Chapter 4

The South Asia file

I am against the imperial streak in the Indian psyche. The 1947 riots had a deep impact on my mind...About 5% to 6% Brahmanas dominate India.” “India will give its land when it will be divided into many pieces. India will have to be broken up. If India does not give us our land we will go to war and divide India...believe me, India is so fragile. India has such weak joints that if we want we could strike these weak joints then India will dismember. But we don’t want India to break....India is ridden with problems...There are many other weak joints. Indians have strong fissiparous tendencies, which is absent in Pakistan. One can easily exploit it politically… Jinnah was right when he invited Ambedkar to join Pakistan. Where are the lower classes? I am an Islamist. Islam is the final destiny of mankind. Islam is moderate, Islam is progressive. Islam is everything that man needs. It is not necessary to become a Muslim but it is necessary to adopt the principles of Islam. Naseem Azavi and Iqbal’s writings have influenced my thinking.”

Hamid Gul, Director General Pakistan ISI


Invent a geography called South Asia

The practice of referring to the Indian subcontinent as South Asia began picking up momentum in the 90’s simultaneously with the moves towards globalization in the region.  The state department in the US and Foreign Office (FO) in Pakistan started using it frequently to devalue the implicit prominence of India as the premier country in the sub-continent. The Pakistan FO even expressed a desire to rename the Indian Ocean so that the name India is not associated to the ocean. The South Asian category was used initially to describe any Indian living abroad. The term South Asia is intended to ensure the negation of the presence of the Indic civilization and obviate the fact that the Hindu religion is the religion of the majority of the residents of the subcontinent.  One can be forgiven the inference that the intent is to submerge the Indian identity under the general rubric of South Asia and thereby attempt to erase the distinct Indian civilization after several generations.


The main aim is to reduce and ultimately negate the non-Muslim identity in the Indian sub-continent in the wider world in the long run. When will this happen? Some Pakistani commentators have remarked to Indian MPs that Pakistan will attain geopolitical balance with India when the Muslim population will equal the Hindu population in the sub-continent. In 1947 the Indian sub-continent had a total population of 400 million with 100 million Muslims. By 2000 the Muslims by themselves are 400 million and Bengali Muslims being the largest non-Arab ethnic Muslims in the world. This has strengthened the vision of the pan Islamists in the subcontinent to create a pan-Islamic political center, which will have the largest Islamic block outside the Arab world.


To paraphrase a quote from Ikram Sehgal, a Pakistani[1] : In South Asia there are three major Muslim communities, the largest being in India, the second largest in Bangladesh and the third in Pakistan. A strong Pakistan and a strong Bangladesh is the security for the largest community of Muslims who live in India. It is unfortunate but that sense of security comes from the fact that we are there together and the people will understand that as long as the two strong nations are there that they will be secure.

G. Parthasarathy[2] remarks: “At a recent meeting that I had with a group of prominent Pakistanis in a South Asian capital, a close associate of General Musharraf bluntly remarked that if India believed that it could ignore differences with Pakistan and move ahead economically, his country would have no difficulty in taking steps to retard Indian economic progress. A few years ago a former Director-General of the ISI remarked to me that ‘Pakistan would see to it that jihad in Kashmir would draw support from Muslims all across India’. This was in response to an assertion by me that Muslims in India were proud of the secular ethos of their country. It is important to bear these factors in mind while assessing the challenge that Pakistani policies pose to India. Pakistani ideologues, especially in their Punjabi dominated armed forces establishment, believe that they are the true inheritors of the Mughal throne in Delhi.”

So the intent is clear. The influential elite of Pakistan certainly does not believe in peaceful coexistence with India and probably never did. Their goal remains unswerving and resolute, namely the disintegration and breakup of India. The real intent is that the Muslims of the entire South Asia region will be able to equal and dominate the non-Muslims in terms of identity, perception and supremacy when the population equals or exceeds the non-Muslims now or sometime in future. It also means that as long as a Islamic political center exists inside the subcontinent Muslims are safe from the non-Muslims. Is this possible? By projecting the Pakistani Ashrafs as the rightful leaders of all the Muslims in the sub-continent, the Pakistani ruling elite are waiting for the right moment of ‘awakening’ when the Muslims of India will join and support the political center in Pakistan and Bangladesh to create one monolithic Muslim block to rival the non-Muslims. 

Under the support of a hyper power with control over world media, resources and a worldwide recognition of Islamic religion with no negative implications, the non-Muslims of the South Asia could be totally sub-merged and negated over a period of time as early as a century from now.  According to the Pakistani elite India is not monolithic but a heterogeneous conglomerate.

The main obstacle for the Islamists and the pan Islamists in the sub-continent is the evolution of an India freed from concerns over the Muslims of South Asia, India could then turn its full attention to America’s rival, China. Neutralizing Pakistan’s threat to India is an outstanding achievement for any Indian government; as such an eventuality would be viewed as the beginning of an era of stability and prosperity for the Hindu State. Indeed, as such a narrative unfolds, normalization of Indo-Pak relations would finally enable India to bring the Muslims of the entire region under its writ, a matter that the Hindus were not able to achieve even when Muslims were demographically far weaker than today, over fifty years ago. They also admit that before Prime Minister Vajpayee took power, America overtly and covertly supported jihad in Kashmir and insisted upon the implementation of UN Security Council Resolutions concerning Kashmir. This has helped the Islamists wage a covert war against India.


The Islamists believe that it was Muslim rule that liberated the Hindu masses of the Subcontinent from oppression at the hands of their own Brahmana-led elite. According to their narrative only under Muslim rule was the Subcontinent elevated to such global economic and material significance, that the British Empire valued this region above all others as its “Jewel in the Crown.” Indeed, after Muslim rule, it is contended that the Subcontinent suffered steep economic decline at the hands of the British, reducing it to economic misery, a condition that the post-British leadership in India has been unable to reverse.  Accepting the Hindu State, as a regional leader merely on the basis of her Hindu majority is naive political thinking propagated by Pakistan’s rulers. Leadership is given to the one deserving of it. In reality of course to make a distinction between the majority of the Pakistani leadership elite and the Islamists is an exercise in naiveté.

The Islamists are of the view that without doubt Pakistan is fully capable of leading the people of the entire region. The Khilafah will restore the leadership of the region to the Muslims, as well as providing justice and protection to all the inhabitants of the region, be they Hindu, Sikh or Christian. According to them, reports of terrible atrocities against Muslim, Sikh and Christian minorities, as carried by India’s own media, are more than enough to convince any impartial observer that the Hindu elite is incapable of bestowing justice upon any people, leaving aside its treatment of its co-religionist, lower caste Hindus. Indeed, or so the Islamists assert, expecting justice from a nation, whose own religious teachings openly sanction caste-based discrimination in society, depriving the majority of its own people their rights, is nothing but naivete.

By creating a strong political center in Pakistan, Kashmiri nationalism was inspired and nurtured to insurgency in 1989. In the next step Kashmir nationalism was subsumed under the Islamic political movement in the sub-continent by 1995. The statement from Islamists in 2003 is  The struggle of the Kashmiri people was not aimed at securing a piece of land but to ensure the triumph of belief and supremacy of Islam. The next stage is to create an all South Asia Islamic political movement which will create solidarity with Muslims of the sub-continent. When that happens this movement will be able to oppose the non-Muslims of the sub-continent when the Indian state becomes weak and create an alternative Muslim political center for the entire South Asia as a rival to Indian state”. Pakistan was creating for itself a larger role in the geo-political game. J.N.Dixit[3] paraphrases a speech given by the CEO Musharraf to the Pakistan Institute of International Affairs on 23 June 2000.


The idea of the integration of Kashmir with Pakistan may be given up if it is expedient to do so. Pakistan wishes to emerge as the leader of an Islamic bloc comprising Afghanistan, CAR countries, and Iran with peripheral support from the Gulf States and Turkey. It claims this status by virtue of the fact that in this century, “the century of gas”, no longer one of oil, all gas supplies to India, South East Asia and further East, have to pass through Pakistan.


Amir of the Markaz, Hafiz Muhammad SA‘eed declares: ‘In fact, the Hindu is a mean enemy and the proper way to deal with him is the one adopted by our forefathers … who crushed them by force. We need to do the same’. India is a special target for the Markaz’s mujahideen. According to the Amir, ‘The jihad is not about Kashmir only. It encompasses all of India’. Thus, the Markaz sees the jihad as going far beyond the borders of Kashmir and spreading through all of India. The final goal is to extend Muslim control over what is seen as having once been Muslim land, and, hence, to be brought back under Muslim domination, creating ‘the Greater Pakistan by dint of jihad’. Thus, at a mammoth congregation of Markaz supporters in November 1999, the Amir declared, ‘Today I announce the break-up of India, Inshallah. We will not rest until the whole of India is dissolved into Pakistan’. On the same occasion, Amir Hamza, senior Markaz official and editor of its Urdu organ, ad-Da’wa, thundered: ‘We ought to disintegrate India and even wipe India out’. Those who take part in this anti-Indian jihad are promised that ‘Allah will save [them] from the pyre of hell’, and ‘huge palaces in paradise’ await those who are killed in fighting the ‘disbelieving enemies’.

This project for the disintegration of India, followed by its take-over by Pakistan and the establishment of an Islamic state in the entire sub-continent, is sought to be justified by an elaborate set of arguments that use the rhetoric of liberation. Thus, instances of human-sacrifice, untouchability, infanticide, the oppression of the ‘low’ castes by the Brahmanas and the suppression of women in Hinduism are described in great detail, and on this basis it is sought to be shown that such a religion as Hinduism should not ‘be allowed to flourish’. In Markaz literature, incidents such as Godhara and its aftermath are portrayed as the mass slaughter of Muslims by Hindu chauvinist groups, often in league with the Indian state and its agencies, and the growing wave of attacks on other marginalized groups in India such as the ‘low’ caste Dalits, Shudras and Christians, are presented in stark colors, and the point forcefully made that such a country ‘where non-Hindus are not allowed to exist’ should break-up.

Of course such an assessment comes from a country which has systematically erased all significant traces of its Hindu population and touts itself very proudly as an Islamic republic with not even a modicum of judicial recourse for the minorities such as Christians and Hindus. Even after the exodus of Hindus from what was then West Pakistan , there had been about 5 million Sindhis, Sikhs and a few others left behind in that region. Today they have all but vanished, one of the great but unspoken genocides of the 20th century.

Retired Lieutenant General Hamid Gul, former head of Pakistan’s Inter Services Intelligence directorate, asserts ... that the only reason Pakistan does not dismember India is because “we never wanted to create problems with our Muslim population in India.”
Also he says and the passage is self explanatory “ I am against the imperial streak in the Indian psyche. The 1947 riots had a deep impact on my mind...About 5% to 6% Brahmanas dominate India.” “India will give its land when it will be divided into many pieces. India will have to be broken up. If India does not give us our land we will go to war and divide India...believe me, India is so fragile. India has such weak joints that if we want we could strike these weak joints then India will dismember. But we don’t want India to break....India is ridden with problems...There are many other weak joints. Indians have strong fissiparous tendencies, which is absent in Pakistan. One can easily exploit it politically… Jinnah was right when he invited Ambedkar to join Pakistan. Where are the lower classes? I am an Islamist. Islam is the final destiny of mankind. Islam is moderate, Islam is progressive. Islam is everything that man needs. It is not necessary to become a Muslim but it is necessary to adopt the principles of Islam. Naseem Azavi and Iqbal’s writings have influenced my thinking.”

There is another problem for India especially when it comes to the US, which has taken upon itself the role of the protector of Pakistan obviously against its main adversary. The Indian identity in the US is an ambiguous one. There have been cases of ordinary Americans who were surprised that Indians are actually Indians of South Asia and not really the American Indians/native Americans of North American continent. This is an example of the reality that vast groups of society in the western world can be ignorant of a prominent civilization and a national identity, even when such a civilization has a global reach as in the case of the Indic civilization. The notion here is that the identity of Indians/Hindus with a unique civilization can be erased over time if a proper strategy of media, negation of culture, academic work and judicious headshaping is executed.

Stability in South Asia from a western point of view

When the Cold War ended, India and Pakistan, always hyphenated, were often characterized by Western strategists as irresponsible or dangerous because of their apparent pursuit of nuclear weapons.  Typical of such a viewpoint is the following passageClosely related to nuclear policy is the relationship among India, Pakistan, and the United States. That Pakistan even exists is viewed by most Indians as the result of an act of perfidy by the British at the time of independence. With a population that is 12 percent Muslim, India cannot accept that the two religions must have “two nations” and cannot live side-by-side. As a result, ever since partition in 1947, the relationship between Pakistan and India has been an emotional one. Its intensity is evidenced by the fact that India and Pakistan have engaged in open warfare five times — in 1948, 1965, 1971, 1984, and 1999 — and India almost started a sixth, all-out war during its military exercise “Brasstacks” in 1987.”[4]


The above passage, ostensibly written by a correspondent sympathetic to India, has all the ingredients of the conventional wisdom as seen by the West. There is the attempt to hyphenate and equate the two nations. There is a not so subtle attempt to paint India as the more intransigent nation, in drawing attention to her opposition to the two-nation theory. What is left unsaid is very revealing. There is no mention of the fact that Pakistan has never reconciled itself to the mere existence of India, not to mention that it totally rejects the notion that India is a multi-ethnic multi-religious nation with equality under the law guaranteed regardless of ethnic origin and religious preference. Left unsaid is the fact that, just as is the case with India, no European nation would accept the hypothesis of a two-nation theory as a basis for dividing up its territory. Surely it is not the contention of the West, that India should accept the two-nation theory which as we have mentioned in the preface, is rooted in Islamic theology. There is no mention of the fact that all 5 conflicts with India were instigated at the behest of Pakistan. There is no mention that the Hindu minority in Pakistan has been decimated in a systematic manner since 1947 in what is one of the significant genocidal acts of the 20th century.



