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India’s erratic stance

Since Prime Minister Narendra Modi came to power, analyst were watching as to who would call the shots in Indian foreign policy—parliament or the BJP hardliners. Now with BJP’s adoption of resolution on foreign policy the situation has become clear; it is the hardliners in the BJP who would remote control India’s policy, and more so it’s China and Pakistan policy. Now the party wants Modi to walk its elections days’ talk.
BJP’s National Executive endorsed five pillars of foreign policy or “Panchamrit” of dignity, dialogue, security, shared prosperity and culture—most of these are subjective and vague, unquantifiable and hence unmeasurable. BJP’s foreign policy framework calls for peaceful and cooperative relations with Pakistan in fighting terrorism. The BJP is “committed to building peaceful and friendly relations with Pakistan, predicated on an end to terrorism.” Meeting of National Executive also (mischievously) praised the government of Narendra Modi for “firmly and appropriately responding to the provocations on the border (read LoC and Working Boundary) allegedly by Pakistani troops”.
Pakistan and India have remained engaged in the past under the framework of Composite Dialogue—a structured dialogue covering all issues. Pakistan is committed to a result-oriented, sustainable and meaningful dialogue with India to address all issues of mutual concern including the core issue of Jammu and Kashmir. India’s new trend of focusing on the issue of terrorism only is a dangerous strategy; it implies that India no longer wants to have a meaningful dialogue with Pakistan. Stressing that “terrorism and talks cannot go together”, the BJP resolution said India’s engagement with Pakistan would be based on strategic interests.
On Pakistan, the resolution further said, “We have laid out a clear policy for building peaceful and friendly relations with Pakistan, predicated on an end to terrorism… There can’t be any duplicity towards a problem that has become a regional crisis and is fast becoming an international nightmare…All outstanding issues with Pakistan can be resolved through bilateral dialogue in an atmosphere free from terror and violence.”
Upcoming Indian trajectory is clear: no matter what Pakistan does to stem terrorism, Pakistan’s effort to end terrorism would have to meet Indian evaluation; and naturally it won’t. Hence no dialogue. And to talk to India, Pakistan must forget about Hurryiat Conference leadership, Kashmir and water issues; also stop talking about bringing to book the perpetrators of bombing of Pakistani train Samjhauta express. In the early hours of February 19, 2007, sixty-eight people, mostly Pakistani civilians were killed and scores more injured in a terrorist attack on this train. India’s National Investigation Agency had concluded that Swami Aseemanand was the mastermind behind the blasts. Aseemanand’s confessional statement points towards involvement of government agencies and serving military officers in this incident.
Interestingly, one of the Indian home ministry official, had submitted an affidavit in Indian court stating that Mumbai attack and an earlier attack on Indian parliament were false flag operations planned and conducted by Indian intelligence agencies to garner support for enacting tougher anti-terror laws. Later, under duress, he withdrew the affidavit.
This is Indian government’s track record on prevention of terrorism. Notwithstanding this, in a follow up to the BJP’s resolution, Modi in his interview to Hindustan Times said: “We remain open to bilateral dialogue with Pakistan on all outstanding issues in an environment free from terrorism and violence…The Simla Agreement and Lahore Declaration have to be the basis for going forward…Peace can only thrive when the climate is right”. Modi also spoke on his pro-active engagement with India’s South Asian neighbours, sparking fears that an attitude of apathy would send these nations into China’s arms. “We want SAARC to flourish….The dividends are visible in the quantum leap in relations with Nepal, Bhutan, Bangladesh, and Sri Lanka. But peace cannot co-exist with terrorism, can it?” he concluded. India had actively taken sides during recent elections in Sri Lanka for installing a pliant government.
Now it will be interesting to take a look at the Simla Agreement and Lahore Declaration and see what way forward these documents suggest; and also observe how India has been flouting these two agreements. Simla Agreement states that: “…Government of India and the Government of Pakistan have agreed as follows: (i) That the principles and purposes of the Charter of the United Nations shall govern the relations between the two countries. (ii) That the two countries are resolved to settle their differences by peaceful means…Pending the final settlement of any of the problems between the two countries, neither side shall unilaterally alter the situation…” India violated the agreement and invaded Siachen in 1984.
Likewise, Lahore declaration states that: “The Prime Ministers of the Republic of India and the Islamic Republic of Pakistan … Committed to the principles and purposes of the Charter of the United Nations, and the universally accepted principles of peaceful coexistence;…that the resolution of all outstanding issues, including Jammu and Kashmir is essential for this purpose…” Now, once again India wants to unilaterally change the status quo in Kashmir by raising Israeli style settlements for Kashmiri pundits.
During his recent visit to Pakistan Indian foreign secretary delivered a letter from Narendra Modi to Nawaz Sharif. It was a stern warning that either Pakistan should fall in line, and grant transit rights and trade concessions to India, or India would gang up with remaining members of SAARC and proceed ahead by sidelining Pakistan. This is how India views SAARC, a tool to intimidate Pakistan.
Preconditioning the dialogue with favourable environment is a non-starter. Dialogues are initiated to make the environment favourable. Apparently India has taken a decision to freeze dialogue with Pakistan for a decade or so—barring occasional photo-ops to divert international pressures. Keeping in view the prevailing Indian mindset, Pakistan should not go overboard in commencing dialogue with India, unless India rationalizes its overall approach.

