A long way to go
Delhi Declaration’s mention of cross-border terror is a good beginning. But it won’t be enough to dent Pakistan’s impunity
It is significant that the Delhi Declaration of India and 10 ASEAN countries last week mentioned, for the first time, “cross-border movement of terrorists” and made a commitment to counter the challenge through “close cooperation”. In an endorsement of the longstanding Indian view, these leaders not only agreed on a comprehensive approach to counter “foreign terrorist fighters”, but also supported efforts to target terror groups and sanctuaries.
While stressing that “there can be no justification for acts of terror on any grounds whatsoever,” the Delhi Declaration on the 25th anniversary of the ASEAN-India partnership also said that they would “deepen cooperation in combating terrorism in all its forms and manifestations (प्रत्यक्षीकरण), violent extremism (अतिवाद) and radicalisation (कट्टरता) through information sharing, law enforcement cooperation and capacity building under the existing ASEAN-led mechanisms”.
When the same group of countries had met five years ago there was no mention of terrorism. The clear mention of cross-border movement of terrorists and foreign terrorist fighters is a marked change, then, from the 2012 statement, which only had a commitment to foster (प्रोत्साहन देना) greater security cooperation.
For the past many decades, India has been a victim of cross-border terrorism emanating (उत्पन्न होना) from Pakistan, particularly in Jammu and Kashmir. Its efforts to garner (संचित करना) international support to diplomatically isolate Pakistan have borne fruit in recent years, particularly with the recent statements issued by the Trump administration.
But other countries, whose support is critical, have not been as forthcoming in targeting Pakistan, allowing Islamabad to get away with patronising — or at least turning a blind eye towards — India-centric terror groups and leaders. This joint statement with ASEAN leaders could embolden (प्रोत्साहित करना) New Delhi’s efforts to list Jaish-e-Mohammad chief Maulana Masood Azhar as a global terrorist, and pressure Pakistan to take action against Mumbai terror attack mastermind and Jamaat-ud-Dawa founder Hafiz Saeed.
Notwithstanding the support from ASEAN countries, India is aware that Pakistan’s impunity (छुटकारा) flows mainly from its close alliance with China. Beijing has constantly blocked all efforts by India to press Pakistan at the UN under various UNSC resolutions on terrorism, and New Delhi has been unable to find a way around it.
The ASEAN countries have a varied and complicated relationship with China, and are sensitive to Chinese concerns. This is visible in the absence of any mention of Indo-Pacific or China’s Belt and Road Initiative from the joint statement. It used to be said that Pakistan is able to unleash (उन्मुक्त करना) terrorism against India because of the support it could garner from the US, Saudi Arabia and China. While the US clearly stands in New Delhi’s favour, Saudi Arabia also seems to be sympathetic to Indian concerns. It is on getting China around that India will have to work, if it wants to see concrete action against Pakistan. The ASEAN statement is a good beginning but there is a long way still to go.
- Manifestations: The action or fact of showing something.
Synonyms: display, demonstration, showing, show, exhibition, presentation, indication, illustration, exemplification, exposition, disclosure, declaration, expression, profession
- Extremism: The holding of extreme political or religious views; fanaticism.
Synonyms: fanaticism, radicalism, zealotry, zeal, fundamentalism, dogmatism, bigotry, militancy, activism
- Radicalization: The action or process of causing someone to adopt radical positions on political or social issues.
- Foster: to help the growth or development of
Synonyms: advance, cultivate, encourage, forward, further, incubate, nourish, nurse, nurture, promote
Antonyms: discourage, frustrate, hinder, inhibit, encumber, fetter, hobble, impede, interfere (with), manacle, obstruct, shackle
- Emanating: Originate from; be produced by.
Synonyms: originate from, have its origins in, derive from, arise from, stem from, emanate from, proceed from, start from, issue from, evolve from, come from
Antonyms: absorb, inhale, soak (up), sponge, suck (up), take up
- Garner: Gather or collect (something, especially information or approval)
Synonyms: gather, collect, accumulate, amass, assemble
Antonyms: dispel, disperse, dissipate, scatter
- Embolden: to fill with courage or strength of purpose
Synonyms: bear up, buck up, buoy (up), cheer (up), chirk (up), encourage, hearten, inspire, inspirit, steel
Antonyms: daunt, discourage, dishearten, dispirit
- Impunity: freedom from punishment, harm, or loss
Synonyms: exemption, immunity
Antonyms: exposure, liability, openness, susceptibility, susceptibleness, vulnerability
- Unleash: to set free (from a state of being held in check)
Synonyms: loose, loosen, uncork, release, unlock, unloose, unloosen
Antonyms: bridle, check, constrain, contain, control, curb, govern, hold, inhibit, regulate, rein (in), restrain, smother, tame