Now, the motives that created these South Asia programs are becoming increasingly clear. While the major threats to South Asia are internal low growth rates, inequitable distribution of wealth, and ethnic and religious conflicts exacerbated by an environmental crisis these states do have legitimate external security concerns as well. Pakistan, according to some in the west, is in the same situation as Israel, in that it is faced with a much larger adversary that barely recognizes its legitimacy. India, like the Austro-Hungarian empire, is a multinational entity with both strong (China and Pakistan) and weak (Sri Lanka, Nepal, and Bangladesh) neighbors; it has significant differences with the former, but the very weaknesses of the latter pose a threat also.

Geopolitical Factors as viewed by the West

It is de rigueur in the West to paint the Indo Pakistan conflict in extreme alarmist language especially in comparison with the Cold war. Typical of American viewpoints is that of Stephen Cohen of the Brookings Institute. The narrative is as follows. “The U.S.–Soviet relationship was politically stable. There were strong institutional restraints on the leaders of both the United States and the Soviet Union, the stakes of the violent conflicts that did take place were relatively small (and were mostly fought by proxies), and the level of risk that was taken was low except for the Cuban Missile Crisis.

Some of these political factors are present in South Asia, others are absent. There are strong institutional restraints on Indian decision-makers, although at critical moments these restraints have broken down. This was the case in 1987 during the Brasstacks exercise, when routine administrative procedures were bypassed in favor of adventurism. Ironically, in 1962 during the India–China war, the institutions themselves pushed a reluctant senior leader, Jawaharlal Nehru, into a conflict he wanted to avoid. In Pakistan, time and again, institutional restraints have proven to be nonexistent, as a small group of leaders, usually from the army, decided on regional war and peace without much in the way of staffing, discussion, or public debate. Indeed, since it was usually felt that the smaller, more vulnerable Pakistan might have to move first and fast, there were strategic reasons why the circle of decision-makers was kept smaller than it should have been.

Furthermore, South Asia differs from the Cold War in that the stakes for both sides are very high as demonstrated by past wars. Pakistan was severed in half in 1971, and India fears that conflicts with Pakistan could lead to internal Hindu Muslim strains that might again tear India apart. It was originally thought that the war with China might result in the loss of all of northeast India and Nehru said as much in a desperate radio broadcast, virtually writing off the region. So, while the specific conflicts that engage the two countries are sometimes trivial (and) the Siachen dispute is the epitome of irrelevance, leaders on both sides are aware that even a trivial conflict might quickly escalate to something far more serious.

When it comes to propensity for risk taking, the contention is that “it is evident that South Asian leaders oscillate between extreme caution and irresponsible gambling. For the most part, the Indian leadership has been ultra cautious, but, it is contended by Western observers, the Brasstacks crisis revealed such a high propensity for risk taking that was by and large absent in earlier conflicts. On the Pakistani side, there is a long record of speculative adventurism or, to put it more charitably, of gross misestimates of the consequences that the use of force might have. Pakistan misjudged the consequences of supporting the raiders in 1947, the attack in Kashmir in 1965, and the crackdown on East Pakistan in 1970”.[5]

South Asia from Indian point of view

It is often asserted that India’s emergence as a regional power and a key global player depends largely on her image and standing in the South Asian neighborhood. Further, if India cannot effectively generate and ensure her key status in South Asia, how can the world be convinced that it can carve influence farther a field. India’s nuclear weapons, space programs, missiles development and her overwhelming superiority in military strength are of no use, or so the argument goes, if the South Asian neighborhood takes India for granted and merrily tramples on India’s national interests and her image. India needs to introduce an element of ‘unilateralism’ in her state-craft in South Asia.  While this is a reasonable scenario, it is interesting that no such requirements are placed on China. It is not demanded for instance, that China convince Vietnam, Japan or South Korea in order to prove her standing as ‘first among equals’ in East Asia 

Sri Lanka

India’s national interests demand maintaining the unity and sovereignty of the Sri Lanka nation state. India’s domestic Tamil politics should not become the touchstone of India’s policies towards Sri Lanka. India needs to react forcefully to ensure that Sri Lanka remains a unified state with a set up that would meet the just aspirations of a majority of Tamils.  Again the connection between the national integrity of SriLanka and that of India is unnecessary. The simple fact of the matter is that other than offering moral support for Sri Lankan Tamils, Indian Tamils do not take their cue from their brothers in SriLanka. If anything it is the other way around.


For far too long has India been oblivious to the playing of the ‘Indian-Card’ (for or against) in Bangladesh’s domestic politics. For far too long has India tolerated the use of Bangladesh as a springboard for Pakistan’s strategic de-stabilization of India’s North-Eastern states. India could borrow a leaf from Myanmar’s dealing with the Rohinggya problem emanating from Saudi based organizations in Bangladesh. Al Qaeda’s tentacles exist in Bangladesh.  The China-Bangladesh Defense Cooperation Agreement adds an additional dimension to the threats. India needs to draw redlines in terms of India’s national interests which Bangladesh must not overstep with impunity. In tandem, India through its big business houses should integrate Bangladesh into more commercial linkages. Increased Indian economic investments in Bangladesh could generate thousands of jobs and remove the root cause of Bangladesh’s instability and move towards Islamic fundamentalism.

Nepal: Nepal has been wracked by a Maoist insurgency for the last five or six years. India has remained a passive bystander witnessing the growing erosion of Nepal’s state power. Other than giving some military materiel for counter insurgency operations, no weighty measures have been taken. India has not recognized the gravity of a Maoist take-over of Nepal. As per some analysts, the strategic implications of a Maoist take-over of Nepal are that Nepal becomes a total client state of China. A Maoist Nepal under Chinese tutelage would be a serious disruptive factor for US global strategies in the region. Maoist-insurgents ruled Nepal would inextricably get dragged into Islamic terrorist organizations linkages, besides China’s policies towards the Islamic world. 

India needs to realize the gravity of the strategic implications, specific to India, namely that a China-aligned Nepal removes an important buffer state between India and China. India would have to militarily man the India-Nepal border in strength, which may eat up two to three infantry divisions. A China-aligned Nepal adds to the existing China-client states in South Asia i.e. Pakistan and Bangladesh. It would be a very unholy trinity with not only the Western and Eastern flanks of India under China’s influence, but the Northern flank too added.

For the majority peoples of India, the only Hindu kingdom in the world would slide down ignobly into a Chinese-Islamic coalition in South Asia.  The Hindu identity in the South Asia will be given a deathblow with the disintegration of the monarchy.

Structural Factors

In South Asia, as during a certain period of the Cold War, a structural asymmetry could make the region less stable in the future than in the past. And, as in the larger Cold War, the wild card is China. The United States and the Soviet Union once feared that China might precipitate a war between them. However, whereas China never became a decisive factor in U.S.–Soviet conflict, it could be a determining factor in a future India–Pakistan conflict that spilled over and involved Beijing. For the most part, China has been increasingly restrained in its involvement in South Asia, and its public statements urging caution and dialog now sound very much like those of Western states and Russia. But a degree of uncertainty remains about China’s future role.

Another structural factor—the imbalance between India and its neighbors, including Pakistan—is less important as a cause of instability than it is as a reason why it is so difficult to reduce instability. During the Cold War, the two superpowers were about evenly matched, each had strong alliance partners, and their relative power was always self-evident and generally in balance. In South Asia, however, every regional state has a border  with India. None has a border with any of the others. This makes it hard for any regional state to step forward and offer its services as a mediator. With the exception of the still-feeble SAARC, there are no regional mechanisms that might help moderate, let alone resolve, disputes between India and Pakistan, India and Nepal, India and Bangladesh, and India and Sri Lanka. Any regional state that might claim the role of intermediary would be accused of trying to advance its own case vis-à-vis India in the guise of offering its good offices. This structural peculiarity explains why outside peacekeepers have been an important feature of the region since 1948. Although they have rarely been welcomed by the dominant power, India, they are eagerly sought out by the weaker powers of South Asia, who cannot find a local peacemaker. The above narrative betrays a propensity to fail to accept the reality that India is the predominant regional power in the Subcontinent. As the regional power India is unlikely to accept mediation in her disputes with neighbors in much the same manner as China or the US refuse mediation in their disputes with their neighbors.

Thus, on balance, or so goes the conventional wisdom in the US, South Asia is probably more crisis-prone than was the U.S.–Soviet relationship, especially if we see the introduction of nuclear weapons, missiles, and other highly destructive, essentially first-strike weapons into the region. The introduction of such weapons will also have a secondary impact: they will affect India’s and Pakistan’s relations with major powers outside South Asia, especially China, Iran, Saudi Arabia, and perhaps Indonesia. If, as in the past, either state enters into a military alliance with one or more of these outside powers, then the uncertainties will be two-way: How will Indian or Pakistani power be put in the service of its allies, and in a crisis how will the resources of an ally affect the India–Pakistan military balance?

There are so many imponderables and uncertainties, it is hard to draw any concrete conclusions except that regional stability will have to be calculated, and recalculated, with national inferior technical means, possibly under the influence of populist political movements in both states. Most frightening of all, it will have to be done while one state (or perhaps both) is trying to contain a separatist movement aided by the other. The analogy here is not so much the Cold War, where the United States and the Soviet Union had no direct economic, territorial, or cultural conflicts, but the still-strained relationship between North Korea and South Korea, or between Israel and its major neighbors, or between France and Germany in the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries—conflicts that had a “family” element to them, between adversaries that had much in common, but real and substantive disagreements as well.

North-East India consists of part of the state of West Bengal, Assam, Arunachal Pradesh, Nagaland, Manipur, Mizoram, Tripura and Meghalaya. Most people of the area are isolated from mainland India. There has been very little economic development in the areas. There have been anti-Bengali riots in Assam. Nagas and Mizos have been engaged in armed war of liberation, insurgencies to which Pakistan have provided aid from East Pakistan. There has been considerable infiltration of Muslims into Assam from East Pakistan, which has been encouraged by the Government of India for vote-bank politics. The presence of a sizable Muslim population will assist the operations. China has large territorial claims in Arunachal Pradesh and may agree to support the cause. The area is rich in mineral resources. The area produces 4 million tons of crude oil per year and accounts for half of the tea exports from India. Its loss will be a major loss to India. North-East India is considered to be a suitable target by Pakistan for dismembering India.

The advantages of this area as a target for subversion are;

A improbable target hence India is not on its guard.

The local people want independence.

 India will suffer considerable economic loss.

A long and vulnerable corridor which can be exploited.

The disadvantage of this target is that;

Nothing can be achieved without assistance from China and Bangladesh.

No political benefit from the events in Pakistan.


As far as relative strength goes India has a very substantial military force deployed in Kashmir. Pakistan does not have the strength to win a military victory in Kashmir or on any battlefield in the subcontinent. China is unlikely to be interested in this adventure, as it has nothing to gain from it. Even if insurgency could be created in the state and all aid provided, it would still be difficult to annex Kashmir.

India also had a very substantial military force deployed in the Northeast. However, these forces were mainly in a defensive posture on the Chinese border. The few formations that were spared were deployed for insurgency operations. There were hardly any troops earmarked for the defense of the Siliguri Corridor, particularly oriented towards Bangladesh.

Deductions: 1. Both Kashmir and North East India are viable targets for dismembering India.

2. Loss of North-East India will hurt India more. Hence this should be the priority one target.

3. It will be easier to get China interested into the scheme if North-East is the target. Support of China in the matter is most vital.

4. If Pakistan continues to target Kashmir, Pakistan could:

a) Continue to foster the communal schism in the state. This could be by infiltrating the ranks of the religious teachers and school teachers and constant anti-India propaganda with the youth as the target. There is enough unemployment and economic discontent to be exploited.
b) Identify potential insurgent leaders from the educational institutions and encourage them to come to Pakistan for training and indoctrination. c) Create and strengthen militancy by providing military and financial aid.
d) Intervene militarily at the appropriate time.

5. If Pakistan adopts North-East India as the target, it could

a) Eliminate Sheikh Mujibur Rahman. (1975)

b) Convert Bangladesh into the Islamic state instead of a secular one after elimination of Sheikh Mujibur Rahman. (1975)

c) Regain political and military influence in Bangladesh. (1975)

d) Take China into confidence.(1975)

e) Provide financial aid for infiltration of Muslims into Assam. (1975)

f) Provide all possible aid to the insurgents in the North-East (1999)

The above plan in a fictional account mirrors the reality of a South Asia plan by Pakistan, Bangladesh and China in future. If Nepal also joins this group then we have a grand plan to dismember India in the long term. The new hope for Pakistan Islamists came after the assassination of Sheikh Mujibur Rahman by some pro-Pakistan colonels and majors and resumption of the training of the anti-India insurgents of North-eastern States in Bangladesh, as East Pakistan used to do earlier. Then Secretary of State Kissinger and the US government supported such a action. Major Zia-ur-Rahman who followed Mujib as President restarted the training camps for Indian insurgent groups. Khaleda Zia’s return to power was very helpful in this respect after the toppling of two military dictators Zia-ur-Rahman and H.M. Ershad. ISI was able to operate again from Bangla soil. Captain Sher Nawaz, now Maj. Gen. Sher Nawaz was posted as First Secretary in Pakistan embassy in Dhaka. There were frequent military exchanges between the three countries as China too was now co-opted in the new plot to cut off Northeastern States from India by the cutting-off of the narrow Siliguri enclave joining India with Assam. Regular meetings of Bangladesh ex-Army leaders of the leftist political party JSD were held in China. Sher Nawaz, in Dhaka took northeastern guerilla leaders from Assam, Nagaland, Mizoram, Manipur and Tripura. China had active interest in Arunachal Pradesh and Sikkim. It started strengthening its logistics, infrastructure and artillery and air bases in Tibet. Bangladesh was helped to raise two new divisions with the help of China and Pakistan.

