Thank You PM Modi for Supporting Strategic-Orphans of Balochistan, POK and Gilgit!

By: Dr. Kishore Dere (PhD)
(Independent analyst of International Relations and International Law)
Although professional dissidents and compulsive detractors of Prime Minister Narendra Modi have lost no time in mercilessly (and also blindly) criticising him for his comments on Balochistan issue, history will judge him otherwise and that too in a better way. It is for the first time since the violent creation of Pakistan by brutally dividing India in 1947, that the voiceless, helpless and hapless people of these areas have been sympathetically represented at an international forum by a foreign head of state.
Day in day out, Pakistan waxes eloquent about human rights violations in Jammu and Kashmir and other parts of India on the basis of concocted and fabricated stories. Yet, Pakistan is a country that is notorious for perpetrating broad daylight robbery of Baloch natural resources. It is this very dangerous country that relentlessly oppresses, represses and suppresses the pro-freedom people in Pok, Gilgit, Sindh, Balochistan and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa.
Pakistan also supports terrorism against Iran, Afghanistan, Western world, Israel and last but not the least India. It remains a mystery for many people of the world as to why Pakistan maintains stunning silence on human rights violations in its own jurisdiction.  It is indeed well-known that Balochistan is the province with enormous deposits of natural resources. Yet Punjabi-dominated Federal Government of Pakistan in Islamabad routinely discriminates against Balochistan. Thus, PM Narendra Modi deserves kudos for taking up the cause of orphans in international community.         
There is no dearth of self-styled and self-proclaimed pacifists and so-called peace lovers in India and elsewhere who want India to perennially remain subservient to Pakistan. A critical analysis of Indian pacifism is bound to show that Pakistan has been emboldened by such timidity and cowardice. Therefore, the much needed and new-found policy dynamism in Indian foreign policy initiated by Modi needs to be welcomed.   
Following an all-party meeting in New Delhi on 12th August 2016 on the issue of violence in Jammu and Kashmir and during his address to the nation from the ramparts of historic Red Fort on 15th August 2016, Prime Minister Narendra Modi has taken a historic initiative to articulate the agony and anguish of the helpless and hapless people of Balochistan, Gilgit and Pakistan Occupied Kashmir (PoK) or what Pakistan shamelessly refers to as ‘Azad Kashmir’. Modi alluded to blatant human rights violations of innocent and unarmed civilians by Islamic Republic of Pakistan and its instrumentalities. His comments on Balochistan offer voice to voiceless, and help to helpless and hapless.
A self-confessed sponsor of terrorism like Pakistan needs to be paid back in its own coin. It ought to be made to realize deadly consequence of its deliberate actions against others. It has the audacity to term ‘terrorists’ as its ‘strategic assets’.
In the tit for tat world of international politics, sovereign nations often rely on realism than idealism as their foreign policy determinant. For example, in 1923, the-then US Secretary of State, Charles Evans while countering President Woodrow Wilson had said, “Foreign policies are not built upon abstractions. They are the result of practical conceptions of national interest arising from some immediate exigency or standing out vividly in historical perspective.” (Glenn P Hastedt, Encyclopedia of American Foreign Policy, 2002).
Dogmatic adherence to abstract principles, doctrinal monotonousness or isolationism have hardly ever served India’s national interests during last 70 years. Nor are they likely to do so in the rapidly changing geo-strategic affairs. India’s peculiar geopolitical position means that the hostile environment in which New Delhi pursues its vital national interests will become increasingly more complex.
India shares borders on one side with a country that uses terrorism as state policy. Another powerful neighbour of ours wants to radically overhaul the world order to undo what it calls injustice done to it in the past. It is a highly subjective interpretation of history by China on the basis of which it displays greater assertiveness as well as aggressiveness and abusiveness. It is only because of this idiosyncratic ‘world view of history’ of one and ‘strategy of terrorists as national assets’ of another that China and Pakistan have become fond bed-fellows in today’s world politics.  True, not just Pakistan and China alone, every country always acts according to its own interest but nations must not be oblivious of the larger picture of the world where we live and our common interests of peaceful co-existence.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s speech at Red Fort on Independence Day is indeed remarkable. A career diplomat and former national security advisor Shivshankar Menon had stated in his speech at the National Law University in Delhi in November 2015, despite their avowed intents “Russia sells arms to Pakistan, the US supplies arms and discusses Pakistan’s nuclear weapons and China has committed $46 billion to an economic corridor and Gwadar in Pakistan. India urges the West to refrain from supporting Pakistan, but countries will act according to their own interests. So long as Pakistani terrorism does not harm them, they will not expend blood or treasure eliminating Pakistan origin terrorism for India”.
