Pakistan’s allegations have little merit, but India must take its diplomatic strategy seriously
India’s strong protest to the U.N. Security Council over Pakistan’s so-called “statement” to a special discussion on terrorism is explained by a number of factors. First, the statement, which Pakistan’s mission to the U.N. published as something delivered at an “open” debate on a report by the U.N. Secretary General, was never actually delivered. The only countries invited to the discussion were permanent and non-permanent members of the UNSC and officials briefing them. Neither does the UNSC take cognisance of statements by non-participating countries. The statement, then, appeared to be an exercise by Pakistan in repeating its allegations against India. In the letter, Pakistan’s Ambassador sought to portray Pakistan as a victim of “cross-border terrorism”, and claimed that Pakistan is “responsible” for “decimating” al-Qaeda in the region. As India’s mission at the U.N. retorted, the envoy could not have forgotten that Osama bin Laden and other leaders of the terror group were all found in Pakistan. The statement then went on to list “four types of terrorism” Pakistan confronts, each of which was attributed to India. The first included some of the attacks in Pakistan carried out by the Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP), a group that according to Pakistan’s unsubstantiated claim has been funded by an “Indian terror syndicate” based in Afghanistan. That claim has been rejected by the UNSC in part already, as two of the four names forwarded by Pakistan weren’t accepted into the terror designations list. The second allegation was that India has “hired” mercenaries to carry out attacks, in operations Pakistan claims have been organised by Kulbhushan Jadhav, a former naval officer. Next is Pakistan’s contention that policies of the government amount to “Hindutva terrorism”, with specific references to the Citizenship Amendment Act and the Ram temple construction. Finally, there is the oft-repeated allegation about Indian government actions in Jammu and Kashmir which it refers to as “state terrorism”.
India, which has described these allegations as “preposterous” and “laughable”, need not worry about its reputation, given its acclaimed role in fighting terror and cooperating on the international stage to deny terrorists funding and safe haven. Pakistan has consistently done the opposite, and its continued grey-listing at the Financial Action Task Force (FATF), as well as the presence of the names of hundreds of Pakistani terror groups and individuals on U.N. terror lists, are proof of that. Even so, it is important that the government take the Pakistani attempt to build its case seriously, and pre-empt its larger strategy of painting India in a poor light ahead of its tenure at the U.N. Security Council 2021-2022 and the upcoming scrutiny process at the FATF.