Political Analysis of India

The nature and character of the Indian nation-state and its political boundaries—internal and external—have evolved throughout the centuries. It has shown a varying mix of “high” and “low” degree of statehood or nationhood that varied with historical experience, institutional legacies and political culture. The state-society relationship in pre-colonial India was primarily instrumental, “the state upheld and protected society and its values rather than itself constituting the highest form of community and the means for realizing value”. The colonial state structure in India was, however, qualitatively different as the British constructed a unitary state and centralized political unity based on the notion of a ‘singular and indivisible sovereignty’ through its practices of ‘bureaucratic authoritarianism’. Such an administrative structure was rooted in an impersonalized and institutionalized vast administrative structure that penetrated the lowest rungs of the Indian society. The nationalist consciousness of the nineteenth century did not question or attempt to radically transform the colonial state. The dominant argument was that the British rule was alien and unrepresentative, and hence the demand for an independent state representing Indian nationalism. The logic of a modern state representing one nation, or of transferring the responsibility of managing social relations among individuals and collective identities from indigenous social regulatory mechanisms to the state, was not questioned. The political leadership of modern India perceived the state as the prime mover, the key repository of political power that would act as an agency of collectively intended social change.

The Constituent Assembly rested the foundations of the Indian State on three key pillars of democracy, federalism and secularism. The Congress leadership had upheld the secular, pluralist idea of the Indian nation. Given the European model of nation building, however, the cultural unification of India was a prerequisite for building a modern nation state, which did not fit the pluralities and diversity of Indian society. The result was a paradox. Nehru insisted that conceptually the imagining of the Indian nation was an accomplished and irreversible fact that did not have to be constantly negotiated, presented and justified. Materially, however, it was in infancy, a nation-in-the-making that needed to be protected against contending identities. Accordingly, state formation processes were geared towards constructing a strong state, capable of defending a nascent nation.


US took over the pivotal leadership role of the sub-continent after the independence of the new states from UK the old colonial master in 1940s. By independence, the India’s new elite which had formed by interaction with Britain had dominated India’s political landscape for nearly a century, through institutions such as the Indian National Congress established by the British in 1885. They shared a remarkably uniform intellectual worldview, which in time came to include the tenets of Fabian socialism.. This particular brand of socialism developed in the 1880s in England as an attempt to salvage Marxism from what then appeared to be its all too accurate predictions of class struggle and labor violence. This may have been what the British wanted the leadership in India post independence to have and were comfortable to deal with a class with uniform view about the world. But the real aim of the British was to have a dominion rule over India for 500 years as some speeches in commonwealth reveal in 1900.

The UK was not happy to see India consolidating itself into a large country with a democratic political system under the leadership of Nehru. The British hoped that India would revert to an agglomeration of quarreling states after Independence and become susceptible to influence from other powers. They wanted a large Muslim political center which will dominate the rest of the smaller states and be seen by all the Muslims in the sub-continent as protector of their interests. However what they did not reckon was that the Indian freedom movement was a genuine freedom struggle and threw leaders who were intellectually equal to the best in the world. The efforts of two of them Sardar Patel and V.P. Menon who single handedly brought about the end of history in the sub-continent and brought about a relatively bloodless revolution by merging the so called Princely states into the Indian union. Nehru and Krishna Menon acquired some influence in the world affairs from 1950 to 1962, when colonialism was being ended and cold war at its height. But this influence died with Chinese invasion of 1962[this may have been the motivation for the war in 1962]. Jawaharlal Nehru never quite recovered from the debacle of 1962, Menon was fired and whatever moral influence India had carved out for itself in the post independence era, vanished. 

India’s dalliance with the nuclear question goes way back to the early 1940s well before India shook itself free from British colonialism, the American use of atom bombs against Japan, and the full story of the efforts-unsuccessful in Germany and successful in the United States-to build nuclear weapons came to light. India’s interest in the nuclear issues was spurred by the emergence of an impressive community of scientists in the early decades of the 20th century in India, who managed to produce world quality work despite the utter backwardness of the country. Scientists like C.V.Raman, Ramanujan, and S.N. Bose were making substantive contributions to international scientific development. Indians, with a long tradition of excellence in mathematics, took eagerly to modern physics that was about to fundamentally transform the world.

The Indian scientists were part of the exciting developments that were taking place in Europe in the field of atomic physics and clued into the debate on the economic and political implications of the prospect of harnessing nuclear energy. One of them, Dr. Homi Jehangir Bhabha was determined to ensure that when the Second World War ended and India became independent, it should be ready to enter the atomic age quickly. In 1944, fully three years before independence, Bhabha wrote and got a grant from the Tata Trust to set up a facility-the Tata Institute of Fundamental Research at Bombay-to for advanced work on nuclear and allied areas of physics. Prime Minister Nehru, who took a strong interest in the development of India’s scientific capabilities, gave unstinting support to Bhabha in building a wide-ranging national nuclear program.

The focus of Bhabha and Nehru was on peaceful uses of nuclear energy. Like all the physicists and politicians who backed them in the 1950s, Bhabha and Nehru believed that nuclear research will lead to “energy too cheap to be metered”; and energy was to be the cornerstone of India’s rapid development. Nehru’s own high-profile international diplomacy, and Bhabha’s wide-ranging contacts in the community of Western physicists-many of whom were now close to policy-making circles-ensured that India got substantive international co-operation in building an infrastructure for atomic research and development. Bhabha’s standing was high enough to be elected as the president of the world’s first international conference on atomic energy for peaceful purposes at Geneva in 1955.

Even as they laid the foundations of a broad-based nuclear program, Bhabha and Nehru were not unaware of its military potential. But Nehru clearly ruled out the military application of nuclear energy although he said could not vouch for the policies of the future generations of Indian leaders. With Nehru’s emphasis on peace and disarmament in India’s foreign policy, it could not have been otherwise. He took the lead in calling the world to come to a standstill on nuclear weapon development, adopt a ban on nuclear testing and a freeze on production of nuclear material.

Even as they campaigned for nuclear disarmament, Nehru and Bhabha were clear in their mind India should not give up the option to make nuclear weapons in the future. For this reason they refused to support any control mechanism-whether it was the Baruch Plan of the U.S. in 1945 or the international safeguards system-that sought to limit India’s nuclear potential and future decision making on the bomb. Until the mid 1960s, the primary focus of the Indian nuclear policy was on building civilian nuclear technology, de-emphasising the military spin-off, and actively campaigning for nuclear restraint at the global level. This policy mix came under tremendous pressure in October 1964, when China conducted its first nuclear test and declared itself the fifth nuclear weapon power. China’s test, coming barely two years after Beijing humiliated New Delhi in a border conflict, forced India to debate for the first time in open its nuclear weapon option. There were strong demands within India for acquiring nuclear weapons; but there was also considerable hesitation arising from the deep revulsion against nuclear weapons and the notion of deterrence. This deep feeling in the polity was a cultivated experience by the UK/US soon after the WWII. Nehru’s death five months before China’s test had made it more difficult for India to make up her mind on nuclear weapons.

What explains the failure of Indian nationalism to deliver an Indian national identity? India’s extraordinary social diversity continues to find expression in a plethora of political movements. In the absence of the political symbols and values that comprise a single national identity, the resulting political conflicts are probably more intense and difficult to resolve. What went wrong?

When India attained freedom, it thought of emerging as a global leader, without becoming a global power. Its claim to leadership rested on the age-old Indian, value of universal tolerance, peace and happiness. But the post-war World afflicted by cold war had no reverence for such high values. So India was swiftly marginalized in a World which respected only power. But, within India, the Indian leadership did the other way round - it persuaded the people not to pursue their age-old values, but, accept the Anglo-Saxon ideas and institutions in the main. It folded back the philosophic lead shown by Gandhi, Aurobindo, and Tilak. Their definition of the Indian identity was substituted by the western ideas of secularism and socialism. Since then, for over four decades, the Left-Socialist parties and intellectuals mounted a vicious attack on the Indian past, and virtually de-linked the Indian polity, economy, history and education from its past and turned to Anglo-Saxon values. This is the subversion of the Indian political philosophy (one of the center of gravity) successfully carried out by the Anglo-Saxon colonial powers.

This is precisely what the Indian freedom movement had struggled against before independence. Because of this drift of the Indian intellectual, India’s past became a burden - and ceased to be matter of pride. Also, the secular-socialist leadership systematically fragmented Indian society into majority and minority, rich and poor, forwards and backwards - and denied India of the deeper awareness of its intrinsic unity brought about by the Indic values and Indic civilization. This resulted in setting one Indian against another leading to massive self-deprecation - and eroded India’s self-confidence as a nation. The idea of a powerful India could not be internalized in a situation where every Indian was running down every other.


Founding of a Nation, 1948-1956


Jawaharlal Nehru recognized that “India as a nation in 1947-48 had a deeply ambiguous inheritance”. Nehru’s “forging” of an Indian nation and establishing for it an international identity was the first task. Looking from the perspective of the end of Nehru’s century and the ending of a world order demarcated by blocs ranged against each other in fear and hostility, it is perhaps difficult to recognize quite what an innovative and visionary stand India took under Nehru.


The Frustration of a Vision, 1957-1964


Forging a democracy was the most difficult task for Nehru. In 1957 the Communist Party came into power in the state of Kerala. Nehru, much against his sense of fair play and democratic norms, was forced to agree to the dismissal of a democratically elected state government by the Center. The failure of Nehru’s China policy led to considerable erosion of his authority. Krishna Menon, who was close to Nehru, later wrote, “It had a very bad effect on him. It demoralized him very much. Every thing that he had built was threatened; India was to adopt a militaristic outlook which he did not like. And he also knew about the big economic burdens we were carrying.”

In August 1963 Nehru faced the first ever no-confidence motion in the parliament. Though the motion was defeated 346 to 61, it was an indication of the declining authority of the Prime Minister. On crucial policy matters Finance Minister Morarji Desai and Food and Agriculture Minister S.K. Patil defied Nehru. It was against this background that the Kamaraj Plan was adopted and Nehru got rid of both Desai and Patil from the cabinet. But Nehru was not left with much time to reassert his authority in any meaningful fashion. He had a mild stroke while he was about to address the party delegates in Bhubaneshwar in January 1964.


1950 - India becomes a republic with Nehru as its prime minister. He was deeply involved in the development and implementation of the country’s five-year plans that over the course of the 1950s and 1960s see India become one of the most industrialized nations in the world. Industrial complexes are established around the country, while innovations are encouraged by an expansion of scientific research. In the decade between 1951 and 1961, the national income of India rises 42%. In foreign affairs, Nehru advocates policies of nationalism, anti-colonialism, internationalism, and nonalignment or “positive neutrality”. He founds the nonaligned movement with Yugoslavia’s Tito and Egypt’s Nasser and becomes one of the key spokesmen of the nonaligned nations of Asia and Africa.

1956 - India under Nehru is the only nonaligned country in the United Nations (UN) to vote with the Soviet Union on the invasion of Hungary, calling into question the country’s nonaligned status. This stance of India sets in motion of the West to align with Pakistan and become anti-India for a long time throughout the cold war. The public perception of India in the west being a supporter of Soviet Russia stayed on from that time and lingered even after the cold war. The perception of the world by Nehru during 1910-1950s was greatly influenced by Soviet Union and other liberal movements which made him sympathetic.  But his leaning towards Soviet could have been plotted by the British using their control over the Indian policies to make it seem that India was anti-west.

India has never developed a critical core uniform set of polity [ powerful group of people] which controls the destiny of the country. Indian National Congress consisted of colonial educated deracinated elite which had a non-real view of the world of power. Other large countries have a core group which is homogeneous in either ethnicity or culture and also has sufficient influence in the polity. The basic assumption in the western political analysis is that members of social groups share common consciousness. Shared religion, language, caste, or classes are all assumed to generate not only consciousness of group identity but also agreement about common interests. The US has the Anglo Saxons, Chinese have the Han population, Russia has the Slavic people. The theory of political science according to Tomas Hobbes says that the political structure is a balance between three entities. One is the State, the second is the special group or a strong group of people within the country usually a common ethnic group and the third entity in the political structure is the common people. India is perceived to be deficient in the basic foundation of the political structure by some western analysts. According to them Indian nationalism delivered a state but not a nation at the time of independence. The earlier homogeneous group of people that formed the core leadership of the Congress party and the most influential, has withered away due to the severing of its base/kinship with the help of the leftists and the decay in its ideology.

The first attempt to reduce the union was the Kashmir war in 1948 itself. This was considered a victory by the Ashrafs and the political elite in Pakistan in its self appointed role as the ideological leader of the Islamic ummah. Nothing would shake the deeply held conviction that the forces of the Islamic Khilafat have always won against the non-Islamic forces in the sub-continent for over 1000 years. The second attempt to reduce the Union of India was attempted after Nehru’s death in 1964. Ayub Khan blundered headlong into a war with India in 1965 after convincing himself that a weak political leadership under Prime Minister Shastri would wilt to give concessions on Kashmir. After the Pakistan defeat the strategy to create a Muslim political history in the sub-continent was taken with the publishing of History of India in 1966 by Romila Thapar. The goal was to make Pakistan more secure and strong enough to break the Indian political union. The OIC[Organization of Islamic countries] was created in 1969 under Pakistani sponsorship and support of Kingdom of Saudi Arabia to create a large international Islamic political body which can balance and ultimately dominate India. This body over time was supposed to get sufficient weight and influence that it can then oppose India in the international forums.

The Anglo American alliance considered the increasing influence of India after Independence as a threat to their influence and standing in the world. The combination of Nehru’s idealism and Mrs. Gandhi’s adroit use of power on the international scene is credited by some students of Indian foreign policy with having placed this country among the world’s most influential nations. During Mrs. Gandhi’s tenure, for example, India had solidified its position as a leader of the third world and of the Commonwealth, and become the dominant power in South Asia.

