Modi's Flip-Flop Diplomacy: "Kabhi Haan Kabhi Naa" to Pakistan

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi's sudden U-turn on foreign minister level talks with Pakistan on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly has come under fire from within India. The top Indian critics of Mr. Modi's flip-fop include former Indian High Commissioner to Pakistan Mr. Sharat Sabharwal, ex foreign secretary Nirupama Menon Rao and seasoned journalists Suhasini Haider and Shekhar Gupta.

Pakistan's new prime minister Mr. Imran Khan extended his hand of friendship to India that led to a mutual agreement for the two countries to meet on the sidelines of the upcoming annual UN General Assembly meeting. However, the foreign minister level meeting was canceled by India a couple of days later with a nasty message from Indian foreign ministry to Prime Minister Imran Khan alleging that he has shown his "true face" and exposed his "evil agenda". Prime Minister Imran Khan responded with an equally nasty tweet talking of "small men occupying big offices" that do not have the vision to see the larger picture" without naming Prime Minister Modi.

Nirupama Rao asked in a tweet: "Why is diplomacy seen as a cave-in when it comes to India-Pakistan relations?" And then went to say that "a meeting in New York is not an instrument of surrender".  Ex High Commissioner Sabharwal said in a tweet: "IFS (Indian Foreign Service) does not draft such election oriented statements or take such hasty flip flop decisions. Seems handiwork of 'muscular' thinking. More 'brawn' than 'brain'!"

Ex Indian diplomats' chorus of criticism was joined by journalist Shekhar Gupta who tweeted: "Is this MEA statement drafted by the same dudes who write scripts for commando-comic channels? And seriously: can’t believe IFS drafted it. They know Imran has been PM for exactly a month, not “first few months.”" Suhasini Haider chimed in with a tweet of her own: "Clumsier still is the MEA statement. Have seldom seen such a crudely worded and badly articulated explanation from our diplomats."

The clumsy excuses like the "latest killing" along LoC in Kashmir and Burhan Wani postage stamps for cancellation have also been questioned by "The Wire Analysis" published in thewire.in.  The "latest killing" occurred before Indian government agreed to the meeting and the planned Burhan Wani stamp release was also known well in advance.

So why did it go from the hopeful meeting to saber rattling between the two South Asian neighbors? Did the Modi government cave in to pressure from within his Hindu Nationalist base? Have India's far right-wing leaders whipped up so much anti-Pakistan hysteria that they have made it extremely difficult to talk peace and friendship with the western neighbor? Has the talk of "chhappan inch ki chhati" (56 inch chest) and "boli nahi goli" (bullets, not talks) radicalized Mr. Modi's base and left little room to maneuver for his government on its Pakistan policy?

Here's a discussion on the subject:

https://youtu.be/CjG2qCp17VQ



Related Links:

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South Asia Investor Review

India-Pakistan Conventional Military Balance

Who's India's Real Enemy? China? Pakistan?

America's "We're the Good Guys" Narrative

700,000 Indian Soldiers vs 10 Million Kashmiris

US and China Vying For Influence in Pakistan

Pakistan-China-Russia Vs India-Japan-US

Pakistan Rising or Failing: Reality vs Perception

Pakistan Disappears by 2015

MQM-RAW Link

Riaz Haq Youtube Channel

Comments

Riaz Haq said…
#India FM Swaraj's #Pakistan-bashing Speech at #UNGA Aimed at #BJP Voters, Says Shashi Tharoor.“..particularly on the subject of #Pakistan rather than constructing a positive and constructive image of India in the world” #Modi https://www.news18.com/news/politics/swarajs-pakistan-bashing-speech-at-un-aimed-at-bjp-voters-says-shashi-tharoor-1893991.html

Congress leader Shashi Tharoor on Sunday expressed his disappointment with external affairs minister Sushma Swaraj’s speech at the United Nations General Assembly, saying the Pakistan bashing was aimed at voters of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP).

“We get the sense that everything is about the political environment in India. This was a speech aimed at BJP voters and sending a message to them, particularly on the subject of Pakistan rather than constructing a positive and constructive image of India in the world,” Tharoor said.

