By boycotting the Pakistan National Day celebrations in Delhi, India has sent out a strong message that it cannot be business as usual if Hurriyat leaders are among the invitees. The new security paradigm that New Delhi has put in place after the Pulwama terror attack should not be seen as a one-off measure but as a larger strategy to use all avenues to isolate Islamabad on the issue of terrorism. The ban on the separatist outfit Jammu and Kashmir Liberation Front (JKLF) is also a demonstration of its ‘zero tolerance’ policy towards terrorism and its patrons in the Valley. It must be made clear to Pakistan’s leadership that the invitation to separatist outfits to participate in its National Day celebrations is unacceptable. The stern message came on a day when militants killed a 12-year-old boy after kidnapping him. At a time when there is a growing convergence of views among the international community on fighting terrorism, India should not drop its guard. Instead, it must keep up pressure on all fronts to expose Pakistan’s long-standing strategy of using terrorism as an instrument of state policy. It must be pointed out that there is growing pressure on China to rethink on its technical hold on the United Nations Security Council’s proposal to designate Jaish-e-Mohammad (JeM) chief Masood Azhar as a global terrorist. While Beijing’s similar attempts in the past to bail out its all-weather friend went unchallenged, the situation has changed now.
There is a growing realisation among the international community that Pakistan has become a global hub for terrorism with major terror attacks across the world having links to Pakistan. India must relentlessly go after the terrorist networks being nurtured on Pakistani soil, take demonstrable action with on-ground proof and get diplomatic support from around the world. Barring a cosmetic crackdown on some terrorist organisations due to the threat of blacklisting by the Financial Action Task Force (FATF), Pakistan’s Prime Minister Imran Khan has not demonstrated any commitment to shut terror factories and rein in the anti-India terror outfits being nurtured by the military establishment. For someone who has promised to usher in ‘Naya Pakistan’, here is a historic opportunity to dismantle the terror networks and prove his commitment. On its part, India has repeatedly made it clear that terror and talks cannot go together. Export of terror must stop for the bilateral dialogue to be meaningful. The Balakot airstrikes have helped redraw the red-line and demonstrated India’s capability to hit at the source of terror. Pakistan must realise that its intransigence and proxy war strategies won’t work anymore because of India’s muscular approach and the international backing for such a response. Now, the fight against terrorism is a global mission.