Throughout 2016 Masood Azhar, terrorist, terrorism, U.N. Security Council, Pakistan and China were the words that dominated the Modi government’s foreign policy narrative. Pakistan’s ISI continued to engineer terrorist attacks on India: Dina Nagar police station in 2015, Pathankot Air Force Station and many deadly attacks across the line of control in Kashmir in 2016.
India had approached the U.N. Security Council in February 2016 to designate Masood Azhar a terrorist. Many countries and the UN have designated his outfit JeM as terrorist. India made more than one attempt to have Azhar designated a terrorist; each Indian attempt was thwarted by China. China used the flimsiest of excuses to help Pakistan shelter him and his terror.
India also attempted to enter the Nuclear Supplier’s Group (NSG); every time it applied to be included in the NSG, China blocked it. China is doing so as proxy for Pakistan but also for a deeper geopolitical motive. China wants to prevent India from gaining parity with it. It wants to be the only super power in Asia. Its statement on India’s successful firing of Agni-V is a clear evidence of that. Using Global Times, for all practical purposes China’s official mouth piece, China has threatened to help Pakistan maintain long range missile parity with India if India increases its stockpiles of the same. It is also arguing for the same “nuclear privileges” for Pakistan that India may have–a clear reference to the possible entry of India into the NSG.
Last year China’s military violated, almost at will, the sanctity of the line of control on the border. Despite Modi’s much hyped diplomatic tete-a-tete with Xi Jinping, the incursions have never stopped. Modi government must be the only one in the world to have missed the truth that China plays hard ball. In fact Chinese military pushed across the LOC into Indian area in Ladakh to construct a road days before Xi Jinping was to arrive on the 2014 state visit to India. Indian troops confronted them. That incursion was still dominating the news headlines when Xi was in India being entertained by Mr. Modi in Gujarat. It must have bothered Modi to be hosting Xi Jinping as Indian military stood eyeball to eyeball with the Chinese on our side of the LOC–unless he is like an ostrich with his head in the sand, which for India’s sake I hope he isn’t.
China’s brazen incursions on India’s borders, its obstruction of India’s entry into the NSG and blocking the UN designation of Pakistani terrorists as such–all– would be laughable were they not so in India’s face and so very demeaning. Its trade and infrastructural incursions into POK, under the so-called China Pakistan Economic Corridor, clearly challenge India’s claim of sovereignty, adding insult to injury. The Modi government has been pitiably impotent in the face of an obstructionist China. Now it naively appears to believe it will score by simply calling China an abettor of terror–which, in Pakistani terror’s case, it undoubtedly is.
Modi government is making the same mistakes that Nehru once made. It was Nehru’s naive idealism that we are paying for in Kashmir and with China. Under the spell of naivette of the Hindi Cheeny Bhai Bhai slogans, Nehru pushed for the People’s Republic of China to take the Kuomintang’s seat on the UN Security Council. He didn’t fully understand that in international relations countries have no permanent principles or friends; the only thing permanent are their national interests. And it is in China’s national interest to aid and abet the terror breeding state of Pakistan to keep India preoccupied on its western border.
Just as Nehru didn’t, Modi doesn’t fully comprehend the UN either. The UN is a leftover from the last great war of the last Century. As with most things, to the victors of that war had gone the spoils; one among them was a seat on the Security Council. Rarely in its history has the Security Council ever risen above the national or international interests of the Permanent Five. The world is much different from the post war years of the 40s and 50s of the last century. The League of Nations, the forerunner of the UNO, was consigned to history in 1943, barely 23 years after its birth, mainly because it stood powerless as the 2nd World War started and raged; the UNO was created in its place. The UN too is now old and toothless as seen in the bloodshed in Syria, Iraq and many other places. The Permanent five can’t or won’t act because their own interests dictate otherwise. And it won’t act on India’s simple request to designate a terrorist as a terrorist because China’s national interests, as seen by it, stand in its way.
It is time for India and other likeminded countries to force the UN to shape up or ship out. India is one sixth of the humanity. The successive Indian governments have failed to ensure that its presence in a body like the UN enjoys the weight commensurate with its population. No international body deserves India’s respect if it in turn doesn’t respect India. The Permanent Five use their vetoes if their national or international interests are threatened. India should use its weight to ensure its voice matters.
By attorning to the jurisdiction of the UN on the issue of Kashmir, Nehru internationalised it and India is still suffering the consequences. Modi too is blunderingly internationalising the terribly serious issue of India’s own response to terror by submitting to the UN a request to have Azhar designated a terrorist. It is truly embarrassing for India to keep going cap in hand to the Security Council. It is even more degrading to be repeatedly refused that help–and that too of dubious effect.
The US just designated Hamza bin Laden, the son of the dead Osama bin Laden, a terrorist. The US didn’t run to the UN before doing that or before putting a bounty on his late father’s head either. And it didn’t seek UN’s permission before taking Osama out. Great countries do not seek anyone’s permission to protect their own national security; and the Mr. Modi should know India is a great country.
To change India’s foreign policy narrative in 2017, one of the questions for India shouldn’t be whether or not the UN designates Azhar a terrorist. He is a terrorist and so is his outfit JeM. The real question should be: Other than meekly complaining about it to the UN, what is India really going to do about him and others of his ilk? Israel, faced with similar circumstances, would never have gone to the UN. Had Azhar posed to it the kind of threat he poses to India, Israel would have surgically and quickly struck to take him out.
According to India’s new Army Chief General Bipin Rawat India has the capacity for many options–surgical strike being just one among them– to neutralise terrorists across the border in Pakistan. The writer of these lines is a peace loving Gandhian, but recognises that in some circumstances violence as a tool still remains necessary in international relations. Would Modi have the courage to order a strike across the border and neutralise Masood Azhar, and show the world that the likes of him will not escape India’s surgically lethal punishment for murdering Indians?