By Aarti Tikoo Singh
New Delhi, April 30 (IANS) In view of the US withdrawal from Afghanistan, India should impose sanctions on Pakistan for perpetrating cross-border terrorism in Kashmir and other parts of the country.
This policy recommendation has been made by one of India’s top foreign policy think tanks, Gateway House based in Mumbai. Established in 2009 by Manjeet Kripalani, ‘Gateway House: Indian Council on Global Relations’, engages India’s leading corporations, thinkers and scholars on international relations.
The think tank has recommended that the government should sanction Indian stakeholders and corporations that have a presence in Pakistan or that have a business relationship with Pakistan entities. This and several other recommendations have appeared in a paper written by Ambika Khanna, a senior researcher on international law at the Gateway House.
Following the US-Taliban peace deal in Afghanistan and the coronavirus pandemic, the Pakistani army has assumed a central role in the region, bolstering the confidence of Islamabad to revive tensions along the Line of Control in Jammu and Kashmir.
The incessant ceasefire violations on the LoC and the creation of a new outfit, The Resistance Front (TRF) as fronts of the banned terror group Lashkar-e-Taiba, is an indicator of ISI’s renewed temerity even as Pakistan continues to be in the grey list of Financial Action Task Force, the global watchdog of terror-funding.
“Now is the time for India to consider new strategies to manage Pakistan effectively in the post-COVID era. One such is the imposition of sanctions,” the Gateway House has recommended after analysing its feasibility and impact on India too.
It has identified Dabur India, TAFE, KPMG, Oppo, ExxonMobil and other companies which the government can sanction by pressurizing them to withdraw their investments from Pakistan. The Gateway House has also suggested that India can sanction its citizens or residents for featuring in advertisements meant for Pakistan; for example, Kareena Kapoor who appears in Pakistan’s Dabur ads.
The government can sanction Indian subsidiaries of foreign companies in sectors such as e-commerce, retail, pharma, financial services and energy (Amazon, Nestle, P&G, Pepsi, Cocoa-Cola, Total, Colgate) from selling Pakistani or Pakistan-origin goods in India. The Centre can further impose blanket bans on Foreign Direct Investment and Overseas Direct Investment (ODI) to Pakistan under Foreign Exchange Management Act (FEMA) and related regulations.
The think tank has recommended that the government should establish a strong legal framework for imposing sanctions.
To accomplish the objective, the government must “amend India’s laws and regulations on foreign exchange and the Companies Act for stricter disclosures and embargoes; adopt a whole-of-government approach so that all government departments can come together to ensure that the sanctions are phased and targeted.”
The paper has also suggested that India should amend export laws to control re-export. “For example, when Sri Lanka imports electronic chips from India, it should not be allowed to re-export them to Pakistan. The US has successfully enforced similar control on re-export of certain commodities under the Export Control Act.
Khanna has recommended that the government should impose sanctions in line with international humanitarian law.