Endless belligerence

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India portrays itself to the world as an amiable state practising friendship and peace with everyone but Pakistan is the only country in the world towards which it never fails to spew- off its hatred and ill-feeling. The pitiable aspect of the whole conundrum is that it is not only the BJP government that holds inimical attitude towards Pakistan but even a cursory glance at the media of India reveals the deep antagonism harboured by Indians towards their neighbour.

PM Narendra Modi’s government has shown renewed belligerence towards Pakistan that Pakistani official opinion tries to tone down by trying to justify the surge through different pretexts but the reality is that opposition to Pakistan in India has hardened to a degree that is becoming exceedingly difficult to calibrate. Modi and senior Indian government personnel particularly senior-ranking military officers have yet again reverted to cross-border raids bogey aimed at neutralising their self-conceived targets. The surprising fact is that there is no specific target elucidated and the belligerent rhetoric quite misdirected.

The reason proffered for increase in Indian antagonistic hype may be taken at its face value that Modi government is trying to become jingoistic as the elections are scheduled this year but this approach looks hollow when viewed in the backdrop of the imaginative surgical strikes propagated by Indians in 2016 that were flatly denied by Pakistan to have taken place. It is inexplicable to figure out what possible advantage could the Modi government draw out of a simple figment of imagination. The worrying aspect is that the so-called independent Indian media willingly toed the line given by the government circles without showing anything physical as proof.

The reality may be hidden in the growing self-confidence of the Indians in terms of considering their country becoming a regional power and the hubris thereof motivates them to threaten any adversary they feel may get in their way. India may learn to live with overbearing China but the historical baggage it carries in respect of Pakistan profoundly irritates it. It is the innate anger nursed by successive generations of Indians lorded over by Muslims for centuries creating a desire to get even. It is very unfortunate that a large country like India is consistently refusing to come out of the process of historical revisionism despite so much more to look forward to.

The situation is also difficult to comprehend because India is inhabited by as many Muslims as housed by Pakistan and by following a policy of deliberate animosity towards Pakistan India may be creating long-term schisms within its polity as is borne out by the complete alienation exhibited by Muslim majority in Kashmir. It is now very visible that Muslim minority in India is exposed to high levels of persecution and instances of violence against it are increasing by the day. It is unbelievable to learn that Indian electorate exercise is still dependent upon sectarian issues and political parties feel obliged to resort to them. Pakistani democratic profile may be less than ideal but is certainly free of this bias as adult franchise in Pakistan concentrates more on performance.

Modi government has firmly shut the door of negotiations and refuses to play ball despite many efforts initiated by Pakistan. India conveniently neglects regional and international exhortations about solving matters through parleys. India stoops to profound levels of immaturity while avoiding talking to Pakistan. It goes to extreme limits to belittle any confidence building measure proposed by Pakistan as was evident during the recent initiative taken by Pakistan of opening Kartarpur border for Sikh pilgrims. India has made sure that no exchange providing aspects of fraternal behaviour to come to front will take place.

India appears to be uncomfortable with its significant position in the region as it feels isolated even in a dominant role. It is uncomfortable with almost all its neighbours despite holding an almost unassailable economic advantage. It appears that the focus of all its psycho-somatic complexes is Pakistan and it does not know how to live with it. Pakistan has time and again indicated that it is open to parleys on any subject India needs attention to but there is a mental block that impedes India from coming forward. India should realise that Pakistan is evolving according to its historic moorings and is finding a way for itself that is completely indigenous. It may have strategic reservations about Indian designs in the region but most importantly it is willing to talk about them openly. India should eschew its unsustainable belligerent stance and come to the negotiating table.

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