If India wants to become a major world power, it has to engage in making peace with Pakistan by resolution of the Jammu and Kashmir dispute. Otherwise, because of the Kashmir dispute, India’s brutal use of force to crush the Kashmiris’ ongoing freedom struggle and the gross human rights (HR) violations and genocide being committed there, the threat of a nuclear war between Pakistan and India will prevail. Because of this scenario, the local and the foreign investors will be scared to invest in India and India’s economy will further suffer, as it has already slowed down because of the ongoing tensions due to India abrogating Article 35A and 370 of Indian constitution, and taking away the autonomy of Jammu and Kashmir and allowing Hindus to settle there to change its demography.
While these major changes were done in violation of the UNSC resolutions, Simla Agreement, the Lahore Declaration, and even against India’s own constitution, due to the fear of the Kashmiris reaction, India also clamped curfew in the state on 5 August 2019, and arrested all Kashmiri leaders and about 13000 young men, to crush the freedom struggle. India’s these HR violations are still continuing despite that these were highly condemned by the world media, like the New York Times, Washington Post, CNN, the Guardian, UK, The Independent UK, The BBC, The DW TV Germany and Channel 24 France, and in view of PM Imran’s active diplomacy on Kashmir the world leaders, including, President Trump, the UK Prime Minister, the Malaysian Prime Minister and the Turkish President have also asked India to lift the curfew and release the arrested people.
And since now the Kashmiri women have also joined the freedom struggle, no amount of Indian brutalities and changes in the constitution, etc. can stop the peaceful freedom struggle in Kashmir, because the people have suffered so much since 1987 and due to the current genocide that their reconciliation with India is impossible. Hence, Pakistan-India tensions will prevail and the threat of a war with nuclear connotations will exist, which will negatively impact India’s economy because of the lack of investors’ trust. The Moodys and the World Bank have already downgraded the projected growth rate of India’s economy to a mere 4.8 to 5 percent in the next few years. And, about 70% of the Indian population, which is below poverty line will further suffer.
And, if a war breaks out between India and Pakistan, then the damage will be colossal as no country will be ready to accept the defeat, and there is all the probability that ultimately the nuclear weapons will be used by both, Pakistan and India. If this happens, then the human and material losses will be so much that the remaining India will exist only as the poorest nation in the world.
But it appears that the Prime Minister, Modi and his government ministers are not even ready to recognize this fact, that by carrying on with its enmity with the nuclear Pakistan by keeping the Jammu and Kashmir dispute unresolved, India will lose its chances of becoming a world’s major power. Instead of realizing this fact, India’s current leaders are boasting by propagating short anti Pakistan narratives, and even indicating their annoyance towards the countries that have supported Pakistan’s stance on Kashmir, as if India is already a super power. Even India has also politely denied President Trump’s mediation offer for resolving the Kashmir dispute, while PM Imran Khan had accepted President Trump’s offer for mediation.
India blames Pakistan for sponsoring terrorism just to hide the fact that actually it is an epicentre of terrorism in the region
For example, as per the Times of India dated 10 October 2019, while Indian leaders are asking Pakistan to forget about Kashmir, they have also rejected China’s correct stance that the Jammu and Kashmir dispute should be resolved through a dialogue as per UNSC resolutions on Kashmir, by stating that India did not welcome China’s comments on its internal matters in response to a reference to UN resolutions by China. India is also undermining China, as according to the Financial Times of 10 October 2019, India was jubilating when Trump had put economic sanctions against China. India has even thought of cancelling economic cooperation with Turkey and Malaysia, because they had supported Pakistan’s stance on Kashmir at the UNGA session in September 2019.
India blames Pakistan for sponsoring terrorism just to hide the fact that actually it is an epicentre of terrorism in the region. In this context, the recent killing of Asim Umar in Afghanistan, a top al-Qaeda terrorist from India and chief of AQIS, who, according to ‘India Today’ had no digital footprint, indicates that India sponsors terrorism through proxies like Daeish and AQIS in the sub-continent. Similarly, terror attacks on Sri-Lanka this year had their links in Indian Tamil Nadu.
Also, according to ‘The News’, Pakistan, on 17 October 2019, the Indian Defence Minister Rajnath Singh on Sunday gave a so-called ‘polite suggestion’ to Pakistani leaders, asking them to change their direction of thinking or else Pakistan will be divided into several parts. This indicates that the BJP stalwarts are out of their senses as they do not understand they are talking to a strong military and nuclear power. Probably the Indian leaders have become arrogant, because India is a close defence partner of the US.
But, the Indian leaders fail to realize that the US is also aware that as a close defence partner, India is not sincere to it as India does not act in line with the US interests when needed, and is only interested in getting the US technology and economic investments. That is the reason that now the US is also advancing its relations with Pakistan, as it has realized that Pakistan is an important country to fight terrorism and keep peace and stability in Afghanistan, the Middle East and the Central Asia.
In view of the above discussion, it can be concluded that if India wants to become a world’s major power, it should stop playing a zero sum game with Pakistan. Instead, India has to have a sustained and result oriented dialogue with Pakistan and build peace with it by resolving the Jammu and Kashmir dispute in the light of the UNSC resolutions. And, from thereon India has to leave the old enmity and live in peace with Pakistan, as France and the UK, both nuclear powers, are living like friends by forgetting their bitter past.
If India adopts this attitude and strategy, not only the South Asian economic integration will take place by activating the SAARC, the poverty in South Asia canal so be addressed. And, with peace in the periphery of India, it will be possible for it to become a major power in the world.
The writer is a former Research Fellow of Islamabad Policy Research Institute (IPRI), Islamabad