Ever since news on the Pulwama attack broke, international politics has seen some major developments. On Thursday, the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) issued a statement supporting India. However, the International Olympic Committee (IOC) suspended Indian applications to host future events over a row involving Pakistani athletes’ visas. India also decided to stop sharing water with Pakistan.
On February 14, a suicide bomber hit a CRPF convoy on the Srinagar-Jammu highway, killing nearly 40 jawans. Since then, the country is not only mourning the loss of life but also seeing heightened fear among its minorities.
On Thursday, the 15 member nations of the UNSC condemned the Pulwama attack in the “strongest terms”; they also called it a “heinous and cowardly” act by terror outfit Jaish-e-Mohammed (JeM).
In a show of support to India, the UNSC “underlined the need to hold perpetrators, organisers, financiers, and sponsors of these reprehensible acts of terrorism accountable and bring them to justice,” said the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA).
The UNSC also “reaffirmed the need for all States to combat [terrorism] by all means” as long as they adhere to international human rights and refugee laws.
This statement is a strong show of international support towards India; it also puts the spotlight on Pakistan to take action against terrorist cells on its soil.
Pressure on Pakistan
MEA spokesperson Raveesh Kumar said, “Pakistan comes under international pressure to act against terrorist & terror groups operating from areas under its control & to take action against those responsible for the Pulwama attack.”
The statement mentions JeM, which India is trying to place on the UN global terror list for the third time. In the past, China has blocked India’s proposal for the same.
In a press conference on Wednesday, a journalist asked Chinese Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Geng Shuang what additional proof China needed to ban JeM even after it took responsibility for the Pulwama attack.
Geng Shuang said, “There are detailed criteria for the listing of terrorist entities in the procedures of the UNSC 1267 Committee and relevant Security Council resolutions. Following the relevant resolutions and procedures of the 1267 Committee, China will engage in discussions in a constructive and responsible manner, and keep close communication and coordination with India and other parties concerned.”
Row over Pakistani athletes
Two Pakistani shooters will be absent from the ISSF World Cup on Saturday in Delhi; reason: the Indian High Commission in Pakistan has not granted them visas.
The shooting event is a qualifier for men’s 24m rapid fire pistol event at the 2020 Olympics in Tokyo. India’s withholding of the visas goes against the non-discriminatory ideals of the Fundamental Principles of the Olympic Charter.
However, because 500 athletes from 61 countries were already present for the event, the IOC allowed the qualifier to continue.
The National Rifle Association of India (NRAI) said in a statement that “IOC in its wisdom” withheld issuance of two quotas in the 25m pistol event. The NRAI expressed “unequivocal” thanks to the IOC for “ensuring the best possible outcome to a vexed and complex scenario”.
However, the IOC is not at all happy with the situation.
In a press release, its Executive Board said it was suspending all discussions with the Indian National Olympic Committee for hosting future events “until clear written guarantees are obtained from the Indian government to ensure entry to all participants”.
It also asked the ISSF to make a proposal on how the two quotas will be reassigned.
In response, NRAI said it would “gracefully comply with IOC’s findings and hope in a large measure to address the other points raised.”
Water sharing with Pakistan
A third issue that has sprung up in relation to the Pulwama attack is water sharing between India and Pakistan.
In a Twitter announcement, Union Minister of Road Transport and Highways, Shipping, and Water Resources Nitin Gadkari said, “Our government has decided to stop our share of water, which used to flow to Pakistan.”
He added that the government will divert water from eastern rivers and supply it to India-controlled Jammu, Kashmir, and Punjab.
Gadkari also noted that a dam construction has begun on Ravi river at Shahpur-Kandi. “Moreover, the UJH project will store our share of water for use in J&K and the balance water will flow from 2nd Ravi-BEAS Link to provide water to other basin states,” he added.
How will India treat the Treaty?
Here’s what this means: as per the Indus Waters Treaty 1960, India has control over Ravi, Beas, and Sutlej rivers. This treaty was negotiated for nine years before Jawaharlal Nehru and Ayub Khan finally signed it.
The agreement says that India cannot disrupt the flow of Indus, Chenab, and Jhelum rivers to Pakistan. However, it can use the water from the last three rivers for domestic activities, irrigation, and hydropower production.
It also requires both countries to send their commissioners for a joint meeting twice a year and share information about the rivers.
India and Pakistan have argued over the Indus Waters Treaty in the past. India claims to honour its terms, while Pakistan believes it does not.
The Treaty became an issue after the 2016 Uri attack, when India threatened to stop the water flow.
Although India cannot unilaterally stop the flow of water to Pakistan, it can utilise it in certain projects. In a smart political manoeuvre, Gadkari said India’s decisions related to the rivers are being considered for national projects.
However, reports say India currently does not have enough facilities to use the excess water that would otherwise flow into Pakistan. It also says that too much aggression on this front could lead to retaliatory attacks by more Pakistani terror groups.
How India deals with Pakistan on this could become a precedent for China, which tussles with India over the Brahmaputra.
Of tact and diplomacy
Furthermore, Indian politicians have failed to put up a united front, especially when Indo-Pak relations are vulnerable.
Although Modi has been receiving diplomats from all over the world, like Saudi Arabia and Argentina, he needs to be tactful and forward thinking with his decisions on Pakistan; otherwise, he risks backing India into a corner on the international stage.
Rhea Arora is a staff writer at Qrius
Stay updated with all the insights.
Navigate news, 1 email day.
Subscribe to Qrius