As allies go silent on India’s strikes
Islamabad says will defer Saarc meet after 5 of 8 countries pull out
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.
Army vehicles move towards the border in the Akhnoor sector, 35 km from Jammu, on Friday.