After the 1971 break up of Pakistan, the US strategy was accelerated to weaken the political structure of India. The strategy was to downplay India in particular and the sub-continent in Asia so that its trade with the rest of the world decreases and to ensure that successive Indian governments were relegated to the end of the diplomatic table. The US relationship with India seems to constantly have the objective of keeping the conflict with Pakistan simmering but to prevent it from erupting into an open war, knowing very well that the Pakistanis would promptly and ignominiously lose rather decisively in such a battle.


India however, failed to consolidate its position after 1971. From a position of dominance over Pakistan and an economy larger than that of China in 1971, India moved to a position of weakness and strategic disadvantage vis-à-vis China and Pakistan by 2000. In the meanwhile, the strategy of working inside India to create fissures was started after 1971 with the creation of South Asia studies departments in US Universities under the garb of studying social changes to Indian society. The dissent inside the congress political party was taken up by internal proxies such as leftists and communists to create suspicion, distrust and finally division. In order to appreciate these developments it must be realized that the Congress Party under Indira Gandhi was a a powerful force in the country unlike the congress in 2003 which is a pale shadow of the pre-independence Congress and even the Congress under Indira Gandhi in 1971.

From a US perspective in the first two decades of the Cold War, India and Pakistan both had been viewed as frontline states, critical to containing the expansion of Soviet and (after 1949) Chinese communism in South Asia. By the late 60s, however, India had proved to be a feckless partner — a would-be great power, with neither the military nor the economic strength to enforce its utopian foreign policy. Worse, at least in the view of the American elite, India in 1971 abandoned its preachy neutrality to become a full-fledged member of the Soviet camp. Pakistan, for its part, had been a more loyal ally in the Cold War, but was fractious in its relations with India. By the late 60s, both countries had come to be considered in Washington as “too difficult” to deal with. This development coincided with doctrinal changes that had begun to downplay the strategic importance of South Asia generally. This was a way to ensure that India did not gain any importance as a head of NAM and leader of the third world. Pakistan was also downplayed but was given enough support by the military program during the 80s so that the Pakistan army would stand on its own with confidence to defend and finally have the acumen to defeat the Indian army at least in Kashmir.

The main strategy against the political leadership in India was the personality attack on top leaders. Since Nehru, Indira Gandhi and Rajiv Gandhi were the political center of the party, by attacking them in character and leadership, the Indian political structure, dominated as it was by a single political structure, would crumble and eventually lead to the disintegration of the political union of India. This has been a long term plan for several decades to undermine the prestige and name of India in comparison to the Islamic world particularly to Pakistan.


This strategy is not often appreciated by the Indians of the subcontinent in general. The common perception, one would go so far as to say the hagiographic account of Indo US relations is that Nehru burnt his bridges with the west after the Soviet invasion of Hungary and slowly but surely veered towards the Soviet Union thereafter, except for a brief interregnum during the 1962 India China war. While such actions may have contributed to the US stance towards India, the fundamental policy imperative of the influential elite in the foreign policy establishment such as the State Department has always been the prevention of the rise of a strong nation state, a democratic republic to boot, in the subcontinent. It is this larger agenda that is largely unappreciated in the Subcontinent and particularly in India even today. If, the reason for the US animosity towards India is the Nehruvian tilt towards the Soviet Union, it does not explain why there is unremitting hostility towards the current major party in the governing coalition of India. In the current context it is assumed that the animosity towards India is the result of the rise to power of a ‘Hindu nationalist’ Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP). Nowhere in its pronouncements or in their agenda do the leaders of the  BJP advocate the establishment of a Hindu republic similar to that of a Islamic republic in Pakistan. When translated into English the acronym BJP stands for Indian Peoples Party. Yet, the BJP is never referred to without its Hindu nationalist qualifier in the western press, the inference being that there is something wrong with a Hindu being in power and furthermore that it is sacrilegious that a Hindu should be a nationalist.


It appears therefore, to be a characteristic of the Indian that he focuses solely on the actions of his country and her leaders to the exclusion of the interests of other states and in particular the interests of the sole superpower the US. Coupled with an indifferent sense of his/her own History, and an even greater ignorance of world history and the history of countries in the immediate region, it draws a devastating caricature of the modern Indian, as one who is excessively self centered and parochial or tribal in outlook with little appreciation of the larger world around him. This propensity of the Indian to ignore the forces of history has been noticed by others visiting the subcontinent including Al Biruni, the scientist historian who accompanied Ghazni on one of his rampages into India and has recorded his keen observations on the India of that age. We have alluded to this characteristic and its realization by others elsewhere in the essay on Western studies of the Indic Civilization. We will remark more on the perception of the Indian through the ages later in this essay.


The fragmentation of the Indian polity into regional parties was seen as the step towards weakening of the union in the 90s. Pakistan became more aggressive perceiving this weakness in India during the 90s with insurgency and internal subversion resulting in Kargil war in 1999.

The overall strategy over time was intended to result in the diminution of the importance and influence of Indian political leaders in the rest of Asia, NAM and world so that the political leadership of India is not in the limelight in comparison to that of Pakistan. This was to raise the political leadership of Pakistan in the eyes of the Muslims of the sub-continent so that they still consider Pakistan as the sole political center of Muslims. The political leadership of Pakistan is given enough support at all times including during war against India so that it is never seen defeated by the media and the elite in India. The policy of zero sum game was created to make sure that the position of Pakistan is never lowered with respect to India at any given time. The prime motivation for the constant hyphenation of India/Pakistan in the US is that Pakistan is never relegated to a lesser status than India when ‘South Asia’ policy is considered. Even when a sham election and assembly is held in Pakistan, it is not criticized much since it will lower the position of Pakistan in the eyes of the Muslim population in South Asia. This psycho-media propaganda has been carried out for several decades and is still being done which the Indian population has fallen for. The Indian media is worked incessantly. Negative articles about India and its non-achievements are highlighted especially inside the sub-continent resulting in Muslims of the region viewing the idea of India as a diminishing entity.


Indian communists and leftists

The Indian communists were the product of European history during the early 20th century when socialism and communism was sweeping Europe after the industrial revolution. They brought in the ideas inside India and interpreted the Indian history under the training of Marxist theoreticians. They changed the perception of the Indian caste system so that it would be viewed as a exploitative class system and as a perpetual class struggle. There is enough literature about the leftists and communists of India and their role in pre independence and post independence.  The colonial attack on India was reinforced by another attack, namely Marxism. Its source too was Europe and it was even more Eurocentric than regular Imperialism. It used radical slogans but its aims were reactionary. It taught that Europe was the center and rest of the world its periphery - not by chance but by an inherent dialectics of History. Marx fully shared the contempt of British Imperialists for India. He said: “Indian society has no history at all, at least no known history. What we call its history, is but the history of successive intruders.” He also said that India neither knew freedom nor deserved it. To him the question was “not whether the English had a right to conquer India, but whether we are to prefer India conquered by the Briton.” This also became the faith of his Indian pupils.

The most important opponents of Indian society and national political identity today are not the Islamic communal leaders, but the interiorized colonial rulers of India, the alternated English-educated and mostly Left-leaning elite that noisily advertises its secularism. It is these people who impose anti-Hindu policies on Indian society, and who keep Hinduism down and prevent it from proudly raising its head after a thousand years of oppression. The worst torment for Indian society today is neither the arrogant and often violent agitation from certain minority groups, nor is it the handful of privileges which the non-Hindu communities are getting. The worst problem is this mental slavery, this sense of inferiority which Leftist intellectuals, through their power positions in education and the media, and their direct influence on the public and political arena, keep on inflicting on the Indian mind.

Communists are still playing a crucial role in the evolution of the Indian political structure and its philosophy and control the political/policy debates inside India. But they have another role when they co-opted with the British during the independence and continued working with the western institution to continue the project of civilizing the Indians.  In India, Macaulayism prepared the ground for Marxism - early Marxists were recruited from Macaulayites. Marxism in turn gave Macaulayism a radical look and made it attractive for a whole new class. While Marxists served European Imperialism, they also fell in love with all old Imperialist invaders, particularly Muslim ones. M.N. Roy found the Arab Empire a “magnificent monument to the memory of Mohammad.” While the Marxists found British Imperialism “progressive”, they opposed the country’s national struggle as reactionary. They learnt to work closely with Indian Islamists both during and after Independence.


The common perception of India as a newly created country without any historical heritage brought the Indian leftists and communists close to the western strategic and academic community and united them in a common cause. They have co-opted the west in the overall strategy to continue the force of history during the cold war in a manner favorable to the earlier Islamic force of history. Their intimate contact with the west was developed during the Emergency [1975-77]. Such contacts were nurtured and encouraged by the US academics at institutions such as U.C. Berkeley and University of Colombia. The formation of FOIL[Forum of Indian leftist] in US and similar leftists organization in various institutions reflect the reality that an entire generation of leftists are being well cultivated by the west. They are also attached to various NGO which are basically fronts for the leftist organizations. These groups have become the rallying groups for various issues such as human rights, environmental issues which the western governments would then use to exert pressure on the majority community and the Indian government .

Romila Thapar in 1993 interview with a French magazine says - The foremost factors of unity which have characterized India in the premodern period are, at the elite level, Brahminical culture, then
Turco-Persian culture, then that of the English-speaking middle class. The crucial change came about with the passage from tribe to caste, one of the main elements of India’s unity, more important than a superficial political unity.” This isn’t too far removed from what serious pro-Hindu scholars have written.
Brahminical culture and the integration of separate tribes into a pan-Indian caste society created a pan-Indian consciousness of a single civilizational identity, more profound and more enduring than any political unity or disunity. What one can foresee, perhaps, for the end of the next century, is a series of small states federated within a more viable single economic space on the scale of the subcontinent.”

For over a hundred year the British and then subsequently the Indian Communists have been trying hard to break what they regard as the unity  resulting from the Hindu Brahminical ethos, so that  a unity based on a Turco-Persian identity will prevail and will dominate the entire population after a revolution in a predominantly Islamic society.


Experience with Socialism

Not part of the main narrative but a development that had profound implications was the adoption of Socialism as a guiding policy imperative, so much so that it is now enshrined in the Indian constitution. The socialist regime turned two generations of potential entrepreneurs into job seekers. Permit, quota and license raj, not efficiency or merit, became the route to business success. The competitive strength of India was systematically weakened, and the traditional skills of the trading and business communities in India were dissipated. Some have argued that the devastation caused by the socialist regime in the post independence period was more pervasive than the devastation of the Indian economy by the British rule.

The pre-British India described as caste ridden, feudalistic and anti-modern, was economically ahead of the rest of the World - including Britain and USA. The Indian economy had a share of 19% of global production in 1830, and 18% of global trade, when the share of Britain was 8% in production and 9% in trade; and that of US 2% in production and 1% in trade. India had hundreds of thousands of village schools and had a functioning literacy rate of over 30%. In contrast, when the British left, India’s share of World production and trade declined to less than 1% and its literacy down to 17%. And yet, in 1947, India had had large Sterling reserves, no foreign debt; and Indians still had an effective presence in such trade centres as Singapore, Hong Kong, Penang, Rangoon and Colombo.

But by the time the socialist regime came to a close. India had become politically and economically weak and disoriented, lacking in self-confidence. Its Indian influence in South Asia too had waned.

Indian political scene in the 1990s and early 21st century-  With the demise of communism, the decline of socialism and the disappearance of Nehruvian secularism very much in sight, an ideological vacuum has emerged in India.

India’s pseudo-democracy — Quote from Satyabrata Rai Chowdhuri

Parliament’s increasing irrelevance in sorting out problems — indeed, its role in exacerbating them — is fuelling a growing preference among Indians for a presidential system of government. Recently, India’s Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee said that despite the outward appearance of health, Indian democracy appears to have become hollow, with elections reduced to a farce and the “party system eroded due to unethical practices.” According to Vajpayee, “The outer shell of democracy is, no doubt, intact, but appears to be moth-eaten from inside.”

Indeed, in the preface to a recent collection of his speeches, Vajpayee wondered whether democracy had truly taken root in India. “How can democratic institutions work properly,” he asked, “when politics is becoming increasingly criminalised?”  This is a strange turn, for parliamentary democracy has long been a source of pride for most Indians. The country may not match up to its Asian neighbours in prosperity, but Indians have always been able to boast of the vitality of their parliamentary system. Nowadays, such boasts are heard far less frequently.

Not only are India’s economic failures more obvious, in comparison to Asia’s revived economic juggernauts; so, too, are the failures of its political system. Unprincipled politics, cults of violence, communal rage, and macabre killings of religious minorities have all combined to shake people’s faith in the political system’s viability. Small wonder, then, that people are starting to ask whether India needs an alternative system of government.

Part of the problem lies in India’s deracinated party politics. For decades, the Congress Party of Nehru and his daughter, Indira Gandhi, basically ruled the country unchallenged. But with the assassinations of

Indira Gandhi and her son, former Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi, Congress disintegrated and has not recovered. Rather than ushering in an era of recognisable multi-party politics, Indian democracy still lacks a party system worthy of the name.

One reason for this is that there are barely any national parties. Instead, India is saddled with highly volatile leader-based groups. When the leadership is charismatic and strong, the party is a servile instrument. Lacking coherent principles or an overriding ideology, these groups fragment when their leadership changes or splits, as Congress did.

Where parties are weak, there can be no party discipline. India’s parliament is riddled with defections by MPs, who move freely from one party grouping to another. So endemic is the buying and selling of legislators that parliament looks a lot like a cattle market. The prizes conferred on opportunistic defectors not only undermine the party system, but weaken the foundations of parliament by making organised opposition impossible.

Public apathy bordering on fatalism is the inevitable result. This is dangerous because apathy does not take the form of withdrawal from public life, but increasingly finds expression in sectarian and religious conflict. Of course, politicians incite many of these conflicts, using caste, sect, and religion — not political ideas — to build voter loyalty. But apathy about democracy is what makes so many ordinary Indians prey to poisonous appeals.

