Monday, September 24, 2018

Modi's Flip-Flop Diplomacy: "Kabhi Haan Kabhi Naa" to Pakistan

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi's sudden U-turn on foreign minister level talks with Pakistan on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly has come under fire from within India. The top Indian critics of Mr. Modi's flip-fop include former Indian High Commissioner to Pakistan Mr. Sharat Sabharwal, ex foreign secretary Nirupama Menon Rao and seasoned journalists Suhasini Haider and Shekhar Gupta.

Pakistan's new prime minister Mr. Imran Khan extended his hand of friendship to India that led to a mutual agreement for the two countries to meet on the sidelines of the upcoming annual UN General Assembly meeting. However, the foreign minister level meeting was canceled by India a couple of days later with a nasty message from Indian foreign ministry to Prime Minister Imran Khan alleging that he has shown his "true face" and exposed his "evil agenda". Prime Minister Imran Khan responded with an equally nasty tweet talking of "small men occupying big offices" that do not have the vision to see the larger picture" without naming Prime Minister Modi.

Nirupama Rao asked in a tweet: "Why is diplomacy seen as a cave-in when it comes to India-Pakistan relations?" And then went to say that "a meeting in New York is not an instrument of surrender".  Ex High Commissioner Sabharwal said in a tweet: "IFS (Indian Foreign Service) does not draft such election oriented statements or take such hasty flip flop decisions. Seems handiwork of 'muscular' thinking. More 'brawn' than 'brain'!" 

Ex Indian diplomats' chorus of criticism was joined by journalist Shekhar Gupta who tweeted: "Is this MEA statement drafted by the same dudes who write scripts for commando-comic channels? And seriously: can’t believe IFS drafted it. They know Imran has been PM for exactly a month, not “first few months.”" Suhasini Haider chimed in with a tweet of her own: "Clumsier still is the MEA statement. Have seldom seen such a crudely worded and badly articulated explanation from our diplomats."

The clumsy excuses like the "latest killing" along LoC in Kashmir and Burhan Wani postage stamps for cancellation have also been questioned by "The Wire Analysis" published in  The "latest killing" occurred before Indian government agreed to the meeting and the planned Burhan Wani stamp release was also known well in advance.

So why did it go from the hopeful meeting to saber rattling between the two South Asian neighbors? Did the Modi government cave in to pressure from within his Hindu Nationalist base? Have India's far right-wing leaders whipped up so much anti-Pakistan hysteria that they have made it extremely difficult to talk peace and friendship with the western neighbor? Has the talk of "chhappan inch ki chhati" (56 inch chest) and "boli nahi goli" (bullets, not talks) radicalized Mr. Modi's base and left little room to maneuver for his government on its Pakistan policy?

Here's a discussion on the subject:

Related Links:

Haq's Musings

South Asia Investor Review

India-Pakistan Conventional Military Balance

Who's India's Real Enemy? China? Pakistan?

America's "We're the Good Guys" Narrative

700,000 Indian Soldiers vs 10 Million Kashmiris

US and China Vying For Influence in Pakistan

Pakistan-China-Russia Vs India-Japan-US

Pakistan Rising or Failing: Reality vs Perception

Pakistan Disappears by 2015


Riaz Haq Youtube Channel


Taqi H. said...

Pakistan unfortunately has become insignificant for India economically. They just use it to rile up Modi’s supporters just like Trump excites his base with racist bigoted tweets. IK’s tweet about Modi doesn’t help the cause either, need him to be more patient and diplomatic.

Riaz Haq said...

Taqi: "Pakistan unfortunately has become insignificant for India economically."

Pakistan possesses both carrots and sticks. It is a trillion dollar plus economy in ppp terms with over 200 million consumers. It is also armed with nuclear weapons capable of hitting deep inside India. Only a delusional Indian would consider Pakistan "insignificant"

Riaz Haq said...

While #ImranKhan and #Modi Feud, #India and #Pakistan’s Economies Miss Out On $37 billion in Regional Trade via @bpolitics

India and Pakistan’s bitter rivalry is costing them $35 billion worth of annual trade, the World Bank said in a report.

