Threat of Modi and long march politics

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What Islamabad needs to be wary of

 

While some forces are busy in their sinister bid to overthrow the elected government of Nawaz Sharif that is on one hand engaged in fighting a decisive yet crucial war against terror and on the other hand striving to stand the crippled economy on its feet, the arch rival India, under its new prime minister, Narendra Modi, seems preparing to take Pakistan head-on. Since he took over the reins of power in New Delhi, more than 66 unprovoked violations have been made by the Indian side at the working boundary as well as the line of control; the most important of all are the statements of Mr Modi, which are not only indicative of his government’s aggressive foreign policy but also adding fuel to the fire.

Interestingly, Narendra Modi’s book “Climate Change” suggests his focus remains around Pakistan and that’s why soon after taking over he chose to visit Srinagar followed by Held Jammu and Kashmir area, where he visited Leh and Kargil, short of his planned visit to the Siachen heights. In his strong statement, he accused Pakistan of continuing proxy war in Kashmir. Observers feel that his visit to Siachen was aimed at sending a strong signal to Pakistan about its importance to India. “The neighbouring country has lost the strength to fight a conventional war, but continues to engage in proxy war of terrorism”, he said while addressing troops at Leh. He said the Indian military was suffering more casualties from terrorism than from war.

This was Modi’s second visit to Jammu and Kashmir. During his first visit he had inaugurated Udhampur-Katra railway line and Uri-II hydroelectric project in Baramulla district

This was Modi’s second visit to Jammu and Kashmir. During his first visit he had inaugurated Udhampur-Katra railway line and Uri-II hydroelectric project in Baramulla district. His newly appointed chief of army staff Gen Dalbir Singh Suhag visited on August 10 the world’s highest battlefield Siachen, where he extensively interacted with the jawans and officers of 14 Corps. Already Gen Suhag has, after taking over as army chief, issued stern warning to Pakistan for immediate, stern and adequate response. Gen Suhaq’s elevation as army chief is said to be Mr Modi’s hostile choice against Pakistan.

Though Sharif’s visit to New Delhi to attend Mr Modi’s oath-taking ceremony was seen as a step in the right direction, it resulted in no concrete headway in terms of resuming dialogue or resolving the issues between the two countries, courtesy Mr Modi’s ‘hostile’ gestures. In Dr Maleeha Lodhi’s words: “No resumption of dialogue between the two countries was announced, no recommitment was made to the broad-based peace process, no effort was made to articulate and reflect Pakistan’s priorities and concerns in the PM’s only public pronouncement after his meeting with Modi; no mention of Kashmir was made in the prime ministerial statement; and no meeting was arranged with the APHC leaders as it happened to be a norm in the past.”

The appointment of high-powered national security team – Home Minister Rajnath Singh, Defence Minister Arun Jaitley, DoNER Minister Gen (ex-COAS) V K Singh, External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj, and National Security Advisor Ajiy Dowal, RAW’s former bureau chief – speaks of Modi government’s intent on pursuing a “muscular” foreign policy. Three major developments add to the impression of his antagonist designs: one, the announcement to repeal Article 370 that gives special status to the state of Jammu and Kashmir; two, the recent violent rape incidents in the Gujarat state on the pattern of 2002 incidents which led to Muslims massacre that claimed more than 2,000 lives, as well as the writ petitions filed in the Indian courts to seek ban on Fajr Azan; and three, the reported plan to deprive both Pakistan and Bangladesh of their water shares.

Modi during his Leh visit said his government was committed to making India self-reliant in defence manufacturing, a decision which Praveen Swami had already referred to in an earlier article. Modi plans to sharpen India’s military teeth; the 2014-2015 interim budget allocated the armed forces Rs2.24b, but just Rs895.88m of that is available for capital expenditure, leaving the forces’ acquisition program floundering. The deficits are stark. The IAF has only 34 squadrons while “it needs 50 to fight a two-front war. Its navy’s accident-hit submarine fleet is shrinking and its army has critical deficits from anti-tank missiles and howitzers to assault rifles. Modi has reportedly taken decision on critical acquisitions left hanging by Manmohan government: a $1.5b deal for attack and $1b for heavy-lift helicopters, $885m for desperately-needed 155mm Howitzers. The biggest pending acquisition is for 126 French Rafale fighters worth $15b.” Modi during his August 12 address spoke of the provisions made in the budget towards modernisation and welfare of the armed forces, including ‘One Rank One Pension’.

While Pakistan, willing to take initiatives towards extending hand of friendship to its neighbouring country, needs to take serious note of hostile gestures of Modi, the politicians must eschew the path of confrontational politics

While Pakistan, willing to take initiatives towards extending hand of friendship to its neighbouring country, needs to take serious note of hostile gestures of Modi, the politicians must eschew the path of confrontational politics. One cannot expect from a patriot like Imran Khan to put the country into such a dangerous situation where no one would be able to handle it. Not a single statement has come out from any of the mainstream politicians condemning India’s unprovoked shelling on the working boundary or LoC where a number of casualties have been made as a result. Media in Pakistan is also busy in highlighting and glorifying the so called political hostility without realising that such a treatment would result in anarchy and chaos.

Media has failed to highlight the very important arrest of Indian Lok Sabha member from Nazimabad, K Kavitha, who was booked on sedition charges for declaring that Jammu and Kashmir was not part of India. The fundamentalist Hindutva and hardline Hindu stance under Modi is flourishing where there is no room for the Muslim community to flourish including that of the Kashmiris. On the direction of a city court, a First Information Report was registered against Kavitha, who is also the daughter of Telangana Chief Minister K Chandrasekhar Rao, at the Madannapet police station in Nizamabad. She was booked under the charges of sedition, promoting enmity between different groups and doing acts prejudicial maintenance of harmony, for statements conducing to public mischief, under various sections of the Indian Penal code. According to America’s Associated Press news agency, the Indian police took the action nearly a week after a city court directed it to register a case the Lok Sabha member.

Analysts opine that showing hostile postures to neighbouring countries, especially Pakistan, would not help serve Mr Modi’s priority agenda of economy and governance. Pakistan will surely look for a constructive engagement with the BJP government and to building a sustainable basis for normalisation, but “not on a partial or single-track agenda while casting aside contentious issues.” Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif will have to deal with Modi sarkar keeping in view all this, besides a change in Kabul, after the recent elections in Afghanistan. Our leadership has already taken major policy decisions in order to eliminate the menace of terrorism and towards managing resources, economy, governance and defence. Operation Zarb-e-Azb, a part of that policy, is successfully under way which also needs seriousness on part of the politicians and media alike.

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