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Heart of Asia Conference: Pakistan Regionally Isolated; What Next?

Dr Raj Kumar Sharma writes: This was a diplomatic victory for New Delhi as terror groups targeting India were not mentioned in the Goa Declaration after the 8th Annual Summit of BRICS. This grouping is dominated by China and Beijing ensured that its ally, Pakistan is not targeted at such a forum.

The just concluded Heart of Asia conference in Amritsar recognized terrorism as biggest threat to regional stability and singled out Pakistan based terrorist groups like Haqqani network, Lashkar-e-Taiba and Jaish-e-Mohammad as sources of instability in the region. Pakistan was at the receiving end as Afghan President Ashraf Ghani said that Islamabad was covertly supporting terrorist groups against Afghanistan and expressed the need for an Asian or international mechanism to find out who was benefiting from supporting the terrorist groups.

This was a diplomatic victory for New Delhi as terror groups targeting India were not mentioned in the Goa Declaration after the 8th Annual Summit of BRICS. This grouping is dominated by China and Beijing ensured that its ally, Pakistan is not targeted at such a forum. Though China is a member of Heart of Asia process too but it seems that it was not able to stop the regional countries from targeting Islamabad at this forum.

India’s attempts to internationally isolate Pakistan have had mixed results. The Heart of Asia summit could put pressure on Pakistan but India will have to plan its long term Pakistan policy with caution. The big powers, especially China and Russia have been engaging Pakistan to tackle issue of regional terrorism. This may look as a case of ‘rewarding bad behavior’ but this is how nations pursue their interests in international arena.

That is why; India seems to be taking a regional approach on terrorism where all the affected regional countries are trying to pressurize Pakistan to give up its support to terrorists. However, India will have to make sure that it does not push the envelope too far which could allow the Pakistan military and government to rally Pakistani people behind them by portraying India as an existential threat. This requires New Delhi to have a clear cut and pragmatic Pakistan policy.

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