Addressing the General Assembly on Saturday, Swaraj had lashed out at Pakistan for sponsoring terrorism and blamed it for the stalled dialogue process.


“In our case, terrorism is bred not in some faraway land, but across our border. Our neighbour’s expertise is not restricted to spawning grounds for terrorism; it is also an expert in trying to mask malevolence with verbal duplicity,” she had said. "Pakistan's commitment to terrorism as an instrument of official policy has not abated one bit. Neither has its belief in hypocrisy,” Swaraj added

Riaz Haq said…
Lynch mobs, “cow vigilantes” and Whatsapp: What hate looks like in #India. Reports of #hate-crime cases, many involving “cow vigilantes,” have spiked since Narendra #Modi’s party came to power in 2014. #BJP #Hindutva #Islamophobia


https://www.washingtonpost.com/graphics/2018/world/reports-of-hate-crime-cases-have-spiked-in-india/?utm_term=.bc6a932f9c7d


Alimuddin Ansari, a van driver, knew the risks. Smuggling beef in India, where the slaughter of cows is illegal in some states, is dangerous work, and Ansari eventually attracted the notice of Hindu extremists in Jharkhand.

One hot day in June 2017, they tracked him to a crowded market. When he arrived with a van full of beef, the lynch mob was waiting.

Reports of religious-based hate-crime cases have spiked in India since the pro-Hindu nationalist government of Narendra Modi came to power in 2014, according to new data from IndiaSpend, which tracks reports of violence in English-language media. The data shows that Muslims are overwhelmingly the victims and Hindus the perpetrators of the cases reported.

The government of India does not record religious-based hate crimes as separate offenses and so does not provide data on the category. The government does monitor incidents of communal violence — such as riots between religious communities — and has data that shows such incidents rose 28 percent between 2014 and 2017.


Some of the violence in the reported cases centers on cows because Hindus — nearly 80 percent of India’s population — believe the animals are sacred, and many states have laws that protect them from slaughter. Violent “cow vigilante” groups patrol the roads, beating and killing those suspected of smuggling beef.

Modi has said that state governments should punish these vigilantes and that his administration is committed to upholding the law, but critics say his party has emboldened Hindu extremists across the country. And the data supports that trend: More than half of the cases reported this year through October came from three states in northern India — Uttar Pradesh, Bihar and Jharkhand — where Modi’s Bharatiya Janata Party, or BJP, enjoys strong support.

BJP spokesman Sudhanshu Trivedi said the government acts promptly if tensions occur between groups. He noted that India has suffered only “minor incidents” in the last four years, and there were no large-scale religious riots.

“Our objection is that the political class and a certain section of media want to highlight the [religious] angle in order to malign the image of government,” he said. “This is not happening for the first time. It has been happening for years.”


69through October
Between 2010 and 2013, fewer than 10 cases of hate crimes appeared in English-language media in India each year.

The vigilantes had been tracking Ansari for over a week. Early on the morning of June 29, 2017, a tea stall owner who had been working as an informer for the vigilantes called with a tip that Ansari was headed to the market in a white van full of beef, according to the judge’s ruling in the case and suspects’ statements to police. Deepak Mishra, a Brahmin priest, sent a WhatsApp message to a group of vigilantes calling them to the scene, court documents show.

The vigilantes trailed the van on their motorbikes, then stopped Ansari at the crowded market, pulling him from the driver’s seat, according to court records. They beat him with bamboo sticks and a fiber rod.
Riaz Haq said…
#India analyst says: #Imran has the edge on #Modi. #Pakistan PM's offer of free, visa-less, access to #Indian followers of Guru Nanak Dev to visit one of the most important #Sikh holy places..there’s nothing on the table from Indian side. https://bharatkarnad.com/2018/12/06/imran-has-the-edge-on-modi/ via @BharatKarnad

Like the Balkans in the 1990s, South Asia, but on a far vaster and ethnically more heterogeneous scale, where every imaginable kind of people have lived, sometimes fist by jowl, but generally peaceably for millennia, and where the whole complex fell apart in 1947, on account of religion. Religious faith is a curious thing that’s often trifled with by politicians for low gain but to devastating effect. To state the obvious — it is the exploiters of religions who are the great dividers, not religions themselves. But religion does not centrally intrude into in India-Pakistan relations, in most part because, to the mortification of the Pakistan ideologues, there are now more Muslims in India. Imran Khan’s decision to construct a “Kartarpur corridor”, however, has a different religious tinge.

