…by Sajjad Shaukat for Veterans Today
The former Soviet Union which had subjugated the minorities and ethnic groups in various provinces and regions through its military, disintegrated in 1991. Even its nuclear weapons could not save its collapse.
One of the important causes of the disintegration of the former Russian Empire was that its greater defence expenditure exceeded to the maximum, resulting into economic crises inside the country. About a prolonged war in Afghanistan, former President of the Soviet Union Gorbachev had declared it as the “bleeding wound.”
When Indian fanatic Prime Minister Narendra Modi, the leader of the ruling party BJP, came to power, he accelerated anti-Kashmir moves. Since August 5, 2019 Modi’s government ended the special status of the Jammu and Kashmir to turn Muslim majority into minority in the Indian Occupied Kashmir (IOK).
Acting upon the August 5 announcement, the Indian central government issued a notorious map on October 31, 2019. In accordance with it, Jammu and Kashmir was bifurcated into two union territories—Jammu and Kashmir and Ladakh.
Besides Pakistan, China also rejected the Indian map and declared the bifurcation of Jammu and Kashmir into two union territories as “unlawful and void”, and spoke against the UNO resolutions. Despite the new agreement, the border dispute between New Delhi and Beijing, which still remains unsettled, has increased tension between the two countries.
However, other malicious acts by India, such as introduction of new domicile law against the majority of Kashmiris, issuance of domicile certificates to 25000 non-Kashmiris and intermittent shelling inside Pakistani side of Kashmir in connection with the Line of Control (LoC)-which has killed hundreds of innocent villagers- indicate ‘Modi’s fascist India’. Thus, New Delhi completely ended any dialogue with Islamabad to settle the Kashmir issue.
Now, almost one year has passed. But, Indian extremist rulers continue a military clampdown in the IOK, where Indian forces have broken all previous records of gross human rights abuses by martyring tens of thousands of the Kashmiris through brutal tactics, pallet-guns and various kinds of torture.
Despite the deployment of 900,000 troops in the Indian held Kashmir and intensification of firing by the Indian forces in wake of shortage of foods, medicine for the patients and the coronavirus pandemic, innocent Kashmiris are still violating the lockdown by protesting illegal Indian actions.
In order to conceal India’s state terrorism, Kashmir has been cut off from rest of the world. But, some reports and images are appearing in the world and the social media, which show extrajudicial killings of innocent people by the ruthless Indian military and paramilitary troopers.
In fact, since Modi became the Indian Prime Minister, he started implementing an ideology of Hindutva ((Hindu Nationalism). Under his regime, persecution of religious minorities such as Dalits, Sikhs, Christians and particularly Muslims, including even of lower cast-Hindus has been intensified.
In this regard, the Indian Citizenship Amendment Act 2019 (CAA) passed by the Indian Parliament further exposed the discriminatory policies of the Modi government. The CAA coupled with the National Register of Citizens (NRC) is mainly against the Muslim immigrants, especially those from Pakistan, Bangladesh and Afghanistan.
Since December 15, 2019, daily mass protests, even by the moderate Hindus have been taking place across every state in India against the CAA and the NRC, which resulted into killing of more than 200 persons and injuring 900-mostly Muslims by the police and fanatic Hindus. But, the Modi regime has not withdrawn the CAA/NRC.
In the recent years, Maoists intensified their struggle by attacking official installments. In this context, Indian media admitted that Maoists have entered the cities, expanding their activities against the Indian union. On 22-23 April 2018, at least 39 Maoists were killed in an alleged encounter with Indian security forces in Gadchiroli district. The Maoist uprising is the second major freedom movement after that of the Occupied Kashmir.
Indian former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh had called the Maoist insurrection, “the single biggest internal-security challenge”; whereas, Home Secretary G.K Pillai had reiterated the magnitude of this threat by saying that the Maoists want to completely overthrow the Indian state by 2050. The Naxalite-Maoists, as they call themselves, are the liberators, representing landless farmers and the downtrodden masses who have been entangled by a vicious circle of poverty, misery and deprivation.
