In a big diplomatic success for Pakistan, India losing friends at the international front

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In a big diplomatic success for Pakistan, India losing friends at the international front

NEW DELHI - It might be cited as an object lesson in how not to win friends and influence people. Old friends have suddenly turned into critics or kept an icy silence.

The trigger was the Hindu-Muslim riots in North East Delhi where the police are perceived to have taken sides. That has come after a string of moves like the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA), the abolition of Article 370 and Assam’s National Citizenship Register.

The countries that have shown displeasure with India in different forms include Indonesia, Malaysia, Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Iran, Turkey and, of course, Pakistan in our neighbourhood. Then there’s Britain, where parliamentarians criticised India in a lengthy debate, and the US where Indian-American Congresswoman Pramila Jayapal is pushing a resolution asking India to lift all restrictions in Kashmir.

The government has reacted to former Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad’s statement by cutting back on buying palm oil from them and purchasing more from Indonesia.

But last week, the Indonesian government called in the Indian Ambassador “to discuss the riots that have claimed dozens of lives” in Delhi.

India-Indonesia relations have traditionally been close. There’s the startling effort by the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights which has attempted to intervene in the Supreme Court CAA case.

The government’s trying to shrug off these reactions and Foreign Minister S Jaishankar, when asked about Iran said: “Maybe we are getting to know who our friends really are.”

But it’s not so easy to dismiss this welter of criticism. Jayapal’s resolution before the House Foreign Affairs Committee has 49 co-sponsors.

And the Afghan government was already upset about the CAA and protested that it has taken steps to protect minorities.

The Delhi riots triggered anti-Indian demonstrations in Kabul and Herat. Commented Anand Arni, former special secretary, R&AW on the Afghan demonstrations:

“The one place where we could proudly call ourselves Indian and look what we have wrought.” - Hindustan Business Line