In a vindication of India’s stand on Pakistan’s being safest haven for terrorists, the US administration has swiftly acted and cut off $255 million military aid to Pakistan and warned the country that any future assistance is contingent upon it acting against terrorists operating from its soil. 

This follows the anguish of the US President that his country got only lies and deceit in return for $33 billion aid over the last 15 years.  It is indeed a diplomatic triumph of sorts for India, after it successfully drew the attention of BRICS heads and United Nations General Assembly to Pakistan’s overt and covert aid to terrorists seeking to destabilise India. Pakistan’s narrative of itself being a victim of cross-border safe havens of terrorists (Afghanistan) cuts no ice as it’s its own doing.

Terrorism has hurt Pakistan too badly, but it is its rulers, especially the military, that brought the nation to such a pass, where it stands isolated in the world, save for the backing of its all-weather ally China.  If China still stands by Pakistan and blocks India’s bid to get JeM chief Masood Azhar declared as a UN-designated terrorist, it is because it has an axe to grind.  China is extracting its pound of flesh in the form of taking Pakistan territorial assets in return for aid and infra projects. China’s pique with India emanates from latter’s opposition to CPEC projects in POK and shelter to Dalai Lama. 

It is disconcerting that even in his change of mind Trump seems to have turned inward-looking. He held up ‘America First’ stance. He only spoke of Pak foiling its designs to hunt down Haqqani network which is fighting to drive US and Western forces from Afghanistan. Besides, US wants India to involve militarily involve in Afghanistan. India can’t afford to get bogged in a deadly mire of jihadism. 

Recently, Pakistan caused outrage by lifting terror charges against 26/11 mastermind Hafiz Saeed, chief of Lashkar-e-Toiba.  India has for long been prodding the comity of nations and various blocs that there are no “good” and “bad” terrorists.  But its pleas have largely been in vain. Vexed by Pak acts, India under Modi deservedly let Pakistan know that it can do more than stepping up rhetoric. The surgical strike and border crossings by its forces to retaliate against killings of its troops reflect its bold strategy ala Israel’s.

At this juncture, India needs to use all its acumen in further isolating Pakistan in the globe.  The world is no longer ready to buy Pakistan’s self-serving narratives against India and Afghanistan. Trump has just used a blunt force to force Pakistan to change its behaviour. It’s time India ups diplomatic ante at the forthcoming India-ASEAN summit. 

It must apprise ASEAN heads of Pakistan’s continuous use of religious extremism and terrorism to trouble India and Afghanistan. It is time to send a tough message to Pakistan that should it persist with support to terrorists, the world will act against it, as has just been done by Trump. Pakistan also must realise it is in danger of being officially labelled a rogue country.