Prime Minister Narendra Modi has done well to push India’s campaign against Pak-instigated terror in Kashmir and elsewhere to a new level internationally by bilaterally telling President Xi Jinping of China at the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation(SCO) Summit at Bishkek in Kyrgyzstan that India could not engage Pakistan in talks unless that country took ‘concrete action’ against terrorism.
China is a founder of SCO and President Xi has on more than one occasion described Pakistan as its ‘all weather friend’ – China reportedly did not want Indian Prime Minister to raise the issue of terror at the summit. In a swift move, however, India’s Foreign Secretary Vijay Gokhale addressed a news conference announcing to the world how Prime Minister Modi had taken up the issue of Pak-sponsored terror with the Chinese President and conveyed to latter India’s firm stand against resumption of talks with Pakistan since that country still needed to create an atmosphere free of terrorism.
At his subsequent address at the summit, where Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan was also present, Modi unambiguously called for concerted action to hold accountable countries that were sponsoring, aiding and funding terrorism. Without naming Pakistan he was able to shame that country for resorting to state-sponsored terrorism. He urged those who were putting up with the menace because of some political consideration to ‘come out of their narrow purview’. Also, by giving a clarion call to all nations to come together to combat terrorism he further pushed Pakistan towards isolation in the world community.
The Bishkek summit has also proved to be a milestone in the matter of recognition of India under Modi as an important global player in the economic development of the world. In his bilateral meetings with the Chinese President as well as President Putin of Russia mutual economic cooperation was given a big impetus. After the recent Chinese climbdown on the issue of UN declaring Maulana Masood Azhar of Jaish-e-Mohammad as an international terrorist — India had pressed for it — and the earlier face-off between India and China at Doklam, President Xi, it seems, would be reluctant to take the Modi regime for granted on security issues and would also not push India to the other side in the ‘trade war’ that seemed to be developing between China and the US.
At the bilateral meeting between Prime Minister Modi and President Xi it was acknowledged that there was a ‘new momentum’ in India-China relations as both sides emphasised the need for preparing for the second informal summit between the two leaders in India next October. A statement from China’s Foreign Ministry quoted President Xi as saying that the two countries should strengthen confidence-building measures for stability in the border areas and ‘jointly safeguard free trade and multilateralism’.
Modi’s meeting with President Putin enlarged the ambit of India-Russia relations with Putin inviting Prime Minister Modi to be the chief guest at the Eastern Economic Forum to be held in Vladivostok in early September. With Indo-US relations having touched a new high of friendship during the first tenure of Modi as Prime Minister, it is possible that India could play a balancing role of injecting sanity in US-Russia-China triangle of relationships — both on economic and security issues.
It is gratifying to note that Prime Minister Modi, with his image of being upfront about policy enunciation and committed to building bilateral and multilateral relations entirely on the principle of mutual benefit in both economic and security matters, is making India a global player in promoting world peace and development. The SCO Summit has carried India forward in as much as the Bishkek Declaration echoed and endorsed India’s stand on an important issue like Afghanistan — it clearly called for an inclusive peace process that was led by ‘Afghans themselves’. On the prime threat of terror, that India faces much more severely than all other nations, there is a need for us to mentor the world at large to make it aware that the new global terror arising out of Pakistan is an entirely different kind of danger. Its geopolitical dimension would keep on growing unless an effective counter to it arose from within the Muslim world itself. (MR, Inputs: Agencies).