WHEN OWN SURVIAL IS AT STAKE EVERYTHING IS POSSIBLE
Anu Radha, is a 27-year old urban middle class Indian: In all probability he has never met a Pakistani and, like the rest of his contemporary generation of Indians, he is fully exposed to media and television broadcasting 24 hours-a-day 365 days-a-year. No wonder Anu’s political-moral- social consciousness and global views are influenced by what the Indian media says. This is how the modern socio-psychological world of the mind is tampered with and the sense of historical realities is engineered, irrespective of its rights or wrongs.
Anu Radha is no exception to the above-mentioned phenomenon of the global mind-making mechanism of our times. Reacting to this columnist’s recent article “Re-visiting: Can India be a Great Power” (The Nation, Feb. 2) and after an expression of venomous anger and the absurdities of the typical Hindu ideological mindset (for example, Muslims are hell-bent to overtake India and convert it into an Islamic state; that all Pakistanis are sub-standard intellectually by reason of their faith and race), Anu Radha asks a probing question: “Will Pakistan survive – even for the next five years?”
Notwithstanding, Anu Radha’s judgmental anger (and that of many Indians like him), the question is a serious one and not irrelevant to the existing political realities of today’s Pakistan. Indeed, the fall of East Pakistan is a historical precedent, the atrocious episodes of successive military dictatorships are open political wounds on the body-politics of this country, the failure of political democracy (as being witnessed renewed now – most specifically the Sind card implications), the economic-social marginalization of its majority population, growing poverty, a fundamentally flawed foreign policy, and the repeated collapse of its institutional infra-structures make Anu Radha’s question all the more relevant.
We will come back to these vital issues another time, but let us consider yet another Indian perspective on the possibility of Pakistan’s future irrational political conduct vis-à-vis India, which is likely to happen in the view of many Indian observers, due to Pakistan’s internal dysfunctional democracy and its fallouts at the hands of the incumbent People’s Party political dispensation and the rest of its decision-making establishment.
One of a number of Indians expressing the same view, Ajay Mittal, in response to this writer’s two previous articles on India (Jan.26 and Feb. 2), blatantly admits that Indians fear Pakistan’s future strategic political conduct: “Pakistani’s are becoming so desperate that they will use nukes one day (against India) and will invite foreigners intervention in its administration or presence on its soil for short term gain.” It is not clear in Mittal’s writing who these foreign interventionists would be and in what purpose their presence would serve if a nuclear exchange has already taken place between Pakistan and India (supposedly initiated by Pakistan and resulting in India’ retaliatory response) with massive material and moral destruction in both of the countries.
Mittal goes further to the fundamentals of the Indo-Pak conflict: “In the end many Indians (not all) have learnt from our hundreds of years of existence with Muslims that Westerners make better partners than our cousins i.e. Pakistanis…” This is how Mittal finds justification and legitimacy of India’s recent love-affair with the US. Ironically, he does not explain what majority Hindu Indians feel about a massive population of Indian Muslims (inside India) and how they are going to deal with these live-in cousins, since Mittal has lumped all the Muslims as “liars” and helpless victims of their Islamic faith with “…very weak values.” One fails to understand Mittal’s distinction between the Pakistani Muslims and the Indian Muslims (Does living with Hindu Indians make Indian Muslims better human beings?). What about the Muslims in the U.A.E. and Saudi Arabia, for instance, with whom India does a great deal of useful, profitable and diplomatic interaction? A large segment of Hindu Indians live in peaceful harmony with a majority Muslim population in these countries. Why is this perceptual “hate” directed at the so-called “cousins” in Pakistan? Isn’t there a psychological profiling contradiction here? Why is it so?
The answer lies in India’s own self-inflected, historically distorted self-awareness and its flawed ambition of finding an “imperial” place in the global system now which is incompatible with the needs of the present-day revolutionary aspirations of the masses all over the world: the overall rejection by the populous of the West’s designed global political status-quo that India is presently supporting and promoting!
This columnist, in the last two articles (“Can India be a Great Power?” and “Revisiting: Can India be a Great Power?”), has suggested a visionary strategic diplomatic role to India as a formidable and an important “player” in the global affairs and international system to enact and promote a political renaissance: a modern-day global ideology based purely on human-values (as opposed to profit making ideologies), peace, prosperity, stability, public welfare and a world without military conflicts and wars. An international system that categorically denounces and rejects the use of force and declares a “war-free” world – a universal declaration that all conflict resolution is to be based “purely” in political dialogue, mutual consultations and fairness – a declaration in the confidence of human ability and political statesmanship that all disputes can be and will be resolved by communicative processes among all nations.
We, in Pakistan, believe that India can and should play such an important role as a “global player”. It is obvious that India has the potentials for this role: it is a large country, it is a functioning democracy, it is a massive market, and above all, considering its recent love-affair with the US, it can use its leverage to steer and influence the American-Western policies of global hegemony and military-political domination to a more humanistic, independent, self- reliant, fairer and free world.
The sad and unfortunate reality now is that the Indian leadership and its military-political establishment, in itself, are driven by a dream of a modern-day “Indian Empire,” an over-blown fantasy of the “re-incarnation” of the Vijayanagar Hindu Kingdom (1336-1565). The fact of the matter is that it is not going to happen this way.
A far better option open to India for its pre-eminence in global affairs is to undertake a journey in an opposite direction to the one it is taking now: First, honour its UN commitment to free Kashmir and grant independence to its Muslim population. Second, initiate “No War” agreements with all of its neighbours. Third, decisively promote regional socio-economic-cultural collaboration and trade. Fourth, adamantly focus on regional cooperation with Pakistan, Bangladesh, Burma, Sri Lanka, China, Iran and Afghanistan to end the US-NATO’s imperialist occupation of Afghanistan. A practical strategy in this direction would be to replace the US-NATO forces with a joint regional force, i.e. if Afghanistan agrees to it. Fifth, India should join Pakistan in a forceful denunciation of the US-NATO continued so-called “war against terrorism” and help Pakistan in cultivating integration of all Afghani political segments in the future democratization of this country.
The scope of Indian involvement is immensely wide on many other political fronts. But first and foremost is India’s ethical and moral responsibility to foster peace and stability rather than joining hands with external actors to further destabilize this region. Unfortunately India is eyeing an imperial role in global affairs. Instead, India must assume regional leadership to bring an end to the contemporary political status-quo in the international system.
Will Pakistan nuke India? My personal view on the subject is not going to be liked by many Indians: Pakistan’s foreign policy doctrine should explicitly state that in case of an external threat to its survival and national existence, Pakistan will have the right to defend itself by any and all means available to it, including the use of lethal force against its adversary – whosoever they may be.
After all, isn’t it the rationale behind the Doctrine of Nuclear Deterrence?!!
Dr Mehdi is an academic, political analyst and conflict resolution expert. He contributes regularly to Opinion Maker.