Nevertheless, India, dominated by politicians from the Hindi heartland—Hindutva have been using brutal force ruthlessly against Assam, Kashmir, Khalistan, Mizoram, Nagaland, Tamil Nadu, Arunachal Pradesh, Meghalaya, Manipur and Tripura. These states which are ethnically and linguistically different from rest of the country are rocked by a large number of armed and violent rebellions, some seeking separate states, some fighting for autonomy, and others demanding complete independence.
Instead of redressing the grievances of the people by eliminating injustices against them, the Modi regime is depending upon state terrorism to crush these extremist and secessionist movements. But, India’s unrealistic counterinsurgency strategy has badly failed.
It is notable that by ignoring modern global trends like renunciation of war, peaceful settlement of disputes and economic development, India has accelerated an alarming arms race in South Asia.
In its report, the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI) has revealed on February 17, 2020 that in 2019, total global military expenditure rose to $1917 billion in 2019. It said that the five largest spenders in 2019 accounted for 62 percent of expenditure. India is among the world’s largest recipient of arms.
According to the ‘Military Balance 2018’ report of IISS, “India’s defence budget broke into the world’s top five…beating the UK for the first time…India overtook the UK as the fifth-largest defence spender in the world in 2017 at $52.5 billion, up from $51.1 billion in 2016.”
India test-fired its longest range surface-to-surface nuclear ballistic missile Agni-5 on December 26, 2017, with a capability of striking a target of more than 5,000 km away. It can carry a nuclear warhead of more than one ton. It can target almost all of Asia, including Pakistan, China and Europe. Meanwhile, the Agni-6 is reported to be in the early stages of development and the most advanced version, with a strike-range of 8,000-10,000 km.
America overlooks India’s poor record on the safety of nuclear weapons and materials. Despite India’s violations of various international agreements and its refusal to sign the Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT), Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty (CTBT) and Additional Protocol with the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), the US signed a pact of nuclear civil technology with New Delhi in 2008.
During American President Barack Obama’s visit to India on January 25, 2016, the US and India announced a breakthrough on the pact which would allow American companies to supply New Delhi with civilian nuclear technology.
On November 2, 2010, the US agreed to sell India the new F-35 fighter jets, including US F-16 and F-18 fighters, C-17 and C-130 aircraft, radar systems, and Harpoon weapons etc. Besides acquisition of arms and weapons from other western countries, especially Israel, America is a potential military supplier to India. The US also pressurized the IAEA and the Nuclear Suppliers Group to grant a waiver to India for obtaining civil nuclear trade on a larger scale.
French aircraft maker Dassault Aviation has handed over three Rafale multi role fighter aircraft to the Indian Air Force. Delivery of all 36 aircraft is expected to be completed by April 2022.
Indian ex-Army Chief, General Deepak Kapoor had said on December 29, 2010 that the Indian army “is now revising its five-year old doctrine” and is preparing for a “possible two-front war with China and Pakistan.”
Particularly, the fast growing economic power of China coupled with her rising strategic relationship with Russia, the Third World, and especially Pakistan after signing the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor agreement has irked Americans, Indians and Israelis. Owing to jealousy, America wants to make India a major power to counterbalance China in Asia.
Even Indian civil society organizations, while complaining of excessive Indian defense spending, pointed out that the government spends very little for the betterment of people. Indian defense analyst Ravinder Pal Singh, while indicating New Delhi’s unending defense expenditures at the cost of poverty-alleviation, calls it the guns-versus-butter question.
Showing a realistic approach, the Indian Minister of External affairs Jaswant Singh, who served the BJP for 30 years, was expelled from the party for praising Mohammad Ali Jinnah [Founder of Pakistan] and echoing the pain of the Indian Muslims in his book, Jinnah: India, Partition, Independence.
Pointing out the BJP’s attitude towards the minorities, Singh wrote: “Every Muslim that lives in India is a loyal Indian…look into the eyes of Indian Muslims and see the pain.” He warned in his book, if such a policy continued, “India could have third partition.”
Nonetheless, India is moving towards a breakup like the Soviet Union; and Kashmir, which has become a special target of India’s perennial state terrorism, is giving impetus to other movements of separation and insurgency in the country in the wake of financial crises, acute poverty and the rapid spreading of coronavirus.
Sajjad Shaukat writes on international affairs and is author of the book: US vs Islamic Militants, Invisible Balance of Power: Dangerous Shift in International Relations
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