Choices for Modi | Pakistan Today

Choices for Modi

  • A vengeful politician or a wise statesman

The Pulwama terrorist attack has posed a new  challenge  to  Modi’s election prospects. Days after the attack he had announced that the time for talks with Pakistan is over while in  Bihar  he  had said “a fire is raging in my heart.”  BJP ally Shiv Sena had declared it was time to “attack”  Pakistan and seek revenge for the deaths of Indian soldiers.

Modi’s options to harm Pakistan are limited. Going back on Indus Water Treaty would have little support from any major power while it  would not create  any dramatic impact  capable of influencing voters in the elections due within less than four months. The denial of MFN status has been ineffective due to the insignificant quantum of India-Pakistan trade. Any attempt to isolate Pakistan internationally  would  fail as Pakistan has close ties with China while its relations with Russia are warming up. The US doesn’t want to annoy Pakistan while  it is playing a key role  in arranging talks between the US and Afghan Taliban. Days after Pulwama, Saudi Crown Prince visited Islamabad, announced $20b investment and supported talks between India and Pakistan. Any Indian attack on Pakistan will be met with immediate retaliation, as PM Khan has promised.   No major power wants war between the two nuclear states in a highly crucial region. The UN Secretary General has offered  help to resolve the differences in case both countries agree to it.

There is a dire need on the part of India and Pakistan to  try to  find an out of the box solution  to the Kashmir issue. An earlier exercise in the direction shows this can be done.  An understanding between India, Pakistan and the Kashmiri  freedom fighters  will put an end to the   decades old persecution  in the Valley  as well as  attacks on unarmed Kashmiris in various Indian states.  Unless this is done  law enforcement agencies in Indian occupied Kashmir will continue to be targeted by local population despite  Gen Dhillon’s  insensitive warning to Kashmiri mothers  to tell  their sons who’ve taken up guns to surrender or be killed. There is a need  for PM Modi to rise above the level of a vengeful politician and be seen  instead as a statesman with stature.