This susceptibility is the clearest sign that India’s experiment with the Westminster model of parliamentary democracy has failed to justify the hopes that prevailed fifty years ago when the Constitution was proclaimed. Back then, parliament was seen as a means to bridge the divides of caste, religion, and region. Parliament’s increasing irrelevance in sorting out these problems — indeed, its role in exacerbating them — is fuelling a growing preference among Indians for a presidential system of government that removes executive functions from the oversight of an institution that has been addled and rendered impotent by undisciplined factions.

Of course, politicians are not the only people at fault here. Sadly, Indian society never really embraced the consensual values that India’s Constitution proclaims: a participatory, decentralised democracy; an egalitarian society with minimal social and economic disparities; a secularised polity; the supremacy of the rule of law; a federal structure ensuring partial autonomy to provinces; cultural and religious pluralism; harmony between rural and urban areas; and an efficient, honest state administration at both the national and local level.

Instead, race and caste remain as potent as ever. Wealth is as grossly distributed as ever. Corruption rules many state governments and national ministries. Urban and rural areas subvert each other.

But parliaments demand a minimal national consensus if they are to function, for they are creatures of compromise in decision-making. Executive governments, on the other hand, are creatures of decision: a popularly elected president is ultimately responsible to his voters, not to his party colleagues.

The very election by national suffrage of an executive provides the type of minimal consensus that India’s faction-riven parliaments have, sadly, never been able to cultivate. Of course, a president will undoubtedly need to compromise with his legislature, but the general consent that is gained by popular election implies at least some broader agreement behind the platform that he or she campaigned on.

Of course, no magic bullet will do away with the forces that divide India. But at least some of the maladies of the current parliamentary system, such as defection, party factionalism, inherent political instability, and crippling coalition politics can be minimised, if not eliminated, by adopting an executive-dominant model of presidential democracy. In adopting such a system, Indians would have nothing to lose but the corruption and chaos of today’s discredited parliament.

Another analysis of the Indian state has a different view. Reinventing India: Liberalization, Hindu Nationalism and Popular Democracy by Stuart Corbridge and John Harriss; Oxford University Press, Delhi, 2001;
The authors say- INDIA’S passage through its fifth decade of Independence was scarred by several manifestations of a deep-seated political pathology. It was a decade of violence and social turmoil, centred particularly on an effort to define a sense of nationhood in terms of primordial religious loyalties. At the same time, a shift in economic course was signalled by the social and political elite, who in an exuberance of self-rediscovery turned decisively against the philosophy that had guided policy since Independence.

The Indian state as constituted at Independence was the central focus of nationhood, deriving its legitimacy in turn from the promise of development. For Jawaharlal Nehru and others who pioneered the programme of modernity, the state was an agency of progress and enlightenment, which would shine the light of reason on areas steeped in superstition and ignorance, pulling the masses into a new realm of prosperity and promise. The invention of India suffered from the inherent contradictions of the manner it was imagined. The idea of democracy came to India with Independence, but in the absence of a bourgeois revolution. Colonialism had modernised certain narrow enclaves, but left deeply entrenched a traditional “cellular” structure in Indian society. The caste system and village organization had engendered, as the political scientist Barrington Moore puts it, “a huge mass of locally coordinated social cells”. The bourgeoisie, for all its ambitious visions, had not managed to cement its solidarity on a national scale and remained hamstrung in its modernizing project by the competing visions of the agrarian elite. In having to deal with a multiplicity of interests, the bourgeoisie was unable to institute a “developmental state” in the manner of the East Asian nations. The situation bristled with the potential for conflict, which was only partially obscured by the invocation of four grand themes in the modernizing project - democracy, federalism, socialism and secularism.

Unable to surmount its inherent deficiencies, the Nehruvian planning project ran aground in the economic crisis of the mid-1960s. Indira Gandhi managed to break the resultant political impasse in 1971 with the revival of the socialist project that her father had only very tentatively embraced. By way of conclusion, the authors offer the prognosis that the “defining struggle” in Indian politics today is that between the “centralizing instincts” of Hindu nationalism and the countervailing mobilization of lower castes and subaltern groupings. The Indian state, they contend, may well be forced under the pressure of the new forms of political mobilization to “do the bidding of India’s lower orders”. This would be the final act in the invention of the India that the Constituent Assembly had imagined. But in the bargain it is unlikely that either the political structure or the geography of India will remain unchanged.

Federal structure of Indian state

India’s federal set-up especially the state-state relations were designed after the 1935 Act. The need for instituting power-sharing devices was subordinated to the imperatives of state building and forging national solidarity. Since the federation was founded by the Union vesting powers in the states, “most institutional devices for inter-governmental consultation and participation of states in national decision-making processes owed their origins to central initiatives, their authority to central statutes and their agendas and terms of reference to central ministries”. Federalism under Nehru’s regime, the first phase of its evolution, functioned essentially within the Congress system, to the extent that inner party democracy within the limits of the consensual model was a reality. In Nehru’s vision, a person could be an Indian and be a Bengali or Tamil or Hindu or Muslim. It was the primacy a person accorded to the regional, religious or ethnic identity and the national identity that was in question. Nehru hoped that in the process of nation building, an individual would become first an Indian and then Bengali or Tamil or Hindu or Sikh, and perhaps ultimately the forces of modernization would sweep away the ascriptive identities of ethnicity, caste and religion. Secondly, the Congress leadership had developed a secular nationalism, which could encompass all Indian cultures and religions. Nehru’s concept of a secular state did not negate religions; it meant equal protection to all faiths. The core of this value system was the recognition of multiple diversities, both behavioral and normative, and legitimacy of group identities and autonomies.

The Indian State is under growing pressure for redrawing the country’s political map. Demands for new states and/or administrative units exist in fourteen states. These include Uttarakhand/Uttaranchal, Bundelkhand (with Madhya Pradesh districts) and Purvanchal (Rohilkhand and Bundelkhand) and Bhojpur in Uttar Pradesh; Mithila (Bihar); Coorg (Karnataka); Kosal Kajya (Orissa); Maru Pradesh/Marwar (Rajasthan); Gorkhaland (West Bengal); Bodoland (Assam); Jharkhand (Bihar, Orissa and Madhya Pradesh); Chattisgarh, Gondwana and Bhilistan (Madhya Pradesh); Telangana (Andhra Pradesh); Vidarbha and Konkan (Maharashtra); and Jammu (Jammu & Kashmir). Others seeking separate administration include the Garo tribals and Hmar tribals in Meghalaya and Assam, and Kukiland and the Zomi tribals in Manipur, while the people in Karbi Anglong and North Cachar region demand better democratic treatment and economic development. Such demands are partly due to increasingly assertive voices of regional and sub-regional identities within states, and partly because of the unwieldy and unmanageable size of India’s larger states where certain regions have flourished and others have stagnated.

Indian states started asserting against the center from 1980s after the Punjab problems. The resulting debates were taken up at every level from media to the election debates. It continued even in the 90s with political parties taking a regional view of the Indian State. In 1996, for example, a prominent section of the Congress in Tamil Nadu broke away to form the Tamil Maanila Congress (TMC). In 1998, the Congress witnessed Mamata Banerjee breaking away the West Bengal unit to launch the Trinamool Congress; S. Bangarappa cut loose in Karnataka to form the Karnataka Vikas Party; Jagannath Mishra in Bihar created the Bihar Jan Congress and V. Ramamurthy in Tamil Nadu floated his own outfit. Sharad Pawar formed the Nationalist Congress Party in 1999. In the Janata Dal, an influential section of the party in Orissa broke away to launch the Biju Janata Dal; the entire Bihar unit broke away with Lalloo Yadav to form the Rashtriya Janata Dal; and Ramakrishna Hegde floated Lok Shakti in Karnataka. Even the BJP did not escape this phenomenon when S.S. Vaghela split the Gujarat unit to launch the Rashtriya Janata Party.

The steady decline of Congress, the rise of the BJP and rapid growth and political clout of regional parties has brought about a new phase in the evolution of Indian politics marked by coalition politics and regionalization of the Indian polity. The Indian State is undergoing a widening and deepening historical current of regionalization of all political forces. The regional political parties having successfully mobilized the linguistic, ethnic, cultural and regional identities in the states in the 1980s have come to center stage at the national level.

Political Analysis of the Islamic world and Islamic civilization

Today Muslims are living all over the globe with a population of 1.2 B approximately. There are 220 million Arabs living in 22 countries, ruled by Arabs. 450 Million Muslims are living in 33 non-Arab Muslim countries. The term Dar-ul-Islam is applied to these independent Muslim countries. Muslims, who are living under the rule of non Muslims, such as in India, Europe, North America, Russia, and China, are about 330 Millions. This segment of Muslim population is known as Dar-ul-Harb. Then there are Muslims who are refugees, roaming all over the world, numbering about 20 Million and they constitute 80 % of the world’s refugee population. This is called Dar-ul-Muhajireen.  

The fact of the matter is that the demographic center of gravity of Islam has shifted towards the Indian subcontinent (450 million Muslims) and Indonesia (200 million) and the majority of Muslims today no longer speak a Semitic language. Demographically and or geographically this may be accurate, but the Arab world [Iran is a wild card here] dominates Islamist thinking. Islamists whether in Lahore, Dacca, Acheh or Bali draw inspiration from Arab Islamists like Ayub etc, while Arab Islamists are not influenced by South Asian or SE Asian Islamists. Arabs are already a minority numbering 220 m out of a total of 1.2 B Muslims. There is an imperial idea at the heart of Islamism, based on ethnicity and race. The struggle of the Islamists can be seen as a conflict between imperialists and nationalists. The imperialists want the caliphate back as it was in the 9th century, a purely Arab empire. Islamist leaders in South East Asian countries, always claim blood ties with Arabic ancestors. Hence the center of gravity may not shift towards the east due to the population. The Center of Gravity of the Islamic world is not in the numbers but in the mind. The Arab population IS the center of gravity but that precisely is the cause of instability. The seeds of the intra-civilization conflict are built in. Thanks to Gulf money the Salafi perspective dominates the majority of Muslim organizations in the West. The influence of Wahhabi and Salafi has increased the profile of the Kingdom after 1975 and with Pakistan are trying to create the political center of the new Islam in the 21st century.

Political Decentralization

In an effort to forge unity among Muslim countries, initial attempts were made to create economic ties between them. In pursuit of this objective, the first International Islamic Economic Conference was held in Karachi in 1949 and the second at Tehran in 1950. These conferences were followed by a conference of Muslim religious scholars at Karachi in 1952 on the initiative of grand Mufti Aminal Husayni of Palestine who was a strong advocate of Muslim unity. The 1960s were a decade of significant developments vis-a-vis formation of a united Muslim platform. The most important of these developments was the 1967 Arab-Israel war in which the latter occupied a considerable chunk of lands including the Al-Aqsa Mosque. In August 1969, a Jew activist set fire to a part of this mosque. This event brought about the first ever, Islamic Summit at Rabat on 22-25 September 1969.

The leaders assembled at Rabat were convinced that Muslims constituted an indivisible Ummah and committed themselves to consolidated efforts to defend their legitimate interests under the banner of the Islamic Conference. This resolve resulted in the birth of Organization of the Islamic Conference (OIC), formally proclaimed in May 1971. The highest policymaking body of the OIC is the meeting of Heads of State of the Muslim world. There have been several Islamic summits at Rabat (1969), Lahore (1974), Taif Makkah (1981), Dakar (1991), Tehran (1997), Qatar (2000), and Malaysia (2003). These summits reviewed the conditions of the Muslim world in the context of international politics. The second policymaking organ is the annual conference of foreign ministers, which also reviews conditions in the Muslim world but concentrates on international political, economic, social, and cultural issues.

King Faisal, in 1962, convened an International Islamic Conference in Mecca where the Saudis unveiled their World Muslim League (Rabita al-Alam al-Islami). The Muslim Brotherhood told the gathering, “Those who distort Islam’s call under the guise of nationalism are the most bitter enemies of the Arabs, whose glories are entwined with the glories of Islam.” The Brotherhood invoked the idea of shu’ubi (anti-Arab) to cast aspersions specifically at Nasserism (or Pan-Arabism) and Communism (Egypt and Iraq, at this time, had vibrant communist parties, with the Iraqi party by far the strongest in the region). The combination of anti-communism and pro-Islam developed by the Saudis and their Islamicist allies appealed greatly to the United States government, so much that the head of the Brotherhood, Sayed Kuttub wryly called it “American made Islam.” The road was open to the most virulent forms of Sunni Islam to take precedence over all that is beautiful in both heterodox Islam and in the democratic urges of the Arab people.

The United States gives the Saudis carte blanche, the white card, to do what it wants in the lands of the Gulf. According to Amnesty International’s 2001 Report on Saudi Arabia, “Serious human rights violations continue. Suspected political or religious activists suffer arbitrary arrests, detention, and punishment under secretive criminal justice procedures which deny the most basic rights, such as the right to be defended by a lawyer. One person had his eye surgically removed as judicial punishment.” State control of almost every aspect of women’s lives is pervasive; women cannot walk alone even in their own neighborhood without fear of being stopped by the religious police and suspected of being moral offenders.

There has been an ongoing search for a true Islamic state which can be a core state and be the center of the Islamic world as a political center. There was a time when Muslims were the masters of the earth, controllers of destiny, but today they are on a path of continuous decline. There is a feeling of helplessness, hopelessness, and frustration among the Muslims.  Muslims had their own social, economic Judiciary and political system of Khilafat, that was established by Mohammed Rasoolullah and the system was further advanced by Kulfae Rashideen (rightly guided successor). After 40 years, the system of Khilafa was derailed, and changed into Kingship, though the rulers continued to call themselves Khalifas.  The single centralized authority was divided into political and religious wings. The rulers invented the laws to serve their aims and goals and distanced themselves from the guiding principles of the Quran. They did not care for immediate and delayed deleterious effects of decentralization of the Ummah. Allama Iqbal expressed it well: There is death for the nations, in detachment from the center, There is life for the nations in attachment with the center.

