China’s lecherous ways have little parallels. Despite the ongoing standoff with India in Eastern Ladakh, China’s foreign ministry issued a statement on February 22 with its spokesperson Wang Wenbin saying, “We support India in hosting this year’s meeting (of BRICS). We will work with it and other members to strengthen communication and dialogue and consolidate the three-pillar cooperation, expand BRICS plus cooperation and work for greater progress under BRICS.” This was after India assumed the rotational chairmanship of BRICS for the third time on January 1, 2021.
In sharp contrast to the above, barely 12 days later on March 5, the mouthpiece of China’s Communist Party (CCP), Global Times, came out with an article saying India has become a negative asset at forums like the BRICS and the Russia-led Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO). As America’s Joe Biden administration has ignited the cold war against Moscow pushing Russia and China into closer embrace, China is looking at opportunities to distance Russia from India. Though the March 5 article was just before the first ever Quad Leaders Summit, it had another indirect pressure point.
Pakistan is scheduled to hold a multi-nation exercise later this year under the aegis of SCO. Delhi can easily sound Moscow that since the exercise is in Pakistan, India will not be participating. There is no reason Moscow will not understand. However, China perceives India will not be in a position to do so since it could annoy Russia and prove Beijing’s claim that India is becoming a negative asset for SCO. The hilarious part is that this anti-terror exercise with troops is being held in Pakistan which is the crucible of terror fully backed its military.
The decision to hold the exercise in Pakistanduring 2021 was announced during the 36th meeting of the Council of the Regional Anti-Terrorist Structure (RATS) held in Tashkent, Uzbekistan recently. This was attended by delegates from India, Kazakhstan, China, theKyrgyz Republic, Pakistan, Russia, Tajikistan, Uzbekistan and the RATS Executive Committee.
If India decides to participate in the anti-terrorist exercise in Pakistan, it would be particularly galling for our participating troops to exercise in a country that has waged proxy war on India past several decades causing enormous loss of lives to security personnel and civilians. Such a move will also indicate how easily Beijing can pressure and manipulate India. Indian and Pakistani troops participating in SCO exercises elsewhere is different from an exercise held within Pakistan.
Together with the above are the news reports about a secret India-Pakistan peace roadmap brokered by UAE royals that also resulted in both India and Pakistan agreeing to a ceasefire that was anyway in vogue since 2003 but blatantly violated by Pakistan with increasing numbers in recent years and even after olive branches by the Pakistan prime minister and army chief. The reason being quoted in media is that UAE hasgood trade relations with both India and Pakistan. But the UAE-bit brokering peace perhaps is just a storyline because it amounts to third party mediation, which is unacceptable to India.Incidentally, UAE is not happy with Pakistan’s Gwadar project with China and had imposed visa restrictions on Pakistanis last year because of the pandemic.
The Pakistani delegation that arrived in India on March 22 for discussing the Indus Water Treaty signed in 1960 between India and Pakistan is also in the news. The treaty brokered by World Bank is one of the most lopsided one, playing on the undue largesse or naiveté of the then India government which gives some 80 percent waters to Pakistan defying international norms of the size of the river basins in India. Pakistan has been opposing India constructing hydel-power projects on the concerned rivers which are very much authorized under the treaty. The World Bank anyway has only a procedural role in this and there is no provision for it to take any independent decision on the issue. There is no meeting point with the stance Pakistan has adopted. India should have scrapped this unjust treaty yearsback.
As for Pakistan offering the peace pipe, has it stopped: pumping weapons and narcotics into India; stopped printing fake Indian currency; hawala dealings; prosecuted and punished perpetrators and executors of scores of terrorist attacks in India; supporting and arming insurgents and radical and insurgent-terrorists in India; support to Sikhs For Justice (SFJ) to destabilize India; anti-India ISI activities through Nepal;forcible conversion of Hindu girls in Pakistan; radicalization of youth in India particularly in and from Kashmir; digging cross-border tunnels for infiltrating terrorist and settling intruders in India to assist Pakistan’s proxy war? The list is endless. The fact is that Pakistan has not prosecuted and punished even one perpetrator and executor of any terrorist attack in India, leave aside handing him over. Same goes for hawala operators in Pakistan – how about sharing the names at least?
India would be naïve to think that Pakistan is sincere this time after being repeatedly stabbed in the back. Recall what happened after Prime Minister Vajpayee travelled all the way to Lahore by bus – Kargil intrusions by Pakistan followed by the Kargil Conflict with Musharraf wagging his nuclear tail. And, what happened after Prime Minister Narendra Modi during his first premiership returning from Kabul made an unscheduled halt in Pakistan to meet NawazSharif – terror attacks at IAF base in Pathankot(2016), Army’s base in Uri (2016), Sunjwan Army camp (2018) and Puwama car bombing (2019) being just the major ones?
Pakistan is finds itself in an economic mess and amid internal turmoil with chickens like the Tehreek–i-Taliban (TTP) coming home to roost, not that China will let Pakistan sink. But a distinct change in Pakistan’s attitude should be expected once US troops quit Afghanistan, be it by May 1 or November 1 this year or later. The prophecy by Pakistani army veteran Agha H Amin of 2005, repeated in 2012 stands good wherein he said, “Utopians in India are jubilant that Pakistan has made peace with India. Nothing in reality can be farther from the truth. …..The real picture of true intentions of the Pakistani military will emerge when the US withdraws from Afghanistan. This will be the time when the Russians, Iranians and Indians will have no choice but to support the Northern Alliance against Pakistan sponsored Taliban who regard all Shias, Ismailis, non-Pashtuns, moderate Pashtuns as infidels who deserve to be massacred… There is no doubt that Pakistan will be a semi autonomous Chinese province by 2030 or so… Pakistani Baluchistan by 2030 would be a completely Chinese run show.”
Pakistan since its birth has tried its utmost to destabilize and balkanize India. Yet, India has shown much foolish magnanimity in the past. Let us not be deceived this time and get stabbed again. We should let Pakistan cook in its own stew. Independent Balochistan, Sindh and Pashtunistan will be good for India. Let us not get awed and bullied by China either.