Imran Khan and his colleagues have repeatedly been stating that despite all the hue and cry raised by them, the world has not supported them on Kashmir. They have tried every trick in their bag to bring the international community to compel India to roll back its decision on Article 370. These have included threatening a nuclear war, protests at the UN and in other parts of the world, but all failed. Even their calls for lifting internet restrictions in Kashmir have been globally ignored.
Their close allies, Saudi Arabia and UAE, have ignored them. They have only been supported by China, Malaysia and Turkey.
China too has cracked down on its Uyghur population, putting millions behind bars, seeking to change the mindset of the community and even applying force where needed. For them the Muslim majority region of Xinjiang must be re-educated, and Chinese culture imposed. China has not hidden its intentions, rather at times boasted that its actions have safeguarded the country and stopped terrorist strikes.
In China’s case there was criticism from the western world. Muslim nations, including members of the Organization of Islamic Conference (OIC) supported China and submitted a letter to the UN backing Chinese actions. With all OIC members signing the letter, UN condemnation was ignored. This was because most OIC members seek Chinese largesse.
Imran Khan stated in interviews that he is more concerned about his own problems rather than those of China. On another occasion he stated that he is unaware of the case and once he obtains details, he would discuss with the Chinese directly, rather than criticise them publicly
Saudi Arabia came under some criticism because of the Khashoggi incident. The economic power of Saudi Arabia prevented it being openly chastised for its actions. The US also stood by Saudi Arabia as it has close economic and military ties with the country. Similarly, Israel has never been seriously taken to task for its handling of Palestinians including occupying Palestinian lands to expand its settlements. The UN has attempted to criticise Israel but with US veto, has never succeeded. Resolutions by the General Assembly and UNHCR have been ignored as they are never binding.
On the other hand, Iran, Pakistan and Syria face intense criticism for their handling of minorities and their policies of supporting terrorist groups. Iran is already in the FATF Blacklist and Pakistan is in the Grey List and is being closely monitored. They regularly face international flak for their actions including treatment of minorities. There are almost no supporters in the world. Pakistan just has China.
Other than criticising Pakistan for its actions of supporting terrorist groups, India has maintained silence in all other cases. As a firm policy, India has not interfered in internal matters of other countries, whether it be China, Iran or Israel.
There are two reasons why Pakistan’s cries were ignored. One was that it supported Chinese actions on Muslims, mainly because of Chinese diplomatic and economic support and sought international criticism for Indian actions. This hypocrisy was evident.
The second and more important factor is that the world respects the strong and powerful. This implies that nations seek military ties and markets and hence are willing to appreciate a powerful country’s interests, as did most nations in India’s case.
This is the reason why China, Saudi Arabia and Israel have seldom faced intense international pressure. On the other hand, a nation like Pakistan, which struggles to survive is ignored and easily criticised for its actions.
Benjamin Netanyahu, the erstwhile Israeli Prime Minister stated in his talk at the Observer Research Foundation during his visit to India in January this year, “The weak don’t survive. The strong survive. You make peace with the strong. You ally with the strong.” That is the current state of India. As it grows from strength to strength, the international community rushes in to partner with India, listens to Indian logic and backs it.
A nation’s diplomatic power stems from its economic and military power. A strong nation can adopt an aggressive diplomatic strategy and convince the world that its actions are justified. This has been the Indian approach in recent times.
India’s growing economy and military power places it in high demand. Nations from across the globe seek to partner India, join in economic partnerships and desire military collaboration. India is the only nation in Asia which can challenge growing Chinese power and hence is sought after. Its growing market and economy make it the destination for trade ties. On the other hand, when Pakistan complains, it is ignored as apart from being a supporter of terrorism, it lacks national power.
Pakistan has one major advantage which keeps it in the good books of select Muslim nations. That is its nuclear capability. Nations like Turkey and Saudi Arabia, despite all their claims are seeking nuclear capability to counter hostile neighbours, gain international recognition as also ensure national security. Pakistan’s record of selling nuclear secrets has ensured that these nations keep granting Pakistan crumbs to keep the doors open for gaining nuclear technology should the situation so emerge. However, such a relationship does not emerge openly in the global scenario.
In India’s case all nations which partner it understand that they cannot criticise it. Malaysia and Turkey are two recent examples whose actions are now being countered diplomatically and economically. Their economy is already being impacted by Indian counter actions.
While governments back India, oppositions in those countries would do the opposite. Thus, within the US and UK, opposition politicians have attempted to chastise India. However, they have made little impact as the government in power wants to enhance ties, not risk breaking them.
India’s strong diplomatic strategy backed by military and economic power has ensured international support. Pakistan would continue facing setbacks, despite all its hollering as the world ignores the weak.
(The writer is a retired Major-General of the Indian Army.)