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January 29, 2020

Never-ending Indian obsession with Pakistan

National

January 29, 2020

India has an obsession with Pakistan. As a much larger country, it could not compete with China in any field and thus it opted to compete with Pakistan. The Indian media has played a major part in sensational news that constantly target Pakistan and its armed forces. They have falsely shown to their countrymen that most problems in India are because of Pakistan and its intelligence apparatus. Pollution in Indian skies, poor economy, counterfeit notes, roaming pigeons that don’t care or understand about international borders, local insurgencies, demonstrations by Indian Muslims, anger shown by Sikhs over injustices, problems in Assam and Tripura, etc., are all blamed on Pakistan.

On the other hand, Pakistanis overall are not obsessed with India in the same way the Indians are. We don’t blame our ills on India as they do. It is the political mindset that has created the Pakistan bogey for India.

According to The Hindu newspaper article published last year, “Come Indian elections, the bogey of Pakistan has overwhelmed the nationalist discourse in the shrillest manner, with the Prime Minister and other Ministers’ relentless branding of the Congress/Opposition as ‘anti-national’ and as ‘agents of Pakistan’. Further, the prime minister even made an unprecedented threat of using nuclear weapons against Pakistan.”

It says: “What has scarcely received notice is that India’s post-Independence nationalism has been equally driven by an obsession with Pakistan. Of course, this obsession acquires a pathological dimension under regimes, like the present one, which thrive on hyper-nationalism and a ‘Hindu India’ identity.

But, this hyper-nationalistic urge to ‘defeat’ Pakistan and to gloat over every victory, both real and claimed, is ultimately self-defeating, and comes with huge human and material costs.

Much of these costs are hidden by jingoism masquerading as nationalism “Wars and military competition produce madness. Nothing exemplifies this more than India-Pakistan attempts to secure the Siachen Glacier, the inhospitable and highest battle terrain in the world. India alone lost nearly 800 soldiers (until 2016) to weather-related causes only. Besides, it spends around 6 crore every day in Siachen. Operation Parakram (2001-02), in which India mobilised for war with Pakistan, saw 798 soldier deaths and a cost of $3 billion. This is without fighting a war. Add to this the human and economic costs of fighting four wars.

“Granted, the proponents of India’s muscular nationalism who want only a military solution in Kashmir might close their eyes to the killings of some 50,000 Kashmiri civilians and the unending suffering of Kashmiris, but can they, as nationalists, ignore, the deaths of around 6,500 security personnel in Kashmir and the gargantuan and un-estimated costs of stationing nearly 5 lakh military/ para-military/ police personnel in Kashmir for 30 years?

“Here, one should ask the most pertinent question: why does India compete with Pakistan in every sphere, from military to sport, rather than with, say, China, which is comparable in size and population, and which in 1980 had the same GDP as India? (China’s GDP is almost five times that of India’s now.)"

The Hindu newspaper explained it eloquently. As it is, the Indian economy is much larger but the good days of the Indian economy seem to be over thanks to the Modi government. The Indian economy is in a severe slowdown. Last year, India’s economy grew 5 percent in real terms, which was the slowest in 11 years. According to economists, the size of the Indian GDP was almost $3 trillion, which was $2 trillion short of the goal. The per capita income of Indians is equal to Congo, East Timor, Nicaragua, and Nigeria while India’s neighbours Maldives and Sri Lanka remain ahead.

The International Monetary Fund (IMF) has downgraded its forecast for India's GDP growth in 2020-21. India Ratings and Research (of the Fitch Group) has also estimated that the GDP growth of India would be 5.5 per cent in 2020-21.

The boiling Kashmir issue and the controversial Citizenship Amendment Act have upset world investors. They certainly read the news, watch television and follow developments on the Internet about what is going on in the country. But the Modi Sarkar is creating turmoil in the region and also for the Indians. So much for the obsession with Pakistan and Indian Muslims.