China, an ‘all-weather’ ally of Pakistan, recently foiled a cunningly-designed Indian diplomatic move at the United Nations Security Council’s 1267 Sanctions Committee. This Indian move was primarily aimed at building pressure on Pakistan vis-à-vis cross-border terrorism after getting the names of a number of Pakistan-based ‘individuals and entities’ included in the so-called 1267 sanctions regime. This is not the first Indian diplomatic assault on Pakistan. In fact, India has proactively launched a concerted diplomatic onslaught against Pakistan to isolate the latter internationally. For this purpose, India is actively endeavouring to tarnish the positive image of Pakistan in the world through its ‘negative branding’.

Testifying before the Senate Armed Service Committee two weeks ago, the Commander of US Central Command (Centcom) General Joseph Votel said that India’s policy of ‘diplomatic isolation’ of Pakistan was a hindrance to improve ties between the two countries. While addressing a large public rally in Indian state of Kerala last year, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi publically vowed to spearhead a global campaign to isolate Pakistan in the world. In fact, India had already launched its multi-faceted diplomatic initiatives against Pakistan. After last year’s Uri attack, it just intensified its diplomatic maneuvering internationally to achieve this very objective which has somehow become the cornerstone of its foreign policy. For this single purpose, it is extensively employing the primary tools of conventional and non-conventional diplomacy in the world. Moreover, it is also readily exploiting all the potential multilateral forums, ranging from the UN to BRICS, SAARC, HoA-IP etc., ignoring altogether the things like diplomatic niceties, etiquette and protocols.

In the face of balance of power between India and Pakistan vis-à-vis the nuclear as well as conventional military strength, India has somehow evolved a hostile diplomatic strategy to harm its arch foe- Pakistan. Aimed at isolating Pakistan in the world, this diplomatic strategy essentially comprises three major elements or components. First of all, this three-prong strategy observably includes a proactive diplomatic propaganda against Pakistan regarding ‘exporting’ terrorism to other countries in the region, especially India and Afghanistan.

While addressing the Joint Meeting of the US Congress in Washington last year, Indian PM Modi pointed his finger at Pakistan for “harbouring, supporting and sponsoring terrorists”. He also urged the US to “deepen security cooperation” with India to isolate Pakistan. Similarly, Indian Home Minister Rajnath Singh also spoke against Pakistan at the SAARC conference in Islamabad in August last year. He talked of isolating those “who provide support, encouragement, sanctuary, safe haven or any assistance to terrorism and terrorists”. Indian External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj hurled similar allegations against Pakistan while addressing the 71st session of UNGA in New York in September last year. She accused Pakistan of “nurturing, peddling and exporting” terrorism.

Pakistan bashing also continued at the BRICS Summit 2016. At this summit, Indian PM Modi called Pakistan “mothership’ of terrorism after declaring that “terrorism has become its favourite child”. Pakistan was also, directly and indirectly, targeted and criticised during the Sixth Ministerial Conference of Heart of Asia- Istanbul Process (HoA-IP) in India. Afghan President Ashraf Ghani openly accused Pakistan of launching an ‘undeclared war’ on Afghanistan by covertly supporting various terror networks. Similarly, Indian PM Modi also called for taking strict measures “against those who support, shelter and finance terrorists”. “Silence and inaction against terrorism in Afghanistan and our region will only embolden terrorists and their masters”, he maintained. And finally, India’s latest move at the UNSC’s 1267 Sanctions Committee simply indicates how desperate and persistent India is in achieving the primary goal of its foreign policy.

The second component of India’s current hostile diplomatic strategy against Pakistan relates to its international relations. At present, India is enjoying cordial relations with a large number of sovereign states across the world. So India is extensively utilising these bilateral ties to advance it primary foreign policy goal of isolating Pakistan. For this particular purpose, it has also fostered strategic and economic cooperation with a number of independent countries in the world. India’s ‘strategic partnership’ with Afghanistan speaks volumes about this. So are the rapidly-growing US-India strategic and defense ties. The nature of current India-Iran bond also substantiates this fact. Similarly, somehow isolating Pakistan regionally, India has succeeded in uniting the other SAARC countries under its umbrella after actively mobilising the BIMSTEC (Bay of Bengal Initiatives for Multi-Sectoral Technical and Economic Cooperation) forum. For the last few years, India has also been keenly trying to substantially improve its bilateral ties with the important Arab states.