By the beginning of the 20th century the entire Muslim world came under western domination except Turkey, Iran, Saudi Arabia and Afghanistan. According to Bernard Lewis there was no attraction to colonize the last two countries because they were very poor territories but he did not mention the failed British attempt to conquer to Afghanistan. Even Turkey and Iran came under indirect control of the West. But after 1980 US strategic interest increased with Islamic states and they need a geo-political Islamic block which can be given a recognition in the world. Turkey was considered but it has problems. Quote from a reviewer: “Without a core state the Muslims can never restore their dignity in the world and be equal partners with other civilizations. It is only a core Muslim state that could address the paradox of geopolitics in the interest of international peace and security.” And the only country that fits that status is Turkey because as observed by Huntington it has history, population, middle level economic development, national coherence, military tradition and competence to be the core state of Islam. So long as Turkey continues to define itself as a secular state leadership of Islam is denied it.

Iran is not accepted as the center of Islam since it is predominantly Shia. Shia islam does not compete with Sunni Islam for political space since sunni islam has a political doctrine which is ambitious. Saudi Arabia is a state which has a history of only a 100 years and does not have any manpower to project a large power. It has the religious legitamacy and can be the center of gravity of the islamic world. But the population spread and location of the Muslims are more towards the east of afghanistan with Pakistan, Bangladesh and Indonasia which form the critical nations of Islam. Saudi Arabia even though is the spiritual center of Islam has a small population and does not have the political and military class required for a core state.

Pakistan is one candidate which has been eager for such a role of political center and are willing to do anything to get a political structure and center which can project such a world islamic political center with influence. Writing his memoirs in his prison cell just before he was executed by General Zia-ul-Haq in 1979, Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto stated that his aim as prime minister of Pakistan had been to put the “Islamic Civilization” at par with the “Christian, Jewish and Hindu Civilizations,” by giving the Islamic world a “full nuclear capability.” In a meeting of top scientists and advisers that he had convened on Jan. 20, 1972, just after assuming office, Bhutto made it clear that he was determined to achieve nuclear capability, not merely to neutralize India’s inherent conventional superiority, but also to make his country a leader of the Islamic world. But the praise for Pakistan’s nuclear achievement by radical Islamic leaders highlights fears of more “Islamic bombs.” For example, Sheik Ahmed Yassin, spiritual leader of the Palestinian terrorist group Hamas, hailed Pakistan’s nuclear tests as an “asset to the Arab and Muslim nations.” Iran’s foreign minister, Kamal Kharrazi, praised Pakistan’s weapons achievement as a potential deterrent to Israel’s presumed nuclear capability, and went on to say, “From all over the world, Muslims are happy that Pakistan has this capability.” And Sheik Hayyan Idrisi of Jerusalem’s Al-Aqsa Mosque went so far as to proclaim that “The Pakistani nuclear bomb is the beginning of the resurgence of Islamic power.”

Since they are not the spiritual center of Islam Pakistan needs the support of Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. Two divisions of Pakistani troops, or some 20,000 men, served in Saudi Arabia in the mid-1980s. They were based along the southern border with Yemen. U.S. troops were sent to Saudi Arabia in 1990 ahead of the Gulf War and they stayed on to protect the country from invasion by Iraq.  For support they need to win against India and create a equivalent of modern Mughal state. Jamaat e Islami of Pakistan quoted in Urdu press has stated that Pakistan is the center of axis spanning from Morocco to Indonesia. It is a nuclear state and has a large population. It can create a democratic order to suit the western world and be the center of the Islamic world. There has been a pressure inside the army in Pakistan to fulfill its goal of creating space as the center of Islam. This vision is what is driving the intense behavior of Pakistan’s army. Pakistan would prefer only a Islamic political order over a larger geographic area which includes India.

The total GDP of the Islamic Ummah is quoted at $1 Trillion and the GDP of India is $500B.  Despite the great disparity between India and Pakistan when it comes to GDP, Pakistan regards itself as being on par with India, when viewed as the core state of Islamic world with a higher GDP.  Pakistan has been creating an image of the center of the axis which can act as the core state of Islam. After independence in August 1947, the first major international move by Pakistan following the firming up of relations with United Kingdom and United States of America was to allow Finance Minister Ghulam Mohammad to act as Financial Advisor to the King of Saudi Arabia. In that capacity Ghulam Mohammad helped King Saud to organize Saudi Arabia’s financial and accounting system and further, to finalize oil agreements with USA and an American oil company. That was the start of a happy relationship that brought great dividends both to Pakistan and Saudi Arabia. These included billions of dollars of aid and assistance to Pakistan, in a variety of forms, specially after the Western oil companies raised the price of crude oil to new heights during the nineteen-seventies, to bring the Arab-oil price in line with the projected sale price of oil from their new off-shore oil-wells, particularly in the North Sea region that was estimated between US dollars seven and ten per barrel against the then current price of less than three US dollars.

Zia-ud-din Barani, who wrote the history of the Turkic sultan Alla-ud-din Khalji is considered by many as the Islamist answer to Kautilya. His work on statecraft, Fatawa-i-Jahandari, is a successor of the one by Nizam ul Mulq of the Seljuq court in Central Asia. Barani is well know for his famous statement regarding the stability of an Islamic state in a place inhabited by kafirs like India: “Detailed education in Islam, shariat and its implementation must only be the premise of the high born Ashrafs. The lowly Ajlaf, that is a Hindustani kafir who has been recently converted should be content with a very basic knowledge of Islam.” By this way the Madrassah can control the people.  The reason for comparing the Islamic scholar with the famous Kautilya and the India statecraft is very obvious. The need to maintain equality and then supercede the Indian theory of statecraft is very much needed if Islamic civilization needs identity and recognition in the long run. The aim is to prove that the Mughal dynasty was not just for 150 years but will revive again and be superior to the non-Muslims of the sub-continent.

The ambition of the political Islam has been steadily increased after the Iranian revolution in 1979. The afghan war and win over a super power was the final confirmation of the reality of the global political Islam. The pan Islamist movement that was low key took a global role after 1989 with the advent of globalization. This was directed against all the countries declared as oppressors of Islam, which included Israel and India in Kashmir. The US was in the sidelines watching the movement and its implication on large countries such as India and Indonesia. Until 2000 the state dept annual report of Terrorism did not mention Afghanistan/Pakistan as the epicenter of Terrorism. The implication being that they were giving implicit support for change in the sub-continent including a jihad revolution in India proper. The Al-Qaeda attack on US targets in the years 1993, 1995, 1998, 2000 were given low priority in the larger world scene for various reasons but one of them could be to sustain this movement to create an upheaval and anarchy until a big change occurs in large countries such as India. This is the only way we infer from the policies of US towards the Islamists cause from 1950 to 2000.

Western Perception about Modern India

US President Bill Clinton in 2000 made the remark about India that “She is an ancient civilization and a modern nation. India is a resilient democracy.” The general perception about modern India and the Indian society from the western strategist and analyst point of view is in reality nothing to crow about. An open society like India gives many outside powers opportunity to monitor the change and to influence even small and insignificant changes which favor these powers. India is also a country with weak institutions which are critical to the stability of the political structure and which can be manipulated by outside powers.

The strategic communities from major powers are monitoring the changes happening inside India. Among the changes being monitored and calibrated are demographic, industrialization, militarization and educational changes in Indian society. Many events inside India are sought to be influenced from outside to obtain an advantage for the outside powers and even if a small percentage of these efforts succeed these powers reap disproportionate benefits.

In describing the beginnings of India’s quest for status and prestige, most western analysts look as far back as the policies of Jawaharlal Nehru, but in fact notions of Indian greatness are rooted in a far more distant past, stretching continuously to the Mughal period.  The Indic system of international politics viewed the state as the extension of the king, and thus as being separate from society.  The main ideals are peace, tranquility, and “energetic beneficence” domestically, but international politics is marked by struggle between expansionists and preservationists, a Kautilyan political realism, and the absence of peaceful coexistence and cooperation.  The Indic system ceased to operate under Muslim rule and died out completely under British imperialism, but its basic character remains, especially in the persistence of anarchic rather than hierarchic relations.  During the imperial period, the British conceived of India as the linchpin of their empire, occupying as it did a key strategic location and providing immense prestige and material resources.  To protect India from land-based threats, a system of “ring fences” was constructed.  The “inner ring” comprised of the Himalayan kingdoms and tribal areas of the northeast were defended with military power; the “outer ring” comprised of the Persian Gulf, Iran, Afghanistan, and Thailand were denied to external powers though diplomacy and the occasional use of force.  While Nehru placed his emphasis on diplomacy, most Indian nationalist leaders internalized this “linchpin” view.

Nehru’s nonalignment policies were rooted in Gandhian notions of nonviolent struggle against British rule.  These policies were facilitated by India’s geographic isolation from the key cold war arenas of Europe and East Asia.  India also sought a leadership role in the Non-Aligned Movement.  Yet post-independence government views of security were also based on a historical narrative of successive invasions, mainly from the northwest, and a series of internal integrations and disintegrations.  The invasions succeeded due to India’s internal disunity and its backwardness in terms of military technology and tactics.  Security thinking since 1947 has been driven by four main considerations:  1) India’s aspirations to be a major power and the need to be vigilant against external forces; 2) the need for power to defend the nation; 3) the need for internal stability; and 4) the need for mediating institutions to check regional power politics .

After British rule, the South Asian subsystem became Indo-centric, marked by the attempts of smaller states to balance against Indian hegemony.  India has long sought preponderance rather than balance as a means of keeping peace in the region.  As an aspiring hegemon, India has also sought to limit or offset the influence of external powers in the region.  Pakistan became a significant challenger to Indian domination only after its alliance with the US (and the subsequent infusion of American weapons) in the mid-1950s, and even more so upon its later alignment with China (especially after the 1962 India-China war).  India’s defeat in the war with China emboldened Pakistan to act in Kashmir in 1965 and also to align itself even more closely with Beijing.  Smaller powers began drifting from India’s orbit, with Sri Lanka independently organizing an international conference to resolve the Indian-Chinese border dispute.  Thus, from 1962-1971 India’s attempts at exercising regional leadership were either questioned or rejected by regional states.

Only after the 1971 defeat and partition of Pakistan did India regain its position of undisputed military supremacy.  The victory against Pakistan restored Indian dominance and the 1972 Simla Agreement by establishing a framework of bilateralism and regionalism formalized New Delhi’s status.  Yet the 1979 Soviet invasion of Afghanistan again brought Pakistan into alliance with the US.  The 1983 formation of the South Asian Association of Regional Cooperation (SAARC) was a modest attempt to displace Indian hegemonic aspirations, but demonstrations of Indian military power beginning in the late-1980s (Maldives and Sri Lanka) renewed regional tensions.  The Kashmiri revolt of 1989-90 further exacerbated regional anxieties, which have remained high ever since. 

The military strategists are studying India from its ability to think strategically in the globalized world. One such study by an author George Tanham[6] in 1992 was commissioned by the US Government and the Rand Corporation. His report analyzes the historical, geographic, and cultural factors influencing Indian strategic thinking: how India’s past has shaped present-day conceptions of military power and national security; how the Indian elite view their strategic position vis-a-vis their neighbors, the Indian Ocean, and great power alignments; whether Indian thinking follows a reasonably consistent logic and direction; and what this might imply for India’s long-term ability to shape its regional security environment. In 1992, Tanham published Indian Strategic Thought: An Interpretive Essay, the study that gained him most prominence. In it Tanham sought to understand the cultural and historical factors that have shaped Indian strategic thinking. Indian elite, he argued, “show little evidence of having thought coherently and systematically about national strategy.”

Moreover, history is a poor guide for understanding Indian strategic thought because “Indian history is often dimly perceived and poorly recorded,” and until fairly recently “Indians knew little of their national history and seemed uninterested in it.” So, how does one explain Indian actions and views about power and security?

Tanham focused on four key elements. Geography lent Indian thinking an “insular perspective and a tradition of localism and particularism.” The discovery of history by Indian elite in the past 150 years was the second element, which leads inexorably to the third: the primacy of culture in India’s world outlook and the “assumed superiority” of this culture. According to this theory, without a linear history Indians will not be able to create a vision and a destiny for its people. Finally, Tanham pointed to the experience of the British Raj, which nurtured in Indian thinkers a predisposition toward a predominately defensive, land-dominated strategic orientation.

George Tanham raised a public debate on India’s strategic culture and his small essay touched off a roaring debate among Indian thinkers, later captured in a volume “Securing India: Strategic Thought and Practice” edited by Kanti Bajpai and Amitabh Mattoo (Manohar, 1996) which contained Tanham’s original essay and responses from a wide range of Indian specialists. It has two essays by Tanham, and then commentaries by Bajpai, Varun Sahni, WPS Sidhu, Rahul-Roy Chaudhury, and Amitabh Mattoo. It also includes a useful bibliography of additional readings.

India retains a longstanding commitment to strategic independence and autonomy, although its economic, industrial, and technological shortcomings continue to limit the success of such a strategic design. Indians realize that the high technology being developed for India’s longer-term defense has implications for Indian strategy. Domestic and budgetary constraints will continue to limit Indian military power for many years.

Since George Tanham wrote his erudite but critical piece, the Indian strategic culture has undoubtedly improved. But the history of this culture when it comes to transborder deployment is hesitant, unsure and timid. India spurned Tunku Abdul Rehman’s offer of a strategic partnership in 1962 with ASEAN when it was offered to on being attacked by China. Subsequently India spent six years in the nineties trying to get into the ASEAN Regional Forum (ARF). India ignored the mounting conflict between the Sinhalese and Tamils for 12 years, before impetuously sending the IPKF into Sri Lanka. Then did nothing while the Indians were abused, attacked and hounded out of Uganda, Zanzibar and Fiji. For eight years she watched her tankers being attacked in the Persian Gulf during the Iran-Iraq war. India missed the chance to join the multinational minesweeping force that made Kuwait Harbor safe after Desert Storm. Indian Air Force and Navy sat idle when Air India lifted half-a-million Indians out of the Middle East before Desert Storm.

