August 15th, 2016, New Delhi, Independence Day celebrations, everything was traditional, except one word which was undercover for a long time; Balochistan.
PM Modi, from the rampart of the Red Fort said, “The people of Balochistan, Gilgit, Pakistan-occupied Kashmir have thanked me in such a manner, from the places that I have never been and never had a chance to meet, they have sent wishes to the people of India and thanked us, I am grateful to them.”
This statement didn’t go down well with many, meeting angry reactions from various opposition parties, claiming interfering in national matters of other countries isn’t what Indian Government has ever done, that too at a tricky time of Kashmir unrest and also an obvious resistance from Islamabad, as it presented a goofy statement claiming PM Modi’s remark a testimony of RAW’s effort to foment terrorism in areas of Pakistan.
In 1947, the then ruler of princely state of Balochistan refused to join Pakistan, but subsequently, the state was annexed to Pakistan following a major military operation commanded from Islamabad in 1948 and corollary was nothing but rebellion crisis in 1958, in1962-63, and in 1973-77 and added tension in the period of General Musharraf. Balochistan has strategic importance because it’s a mineral rich state and holds immense revenue potential. Also, Iran-Pakistan gas pipelines is supposed to go through Balochistan and worsening India’s control over the Arabian Sea, China has proposed an economic corridor to link Pakistan port of Gwadar.
This particular statement holds heart because of its tactical approach in countering Islamabad raking about the turmoil in Kashmir from the past few weeks. Although PM’s remarks have brought applauds from the Baloch leaders, as they thanked him for raising the issue.
HAS PM MODI FAILED INDIA ON PAKISTAN POLICY?
It won’t be wrong to mention that NDA’s policy regarding how to tackle Pakistan has been chancy. For his investiture ceremony to be held on May 26th, 2014, as the Prime Minister invited the heads of SAARC nations and hardly had the invite reached Islamabad, there was an attack on the Indian consulate in Herat, Afghanistan by ISI funded Lashkar-e-Toiba on May 23rd and despite that, the invite wasn’t withdrawn, rather Nawaz Sharif’s presence was ensured.
What came after was something which has been a strongly lauded, “declaration that Pakistani High Commissioner cannot invite Hurriyat leadership for a dialogue and there could be no talks at any level under shadow of such demands.” But, apparently, both the Prime Ministers had a meet on the sidelines of the SAARC summit in November that year, of which no details were given to anyone.
Amusingly, on the sidelines of multilateral meeting in Ufa, both the Prime Ministers issued a joint statement that they would talk about terror which was a switch to BJP’s previous position, “terror and talks couldn’t go hand in hand.”
And unfortunately, these wretched events have never ended (yet), Gurdaspur in Punjab was slayed by a terror attack, and its source was obvious.
November 2015, India’s spy-master (popular name gifted by Pakistani news channels) and NSA Mr. Ajit Doval and his counterpart, General Janjua lead a delegation for a meeting, and no details were made public, understandably so. What followed turned out pretty disastrous, PM Modi’s hault at Lahore on his way back from Afghanistan to wish Nawaz Sharif on his birthday (which was sweet) and while reciprocating, Pakistan gave us Pathankot airbase attack,in the very next month. Worsening the scenario, the government allowed “Pakistani investigation team” to collect evidences from the crime spot and expected it to confess the crime.
India is known for never invading any country at any point of time in history, and gives the argument that Islamabad should have no interest and stake in Kashmir, but with PM’s remarks, India loses the moral ground of having being projected as a nation who never interferes in internal matters of other nations considering the fact that Kashmir (both PoK and Indian’s Kashmir) is recognised as a disputed territory by international councils and Balochistan isn’t.
POLITICAL CORRECTNESS, MAYBE.
Every political analyst at this point hopes that PM Modi’s foreign policy advisors had done their homework on this issue, for now the government can’t take a step back from the concern as Balochistan is already under a major spot-light with former Afghanistan president Hamid Karzai backing our PM for talking about Balochistan and Gilgit.
Maybe, it is a plot to highlight the atrocities Pakistani Government has been committing on the citizens it is claiming, verifying their sufficiency to do the same with residents of Kashmir, if they ever get the whole of Kashmir. Enormity in Balochistan has been reported in many journals, documentaries and reports by international news agencies and it isn’t unheard-of. What can strategically benefit India is the fact that if Balochistan becomes an independent nation, Pakistan will be reduced to half of its present size.
Maybe, it’s a course to counter China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) which was declared in April 2015 during President Xi Jinping’s state visit and free the Gwadar port from Chinese presence. It is bound to derive the attention from across the globe to the pathetic living condition in the state.
Maybe, to politically outshine other parties with muscular statements tailored to unite the general public. The principal opposition party is in dilemma to give a comprehensive statement regarding the remarks, for they can’t come out to openly to support the NDA, neither can they try to knock down the government as they would avoid to go on the same road as they did during the 1999 Kargil war, criticising the then Atal Bihari Vajpayee government for their failure to detect insurgency and faced a recoil for giving out “anti- national” statement and not being united with the government midst a war.
About The Author
(Department of Economics, PU Campus)