Rajat Sharma

Pakistan must tone down anti-India rhetoric on Kashmir

akbUnited States President Donald Trump on Monday spoke to Prime Minister Narendra Modi on phone for nearly half an hour and later rang up Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan. He urged both countries to work towards easing tensions.

Later, Trump tweeted: “Spoke to my two good friends, Prime Minister Modi of India, and Prime Minister Khan of Pakistan, regarding Trade, Strategic Partnerships and, most importantly, for India and Pakistan to work towards reducing tensions in Kashmir. A tough situation, but good conversations!”

This tweet conceals more than it is supposed to reveal. The Prime Minister’s Office on Monday evening, informed media that Prime Minister Modi raised the issue of “extreme rhetoric and incitement to anti-India violence” by the neighbouring country.

Soon after, Trump is reported to have told the Pakistani PM over phone to tone down his anti-India rhetoric in the interest of peace in the region. This was confirmed by the White House which said in a readout of the telephone call that the US President told Imran Khan about “the need to reduce tensions and moderate rhetoric with India over the situation in Jammu and Kashmir.

According to the White House, Trump “reaffirmed the need to avoid escalation of the situation and urged restraint on both sides”.

The ball is now in Pakistan’s court. Since August 5, when India announced full integration of J&K with the Indian Union, and abrogated Article 370 that granted special status to the state, Pakistan has been crying hoarse. It sought to raise the issue in the UN Security Council with its ally China, but the world body declined to issue even a statement, leave alone discussing the issue in an emergency UNSC meeting.

Following abrogation of Article 370, Pakistan has snapped trade relations with India, expelled our High Commissioner, unilaterally suspended railway and bus services, and escalated the situation along the Line of Control by resorting to shelling. Its Prime Minister and all senior cabinet ministers went to Pak Occupied Kashmir on their Independence Day,in what they called a show of “solidarity”. Their leader Imran Khan used adjectives like “racist”, “supremacist” for our Prime Minister. This was the extreme rhetoric that Modi was referring to during his telephonic talk with President Trump.

All attempts by Pakistan to internationalize the Kashmir issue have failed miserably. None of the Big Five except China in the UN Security Council sided with Pakistan. It is now an openly acknowledged fact that Pakistan is the cradle of terrorism in this region. It harbours and trains terrorists and seeks to destabilize its neighbouring countries like India and Afghanistan.

It was in this background that our Prime Minister clearly told President Trump that India has exercised maximum restraint despite provocations from Pakistan, and if the latter continues with its extreme rhetoric and terror cnspiracies, it will have to face the music. India will no more tolerate any adventurist design by Pakistan. The punitive air strike on Balakot is a clear example of India’s firm will and determination.

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