If you cut out the publicity-seeking hijinks of the boisterous middleman — Navjot Singh Siddhu, the sometime India opening bat and Punjab minister who’s proving a handful for chief minister Amarinder Singh, and consider Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan’s offer of free, visa-less, access to Indians and followers of Guru Nanak Dev to visit one of the most important Sikh holy places, then he needs to be commended, especially because there’s nothing comparable on the table from the Indian side. It is Imran’s own unique gambit — initially referred to by a Pakistani notable as a “googly” (where Imran is concerned, can the cricketing idiom be avoided?) that elicited a like trivial Indian response — an opening move is to resolve, if possible, the tiresomely disputatious relations between India and Pakistan that have done neither country any good, but prevented both and the subcontinent from emerging as a power bloc that the world would have to reckon with.

In his a recent televised meeting with India media persons, Imran made many interesting statements, some in reply to questions. Among these in no particular order, that the Pakistan government has according to UN Resolution 1267 sanctioned Hafiz Saeed and his Lashkar-e-Tayyaba terrorist outfit, that the 26/11 case against Hafiz is in the courts and thus sub judice. When reminded about the several occasions in the past when the Kargil intrusion after Vajpayee’s Lahore visit, the 26/11 attack on Mumbai after the 2007 meeting of PMs in Sharm el-Sheikh, he brushed it off by saying simply “I am not responsible for (what happened in) the past.” And then went on to say that the two countries better move on from these incidents of the past and capitalise on the fact that “There’s no animosity between the peoples of the two countries” and reiterated that every section of Pakistani society, including the army, is on “the same page” and agrees in the consensus view that neither nuclear-armed country has an option other than to cobble together lasting peace.
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Imran, of course, is absolutely right. The 2007 plan Musharraf negotiated had three basic points. One, both sides of Kashmir would come under a commission manned by representatives from the two countries to oversee the affairs of all of Kashmir. Secondly, free travel, trade and other interaction would be permitted between the two Kashmirs, except every time Indian or Pakistani Kashmiri crossed the line he would have to have his identification papers stamped. And finally, other than police for constabulary duties there would be phased deconcentration of Indian and Pakistan army unit from their respective sides of the province.
Riaz Haq said…
#Indian foreign policy not walking #Modi’s big talk. #India’s ‘Neighbourhood First’ policy can’t get over the #Pakistan hump. Its ‘Act East’ policy is limping along. Also endangered are India's larger strategic plans to counter #China’s #BRI and #CPEC. http://www.eastasiaforum.org/2018/12/24/indian-foreign-policy-not-walking-modis-big-talk/

24 December 2018
Author: Bharat Karnad, Centre for Policy Research

http://www.eastasiaforum.org/2018/12/24/indian-foreign-policy-not-walking-modis-big-talk/

Now India is facing the music for Modi’s gullibility. Washington has allowed New Delhi only a 138-day reprieve on sanctions under the Countering America’s Adversaries Through Sanctions Act to zero out its oil purchases from Iran. Similarly, Washington has offered only a conditional waiver for India’s purchase of the Russian S-400 air defence system. Finally, disregarding Modi’s fevered pleadings, Trump shut down the H1B visa channel for Indian tech employees to work in the United States — a move that seriously hurt India’s US$200 billion IT industry.

Modi seems unaware of the geostrategic costs of surrendering India’s foreign policy space, freedom and flexibility. Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman has declared without a trace of irony that ‘there’s no contradiction between strategic autonomy and strategic partnership’. Modi appears little concerned that his overly friendly attitude to the United States could lose India its access to the Iranian port of Chabahar, for example. Also endangered are larger strategic plans to counter China’s Belt and Road Initiative by consolidating India’s rail and road connectivity to Afghanistan and Central Asia, to pincer the Pakistan and Chinese navies operating out of Gwadar, and general concerns to hinder the enlargement of China’s military footprint in the Indian Ocean.

