[op-ed snap] New dynamic in the north west


Mains Paper 2: IR | Important International institutions, agencies & fora, their structure, mandate

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important:

Prelims level: FATF, TAPI project

Mains level: India’s rising stature at international fora


Changing conditions in north-west

  1. Two developments last week pointed to the new directions in which the north-western Subcontinent could evolve
  2. One is the fresh international agreement to put Pakistan on notice with regard to financing terror groups
  3. The other is the ground-breaking ceremony for the construction of the trans-border natural gas pipeline in Afghanistan

FATF decision

  1. The decisions of the United Nations Financial Action Task Force (FATF) are about using the threat of economic punishment to move Pakistan away from funding terrorists operating against Afghanistan and India

Importance of this decision

  1. Decision to put Pakistan on grey list is important as this was taken defying the conventional wisdom
  2. It has been widely held that the US can never really nudge Pakistan away from using terror to dominate Afghanistan and destabilize India
  3. Why: The Pakistan army was too nuclear to displease and too important a regional partner for America to alienate
  4. Trump surprised the world by announcing a major cut in military assistance to Pakistan in January this year
  5. Trump has gone a step further — to mobilize the international community to squeeze Pakistan’s terror strategy by choking its finances

No support from China either

  1. The general consensus is that Pakistan has immunity thanks to its all-weather partnership with China
  2. Pakistan was confident that China will not let India and the West hang it out to dry on the question of terror finance
  3. China supported the decision to put Pakistan on a grey list
  4. China’s move followed a deal with India and the US that would let Beijing gain a larger role at the FATF in the future

Regional Economic Cooperation

  1. Pakistan has generally resisted all economic cooperation with India, either bilaterally or regionally
  2. But through the last decade and more, Pakistan has sat down with its two neighbors and Turkmenistan to advance the TAPI project
  3. Even the Taliban has apparently promised not to attack the TAPI pipeline that it described as a “national project”

Way forward

  1. The new dynamic in the region offers two important guidelines for Indian policy
  2. First, the past is not necessarily a guide to the future. After all, structural changes over time are inevitable
  3. Second, India has the resources and agency to alter the strategic condition of its north-west
Foreign Policy Watch: Cross-Border Terrorism
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