Dangerous Spiral: On India-Pak Diplomatic Row: THE HINDU EDITORIAL

Dangerous spiral on India-Pak diplomatic row THE HINDU EDITORIAL

Regardless of the provocation or the sequence of events, there is an urgent need for India and Pakistan to address allegations of harassment of each other’s diplomats and interference in High Commission work. While surveillance of diplomats by intelligence agencies in New Delhi and Islamabad is not new, matters have escalated in the past month, and the treatment of diplomatic officials by both sides has dropped to new lows. The spark for this round of ‘tit-for-tat’ actions appears to be an incident in February, when alleged ISI agents roughed up Pakistani construction workers headed for the Indian mission’s new building site in Islamabad. While Pakistan’s foreign office claimed they did not have security clearance to enter the diplomatic zone, India saw it as an attempt to stop the work, adding that power and water connections were tampered with. Then, the Pakistan High Commission in Delhi claimed that Indian security personnel warned repairmen and electricians against entering its premises. Both missions said personnel were being targeted on the road, with cars stopped and drivers intimidated
Other instances on both sides include obscene phone calls, stoppage of milk and newspaper delivery to diplomats, and even 3 a.m. doorbell rings. The timing is clearly more than just coincidence, and the incidents mark a deliberate policy by India and Pakistan to give their intelligence agencies a carte blanche to target the other side. It is unfortunate that things have come to such a pass, weeks after the two countries agreed to humanitarian measures for prisoners, with Pakistan Foreign Minister Khawaja Asif accepting External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj’s proposals on the issue. The allegations of harassment are more serious than just shadow-boxing, and must be checked in order to avoid a further slippage in ties. They constitute technical violations of the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations (1961) and the subsequent Vienna Convention on Consular Relations (1963), which clearly state that a diplomatic agent’s person, premises and property are inviolable and must be respected and protected by the “receiving state”. 
The fear is that as a next step in this spiral, India and Pakistan may even take stronger measures, including sending back diplomats or scaling down their missions. India had declared Islamabad a non-family post in the wake of the terror attack on an army school in Peshawar; Pakistan may now follow suit by withdrawing its families from Delhi. At a time when bilateral dialogue has been stalled for years, and ceasefire violations are becoming the norm on the Line of Control, any escalation will impact the few lines of communication that remain. Cooler counsel must prevail.


1) Provocation
Meaning: Action or speech that makes someone angry, especially deliberately.
Example: “you should remain calm and not respond to provocation”
Synonyms: Incitement, Rousing
2) Allegations
Meaning: A claim or assertion that someone has done something illegal or wrong, typically one made without proof.
Example: “he made allegations of corruption against the administration”
Synonyms: Claim, Assertion
3) Harassment
Meaning: Aggressive pressure or intimidation.
Example: “The state also grants us the right to pursue this belief without any form of persecution or harassment”
Synonyms: Persecution, Irritation
Antonyms: Co-operation, Assistance
4) Escalated
Meaning: Make or become more intense or serious.
Example: “the disturbance escalated into a full-scale riot”
Synonyms: Grow, Develop
Antonyms: Shrink
5) Spark
Meaning: A sense of liveliness and excitement; a small amount of a quality or intense feeling.
Example: “a tiny spark of anger flared within her”
Synonyms: Flicker, Liveliness
6) Tit-for-tat
Meaning: The infliction of an injury or insult in return for one that one has suffered.
Example: “the conflict staggered on with tit-for-tat assassinations”
Synonyms: Retaliation, Reprisal
7) Diplomatic
Meaning: Of or concerning diplomacy.
Example: “diplomatic relations with Britain were broken”
Synonyms: Consular, Political
8) Tampered
Meaning: Interfere with (something) in order to cause damage or make unauthorized alterations.
Example: “someone tampered with the brakes of my car”
Synonyms: Interfere, Meddle
9) Intimidated
Meaning: Frighten or overawe (someone), especially in order to make them do what one wants.
Example: “the forts are designed to intimidate the nationalist population”
Synonyms: Frighten, Menace
10) Obscene
Meaning: Offending against moral principles; repugnant.
Example: “using animals’ skins for fur coats is obscene”
Synonyms: Shocking, Vile
11) Deliberate
Meaning: Careful and unhurried.
Example: “a conscientious and deliberate worker”
Synonyms: Careful, Cautions
Antonyms: Hasty, Careless
12) Shadow-boxing
Meaning: Make a show of tackling a problem or opponent while avoiding any direct engagement.
Example: “a fortnight of political shadow-boxing”
13) Inviolable
Meaning: Never to be broken, infringed, or dishonoured.
Example: “an inviolable rule of chastity”
Synonyms: Absolute, Unalterable
Antonyms: Partial
14) Scaling down
Meaning: To make something smaller than it was or smaller than it was planned to be.
Example: A shortage of money has forced them to scale down the project.
Synonyms: Making smaller
15) Stalled
Meaning: Stop or cause to stop making progress.
Example: “his career had stalled, hers taken off”
Synonyms: Obstruct, Impede
16) Ceasefire
Meaning: A temporary suspension of fighting; a truce.
Example: “the latest ceasefire seems to be holding”
17) Cooler
Meaning: Showing no friendliness towards a person or enthusiasm for an idea or project.
Example: “he gave a cool reception to the suggestion for a research centre”
Synonyms: Unenthusiastic, Tepid
Antonyms: Enthusiastic, Friendly
18) Prevail
Meaning: Prove more powerful or superior.
Example: “it is hard for logic to prevail over emotion”
Synonyms: Overcome, Triumph

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