THE frequent warm hugs during Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s first meeting with US President Donald Trump earned the former some quick diplomatic objectives; nevertheless, as a quid pro quo for impeding or disrupting China’s coercion strategy, particularly in the Asia Pacific region.
Undoubtedly, on the sidelines of the proclamations of friendship, Modi and Trump would have privately converged their strategies on how to thwart their nettlesome adversaries: Pakistan and China, respectively.
In order to impress Trump and manifest the “True Friendship”, without missing the opportunity, on the back of Modi’s fruitful meeting, India turned the rhetoric into action and obstructed China’s road construction in Doko-La (or Donglong), the tri-junction area among India-Bhutan-China, opposing that China is building the road towards Bhutan.
In vengeance, China refused the entry of some 50 pilgrims who were on their way to Kailash Mansarovar, southwestern corner of Tibet, through the Nathu-La border.
Indian Defence Minister Arun Maharaj Kishen Jaitley responded by saying,“India of 2017 is different from India of 1962.”
His remarks could well worsen situation.
In 1962, India committed the same mistake and lost 1,383 of its soldiers as a result of its bitter defeat in a territorial battle over Arunachal Pradesh, a war local Indian media like India TV News later dubbed a “national shame”.
Trump too sought to curry favour with India’s Modi – it was the mutual objective of both sides to gain desired political influence from their meeting. Hence, Trump, playing his part, delighted Modi by declaring Syed Salahuddin, the chief of a Pakistan supporting Kashmiri Separatist group, Hizbul Mujahideen, a “specially designated global terrorist”.
Moreover, in the joint statement after the meeting, both the premiers called on Pakistan to “ensure that its territory is not used to launch terrorist attacks on other countries”, as well as urged it to take action against Pakistan-based groups who have been involved in cross-border insurgency.
From the statement, it is obvious that India and United States are standing shoulder-to-shoulder in a push to isolate Pakistan.
As a Pakistan-born refugee, I can explicitly predict the failure and flop of their strategy. Because with the increasing credibility and emergence of China in Pakistan and the world via the China and Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), One Belt and One Road and other China-supported programs, Pakistan can never be isolated.
Plus, if Washington and New Delhi believe they can bring peace to Afghanistan by declaring Pakistan a state sponsor of terror or imposing sanctions on Pakistan in future, they may only aggravate the situation and provoke Pakistan into further supporting insurgency in Afghanistan.
Should Trump decide to pull the plug on the Coalition Support Fund (CSF), which was a mere US$350 million for 2017, Pakistan can easily manage to use many other substitute ways to, reversely, support the fighting in Afghanistan. The CSF is a US defence program to reimburse frontline allies enlisted to support US forces in Afghanistan. Pakistan joined the coalition in 2001 and is one of the fund’s largest recipients.
However, due to its political and diplomatic limitations, it appears the United States doesn’t have the capacity to implement any of the above-mentioned actions.
On the contrary, if Trump wants, he can procure back the US’s lost sovereignty in Asia by welcoming rather than offending Pakistan. India and Pakistan must also be brought on the table of negotiation and should be appeased through solving the historical Kashmir conflict between both countries.
** This is the personal opinion of the writer and does not reflect the views of Asian Correspondent