Newspaper Article 31/08/2015
Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s frustration is understandable, due to childish approach, he has gathered phenomenal political baggage on personal, domestic and foreign policy counts. His delusion triggered actions are mainly fuelled by his RSS grounding. Modi’s pathological anti-Muslim and anti-Pakistan bias is manifesting into complication in Pakistan-India relations which his successors may take quite some time to unknot and resolve. Modi is well poised on a collision course with Pakistan. Tainted with his terrorist background, Modi lacks civility, patience and diplomatic skills.
On personal count Modi’s biggest failure is his complicity in a spate of organised killings during his stint as chief minister of the state of Gujarat, which took around a thousand lives—mostly Muslims. An Indian human rights activist Teesta Setalvad, has spent fairly long time in collecting evidence of Modi’s involvement in the riots. She is the recipient of the Padma Shri Award. It’s a Hindu woman investigating a Hindu prime minister for alleged wrongdoing in a state where the majority of victims of the butchery were Muslims! On the eve of court proceedings that could have Modi facing criminal charges for the riots, members of the Central Bureau of Investigation, who have gained notoriety for carrying out the wishes of its political masters, conducted a 24-hour long raid on the Setalvad’s home to harass her family. Notwithstanding, the seeds Modi had sown during Gujarat pogrom of 2002 in the form of government sponsored three days long massacre of Muslims, have now graduated to sub-communal intra-Hindu violence in August 2015. Though it may take considerable time to bring Modi to book for his crimes against humanity; eventually, he shall face the trial by an international tribunal.
Modi is also making futile effort in rewriting the history; what could be more obscurant than declaring victory celebration for 1965 war which was an utter defeat for Indian military as well as political leadership. Recent Confession by a former Indian Air Marshal Bharat Kumar indicate how a numerically superior India met humiliating defeat in the hands of Pakistani military. Indian military pensioners of 1965 era have declined to participate in so called ‘Victory celebrations’ unless their pensions are increased many times over—what a bargain!
Modi and his NSA Ajit Doval have been conspiring to put impediments in the path of China Pakistan Economic Corridor (COEC) by active intervention through proxies. India has since long been encouraging the separatist elements in Balochistan through financing, travel facilitation and provision of platforms in India and abroad to air their unfounded anti-Pakistan narratives. The effort has failed. Province went through peaceful national, provincial and local bodies’ election. The federal and provincial governments have ever since demonstrated their reconciliatory gestures towards disgruntled groups. Now founder of the defunct Baloch Republican Party Brahamdagh Bugti has also joined the growing list of key Baloch leaders, led by Khan of Qallat, who stand convinced about the futility of their disruptive trajectory and are now adopting reasonable stance for their political mainstreaming and to come to the negotiation table. Bugti’s conciliatory words are rooted in pragmatism; his willingness to join the mainstream politics would also discourage other separatist groups. Situation in Balochistan is improving. Fararis are laying down their weapons in numbers.
After getting an unfavourable award from independent arbitrator on Kishanganga Hydroelectric project, Modi has offered Pakistan to hold talks on other controversial hydro power projects. Pakistan saw through the trap by which New Delhi was trying to buy time for completing the projects. Pakistan has raised objection on the design of various projects because their structures would obstruct the flow of water, into Pakistan, to a degree that violates the Indus Water Treaty. Pakistan has decided to approach the World Bank, the guarantor of the IWT to appoint an expert to decide the matter.
At the SAARC level, Modi’s obsessions to install pro-India governments in some of the countries and to gang up with them in an anti-Pakistan coalition is resulting in region’s lost opportunity in terms of connectivity and commerce. While Pakistan believes in peaceful co-existence on the basis of sovereign equality with its neighbours, India is working on a well-conceived plan to harm Pakistan’s economy and wellbeing of its people. India is making an all-out effort to make its anti-Pakistan aspiration as corner stone of its relations with its neighbourhood and extended neighbourhood countries. As Modi’s efforts to marginalize Pakistan’s role in Afghanistan have come to a naught; he is desperately trying to set-up his anti-Pakistan shops in Iran and other Middle Eastern countries—albeit failing everywhere.
Modi’s obsession to cage Pakistan is firing back. During his recent visit to UAE, Modi tried to woo the Arab countries towards India, with a condition that they ditch Pakistan enbloc and comprehensively. He offered them defence cooperation in lieu of Pakistan’s constraints regarding sending its forces to quell the Yemen insurgency if Arab countries withdrew hand of assistance to Pakistan and show indifferent attitude to Pakistan on defence and economic matters. Again, Modi underestimated the depth of the relationship between Pakistan and Arab countries. King of Saudi Arabia made it clear in categorical terms that Saudi Arabia would never allow any Modi-led conspiracy against Pakistan to succeed.
India is, since long, following an odious plan to ensure that Kashmir is formally integrated into India. Recent cancellation of NSA level talks on the issue of Pakistan’s preparatory meeting with true representatives of IHK—the All Parties Hurriyat Conference (APHC) leadership— alongside persistent Indian violations of Line of Control has brought Kashmir back under international focus. Besides numerous statements of the UNSG, Mr Peter Lavoy, Special Assistant to the President Obama on South Asian Affairs said on August 20, 2015 that “Jammu and Kashmir is a disputed territory. I think, it’s up to them to address these issues together. I expect that they probably will.” Time has come for the world powers and in particular the United States to recognize the people of Jammu & Kashmir as the central party to the dispute.
To take the Kashmir cause to higher pedestals, Kashmiri diaspora has announced another Million-Man-March (MMM); this time in America. March will focus on the political climate of the region of South Asia and the role of the United Nations & the United States in facilitating a lasting peace and stability in the region that could provide an opportunity for a peaceful settlement of the Kashmir dispute. March shall take place on October 25, 2015, in front of the UN head office, New York. It will be a joint platform of all Kashmiri American expatriates and friends of Kashmir, irrespective of their political beliefs, religious affiliations and linguistic limitations. APHC leaders from IHK have been invited to participate in the march. Hopefully Indian will not place travel restrictions on Syed Ali Geelani, Mirwaiz Umar Farooq, Mohammad Yasin Malik and Shabbir Ahmed Shah. Marchers want the UN and the US to know that a political leadership exists in Jammu & Kashmir, with broad popular support, which seeks a peaceful and negotiated settlement; and this leadership is APHC. The Government of Pakistan has shown eagerness to accept APHC as an equal partner. The only question is whether the Government of India will join them at the negotiations table or opt for continued repression over dialogue. The only way to achieve a peaceful and lasting solution to the Kashmir crisis is through focused dialogue and negotiations between the three stake holders—Pakistan, India and the Kashmiris. Such talks should focus at devising ways and means to hold UN supervised plebiscite.
In the meanwhile it for the BJP to reconsider its prime ministerial choice lest all gained during Vajpayee era in India Pakistan bilateral context is reduced to ashes.
[The Nation August 31, 2015]
Disclaimer: Views expressed are of the writer and are not necessarily reflective of IPRI policy.