As al­lies go silent on In­dia’s strikes

Is­lam­abad says will de­fer Saarc meet af­ter 5 of 8 coun­tries pull out

Hindustan Times ST (Mumbai) - Live - - FRONT PAGE - HT Cor­re­spon­dent

NEW DELHI: In­dia’s diplo­matic en­cir­clementof Pak­istanap­peared to bear fruit on Fri­day, with even Is­lam­abad’s tra­di­tional al­lies re­fus­ing to take its side over New Delhi’s sur­gi­cal strikes on mil­i­tant shel­ter­sacross­theLi­neof Con­trol, their de-facto bor­der.

While the United States, a long pres­ence in Pak­istan’s cor­ner, has­tened to un­der­line the im­por­tance of its al­liance with In­dia, oth­ers who could pre­vi­ously have been re­lied upon to take Is­lam­abad’s side, at least in rhetor­i­cal terms, chose to main­tain a stu­diously neu­tral line.

In South Asia, Pak­istan’s iso­la­tion deep­ened as Afghanistan openly­backedThurs­day’ssur­gi­cal strikes as an act of “self-de­fence”, and Sri Lanka be­came the fifth coun­try to pull out of the eight­na­tionSaar­cSum­mit­inIs­lam­abad, cit­ing con­cerns about ter­ror­ism – an un­sub­tle ref­er­ence to Pak­istan. But per­haps China’s markedly re­strained re­ac­tion comes most fraught for its “all-weather ally”. Nei­ther did any voice of sup­port ring out of the Or­gan­i­sa­tion of Is­lamic Coun­tries that has tra­di­tion­ally backed Is­lam­abad’s stand on Kash­mir. Rus­sia, de­spite cur­rently con­duct­ing mil­i­tary ex­er­cises with Is­lam­abad, joined South Korea to speak out against ter­ror­ism and call on Pak­istan to do more to fight the men­ace on its soil.And­in­wha­tre­flect­ed­grow­ing global im­pa­tience with Pak­istan’s self-de­feat­ing stand on fight­ing ter­ror­ism, Wash­ing­ton chose the mo­ment­to­fo­cu­son­thedan­ger­sof such poli­cies in South Asia.

PTI PHOTO

Army ve­hi­cles move to­wards the bor­der in the Akhnoor sec­tor, 35 km from Jammu, on Fri­day.

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