Narendra Modi’s reference to Balochistan in his Independence day speech is indeed a very bold but well-planned move.  Those who know Modi, say that when Modi takes a move he knows what his fifth move would be. National Security Advisor had already said in a speech that Pakistan should not be allowed to do one more Mumbai and if it does it may lose Balochistan. The costs of hurting India should increase for Pakistan.

Modi said , “People of Balochistan, Gilgit and PoK have thanked me a lot in past few days, I am grateful to them. This is the example of our humanitarian approach, but there are some countries who glorify terrorists. To the youth, who have taken up guns, I urge them to return to their parents and shun violence,” he added.

As expected it didn’t go well with certain people in the opposition. Some self-proclaimed experts of foreign policy said that India may lose its moral high ground and violate the principles of Panchsheel.

In the world of international relations, the countries frame their policies on the basis of realism and not on the basis of idealism. India’s immediate neighborhood is becoming increasing complicated. With China’s funding of CPEC, a major part of which passes through Balochistan and China’s increasing assertiveness and a clear intent to become a bigger global player, India has to act in its interests without losing time.

The USA and even Russia sells arms and ammunition to Pakistan, despite knowing it that it would be used against India. Pakistan was very eager to get more F16 from the USA at a subsidized price to be used in the fight against terrorism, the USA knows it well that it is to fill a deficit against India’s firepower. As it still needs Pakistan on account of its presence in the region, it may eventually do so, as it is not a threat to them.   USA acts in its national interests so do many other countries.

Modi has rightly pointed out to the world, the plight of Baloch people who are fighting against Pakistani occupation. Nowhere in his speech Modi said that India would intervene in Balochistan and POK and Gilgit-Baltistan , rather he simply wanted to bring before the world, what Pakistan is doing in Balochistan.  Killing its own people who are an ethic minority and changing the demographics of a state. It doesn’t have any moral ground. The time has come when Pakistan shall have to answer to the world for the atrocities committed by it against people in Baluchistan and PoK,” Modi said this at an all-party meet on Jammu and Kashmir.

The speech given from the ramparts of Red Fort in presence of plethora of foreign diplomats and was heard all over the world. It brings Balochistan issue on an international platform, giving it the needed attention. It would also give us an added leverage against Pakistan. It was a long overdue and needed stroke that would strengthen and not weaken India’s stand as argued by some opposition leaders.

There is another reason why India should show solidarity with people of Balochistan, as it did with the people of East Pakistan. India has always stood with the oppressed people. India, as an emerging power has a call of moral duty towards Balochistan.

But Balochistan is a much more complicated issue.  Baloch people are divided across Iran-Pakistan border and Iran would be concerned with the recent developments. Also with China’s presence in this impoverished state, things become even more complicated. This is where the real challenge lies. And this is where we need a PM who knows his moves, what should the fifth and sixth step.

Modi and Ajeet Doval are certainly not unaware of it and would have discussed at length the pros and cons of it. So with this recent development, Modi has certainly changed the rules of the game in a big way. With the kind of response that is pouring in from Pakistan, it appears that it has hit the right target.

Contributor: Sachin Diwaker