Tactical Counter-Punch from PM Modi at G20 Summit

Beijing, September 5: It is for sure that unrest in Kashmir, the rising influence of Islamic State and its Indian endorsers like Zakir Naik is bothering the India’s Prime Minister. And that prompted him to take a dig against Pakistan in the ongoing G20 Summit at China.

The PM did not miss the opportunity to shed out his concern and anger to the neighbouring nation who is supposed to be constantly injecting anti-India messages in Kashmir. Though, without mentioning the name, the PM indicted Pakistan as “a single nation” spreading terror in South Asia.

“Growing forces of violence and terror pose a fundamental challenge. There are some nations that use it as an instrument of state policy,” said PM Modi in the final session of the G20 Summit.

“Indeed, one single nation in South Asia is spreading these agents of terror in the countries of our region,” he said, leaving little to imagination over which country he was referring to.

Before leaving for the summit, his decision to send an all party delegation to Kashmir to assess the ground situation was much appreciated, even though it came after two months after the protests began in the valley.  The delegation is assigned to bring the peace in Kashmir and address the whole issue.

It is the second time, Modi is attacking Pakistan for spreading out terrorism in the region.

In a speech to mark India’s Independence Day, Modi said Pakistani forces have committed human rights violations against residents of Pakistan’s Balochistan province and Gilgit, a city in that part of Kashmir controlled by Pakistan.

The series of recent statements from India gives a strong message that it is heading for a greater transformation with regard to Pakistan. Read in line with a series of recent statements from the Indian government, it marks a bigger shift. For, this is the second time in the past week that Modi himself has mentioned Balochistan.

“Pakistan forgets that it bombs its own citizens using fighter planes. The time has come when Pakistan shall have to answer to the world for the atrocities committed by it against people in Balochistan and PoK (Pakistan-occupied Kashmir),” Modi said during his address to the nation  on Independence Day, referring to Pakistan’s purported role in the Kashmir unrest.

This is a remarkable change for India, which has traditionally avoided locking horns with tumult in the Pakistani province. In fact, Modi’s Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) had cried “shame” in 2009 when an Indo-Pak joint statement signed by former prime minister Manmohan Singh and his Pakistani counterpart Yousaf Raza Gilani, mentioned Balochistan during the Non-Aligned Movement summit in the Egyptian resort of Sharm el-Sheikh.

After Modi’s Aug.15 speech, many leaders-in-exile of the Balochistan movement predictably came out in support.

“I thank Narendra Modi saheb on behalf of the whole Baloch nation,” Brahumdagh Bugti, the founding chief of the Baloch Republican Party, said. “And we hope that the Indian government and Indian media and the whole Indian nation will not only raise voices for the Baloch nation but also strive to help practically the Baloch independence movement.”

Change in Ties

India and Pakistan had seemed to bury their rivalry when the two governments agreed to initiate a “comprehensive bilateral dialogue” for discussing and probably finding out solutions for issues between the countries.

Both the countries seemed to be much in cooperation which was achieved at a meeting between the national security advisors of India and Pakistan in Bangkok, where they discussed issues ranging from peace and security, terrorism, and Jammu and Kashmir. The same month, Modi even flew down to Pakistan while returning from Afghanistan, a move that had raised eyebrows in India. Modi was the first Indian prime minister to visit Pakistan since 2004, a gesture that signalled an improvement in relations.

But in the wake of a terrorist attack in Pathankot in January this year, the short-lived friendship went into a downward spiral. By April, the secretary-level talks were suspended after Pakistan refused to give India access to Jaish-e-Mohammed chief Masood Azhar for the probe into the Pathankot attack.

By July, the talks seemed to go completely off the tracks after India blamed Pakistan for the crisis in Kashmir.

“The government must have good reasons to think Pakistan had stepped up its activity in Jammu and Kashmir,” Sanjaya Baru, a consulting fellow at the International Institute for Strategic Studies and a media advisor to former prime minister Manmohan Singh, said.

“Pakistan has been unusually assertive about India’s current Kashmir crises,” said Christine Fair, an associate professor at Georgetown University. “I think reminding Pakistan to mind its own business is refreshing. I think Modi has been overly accommodating of Pakistani hijinks. Such a move is well overdue, in my view.”