Brij Nath Betab
Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s unannounced visit to the volatile Ladakh border, where he addressed the valiant Indian troops guarding against the intrusion of the Chinese expansionists, validates his character of leading from the front.
Modi had set his agenda for India’s big steps forward in 2014. In his maiden Independence Day speech he had asked his fellow countrymen to contribute in nation-building saying, “I am for the nation’s interests and in this field, I am going to lead”.
For his heroic leadership in handling domestic affairs like a decisive action in Balakot or meeting the challenge posed by China’s dark gift of Corona virus, India has lauded her Prime Minister as the leader and the servant both. At the international level, prioritizing of friendly relations with nearby or distant countries world over or for his powerful and statesmanlike response to the misadventures of our adversaries from the Himalayan heights of Ladakh PM Modi has proved to the world that he is a leader with a vision.
Modi’s vision is of development. He believes that development has to go hand in hand with good governance. There can be no development if the clouds of war loom large. It is here that to convey India’s approach to the ongoing border stand-off with China, Prime Minister Modi invoked the pragmatism of Lord Krishna, who plays the soft flute and also carries ‘a warrior’s disc’, Sudarshan chakra.
In her quest to contribute to the world peace India has been playing the melodious flute as usual. Unfortunately, our neighbouring adversaries have not understood the value of the message of peace and have embraced violence and muscle power as the tools of resolving issues. Our adversaries will be committing a Himalayan blunder if they underestimate India’s power of resisting and combating the evil designs against her territorial integrity and sovereignty. That is precisely what Modi thundered in Nimoo.
Independent India has neither favoured nor nourished expansionist tendencies. Nevertheless, the nation’s resolve is to retrieve those areas which are legally part of our country but remain illegally occupied by either China or Pakistan. India never aspired for the land of her neighbours. Had it been so the geography of the region would have been entirely different today. India never lost her cool despite many foolish provocations by Pakistan. Though our neighbours have forced us to stockpile modern weaponry essentially for self-defence, yet the successive governments have mainly focused on development, particularly in a scenario of our burgeoning population. It being so, there is no denying the fact that a fundamental responsibility of any democratic government is to secure the boundaries of the country. In this context, Modi government never faltered. Therefore, his address to the soldiers at Nimoo, a place close to the scene of the face off in Gulwan Valley, is a clear message not only to the Chinese expansionists but also to its client state, Pakistan, that survives on the crumbs thrown to it by Beijing.
Pakistan army has made its hand-picked Prime Minister Imran Khan dance to its tune at national and international platforms. As the fountain-head of international terrorism, Pakistan continues training terrorists and sending them across the LoC to our side for disruptive activities and recurrently violating ceasefire agreement has become a routine for Pakistan. India gives the armed infiltrates a treatment they deserve.
Pakistan’s tragedy is that its military establishment is a state within a state and the generals are using politicians to serve their interests. Both are being prodded by China which has grabbed its land and resources in the name of development.
The billion-dollar question is if the world can understand China’s clandestine expansionist moves, why Pakistan cannot realize as to how China has tactfully taken control of not only Pakistan’s legitimate areas but also the area that Pakistan is occupying illegally. But then goes the axiom that beggars are not choosers. The country whose head of the government goes around the globe with a begging bowl slung to his shoulder has to rub his nose in the dust.
It is here that Prime Minister Modi’s speech at Nimoo in Ladakh has a message for Imran Khan.
Essentially aimed at China, Modi’s speech had two significant messages that Imran Khan must take note of? One was that the era of expansionism is over and the other is that our enemies have seen the fire and fury of our armed forces whenever they need to demonstrate it.
Honest and responsible advisers of Imran Khan should muster courage and tell him that Pakistan has suffered too much in dreaming for Kashmir and they have left no stone unturned in misleading and misguiding the masses of people in Pakistan. He must accept his failure and apologize to the people of Pakistan and tell them that with regard to Kashmir successive governments have been selling them the dreams that are not realizable. They should dispassionately analyze for him the underlying message of PM Modi’s Ladakh speech, particularly in the light of the speeches made by PML (N) leader Khawaja Asif in the National Assembly and Pakistan People’s Party leader Sherry Rehman in the Senate. Sherry Rehman is a widely respected politician and diplomat of Pakistan. Her reproach of Pak Prime Minister for not only an ‘inappropriate speech in Parliament ‘ but also the accusation of “destroying Pakistan”, should make every Pakistani sit back and ruminate over the dark future awaiting that nation.
Despite the government employing all its organs and using all its machinery to control the damage, everyone in Pakistan is puzzled as to why Imran Khan called Osama bin Laden as a ‘Shaheed’ (Martyr). It was not a ‘slip of the tongue’ as some Pakistani columnist would want us to believe. It was a deliberate attempt aimed at appeasing the Taliban. Who does not know that ISI and Imran Khan are close to Taliban? Who is not aware of Taliban’s stand over Osama’s killing by America?
Pakistani Generals have been using a section of the Taliban to further their interests. With ISI losing its grip over its cronies in Kashmir and the process of specific areas being declared ’ militant free’, it is pertinent to imagine how ISI visualizes the situation in Kashmir. Sidelining of Ali Shah Geelani is a part of this game. This is despite the Taliban’s denial of any interest in Kashmir.
However, the statement issued by Taliban spokesperson Zabihullah Mujahid in August last needs to be understood in proper perspective. The statement asked India and Pakistan to ‘refrain from taking steps that could pave a way for violence and complications in the region and usurp the rights of Kashmiris’. To my mind, if the Taliban talks about the “Rights of Kashmiris”, then they are near the fence.
There can be no doubt that China had got unnerved with India’s fire and fury power but now with Prime Minister Modi’s message about the end of “expansionist era,” being supported by world powers, the dragon has got rattled. It is here, and as some reports also suggest, China is going to use Pakistan and its terrorist resources — men and material, territory and terrorists.
It is high time that Pakistan revisits its policy of complete surrender to China particularly when the CPEC is fast turning into a debt trap for her.In a prospect of China getting isolated, Pakistan will find itself lost to the world . Baning of pilots and flights by European Union is a forewarning to Pakistan of the dark future unfolding for her.
Pakistan must not forget that China today stands isolated in the world. Their failures in getting the UNSC to condemn Pakistan Stock Market attack, in such a way that it suited Pakistan, endorse our inference. My apprehension is that Pakistan’s Prime Minister is bound to succumb to every pressure from China and China is going to use Pakistan as its proxy to take on India. It is here that Prime Minister Modi’s Speech delivered at Nimoo has a message for Imran Khan.
(The writer is a senior broadcaster/ Journalist, retired from PBBCI).
Brij Nath Betab