11182017Headline:

India’s adoption of terrorism as a state policy by Abdul Quayyum Khan Kundi

True colors of extreme-right BJP government are now showing from the actions and statements of PM Modi’s government and cabinet members. The statement by Indian Defense Minister Manohar Parrikar that terrorism will be used to counter any terrorist attack is troubling especially since India is a nuclear power.

This is not the first such statement. In a social media video national security advisor of PM Modi, Ajit Doval suggested that terrorism could be a good strategy to achieve strategic national interest against Pakistan.

Pakistan Ministry of foreign affairs and all ambassadors should highlight this statement from Indian key minister and put diplomatic pressure on Indian policy to adopt terrorism as a state instrument. World powers should take notice of these statements and come forward to ensure peace and stability in the volatile South Asian region. It is especially important since some terror incidents blamed on Pakistan in the past turned out to be an inside job. After Mumbai terror attack, we all criticized Interior Minister Rehman Malik’s public statements about accepting Indian allegation of Pakistan’s involvement. The former minister was too quick to accept the blame without first getting access to the evidence. That statement damaged Pakistan’s reputation around the world and the evidence is still not forthcoming to confirm involvement of any Pakistani state organ. India might use similar terror incident to justify its aggressive action against Pakistan so it is important to create world awareness through concerted diplomatic and media efforts.

Pakistani government, opposition parties and people want good relations with India but on equal footing and maintaining mutual respect. We will never give up our rightful position on Kashmir but it does not have to be the only item on the agenda.

Pakistani nation had decided that terrorism, extremism and separatism will be eradicated from the country. There are still terrorist incidents in the country but their frequency has gone down while their severity has increased. It will be a long drawn struggle so we should all be patient but firm to stay the course. This resolve is widely appreciated around the world and the statements from Indian cabinet members could be to provoke Pakistan to retaliate. We should be cognizant of this and focus on our diplomatic efforts to highlight Indian unprovoked statements.

Pakistan has also adopted a state policy that its territories will not be used for any terrorist attacks on neighbors neither will it allow foreign terrorists to get access to any militant training in Northern areas. These efforts are also appreciated by all countries especially by China, EU, USA and Russia. This is further evidence that Pakistan is serious about playing its positive role in the region.

It is because of this approach that Afghan President Ashraf Ghani decided to sign an MOU with Pakistan for intelligence cooperation. This has rattled policy makers in India and they are using their lobbyist to use Chief Executive Abdullah Abdullah to offer resistance in implementation of this cooperation agreement. Former President Hamid Karzai and his aides are also engaged in an international media campaign against this cooperation. This should not come as a surprise because President Karzai pursued the policy of appeasing India at the cost of Afghan-Pakistan relations. President Karzai forgot his past when it was Pakistan that he called his second home to promote his career and rise to power.

Indian lobby against Afghan-Pakistan cooperation should be countered through diplomatic efforts especially with key world powers including China, USA, Russia, and EU. Iran and India might work together to maintain their strategic interests promoted through Abdullah Abdullah. India is building a road linking eastern Iranian Chabahar port with the ring road in Afghanistan. India considers Afghanistan an important stepping stone to gain access to the resource rich Central Asian region. Any strategic alignment between Afghanistan and Pakistan will be considered by her as detrimental to her strategic interests.

Pakistan’s foreign policy is still work in progress but irresponsible statements by Indian Cabinet members are providing an opportunity to capitalize on. I hope our diplomats will use it to their maximum advantage. But it will not be possible until a full time foreign minister is appointed to lead the diplomatic efforts.

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