By Interaction Desk
It seems that history is repeating itself, as if India is donning the colors of subservience once again. India’s past is marked by a prolonged period of subjugation, spanning nearly a millennium. For about 850 years, various Muslim dynasties held sway over the region, with the Mughal rule being the longest, lasting for 350 years, followed by a subsequent 200 years of British colonial era. The tide, however, began to turn during the First World War from 1914 to 1919 and further weakened the British government during the Second World War from 1939 to 1945. In 1945, with the support of America, Britain was coerced into freeing its colonies, setting the stage for India’s journey to independence, culminating in the formation of the independent states of India and Pakistan in 1947. During the pre-independence period, Hindus in India, along with the British, sought to create difficulties for Muslims in Pakistan, possibly motivated by a sense of revenge for the centuries of subjugation they had endured. Pakistan, envisioned as the dreamland for Muslims, faced division due to the involvement of India, the Soviet Union, and to some extent, the United States. In response, Pakistan along with America assisted Afghanistan against the Soviet Union, which ultimately contributed to the disintegration of the Soviet Union into 15 separate states. In 2005, I had the opportunity to attend a seminar in Chandigarh the capital of Indian Punjab, India, accompanied by Lt. General (R) Talat Hussain and Ambassador Najamuddin Sheikh. As the Convenor of Idea Pakistan Foundation Sindh, I was given importance considering perhaps the hardliner and given seat on center table, despite my pointing out the presence of more senior personalities of Pakistan than me. During the seminar, a Russian lady presented a paper explaining why the Soviet Union liberated its 15 states. She claimed that Pakistan had been a concern, as it allegedly sought to create trouble by establishing a base in the historically significant Ferghana Valley. Despite denials from General Talat Masood and myself, the Russian head of the delegation remained firm in her assertion. On our return to Pakistan when it was discussed with Lt. General (R) Hameed Gul, the spy master at that time, he confirmed the claim. On the other hand, while Pakistan officially expressed support for the US in Afghanistan, it simultaneously contributed to a complex situation that led to America’s eventual withdrawal. This situation arose due to America’s involvement in a proxy war fought by India against Pakistan on Afghan soil. As a result, the conflict in Afghanistan became entangled with regional dynamics, prompting the US to eventually retreat from the region. Pakistan has faced significant challenges both internally and externally in its quest for survival. Internally, the country dealt a substantial blow to terrorism following the Army Public School incident in December 2016. The Pakistan Armed Forces played a crucial role in eradicating urban terrorism, earning recognition as the only army to achieve this feat and restore peace within the country. Despite ongoing numerous challenges, Pakistan remains committed to preserving its sovereignty and freedom by making concerted efforts to overcome economic, socio-political, and diplomatic challenges. The armed forces tirelessly work day and night to ensure Pakistan’s security, with the support of the entire nation. While on the contrary, India’s freedom of choice is currently under serious threat as it finds itself ensnared in the US’s influence. India’s desire to dominate Pakistan and assert itself as a global power has led it into a strategic alliance with the US. This includes involvement in the LAC (Line of Actual Control) conflict between India and China, as well as active participation in the QUAD agreement a military pact involving Japan, Australia, India, and the US aimed at countering China’s influence. As part of this alliance, India has granted the US access to its naval bases and ports, establishing a system for seamless communication between their respective naval forces. In the recent past, the US and India have entered into four significant agreements: the General Security of Military Information Agreement (GSOMIA), the Logistics Support Agreement (LSA), the Communications Interoperability and Security Memorandum of Agreement (CISMOA), and the Basic Exchange and Cooperation Agreement (BECA). These agreements serve to enhance cooperation and security ties between the two nations. On June 22nd, 2023, an additional milestone was reached as America and India signed the Artemis accords. This accord paves the way for joint space missions in 2024 through ISRO-NASA collaboration. Moreover, multiple agreements were also inked to facilitate technological advancements in areas like Artificial Intelligence (AI), Quantum technologies, and advanced telecommunications, encompassing 5G and 6G technologies. The notable aspect of all these agreements is their inclusion of private partners from both countries, ensuring increased engagement and participation from the private sector. At the same time, Russia aims to maintain a close relationship with India. This can be attributed to several factors. Firstly, Russia views India as a valuable trading partner, as it sells significant amounts of oil and military hardware to the country. Secondly, there is a sense of concern in Russia regarding China’s rapid advancement. Through careful observation of Russian media, it becomes evident that Russia believes China’s policies could lead to surpassing both the United States and Russia in power and influence. It was also noted during the time when the US prohibited the sale of Russian oil to Europe, China stood in support of Russia but surprisingly, instead of lauding China’s backing, Russia praised India, which had been purchasing oil from Russia based on a 1953 agreement. In contrast, though apparently it seems that India has aligned closely with the United States but yet Indians believe the opposite, thinking that America is under their influence. Despite India’s impressive technological advancements, there are concerns about their ability to assert their own independent path without being swayed by either America or Russia. In my perspective, India lacks the necessary wisdom even to internally maintain a balance among different ideological identities due to the influence of revenge-driven ideologies like Hindutva. The country is still internally divided, with narrow-minded rulers seeking retaliation instead of pursuing peace with the Muslim community, which constitutes a significant portion of the population at 25%. This bias is evident in various instances, such as when the former Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee expressed contempt for Ghazni during his visit in Hamid Karzai’s reign. Both Vajpayee and the current Prime Minister Narendra Modi appear to harbor animosity towards Muslims. At present, Modi and the RSS have accumulated substantial power, leaving little room for opposition from Muslims, Sikhs, or Christians. Even though the Sikh community is highly distressed they haven’t yet been able to properly fight back since its leaders are being sought out and slain even in other countries. The prevailing situation in India reflects a concerning lack of tolerance and inclusivity. On the foreign front, the present situation between the US and India also shows dissatisfaction with their existing agreements. American intellectuals and columnists are worried about India’s reliability and its ability to keep up with the US in terms of ambitions and pace. Consequently, the US might seek to increase its influence in the administration and military of India as it has been doing with friendly nations when faced with such circumstances. Though India have brave forces like Gurkhas, Rajputs, and Sikhs capable of fighting, but there is a widespread sense of dissatisfaction with India’s policies, even within the military, where corruption and other issues have been reported. One question, however, that arises is whether India will be considered a reliable ally in the war in the India Pacific. If not, there could be consequences for India, and the US might seek to exert control over its political system. Considering the limitations of the US compared to Britain, there may be the possibility of the US utilizing Britain to achieve its goals. The idea of “everything being permissible in war and love” is often mentioned in Western perspectives, suggesting that nations may resort to various strategies to pursue their interests. The conclusion is clear: India has unquestionably handed over all its naval bases to the United States. This implies that the US could potentially gain control over maritime regions and even employ a substantial part of India’s military to create complications for China in Tibet. However, it is essential to consider that such actions might also provoke an increase in insurgency within India. In essence, this scenario resembles the “golden bird” being at risk of getting ensnared in the net woven by America, potentially leading to India’s enslavement once again, drawing parallels with its historical experiences of subjugation to foreign powers.
The writer is the Chief Editor of Monthly Interaction.