Modi’s belligerence needs to be understood. Firstly, he does not like Pakistan. His whole background based on rank Hindu nationalism, laced with the idea of Akhand Bharat, makes him view Pakistan an unwholesome entity. It didn’t take him long to diffuse Nawaz Sharif’s earnest desire to make friends with India. On a flimsy excuse he stopped the agreed meeting between the two foreign secretaries.


Modi today is a puffed-up unquestioned leader. Puffed-up, because of a highly successful and close relations with USA, a fruitful partnership with enormous benefits in the economic and defence fields. He also has managed to secure considerable investments from a number of prosperous countries like Japan. He even got Chinese investments amounting to $20 billion. His visits to a number of SAARC countries have added to his ambition to assert India’s dominant position in the region. His most remarkable visit has been to Bangladesh which provided him with the opportunity to reveal his true colours in the way he perceives Pakistan. He openly admitted having worked for the break-up of Pakistan with a terrorist group known as Mukti Bahini and how Indian military intervention helped create Bangladesh. In his speeches in Dhaka he did not mince words and with pride received honours for India’s role in the war in East Pakistan. Yes, Pakistan is to blame for the blunders committed by it and how it alienated East Pakistanis and resorted to the use of military force to counter the rising wave of liberation. Of course India availed of this opportunity to “cut Pakistan to size”, trampling under foot principles and provisions of the Unite Nations.


Modi’s ministers too have been making provocative statements aimed at Pakistan, the latest relating to a policy of hot pursuit to punish a neighbour for any assumed transgression, making an implied reference to Pakistan.


As expected, the reaction in Pakistan has been sharp and spirited. The army chief has made strong statements. The advisor for foreign affairs, the defence and interior ministers have also spoken. Resolutions have been passed by both the National Assembly and the Senate. The Prime Minister too has taken India to task while addressing a group of Pakistan diplomats.


Why has India been stepping up its provocative stance on relations with Pakistan? Analysts suggest that India has been upset because of the huge Chinese investment of $46 billion in Pakistan and in particular because of the Chinese Pakistan Economic Corridor. Modi, in fact, according to Sushma Suraj India’s foreign minister told the Chinese President during his visit that “it is unacceptable”, as it passes through territory claimed by India. India is also unhappy at the development of the Gawadar seaport by the Chinese as it possibly upsets India’s plans to establish its hegemony in the Indian Ocean. Pakistan’s changing (for the better) relations with Afghanistan has also irked Mr. Modi.


As for a proper response to India’s jingoism two kinds of approaches are being debated and articulated in Pakistan. One eloquently voiced by I. A Rehman and Ayaz Amir counsels restraint and asks Pakistan not to get provoked by the hostile and belligerent rhetoric coming from Bharat. They advise that we should do a dispassionate analysis of India’s strategy of isolating Pakistan by wooing some other neighbours. Pakistan should refuse to be provoked. Ayaz Amir is of the opinion that Pakistan need not take India’s menacing provocations much too seriously. Pakistan, he says is not a winnow that will be swallowed by a whale.


The reaction generally felt by the people at large has been well voiced by the Senate and the National Assembly. Both have passed resolutions reflecting public feelings and steps needed to be taken for giving a fitting response to India. A few words about the resolution passed by the National Assembly: The house “vehemently condemns the irresponsible and hostile statements against Pakistan from the Indian ruling leadership”, “calls into question India’s desire to establish good-neighbourly relations with Pakistan”. Indian government has acknowledged the conspiracy and involvement in the events of 1971 in the former East Pakistan: “Such statements confirm Pakistan’s belief about past and present Indian involvement in destabilizing Pakistan”. It also noted the irony in Mr. Modi’s efforts to make a case for India’s permanent membership of the United Nations Security Council while being in violation of the council’s long-standing resolutions on Jammu and Kashmir “as well as interfering in the internal affairs of other states in contravention of the UN charter”. The house also regretted that Mr. Modi made such statements in Bangladesh, “aimed at stoking hatred against Pakistan” there and said, “Indian attempts to sow seeds of discord between the peoples of Pakistan and Bangladesh will not succeed”.
The Senate’s resolution is more or less similar. It condemns the “provocative and hostile” statements which it said reflected the Indian “hegemonic mindset”. The resolution, moved by leader of the house Raja Zafarul Haq, said such “crude attempts” by India are “unacceptable”. The resolution condemned the recent “disturbing pattern of provocative and hostile” statements by Indian leaders including threatening attacks against Pakistani territory. The resolution said the upper house of the parliament wishes to emphasize that Pakistan will never allow its territory to be violated by India under any pretext.


The Prime Minister’s words convey a more measured and statesman-like approach to India’s provocative behaviour. In his above mentioned address to the ambassadors he said: “The entire nation is dismayed by the recent irresponsible and, I must say, imprudent statements from the Indian political leadership… This vitiates the atmosphere and takes us further away from our goals of regional peace and stability… We will protect our vital interests at all costs. This message must be heard loud and clear”.


It is important that Pakistan exposes India’s self-admission that it blatantly militarily interfered in a sovereign state and thus manifestly violated the foundational principles enshrined in the United Nations charter. Can such an unprincipled country be ever considered for a permanent membership of the UN Security Council?!