Equations with Pakistan are getting worse by the day. Diplomats of the Indian High Commission in Islamabad have been accused of being part of a spy ring by Pakistan which has declared eight of them persona non grata. This irascible move by the neighbouring country is just a rash tit-for-tat response to India shunting out Pakistan High Commission official Mahmood Akhtar. Expulsion of Akhtar triggered a series of sparring, including Pakistan expelling Indian diplomat Surjeet Singh.
The Delhi Police Commissioner said Akhtar was detained after documents related to deployment of Indian military forces on the border were found in his possession. Akhtar, who was not arrested due to diplomatic immunity, was the kingpin of espionage activities which had been going on for over a year and a half, according to the police. Stung by India’s successful diplomatic isolation efforts at the international level, Pakistan has chosen the ill-advised retaliation course.
Run by a fragile government with the military and jihad mongers calling the shots, such childish misbehaviour on the part of Pakistan is par for the course. From India’s point of view, there is little to lose if the high commission in Islamabad is even closed down as that country does not show any signs of shedding its denial mode. Setting up an Indian embassy is on the premise of fostering harmonious relations with the host country and taking care of Indians’ welfare there. But if a country is hell bent on throwing attitude with a brazen war-intent, there is no scope for diplomacy to have logical space. Pakistan Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif has lost the opportunity of taking forward his Indian counterpart’s erstwhile efforts to strengthen friendly ties between the two countries. Instead, he chanted on every global platform the monotonous Kashmir mantra which fetched little support from the developed countries. The triumph of Donald Trump in US and his alleged proximity to Russian president Vladimir Putin have left Pakistan feeling uneasy.
Pakistan has every reason to feel hot under the collar, given Trump’s conciliatory comments about India and equally pungent ones about Muslims. As trust deficit has marred the chemistry between India and Pakistan beyond repair, escalation of skirmishes on the border cannot be ruled out. The desperate Pakistan Rangers and terrorists have not hesitated to even kill Indian civilians, including a child, living in the border areas. As infiltration from the other side is rampant, India cannot compromise on keeping vigil. Nevertheless, India may be hopeful that the onset of winter may lead to a temporary ceasefire.