Rajnath Singh's hard talk in Pakistan at the Saarc meet of Home Ministers has made it amply clear that India's voice will not be stifled even if the neighbouring country resorts to cheap tactics like banning Indian media from the venue and blacking out the visiting Indian minister's speech.
Despite the warm hospitality accorded to him by Islamabad, Singh ensured that the neighbouring country be sent out a strong message that Pakistan must stop churning out jihadis and export them to India to spread a terror propaganda and unleash a trail of bloodshed.
Singh's plain talking in Islamabad is not surprising given that Pakistan including its prime minister, Nawaz Sharif, has invariably try to spread unrest in the region. Pakistan's ugly face supporting the terror machinery was unmasked when the country openly declared the slain Hizbul Mujahideen commander Burhan Wani as a martyr last month. The Kashmir Valley is still under curfew although Wani's death is nearing a month now. Exploiting the volatile situation, Pakistan is leaving no stone unturned to keep the fire of unrest burning as long as possible.
In an interview to Firstpost, published earlier, the Home Minister had described Wani as a "terrorist".
"Of course that is the most apt description. He killed our soldiers. How else would one describe such a person?" Singh had said.
The Home Minister had squarely blamed Pakistan for the explosive situation in the region.
"Let me clarify that it would be wrong to assume that the entire Valley has erupted in protests. I would say that the protests were confined to certain pockets with some people motivated by Pakistani propaganda. To say that the events are unprecedented would be factually erroneous. Is it not a fact that the Valley has been through much worse in the past? We are fully in control with the help of the state government. And there is a huge section of sagacious and mature people whose support we are getting in Kashmir," Singh had said.
The way Singh's speech was completely censored, clearly indicate that the Pakistani authorities anticipated that he would talk tough and thus it was important for them that their domestic audience and the world didn't hear it or get to know on fuller details.
His action, not stopping for a longish handshake with his Pakistani counterpart Chaudhary Nisar Ali Khan, would have troubled Pakistanis.
However, despite their best attempt Pakistan failed from keeping Singh's words completely out from the outside world.
"There should be strongest action not only against terrorists but also against nations (likes of Pakistan) who support terrorism.... "Those who provide support, encouragement, give sanctuary and safe haven and assistance to terrorists and terrorism must be isolated....In no circumstances should terrorists be eulogised as martyrs," the Home Minister said in his speech at the Saarc meet.
Singh's visit to Pakistan was a first by any Indian leader after the Pathankot airbase attack in January this year and Wani's killing last month.
Soon after assuming office, the Home Minister had made it clear that response to Pakistan's ceasefire violation in the Line of Control has to be strong and befitting. When informed about a ceasefire violation on the border from Pakistani side, Singh's response to the then BSF chief was that "henceforth you will never fly white peace flag, don't count your bullets once a bullet is fired from other side. In future inform me of such incidents after you have responded most effectively." That directive, home ministry officials believe, worked.
Unfazed by the threats of terror masterminds Hafiz Sayeed and Syed Syed Salahuddin, the Home Minister's visit to Pakistan puts India on the right side as far as the internal community is concerned and gives it freedom to deal with the terror machinery accordingly.
Ironically, by allowing the terror masterminds to protest openly against Singh's visit, the neighbouring country gave India enough ground to harden its stand against Pakistan's terror milling policy.
The Narendra Modi government has been often accused maintaining an inconsistent policy towards Pakistan but the straight talk by Singh in Islamabad is an indication that the it has chosen to stay on a tough course.
First Published On : Aug 4, 2016 21:06 IST