Someone might want to tell the two countries’ leaders -- both of whom want to boost trade to battle widespread poverty. The World Bank called for South Asia, the world’s least economically-integrated region, to start cooperating instead of feuding. Trade between India and Pakistan, the region’s two largest economies, could jump to $37 billion from $2 billion if New Delhi and Islamabad tore down artificial barriers, last week’s report found.

But the breakdown last week of the most recent attempt by the two nuclear-armed nations to mend ties showed, once again, why South Asia -- with 33 percent of the world’s poor and 40 percent of the world’s stunted children -- is unlikely to realize those gains.

Anonymous said...

Pakistan industry is non competitive free trade means complete closure of industry..more free trade nonsense from the imf companies like Samsung Hyundai Tata reliance exist because the countries had the foresight to protect them in the initial stages..they also protect democracy by financing the political class to a degree not possible by foreign companies/ governments. It is not a coincidence that India is nearly as corrupt as Pakistan but NO Indian government has ever betrayed the country's core interests or not supported domestic industry...

Riaz Haq said...

#India FM Swaraj's #Pakistan-bashing Speech at #UNGA Aimed at #BJP Voters, Says Shashi Tharoor.“..particularly on the subject of #Pakistan rather than constructing a positive and constructive image of India in the world” #Modi

Congress leader Shashi Tharoor on Sunday expressed his disappointment with external affairs minister Sushma Swaraj’s speech at the United Nations General Assembly, saying the Pakistan bashing was aimed at voters of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP).

“We get the sense that everything is about the political environment in India. This was a speech aimed at BJP voters and sending a message to them, particularly on the subject of Pakistan rather than constructing a positive and constructive image of India in the world,” Tharoor said.

Addressing the General Assembly on Saturday, Swaraj had lashed out at Pakistan for sponsoring terrorism and blamed it for the stalled dialogue process.

“In our case, terrorism is bred not in some faraway land, but across our border. Our neighbour’s expertise is not restricted to spawning grounds for terrorism; it is also an expert in trying to mask malevolence with verbal duplicity,” she had said. "Pakistan's commitment to terrorism as an instrument of official policy has not abated one bit. Neither has its belief in hypocrisy,” Swaraj added

Riaz Haq said...

Lynch mobs, “cow vigilantes” and Whatsapp: What hate looks like in #India. Reports of #hate-crime cases, many involving “cow vigilantes,” have spiked since Narendra #Modi’s party came to power in 2014. #BJP #Hindutva #Islamophobia

Alimuddin Ansari, a van driver, knew the risks. Smuggling beef in India, where the slaughter of cows is illegal in some states, is dangerous work, and Ansari eventually attracted the notice of Hindu extremists in Jharkhand.

One hot day in June 2017, they tracked him to a crowded market. When he arrived with a van full of beef, the lynch mob was waiting.

Reports of religious-based hate-crime cases have spiked in India since the pro-Hindu nationalist government of Narendra Modi came to power in 2014, according to new data from IndiaSpend, which tracks reports of violence in English-language media. The data shows that Muslims are overwhelmingly the victims and Hindus the perpetrators of the cases reported.

The government of India does not record religious-based hate crimes as separate offenses and so does not provide data on the category. The government does monitor incidents of communal violence — such as riots between religious communities — and has data that shows such incidents rose 28 percent between 2014 and 2017.

Some of the violence in the reported cases centers on cows because Hindus — nearly 80 percent of India’s population — believe the animals are sacred, and many states have laws that protect them from slaughter. Violent “cow vigilante” groups patrol the roads, beating and killing those suspected of smuggling beef.

Modi has said that state governments should punish these vigilantes and that his administration is committed to upholding the law, but critics say his party has emboldened Hindu extremists across the country. And the data supports that trend: More than half of the cases reported this year through October came from three states in northern India — Uttar Pradesh, Bihar and Jharkhand — where Modi’s Bharatiya Janata Party, or BJP, enjoys strong support.

