TSophistry and self delusion denote Narendra Modi’s statements about Pakistan and ‘terrorism’, and the regional and global contexts that both countries operate in. Modi, while outlining India’s foreign policy at the second edition of the Raisina Dialogue, had enjoined Pakistan to “give up terrorism”, underlined India’s reluctance to “walk the path of peace alone” , extolled India’s efforts to
“uphold international peace”, gloated over India’s long-maintained distinction between so called “good and bad terror”. The Indian Prime Minister also alluded to Pakistan’s isolation and attempted to reach out to China. If Modi’s statements are reflective and indicative of India’s foreign policy and its regional dimension, then two facts stand out. (There are both discursive and ‘real’ components to it). First, consider Modi’s self serving use of the term “terrorism”. Consensus eludes the definition of this term; the term is too wide and elastic. This very fact allows states to employ and instrumentalise it for their purposes and interests. Moreover, securitization of term- especially in a post 9/11 and the conditions that have emerged following the second Gulf War- allows states to use it as a catch all rubric and umbrella term to collapse genuine issues into it as employ the term as a bogey man. Modi is precisely doing the same. The larger aim appears to be to subsume the conflict in and over Kashmir into this flawed definitional rubric and attribute it to Pakistan. Our second point flows from this. If Modi thinks that flawed and specious discursive reasoning would isolate Pakistan, then this is wishful thinking. There is more to the country that meets the eye. The geopolitical conditions that obtain in the contemporary world and the South Asian region militate against the isolation of Pakistan. While the country might not be a pivotal state, it is a swing state whose foreign policy orientation and nature has the potential to determine, to a large extent, the nature, thrust and direction of the South Asian region. All this is not to defend Pakistan but to accord a sense of proportion and perspective. The larger goal and aim of both Pakistan and India should be peace, stability and prosperity in South Asia and by extension, the world at large. This end goal warrants prudence, sobriety and a sense of proportion in the world views, orientation and foreign policies of both countries and not self-serving cant. Both India and Pakistan’s foreign policies must be predicated and informed by reality. This reality is that there is deep friction and frisson between the two emanating from sovereign and legacy issues. Central to these issues is the conflict in and over Kashmir. It is to the resolution of this conflict that political and diplomatic energy should be expended upon. The rest is mere fudging and eyewash.