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Asian Tribune is published by World Institute For Asian Studies|Powered by WIAS Vol. 12 No. 2429

Signals from Pakistan and China

By Tushar Charan - Syndicate Features

Evidently, China and Pakistan have decided to conduct their relations with India in a hostile and unfriendly way. If they mention peace it is always with conditions which amount to India surrendering on their terms. It, therefore, becomes hard to believe that India can really expect to see ‘positive’ hints or signals coming from these two countries.

The manner in which the stay of the International Court of Justice (ICJ) on executing former Indian Navy officer, Kulbhushan Jadhav, held by Pakistan on alleged spying charges, was treated in India it appeared that the aim of getting him back alive and in good health, is about to be achieved. But Pakistan’s reaction does not give room for any such optimism.

The Pakistan case against Jadhav has looked bogus from the start in the eyes of Indians and perhaps the outside world too. But the Pakistanis look at it differently, as can be expected. They have satisfied themselves that Jadhav was not only an Indian ‘spy’ but also a superman who had single-handedly undertaken missions to kill Pakistanis and create mayhem across the Land of the Pure.

One of his alleged tasks was to damage the much-vaunted China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) as though it is a culvert or something in a remote village in thickly wooded North-east India! No matter what happens to Jadhav in Pakistan, the Government of India must rush with an award for him for outstanding dare-devil feats in a hostile territory.

And how did the Pakistanis get to know about the extraordinary powers of Jadhav and his snooping skills? From the alleged ‘confession’ by Jadhav! If they have anything substantial to prove their allegations against Jadhav they have kept it closed in their vaults. Their reliance on an in camera ‘confession’ can only be laughed at.

But the point is that Pakistan lives on denials and lies, believing that it saves it from receiving global opprobrium. For years, Pakistan kept saying that there are no terrorists in the country. Now they are trotting out the same denials in respect of Daesh, though the new Islamist scourge is not hiding its presence. The former army dictator, Pervez Musharraf, once famously said that he was ‘two hundred per cent sure’ that Osama bin Laden was not in Pakistan.

It is a different matter that circumstances, not in Pakistan control, revealed the truth behind the blatant Pakistani lies. Pakistan is known as the epicentre of terror and bin Laden was found and killed in a garrison town not very far from the national capital. The Americans were able to expose Pakistan by judicious use of threats and military power and the fact that the two countries are separated by a very long distance.

Pakistan feels no compulsion to mend its ways with India with China now openly backing it and underwriting its military preparations against India. Pakistani proxies in Jammu and Kashmir are stoking wild fires in the state. The Pakistani intransigence has increased manifold during the last two years of tighter embrace with China and the heightened Pakistan-inspired violence in J&K. The anti-India rhetoric in Pakistan is at its peak. There is nothing that will make Pakistan accede to any order by an international court or any such institution even if it is on humanitarian grounds.

In these circumstances, it will be naïve to expect a sudden change of heart in Pakistan or expect compliance with any international institution’s order that is not in its favor.

Almost ditto for China though it might be said that hatred for India does not ooze out of every Chinese pore the way it does in the case of Pakistan. But in recent months, China has stepped up verbal attacks on India, more often using the state media and sometimes officials too.

Unquestionably, both in China and Pakistan there has been a hardening of attitude towards India. The possibility of the India policy of the two countries taking a sudden U-turn is nil. If sometimes, something is said that is moderate and does not sound like a threat it can be sure that it is superficial and part of a diplomatic exercise. Such ‘soft’ words uttered occasionally by officials in both countries need to be received with caution, requiring no effusive response.

The Chinese must be chuckling when India reacts to their statements on India’s application for NSG membership. Chinese statements that it is not opposed to India’s membership are given prominence in India and the conjoined caveat is underplayed. China is emphatic that the criterion for NSG membership should make it possible for both India and Pakistan to be admitted to that exclusive nuclear suppliers group.

What China says is that Pakistan’s abysmal proliferation record should be overlooked while India should get no credit for its admirable and responsible behaviour on nuclear matters. It is as clear as daylight that China will let India be admitted to NSG only along with Pakistan. How does anyone believe that China would do something to please India at the expense of Pakistan?

Reading too much or showing unwarranted optimism raises the problem of throwing caution to the wind when dealing with inimical neighbours. Nobody is saying that India should not strive to have good, ‘normal’ relations with China and Pakistan. But friendship cannot be built or cultivated on the basis of false signals and an unrealistic optimism.

Many in the country would blame the present government, which allegedly believes in ‘muscular’ foreign policy, for the steep fall in India’s relations with China and Pakistan. But as they say, it takes two to tango. Not every unfriendly gesture from the two hostile neighbours can be traced to any special Indian policy move.

The harsh truth is that while one may blame anyone, the present realities do not allow any sense of optimism in India over good bilateral ties with either nation in the near future.

- Asian Tribune -

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