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October 7, 2016

Thank you, PM Modi


October 7, 2016

Trapped in his own right-wing and hyper-nationalist braggadocio, PM Modi has done great favours to Pakistan since assuming power – a feat no Pakistani political and military genius could have achieved in his lifetime.

Following the Uri attack, Modi became a prisoner of his own anti-Pakistan rhetoric as internal pressure increased on him to give a befitting reply to Pakistan and make an example out of it, as promised in his pre-election rallies in 2014.

The ensuing policy statements and actions (strategies) that emanated from New Delhi not only confirmed Pakistani apprehensions of India’s direct involvement in Balochistan, but also vindicated Pakistan’s stance on Kashmir being the core dispute between the two South Asian rivals.

In doing so, Modi Sarkar has conceded enough ground to Pakistan to go on a diplomatic offensive and claim a high moral ground. Moreover, the manner in which the hawkish Indian media and government have conducted themselves in the last three weeks have made the Pakistani government and media look sober, saner and more rational.

After assuming power, Modi took a bold departure from India’s Nehruvian tradition of non-alignment and its liberal-secular traditions. Under Modi, Indian has drifted towards a right-wing Hindu nationalist state, locally, and a US-allied state, internationally. India is doing what Pakistan had done earlier: entering into defence pacts and military alliances with the US and showing willingness to fight the US’s regional wars.

In retrospect, Pakistan entered into the Seato and Cento pacts with the US, provided the Badaber airbase to the CIA for reconnaissance against Russia and then fought the US-funded proxy war in Afghanistan to defeat Russia. Now India is joining hands with the US to contain China in Southeast Asia and South Asia along with signing multiple defence pacts. The consequences of Pakistan’s alliance with the US are lessons of history but still not convincing enough for the Indian government, which is bending over backwards to repeat history.

Similarly, on American prodding, the deepening Indian political and military ties with Afghanistan, beyond its economic engagements and reconstruction efforts, are fraught with grave dangers. The open provision of Indian arms to the Afghan army has made India a party to the conflict. This has invoked a stern warning from the Afghan Taliban, who have asked India to stay out of the Afghan conundrum. If Afghanistan is the graveyard of great empires then after British India, former Soviet Russia and America perhaps it is India’s turn to bite the dust: welcome to the club, PM Modi.

The post-Uri developments have also busted the myths of the much-touted Indian cold start doctrine. The Indian military developed cold start as an offensive military strategy to impose a swift, limited war on Pakistan in the event of a so-called cross-border attack. However, despite pouring in billions of dollars, cold start could not be activated due to Pakistan’s fortification of its defence positions along the LoC. The operational preparedness of Pakistan’s battle-hardened military stopped India’s aggressive designs right in their tracks.

Notwithstanding India’s farcical claims of surgical strikes, India could not dare launch the so-called precision airstrikes within the Pakistani territory. On the contrary, Pakistan’s development of its tactical nuclear weapons as a counter-measure to cold start effectively deterred India from any military misadventure. In strategic terms, Indian flirtation with the idea of a limited conventional war with Pakistan under the nuclear threshold has been falsified.

Similarly, Modi’s highhanded approach in Kashmir has internationalised the Kashmir issue: a huge setback for India. The Kashmiri protesters have revived the movement of self-determination, making it impossible for Indian occupation forces to hide their massive human rights abuses and systematic genocide of the innocent Kashmiris. The situation reached a tipping point when the Indian forces martyred Muzaffar Burhan Wani, a young commander of the Hizbul Mujahideen. Around 50,000 people came out to offer his funeral and protested against the Indian occupation. The Indian forces responded with pellet-fires, resulting in a complete shutdown of Jammu and Kashmir.

Pakistan jumped into this foray, politically and diplomatically, much later. The Indian efforts to keep Kashmir as internal Indian matter or at worst, a bilateral issue between India and Pakistan have gone down the drain, thanks to Modi’s aggressive policies. Kashmir is now back in international debates as a core dispute that needs immediate global attention. Over the years, the Indian efforts to de-hyphenate India-Pakistan relations also lie in tatters due to India’s Pakistan-obsessed policies.

Moreover, to the pleasant surprise of many in Pakistan and utter shock of several in India, in his Independence Day speech, Modi admitted India’s involvement in fomenting trouble in Balochistan. His speech confirmed Pakistan’s consistent position of India’s involvement in Balochistan. More recently, the Indian move to consider Brahamdagh Bugti’s political asylum request lends further credence to these assertions.

The Indian desperation to isolate Pakistan also stood exposed when, despite Indian pressure, Russian troops landed in Pakistan for joint military exercises with their Pakistani counterparts. Similarly, Indian intentions to reconsider the Indus Waters Treaty was met with a stern response from China – which blocked water flow in India from a tributary of the Brahmaputra River in Tibet, warning the latter not to use water as a foreign policy tool against Pakistan.

The reckless manner in which India is going all out to malign, isolate, and destabilise Pakistan is exposing India and bringing a fresh realisation in the important world capitals that giving India permanent membership of the UNSC or the Nuclear Suppliers Group will be a grave mistake.

The manner in which India sabotaged the Saarc Summit that was to be held in Islamabad exposes India’s doublespeak of waging war against ‘poverty, illiteracy and unemployment’. The Saarc summit was an ideal opportunity to chart an agenda along these lines. However, by boycotting the summit Modi Sarkar demonstrated that it only paid lip service to the problems of region’s impoverished masses.

The writer is an associate research fellow at the S Rajaratnam School of
International Studies, Singapore.

Email: [email protected]


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