JeM chief’s listing

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Finally the United Nations Security Council has designated the Jaish-e-Mohammad chief Masood Azhar as a “global terrorist”. As expected the BJP-led government at the Centre has already started drumming it up as a “diplomatic win”. And interestingly, Pakistan too is counting it as a “diplomatic win” for it was able to prevail upon the UNSC to not mention the deadly Pulwama suicide attack claimed by JeM which killed over 40 CRPF men in the declaration on Azhar. For now, the development has come in handy for both countries to placate their respective domestic audiences. Former Jammu and Kashmir chief minister Omar Abdullah was quick to react to it by pointing out that Chinese diplomats’ “wordplay” had allowed both India and Pakistan to claim diplomatic victory. Indeed this is how the international politics and diplomacy works – messages are packaged in such loaded terms and verbiage as would allow diametrically opposite parties and even arch foes to claim victory when in reality it may not be so!

“No mention of terror in Kashmir & no mention of Pulwama. It’s amazing how quickly the sacrifices of the CRPF men were sold down the river to get a symbolic win,” Abdullah tweeted, adding that the “Chinese diplomats must be a happy bunch today. Their wordplay has allowed both India & Pakistan to claim a diplomatic victory. That’s no small achievement.” In this case, it is not only the Indians, Pakistanis and the Chinese who are “victorious” but the France, US, and UK too are patting their backs for having got away with what they wanted.

Now the question that may and should be asked is whether any of these parties have done what they did for the “larger cause” each of them feigns as motivation. The answer is big no. Because the only driving force for each of the parties is their immediate narrow political considerations which are determined by how each one of them fares in the given scheme of things and how they are able to cash in on it.

Take, for instance, the case of India. Ideally it would have wanted the UNSC to make a mention of Pulwama suicide attack in the declaration as say something about JeM’s complicity in it. But it did not happen because that would not have gone down well with Pakistan. Thanks to the influence of the veto-wielding China, Pakistan’s all-weather ally in the world body, it was able to strike off any mention of Pulwama suicide attack or for that matter the larger issue of Kashmir. But the BJP government at the Centre, which has flagged national security as one of its main poll planks for its re-election in the ongoing general elections in the country and is craftily weaving an overly militarized discourse around it couldn’t have asked for more at this crucial juncture. So notwithstanding what Omar Abdullah and others are alluding to, even if it is just a “symbolic win”, the BJP is going to try and make best of it. No wonder that the party’s rank and file has pulled up its socks to credit Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s “iron fist” policy for this “victory”.

Few hours before the Nazis invaded the Soviet Union during World War II, then British premier Winston Churchill’s private secretary, while informing his boss about the imminent turn of events asked how Churchill, the leading British anti-Communist, could reconcile himself to being on the same side as the Soviets.  “Would not Churchill find it embarrassing and difficult to ask his government to support Communists?” But Churchill’s reply was clear and unequivocal: “Not at all. I have only one purpose, the destruction of Hitler, and my life is much simplified thereby. If Hitler invaded Hell I would make at least a favourable reference to the Devil in the House of Commons.”

This is exactly how it is for the BJP. Right now the only aim and purpose is to win election and for this it would conveniently gloss over the fact that there has been no reference to Pulwama suicide attack or the killing of CRPF men in it. Same is the case with Pakistan. It can claim victory for its own audiences in the fact that that there is been no reference to JeM’s self-claimed and -acknowledged complicity in Pulwama suicide attack even when its chief based in that country has been designated by the world body.

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