Since Modi took the helm of affairs in New Delhi, his government’s larger approach seems diplomatically ostracizing Pakistan at the international level on the terrorism issue, kill its morale, and mount pressure on Pakistan to fall in line.
In addition to exposing India’s hollow claims to isolate Pakistan in the international community, why has Indian rhetoric failed to isolate Pakistan in global politics?
Since the end of World War II, the concept of states’ self-isolationism is being replaced by tactical and enforced isolation of states as a coercive measure of diplomacy. Meanwhile, market economics and politics have integrated the world into a common society based on a particular mode of global governance.
Read more: Is America becoming an isolationist?
Thus, states’ growing complex interactions define their identity and behavior in an interdependent world, which involves transforming local states’ affairs, such as economic, political, and social, into global affairs.
India’s campaign against Pakistan
Since independence in 1947, India has been practicing its Pakistan policy based on restraint and constraint with high hopes of one day overcoming seven times smaller and weaker Pakistan, yet it remains a dream unfulfilled.
Both countries have fought four wars on the Kashmir dispute, and the whole subcontinent has been under hostility due to the rivalry of these two nations for the last seven decades. By all facts and accounts, the Kashmir dispute between Pakistan and India has been sapping both countries’ productive and psychic energies every day for 74 years.
Thus, having a poor narrative and weak moral grounds to hold Kashmir as a rightful Indian territory at the UN Security Council, which already passed a resolution for plebiscite in Kashmir, India has been finding ways to divert the world’s attention from the Kashmir freedom movement by maligning Pakistan in different aspects such as terror sponsor state.
India has been stirring troubles for Pakistan at international forums through lobbying against Pakistan and its disinformation warfare to isolate Pakistan that has been recently debunked by EU DisinfoLab.
Furthermore, its involvement in insurgency in the Balochistan province of Pakistan with both money and material is another attempt. India’s extreme and fervent belief to isolate Pakistan is based on the absolute convictions of terror financing that was articulated in official state rhetoric by Modi’s policies and ideology.
For instance, after the attack on an Indian army base in India-held Kashmir, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi vowed in his speech of 2016 that India will launch a worldwide campaign to isolate Pakistan. He said, “We will isolate you. I will work for that”.
He also threatened Islamabad that India would keep pushing to make Pakistan a rogue state in the eyes of the rest of the world, “We will intensify it (our efforts) and force you to be alone all over the world”.
India facing setbacks
In the wake of Indian claims to isolate Pakistan, instead, India has the sorry situation to meet this objective because India’s rising tensions with China are posing two-front war challenges with China and Pakistan.
Moreover, the US efforts to engage India in China’s containment policy are another serious challenge for Indian strategists, providing leverage for Pakistan to attract more Sino-Russian support in all respects.
At a time when India is busy maligning Pakistan, it has been facing severe setbacks being confronted to high-level insurgencies by local freedom fighters in its several states such as Nagaland and Chhattisgarh, which strengthens Pakistan’s stance regarding local Kashmiri freedom fighters.
In the same token, at the external level, when it is trying to convince the regional states to follow the Indian rhetoric to isolate Pakistan, its hawkish behavior towards South Asian states is getting backfired such as, Kalapani territorial dispute with Nepal, Sri Lankan concerns over Indian support for rogue elements that destabilized the country, Bangladesh and Iran’s increasing tilt towards China.
Although, Indo-US bonhomie is the need of the hour to contain China. Indo-US relationship will be becoming stronger over time, and the US is trying hard to make sure India becomes more powerful.
However, it can’t afford to alienate or isolate Pakistan. If it does, the India-Pakistan conflict will intensify, maybe with the cover of the Chinese. That will distract India from building up to confront China. In a way, over the long term, China has an interest in preventing a change in the conflictual status quo in South Asia, whereas US interest is to foster peace between India and Pakistan.
India unable to influence the US
Despite strengthening the Indo-US alliance, India is unable to influence America for its objective to isolate Pakistan because to isolate Pakistan is an Indian interest but not the US.
