NEW DELHI: With the curtains coming down on the UN General Assembly, it completes the first chapter of India’s post-Article 370 diplomacy. By the time PMNarendra Modiwrapped up his speech on Friday, India had successfully conveyed three key messages to the world – the Kashmir decision was about development and therefore an ‘internal ‘matter; the real challenge was terrorism, a global phenomenon wherePakistanwas the epicentre; and that any issues with Pakistan would be resolved bilaterally.
This argument has been more or less accepted by the world – except China and Pakistan – but India will be held to its promises. That makes the next phase in this development more tricky.
In the coming days, the government will be moving on two parallel fronts – intensifying anti-terror operations inside J&K while easing restrictions and beginning a more visible political outreach. The US will continue to emphasize the message. India traditionally junks Organization of Islamic Cooperation strictures on Kashmir but the government will be sensitive to the sentiments of two of its most important Islamic partners – the UAE andSaudi Arabia.
US state department official Alice Wells told the media, “We look forward to the Indian government resumption of political engagement with local leaders and the scheduling of the promised elections at the earliest opportunity. PM Modi made a commitment that the recent changes to the status of Kashmir will improve the lives of the Kashmiri people, and we look to him to uphold this promise. ”
Equally, she indicated that the pressure on Pakistan to contain cross-border terrorism would be maintained. That pressure will manifest itself in October when Pakistan could be tossed into the FATF’s black list for inaction on terror financing and money laundering. Pakistani PMImran Khan, sources said, has blotted his copybook with mindless rants throughout the past week in the US. His warnings of “impending genocide” and a “fascist Modi” actually diminished his complaints.
Wells said, “Right now, the focus I think has been on the return to political life and to a dialogue between the parties. This is an issue that members of Congress have raised in letters that they’ve sent to the administration and there will be … Congress has called for testimony on human rights in South Asia. ”
Wells, however, showed the general disbelief in Khan and Pakistan’s expostulations on the state of Muslims in Kashmir while keeping quiet about the developments in Xinjiang. “I would like to see the same level of concern expressed also about Muslims who are being detained in western China, literally in concentration-like conditions. And so, being concerned about the human rights of Muslims does extend more broadly than Kashmir, and you’ve seen the administration very involved here during the UN General Assembly and trying to shine a light on the horrific conditions that continue to exist for Muslims throughout China, ”she said.
India will continue to press Pakistan on terrorism. The reports of terror camps being activated on the LoC and in PoK will only aggravate matters, because one of the key reasons for the communications restriction is that it makes terror communications more difficult. But Pakistan’s army and jihadi networks will certainly use the opening to create more trouble inside Kashmir.
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