By Ijaz Awan
“Is ours (nuclear arsenal) for Diwali?” Indian PM Modi recently asked a gathering during his election campaign, making a veiled threat towards Pakistan. It seemed as if Modi’s anti-Pakistan war hysteria was the only topic throughout his election campaign, with nothing else to show for his previous term as the country’s PM. However, such pledges to the “right-wing” voters might even come back to haunt Modi, compelling him to make an irrational decision, should he return to power.
The US and the West have long been expressing concerns over Pakistan’s “nuclear assets falling into the hands of Islamists” while it seems that with a far-right political climate brewing in India, it is India’s nuclear arsenal that the global community should be more worried about.
History has proven that concerns on Pakistan’s nuclear weapons expressed by the West are enshrined in fiction, as “Islamists” secured less than 10 percent of the total votes in the recent elections in Pakistan.
On to the contrary, the RSS-backed BJP rose to power in India, where decision making is so flawed that baseless and unsubstantiated accusations of “Pakistan sponsored-Pulwama attack” led to an aerial incursion of mainland Pakistan, coupled with deployment of missiles in the deserts of India.
Such an irrational response to a suicide strike, carried out by a local Kashmiri in a heavily militarised region of Indian-held Kashmir, not only speaks of faulty decision making but an extremist logic. Moreover, by successfully diverting the attention to Pakistan, the Indian government pushed its own security failures and human rights violations in the region under the carpet.
The rising power and influence in the government circles of the RSS extremists – who will surely have some control or sway over how India engages in war – should be a cause of concern for global, especially western, powers.
The UN Security Council and global watchdogs be better mindful of such nuclear threats emanating from India. This becomes more important in the backdrop of China’s Belt and Road initiative and the China Pakistan Economic Corridor. The changing paradigm in Pakistan’s growing geo strategic thinking brings opportunities for Central Asia and greater Eurasia, whereas India’s belligerent approach towards Pakistan seeks to turn the region into a warzone.
Such diverse developments can’t be left unattended for the sake of lasting peace in the region. Pakistan has so far played the role of a “responsible neighbour”, even in the face of Indian aggression, however, if peace has to prevail, the global community needs to keep a check over New Delhi its nuclear arsenal.
The author, Major Gen. Ijaz Hussain Awan, is a retired military officer and a security and defence analyst