India is one of the largest poor countries with a low per capita income. It has more than 70 percent population in the rural areas with one of the lowest infrastructure. In 1980, India had about 687m people, 300m fewer than China. Living standards, as measured by purchasing power per head, were roughly the same. Then, as China embraced modernity with a sometimes ugly but burning passion, it left India behind. In the next 21 years, India outperformed its neighbor in almost nothing but population growth. By 2001, India had 1,033m people against China’s 1,272m. But China’s national income per head, according to the World Bank, was $890, nearly double India’s $450. Adjusted for purchasing power, the Chinese were still 70% wealthier than Indians were. In the ten years from 1992, India’s GDP per head grew at 4.3% a year, China’s twice as fast. Some 5% of Chinese now live below the national poverty line, compared with 29% of Indians. Much that holds India’s economy and businesses has got to do with corruption, fiscal mismanagement, a lack of international ambition and a history of over-protection at home.

A CIA document on the future of Asia in the medium term looks at India as the most diverse country in the world. This alleged excessive diversity is viewed as a weakness since it is perceived as creating a non-uniform non-homogenous culture in the social and political sphere, which has fissures. Difficulty in creating consensus and creating a national policy and national interest debate is considered one of the biggest weaknesses for the large country.  India’s proximity to Islamic countries and centers of Islamic terrorism and revolution makes it vulnerable to social and internal security problem due to a large Muslim population. Steve Forbes compared India to the Austro-Hungarian Empire, which at the turn of 20th century collapsed on its own weight. There is a strong feeling among many in the US elite that the Indian State will also collapse just like the Austria-Prussia Empire. There is, among some rightwing (religious) groups in the US, contempt towards India, Indians and Indic traditions. It is too big to succeed and too big to fail. The perception is that only a long-term approach through social change and religious conversion is the right remedy for India. This kind of perception is also with China, which is another candidate for change.

Even after 30 years of policy directed against India to weaken it India has managed to survive and thrive. This has made some policymakers to reflect deeply and some to be actually dismayed. There is some element of retribution due to the lingering feelings of the cold war which are still directed at India. Most of the policymakers with such feeling will be in power well until 2010 in the US administration.

Globally, India presumably would like to think that she has a equidistant location in a polarized world  where there is binary opposition between West and East, First and Third World, Europe and Non-Europe, modernity and tradition, colonizers and colonized, rich and poor, developed and under-developed, privileged and downtrodden.

This above perception of India makes many powers and non-state actors to look at India as an artificial state and has encouraged them to make plans to change India so that it fits their mold. India does not fit into any standard world segmentation of nations and cultures. Many conclude that India is yet to go through an evolution of ideas to fit into the definition of the modern world and as a consequence have reached the conclusion that India is an incomplete nation which needs civilizing. It is also realized that India has withstood the test of force of history and does not deeply get influenced by major revolutionary concepts.

Quote from a well-known Indian author who is leftist describes how an outsider would view India:

We need enemies. We have so little sense of ourselves as a nation therefore constantly cast about for targets to define ourselves against. Prevalent political wisdom suggests that to prevent the State from crumbling, we need a national cause, and other than our currency (and, of course, poverty, illiteracy and elections), we have none. This is the heart of the matter. This is the road that has led us to the bomb. This search for selfhood. If we are looking for a way out, we need some honest answers to some uncomfortable questions.

Once again, it isn’t as though these questions haven’t been asked before. It’s just that we prefer to mumble the answers and hope that no one’s heard.  Is there such a thing as an Indian identity? Do we really need one? Who is an authentic Indian and who isn’t? Is India Indian? Does it matter?
Whether or not there has ever been a single civilization that could call itself ‘Indian Civilization’, whether or not India was, is, or ever will become a cohesive cultural entity, depends on whether you dwell on the differences or the similarities in the cultures of the people who have inhabited the subcontinent for centuries. India, as a modern nation state, was marked out with precise geographical boundaries, in their precise geographical way, by a British Act of Parliament in 1899. Our country, as we know it, was forged on the anvil of the British Empire for the entirely unsentimental reasons of commerce and administration. But even as she was born, she began her struggle against her creators. So is India Indian? It’s a tough question. Let’s just say that we’re an ancient people learning to live in a recent nation.
What is true is that India is an artificial State—a State that was created by a government, not a people. A State created from the top down, not the bottom up. The majority of India’s citizens will not (to this day) be able to identify her boundaries on a map, or say which language is spoken where or which god is worshipped in what region.

These following observations on India have been made by the western strategic community over several decades.

Chaos in governance,

One major problem in Indian political setup is Weakness in the government with weak leaders subject to manipulation. Political legitimacy is weak and can be broken easily. The flow of support from the local level and state level to the central leadership is weak and can be manipulated. The critical institutions, which are important for central political stability, can be manipulated.

Political parties can be manipulated since most are without any nationalistic and ideological foundation. Since there is a tendency to listen to a foreigner and give him more weightage, the political parties can be manipulated with little effort.  Governments can be made and unmade at the slightest whim. The policies for economics, security, education and others can be changed at will and can be infiltrated with ideas by outside powers. No one group outside of the planning commission is in control of the agenda or the direction of the policy in India for the first 50 years.

Even in terms of strategic decisions Bharat Karnad says in his book Nuclear Weapons and National Security, The Indian Army was more worried about the Indian political establishment making mistakes during the tension with Pakistan in 1990, 1991 and 1992. The level of chaos and instability within the Indian polity does not give much deterrence to a determined foe.

These observations have made India as an easy target of anti-India lobbies in major powers. The major powers have laid the seeds of change inside India for the last 30 years and have been working in a slow fashion to influence the changes. One example has been the schooling and teaching of history. For an entire generation history was taught in such a way that the process of evolution – discussed earlier in this document – was in the right direction favorable to the western powers and Islamic history.

Quote from Barnett – US Naval War College: INDIA First, there’s always the danger of nuking it out with Pakistan. Short of that, Kashmir pulls them into conflict with Pak, and that involves U.S. now in way it never did before due to war on terror. India is microcosm of globalization: the high tech, the massive poverty, the islands of development, the tensions between cultures/civilizations/ and religions/etcetera. It is too big to succeed, and too big to let fail. Wants to be big responsible military player in region, wants to be strong friend of U.S., and also wants desperately to catch up with China in development (the self-imposed pressure to succeed is enormous).  And then there’s AIDS.

The tension between cultures and civilization is considered a prime target for the western powers to exploit. This is being used to create chaos and opposing factions which can lead to anarchy.

Recently in a seminar in 2003 George Perkovich says -The Hindutva movement’s campaign to define India’s national identity in one uniform way heightens tensions not only among Hindus and Muslims, but along geographic and other lines as well.  This campaign for cultural nationalism contravenes the essence of India’s “democratic nationalism,” in Achin Vanaik’s words.  Democratic nationalism seeks to “try and build a sense of an Indian ethos which recognizes and respects the fact that there are different ways of being and feeling Indian, and that it is precisely these plural and diverse sources of a potential nationalism that constitute its strength.”  Thus, at the same time India is generating the material economic and military resources to become a major global power, the Indian political system struggles to clarify the nation’s essential identity.  The outcome of this struggle cannot be predicted.  Yet, the character and conduct of the struggle will profoundly affect India’s cohesion and stability.  It also will affect the way the rest of the world regards India.

So what the analysts have noted is that India is struggling for its identity at a time when there is maximum stress on India externally. The Media and education have manipulated India for so long that its national identity and Civilizational identity based on Indian civilization have been muted. One suspects that the bar has been set, is one that is unrealistically high and is specific only to India and that the consequences of failure , which may already be pre-ordained, would be catastrophic. This will affect the way the world regards India, we are told. This is a kind of a threat since the west with their control of media can demonize one group and change and delegitimize any movement to create a Civilizational identity inside India in the eyes of the world and create factiousness.  Lack of a civilizational identity will result in loss of self esteem; keep India in check for decades to come. This is the essence of the Civilizational threat to India.

The contested nature of the history is being monitored and the influence of the Diaspora is being analyzed. They are analyzing the future of the Indian past and history. The western analysts are supporting the old establishment, which is dominated by the leftists, and have been nurtured for a long time.

Accusing the center of propagating and patronizing historians who were supportive of a “different history which validates the ideology of religions nationalism”, eminent historian Romila Thapar recently took a dig at a section of the Diaspora who was facing the “problem of self-projection” in its homeland.

“Nationalism focuses on the link between power and culture and seeks to use culture in its access to power. Culture becomes a euphemism for power. The redefinition of Indian culture as essentially Hindu and of the Upper Caste has also become the ideology of a section of the Hindu Diaspora. It is a rich Diaspora, and as a wealthy patron it intervenes in the politics of the homeland,” she said delivering the Seventh D.T. Lakdawala Memorial Lecture on “The Future of the Indian Past”.

According to Prof. Thapar, who is emeritus professor of history at Jawaharlal Nehru University here, for such “long-distance nationalism” the culture of the homeland becomes an abstract construction. “There are fantasies about the past of the homeland, some of which are a response to confrontations with the culture of the host country. Migrants are minorities in the host country, which is a problematic status to come to terms with if they have been part of the majority in the home country. To the degree that the rewriting of history is a political act, history becomes the ground of contestation.” Those in the Diaspora were also seeking a bonding and an identity. This was sought to be derived from religious nationalism, and therefore the Hindu past had to be viewed - consistently and uniformly - as a golden age, and no critique was allowed, she said and added: “There are virulent attacks on scholars who do not support religious nationalism. But scholarship has to be contested through scholarship and through political polemics. There is, therefore, a link between religious nationalism in the home country and its manifestation in the Diaspora.”

Stating that there was no way to protest religious nationalism through religion and culture, Prof. Thapar said: “There now has to be an awareness of the need to monitor curriculum procedures and the quality of textbooks, with a constant effort to keep the discussion on these open and active. At the same time, the universe of discourse on Indian history and the human sciences, among academics both in India and outside, will have to be maintained through protecting the right to free expression.”

“Historical writing across the intellectual and academic spectrum has to be available to whosoever wants to read it. There can be no concession to the claim that a history propagating religious nationalism is the only way to protect the religion and culture of Indian society. Protection lies in preventing the closing of the Indian mind,” she added.

Questions such as the one quoted are asked to confuse the Indian elite. Will India gain greater global respect as a decidedly Hindu nation in a 21st century world defined in Civilizational terms? Or, as the writer Raja Mohan has suggested, will India win global power and respect as an exemplar of the Enlightenment project into Asia?

In each of the terms of reference – legitimacy, order, efficiency, moral-political values, factiousness, and initiative – India has performed to mixed effect.  This is no small achievement.  No state in history has been as populous, diverse, stratified, poor and democratic as India.  The attempt to resolve all of its internal conflicts through democratically representative government leads to muddling, almost by definition. Francine Frankel has described the multi-faceted political transformations India is now undergoing: “the electoral upsurge of historically disadvantaged groups, the political organization of lower castes and dalits in competition with each other and in opposition to upper castes, fragmentation of national political parties, violence between Hindus and Muslims…, and the emergence of Hindutva…as the most important ideological challenge to the constitutional vision of the liberal state.” Some analysts consider the ideological challenge to be insurmountable by India.

Factiousness is an important but often ambiguous variable of state health.  As proponents of checks and balances note, government that allows factiousness can protect the rights and interests of minorities by preventing a large majority from coalescing and dominating a polity.  One measure of liberal democracy’s genius is its tendency to enable factions to cancel each other out.  On the other hand, a state constantly embroiled in factional disputes will find it difficult to make and execute major strategic decisions or to satisfy the aspirations and values even of a majority. For India factiousness is considered the weakest point in state cohesion. This has been exploited by western powers by manipulating Indian influential groups within the country.

Statecraft can increase or decrease a country’s influence relative to its material capabilities.  The combination of leadership, strategic vision and tactics, moral example and persuasion, and diplomatic acumen can earn a state great international influence.  The western analysts perception about India is that -The potency of India’s statecraft has ebbed and flowed in decades-long tides.  The currently rising tide follows decades of trough after the Nehru years. The overt demonstration of India’s nuclear weapon capabilities seems to have heightened Indian leaders’ confidence in developing and prosecuting an international diplomatic strategy.  The analyst also note the coming changes in UN. Finally, India, as other states, regards a permanent seat on the UN Security Council as a measure of major power.  But India would be unlikely to win a vote to award it such a seat, either from the current Security Council members or the General Assembly.  One measure of Indian diplomacy in the future will be how it either lowers the value of a Security Council seat and therefore makes India’s power ranking independent of such a position, or alternatively how India attains a seat.   India is considered to have low influence for the size of its population. Its poor image and low income does not help in increasing the influence. The location of India in a poor region with troubled history and decrease in trade over the last several centuries has given India low clout in the comity of nations.

India passionately seeks to de-couple or de-hyphenate Pakistan from India. This has been noted by the analysts and they see that India has been in a trap with Pakistan/Kashmir issue for the last 10 years since 1989. The explanation given by Perkovich as follows-  Treating the two states like twins diminishes India.  India is greater than Pakistan in every regard except one: nuclear weapons.  But, unfortunately for India and the world, nuclear weapons are great equalizers.  The world, including of course the U.S. government, fears the humanitarian horror that nuclear weapons could unleash in South Asia, but also the dangerous disordering effects on the international system.  So, when Pakistan, or terrorist groups affiliated with it, instigates a crisis in Kashmir, and India responds by threatening military retaliation, the world worries that the escalatory process could lead to nuclear war.  We know that this fearful reaction might play into Pakistan’s interest.  But the fact that India naturally threatens military escalation makes it impossible to discount the possibility of warfare that could lead to nuclear use.  Nuclear weapons gave Pakistan this capacity to stay in the game, to continue to pop up and grab India by the dhoti.  Neither the U.S. nor India has the power to compel Pakistan to do otherwise.  Neither one of us can take over Pakistan and neither would benefit from the results of economically strangulating Pakistan.  Thus, neither India nor the U.S. can escape from the reality that we have to deal with Pakistan.  


