Narendra Modi’s bromance with global leaders over the past two years appeared over the top then, but it has paid dividends. After the military strike to avenge the Uri terror attack, India is in a rather comfortable position in the diplomatic space, while Pakistan is isolated in the subcontinent.
Immediately after the Uri attack, the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation meet, to be held in Islamabad, was called off. “This is the outcome of our intensive diplomatic overtures towards neighbours, with Modi’s special brand of personal touch,” says Alok Bansal, director of the Delhi-based think tank India Foundation. “I don’t recall a time in recent years when we’ve had such support.”
On the global front, too, the situation is better for India. Though it was a jolt to India when Russia held a joint military exercise with Pakistan starting late September, Russian ambassador to India Alexander M. Kadakin later said: “We welcome the surgical strike. Every country has a right to protect itself.”
Vice president of the European Parliament Ryszard Czarnecki, in an article in EP Today, wrote that he supported India’s action, and appealed to EU nations to keep up the pressure on Pakistan.
Though the White House closed the signature drive to declare Pakistan a terror state, the scales are titled in India’s favour. India had decided to ratify the Paris climate deal on Gandhi Jayanti, yet the actual act created bonhomie in Indo-US ties.
“Even Pakistan’s support from Saudi Arabia and Qatar is lacking,” said Major General (retired) Ashok Mehta. “Inviting the Abu Dhabi crown prince as the chief guest for Republic Day signals the support of a section of the Islamic world.”
But, India cannot afford to bask in the diplomatic sunshine. Global affiliations are changing—Russia has cosied up to Pakistan even as India has forged ties with the US. A little slip here, some complacence there, and there could be a lot of unravelling.
China, for instance, is still not on the same page. “They are worried about the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor,” said Bansal. “We should offer them alternatives. Can we think of opening China to India through a land route? We have to think of out of the box ways to engage with China.”
India, however, has to keep in mind the diplomatic fallout, say experts. “One point is clear. We’ve given a strategic message that our self-imposed embargo on the sanctity of the Line of Control is not etched in stone,” said Mehta.