Prime Minister Narendra Modi has been unsparing in his efforts to imbed in the country’s consciousness political ownership of the army's action to avenge the Uri strikes. As part of that drive, the government and the BJP have shouted down any suggestions to the contrary despite occasional spanners like the Foreign Secretary’s reported admission to a Parliamentary Committee of such strikes having been carried out before. A clarification skirted the Foreign Secretary's main assertion and emphasises on India's first-ever admission of such an operation. No government can pass up the opportunity to capitalise on a military operation on its watch. But the Modi government has moved on two fronts.
Political appropriation of the strike is a work-in-progress but it is time to examine the government's channeling of vast amounts of energy and resources to internationally isolate Pakistan. It didn't require a Chinese report to mention what has been obvious. Instead of inviting SAARC to the BRICS summit, India opted for BIMSTEC that doesn't have Pakistan. But Modi may have queered the pitch by giving an Israel-like spin to the Indian army attack. Israel's ways and methods of security management have always held the political Hindutva devotees in thrall. But large sections of the world see Israeli tactics as an impermanent solution that it is fated to repeat over and over again.
Surely the Prime Minister's intention was not to equate the Indian armed forces with the trigger-happy Israeli army. Israel’s military actions have created a permanent sore the world over and motivate generations of Palestinians to settle scores with a much superior enemy. It has also provided the fuel for faith-based mobilisation that we today know as political terrorism. Bangladesh, despite its overt political reliance on India, may have started feeling queasy over the Israel comparison. As the BRICS joint declaration showed, in an era of ultra-violence, the world doesn’t really pay heed to border skirmishes. The domestic dividend of the surgical strikes will be known in the coming assembly elections. But intemperate statements have already started diminishing the efficacy of the efforts to isolate Pakistan.
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