BJP spokesman Sudhanshu Trivedi said the government acts promptly if tensions occur between groups. He noted that India has suffered only “minor incidents” in the last four years, and there were no large-scale religious riots.

“Our objection is that the political class and a certain section of media want to highlight the [religious] angle in order to malign the image of government,” he said. “This is not happening for the first time. It has been happening for years.”

69through October
Between 2010 and 2013, fewer than 10 cases of hate crimes appeared in English-language media in India each year.

The vigilantes had been tracking Ansari for over a week. Early on the morning of June 29, 2017, a tea stall owner who had been working as an informer for the vigilantes called with a tip that Ansari was headed to the market in a white van full of beef, according to the judge’s ruling in the case and suspects’ statements to police. Deepak Mishra, a Brahmin priest, sent a WhatsApp message to a group of vigilantes calling them to the scene, court documents show.

The vigilantes trailed the van on their motorbikes, then stopped Ansari at the crowded market, pulling him from the driver’s seat, according to court records. They beat him with bamboo sticks and a fiber rod.

Riaz Haq said...

#India analyst says: #Imran has the edge on #Modi. #Pakistan PM's offer of free, visa-less, access to #Indian followers of Guru Nanak Dev to visit one of the most important #Sikh holy places..there’s nothing on the table from Indian side. via @BharatKarnad

Like the Balkans in the 1990s, South Asia, but on a far vaster and ethnically more heterogeneous scale, where every imaginable kind of people have lived, sometimes fist by jowl, but generally peaceably for millennia, and where the whole complex fell apart in 1947, on account of religion. Religious faith is a curious thing that’s often trifled with by politicians for low gain but to devastating effect. To state the obvious — it is the exploiters of religions who are the great dividers, not religions themselves. But religion does not centrally intrude into in India-Pakistan relations, in most part because, to the mortification of the Pakistan ideologues, there are now more Muslims in India. Imran Khan’s decision to construct a “Kartarpur corridor”, however, has a different religious tinge.

If you cut out the publicity-seeking hijinks of the boisterous middleman — Navjot Singh Siddhu, the sometime India opening bat and Punjab minister who’s proving a handful for chief minister Amarinder Singh, and consider Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan’s offer of free, visa-less, access to Indians and followers of Guru Nanak Dev to visit one of the most important Sikh holy places, then he needs to be commended, especially because there’s nothing comparable on the table from the Indian side. It is Imran’s own unique gambit — initially referred to by a Pakistani notable as a “googly” (where Imran is concerned, can the cricketing idiom be avoided?) that elicited a like trivial Indian response — an opening move is to resolve, if possible, the tiresomely disputatious relations between India and Pakistan that have done neither country any good, but prevented both and the subcontinent from emerging as a power bloc that the world would have to reckon with.

In his a recent televised meeting with India media persons, Imran made many interesting statements, some in reply to questions. Among these in no particular order, that the Pakistan government has according to UN Resolution 1267 sanctioned Hafiz Saeed and his Lashkar-e-Tayyaba terrorist outfit, that the 26/11 case against Hafiz is in the courts and thus sub judice. When reminded about the several occasions in the past when the Kargil intrusion after Vajpayee’s Lahore visit, the 26/11 attack on Mumbai after the 2007 meeting of PMs in Sharm el-Sheikh, he brushed it off by saying simply “I am not responsible for (what happened in) the past.” And then went on to say that the two countries better move on from these incidents of the past and capitalise on the fact that “There’s no animosity between the peoples of the two countries” and reiterated that every section of Pakistani society, including the army, is on “the same page” and agrees in the consensus view that neither nuclear-armed country has an option other than to cobble together lasting peace.

Imran, of course, is absolutely right. The 2007 plan Musharraf negotiated had three basic points. One, both sides of Kashmir would come under a commission manned by representatives from the two countries to oversee the affairs of all of Kashmir. Secondly, free travel, trade and other interaction would be permitted between the two Kashmirs, except every time Indian or Pakistani Kashmiri crossed the line he would have to have his identification papers stamped. And finally, other than police for constabulary duties there would be phased deconcentration of Indian and Pakistan army unit from their respective sides of the province.