China on the border, hatred within, national security armed – India needs a reset
B.Beliefs on an individual and collective level determine human behavior. All ideological systems, including religion, promote belief systems that promise a better future only if one follows the precepts hypothetically distilled from human experience and wisdom.
Believers huddled at Jammus Vaishno Devi Temple on New Years Day may have been driven by the idea that welcoming the New Year in the presence of the gods would hopefully bring a happy 2022 to the tragic death of 12 believers and the injuries many others may have a premonition that more tragedies may hide in the folds of India’s future in 2022. Strategically, you don’t need the gods to shed light on this possibility. A gloomy reading of India’s foreign and domestic political dynamics may be enough, however, but it makes sense to warn yourself with the advice of the Roman philosopher Seneca – there are more things that are likely to frighten us than overwhelm us.
The China Challenge
Outwardly, relations between China and India, with the exception of trade, continued to deteriorate until the end of 2021. Some of China’s 2021 farewell photos are revealing. Amid the ongoing border dispute, China passed a land border law in October, intended for all of its land borders, which came into effect on January 1, 2022. Its declared aim is the “protection and exploitation of the land border areas of the country”. Apparently, China has 16 territorial disputes with various neighbors and now regards border disputes as its sovereignty. That leaves little room for give and take. Stabilizing the Sino-Indian border and settling the disputes will prove to be a far greater challenge.
On December 30, 2021, China renamed 15 locations Arunachal Pradesh. Because of the exact coordinates, eight are in residential areas, one is a mountain pass, two are rivers, and four are mountains. India responded through its official spokesman, who recalled that a similar step was taken in April 2017, stating that “Arunachal Pradesh has always been a part of India. It will be an integral part of India. The assignment of invented names for places in the Indian state of Arunachal Pradesh does not change anything. “
On the same day, a political adviser from the Chinese embassy wrote to several members of parliament, including a Union minister. He scourged them for attending a dinner reception hosted by the Tibetan Parliament in Exile. The undiplomatic action was greeted with a deafening official silence that speaks volumes about India’s tendency to be faint-hearted when dealing with a tyrant like China. In this silence lies the danger that China will misjudge India’s reaction to aggressive politico-diplomatic-military steps in 2022.
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Deafening silence was also the attitude of the Indian political class towards the continuing and increasing attacks on minorities, which are also supported by largely indulgent media. Official statistics have long since lost credibility. Therefore, even if a small percentage of the cases of attacks on Muslims and Christians, cow vigilance, communal clashes, incitement to hate speech, attacks on places of worship, threats to interfaith marriages, etc. Justice and peace are true, it should awaken the collective conscience of all Indians . There are certainly some who have chosen to campaign for attacks on the political stability of India.
In December 2021, some lawyers wrote to the Chief Justice of India to take note of hate speech suo moto; Retired service chiefs, veterans, notable citizens and activists wrote to the President and Prime Minister appealing to curb the threat of hate speech. Several political commentators have also expressed disgust at the inaction of the political leadership in power and the opposition. However, none of them produced a response, and attempts have been made to speak to those who are deaf to these requests.
To be seen in the company of people working against a predominantly Hindu agenda is likely to be viewed as politically suicidal, especially with the state elections approaching. The assessment is likely that India’s democracy should follow the wishes of the masses – it is considered a constitutional right that must be fully expressed.
The only problem with such a thought process is that it ignores the basic structure of constitutionality which recognizes the fact that India is a pluralistic society in which the state does not have a religion of its own but allows full freedom at the individual and collective level each any religion.
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India needs a mahatma
The truth is that the manipulation of Indian domestic politics has successfully enslaved the masses through political ideologies that have cleverly exploited the natural addiction of Indians to religion. Aided by widespread institutional emasculation, national security has been used as a weapon to silence voices of protest and neutralize those seen as anti-majority policies. The financial blow that Mother Teresa’s missionaries for charity suffered is emblematic.
Character is the cornerstone of leadership. Perhaps the only way to save India from its politics is through the emergence of a “mahatma” or group of them who can detoxify the masses from their addiction to religious extremism that combines the protection of their religion with the protection of India. When asked whether such a mahatma or some such mahatmas could arise, a wise man who has probably seen everything replied: “Not yet, because the mahatmas have either applied religiosity or are hiding under it”.
Division tells us that even if we lose ourselves in a sea of hatred, we can return to reason. But the suffering and bloodshed are unlikely to be exhausted. How long this round will last is a guess. A la Seneca – we can be scared, but not crushed.
Lieutenant General (Dr.) Prakash Menon (ret.) Is director of the Strategic Study Program of the Takshashila Institution; former military advisor, Secretariat of the National Security Council. He tweeted @ prakaschmenon51. Views are personal.
(Edited by Neera Majumdar)