This might sound perverse but it is true. Pakistan sentencing former Indian Navy official Kulbhushan Jadhav to death in a farcical trial resoundingly demonstrates the success of India’s new policy towards its neighbour.
Speaking of perversity, here is what South Asia expert Robert Kaplan said in an article adapted from his book, 'The Revenge of Geography':
Perversity characterises Pakistan. Only the worst African hellholes, Afghanistan, Haiti, Yemen, and Iraq rank higher on this year's Failed States Index. The country is run by a military obsessed with – and, for decades, invested in – the conflict with India, and by a civilian elite that steals all it can and pays almost no taxes… The absence of the state makes for 20-hour daily electricity blackouts and an almost non-existent education system in many areas.
When Kaplan wrote this, in 2012, Pakistan stood at 13 on the Failed States Index and inched up to 14 in 2016.
But then, Pakistan is one of those countries which never learns, despite being licked multiple times on multiple fronts – military, economic, and diplomatic – by India. The said perversity also rings true in a Nietzschesque fashion of the abyss staring back at you. With Pakistan, this abyss is its "destroy-or-Islamise-India" obsession. And, as things stand, it no longer has even fair weather friends to help lift it up unless we can count China, whose latest round of 'friendship' has been expressed as a $1 billion trade agreement to import donkeys.
Pakistan’s current scale of isolation is truly unprecedented, given the short history of its existence as an independent nation. And, it desperately craves attention. While there’s merit in the opinion as to the timing of Pakistan’s latest dastardly move, in the wake of Bangladesh prime minister Sheikh Hasina’s recent visit to India, the "verdict" to execute Jadhav has more to it.
Pakistan’s isolation also stems from numerous recent diplomatic moves, which include striking friendships with Arab nations, India’s Balochistan policy aimed to hurt Pakistan, last year’s surgical strikes, and the demonetisation drive, which was largely effective in curbing terror funding.
Perhaps for the first time in more than thirty years, the notorious Pakistan policy of bleeding India by a thousand cuts has become a thing of the past, replaced by attempts at derailing trains.
In other words, the situation today in Pakistan appears to resemble what it faced in the aftermath of its humiliating military defeat and its geographical vivisection in the 1971 war.
Put another way, Pakistan is clearly not used to this kind of calculated encirclement and strategic aggression from India’s side, which is basically making the Pakistani political and military leadership eat the fruit of the seeds it had sown since decades.
To put this in perspective, a senior defence bureaucrat once told Firstpost that the very notion that Pakistan even has a civilian government must count as the joke of the century and that it seems like the rulers of Pakistan must be made in the mould of dictators like Zulfikar Ali Bhutto, Zia Ul Haq and Musharraf to command the respect of its military and the ISI.
Former Defence Minister Jaswant Singh made a rather farsighted observation in 2012, when he said that, "Without Russia, China, India, Pakistan, Afghanistan, and Iran acting in concert, no lasting solutions can be found; they certainly cannot be imposed unilaterally by the US and Nato."
When we survey the scene today, it’s clear that India enjoys healthy relationships with Russia, Iran, and Afghanistan. Although China is India’s largest trading partner, this relationship comes at the cost of perpetual tensions.
As it stands, it's clear that not only is Pakistan not working in concert, it continues to distinguish itself as a festering nuisance in the entire region.
When we review Jadhav’s death sentence in this backdrop, it states the obvious conclusion, echoed in this Firstpost column that it's "a disgrace and grave provocation." And, depending on the nature and force of India’s response, Pakistan might decide to implement its practised deception of either playing victim or indulging in graver provocations.
As a first and welcome step, External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj has fiercely hit back at Pakistan, calling it a "premeditated murder". Equally gratifying was the stand taken against Pakistan unanimously by the Parliament, cutting across party lines.
The other step that India has taken is to halt the release of twelve Pakistani prisoners. While this move has some merit, it amounts to nothing in reality. When we go by Pakistan’s track record, it becomes evident that it will not care either way. We must not forget that it trains, arms, and dispatches its own citizens to kill innocents or die on Indian soil. And when caught, it disowns them with impunity.
As opined in an earlier Firstpost article on the surgical strikes, India must use a combination of shutting down the Pakistan embassy, choking the Indus waters, raising a massive stink internationally, and completely severing all ties. Or in Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s words, "We must talk to Pakistan in its own language… and stop writing love letters to it." Jadhav's release must be non-negotiable.
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Updated Date: Apr 11, 2017 19:19:03 IST