Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan often claims he is leading a new Pakistan. He made the same proclamation following the cowardly Pulwama suicide attack that martyred 40 brave men from the CRPF. Sadly, there is no evidence to back Khan’s claim. Pakistan before Imran Khan was no different. The state sponsorship of terror outfits continues unabated, the army’s grip over civilian rule seemingly remains intact and the economy continues to falter. He, like his predecessors, keeps repeating that it’s not in Pakistan’s national interest to sponsor terror strikes in India. And just like prime ministers past, he says Pakistan is also a victim of terrorism. Nothing has changed but he says his is a new Pakistan.
Narendra Modi’s India is indeed a new India. For the last five years, the world has acknowledged that India has made huge economic strides. It has made new friends and strengthened relations with traditional partners. The Modi government had vowed to isolate Pakistan diplomatically after of the Pulwama attack. At the time, some Indians felt disappointed that India was going to restrict its response to diplomacy. This was seen as weakness on India’s part. The pounding of Jaish-e-Mohammed’s biggest terror camp in Pakistan quickly dispelled that fear. The Balakot attack gave sleepless nights to the Pakistani army and the civilian leadership. However, our irresponsible Opposition leaders attempted to have an endless debate in the media about the wisdom of the Indian punitive action, following a failed response from Pakistan when its F16 fighter jets violated the Indian air-space but were shot down by our hero, Wing Commander Abhinandan.
There should be no scope for debate on India winning the diplomatic war against Pakistan. The return of the IAF officer in two days and a mopping-up operation of dozens of suspects in Pakistan that included the names of the Pulwama suspects supplied by India are proof of our diplomatic victory. This operation assumes significance following Imran Khan’s first reaction to Pulwama, in which he had denied his country was involved in the attack.
India is not gloating. PM Modi alluded to the Indian diplomatic triumph merely by saying that he did not wish to repeat how Abhinandan was returned in two days. True to its promise, India has delivered. Under the stewardship of our PM, the ministry of external affairs, Indian missions have worked tirelessly to isolate Pakistan internationally. I am aware that Modi’s detractors would never give him credit, even when it’s due. But regardless of what they might say about our leader, Pakistan stands lonely on the global stage.
This is new India, Mr Khan. Modi’s world has friends who leaned on his behalf to put pressure on you to release the IAF officer and arrest 44 suspects.
Pakistan’s strategic partners, such as Saudi Arabia and UAE, are India’s traditional friends. But in new India, they are standing by Modi for you to clean up “new Pakistan”. This is not the India your country encountered following the terror attack in Mumbai in 2008. New India will doggedly pursue you till you dismantle the last terror camp.
PM Modi has forged robust relations with the UAE, Iran, Israel and Saudi Arabia. The extradition of many fugitives from several countries bears testimony to his foreign policy successes. This was on full display when AgustaWestland middleman, Christian James Michel, a UK citizen, was extradited to India by the UAE. As of January this year, more than 10 countries have extradited fugitives wanted by India since Modi came to power in 2014.
PM Modi’s visit to the US in 2017 led to a joint declaration, which listed, for the first time, organisations such as Jaish-e-Mohammed and Lashkar-e-Taiba as terrorist organisations. The US state department classified Kashmiri terrorist leader Syed Salahuddin of the Hizbul Mujahideen as a global terrorist.
Imran Khan would do well to remember his country has long been sponsoring terrorist outfits that target India and Afghanistan. A recent study by the Brookings Institution said: “It (Pakistan) has augmented Afghanistan’s instability by providing intelligence, weapons, and protection to the Afghan Taliban and the Haqqani network.”
Imran Khan was busy playing cricket when his country was nearly put on the terror list by the Bill Clinton administration, following the terror attacks in Mumbai in 1993.
That threat continues to hang over Pakistan. Congressman Ted Poe recently urged the Trump administration to “Quit giving them military aid. Quit giving them money. Designate them as a state sponsor of terrorism, and remove Pakistan’s status as a major non-NATO ally to the US.”
Imran Khan had triumphed in the cricket World Cup in 1992. He can achieve his dream of building a new Pakistan. Let that Pakistan be terror free, free of hatred against India and Hindus. That is only possible when he takes down the last terror camp, hands over the Lakhvis, the Azhars and the Dawoods to India. And if he doesn’t, we will act against terror outfits based in Pakistan to protect our people from evil.
Who knows, we might see that in Modi’s second term.
This article first appeared in the March 12, 2019 print edition under the title ‘This is new India’