PM Modi seeks to bring to knees a morally & financially bankrupt Pakistan
In international diplomacy, it is said to be ‘tough’ to do certain things, but perhaps even ‘tougher’ to not do anything. Indian diplomacy was witness to this scenario post Pulwama attack that claimed the lives of more than 45 CRPF personnel. Armed with the mandate from the Cabinet Committee on Security presided over by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, the Ministry of External Affairs took upon itself the task of convincing the international community about Pakistan’s double standards vis-a-vis terrorism.
Cabinet Committee on Secuirty on Feb 15 took hard decisions to corner Pakistan Deiplomatically
Foreign Secretary Vijay Gokhale met over 40 Heads of Mission in the capital in the period of two days including from South Asian neighbouring countries and P-5 members and tried to drive home the point that Pakistan needs to be named and shamed for the dastardly Pulwama attack.
Insiders say diplomats including envoys Ken Juster of the US and Luo Zhaohui of China were told that Pakistan had from time to time hood-winked the world, it pledged to fight and destroy terror bases in its country, but did just the opposite. It was pointed out that Islamabad had given a high-level political commitment to address the global concerns over its implementation of the FATF standards for countering terror financing and anti-money laundering, especially in respect of UN-designated and internationally-proscribed terror entities and individuals but did nothing.
The impunity with which designated terrorists like Hafiz Saeed and entities like Jamaat-Ud-Dawa, Lashkar-e-Toiba and Jaish-e-Mohammed continue to operate in Pakistan is not in keeping with such commitments, the envoys were told.
China maintaining ‘Sweeter than honey’ friendship with Pak
In the season of virtual global isolation and snubs from the US and Iran, one country that has given some consolation to Pakistan is China. Notwithstanding global concern about terror menace and even the US directly urging Pakistan to act against terror groups, China on Friday seemed to be in no mood to designate Pakistan-based terror group JeM leader Masood Azhar as a terrorist by the UN.
“As for the issue of listing, I could tell you that the 1267 Committee of Security Council has a clear stipulation on the listing and procedure of the terrorist organisations," Chinese spokesperson said in Beijing.
“JeM has been included in the Security Council terrorism sanctions list. China will continue to handle the appropriate sanctions issue constructively and responsibly,” the spokesman XX Geng said in reference to government's appeal to all members of the UN Security Council to list Azhar as a global terrorist.
However, Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi has in a missive to his Indian counterpart Sushma Swaraj "condemned" the Pulwama attack and expressed deep sympathy to families of the victims and injured.
"Chinese State Councillor & FM Wang Yi wrote to External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj, condemned the Pulwama suicide attack, expressed deep sympathy to families of the victims & injured, and stressed that the Chinese side resolutely opposes and strongly condemns all forms of terrorism," Chinese ambassador to India Luo Zhaohui said in a tweet.
"All the Heads of Missions were left in no doubt about the role played by Pakistan and that it had supported JeM in the terrorist attack," an informed source later said.
It was underlined in no uncertain language that Pakistan should "cease all support and financing forthwith to terror groups operating from areas under their control".
The Foreign Secretary also highlighted the role played by Pakistan in using terrorism as an 'instrument of its state policy' - a fact India has been stressing in various global fora over the years. But the countries like the US always gave Islamabad a rope to hoodwink the world.
Mr Gokhale also summoned Pakistan envoy Sohail Mahmood on February 15 and gave him a strong demarche on the Pulwama attack on a day Prime Minister Narendra Modi categorically said several countries have already started appreciating India's stand.
''The messages I have been getting since Pulwama attack have shown that the International community is equally pained and anguished due to dastardly act and wants to crush the menace,'' the Prime Minister said at a function at Jhansi in UP.
Earlier on February 15 morning, the Prime Minister presided over a meeting of Cabinet Committee on Security which decided among other things to withdraw Most Favoured Nation status given to the western neighbour in 1990s.
The Foreign Secretary conveyed to Pakistan envoy that his country must take immediate and “verifiable action” against the JeM and that it must immediately stop any groups or individuals associated with terrorism operating from its territories.
India also rejected the statement made by the Foreign Ministry of Pakistan on the incident wherein it tried to suggest that Islamabad had no role behind Pulwama attack. The government of India also asserted that Pakistan's demand for an investigation into Pulwama attack is 'preposterous' when there is already a video of the suicide bomber declaring himself a member of the JeM. "There are also other audio-visual and print materials linking JeM to the terrorist attack," an official spokesman in the MEA Raveesh Kumar said in reply to a question.
Steps that Modi Government has taken after Pulwama Attack
India revokes Pak’s MFN status
Security of separatist leaders withdrawn
- A decision was taken in the meeting of CCS chaired by Prime Minister Modi to revoke the Most Favoured Nation (MFN) status bestowed on Pakistan since 1996.
Hikes customs duty on import by 200%
- Amid a growing demand calling for a withdrawal of security of Separatists leaders, the government issued orders removing the security details of five leaders in the valley. Besides the Mirwaiz Umar Farooq, the security cover of Abdul Gani Bhat, Bilal Lone, Hashim Qureshi, Fazal Haq Qureshi and Shabir Shah has been withdrawn.
