By Amb. Anil Trigunayat (Retd)
In the wake of India's recent action in J&K emanating through the same Article 370 and overriding or amending the Presidential decrees provoked an expected reaction from the Pakistani establishment. One of the extreme measures was to downgrade the diplomatic ties with India by asking Indian envoy Ajay Bisaria to return. It was easier for them since their new High Commissioner has not even joined.
Stopping trade with India is another one.
Frankly, these really have no bearing and in fact, are an acknowledgment of their own failures. Realistically, Pakistan will lose much more in the bargain with it's fledgling economy and terrorist attack ridden reputation. Pakistan’s Army Chief Qamar Javed Bajwa’s statement that military will take all possible action including conventional warfare for the cause of Kashmir clearly helps build their reputation as a state sponsor of terrorism which has been globally recognized many times over. They have been punished for that too with increasing diplomatic isolation although, in the context of Taliban in Af-Pak their own surrogate, Pakistan has mastered the art of encashing its nuisance value, especially to the Americans and Russians.
This bluff will have to be called by the powers that helped Pakistan create the Frankenstein for them. In view of his recent meeting with US President Donald Trump whose desire to mediate between Pakistan and India may have given Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan the gumption to indulge in Harakiri hoping for further support.
In my view in the wake of Pulwama, India should have called back it's High Commissioner when it really had an upper hand and International support for Balakot and her action against Pakistani terrorists and their outfits. The relations are already degraded and withdrawal of most favored nation status with the imposition of higher customs duties by India has been in place.
Jammu & Kashmir (J&K) is an integral part of India and the Art 370 was no Holy Grail. The temporary provisions have lasted far too long due to political expediency and the hope that special dispensation might create the right conditions for the progress and development of Kashmir. But in reality, it had an opposite impact. Hopefully, the Kashmiri people will realize the real import and newer possibility it will create for them once the misplaced emotional outburst is over. Violence will lead to more violence and peace will lead to progress.
As of now most of the countries have either not reacted or considered the recent action by India as an internal matter which indeed it is. China’s reaction was on expected lines and Wuhan or not Pakistan is their all weather friend and ally.
Sincem China is illegally sitting on 15% of Kashmir ceded illegally by Pakistan their objections are on expected lines. Pakistan is counting on full Chinese support at the UNSC and if a conflict indeed takes place. While India has briefed the P5 and other major partners and Foreign Minister S Jaishankar's visit to China is due. India should work overtime on remaining P4 and launch a diplomatic charm offensive among other major interlocutors ( to borrow from Shashi Tharoor) in the Middle East, European Union, etc. Since the upcoming UNGA will provide Pakistan yet again a platform to rant about Kashmir that might be supplemented by the ever so ready Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) even though countries like the UAE have clearly understood India's reasons, sovereignty and legality of the action.
(Author is Distinguished Fellow VIF. Views expressed are personal)