It must have been a great day in India yesterday, with the entire nation in a celebratory, ecstatic mood. Probably on par with the Duke of Wellington defeating Napoleon in the battle of Waterloo. It couldn’t have come at a better time for New Delhi, with the economy devastated by Modi’s self-destructive demonetisation, the summer of discontent in Kashmir, Darjeeling and Northeastern India, and withdrawal from the Donglang/Doklam border standoff with China.
No, it’s not a military victory that sent Indians into a frenzy across the land of godman. It’s a self-proclaimed, delusional “diplomatic” victory. Yesterday, the front page news of the Indian printed media was inundated with the following typical battle cry:
“India achieved a major diplomatic victory over Pakistan—and China—when the association of BRICS nations condemned terror by naming several Pakistan-sponsored terror networks such as Lashkar-e-Taiba, Jaish-e-Mohammad, the Haqqani network and Tehrik-i-Taliban Pakistan. “
But, what did the BRICS Declaration actually say? Nothing to write home about for a calm, rational person :
“48. We, in this regard, express concern on the security situation in the region and violence caused by the Taliban, ISIL/DAISH, Al-Qaida and its affiliates including Eastern Turkistan Islamic Movement, Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan, the Haqqani network, Lashkar-e-Taiba, Jaish-e-Mohammad, TTP and Hizb ut-Tahrir.”
China didn’t sell out or betray its “iron-clad” brother Pakistan in agreeing to include the three Pakistan-based militant groups in the BRICS Declaration. Much less under Indian pressure. The three groups have been banned by Pakistan itself since 2015. If anything, it’s just China and Russia throwing a sop to the delusional and petulant Modi to prevent him from disrupting the BRICS Summit, akin to throwing a piece of bone to a hungry dog to stop the barking.
The following report from the horse’s mouth, Pakistan’s major daily The Nation, confirms what it’s really all about:
“ISLAMABAD/Lahore – Pakistan Monday wondered at India’s celebrations over BRICS’ naming some alleged Pakistan-based terror networks that are already on country’s list of banned outfits.”
“Indian officials and media tried to sell mention of the Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) and Jaish-e-Mohammad (JeM) among the terrorists groups as a diplomatic defeat for Pakistan, ignoring the fact that Islamabad regards these groups anti-peace entities and had declared them proscribed organizations years ago.”
As in the BRICS Summit in Goa last year, India doesn’t get what it desperately wants this year : Naming Masood Azhar, founder and leader of JeM, as a terrorist and putting him on the UN sanctions list. Nor is there mention of cross-border terrorist attacks allegedly committed by the Pakistan-based groups.
Days earlier, both China and Russia had issued statements supporting Pakistan in its anti-terrorism efforts after Trump scolded Islamabad for not having done enough. That’s more substantive and meaty than mere mention of the three Pakistan-based militant groups already proscribed by Islamabad.
Both Xi Jinping and Putin are focussed on the big picture, while Modi is still mired in hostility with its neighbor. Once again, it shows clearly the provincial politician in Modi has failed to rise to become a player in geopolitics. He and his Modibob are still stuck at the binary gears of sulking or fits of exuberance. A classic case of “Much ado about nothing”!