In accordance to the Vajpayee and the Hindu psyche, Prime Minister Narendra Modi tried everything possible to give Pakistan an opportunity to rise from its habit of falling as low as it can, to spite and needle India, as the senior diplomat Shiv Shankar Mukherjee said the other day. The same could be stated differently – Vajpayee and Modi have given Pakistan a long rope. The question is: Will Pakistan hang itself or someone else will do it?
PM Modi obviously needed time to be “prepared enough” to act if it comes to that after making such a statement. It means at least a dozen past acts and actions with the obvious, the defence preparedness. In particular, the relationships he has built with some of the oil producing Arab countries and the massive storage capacities that have been created for oil with multiple trade terms is an important element in this preparedness.
He needed time bring the truth about the terror and Pakistan to the notice of the world, get them convinced about it and make them aware of its imminent dangers. He has been consistent on this element in all the International forums. These dangers unfolded in the Middle East in the last eighteen months or more through ISIS, made more by the refugees from the Middle East trying to get in Western Europe.
He either waited for an opportunity or it fell in his lap which in the form of Burhan Wani’s episode. This was an opportunity where he could force the hand of all the political parties to reach a consensus on Kashmir issue even if they were unwilling.
He waited for the world to know enough (and believe) about the atrocities in Baluchistan and PoK, the former being constantly in the media for over six months now. However, his statesmanship was at its brilliance when he dropped the two bombshells suddenly at a time in the all-party meeting where he had trapped the opposition. One was to state bluntly that we will not talk to Pakistan on Kashmir but on PoK since that has been illegally occupied by the enemy country and that we want it back. He also mentioned about exposing the Baloch tragedy to the world in the same manner if Pakistan tries to interfere with Kashmir.
Modi certainly has the sense of how far the pitch should go, of the intensity or low tonality and being a poet of sorts, a talent for brevity. This is the third time he has shown this talent. It hit several bulls eyes at one go. There were two earlier instances – while speaking in Jammu and Kashmir he raised a one line question. Whether the article 370 has worked in the interest of Kashmir people or not?
Let us debate that. Period. When the Parliament election propaganda had risen to a high pitch, in his rally in Assam he made a clear but brief mention about the serious infiltration from Bangladesh only once and Assam fell in his acquisitions in Lok Sabha and now in Assembly elections.
The reaction from across the border from Balochs in Baluchistan and Balochs dispersed all over the world came speedily after the all-party meeting was over. There was no rhetoric in them. It was a simple acknowledgement for Modi having spoken for them. It was warm and heartfelt. The magnificent media of India may not realize but it is evident that these reactions indicate PM Modi’s stature as it has grown in just about two years as a person to feel reassured with. What was rightfully expected to follow on the Independence Day speech? And it did.
It is said that the body language and the tonality of words together convey more than seventy-five percent of the exact meaning and contributes to its effects. The growing assurance without aggrandizement in Modi’s speeches are obvious today.
The Mass Media and the Baluchistan
Why has this issue suddenly erupted since about 9 months in mass media? Frankly, I do not know but to quote Malcolm Gladwell, things have to reach a tipping point before something happens.
We are familiar about the Mahabharata King Shishupal. He had to complete his 100 crimes or atrocities before justice was given swiftly. The best way to think about it is all the factors and something more contributed to the mass media’s exposure of Baluchistan reality.
The Baluchistan story in short: Balochs, Sindhis, and Pakhtoons did not want partition. They would have preferred to stay with India. None of them has ever had the slightest emotional bonding with Pakistan as it took birth and since. The way the matters have gone since 1971 and formation of Bangladesh it has been on cards that Sindh and Balochs will have to or they will get or should be helped to separate from Pakistan. This line of thought was there even when Advani was the Home Minister. Balochs were a separate entity on 14th August 1947, were invaded by Pakistan in 1949. If we agree with Tarek Fateh we are also in some way responsible for the Baloch tragedy.
The assumptions and implications of this statement by the PM: That India will not look back to help oppressed people if it comes to the tipping point. The world in last few years has understood enough even about the Indian position and have endorsed it largely. There is no way to save the SAARC World and the world at large except by breaking Pakistan once more by getting at least the Sindhis and Balochs free from it. That unless Pakistan learns a lesson it will implode even if the rest of the world does not lift a finger. Hence no one will blame India if it does one more Bangladesh in the next few years.
The world has been made known that Kashmir is no longer an issue. And no one has reacted on it. The contrast is glaring. I saw some 1971 interviews of the late Indira Gandhi when she went around the world to tell people the plight of Bangladesh. The interviewers were so blatantly pro-Pakistan, anti-India and tried to make Indira Gandhi almost a criminal as if interfering with Pakistan was a sacrilege. No longer! That the issue is, how to get the PoK back? That has also gone down smoothly.
There should be (hopefully) a consistent change in the Foreign Ministry narrative in times to come.
The raising of PoK also shares all the points mentioned above, except that we are much more familiar with PoK than we are with Baluchistan. Sardar Patel smoothly integrated nearly 600 princely states. Nehru interfered with only two–Hyderabad and Kashmir and messed it up completely. PoK was the loss due to premature termination of Army Action in 1947. Beyond a point, Patel ignored Nehru on Hyderabad and landed with the then General Kariappa on Nizam’s terrace.
The last word: India has strongly consolidated its position now in military and economic terms, in terms of a good relationship with many countries with different hues. The PM and India is no longer afraid to say what it wants to say and has the capability of doing what it wants. That is the only difference.