It was early 1990s I started reading about the world. It was about the time when Pakistan Army started state sponsored terrorism to destabilize India. It serves the interest of Pakistan Army to keep the Kashmir boiling v/s a full scale war because once Kashmir problem is solved, Pakistan army doesn’t have any relevance. A full scale war with India for Pakistan will have just one ending and Pakistan army knows that.
Before any of my friends in Pakistan read this and lather up, I request they read the United Nations Security Council Resolution 47. It makes it abundantly clear that Pakistan should vacate Pakistan occupied Kashmir (PoK) before a plebiscite can be held. The UN resolution is sequential and conditional. With false propaganda, Pakistani citizens have been made to believe that India is occupying a portion of Kashmir illegally. How can India occupy Kashmir when it belongs to India to begin with? Worse, we have अमन की आशा (Hope for Peace) brigade in India who has made small section of Indians believe that India is the country not playing by rules.
What should India do that hasn’t been done before to drive a different outcome?
Pakistan seeks equivalence with India at every turn. Let’s deny that equivalence in such a way that it costs nothing to India and puts India on a moral high ground. Sports are an important tool in geopolitics and India has underused it so far. Remember, between 1964 to 1988 South Africa was boycotted from Olympics. This boycott played a big role in dismantling the apartheid regime. History is a teacher and we must learn from it and apply it to our requirements.
Given the context of where Pakistan stands today as a problem child in the world, India must mix geopolitics and sports. At every opportunity, we must strain the international standing of Pakistan’s sporting outfits. The message is not against the sportsmen playing the sport but the message is against Pakistan’s state sponsored cross border terrorism. India should explicitly boycott Pakistan by saying “We will not play any sport with Pakistan until they dismantle terrorist activities. Terrorists are a threat to international peace and not freedom fighters”. Behind the scenes, we can influence governments from other countries to follow along. India should reach out to International Olympic Committee (IOC) as well. India should also use its financial clout with International Cricket Council (ICC) to bear pressure on Pakistan to mend its ways.
When isolated from international sporting arena, public opinion in Pakistan will decisively start turning against Pakistani army. The moment international community starts saying, we will not engage with a country that sponsors terrorism, public anger will force the hand of Pakistan’s political and military establishment to dismantle the terrorist establishment. Also, it will defang China’s devious strategy of backing Pakistan in multilateral forums to obstruct India’s progress.
To be realistic, the desired changes will not happen in one go but it will create a broad based bottom up pressure point on Pakistani military establishment which is lacking at the moment.
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