In the post cold war and post 9/11 era, dominated by the preference of the geo-economics over geo-politics, and which needs global cooperation in combating the menace of terrorism, Pakistan’s foreign policy priorities are to have good relations with all major powers such as China, the EU, Russia and the US. Being a close neighbour and all weather trusted long time friend, Pakistan has developed a very deep strategic partnership with China. Pakistan is still a US ally (non NATO ally) in fighting war on terror in this region. In the future as well, Pakistan will want to maintain very close strategic relations with the US.Pakistan is also endeavouring to develop closer friendly relations with Russia. Russia too has shown interest in developing deeper relations with Pakistan.
Although the Afghan government functionaries continue to blame Pakistan for terrorist acts happening there. To fight and end terrorism in region, Pakistan has suggested to Afghanistan that both countries should cooperate in better border managemen tand in settling the Afghanistan issue by initiating a sustainable and meaningful dialogue involving all ethnic groups of Afghanistan. With Iran, Pakistan has historical ties and it is endeavouring to deepen these relations.
With India also Pakistan desires to develop good relations by addressing bilateral disputes through a dialogue, although India always finds excuses to postpone the holding of the bilateral dialogue since it is insisting that Pakistan should talk to it as a junior partner in South Asia and should also accept Indian solutions of bilateral disputes. In this context, while diplomatically India maintains that it wants to resolve all disputes with Pakistan through a dialogue, but on the ground, it is pursuing a policy of relegating bilateral talks and weakeningPakistan’s international standing and defence capabilities by negatively influencing Pakistan specific policies of major and regional powers andPakistan’s neighbours, especially Afghanistan and Iran.A few major examples of India’s anti Pakistan diplomacy are discussed.
India is exploiting its strategic partnership with the US by stirring its sensitivities about terrorism by implicating Pakistan for terrorist acts in India and South Asia by carrying out a planned blame game through a sustained propaganda campaign. For example, India is playing politics on the issues of Mumbai and Pathonkot terrorist attacks and attacks in Afghanistan. During the recent visit of Modi to the US, on one hand Director General of India’s National Investigating Authority, Sharad Kumar gave a clear statement that the Pakistani government was not involved in the Pathonkot attack, on the other hand,one day later, on India’s behest it was included in the joint statement that Pakistan should bring the perpetrators of the Pathonkot attack to justice. Through propaganda, that if F-16 aircraft were sold to Pakistan, those will be used against India, its diplomats and lobbyists in the US ultimately influenced the US congressmen in voting for scuttling the F-16 deal.With the support of the US, India also tried to get into the Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG) this year, to ultimately tilt the balance of strategic deterrence in South Asia in its favour.
Indian diplomats are trying their hardest to impede the progress in Russia-Pakistan relations by various means. Whenever Pakistan makes some advances to acquire Russia’s military equipment and weapons to be used against terrorists, India make hue and cry that these will be used against it to influence Russia’s decision making. If that does not work, then it pressurizes Russia that its closer defence relations with Pakistan, will impact India-Russia relations. Ultimately, the Russian leaders become cautious because Russia would not like to lose India’s bigger defence market for sake of Pakistan.
Through its increasing military influence in Afghanistan, while India is trying to build a military pressure on Pakistan, it is also influencing Afghan government politically to keep it hostile to Pakistan. After General Raheel Sharif’s statement that Pakistan was sincere for facilitating peace efforts and it would not allow its soil to be used by terrorists against its neighbours, the Afghan President, Ghani has again given a statement that Pakistan was still differentiating between good and bad terrorists.
While the above discussion proves India’s negative attitude and politics about Pakistan to undermine its international prestige and power profile, the situation calls for innovative and consistent counter measures by Pakistan. The situation is also suggestive to major and regional powers and Pakistan’s neighbours that they should not become part of India’s anti Pakistan game plan.
— The writer, a retired Colonel, works for Islamabad Policy Research Institute, a think tank based in Islamabad.