In contrast, both countries have several divergent interests that are the cause of friction in bilateral relations. Even the US is also increasing pressure on India not to buy the S-400 missile defense system from Russia, halting its oil trade with Venezuela and even imposing more tariffs on Indian goods.
In addition to it, after the Pulwama incident in the Indian held Kashmir, the UN Security Council condemned the Pulwama suicide bombing not as a terrorist attack, even bypassing the rebuffing intense Indian efforts to implicate Pakistan’s involvement.
As India is trying to isolate Pakistan in spheres, including sports, it got isolated by the International Olympic Committee (IOC) in a humiliating setback.
After the Pulwama incident, when New Delhi denied two Pakistanis to issue visas to participate in the shooting world cup organized by International Shooting Sport Federation (ISSF) in India, IOC suspended all Indian applications until written guarantees for issuance of visas to host future events.
The IOC’s action showed that India had ended up shooting itself in the foot. Hopefully, any effort to keep Pakistan out of international cricket would also not be fruitful, including this summer’s World Cup in England, where India is set to play Pakistan.
After revealing facts about Indian propaganda sources that were crying hoarse from the rooftops that Pakistan is a terror sponsor state and should be alienated in the world, could not change the fact that Pakistan has sacrificed thousands of its innocent people to fight against the war on terror, and it is an important geostrategic country with zero intention to destabilize regional peace that could not be isolated.
Read more: Pakistan vows to counter Indian propaganda
As the truth is prevailing and Indian lies to malign Pakistan have no takers anymore in this international arena. Hence, India needs to rethink its strategy in its own interest rather than preparing for a hypothetical scenario to isolate Pakistan.
How the tables have turned
Pakistan has experienced fighting other’s wars by providing geopolitical renting and a hired gun that only jeopardized its national interests and sovereign integrity. When anti-Pakistan propaganda by India has been revealed at this critical juncture, India does not have the capacity to isolate Pakistan.
Pakistan has good relations with China, Russia, Central Asian countries, and Arab states of the Gulf region. Moreover, in the changing landscape of the regional strategic environment due to rising China-US power politics, Pakistan is more relevant but not isolated. Interestingly, the old rules have been changing.
Once, India was a Russian ally, and Pakistan was America’s Cold War ally against the Soviet Union and buying weapons from America, but now it has been changing in a reciprocal way where India is the US ally against China and Pakistan is becoming cozy with Russia.
Thus, Sino-Russian cooperation over Pakistan also makes it harder for India to convince the international community for its agenda to isolate Pakistan. At the same time, Pakistan is also trying to demonstrate that it has the diplomatic support of regional states.
Pakistan’s foreign policy is aligned with regional realities. In a strategically vital neighborhood, Pakistan is well placed to leverage its ties with key countries to pursue its national interests effectively.
Pakistan is doing well to avoid the label of being a terror sponsor state and in any one camp of China or the US. It is important to note that it is recognized as a regional player on good terms with major powers such as China, the US, and Russia.
Pakistan as a “pivot state”
Last but not least, Pakistan’s geostrategic location is a spectacular display of its uniqueness as a regional power in a world torn apart and morality play for India on the failure of its policy of isolating Pakistan.
Time is overdue for Delhi to introspect how things went so horribly wrong in a changing scenario of geopolitics, rapid globalization, shifting power balances, and changing alliances.
To sum up, Pakistan is being considered as a pivot state and zipper of the 21st century and gateway to Eurasia. The future of not only Asia but the whole of Eurasia lies in regional integration and multilateralism, which increases Pakistan’s importance for the international community due to its geographic proximity.
Moreover, recalling the famous words of the great founder of Pakistan, Muhammad Ali Jinnah: “Pakistan is the pivot of the world, as we are placed . . . [on] the frontier on which the future position of the world revolves”. Consequently, isolating and ignoring Pakistan’s geographic importance would not bring peace and prosperity to the region.
Noraiz Arshad is pursuing his Ph.D. at the Department of International and Strategic Studies, University of Malaya, Malaysia. He is a lecturer (on leave) at the Department of Political Science, Bahuddin Zakariya University, Multan, Pakistan. The views expressed in the article are the author’s own and do not necessarily reflect the editorial policy of Global Village Space.