BY Humayun Gauhar
This newspaper’s Monday headline said it all: “India Out of Control”. It conveyed our bemusement over India transgressing the LOC for no rhyme or reason when our prime minister had been sending out friendly feelers to restart peace talks even before taking office.
John Kerry lectures us on improving relations with India. He should understand that it is India that needs lecturing. America is childish, not ‘innocent’. What America means by ‘normalization’ is, “Accept Indian regional hegemony and its role as America’s policeman in South Asia” – the usual American pipe dream. It was tried with the Shah of Iran and it trashed him. Ask America’s old satraps in the Arab world and they will tell you with tears in their eyes, “This is what America gives us for be so faithful to it.” They forget that if they are faithful to their own people no one can touch them.
In offering mediation Ban Ki-moon is both childish and innocent. If India had any respect for the United Nations it would have implemented the Security Council resolutions asking for a plebiscite to which it is signatory. India will reject Ban’s offer with contempt for mediation implies dispute when India says none exists as Kashmir-in-revolt is its integral part if you please. Yet an out of control country wants a seat in the Security Council with the Hegemon and its toadies wagging their tails. Thank God for China.
India’s madness happens periodically, triggered off by different circumstances every time. Just as the moon has to be full to make a werewolf, thus too it has to be monsoons for India to go loopy. However, while India is out of control once again, it is not beyond control even if it goes beyond the Line of Control. What will bring India back in control are its domestic problems and internal conflicts and contradictions, pretending to be what it is not. Every country suffers from such problems but when the reaction descends into a fit it is time for analysis towards understanding.
Underlying India’s conflicts with Pakistan and China is water. The rivers that matter to Pakistan and India are born in Tibet and go through Indian-occupied Kashmir before reaching Pakistan, thus the India-China kerfuffle over Tibet and the India-Pakistan contretemps over Kashmir. It is serious because most wars this century will be fought over water. It’s a big issue for Israel too: it’s not so much about oil but the water of the Euphrates that passes through Turkey and Iraq. Water from the Euphrates is already being siphoned off from Turkey to Israel under an agreement, threatening Iraq the lower riparian with drought.
India does not want peace with Pakistan because it already has control over that part of Kashmir that matters. Why would they wish to change the equation? Anyway, with nuclear parity war is no longer an option. It will be MAD, Mutually Assured Destruction. Having started nuclear terror in the subcontinent, India couldn’t be that loopy.
But why did India go loopy this time?
1. The rebellion in Kashmir has heated up again. If India is delusional enough to think that grabbing Azad Kashmir will end the Kashmiri freedom struggle, it has another thought coming. It will multiply manifold.
2. India wants to be accepted as the regional hegemon. Why else would they waste so much money building their first aircraft carrier when millions of their people are living in abject poverty and some 40 percent of the country is in insurgency? What will they do with it? Patrol the Indian Ocean? For what? Who do they think they will conquer? Aden, the Gulf, China, Karachi, Gwadar? Give me a break. An Indian submarine caught fire and burned down a day before the country’s independence day. Mercifully, Pakistan wasn’t blamed this time because it would make Pakistan look very powerful and decrease domestic morale. But when they can’t even look after what they have, what will they do with their aircraft carrier? Make it fly like a pig?
3. The Indian economy is going through a serious downturn and they wish to divert domestic attention from it.
4. Fear unifies a diverse country in the face of failure to improve the human condition. It has to keep itself together by stoking up the fear factor – threats from marauding Muslim hordes from the northwest as in the days of yore.
5. With difficult elections nigh war hysteria helps the ruling Congress party – or so it imagines. Actually, it would help the Hindu fundamentalist BJP because when people are afraid they usually turn right. Raising temperature is easier when your army chief is a warmonger spoiling for a fight. His bombast waits to be hoist on its own petard.
6. India has just caused floods in Pakistan by releasing excess water from the River Sutlej and wishes to divert attention here too.
7. India violates the Indus Basin Water Treaty by building dams and again wants to divert attention.
8. India wishes to push Pakistan to the brink by forcing it to deploy troops from its western border to its eastern borders.
9. The insurgency within Pakistan fuelled by Indian and American support of the ‘Balochistan Liberation Army’ is over control of Balochistan’s coastline – if Pakistan didn’t control it, it and China couldn’t reap the benefits. The 2000 km China-Pakistan Economic Corridor from Gwadar to Xinjiang will change the economic complexion of the region covering Afghanistan, Iran and Central Asia. India fears this would diminish its importance. India could get into the equation and benefit too, but a state under superpower delusions couldn’t countenance being coopted by Pakistan and China.
10. Gwadar being the world’s largest deep-sea port, India and America worry about it becoming a Chinese naval base also housing nuclear submarines close to oil’s main supply route, the Straits of Hormuz. China’s influence and ingress in the Arabian Gulf would increase. If China builds a railway from Afghanistan to Gwadar it would change Afghanistan’s economic equation dramatically and increase Pakistan’s importance for it.
How times change. Pakistani politics have moved on from a 1,000-year war with India and eating grass to India not even being on the radar screen during the recent elections. Sadly, India has not. India’s media have been embarrassingly jingoistic and raised the temperature while Pakistani media have been most mature and measured.
There’s India’s usual pettiness too – large country with a small country mentality born of over a thousand-year rule by Muslims and the British. Get over it. Pettiness has swung from an inferiority complex to a superiority complex. Time to get real.
Its time for the world to get real too. It is. The realization is dawning about India’s human rights atrocities in Kashmir and many other parts of the country. India’s immaturity and hysteria, its baseless accusations against Pakistan and China and its gross human rights abuses are coming into the limelight, as is its nefarious role in Afghanistan and its numerous ‘consulates’ along the Pakistan border begetting insurgencies and abetting terrorism in our country.
The truth always outs. For the last many years Pakistan has been relentlessly maligned for encouraging terrorism in India and destabilizing it when all the while it was India that was the culprit. Pakistan was accused of being behind the attacks on India’s parliament building and in Mumbai. It now transpires that it was the work of India’s state institutions themselves. Soon the world will realize that all terrorism in India is begotten by its own state terrorism on its people. We know that it was a serving Indian army colonel that burned down the misnamed ‘Samjhota’ Express killing over 50 Pakistanis, but not a peep out of a world in thrall of India’s ‘culture’ that is mostly Muslim. We are accused of having an India-centric foreign policy. What do you think? If India’s recent behaviour is not Pakistan-centric you have to be stupid.
Its time for Pakistan to come real too. When India doesn’t want peace why go on asking for it? India raises facetious arguments to stall talks – give us Dawood Ibrahim and Hafiz Saeed first but without cogent proof. We don’t say, “Give us the Bugti boy first” even when we have cogent proof. They say, “We don’t know who to talk to since real power is with the Pakistan army.” We don’t say, “We don’t know who to talk to since real power lies with Sonya Gandhi and Manmohan Singh is only a proxy prime minister.” Grow up.
We should forget about talks until India rises to at least our maturity level. Let’s ignore India as far as possible and get on with developing our country, like China did and look where it has got in three decades. Leave India to its own devices. It matters not beyond its nuisance value. Let it wallow in its own delusions. America and China have finally understood that they are in a symbiotic relationship where one cannot do without the other and if one goes down so does the other. India doesn’t fit into that scheme of things and America or China will not go down trying to humour its pretensions.
Frankly, I would be loath to write about India if only they would stop their shenanigans and tamashas. They simply are pathetic attempts to camouflage its own failures and put Pakistan in the dock. The world is beginning to see through them. So are many Indians.