The UPA mollycoddled Pakistan despite all its misadventures on the border. Their cowardly attitude toward Pakistan is what emboldened it to continue to cut us through a thousand cuts. But the Modi government has turned this situation around drastically.
We’ll briefly go through how the Modi government has dealt with Pakistan during its tenure in contrast to the UPA, but first let’s see what the latest ‘surgical strike’ is.
Pakistanis used to come to India in huge numbers for different purposes – medical, business, tourism and religious visits. It was extremely easy for Pakistanis to obtain a visa to India under the UPA rule, but not now. It’s near impossible to get one under the Modi government.
Figures suggest that the UPA used to give a staggering 21,000 visas every quarter to Pakistanis! Last year, of these 21,000 given every quarter, 6,000 were medical visas.
The Modi government has put a complete halt to this. In the last three months, only 2 visas have been issued, of which one was to a man from PoK. These two also had been issued at the discretion of the External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj.
There is a reason behind this strong step taken by the government. Pakistan has ordered Kulbhushan Jadhav – a man they’ve falsely appropriated as a spy – to be hanged to death. Kulbhushan’s mother wants to visit her son, but Pakistan isn’t giving her a visa. In fact, Sartaj Aziz didn’t even have the courtesy to respond to Sushma Swaraj’s letter requesting Pakistan to grant Kulbhushan’s mother a visa.
This has drawn a severe response from the Modi government. They are replying in kind to the rogue neighbour. No visas, especially to Pakistani businessmen, tourists, sportspeople and those desiring religious visits are being entertained. You don’t see such people from Pakistan in India anymore.
Pakistan threatens India with nuclear war often and boasts of its relations with China. Then why don’t their nationals go to China for medical treatment? Despite China and Pakistan being close friends, China isn’t liberal when it comes to giving visas to Pakistanis because it secretly recognises that Pakistan is a terror sponsoring state and that its nationals can’t be blindly trusted. It just doesn’t voice this publicly.
Some would argue (and they do, especially those who harbour an unnaturally soft spot for Pakistan) that why do we need to behave in the same manner as Pakistan? I ask this ‘Aman ki Asha’ brigade – why do we need to extend all niceties to Pakistan when it doesn’t possess even the basic courtesy to allow a mother to meet her son?
Revisiting PM Modi’s Pakistan Policy
One needs to give a little bit of thought to Prime Minister Modi’s Pakistan policy. His first major step was to invite Nawaz Sharif to his swearing-in ceremony. The next – most unexpected and rather pleasant step – was to visit Pakistan on his way back to India from Afghanistan.
Many mock and criticize this move, but optics are very important when it comes to geopolitics. This brief stopover gave a clear message to the world that India wants better ties with Pakistan, and that now the onus is on Pakistan to take relations forward.
This was Prime Minister Modi’s way of giving Pakistan a chance to redeem itself. He must have surely known that Pakistan will not mend its ways, but his motive behind this visit was to place India on a high moral ground. This enabled the world to sympathize with India since then whenever Pakistan carried out a terrorist attack on our soil.
As time went on, Prime Minister Modi’s words and actions grew harsher. He vowed that those who were responsible for the cold-blooded killings of our soldiers in Uri would be avenged. And it did happen when the Indian Army conducted a first-of-its-kind surgical strike against terror camps backed by Pakistan in PoK.
One of Nehru’s biggest blunders was the Indus Water Treaty wherein he literally sacrificed India’s interests to please Pakistan and raise his own stature as a statesman on the world stage. Prime Minister Modi is slowly but surely correcting that mistake as well. He has expedited the construction of dams in J&K worth $15 billion to more efficiently tap into the rivers flowing into Pakistan.
People ask why the government doesn’t officially term Pakistan a terrorist nation. What benefit will it do? If India does that, it will merely be symbolic. It won’t have any effect on Pakistan, and neither on world powers.
Hasn’t India been providing proof of terror attacks sponsored by Pakistan to international institutions and nations such as the US? Did Pakistan face any repercussions as a result of this? Not until now when the Trump administration cancelled a $350 million military aid to Pakistan. So, one must understand that India declaring Pakistan a terrorist nation will do no benefit when nations have been overlooking damning evidence for decades. The US doing that is important and significant, and that is happening now as our government takes firm strides diplomatically.
What should be done is being very tactfully done by Prime Minister Modi. Where ever he has gone – whether it be a nation or a congregation of nations – he has explicitly targeted Pakistan and called for united action against sponsors of terror.
Every ceasefire violation is being responded by the Indian Army in much greater measure now which has resulted in India dominating the LoC. Our soldiers have been given complete freedom by the Modi government to retaliate in any measure they deem fit. They also have permission to shoot-at-sight anyone intruding the border.
Diplomatically the Modi government has isolated Pakistan. SAARC nations have boycotted Pakistan for being an abettor of terror. Then when India launched the ‘SAARC satellite’, it dedicated it to the welfare of SAARC nations except Pakistan. The government has also successfully persuaded nations and organisations to stop investing in Pakistan, the most recent example being South Korea pulling out of a dam project in PoK.
The crux of Prime Minister Modi’s Pakistan policy is that he isn’t indulging himself in symbolic actions. Whatever he’s doing is actually affecting Pakistan adversely, whether economically, diplomatically or militarily. Overall, Pakistan is feeling the pain which is evident in its media, especially of the recent decision to stop giving their nationals visas.