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Dynamics of FATF listing

Pakistan Focus Analysis. Indo-US anti-Pakistan nexus is so very obvious, both have in-chorus expressed their joy on Pakistan’s placement on grey list. Indian Express has reported that “India, US are one in saying Pakistan deserved to be demoted to anti-terror funding group's 'grey list’”. "India welcomes the decision of the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) to place Pakistan in its Compliance Document (grey list) for ICRG [International Cooperation review Group] monitoring," said India's ministry of external affairs. And; "outstanding counterterrorism deficiencies consistently raised by the Financial Action Task Force and [Pakistan] needs to take actions, including on the raising and moving of funds of UN-designated terrorist groups, a top US official said to news agency PTI”. Decision is politically motivated and is part of American strategy to pressurise Pakistan to settle some other scores. Pakistan has been placed among the jurisdictions (states) with strategic deficiencies: Ethiopia, Serbia, Sri Lanka, Syria, Trinidad and Tobago, Tunisia and Yemen. FATF has called upon these states to complete implementation of the action plans expeditiously and within the proposed timeframes, vowing to closely monitor the implementation. It was also agreed in February Plenary that an Action Plan would be negotiated between Pakistan and FATF members by June. This has been done. The FATF has formally placed Pakistan on the grey list due to ‘strategic deficiencies’ in its anti-money laundering and terrorism financing regime. The decision came despite Pakistan had demonstrated reasonable progress in three out of four major areas of FATF concerns. Pakistan’s team led by Finance Minister apprised the plenary about measures that Pakistan had taken to stop money laundering and strangling the terror financing. In prevailing World Order, nothing works better than American pressures. During February plenary, the US and the UK went out of their way to by-pass the standard FATF procedures and jointly arm twist the FATF for nominating Pakistan for the grey list in June, regardless of its February-June period effort and progress; they were also joined by France and Germany. Pakistan has undertaken to work towards effective implementation of the Action Plan, while staying in the grey list. A similar situation took place in 2011 when Pakistan was included in the grey list and was taken out in 2015 after it successfully implemented the Action Plan. There were tall claims that Pakistan was unlikely to be placed on the grey list of the global financial watchdog as the country had made enough progress to meet international anti-money laundering and terror financing standards, such euphoric environment had been created before and during the previous FATF plenary meeting as well. There is a need to float realistic expectations before such international events. FATF identifies jurisdictions with strategic AML/CFT deficiencies in its two public documents: FATF Public Statement (call for action)– commonly known as black list—and Improving Global AML/CFT Compliance— nick named as grey list. It is an on-going process; these lists are updated three times a year. Interestingly, FATF does not use grey list/blacklist terminologies. The ICRG of the APG had identified four key areas of concerns: deficiencies in the supervision of Anti-Money Laundering (AML) and Counter Terrorism Financing regimes; cross-border illicit movement of currency by terrorist groups; progress on terrorism financing investigation and prosecution; and implementation of the United Nations Security Council resolutions 1267 and 1373, for curbing terror financing. ICRG report has shown that Pakistan did show progress on three out of four major areas of concerns. Cross-border smuggling of cash was the only major area where Pakistan admitted deficiencies. Maximum number of conditions – nine to be precise – take into account the concerns of the UNSC resolutions, followed by eight commitments to address concerns regarding terrorism financing prosecution, four are about curbing currency movement across the border and five recommendations relate to improvement in the supervision mechanisms of banks and companies. Pakistan has undertaken to demonstrate that authorities are identifying cash couriers and enforcing controls on illicit movement of currency and understanding the risk of cash couriers being used for terrorism financing. Remember Ayan Ali case? And who protected her? Carrier is enjoying quality life abroad. Pakistan has made a “high-level political commitment to work with the FATF and APG to strengthen its Anti-money Laundering (AML)/Countering Financing of Terrorism (CFT) regime and to address its strategic counter-terrorist financing-related deficiencies,” according to FATF announcement. The FATF said Pakistan will also be demonstrating that remedial actions and sanctions are applied in cases of AML/CFT violations, and that these actions have an effect on AML/CFT compliance by financial institutions. “It will be demonstrating that competent authorities are cooperating and taking action to identify and take enforcement action against illegal money or value transfer services.” During the intervening period Pakistan government did strenuous hard work to plug the gaps. Ambitious laws were enacted. Finance ministry improved institutional mechanisms for handling anti-money laundering and countering financing terrorism issues. Coordination between the State Bank, Banking institutions and law enforcement agencies had also been strengthened to curb money laundering and terror financing. Pakistan has recently addressed issues raised by the FATF through a tax amnesty scheme, while Securities and Exchange Commission has issued Anti-Money Laundering and Countering Financing of Terrorism Regulations (2018). National Security Committee has also reaffirmed its commitment to cooperate with the FATF. Through its Action Plan, Pakistan has demonstrated to the world that it was ready to go an extra mile to curb money laundering. Pakistan will have to deliver on the first goal by January next year and complete all the 26 actions by September 2019,” it is indeed a tight schedule. One wonders whether Pakistan has requisite mechanisms in place to implement and steer such an ambitious plan. An expert assessment has it that though Pakistan’s inclusion in the grey list may hurt its image in the international landscape, its economic impact will not be as severe as being portrayed. This is because when Pakistan was part of the grey list/blacklist (2008-2015), it successfully approached multilateral bodies, floated international bonds and had international trades. Hopefully Pakistan will be able to come out or grey list in September 2019, however it must follow consistent economic policies to remain out of such trouble spots. Caretaker government would do a great service by forming a national commission to identify and punish all those responsible for letting the things reverse back after Pakistan’s previous journey to blacklist was over.

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