A lot of people got this one wrong. Sure, Saarc doesn’t shake the world nor does it rank up there as the Everest of summits but when neighbours meet they do share common interests and find solutions to common promises. That’s a good thing.
So, let’s not throw the baby out with the bathwater. Let Saarc survive and thrive but let the message go forth that this, once in roughly eighteen month get together in the region can and will chastise its own flock. By thinking of not going to Pakistan for the meet in November, the members are not so much siding with India as they agreeing that the export of terror has to stop.
There is a consensus of opinion and however much spin Islamabad gives to it that it does not matter, it is egg on the face when Sri Lanka, Bhutan, Bangladesh and Afghanistan have displayed reluctance to attend. With these nations opting out of attending the summit, it just leaves Maldives and Nepal and they are also likely to step back.
Look at it this way. Two days ago External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj asked for the isolation of our neighbour. In 48 hours, here is a perfectly valid example of exactly that. ISOLATION. Pretty awkward anyway you hack it if you give a dinner party and ready yourself to play host and everyone of your guests backs off. There you are. All preparations done and no one knocking on the door.
Pakistan can scoff and pretend it is no big deal and shut the protocol blue book for the event with a resounding thump but the rejection is a grim reminder that even those nations who do not have much love for India (and our neighbours by and large are not always sloshing with human kindness over Big Brother) all agree tacitly or covertly accept that this harbouring of terrorists has gotten out of hand and that the onus is on Nawaz Sharif and the two other prongs of power to get their house in order.
Imagine if we were the hosts instead and seven nations surrounding us said thanks but can’t make it, bad tummy, flu, afraid of the dengue or whatever. It is deuced embarrassing and do not underestimate the rage that Pakistan must be feeling after Prime Minister Modi set the ball rolling in his diplomatic juggernaut by saying he would not attend.
As these actions nibble away at the credibility of our western neighbour. Even the common people are going to ask, "What’s going on, should we stop this Indian blame-game that we engage in to blinker everything else and look a little inwards and question what is going on?"
Like are we giving refuge to terrorists and seeing as how we are being attacked, too, why are we doing it?
In that lies the irony — to be blamed for exporting a ‘product’ that also which explodes in your courtyard and kills your people. What percentage is there in that?