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Yes it is. The reasons are many. It started with the scale of the BJP victory in the 2014 election. Such an enormous mandate by the people of India should have led to humility at the trust the electorate had reposed in them. This did not happen. Instead there was arrogance writ large on the faces of the winning side right from the top leadership to the rank and file of the BJP. Statements were heard from many quarters starting with the party president that the BJP would rule for decades. The Congress Party had been decimated. The cry soon went up of 'Congress Mukt Bharat' not realizing that a Party that was over a hundred years old and one that had ruled India for decades since Independence had deeper roots and resilience to even think of wiping them out. The realization has still not dawned that the future well-being of India requires two strong central parties at the centre. A conglomeration of strong state governments will not fit the bill. Both BJP and Congress have to live together in harmony for the future of the country. What the new rulers did not realize was that some of the tallest Congress leaders since Independence were revered by all segments of the population. Pt. Jawaharlal Nehru and Sardar Patel will remain household names among Indians for generations to come. So will that of Indira Gandhi. Attempts to diminish Pt. Nehru and Indira Gandhi do not go down well with the people; nor does name-changing of earlier rulers. New dispensations build on the foundations laid by those who went before. This wisdom did not dawn on the BJP leadership. May be it still has not.

It is not known how the visit of the Saudi Crown Prince would have gone off at levels that were dealing with the visit and interacting with the visitor. Going through the print media and the TV channels it might not have been as successful as desired. One of the main reasons might have been the overwhelming emphasis that was laid on declaring Pakistan a terror state. To begin with the manner in which the Saudi Prince was received must have been perceived by him as deferential seeing the size of India and its standing in the world. It was duly taken note of. Possibly gratifying but also leading to the appreciation that he had the upper hand in his dealing with the Indian Prime Minister. That is also the impression that many Indians in some circles might have got, not to say the foreign governments and their representatives in India.

Making condemnation of Pakistan the topmost item on the agenda was a mistake. Surely the MEA and the PM would have known that Saudi Arabia and Pakistan have been joined at the hips since Pakistan was created. No two states are closer than these two. During his visit to Pakistan the Crown Prince said that for all Saudis all Pakistanis were closest of friends. The Saudi-Pakistan relationship is closer than that with the Americans or China. Besides had they gone deeper our diplomats, many of whom have been close to the Saudis, would know that Saudi Arabia has been subsidising oil shipments to Pakistan since long. The latter's nuclear programme right from inception was largely financed by Libya and Saudi Arabia. The headquarters of Pakistan Cricket Board in Lahore are situated at Gaddafi Stadium. It is the home of Pakistan cricket team. The stadium has a capacity of 27,000 seats, making it one of the biggest in Pakistan. It was named after the Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi. Bhutto and his country might still have been 'eating grass' but for the financing by the two Arab countries. Being the principal equity-holders of the Pakistani venture both expected access to nuclear know-how and weapons when the need arose. The Libyan issue was peacefully resolved when its leader offered to give up his nuclear weapons in December 2003 and to open his facilities for inspection (the details are not being gone into in the present article). He paid the price for his decision a few years later. Libya continues to be in turmoil, no one knowing when and how it will end. The North Korean leader has taken note. He is not likely to make the same mistake without cast-iron guarantees for the security of his own position and that of his country as well as substantial doses of financial aid.

Saudi Royals who visited Pakistan in the past have been shown around top secret nuclear facilities that no Pakistan Prime Minister has been allowed to visit - nor will Prime Minister Imran Khan be allowed to do so - know that the guardians of their nuclear weapons hold them in trust for the Guardians of Islam's holy sites. It makes each side indispensable to the other. Additionally, Pakistan military has traditionally been deployed in Saudi Arabia for providing close protection to the Saudi royals. It has varied from a division to a brigade, may be a beefed up brigade as at present. General Raheel Shareef the former Army chief of Pakistan Army has been co-opted by Saudi Arabia to head the Gulf military force that has been raised. He would be privy to everything to do with Saudi defence and their weapons holding, projected intake and state of readiness. He would be a trusted adviser in this regard. Iran felt that it was obliged to go in for its nuclear capability on account of these threats to its existence in addition to the threat posed by Israel and its ally the US. That is why it can never trust Pakistan even when relations appear to be cordial.

Reverting to India making the question of Pakistan terrorism the main plank of its discussions, and for the Crown Prince to go along with his hosts to declare his close ally a sponsor of terrorism was carrying the Indian demand way too far, a demand that no Saudi royal would have acceded to no matter how terrible the outrage. It was beyond MBS's ken to do so. Surely the PM and MEA know that a milder condemnation of terror from a neighbouring state would have got far more mileage from the meeting and more definite commitments of Saudi investments in reckonable time frames. The Saudis did condemn terror emanating from our neighbour strongly or as close to it as they could come but the embarrassment was obvious and it would have diminished the importance for them of the other items on the agenda for discussion. 

At the end Indian diplomats and leaders should know that world leaders expect that India having the fastest growing economy in the world and looking to be an important player on the global stage should be able to take care of its own military problems with its troublesome neighbor. No doubt it would like to take all possible measures to isolate Pakistan in world forums. However, shrill denunciation at every forum has become painful to hear for most hearers and visitors. The world is fed up with constant bickering between the two nations at the UN since the last 70 years. They are considered a pain in the neck.Today many countries around the world are exposed to terrorism, mainly by radicalised Muslims affiliated to AlQaeda and lately ISIS. In Afghanistan and J&K, especially the Kashmir Valley the terrorists are backed, trained and supplied sophisticated weapons and explosives devices by the Pakistan military, the ISI and the tanzeems in Pakistan that have proliferated. Every attack needs to be condemned. Foreign governments do take note of every such attack, especially between nuclear neighbours. Pakistan’s denials have no credibility anywhere. Friendly powers have been offering help to India by way of shared intelligence and by several other means. That is why Pakistan’s financial aid has been cut off.

India’s purpose in this regard is being served. It must now make its calls for declaring its western neighbor a terrorist state in a more sophisticated and quiet manner.




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