Pakistan’s isolation on international stage is India’s biggest victory

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The ceremonial handover by Pakistan of a captured Indian Air Force pilot might make for good television, but Pakistan’s increasing global isolation is the story that has greater significance. Talking heads on television in both countries claim victory for their side on an almost daily basis. Amid this noise, and well after the current heat dissipates, it is Pakistan’s loss of friends abroad that will have strategic consequences.The day Wing Commander Abhinandan Varthaman returned, Pakistan failed to attend a meeting of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC), of which it is a founding member, for the first time ever. This was Pakistan’s way to protest the refusal by OIC foreign ministers to rescind their invitation to India’s foreign minister to address the conference in Abu Dhabi.That India’s external affairs minister, Sushma Swaraj, addressed the 57-member body of majority-Muslim countries while Pakistan was absent speaks volumes about the state of Pakistan’s ties even with traditional allies. The host, United Arab Emirates (UAE), had only recently helped bail Pakistan out of its economic difficulties. But it chose India over Pakistan as the preferred guest at the OIC meeting within a couple of weeks after the Pulwama terror attack and just a few days after the Indian air strike inside Pakistan.India-Pakistan crises are not new, nor are terrorist attacks by Pakistan-based groups or India’s attempts to coerce Pakistan in their aftermath. What has changed this time is the regional and global reaction to both the February 14 terror attack at Pulwama, where a Jaish e Muhammad suicide bomber attacked an Indian paramilitary convoy, and India’s punitive action against Pakistan.

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