India Proposes Six Diplomatic Steps Against Pakistan to International Community

The steps include officially condemning Pakistan for the Pulwama attack, supporting FATF blacklisting and designating JeM chief Masood Azhar as a global terrorist.

New Delhi: India has requested the international community to take certain concrete diplomatic steps in the wake of the Pulwama attack, ranging from issuing statements condemning Pakistan to summoning their diplomatic representatives. New Delhi also asked other countries to give their support to Pakistan’s blacklisting by the Financial Action Task Force and the designation of Masood Azhar as a global terrorist by UN.

These are the key broad measures that Indian foreign secretary Vijay Gokhale and Ministry of External Affairs secretaries have outlined in briefings with foreign ambassadors over February 15 and 16.

Official sources had stated on Friday that the briefing to envoys of P-5 countries, South Asian nations, Japan, Germany and South Korea highlighted the role of Jaish-e-Mohammed (JeM) in the suicide bomb attack on the convoy of Central Reserve Police Force personnel which left over 40 dead a day earlier.

Gokhale also spoke of India’s “demand that Pakistan ceases forthwith all support and financing to terror groups operating from areas under their control”. Official sources also stated that India focused on how Pakistan has used “terror as an instrument of state policy”.

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On the second day after the attack, India’s talking points to ambassadors from ASEAN, Iran, the Gulf Cooperation Council, Central Asia and Africa covered similar ground. The addition was a “strong rejection” of the Pakistan foreign secretary’s denial.

From speaking to multiple people aware of the content of the meetings, it is learnt that India’s briefings went on to suggest a series of diplomatic moves for the international community.

Till now, over 50 countries have already issued statements expressing sympathy and condemning the deadly attack at Pulwama. Only the US has so far made an explicit mention of Pakistan in its official statements, by referring to JeM as Pakistan-based, and called on Islamabad to end safe haven for terror groups on its soil.

India, however, wants a more direct set of actions against Pakistan from the rest of the international community.

According to diplomatic sources, New Delhi has asked various countries to be more overtly critical of Pakistan, with more unambiguous official statements condemning Islamabad.

India has also suggested that countries can go further and summon Pakistani diplomatic representatives, as well as issue a demarche to Islamabad, sources added.

Further, New Delhi has also asked them to “review” development cooperation.

Indian Army soldiers guard the attack site in Pulwama. Credit: PTI

India also asked countries to review the sale of military equipment to Pakistan. According to a 2018 report of the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI), Pakistan is the ninth largest weapons importer in the world. As per figures from 2013 to 2017, Pakistan’s largest supplier was China with 70% of the sales, followed by the US at 12% and Russia at 5.7%.

The last two measures that India proposed were support to back the blacklisting of Pakistan at the FATF and for designating Masood Azhar as a global terrorist under the UNSC 1267 sanctions committee.

India’s first official response to the Pulwama attack did include an appeal to all members of the international community to support the listing of Azhar under the UNSC committee and to ban terror groups operating from Pakistani territories.

Since any addition to the list is done through consensus, China’s technical hold on the proposal has blocked Azhar’s listing for the last three years. In answer to a question, a Chinese foreign ministry spokesperson did not indicate that there would be a change in this position. However, diplomatic observers said that China’s actions would be worth watching, especially since relations have purportedly been on an upswing since the 2018 Narendra Modi-Xi Jinping ‘informal summit’ at Wuhan.

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It also remains to be seen how much additional pressure Washington will put on Pakistan, even as the US special envoy on Afghan reconciliation has been jet-setting to Islamabad frequently to find an urgent agreement with the Taliban so that American troops can return home.

Diplomatic sources said that India’s requests have been forwarded and any impact will be discernible only after some time.

The immediate action will perhaps take place in Paris. where the international money-laundering watchdog will hold its plenary meeting this week.

After Pakistan was put on the grey list in June 2018, Islamabad had furnished a list of 27 points for implementation by September this year. The decision to put Pakistan on the grey list had been taken at the plenary on February 23 last year. Two days later, the Indian external affairs ministry spokesperson tweeted congratulations to China for being elected to the post of FATF vice president.

Also read | Pulwama Attacker ‘Never Showed Inclination to Join Militancy,’ Says Family

A Press Trust of India report on Saturday said that India will press for Pakistan’s blacklisting at the FATF plenary and will circulate a ‘dossier’ on how Pakistani agencies are providing funds to JeM.

In Islamabad, Pakistan’s foreign secretary had also initiated a series of briefings for the diplomat from Friday night in response to the Indian campaign.

India’s reply on Friday midnight had pointed out that the suicide bomber had said on video that he was a member of JeM. Pakistan countered this on Sunday by dragging in Kulbhushan Jadhav’s video after his arrest, in which he claimed that he was an Indian intelligence agent.