Indian Prime Minister Modi’s policies have resulted in a broad spectrum policy muddle across the entire spectrum. The ideology that promotes such an exclusive confusion is a lethal mixture of Indian Nationalism rebranded as Hindutva (religious class superiority), Bharat Versha (Greater India), an aggressive military strategy against Pakistan and Super power superlatives. This is a lethal broth for the region and people of India. It is not long ago that a similar policy by Nazi Germany led the world to a war that destroyed Europe, West Asia, South East Asia, parts of Pacific Rim and Japan.
Compared on a timeline, the BJP has transformed from Atal Bihari Vajpayee’s policy of coexistence to full domination under Modi. This domination entails subduing neighbours and people of India that refuse to follow the ultra-rightist and fascist policies of the government.
On 20 February 1999 Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee visited Minar-i- Pakistan, Mausoleum of Allama Iqbal, Gurudawara Dera Sahib and Samadhi of Maharaja Ranjeet Singh. He affirmed that India respected Pakistan’s existence.
But this was not to be. Whilst the Sang Parivar projected a soft face of BJP, the hawks and warriors of Rukhma Vimana (chariots of fire) and Vedic Ritualism were busy evolving a new military and nuclear doctrine to punish Pakistan.
On 15 August 2016, Prime Minister Narendra Modi stood at the symbolic Red Fort threatening Pakistan. Despite a curfew and excessive use of force against unarmed civilians in IHK, he announced support for the supposed oppressed people of Balochistan, Gilgit-Baltistan and Azad Jammu and Kashmir. Hyped by its 24/7 media, India declared an overt and covert war.
Not that the world was not aware. Western countries and USA had imposed travel restrictions on the butcher of Gujarat. But his rise suited the western policies of containing China and Pakistan. So they and their allies also supported him. As expected, he embarked on his sweeping second tenure as an ultra-rightist on a Saffron Wave generated by RSS and its allies.
In terms of policy, India wants to expand its strategic outreach in the Indian Ocean right up to South China Sea and Central Asia. It wants the West to believe that its massive force structure is China specific. With Narendra Modi, this quest has acquired mythical dimensions powered by Ram Madhav’s Akhand Bharat, Savarkar’s Hinudtva, Keshav Baliram Hedgewar’s RSS and beyond. Ironically, Savarkar’s and RSS heroes were Hitler and Mussolini. India’s policy spectrum pursues a posture of domination and annihilation within and without, not possible in a changing world. This is Modi’s series of muddles.
The first muddle is nuclear and military in nature.
Pakistan’s existence and Kashmir policy is the first road block to Indian designs and ambitions. India is obsessed to bleed and teach Pakistan a befitting lesson into subjugation; something it has failed despite superior nuclear and military force structure. Indian military hyperactivity and floating doctrines reflect India’s inability to connect ambitions to policies and doctrines.
Its nuclear capability forces a policy of ‘war avoidance’ thereby restricting the conventional military superiority in surgical and pre-emptive strikes. Exasperation and frustration are visible when India’s National Security Secretariat stated in the Journal of Defence Studies that, “If the nuclear shadow demanded war avoidance as a political outcome, the operational sphere attempted to keep alive the notion of victory despite the risk of mutual annihilation”. According to this journal, “Indian operational doctrines are not nested in a realistic political context.”
To complicate the muddle, Pakistan’s nuclear and military capabilities discredit and downgrade the India’s doctrine of ‘deterrence by punishment’; something often exercised but failed.
Frustration and failure to contain Pakistan has resulted in opening new fronts and another muddle. India’s abrogation of Article 370 and illegal annexation of Indian Occupied Kashmir is a continuation of Nehru’s policy enacted in 1957 to declare Kashmir an Atoot Ang (integral part) of India and beyond. Modi’s Saffron Wave has transformed Indian majoritarianism from Nehru’s secularism to ultra-right extremism. Logically and according to ultra-right philosophies, a Muslim majority State does not fit into this design. To fit the boots, Kashmir has been torn into two rather three. This means an enclave of Muslim majority controlled with military might; Kashmir barricaded.
Modi’s next muddle is economic. In 2019, after taking office, Indian government changed the method of calculating GDP. Figures of 7%-8% from 2015-2018 showed India as the world’s fastest-growing economy. Since unemployment kept rising, the Indian government withheld national employment data before May 2019 elections. This had the effect of wooing the Hindu youth and sweeping elections. But by last quarter of 2019, this artificially created boon was exposed. India’s GDP hit 4.5%, the lowest since 2013. As a policy, the BJP government had encouraged investors who poured billions into its political campaigns. Most have since vanished after sucking the economy dry. Indian budget deficit is actually above 5% of GDP and not the publicly reported 3.3%. It is called ‘BJP Fudget’. Auto making has plunged by 30-40% and exports receded. Air India is a disaster. State owned companies are borrowing heavily. According to J.P. Morgan India’s true public budget deficit could be a shocking 10% of GDP. Modi’s succession of macro shocks do not seem to end. Indian population now the largest in the world is facing tough times. The youth lured into the Saffron Wave through fudgeting are restive.
Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) became law in December 2019. At the heart of the law is BJP’s intention to woo Hindu votes in areas where its polarity is contested. Muslims have been made an exception on the arguments that Afghanistan, Pakistan and Bangladesh are Islamic nation states. This has resulted in Pro and anti-Muslim protests and loss of lives.
A stage has reached that communal and economic protests are peaking creating lawlessness broadcast by a vitriolic Indian media controlled by the Saffron Warriors. This media is fuelling fires.
The icing on Modi’s mud cake is the unstinted support accorded by the US alliance in the regions. This includes USA, Israel, Arab Kingdom subjugated by Military Imperialism and Afghanistan. Though Pakistan seems surrounded from all sides and struggling economically, it is proving capable to resist and fight back. The bargaining chip between these allies is the China Bogey. As a result the world is becoming militarily bi polar, economically multi polar and ethnically/religiously deeply divided.
To borrow from Imran Malik a columnist in Nation, this is the ‘Creeping Armageddon’. As long as President Trump, Israel and Modi keep moving in tandem, this part of the world is destined to witness bloodshed, barricading and instability..