Wednesday July 24, 2024

Hindutva across borders

By Omay Aimen
December 09, 2023

The globe is currently seeing the rise of the Hindutva ideology of the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) and Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), which is gaining attention for its influence on both local and global issues.

The philosophy, promoted by the RSS and supported by the BJP, is becoming more and more well-known, raising questions abroad about India’s commitment to religious freedom and plurality.

There are concerns about India’s commitment to democracy and freedom as a result of the rise of Hindutva. Despite India’s global standing as the largest democracy in the world, recent events have cast a shadow on its adherence to the democratic principles it proudly espouses.

Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) activists hold party flags during a rally in Kolkata, India, on July 19, 2023. — AFP
Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) activists hold party flags during a rally in Kolkata, India, on July 19, 2023. — AFP

Reports of Indian government agents planning conspiracies to kill Sikh leaders who support Punjab’s independence from India have surfaced. These claims highlight a worrying pattern of state-sponsored murder against dissident voices. These incidents raise profound questions about the preservation of democratic ideals and the safeguarding of individual freedoms in the face of an ideological shift that appears to be straining the very fabric of India’s democratic foundation.

Recent events have not only horrified the world but have also precipitated a strain in diplomatic relations, exemplified by the indictment of Nikhil Gupta for orchestrating the assassination of Sikh leader Gurpatwant Singh Pannun. The assassination of Sikh separatist leader Hardeep Singh Nijjar has escalated tensions, with Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s assertion of “credible allegations” implicating India in Nijjar’s death further clarify that India is involved in terrorist activities.

The Khalistan movement’s objective, seeking the establishment of a separate Sikh nation-state, has emerged as a pivotal point of contention between India and other nations. The ideological clash surrounding the movement has not only deepened the divide between India and its international counterparts but also underscored the intricate complexities and geopolitical implications associated with the evolving dynamics of this regional conflict.

There are grounds for grave alarm over India’s purported involvement in terrorist and espionage activities on foreign land. The allegations of Indian involvement in the murder of its people in the US, UK, Canada, and Qatar, along with assassination plans, raise concerns about the influence of Hindutva on international affairs. It seems that the use of state apparatus to quell internal opposition is spreading beyond India’s boundaries, impacting neighboring nations like Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, and Pakistan.

The claims of Indian complicity in the scheme to kill a dual citizen of the United States and Canada for hire provide a difficult conundrum for the former. The US must strike a balance between its strategic interests and its commitment to democratic ideals and human rights, especially in light of China’s growing influence in the Indo-Pacific area. This is difficult for a country that has always grounded its foreign policy on values rather than interests.

As mounting evidence and allegations against India continue to surface, the international community is faced with a crucial imperative to intervene. International organizations must spearhead a thorough and impartial investigation into the alleged instances of state-sponsored violence and suppression of dissent within India.

Finding the truth and holding people accountable for any abuses of human rights are crucial. Geopolitical considerations should not surpass the ideals of democracy, religious freedom, and human rights, underscoring the need of preserving these universal values on a worldwide scale. Intervention by the international community is not only the right thing to do, but also a vital step in guaranteeing a future in which democratic values and individual liberties are upheld.

On the international front, countries like Pakistan, which have long expressed concerns about India’s treatment of minorities, are becoming more and more recognized for their regional positions. A coordinated regional reaction is needed to fight the growing risks presented by the Hindutva ideology, as seen by the increasing number of terror acts against internal dissidents and the accusations of state-sponsored violence and espionage.

To address the underlying reasons and lessen any possible negative repercussions on the peace and security of the whole region, nations must work together as they deal with the fallout from this ideological change. Navigating the complicated issues faced by the growth of Hindutva outside India’s boundaries calls for even more international unity.

The writer is a freelance contributor and writes on issues concerning national and regional security. She can be reached at: