Even if it was not a masterpiece, Sushma Swaraj sure dealt a body-blow to the blabbering of Nawaz Sharif and other Pakistani leaders and officials. While her speech was eagerly awaited after Nawaz Sharif’s pathetic show on September 21 in UNGA where he churned out falsities after falsities about India and Kashmir for 8 minutes during his address of 19 minutes, Sushma’s was a balances, well-drafted reply that again showed the world community why Pakistan should not be trusted.
As expected, no one in India and the world community has taken Sharif seriously and he has been criticised even back home in Pakistan for not raising ‘India interfering in Balochistan’ issue. We all know why Sharif did not raise it – simply for the fear of global attention that the issue would get – if it becomes an India-Pakistan war of words on a UN platform. But, then at the same time, we should not be in two minds on whether it will help Pakistan. With India’s emphasis and Pakistan’s long record of human rights abuses in Balochistan to crush the decades old freedom movement of its native people, it is going to get increased traction.
Sushma’s UNGA speech that won wide praise was well balanced in content, addressing themes of this General Assembly session (sustainable development goals), as well as hitting back at Pakistan for its duplicity and terror streak.
But two things stand apart – that also show how India is going to conduct its diplomacy and how it going to speak its mind in future.
THE KASHMIR ADMISSION
When Sushma Swaraj said that those who have glass houses should not throw stones on others, she was making an honest statement and was issuing a stern warning.
We all accept that Kashmir is going through a bad phase. Even our prime minister has accepted it and the Indian establishment is sincere to make things normal even if it is all because of Pakistan sponsored terrorism and separatism. We in India know where we erred and we accept it. To India’s credit, Kashmir unrest has seen a raging national debate and everyone has spoken his mind, including the so-called separatists.
When we can do so here, why not across the world? It will, in fact, help India in building a water tight case against Pakistan. Sushma’s speech had this admission that day that the situation in Kashmir is bad. Its global admission will put the root-cause of it in the limelight. The admission also conveys a sincere intent to correct any wrong on the Indian part.
At the same time, she also said that Pakistan has many weak points and if India starts speaking for them or if starts supporting the separatist voices like Baloch or Sindhi, Pakistan will find it hard to control.
It is a bold move.
THE KASHMIR ASSERTION
The other thing that is remarkable about Sushma Swaraj’s speech is that it made it clear before the world that the whole Kashmir is an integral part of India and Pakistan can never take it, even if it wages a war for it.
Now we all know the positions here.
The whole Kashmir, including Jammu & Kashmir, Pakistan-occupied-Kashmir and Gilgit-Baltistan, are integral part of India and Pakistan is in illegal occupation of PoK and Gilgit-Baltistan.
Pakistan says India is forcefully occupying the Kashmir Valley while its people want freedom from India.
The issue is still on UN Security Council agenda. Kashmir is seen globally as one of the crisis hotbeds that can become a threat for regional peace.
But the whole world community, barring few, now advocates that it is a bilateral issue and India-Pakistan should resolve it accordingly.
Sushma Swaraj, through her speech, has now made it very clear that it is India’s position that is now going to matter.
A BOLD PERSPECTIVE IN DIPLOMACY
These two points, admission and assertion about Kashmir, might prove a milestone in India’s diplomacy. Sushma spoke with authority on Kashmir like a global power speaks and others listen. Even if dragged by many problems including poverty, illiteracy and disparity, India is now major global power – in economy, in military and in space.
India is now seen in the front league nations and its policies should be accordingly including diplomacy. And Sushma’s bold UNGA speech this time can be the beginning.
If India is a global power, it should exude confidence and authority and should command respect. Yes, nothing comes for free, especially in the realpolitik of geopolitics that is propelled by selfish motives. And India knows what it has – the largest middle class of the world.
India is projected to have the largest middle class in some years. Middle class is the main consumer of marketing forces and therefore is its pivot. So this market will be dear for companies from across the world, including India’s traditional opponent China. No one can ignore it.
India needs to assert herself on global platforms and a diplomacy aligned on these lines is the first step towards it.