This explanation is another way the west tries to couple India with regional problems and ‘punish’ India for going nuclear. While seemingly a plausible hypothesis there are inconsistencies in Perkovich’s argument. Nuclear weapons may be great equalizers but nobody in his right mind would equate Pakistan (or India for that matter) with the US. Further while Perkovich[7] goes to great lengths in his book to devalue India’s nuclear capability as  being of dubious value in a real conflict, he seems to attach a great deal of value and importance to the nuclear capability of Pakistan. Consequently, he does not hesitate to say that nuclear weapons have the capability of equalizing Pakistan with India, a country seven times its size in both population and GDP.


There is another point to be made and this is that India would not benefit from economically strangulating Pakistan. This is an arguable hypothesis and the case for the opposition has been made effectively by Jaideep Menon [8]


Perkovich also says the prominence and power of the Pakistani Army, intelligence services and jihadis will not diminish as long as the prominence and power of the Hindutva agenda are rising in India.  These two internal dynamics are related; they feed on each other.  Pakistanis cite the RSS and VHP as proof that Hindus are out to destroy Muslims and, of course, Pakistan.  The RSS and VHP, of course, use the prominence of Islamist parties and terrorist organizations in Pakistan as proof that Muslims are evil.  The pursuit of the Hindutva agenda will only tighten the handcuffs, the hyphen, that connects Pakistan to India.


India is typically analyzed from within the framework established for Pakistan. Since Pakistan is an Islamic state, and it is at war with India, therefore this must be because India is a Hindu state. Since Pakistan is known to have been the recipient of nuclear weapons proliferation from China and missile technology proliferation from China and North Korea, therefore India must be the recipient of proliferation from other states. Since Pakistan is known to have proliferated nuclear technology to North Korea, therefore India must be a likely proliferator as well. There is circularity in this argument, namely that a hyphen exists between India and Pakistan. Once such an assumption is made, it is not surprising that the actions of India are hyphenated with those of Pakistan and then it is a short step to assert that those who espouse Hindutva are no different than those who flew the planes into the World Trade Center (WTC).

The western reports about India and Pakistan all suffer from all the aspects of the flaws of groupthink. Essentially, the authors assume that there is an India-Pakistan dyad through which any data is to be viewed. This assumption is probably based on the work of discredited experts such as Stephen Cohen[9]. This framework views all actions within the dyad, thus refusing to admit of policy drivers (what is the cause of the violence in Kashmir, for instance) that are inconsistent with the assumption of the dyad. In essence, the “experts” review all the data from within the established paradigm and force-fit the anomalous data to the paradigm by resorting to illogical gymnastics, and dismissing data that are inconsistent with the paradigm as “questionable”. By not questioning the paradigm and its underlying assumptions, no new ideas are generated, and more importantly, key trends are missed because of faulty analyses.

In order to appreciate why India and Pakistan are not a dyad, it is important to ponder the following set of facts and inferences. Both nations have a history of conflict that has resulted in three major wars (1971, 1965, and 1948), one minor one (1999), and proxy wars in Kashmir (1984-present) and Punjab (1981-1993). It is therefore easy to assume that the other drives each nations foreign policy objectives, and strategic imperatives. Further, since the two nations were hewn by the British along religious lines, it is easy to assume that the conflict is between Muslim Pakistan and Hindu India. The historic Hindu Muslim competitive field is extrapolated between India and Pakistan. Finally, since much of the conflict has occurred over the territory of Jammu and Kashmir, it is easy to conclude that the future of Jammu and Kashmir is the root cause of the tension. The reality is significantly different.

 India is a functioning democracy, where a variety of religions and races live in harmony. The only other multi-cultural parallel to India is the United States. Although the United States is a Christian majority state, it is well recognized that viewing US actions from a religious prism is flawed. Viewing India as a Hindu State is as irrelevant. Pakistan, on the other hand is a religious state. Its entire raison d’etre is based on being an Islamic state. Its very name, in Urdu, means “Land of the Pure”, meaning wherein the pure are implicitly defined as being Muslim. Pakistani actions and government statements are routinely couched in Islamic terms. Creating an analysis that is based on Muslim Pakistan versus Hindu India is doomed to failure, because it fails to understand the fundamental drivers between the two states.

Jammu and Kashmir is not the root cause of conflict between India and Pakistan. The other basis involves positioning Jammu and Kashmir as a nuclear flashpoint. Often, the discussion circles around the “self-determination” of the Kashmiris, without ever questioning the meaning of “self-determination” in the appropriate context. The notion of self-determination was one that gained currency during the colonial age when vast peoples were under occupation and without basic individual rights. The notion of self-determination implied providing to the people the right to democratically elect their leaders, make their own laws and taxation. In the Indian state of Jammu and Kashmir, the citizenry are free to elect their leaders and routinely replace their leaders through elections. The most recent elections had a voter turnout that was observed by the US Embassy, and saw larger number of people casting their ballot than vote in the US general elections. All this occurred despite facing the threat of terrorists. On the other hand, the part of Kashmir that is under Pakistani control has never had a free election in its history. The actuality of the violence in Jammu and Kashmir is related to the Islamic-supremacists that wish to ethnically cleanse Jammu and Kashmir of the Hindus, Sikhs, and Buddhists that reside therein. The real conflict in Jammu and Kashmir is one those that wish for a free democracy and the Islamists that believe in religious cleansing and “purity” of the religious composition of the state. Clearly, the root cause of the conflict between India and Pakistan then is about freedom, of which Jammu and Kashmir is a symptom. As we step outside the paradigm created by groupthink manufactured by the West and Pakistan, we are better able to join the dots. The conflict in Jammu and Kashmir is related to the Islamist nature of Pakistan, it is this Islamism that demands the ethnic cleansing of Jammu and Kashmir. The same Islamism shouts anti-American slogans and engages in proliferation of weapons of mass destruction to America’s enemies.



Health Care

Aids and other basic health are threatening a crowded India and this will increase as the population increases in the next 30 years. This will affect the health of the average Indian inside India and when Indians travels outside India, they will be subject of health scrutiny. Psychological Operations using AIDS as a scare tactic has already projected India as the country with largest AID population by 2010 with 15-20 million people infected by the virus. Economists in 2002 had an article on the chaos in the health care of India. It pointed out since India has some trained skill set which move around the world the western countries have an obligation to fix the health care of India.

Psychological profile and perception about Indians and various cultures inside india:

British did the first large scale analysis of the different sect and castes in India from 1881 and have drawn their demographic and psychographic character. There has been attempt to reduce the non-Muslim character with highlighting the martial character of the Muslims. After independence the social anthropologists with leftists leanings have csrried on this task of  social engineering to create political and social justice slogans. They have worked with western academics to change the perception of India.

Some of the conclusion such as the notion that India is a ‘weak society with no social order’ have been internalized by Indians in their academic discourse. Some have also concluded that the non Muslims do not have political consciousness and a global world view. The Muslims, Christians and Communists have, according to this narrative, a global world view and are more conscious of the world than the non-Muslims. Robert Kaplan in one of his book says that during a travel he was informed in India that  a uniform Hindu identity has now coalesced which did not exist before. The implication is that this identity and consciousness is an unknown quantity. Their consciousness of a nation state and their psychological behavior model is still under research at various universities.

Current perception of India and its future

Perceptions about India are shaped against expectations which are articulated not in universal terms, but in terms specific to India that would cast her in an unfavorable light. It is left unsaid that when such yardsticks are applied to most other states, they would in fact fail even more ignominiously than would India. Indians may be forgiven when they assume with very justifiable reason that such yardsticks are applied only to India. Typical of such perceptions and expectations is the following passage from Perkovich[10]; 

To produce and sustain significant power a state must have a political system that citizens support.  A state with a disgruntled or dissident citizenry will divert precious resources to impose order and will not be able to mobilize the full creativity and energy of its people. Politics also serve broader human needs than efficiency.  People participate in politics to pursue justice, liberty, glory, community and other virtues and vices.  To the degree that a government does not help its citizens to achieve these values and aspirations that state’s long-term power probably will wane.  A society’s morale depends heavily on the qualities of its governors – leaders.  Political leaders who do not embody justice, communal toleration, fraternity, and altruism will not foster government that pursues these attributes.

Factiousness is an important but often ambiguous variable of state health where India is watched closely.  As proponents of checks and balances note, government that allows fractiousness can protect the rights and interests of minorities by preventing a large majority from coalescing and dominating a polity.  One measure of liberal democracy’s genius is its tendency to enable factions to cancel each other out.  On the other hand, a state constantly embroiled in factional disputes will find it difficult to make and execute major strategic decisions or to satisfy the aspirations and values even of a majority.

In each of the terms discussed above legitimacy, order, efficiency, moral-political values, fractiousness, and initiative – India has performed to mixed effect.  This is no small achievement.  No state in history has been as populous, diverse, stratified, poor and democratic as India.  The attempt to resolve all of its internal conflicts through democratically representative government leads to muddling, almost by definition. Francine Frankel[11] has described the multi-faceted political transformations India is now undergoing: “the electoral upsurge of historically disadvantaged groups, the political organization of lower castes and dalits in competition with each other and in opposition to upper castes, fragmentation of national political parties, violence between Hindus and Muslims…, and the emergence of Hindutva…as

the most important ideological challenge to the constitutional vision of the liberal state.” 

Each of these phenomena involves competition to acquire the power and patronage that come with government office at the state and union levels.  Meanwhile, imperatives of economic liberalization and globalization require diminishing the role of government in overall national activity.  Representative democracy gives long-disadvantaged groups opportunities to mobilize and compete for control of  government and, therefore, patronage.  At the same time, the “rules” of private markets do not provide such clear avenues for the disadvantaged to advance.  So, will the shrinking of government intensify political conflict?  Will, or should, political actors concentrate primarily on how the pie is divided – patronage—or on making a bigger pie -reform? 

Here the current central government of India reveals conflicting tendencies.  On one hand, economic reformers seek to bake a larger pie.  On the other hand, the BJP, whipped onward by its highly mobilized and more extreme sister-organizations the RSS (Rashtriya Swayamesevak Sangh) and VHP (Vishwa Hindu Parishad) concentrates on the flavor of the pie and who is entitled to partake of it and under what terms. 

The carnage in Gujarat last year dramatizes the stakes in this conflict over the very essence of the Indian nation’s and state’s identity.  Yet India’s manifold diversity precludes easy conclusions about the likely outcome.  The BJP aspires for sustained national leadership.  This has required it to temper its social agenda in order to attract diverse political partners into the coalition it needs to rule the Union government.  Among the current government’s 22 coalition partners are many that do not subscribe to Hindutva.  Geographically, the Hindutva movement draws its strength primarily in northern Indian states.  The Hindutva movement’s campaign to define India’s national identity in one uniform way heightens tensions not only among Hindus and Muslims, but along geographic and other lines as well.  This campaign for cultural nationalism contravenes the essence of India’s “democratic nationalism,” in Achin Vanaik’s words.  Democratic nationalism seeks to “try and build a sense of Indianness which recognizes and respects the fact that there are different ways of being and feeling Indian, and that it is precisely these plural and diverse sources of a potential nationalism that constitute its strength.”


They are watching the fissure between the cultural nationalism and democratic nationalism to see which would prevail in the long run and create the faultline inside India.

Whither India and South Asia

There have been serious discussions inside western think tanks about the total collapse of India and its surroundings due to economic stagnation and economic isolation and political and governance breakdown in the long run. The trajectory of India and its statistics did not give much hope for any rejuvenation and rebuild. There would be chaos and anarchy as the population rises.  The first large-scale spurt in population growth was in 1965 onwards. The next was in 1985 and this contributed to a large young population in South Asia, which is less than 35 years old.

With less resource and a stunted economy the only end point was a collapse and split of India.  This view was prevalent in the late 80s and early 90s. Internally the think tanks would be still debating on the future of India as a single state looking at the fractious political and religious divide with excessive diversity. The threat faced by the nation within itself is considered insurmountable and greater than external threats.

Quote from an article in 1965

Nehru’s delusion of Indian spirituality as a guarantee of privileged noninvolvement having been shattered—whither India? She is at the moment a land in which nothing succeeds and nothing fails. Is it that all the world is secretly contemptuous of India’s lack of power, physical or moral, and that everyone respects only her land mass and population numbers? Nehru himself had the awful doubt. He asked in The Discovery of India, “Have we had our day and are we ... just carrying on after the manner of the aged, quiescent, devitalized, uncreative, desiring peace and sleep above all else?India has not yet given him the answer he would have wished.



[1] Ikram Sehgal, Pakistan & Bangladesh Relations

[2] G. Parthasarathy,Terror infrastructure in Pakistan

[3] J.N.DixitIndia & Pakistan in War and Peace”,pp.395-396, Routledge Publishers, London, 2002. ISBN 0-415-30472-5. , 501 pages.


[4] Lloyd Richardson, Now, Play the India Card

[5] Stephen Philip Cohen A Note on Stability in South Asia

[6] George K Tanham “ Indian Strategic Thought”, Rand Corporation,

[7] Daniel Perkovich “India’s Nuclear Bomb” University of California Press, Second Edition,2002

[8] Jaideep Menon “Is a stable Pakistan in India’s interest ” BHARAT RAKSHAK MONITOR - Volume 2(6) May-June 2000


[9] Stephen P Cohen: South Asia Analyst A Review J L Khayyam Coelho,


[10] George Perkovich The Measure of India: What Makes Greatness?  Carnegie Endowment for International Peace



[11] Francine Frankel, “Contextual Democracy: intersections of society, culture and politics in India,” in Francine Frankel, Zoya Hasan, Rajeev Bhargava, Balveer Arora eds., Transforming India (New Delhi: Oxford University Press, 2000), 5. Cited in