Pakistan, it seems, is not surprised that it has not been invited to Narendra Modi’s mega swearing-in ceremony today — while the leaders of Kyrgyzstan and Mauritius have been invited. In an attempt to ‘downplay’ the move, as described by Pakistani media, the Pak government said that the decision was prompted by the internal politics of India.
That’s where Pakistan got it wrong.
It is not internal politics.
The message is clear and it is being reiterated forcefully — there will be no more warming up to Pakistan unless they stop sponsoring terrorism.
“His (Modi’s) entire focus (during the election campaign) was on Pakistan-bashing. It was unwise to expect that he can get rid of this narrative (soon),” foreign minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi said about the non-invite.
Nothing political about it: The sooner Pakistan understands this, the better for them. (Photo: Reuters)
If Pakistan chooses to be in such denial mode and feels content to see this as a ‘political narrative’, it will soon be jolted out of its sleep. This is not a domestic political narrative that won Mr Modi votes. This is a strong external affairs stance, triggered by Pulwama — and Pakistan’s inaction following that dastardly attack. It is also a moment of regional and global cooperation between India and other powers concerned about the threat from Pakistan.
The fact is, politics and courtesy are very different.
Yes, they often merge, but a swearing-in ceremony for a new government may not be an appropriate stage for both.
Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan sent a message to Modi and also had a conversation after the results were announced. That's courtesy. Narendra Modi, too, wished Imran Khan on Pakistan Day (March 23) even after the Pulwama episode. The High Commission of India to Pakistan invited Pakistan President Arif Alvi and PM Imran Khan to Iftar dinner on June 1. That’s also an expression of courtesy.
Now, with a list of judiciously chosen foreign dignitaries, PM Modi is sending out a message of consolidating ties with neighbours — excluding Pakistan.
BIMSTEC includes Bangladesh, India, Myanmar, Sri Lanka, Thailand, Nepal and Bhutan. The chairmanship of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation is presently held by Kyrgyzstan. So, the guest list clearly spells out India’s foreign affairs outreach. There’s no 'internal politics' in this.
SCO (China, Kazakhstan. Kyrgyzstan, Russia, Tajikistan, Uzbekistan, India, Pakistan) is seen as an eastern counter-balance to NATO. The SCO summit will be held in the capital of Kyrgyzstan, Bishkek, on June 12-14. Russian President Vladimir Putin is supposed to meet Prime Minister Modi on the sidelines. So is China’s President Xi Jinping.
No bilateral talks with Imran Khan have been scheduled.
According to reports, soon after this summit, an FATF (Financial Action Task Force) meeting is scheduled to take place in Florida, where sources indicate India would now want Pakistan to be blacklisted. (Pakistan is currently on the terror-financing greylist).
Thus, Pakistan stands cornered. And excluded. For its own subversive activities. And not for India’s 'internal politics'.