The truth is the Indian government has not walked Modi’s big talk. India’s ‘Neighbourhood First’ policy can’t get over the Pakistan hump. Its ‘Act East’ policy is limping along. The build-up of military cooperation with Southeast Asian states, especially Vietnam, is slow-paced and lackadaisical. Security links with Japan are in the doldrums despite Modi’s annual summits with Abe. Notably, the Indian defence bureaucracy has sidelined a flagship project — which Japan is willing to subsidise — involving transfer of the ShinMaywa US-2 flying boat’s entire production line to India. Elsewhere, the development assistance that Modi has promised Central Asian states is floundering for want of an efficient delivery system.

All these disappointments take place while China is racing ahead to cement its domination of Asia. The odd ‘success’, such as Indonesia handing over Sabang port in Sumatra for eventual Indian naval use, highlights a receptive milieu should India care to capitalise on its opportunities.
Riaz Haq said…
Use of force is #NewDelhi’s state policy, says former Indian foreign minister @YashwantSinha . we have made mistakes after mistakes as far as our policy on #Indian Occupied #Kashmir is concerned”. #Modi #BJP https://tribune.com.pk/story/1877421/1-use-force-new-delhis-state-policy-says-former-indian-foreign-minister/

Former Indian Foreign Minister and Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader Yashwant Sinha has said that Government of India has been suppressing the freedom struggle of the people of Indian Occupied Kashmir by the use of brute force.

According to Kashmir Media Service, Yashwant Sinha in an interview with a Delhi-based news portal said that he got this impression after visiting Indian Occupied Kashmir twice during which he had discussions with a senior government official on the situation of the territory.

“I was told there is a doctrine state – Machiavelli, Chankaya, Metternich. Everybody has a doctrine of state. So we have a doctrine of state also, and that doctrine is use force to quell any rebellion,” he said without naming the official he met. “So they are using force,” he added.
Sinha added, “All the visits I made, I have travelled around. I was not confined to one place. I told you how the Nepalese hate India. But the hatred in the minds of the people of the valley is far stronger than that in Nepal.”

The former minister also said that the Government of India had “ruined its relationship with the people of Indian Occupied Kashmir, especially the valley”.
“After the official told me that use of force is a state policy I stood up and told him Nameste,” Sinha said.

In solidarity: ‘India cannot suppress Kashmiris through force’

He decried that “we have made mistakes after mistakes as far as our policy on Indian Occupied Kashmir is concerned”.

He said the current Indian government only believes in using force “to solve problems, not consensus, nor democracy, nor Insaniyat but sheer use of brutal force to kill as many as you can”.

“What happened in Pulwama recently?” he asked, adding, “Do you think that it adds to the glory of the Indian state in the minds of the people of Kashmir.”

“We are losing Indian Occupied Kashmir”, he said.

“We have lost . .….We hold on to Indian Occupied Kashmir only by the fact that we have our armed forces there,” he added .

Riaz Haq said…
Pakistan foreign policy 101
Ashraf Jehangir QaziUpdated January 26, 2019

https://www.dawn.com/news/1459874/pakistan-foreign-policy-101

Pakistan has 10 major external relationships. Primarily: India, China, the US, and Afghanistan; and significantly: Iran, the GCC countries, Russia, the European Union (which still includes the UK,) the Central Asian states, and the UN.

India is Pakistan’s major adversary. China is Pakistan’s only strategic partner. The US is still the world’s mightiest and only comprehensive global power. Afghanistan is a force multiplier for Pakistan’s security or insecurity. Iran confronts Pakistan with critical choices.

Powerful vested interests define the national interest and make foreign policy. What is to be done?

The GCC countries are a major source of remittances and ‘brotherly’ assistance which almost always entails an embarrassing price.

Russia in partnership with China is a significant counterforce to the US and its alliance with India. Moreover, it has the potential to bring about a less imbalanced Russian policy towards India and Pakistan.

The EU is a major market and the Pakistani community in the UK (and the US) can be a foreign policy asset.

