The SAARC Summit that was to be held in Pakistan in November is the latest victim of the clash between India and Pakistan. Pakistan has blamed India for this regression in regional peace building, and rightly so.
India’s refusal to attend is part of its effort to diplomatically isolate Pakistan for its alleged support of Islamist groups on its soil. However, SAARC is not a body where security is on the agenda. It is more a forum for economic and cultural cooperation.
The other toothless international body, similarly held hostage by powerful sates in the global system, the UN, has urged both sides to exercise maximum restraint and take immediate steps to de-escalate the situation. Such generic demands are far from reassuring, considering the UN Security Council has consistently refused to take up the matter of the human rights abuses in IOK, as well as overlooking a bloody past of conflict over the disputed territory.
However, the Indian claims of a “surgical strike” have come to naught. UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon’s spokesperson Stephane Dujarric has repudiated the Indian claim stating that the UN Military Observer Group in India and Pakistan (UNMOGIP) “had not directly observed any firing across the LoC related to the latest incidents”. An explicit refusal to confirm Indian propaganda.
Most of what India is doing in the aftermath of 88 Kashmiri deaths and countless injuries in Indian Occupied Kashmir (IOK) is to protect the fragile ego that PM Modi has built for it since his election. However, Modi’s legacy is not going to be one of a rising India, but of a warring India – an India that halted cultural exchange, waged war in Kashmir against a disenfranchised people only armed with stones, and made regional organisations redundant. In the short run the BJP may be sitting pretty with this “Modi-fication” of India, but history will not be kind to it once it counts the number of lives lost in Narendra Modi’s time.