The threat from militants targeting the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor gets more pronounced by the day. The bomb targeting Chinese nationals in Gwadar on Friday could have been much more devastating had plainclothes soldiers not moved in at the right time. Having said that, the loss of the lives of two children is still very tragic.
Another two children were injured alongside two others, one of them Chinese; this alone identifies the very limited capacity of militants to carry out attacks within Pakistan. A dampened ability to orchestrate terror incidents on our soil is both a source of hope and cause for concern. Direct actions by both the intelligence apparatus and security forces is leading to minimised loss of life and a scattered frequency of attacks. But given the nature of the fight we are in, eradicating all security threats is a near impossible task.
Another lesson to remember is how many militant groups such as the Balochistan Liberation Army (BLA) are patronised by India, in terms of funding, capacity building and training. This is an outfit that has been banned by Pakistan, the US and the UK, and is also identified in our list of outfits supported directly by India. The country’s own newspapers have reported incidents of New Delhi funding and taking care of militants in India.
India’s support in trying to destabilise CPEC is getting more transparent. In the face of this damning evidence, it is hard for the international community to deny the facts and dismiss our narrative. Another diplomatic push to highlight the state-sponsored terrorism of the Modi government must be focused upon.
Alongside this, since Beijing is also being targeted alongside Islamabad, there must be greater interaction in how to fight this threat together. The Chinese embassy has also asked Pakistani authorities to catch the culprits as soon as possible.
The objective here for India and its partners is twofold; derail Pakistan’s efforts to get on the path to growth, and deny China access to the Indian Ocean. This requires a huddle together to work out the best defence—both diplomatic and economic solutions must be considered.