Will he or won't he? That's the question running in diplomatic circles in both India and Pakistan. The ever-ebullient Narendra Modi, the Indian Prime Minister is still undecided on whether he will attend the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) summit to be held in Pakistan's capital Islamabad on November 9 and 10. Pakistan's Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif has already sent an invitation to heads of all the member states including India.
Admitted, Modi is in a fix in the wake of Pakistan's escalation of the age-old anti-India stance aggravated further 'courtesy' the unrest in the Kashmir valley post the death of Burhan Wani, hailed as a martyr by Islamabad. The cold treatment meted out to Modi's cabinet colleague Rajnath Singh during the latter's visit to Islamabad is a case in point.
But will boycotting the SAARC summit serve India's purpose? Honestly speaking, Modi should take the flight to Pakistan. Amid the uproar in the valley both India and Pakistan are hell bent on internationalising the Kashmir issue. If Pakistan seeks support from Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) and even the European Union (EU) on Kashmir, New Delhi too isn't lagging behind. When Modi talks of Balochistan, PoK, Gilgit and Baltistan, he means business. Though Modi's concern for Balochistan will be under the scanner, he has taken the battle right into the enemy's camp.
Though SAARC has got nothing to do with bilateral acrimony, Modi would do well to take on Pakistan on the latter's soil following in the footsteps of his Home Minister, Singh. If Singh were decent enough, Modi should take one step ahead.
Pakistan's moral support to Kashmiris' struggle for independence is a given, but there's more to it. Islamabad's monetary and military support to perpetrators of terror in the valley has already cost hundreds of lives. Sharif has entrusted 22 parliamentarians with the responsibility to expose 'Indian atrocity in Kashmir' globally.
If, Sharif can take the lead, Modi should not give him the edge. Knowing Modi's prowess over words, he has it in him to dispel any ambiguity on New Delhi's approach towards Kashmir and expose Islamabad's nefarious tendencies to incite trouble in the valley.
With USA in company, Modi's diplomatic acumen will be tested vis-a-vis Kashmir. Instead of campaigning for his party in Uttar Pradesh, Punjab and Goa (states going into polls next year), Modi should take it upon himself to send a strong message to Pakistan that it better stay away from India's internal matters or else, there's enough in our bag to marginalise our estranged brother.
And the Indian PM couldn't have asked for a better opportunity than the 19th SAARC Summit to throw pertinent questions at Pakistan which the latter may find difficult to counter. Our neighbours are leaving no stones unturned to capitalise on Kashmir to isolate India, but with the latter having developed new friends who earlier had a soft corner for Pakistan, Modi stays on a stronger turf.
Enough is enough, let's be practical. Kashmir is on the boil and Pakistan is only adding fuel to it. So, let's talk about cross-border terrorism and convince the Pakistani establishment that by acquiescing to the all-powerful Army, it's drawing its own nemesis. Yet, Modi should also have an answer to the logic behind raising the issue of Balochistan.