India Develops Strategic Vision
Nehru, feeling holier than thou with his socialistic baptism, while constrained by the colonial past and the bipolar world, led India to its dismal state in the euphoric intoxication of his delusions of grandeur. Shastri faced economic, food shortage and war related problems. Indira Gandhi was too self-absorbed and immersed in manipulation and power grabbing in order to create a dynasty. She ended up leaving the country the heritage of separatist tendencies in Punjab and Kashmir. Rajiv was incompetent and way above his head as a prime minister and left the legacy of power into the hands of a sycophantic party and an even more dim-witted spouse.
Narsimha Rao was compelled to open up the economy because of the collapse of the Soviet Union and to match the rapid progress of China. There were few interim Prime Ministers for short periods but they accomplished little and added to the mess. Vajpayee is said to be senile and it maybe purely fortuitous and the delayed effect of Manmohan Singh era economic policies, like the long delayed effects on the US economy, of lowering of interest rates by the US Federal Reserve.
Current Indian policies, strategy and economy are showing light at the end of the tunnel, which is not emanating from an oncoming nemesis. Our improved exports, foreign exchange and grain reserves and current account balance, allow us the luxury of pressuring Pakistan politically, militarily and economically to counter their strategy of infiltration, terrorism and salami tactics. The growing foreign exchange reserves permit us to upgrade our conventional weaponry from multiple sources, thus muting opposition or garnering support from England (jet trainers), France (Mirage planes) and Russia (T-90 tanks, SU-35 planes, Gorshkov aircraft carrier and frigates). Our increasing trade helps to improve relations with Germany and America. Our abandonment of blind pro-Islamic and anti-Israel policies is bringing us technological know-how in the defense and hydrology fields. Our support for American anti-terrorist and anti-missile stance has brought some US pressure on Pakistan. The crucial test is in the quick supply of specialized radar systems and even more so in the US permission to allow Israel to sell us the Arrow anti-missile defense system. If America fails to do so, it would clearly be a sign for India to not trust it and reconsider its relations.
India can also serve as an ally in the China containment strategy of America. Another litmus test of US intentions would be the sale of or lack thereof of F-16 jets to Pakistan. We are already holding joint exercises with America in Agra, Alaska and the Indian Ocean. US ships call at Indian ports and we need to do the same at Diego Garcia. We have to obtain working relationships with Sri Lanka, Maldives, Seychelles and Mauritius. The potential of peace between the Sinhalese and LTTE should help with the first. It is imperative to have reforms and stability in Nepal and the borders with Bangladesh and Pakistan should be made impervious from their current porous state. We have taken the first step of a military alliance and presence in Tajikistan. This is important to have an observation post on the Sino-Pakistan border.
We have good relations with the current Afghan Government especially the Northern Alliance. We are trying to resolve disputes with China and forming some links in the IT sector. Trade between the two countries is increasing.
Finally due to foresight, luck and responsible behavior we have been able to develop atomic weapons and a C-3 (command, control and communication) and are securely in the secure club of nuclear status before America and Britain closed the doors and wish to bar new entrants. Our missile technology is improving indigenously and we are in a position to team up with Russia in view of its reduction in status and money. We are pursuing space and satellite technology and will be able to enter commercial launching services in a few years. We are already selling satellite photos to the world.
It is critical to learn from the ethnic and religious violence in Indonesia. Irian Jaya wants to secede and similar problems confront us in the northeast and Kashmir. There are riots between Christians and Moslems in Java and Sumatra. We cannot have conversions by economic bribery, practiced with Middle Eastern and Western finance by madresseh Imams and Church missionaries. This could lead to many East Timors and balkanization of India into Bantustans. We have already lost two arms due to Muslim separatists of Pakistan and Bangladesh. Lastly we need to stop pretending to be a secular state and become one by having a uniform civil code and removing the ban on cow slaughter or declare ourselves as a Hindu democracy, just like Israel's position of a Jewish Democratic state.
It is unfortunate but true, that what has kept India sort of together is its Hindu culture, religion and way of life, which is inclusive of animism, polytheism, monotheism, agnosticism and even atheism, everything but the rigid, egotistic, absolute certainty of the Abrahamic religions with their preferred, chosen or exalted status for their narrow-minded adherents. Of these Judaism has lived as a minority world over and never been treated better by any other majority than Hindu India. (Zoroastrianism will attest to the same) Christianity, if practiced as by Christ is compatible and can co-exist and so can Islam, if our rabid fanatic neighbors had not made it their birth cry that Moslems cannot live in an India full of Hindus. The Islamic scourge could have been tamed if there was universal literacy, wealth and economic opportunity as in the developed countries but even they are unable to prevent the cancer of Islamic terrorists in spite of their environment of affluent, liberal democracy. In poor, illiterate, multi-ethnic, multilingual, multi-religious, highly combustible India, it would be foolishly suicidal to allow the lighting of the match of conversion by bribery from foreign sources, often by the instigating and infiltrating pyromaniac terrorists and economic refugee neighbors or even well meaning single minded zealots.
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Gaurang Bhatt, MD
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