The third important component of India’s Anti-Pakistan diplomatic maneuverings involves excessive exploitation of certain so-called nationalist-cum-separatist movements in Pakistan, especially in the province of Baluchistan. India is trying to portray Pakistan as a country which is harshly suppressing the just nationalist movements on its soil through brutally employing its security apparatus. It is also projecting and supporting various self-exiled so-called Baloch nationalist leaders. Apparently, India is desirous of undermining Pakistan’s credentials to condemn and criticise atrocities committed by Indian security forces in the disputed state of J&K.

Presently China is the only significant country in the world which is actively countering India’s current diplomatic onslaught against Pakistan. It has long been proactively protecting the paramount interests of Pakistan at the formal international forums, including the UN, as it has just thwarted India’s cunning move against Pakistan at the UNSC’s 1267 Sanctions Committee. It is also safeguarding the national interests of Pakistan regarding the proposed admission of new members to Nuclear Supplier Group. Similarly, forcefully rejecting India’s uncalled for malicious propaganda against Pakistan at the last BRICS Summit, China stood by its ‘time-tested’ ally and asked the world community to acknowledge Pakistan’s “great sacrifices”.

Though India has not significantly achieved in its nefarious diplomatic objectives against Pakistan so far, yet it has to some extent succeeded in isolating Pakistan in the region. Afghanistan and Iran, once the friendly countries with Pakistan, are now closer to India than Pakistan. Except Pakistan, all SAARC countries have become satellites of India in the region. This is the reason as soon as India refused to attend the scheduled 19th SAARC Summit at Islamabad last year, the four other important SAARC countries- Bangladesh, Bhutan, Afghanistan and Sri Lanka- instantly pulled out of this Summit.

Through its aggressive diplomatic propaganda against Pakistan, India has also succeeded in persuading the US, the super power in the unipolar world, to jump on its Anti-Pakistan bandwagon. Therefore, now the US is not supporting the stance of Pakistan vis-à-vis various crucial issues at the multilateral forums like the UNSC, NSG etc. The US has declined to subsidize the sale of eight F-16 fighter jets to Pakistan. Last year, the US also suspended the $300 million tranche of its finical assistance for Pakistan military from the Coalition Support Fund (CSF). Moreover, the US government also recently imposed sanctions on seven Pakistan entities for their alleged association with Pakistan’s missile programme by adding them to Export Administration Regulation (EAR) list.

President Donald Trump is being widely dubbed as Islamophobic and anti-Pakistan. He may easily fall prey to hostile anti-Pakistan lobbyists and Indian propagandists in the Unites states. Similarly, the broader US strategic interests in the South Asian region may also compel President Trump to further strengthen its bilateral ties with India. Certainly, a hostile US-India strategic bond in our region will badly damage Pakistan’s interests.

Presently many European countries are also being attacked by the Middle East-based terrorist outfits. Theses terror attacks have given rise to strong anti-terrorism and anti-Islam sentiments in the Europe. Therefore, at this critical juncture, the terror-related Indian propaganda against Pakistan would severely tarnish the very image of Pakistan in the West. Besides adversely affecting Pakistan’s trade ties with the EU countries, it would also cause extreme hardship to millions of overseas Pakistanis there.

India’s current diplomatic maneuvering against Pakistan would also harm Pakistan’s ‘Kashmir cause’ by undermining its very position and capacity to internationally demand a just settlement of this longstanding dispute. If Pakistan is internationally portrayed as a country which victimises the nationalists inside its own territory, it would no longer in a position to condemn and highlight the brutalities committed by India security forces in the held valley. Similarly, the negative branding of Pakistan would also impair its capacity to play any positive or constructive role in the Afghan affairs to bring durable peace in Afghanistan. At the moment, Pakistan direly needs to evolve a comprehensive diplomatic strategy to proactively counter India’s aggressive diplomatic onslaught against it.