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December 24, 2019

India’s ‘strong man’ foreign policy

Islamabad

December 24, 2019

As we can see that India’s foreign policy towards Pakistan is to show brawn or muscles over the years, especially under the BJP government. New Delhi has consistently refused to hold meaningful talks with Islamabad on any tangible issue. The only policy that South Block thinks would work on Pakistan is to blame Islamabad for all the faults in the world. It thinks that Pakistan is responsible for secessionist movements in India, growing corruption, sinking economy, large number of rapes and also perhaps lack of toilets. When Indian politicians talk about Pakistan creating smog in northern India, it shows their wretched mentality. BJP’s manifesto has stated that “India shall remain a natural home for persecuted Hindus and they shall be welcome to seek refuge here.”

The world is slowly but surely working out that BJP’s ideology is detrimental to India’s secular and democratic credentials. Traditionally, India has been a religiously diverse and democratic society with a constitution that according to its framers provided legal equality for all ­-- but sadly no more. The religion and caste-based discrimination is becoming functional every day and lynchings of Muslims more common.

What happened recently in Kashmir is an eye-opener for the world. While the international media is focused on India’s exacting steps in held Valley, the Modi government is trying to take the global spotlight off the unwarranted situation in the disputed region. But the Kashmir issue has been successfully internationalized by Pakistan. King Carl Gustaf of Sweden, on a visit to India, demanded the Indian authorities to lift curfew in occupied Kashmir and also offered mediation to resolve the matter. He said his country had been acting as an observer in the occupied valley for the past several years and would continue to do so. “We emphasise the importance of respect for human rights, that an escalation of the situation in Kashmir is avoided and that a long-term political solution to the situation must involve Kashmir’s inhabitants,” Sweden’s Foreign Minister Ann Linde told the Riksdag or the Swedish parliament recently. “Dialogue between India and Pakistan is crucial.”

But there will be no dialogue on Kashmir or any other issue in foreseeable future. Ajit Doval, the Indian security czar, came from intelligence corps, not diplomatic corps. He has narrow focus on diplomatic issues and foreign policy. Doval is fond of covert action, which he defined as “a low cost sustainable offensive with high deniability aimed to bleed the enemy to submission.” This is how he has been playing with India’s foreign policy towards Pakistan. But has he been successful? The answer is no as Pakistan's security forces have blunted the coordinated terrorism in the country and the likes if Kulbhushan Yadav are behind the bar. Similarly, India is not finding its way with Iran and Afghanistan. Meanwhile, Sri Lankan President Gotabaya Rajapaksa, ahead of his visit to New Delhi, said that he wanted to work very closely with both India and China. Gotabaya further said his government would not do anything that would threaten India’s security and that his country’s involvement with China was purely commercial. But will Sri Lanka forget the malicious role played by India in the proxy war on its soil? The LTTE was fully funded and supported by India in an attempt to destabilize Sri Lanka and create a homeland for Tamils. Sri Lanka will only further its national interests and will not become an Indian proxy.

With the world now closely watching the Kashmir situation and India coming under intense pressure, Modi’s tough policy with Pakistan has certainly backfired. With regard to Pakistan, and on the Kashmir issue, it had unintended consequences and internationalized the capture of held Valley by New Delhi through revoking Article 370.