Central Asia can provide ‘strategic depth’ to Pakistan’s connectivity-based diplomacy. Improving cooperation with Russia can help here also.

The UN may seem irrelevant. It is not. It is where a country’s image, profile and voice are confirmed and contested. It is the forum in which the credibility of a foreign policy is measured. Its agencies, funds and organisations can be important knowledge-intensive and problem-solving assets.

Due to space limitations only Pakistan’s four ‘primary’ relationships will be very briefly commented on.

India: The core issues for Pakistan are progress towards a Kashmir settlement acceptable to opinion in the Valley and radically improving the horrendous human rights situation there. For India it is Pakistan’s use of “terrorist proxies”.

These core issues need to be addressed to the satisfaction of each other if dialogue is to be meaningful. Finding common ground for a negotiating process to be sustainable is a challenge.

Indian interference in Balochistan is a fact. However, the Balochistan ‘problem’ is not of India’s making. It is due to institutionalised bad governance and exploitation over decades.

Pakistan should continue to extend its hand of cooperation irrespective of a lack of response from India. It should keep the LoC quiet as best it can. It should build on the Kartarpur initiative. It should extend normal trading or MFN rights as promised. This is arguably a WTO obligation also.

Pakistan should offer travel, communications, confidence and security-building (including regular nuclear and water-management) discussions and proposals. Let India take its time to respond. Pakis­tan cannot lose by being consistent and reasonable.

Realistic rather than provocative narratives need to be developed. The people of both countries need to get to know each other more directly instead of through warped images.

Differences need to be contained, addressed and reduced through a realistic working relationship. This will enable South Asia to meet the survival challenges of the 21st century.

The leaders of both countries should make appropriate statements, stay in touch, and unfold a range of innovative initiatives. If India demurs, even after its elections, that is its problem.

China: The BRI and CPEC are golden opportunities for Pakistan. But they are not magic wands. Moreover, no other country is willing to invest on such a scale in Pakistan.

Pakistan needs to look after its own interests without making disconcerting public statements. It needs to assure the Chinese that it is a reliable economic and strategic partner.
Riaz Haq said…
Making of militants in #India Occupied #Kashmir. Growing number of locally-born #Kashmiris are picking up arms. 400 locals have been recruited by militants since 2016, double the number in the previous 6 years, according to #Indian officials #Pulwama #Modi https://reut.rs/2uquHE9

Outside the narrow lane that leads to the Malik family home in Kulgam in southern Kashmir, children walk to school past shuttered shopfronts and walls spray-painted with the word “azadi”, the local word for “freedom”. The graveyard at the end of the lane has an area for militants, who are remembered as “martyrs”.

Dar’s family claims he’d been radicalized in 2016 after being beaten up by Indian troops on his way back from school for pelting stones at them.

“Since then, he wanted to join the militants,” said his father Ghulam Hassan Dar, a farmer.

India’s home and foreign ministries did not respond to requests for comment on this story.

In news conferences since the suicide bombing, Lt. Gen. K.J.S. Dhillon, India’s top military commander in Kashmir, has dismissed allegations of harassment and rights abuses by Indian troops as “propaganda”. He said the recent crackdown by security forces has resulted in the killing of the masterminds of the attack, and militant recruitment has dipped in recent months.

Syed Ata Hasnain, a retired army general who has served in Kashmir for over 20 years, said the rise in homegrown fighters does not surprise him.

“Those who were born in the late 1980s and early 1990s, when the conflict started, have now come of age,” he said. “This is a generation that has only seen the jackboot. The alienation of this generation is higher than the alienation of the previous generation.”

A 17th century Mughal emperor called Kashmir “paradise on earth”. But violence has ebbed and flowed in the valley since the subcontinent was divided into predominantly Hindu India and Islamic Pakistan after independence from Britain in 1947.

The question of Kashmir, India’s only Muslim-majority state, was never resolved, and it has been the catalyst for two wars and several violent clashes between the countries.

Tensions have risen after Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his Hindu nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party came to power in New Delhi in 2014. Modi promised a tougher approach to Pakistan and gave security forces the license to retaliate forcefully against the insurgency.

