China has stalled India’s bid to ban Masood Azahar as a terrorist in doing so the Chinese have once again proved that they need Azhar for furthering their interests. The Chinese have their uses for Azhar as he has promised to protect their investments in Gwandar port (in West Pakistan). It has been alleged by Pakistan that in Gwandar India had fuelled Balochi seperatism thus putting to risk 40000 Chinese workers and investments.Kulbhushan Jadhav to was picked up from this region. With this as the backdrop it is only very obvious that any amount of efforts at UN is not going to yield the results that the India wants. Hence can India think of a strategy that adopts a more localised narrow diplomatic initiative ? Here are some facts that need to be considered before a new strategy is adopted. Today Pakistan is emerging as a destination for investments for Russia, Saudi Arabia, Iran besides the massive investments made by China in China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC). The Russians are investing $14 bn for developing gas pipelines, Saudi and UAE with $50 bn are developing refinery,petrochemical complex as also power plants, Iran is investing nearly $15 bn in rail connectivity. China has already invested $46 bn in CPEC. With such massive investments in Pakistan and close to 25-30 terror outfits operating from their soil how are the Chinese , the Saudis, and the Russians are going safeguard their investments ? Besides, there is also ethnic strife in Pakistan Balochi separatists as also separatists in Pok and in Gilgit Baltistan ( both regions belong to India).
Going ahead some lessons are important for India now if it wants to succeed in its diplomatic stance. One, is from the Chinese, in early 2000 when Taliban leader Mullah Omar started preaching Islamic sepratism to Chinese muslims (the Uiguhrs) it went and engaged in diplomacy with the Talibani leader Mullah Omar to change the direction of his guns as also funded his terrorist activities in Afghanistan. The Balochi stick can be a conditional one that can be used against Pakistan for it to stop terror activities in Kashmir.
Besides,Pakistan and China are developing the Pakistan Occupied Kashmir for road, dams etc there are already separatists movements by these locals against these development projects by people of POK and Gilgit Baltistan. Can India engage with the local tribes and foment trouble for the projects that are likely to come up ? India is already protesting on various platforms against development projects in this region siding with separatists could just be a perfect trade off to buy peace in Kashmir. Besides, Kashmiri youth is being trained in POK region to create trouble in Kashmir, can we reverse the tide by engaging these young men against Pakistan ? It will require great deal of tactical approach, fresh and out of the box thinking and above all a very aggressive posture for India.
Two, can upping trade and investments in Pakistan be the way to engage it and neutralise the terror that it uses in Kashmir ? The way to do it could be to strengthen our hold over the POK and Gilgit Baltistan region a place from which the terror camps are operating. Pakistan is looking for a massive investment for building the world’s second largest dam in Gilgit Baltistan region (which is Indian territory but controlled by Pakistan). Pakistan is looking for crowd funding this dam can our private or public sector look at entering this fray ? We have been protesting at world forums and using conventional diplomatic route to block this project instead can we become major investors and take an re entry in that region ? By way of building the dam we re-enter our territory that at the moment is under Pakistan and Chinese control. There have been leaders of this region like the Balwaristan National Party (BNP) have been struggling to bring the region back to Indian fold from the present starglehold of Pakistan. Can India make the right moves? By entering the fray the trade route for the north Kashmiris of Kargil and Ladakh who have had traditionally used this route for trade with Tajikistan too opens up . It will be worth noting here that during the height of cold war Russia was supplier of natural gas to all of Europe and its pipelines flowed through the entire European Union. Commerce was the name of the Russian Cold war game. Going ahead it is very clear that conventional routes of diplomacy are not really of benefit for India our focus should be more narrow and specific to the region that we have lost to Pakistan and China during the two wars. Winning over the Kashmiris as also the people of PoK could be what India should concentrate on.Trade and winning over disenchanted citizens maybe terror can be the new diplomatic aggressive stand for a New India that PM Modi should aim to build.
**Bhagyashree Pande is Sr Journalist & political commentator lives in Mumbai