What does all this mean?
It undoubtedly means that India cannot afford to define its strategic policies solely on Nehruvian ideals of pacifism, non-alignment and disarmament. This does not necessarily mean that India should develop an appetite for interventionism anywhere and everywhere. Yet India ought to look for using bargaining chips to overcome the challenges posed by a deepening Sino-Pakistan strategic partnership. It is in this context that one must place India’s latest shift.
Modi’s overtures to Balochistan are an acknowledgement of the state-sponsored atrocities unleashed by Pakistan on its own people. Far from weakening our moral position, this gives us leverage in dealing with Pakistan and exposes it as an occupying force, an imperialist power. By publicly acknowledging the struggle of the Baloch people, India has made a very new political statement.
It is worthwhile to look at what Modi he said from the ramparts of Red Fort in his speech to mark 70th year of Independence. He said, “Today, I want to especially honour and thank some people from the ramparts of the Red Fort. For the past few days, the people of Balochistan, people of Gilgit, people of Pakistan-occupied Kashmir, the way their citizens have heartily thanked me, the way they have acknowledged me, the goodwill they have shown towards me, people settled far across, the land which I have not seen, people I have not met ever, but people settled far across acknowledge the Prime Minister of India, they honour him, so it is an honour of my 125 crore countrymen, it is respect of my 125 crore countrymen, and that is why, owing to the feeling of this honour, I want to heartily thank the people of Balochistan, people of Gilgit, people of Pakistan-occupied Kashmir for having an expression of thankfulness”.
Kanwal Sibal, former Foreign Secretary, told PTI that Modi deserves praise for delivering a direct response to Pakistan’s provocations: “By raising the Balochistan issue, Modi has changed the rules of the game. From the PM’s point of view, this is a warning signal to Pakistan”.
Former High Commissioner to Pakistan, G Parthasarathy said it was a “long overdue” and a “necessary step… there has to be some inducement for Pakistan to fall in line”.
“India has been more restrained than necessary despite Pakistan constantly carrying out propaganda on Kashmir, calling it the legacy of Partition. If that’s the case, Balochistan also is a legacy of Partition,” said Parthasarathy. He also recalled how Jinnah recognised Balochistan’s independent status before Pakistan procured and secured its accession.
Going by Pakistan’s sharp and pungent reaction, it is obvious that Pakistan has realised what it is doing. Besides the diplomatic leverage, India has a moral obligation to stand by Balochistan, Gilgit, PoK, Sindh and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa. India should help the needy who have been neglected by selfish and self-centred world powers.
It would not be an exaggeration to say that PM Modi has added a new leaf to Indian strategic thinking. This is indeed a new direction in which Indian foreign policy should move, at least occasionally.

1 Comment (+add yours?)

  1. Santanu Dey
    Aug 19, 2016 @ 12:43:57

    This is probably for the first time in the history of post-independence India that that rogue country has been shown a high-resolution mirror to see their own image and hide their face in shame from the international community and who other than our real-friend-of-India PM Narendra Modi could have done this. A less sterner message has been directed to their big brother China also by this change in tactics – hopefully China will become a bit more careful and weary to openly call Pak as its all-weather friend for some time to come. Granted that there are some elements of risk so far as Pakistan is concerned – anything is possible for that rogue country. They might suddenly announce a low-intensity Nuke missing from their arsenal (in reality which might be a deliberate arrangement with one of the innumerable terror groups in operation there) to shake India badly with a real possibility of an ultimate case of terror attack. But how long a sovereign country can continue to be in awe of the villainity of its neighbor and continue to be a mute spectator to its ugly posturings? Let there be a solution to this abscess called Pakistan once and for all.



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