India on the wrong side of history
Indian High Commissioner to Pakistan Gautam Bombawale was quite a normal person when he arrived in Pakistan. He was assigned to Pakistan in the wake of India’s false flag operation—attack on IAF station Pathankot—to malign Pakistan and runaway from Foreign Secretary level talks. Initial impressions suggested that he was a calm and professional guy, who would work towards reduction of bilateral tensions.
Probably he has taken a tea spoon full of the intoxicant whose full bottle was consumed by Prime Minster Narendra Modi before his August 15 speech. Bombawale—near accurate translation: a bomb owner/ carrier— tried to live by his name by exploding a diplomatic suicide bomb, nonetheless a dud one.
High Commissioner transgressed his diplomatic status by making silly remarks that tantamount to gross interference in the internal affairs of Pakistan. He tried to belittle the host country by saying that his country wanted to see “a moderate and prosperous Pakistan, which is stable and at peace with itself and neighbours”—implying that Pakistan was neither moderate nor prosperous and was a loggerhead domestically and with its neighbours. Like his leadership, he is also doing clowns these day—behaving like an Indian Viceroy thrust to adjudicate Pakistanis and shape-up their behaviour. Remember how Indian interior minister behaved during a preparatory meeting for SAARC summit, which Modi is wriggling out to avoid; later Indian finance minister did not show-up for a similar meeting.
And by deploying BrahMos advance cruise missiles along Chinese border, Bombawale thinks his country is demonstrating friendliness towards its neighbours. Moreover, by permanently blinding over 100 Kashmiri youth through barbaric use of pallet firing, India may be very well projecting its moderation. And, over 400 million undernourished Indians testify India’s prosperity. Granted that Aam Admi guys will build some toilets in the capital.
India is certainly on the wrong side of history, facilitating a declining super power to contain a rising super power—such wheels have never been reversed; and those who tried, invariably got stampeded. Bringing an extraregionl military giant to upset regional applecart is not wise even by Chanakya’s reckoning. And in all probability after failing in its anti-China misadventure, America will take his war machines elsewhere, then limping India will have no fall back. India should learn from history, if not from Pakistan, how America abandons its one time allies. India may be heading for a 1962 replay, some sort of skirmish with China, get a beating and then encashment of victimhood. After all, it badly needs dollars and hi-tech to catch up with its unrealistic strategic aspirations.
High Commissioner’s utterances were silly. May be Gautam is dying for accruing a persona non grata stigma, for, it would sell well to Modi, and he may become Foreign Secretary—dream appointment for any career diplomat, and provide a casus belli for Modi to walk away from SAARC summit. A seasoned Gautam should understand that his Prime Minster could back track under American pressure and show-up for SAARC summit, even though behaving like grim groom during the proceedings. But Gautam would stand consumed and discarded. Excellency! If you are looking for persona non grata status, wait until after SAARC summit, then repeat the same remarks and, in all likelihood, our foreign office will not disappoint you. For now a demarche’ is the highest you could hope for. Normally diplomats get their salaries for smoothening relations with host countries, but wise Gautam understands that he will be rewarded by doing otherwise.
Yes, one understands that CPEC is paining India and the US a lot. On silly pretexts, America has slashed its monetary supplies to Pakistan by over 30 percent since the CPEC took off, it will continue doing such thing until CPEC becomes operational, and thereafter live with it happily. But India is not America. For its own survival, India needs to integrate with CPEC. Gimmicks like propping up Chabahar as a spoiler is a non-starter for many reasons. Two major ones are: First, it’s operational capacities like number of jetties and ship handling dead weight tonnage are barely one tenth of Gwader; Second, Iranians are India’s fierce competitors for influence in Central Asia; and they know how to safe guard their interests, if you need confirmation ask Americans, they will tell you where they stand after one year of nuclear deal with Iran.
During G-20 summit in China, Modi made oblique reference to Pakistan and called it the “single nation spreading agents of terror”. He also accused China of “rewarding” terrorists. He also raised CPEC related concerns with Chinese President and was rebuked, yet once again. Indian opposition to CPEC is motivated by two wishful desires: to block progress of Pakistan and contain China—both non-starters. Both Pakistan and China are firmly committed to implement the project and who would know better than Modi as to what Chinese determination means.
The opening ceremony of Gwadar Port Free Zone has already been performed. Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif rightly said in his speech that Gwadar has a favourable geographical and natural advantage. Chinese ambassador Sun Weidong said that the construction of Gwadar Port is not only an important project of CPEC but also a symbol of long-term friendship between China and Pakistan.
While this was happening in Gwadar Americans were Remember Nawab Akbar Khan Bugti by getting together a bunch on angry Pakistanis like Hussein Haqqani, Arif Jamal, Ahmar Masti Khan alongside Peter Gray Tatchell and the like. Around 30 persons attended. Speeches mostly revolved around blaming Pakistan for everything. One participant, Tariq Gilani, confronted Hussein Haqqani by labelling him anti Pakistan and pro-India and suggested that with these views, Haqqani should not have been Pakistan’s ambassador to the US. This degenerated into below the belt exchanges and stopped by others when there were signs that Haqqani could go physical against Tariq Gilani. Flopped event was a part of Indian efforts to support and substantiate Modi’s statement on Balochistan. Back home, Modi received a serious jolt as all five prominent Kashmiri Hurriyat leaders declined to talk to his all-party delegation. Mirwaiz Umer Farooq, Syed Ali Shah Geelani, Yasin Malik, Shabbir Ahmad Shah and Prof Ghani Bhat told members of the delegation, which tried to meet them individually, that they would never talk to any delegation in the framework of the Indian Constitution! By meeting them separately, India tried to sow seeds of discord among them but failed miserably, as all of them conveyed that they can talk only collectively and not in isolation, and that over six-decade long struggle of Kashmiris is not meant to seek solutions under Indian subjugation. Kashmiris have been waging this struggle for their right to self-determination. There is no improvement in the ground situation in Indian Occupied Kashmir as occupation forces are killing and maiming people under the umbrella of curfew; and a complete ban is in place on media. All party delegates were greeted with pro-freedom slogans everywhere, sending a clear message to India that occupation forces cannot break their will and they need nothing except freedom from Indian slavery. And that there is no solution to the issue except talks with Pakistan and Kashmiris aimed at finding a solution as per aspirations of the Kashmiri people, as reflected in the relevant UNSC resolutions.
So Mr Bombawale, keep exploding duds in Islamabad alongside your leadership’s futile campaign to scuttle CPEC and subjugate Kashmiris, but remember: India is on the wrong side of history. Tony Blair played poodle to the US in post 9/11 setting and is apologetic ever since. Vajpayee was visionary enough not to give military bases even under post 9/11 pressures, Modi has done so just to pursue his anti-China and anti-Pakistan agenda. And remember! Offer to join CPEC is not an open ended offer.