In this hyper-connected world, when states collaborate extensively, forgetting about their ideological or social differences, South Asia remains mired in the obsolete concepts of historical dilemmas making it the least integrated region in the world. India and Pakistan, the two states are yet to realise the significance of joint collaboration over time when regions like Europe, Latin America, East Asia, and even Africa are leaving marks. Under Musharraf-Vajpaee time, both countries were close to signing an agreement that could result in long-lasting peace between the two countries, but political pressure on the Indian sides hobbled the process. BJP at that time was the main actor in India, opposing any reconciliation with Pakistan.
Since the inception of both countries, the nationalist political party has grabbed opportunities to undermine its neighbours so as to emanate Indian hegemony. Pakistan has been bracing against the impacts of its traditional security policies and has realised that the economy leads the domain of security in the current world. That is why the country is seeking to collaborate and engage with the outer world. Foreign Secretary, Hina Rabbani Khar also highlighted during Islamabad Security Dialogue 2023 that Pakistan prefers collaboration over confrontation. Many times the country has shown goodwill gestures to India just to normalise relations and settle the dust so as to start some proper engagements. But the current BJP government is going all ways to use its diplomatic channels to isolate Pakistan.
In 2016, in a speech in the South Indian town of Kozhikode, Modi said that he will work to isolate Pakistan internationally. Using diplomatic channels, India will not let Pakistan emerge as a stable country, this is what Modi’s speech meant. For this purpose, we saw Modi visiting the world and pushing the countries to adopt an anti-Pakistan approach. ‘Look West Policy’ is a very underestimated policy of India started under the Manmohan Singh era that focussed on engaging Gulf countries -West Asia- to not just expand Indian influence but to untie the Arab-Pakistan brotherly knot. Under the current BJP government, the policy has transformed into ‘Act West Policy’ requiring extra efforts that India is already putting in its nefarious objectives of isolating Pakistan in the region. In the start, it grabbed international support when Pakistan couldn’t gather much international support against the revocation of Article-370 of Kashmiris’ self-determination.
However, in the longer run, the agenda has been a failure, as seen in the recent G-20 meeting in Srinagar. India had decided to bring the top 20 international economies to the disputed territory to show normalcy there, hiding decades of oppression and human rights violations behind banners. It had expected the world to be blind against all that it has been doing in the valley. If all the countries would have joined the G-20 meeting, it could be a setback for Pakistan diplomatically as it had promulgated a sense of normalcy and acceptance of the Indian narrative. But Pakistan’s timely response to raise the issue at the international forum opened the eyes of some responsible states. China, Turkiye, Saudi Arabia, and Egypt boycotted the G-20 meeting and refused to attend.
Although other countries come to the valley to see so-called normalcy in the valley. But, countries’ boycotting the meeting is evidence for the whole world, of Indian injustice and hiding its illegal oppression in the valley. Pictures have been circulating across social media showing police hiding behind the banners. Modi, besides the arduous struggle to damage Pakistan’s image internationally, has been unable to cut Pakistan off from the world. Because of strategic, political, and social reasons, Pakistan is important to the world. But, India is unable to realise it. Stubborn in its anti-Pakistan narrative, BJP would again use it to seek domestic support. But facts are now revealing the true face of the Modi administration as solely responsible for aloof and enfeebled South Asia.
The views expressed in this article are those of the author.