Curb on tea exports
- India has hiked the customs duty on all goods imported from Pakistan to 200% with immediate effect. The move is likely to hit Pakistan’s exports to India which were $381 million in the April-November period compared with $489 million in all of FY18.
- India’s major imports are fruits and nuts, gypsum, sulphur, finished leather, ores, mineral oils and cement. The new tariff of 200% is higher than India’s average bound rate for agricultural products of 113.5% and that for non-farm goods of 34.6%
Mastermind of Pulwama Attack killed by Indian Forces
Indian tea producers have said they are ready to curb exports to Pakistan as part of an economic offence in response to the Pulwama terror attack. In 2018, India had exported 15.83 million kg tea to Pakistan, 7.43 per cent more than the previous year.
- The mastermind of the horrific terror attack Ghazi Rasheed was killed in Pinglan encounter in Pulwamain by the security forces.
"JeM has claimed responsibility for the attack. The organisation and its leadership are located in Pakistan. LeT, and other terror groups have welcomed the news of the attack. These groups are also based in Pakistan. Pakistan cannot claim that it is unaware of their presence and their activities," he said.
"The links to Pakistan are clear and evident for all to see. Its Ministers have shared the same podium with UN proscribed terrorists," he said.
- The United States calls on Pakistan to end immediately the support and haven provided to all terrorist groups operating on its soil, whose only goal is to sow chaos, violence, and terror in the region. This attack only strengthens our resolve to bolster counterterrorism cooperation and coordination between the United States and India.
- France has always stood and will continue to stand alongside India in the fight against terrorism in all its forms.
- As a strategic partner of India, The EU reaffirms its full solidarity at such a difficult moment. The European Union stands by India in fighting terrorism and will continue to strengthen its cooperation in this regard.
In Islamabad, Pak Foreign Secretary Tehmina Janjua strongly rejected Indian allegations on Pulwama attack.
In a tweet, Foreign Office Spokesman Dr Mohammad Faisal said that while briefing the ambassadors of P-5 at Ministry of Foreign Affairs, she noted a familiar Indian pattern of 'immediate and reflexive assignment of blame' on Pakistan without investigations. Tehmina said Pakistan had pursued a constructive approach towards India. She also said that Pakistan's offer of dialogue and Kartarpur initiative is clear evidence of this.
The Indian side is not impressed with Imran Khan regime’s stance on Kartarpur. The Modi government has sought to squeeze Pakistan's already under stress economy, sources point out that more than the religious sentiment and respecting the feelings of Sikhs - minorities in both India and Pakistan - the "opening of the Kartarpur Corridor" was seen by the Imran Khan regime as an opportunity to slowly reduce trade barriers.
Authorities in Pakistan were hopeful that the Kartarpur Corridor would "encourage the cross-border movement of people and goods". This was a point, which was understood well by foreign policy engine room in India and traders in Indian side of Punjab state as well. "A timely reduction in the barriers that restrict the movement of people across the Line of Control could open up new economic opportunities. This has been in Imran Khan regime's mind," a source said.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi has understood the gravity of Imran Khan regime's economic stress and thus has been hitting out at it for not focusing on governance and depend on state sponsorship to terror.
"A country that came into existence after the partition of India, a country where terrorism is sponsored and promoted, it is a country which is on the brink of economic collapse and bankruptcy- that country has become synonymous with the word terrorism today," Mr Modi said at Yavatmal in Maharashtra on Saturday.
From time to time, MEA spokesman Raveesh Kumar too has been mocking at Pakistan's domestic matter and even has counselled Imran Khan on those lines rather than speak about 'minorities' in India.
The government also enhanced customs duty for any Pakistani item exported from Pakistan to India to 200 per cent. Finance Minister Arun Jaitley announced this. Pakistan's economy on the domestic front is faced with many limitations, and none other than Pakistan’s Prime Minister Imran Khan has repeatedly spoken of improving trade with India.
At times, some statistics suggest that even Bangladesh economy is doing better than Pakistan's. The government of India is also trying to impress upon the Paris-based Financial Action Task Force (FATF) with a dossier on Pakistani agencies' links with the JeM and how they are aiding the terror group.
The FATF can 'blacklist' Pakistan if convinced of its role in the Pulwama attack, and that would necessarily mean taking a crucial step what "may lead to downgrading" of Pakistan by global lenders such as IMF, World Bank, Asian Development Bank and European Union. Cash-Strapped Pakistan is seeking its 13th bailout since the late 1980s. The central bank in Pakistan reportedly has only $8bn left in foreign reserves and faces a balance of payments crisis.
Since August 2018 after former cricketer Imran Khan took over the reign of power, Pakistan has been looking for 'help' from friendly countries to reduce the size of the bail-out package that Pakistan will likely need from the International Monetary Fund. On the diplomatic front, Pakistan’s woes have just begun.