Spearhead Analysis-28.01.2020

Hamid Karzai does not mince his words. He said clearly and unambiguously that India’s Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) was not good and added that there were ‘no persecuted minorities in Afghanistan because the entire population is persecuted’. The Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina Wajid who is considered staunchly pro -India has said “We don’t understand why the Indian government did it (CAA). It was not necessary— within India; people are facing many problems.” There is very little doubt that the CAA is discriminatory and targets Muslims. Even if Modi’s contention that the CAA is an internal matter (which it is not) is accepted then India needs to see the riots in the streets all over India and hear what the West Bengal Chief Minister is saying. Hindus are very much there in the protests and one has to read the Preamble to the Indian Constitution to understand why. They want a secular India. 

The CAA and its approach to Muslims leaves no room for doubt that under Modi India is moving towards becoming a radicalized and intolerant Hindu state. The Economist London called it a move towards intolerance and termed Modi the ‘great divider”. What is happening in India is sending waves of concern to Muslim nations especially Pakistan and Afghanistan—one a neighbor and the other a country India has been wooing. There have been demonstrations in 30 US cities against the CAA and multiple groups are joining the protests.

What has been done to Kashmir and the atrocities and repression being committed there is being seen by the world. The brutality with which protests are being put down by Indian police is also being condemned widely. The long term repercussions for India is something that Indians need to judge for themselves. They should also see what impact this is having on their police and security forces–though this is not something new.

India rules out bilateral dialogue with Pakistan. India also does not want third party mediation nor is it in favor of any discussion in or on the sidelines of a multilateral forum.  Bhadrakumar in his recent article has stated the situation clearly—

All this once again highlights that India and the US have never really been on the same page in regard of terrorism. The US stance is pragmatic while the Indian stance is dogmatic. The US is realistic in making assessments regarding Pakistan’s record on terrorism while India focuses on coercive diplomacy.  India’s position on dialogue with Pakistan is becoming increasingly untenable. Pakistan’s FATF moment highlights the Indian predicament. Delhi is rejecting third-party mediation in Kashmir but in the same breath also vows not to bilaterally engage with Pakistan to resolve differences peacefully through dialogue. —At this rate, India’s gripe about terrorism will be seen by the international community increasingly as a matter of irritable bowel syndrome on account of its own body ailments. However, the present government is perfectly pleased with the perpetuation of the enemy image of Pakistan, which helps it to derive advantages in domestic politics especially during election time.” 

Pakistan’s Prime Minister is calling the world’s attention to the aggressive and provocative statements by the Indian political and military leadership. The cease fire violations have led Pakistan’s Prime Minister to ask for UN observers as he fears a false flag operation by India to trigger a conflict that will distract attention from India’s volatile internal situation. He has also warned of the dangers of conflict between nuclear weapon states and stated that there is no military solution to issues between states. Pakistan’s voice is being heard. Pakistan’s offer of joint investigations to determine the source of an event remains on the table as does its offer to discuss strategic restraint. Pakistan is acting to bring about peace in Afghanistan by supporting the dialogue process. President Trump stated in Davos that the US has never been as close to Pakistan as it is now. The IMET program has been reinstated for Pakistan. On her recent visit to Pakistan the Acting Assistant Secretary Alice Wells expressed satisfaction over Pakistan’s progress in meeting FATF conditionalities. Pakistan has actually moved very strongly to ensure compliance with FATF conditions not just to satisfy the FATF but in its own interest. In spite of Indian manipulations Pakistan is likely to exit the FATF grey list in February. Both Fitch and Moody’s have given Pakistan ‘stable’ ratings. CPEC is moving forward. Pakistan is focusing on its economy and for this it is pushing a supportive foreign policy and an internal security policy that creates the right environment.

(Spearhead Analyses are collaborative efforts and not attributable to an individual)