If there was any doubt that this Heart of Asia conference in Amritsar has been co-opted by the Indian administration to satisfy their personal political needs, it has been shed. Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi and the Afghan Prime Minister spent the majority of the conference lashing out at Pakistan, to the detriment of the topic at hand – but it is the undiplomatic and hostile behaviour shown towards the Pakistani delegate, Foreign Adviser Sartaj Aziz, that betrays their subversive motivation the most.

After shunting the delegate to a separate table, the Indian administration prevented Sartaj Aziz from holding a scheduled press conference. Furthermore, in sheer violation of diplomatic norms, the adviser was stopped from leave the hotel, neither media persons were allowed to enter the premises to meet him. If that wasn’t enough, the administration stopped Pakistan’s High Commissioner to India Abdul Basit from entering the Media Centre set up at the Conference venue. “Security concerns” do not justify why the media and Pakistani diplomatic team was not given access to the area every other journalist was allowed to enter. It is clear that India wanted to target Pakistan – but the manner is quite despicable. India needs to realise that diplomatic discourse between countries should be kept civil and open, even in times of open conflict, even if the content is highly critical – these schoolyard tricks are not the province of civilised countries.

Other countries have noticed this single-minded desire to humiliate Pakistan rather than constructively talk about Afghan issues too. First the Iranian delegate chimed in with Pakistan’s stance of peace and co-operation in defiance to India’s hawkish one, and now Russia’s special envoy to Afghanistan Zamir Kabulov, let it be known that the allegations game needs to be stopped and that criticising Pakistan was wrong.

This was India’s chance to demonstrate a regional leadership role, but it chose to score petty points instead. Dialogue between the countries is as important for India as it is for Pakistan. The Modi Administration’s foreign policy is severely myopic, and only focused inwards at making sure the BJP gets elected another term at the cost of Indian security and Kashmiri lives.