Modi visits Jaati Umra

There is a design behind Modi’s unscheduled visit to Jaati Umra, (not to Pakistan) on 25th December 2015, because his image as a hard-line nationalist leader, drawing fervour from the concept of Hindutva of his followers, is in conflict with secular India thinking. This has caused growing political opposition within the country and soured relations with neighbouring Pakistan, a situation which is politically harmful for him, limiting his options of “creating an economic miracle” in India. Therefore, he needed to develop a soft image of himself, for domestic consumption and good-will, of Pakistan for opening the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor, to Central Asia, West China and Russia.

Some ten years back India had ambitious designs in the Central Asia region when in 2005, America declared Afghanistan as part of South Asia and entered into strategic Partnership, to extend Indian hegemony over Afghanistan, Pakistan and beyond, but it didn’t so happen, because having suffered defeat, US shifted the Strategic Pivot to the Asia Pacific, creating a vacuum filled by China. Therefore, the urgent need now is to assign a geo-strategic role to India, which is possible only with Pakistan’s goodwill. Thus India could also win a seat in the UN Security Council in the same manner they won membership of the Nuclear Suppliers Group, because China did not veto at Pakistan’s beckoning, and our ambassador at Washington acted as the facilitator. However, such “out of parliament” decisions are not possible any more.

In Kashmir, India has used brutal force to suppress the movement for freedom which has reached new heights, spurred by the Taliban successes, in Afghanistan and the reactivation of the Khalistan Movement. The recent attack on Pathankot Airbase was a combined move by the Kashmir Jihadi Council and the Khalistan Movement of the Sikhs, whereas India is trying to put the blame on Pakistan. This incident has upset India’s plan “to keep Kashmir issue, out of focus”.

Under the strategic partnership of 2005, the declared objective was and is “to contain the rising power of China”. With this purpose in mind, India now is the dominant partner in the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) and has a leading role in the Indian Ocean Rim Countries Partnership (IORCP), to achieve an effective containment of China, through domination over the Central Asian region. But Pakistan falls in the way, and is considered winnable through Modi’s charm.

Last week seventeen Americans died fighting Taliban at Marjeh, Helmand, creating panic at Washington, wanting to exit Afghanistan, as soon as possible. Americans are now engaged in peace negotiations with the Taliban accepting their main demand, that is, the occupation forces must leave, facilitating the establishment of an Islamic government. This will ensure early peace in Afghanistan.

The writer is a former COAS, Pakistan. He can be reached at

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