President Macron of France is wrong. Angela Merkel is wrong. President Erdogan is wrong. Prime Minister Mahathir is wrong. The UN Secretary General is wrong. The UN Committees on Human Rights and Refugees are wrong. The Economist, The Guardian, The Wall Street Journal, The Washington Post and the New York Times have all got it wrong. They are all wrong because they have been critical of what India is doing to itself and to its people under the leadership of Prime Minister Narendra Modi. They are wrong because they see and talk and write about the brutal repression of the Kashmiri people and those who are protesting on the streets of India against the policies of their government. And, of course, Pakistan is totally wrong when it talks about the disputed status of Kashmir, the right to self-determination of the people of Kashmir and the brutal lockdown and repression in Indian Held Kashmir.
The only person right is the Prime Minister of India—Narendra Modi. Having painted himself into a box and pushed that box into a corner he proudly says— ‘Article 370- Done, Status of Jammu and Kashmir-Done, Citizenship Act-Done.” To his list of ‘dones’ he could add the transformation of India into an intolerant state where mobs lynch those who eat beef, the killing of those who protest against his policies, the brutalization of its security forces, the politicization of its military leadership and the tag of a government backed by a fanatic Hindutva ideology that reminds the world of Nazi policies. His allies, the Muslim states of Bangladesh and Afghanistan, are finding it hard to echo the ‘done mantra’. US Congress members have been critical and powerful voices within India—like Shivshankar Menon and Shashi Tharoor have also spoken of the disaster unfolding in India. The Ram Mandir-Mosque issue may have been settled but it has left a scar. Muslims in India hark back to the mass killings and rapes that periodically erupt in India with the complicity of the fanatic Hindus behind the BJP government and the bystander role of security forces during such events. Gujarat under the Chief Minister ship of the present Prime Minister of India is a stain that will not be washed away. Sikhs remember the mass killings after Indira Gandhis assassination and Christians have also faced the fury of crazed Hindu mobs.
Mr Modi came to power in his first term on the strength of his economic agenda and promises of better times under his leadership. In his second term with a faltering economy because of some disastrous decisions like the Demonetization and taxation policies he campaigned on an anti-Pakistan agenda and was voted in. Even the post Pulwama fiasco of the ill-considered and bungled retaliation to Pulwama did not influence his Hindu vote bank nor did corporate India withdraw its support. Now as India dolls itself up to welcome President Trump it will ingratiate itself deeper into the US-Israel nexus and no doubt move further into the US embrace. China’s economic downturn in the wake of the virus attack will spark discussion on future containment policies. Nothing can, however, hide the fact that India is getting increasingly isolated and facing an economic decline. The present Indian obsession with Pakistan and its refusal to have bilateral talks belittles it.
Pakistan needs to let India stew in its own juices and keep the Kashmir issue alive and kicking with the focus on the security and wellbeing of the people under Indian oppression in the open air jail that is Indian Held Kashmir today. The time and space that Pakistan has should enable it to consolidate internally—this should be Pakistan’s priority. Prime Minister Imran Khan’s oft repeated warning about a desperate Modi resorting to a false flag operation to create a conflict situation is a scenario that cannot be ignored.
(Spearhead Analyses are collaborative efforts and not attributable to an individual)