By Kamran Reza Chowdhury;
One of my Indian friends, a journalist then working with the Indian Express newspaper, in June last year told me exactly what is happening now in Kashmir.
He seems to be a supporter of the Indian National Congress party, not the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP). We shared the same apartment in Singapore as the fellows of the Asia Journalism Fellowship (AJF), a three-month stint at the Wee Kim Wee School of Communication and Information under the Nanyang Technological University.
The AJF programme makes a very good opportunity for the journalists of the Asia region to stay at the same hotel for around three months, mainly to share the developments in their respective countries.
“The BJP is unlikely to return to power in the next polls; so we, the journalists, fear that there will be war between India and Pakistan. The war will be aimed at creating nationalistic sentiment among people and divert people’s attention. The aim is to win the next elections,” he said.
According to the figures available, the BJP came to power through 2014 general elections winning 282 out of 543 Lower House of the legislature, but the party’s share of votes was 31%. The BJP alone won around 52% seats with 31% votes. Though Congress cut a sorry figure with 44 seats—just over eight percent seats with more than 19% of popular votes.
The BJP’s shining in the polls prompted many of our leaders and political commentators, frustrated with the Congress’s reluctance to resolve outstanding bilateral problems, and some Hindu leaders in Bangladesh came up with the sweeping comment that ‘Congress is Gone’.
‘The BJP will sweep again’.
The tendency to glorify the BJP’s performance in the 2014 elections is simply an overstatement, given the level of democratic values of Indian people and strong political institutions.
The growing incidents of intolerance over cow slaughtering and beef eating have raised questions about the BJP’s future political motive in a multi-cultural India.
I think the electorate in the world’s largest democracy, India, would not accept the BJP’s philosophy of making the country into a theocracy.
Losing last year’s state elections in Delhi and Bihar, the BJP leadership is serious to prepare for the next general elections in 2019. And war against Pakistan is the best option to divert people’s attention from the domestic issues.
The latest killing of 18 Indian soldiers by the militants, allegedly backed by Pakistan, has created both shock and sensation in India and rest of South Asia.
Indian and Pakistani soldiers have been fighting each other in the Line of Control (LoC) that divides Kashmir. Claim and counter-claim of killing rival soldiers dominating media in South Asia. The war has been concentrating anti-Pakistan sentiment in India and anti-Indian sentiment getting stronger in Pakistan too.
India announced boycotting the upcoming summit of the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (Saarc), already a dysfunctional regional grouping for by frequent hostilities between Delhi and Islamabad, in the Pakistan capital.
Bangladesh, Bhutan, Afghanistan and Sri Lanka also snubbed attending the Islamabad summit in November. Premier Narendra Modi has also contemplating withdrawal of water from the common rivers that entered Pakistan from Indian administered Kashmir.
The ruling BJP and its allies of the National Democratic Alliance parties would fuel the anti-Pakistan sentiments in the public spheres over the bloody fight in Kashmir. The war will result in more blood-bath, if the hostilities go ahead.
Critics say the BJP may try to prolong hostility with Pakistan keeping the next general elections in mind.
Similarly the government of Newaz Sharif in Pakistan will also get a political bonanza over the recent Kashmir conflict. This is because one of the security dynamics of Pakistan is to condense anti-Indian sentiments.
Two ruling parties in the two hostile neighbours are likely to gain from the Kashmir war.
The general election in Pakistan is scheduled in 2018, unless now popular Newaz Sharif’s Muslim League government is overthrown by the military.
This is matter to watch how the opposition parties in India and Pakistan face the ruling parties’ politics over the Kashmir war.
War is not the solution to any disputes. But wars happen in different parts of the globe to secure the gains of the political and corporate cliques. Also, war means procurement of weaponry, and procurement means commission for the middlemen.
Most unfortunate part of war is: the ordinary soldiers of the two countries, most of them are from poor families, and the innocent civilian people would be the scapegoats.
Every war increases the number of orphans, widows and rape victims and war children.
Stop war and return to negotiating table.