In fact, there is deep frustration in Pakistan at its failure to evoke a response from the western countries on the human rights angle, and from ‘Muslim’ nations on the religious one. (Particularly galling for them is Saudi Arabia making a 75 billion dollar deal with Reliance at this very juncture.) It has exploded the self-perpetuated myth of Pakistan being the ‘leader’ of the Muslim nations on the strength of its nuclear arsenal. They are in even greater shock at India not adopting a pacifist approach to the usual nuclear blackmail and, thereby, calling their bluff.
What Modi will very likely have pointed out to Trump is the renewed threat of jihad that many elements, particularly within the Pakistan establishment, have been holding out against India. He will have reiterated India’s resolve to hit back against any Pakistan sponsored terrorist act. If there is any concern about matters escalating, the US will have communicated it to the powers-that-be in that country. In fact, if there is justification in giving General Bajwa another term in office, it is that he has firsthand knowledge of elements that would pose such a threat.
It is important at this juncture that the US make clear to Pakistan there would be no support for any misadventure it might be planning. The same should be done by other countries. That is the best guarantee against matters escalating in the sub-continent.