Around that time, many young Kashmiris started rallying around Burhan Wani, who had left home at the age of 15 to join the insurgency. Wani had a large following on social media, where he appeared in videos dressed in military fatigues and armed with an assault rifle, calling for an uprising against Indian rule.

He and his brother were beaten by security forces when they were teenagers, his family told local media. Wani was 22 when he was killed by security forces in 2016 and thousands attended his funeral despite restrictions on the movement of people and traffic.

The United Nations said in a report last year that in trying to quell mass protests in Kashmir since 2016, Indian security forces used excessive force that led to between 130 and 145 killings, according to civil society estimates.

Thousands were injured, including around 700 who sustained eye injuries from the use of pellet guns by security forces, it said. Thousands of people had simply disappeared since the insurgency began, it said.

The Indian government has rejected the report as false. Indian forces have long been accused of rights abuses and torture in custody in Kashmir, but officials routinely deny the charges.
Riaz Haq said…
"Post-#Pulwama, the #Indian media’s discourse has routinely ignored that the #Kashmiri context is one of structural violence emanating from an occupation, leaving it ripe for churning out more extremists like Adil Dar. " #Pakistan #Balakot #Modi #Kashmir https://www.pri.org/stories/2019-04-08/elections-loom-indias-modi-vows-end-terrorism-kashmir-more-military-force

“India uses exceptional violence as well as nationalist propaganda around Kashmir and presents it as a Pakistan-sponsored Islamist problem and the media in the country is mostly complicit with it,” says Nitasha Kaul, an assistant professor of politics and international relations at the University of Westminster in London.

Kashmir has been a disputed territory following the partition of India and Pakistan into independent states in 1947. Since then, three of the four Indo-Pakistani wars have been fought over this ideological slab of Himalayan real estate.

Despite international accounts of ongoing human rights violations, the Indian government has failed to recognize its decades-long occupation and suppression of Kashmiris as a root cause of extremism.

Controlling the narrative
The day following the Pulwama suicide attack, India withdrew Pakistan’s Most Favored Nation trade status. Then, Pakistan denied India’s “kneejerk” accusations of involvement and recalled its ambassador as tensions mounted.

Modi, facing pressure to maintain the upper hand as he heads into elections, responded to public indignation by ordering pre-emptive “surgical strikes” on alleged terror camps in Balakot, inside Pakistani territory, on Feb. 26.

Pakistan retaliated the next day by downing two aircraft that encroached into its airspace and captured Indian Air Force pilot Abhinandan Varthaman. For a fleeting moment, tit-for-tat incursions appeared to draw New Delhi and Islamabad into a reckless bout of one-upmanship.

In a gesture of de-escalation, Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan offered the IAF pilot’s release on March 1, and Varthaman was hailed as a national hero.


When it comes to reporting the conflict, the international media have “bought into the idea that this is an intractable territorial conflict between India and Pakistan and so long as the prospect of war between the nuclear-armed neighbors recedes, their focus on the suffering of Kashmiris seems largely nonexistent,” Kaul says.

The issue is that both India and Pakistan see Kashmir as an integral part of their national identities, which results in a “classic case of the forgetting of tremendous and long-enduring human suffering and of privileging of territorial statist narratives," according to Kaul.

This has led to Kashmir being distilled through purely a nationalist lens. “Much of the Indian media’s attitude towards Kashmir can be summed up in one line: Your history gets in the way of my national interest," Indian Kashmiri novelist Mirza Waheed told The World.

The imposition of the 1990 Armed Forces Special Powers Act, or AFSPA, bestowed Indian forces with broad powers to kill and arrest Kashmiris with impunity, resulting in human rights violations carried out during counterinsurgency operations, coupled with wrongful detentions without court orders under the 1978 Public Safety Act, which Amnesty International has denounced.

The period of the early 2000s did little to tackle the fundamental question of independence. New Delhi’s military occupation remained firmly embedded and infiltrated the everyday life of Kashmiris.

In the last three years alone, the Kashmiri death toll has reached over a thousand, with 2018 being the deadliest of the past decade.


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