India: In pursuit of regional supremacy – Merwah Qureshi

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Merwah Qureshi |

India’s hegemonic posture in South Asia is not a new phenomenon in the regional diaries anymore. India is using suppressing tactics to gain strategic control of the region as a whole. From covertly interfering in Pakistan to overtly interfering in all other neighboring countries –including Bangladesh, Bhutan, Nepal, Sri Lanka, Maldives, Myanmar- India has been observed to disrupt the regional peace and progress by the use of her hegemonic claws.

Ironically, on one hand, India violates international law and interferes in the domestic issues of the neighboring countries; while on the other hand, she participates in the regional conferences for the progress of the region. Her ironic behavior is sufficient enough to depict that India is just trying to fool the international world by participating in the regional conferences for regional cooperation while actually pursuing the agenda of regional suppression.

From covertly interfering in Pakistan to overtly interfering in all other neighboring countries –including Bangladesh, Bhutan, Nepal, Sri Lanka, Maldives, Myanmar- India has been observed to disrupt the regional peace and progress by the use of her hegemonic claws.

Similarly, Narendra Modi’s visit to Nepal to Attend Fourth BIMSTEC Conference from 28 to 31 August is of no importance unless India shuns her attitude of evil meddling in the domestic affairs of her neighbors. BIMSTEC is the Bay of Bengal Initiative for Multi-Sectoral Technical and Economic Cooperation of the seven states of South Asia and South East Asia, dependent on the Bay of Bengal.

It focuses on fourteen cooperation sectors to bring prosperity to the region. Instead of making BIMSTEC an ideal ground for regional cooperation India has made almost all of the members of this forum, the victim of her interventionist policy. However, Nepal has borne the major brunt than the rest of the countries.

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Nepal is a landlocked country containing the Himalayas and the Gangetic plain. It has a great strategic importance for both China and India. It served as the buffer zone between both of these countries. After 1950’s Indo-Nepal Treaty of Peace and Friendship, India and Nepal have shared an asymmetric relation; India having an upper and a dictating hand.

The Indian government has always noted to impose its will in Nepal and has noted to utilize suppressing strategies to realize her strategic goals against China and to silence the anti-India voices in Nepal. India is highly critical of increasing pro-China sentiments in Nepal and is spending her maximum chunk of energy to counter the intensifying Sino-Nepalese ties.

The communist party ruling Kathmandu and the Nepalese Prime Minister -communist leader- Khadga Prasad Sharma Oli’s tilt towards China has fueled the Indian anxieties.

The story of suppression has gained momentum during the BJP’s regime. The BJP regime has used inhumane ways to challenge the independent approach of Kathmandu. Not only this but, India’s meddling in the constitution formulation process of Nepal is also an illustration of her interventionist designs.

Moreover, the longstanding river and territorial issues between Nepal and India have also gained the limelight under the Oli’s government. Furthermore, Kishor Shrestha, editor of Jana Aastha National Weekly and a board member of Nepal’s press council unveiled resentment against India and said, “India wants to micromanage Nepal. They have to control all government appointments, they have to know everything.

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Their ambassadors behave like viceroys. Aren’t we a sovereign nation?” In addition to this, the Indo-Nepalese bilateral relations hit their lowest ebb in 2015 owing to an embargo or trade siege – which is an international crime- by the Indian border forces. These subduing measures used by India to overpower Nepal has down-spiraled Indo-Nepalese relations; thus, shifting the balance in China’s favor.

India is basically paranoid about China’s progressive and inclusive aura and her Sino-phobia is the actual force steering her regional behavior.

The political dynamics of Kathmandu has furthered the insecurities of India. The communist party ruling Kathmandu and the Nepalese Prime Minister -communist leader- Khadga Prasad Sharma Oli’s tilt towards China has fueled the Indian anxieties. The growing Sino-Nepalese ties have irked the Indian government. China has already included Nepal in her Silk Road project.

China has also observed to be investing in the infrastructure, security, power sector, and other areas in Nepal. To counter the positive Chinese regional role, India in her anxieties has been indulged in using her nefarious plans to gain regional supremacy. Additionally, India not only aspires to exercise a dominant role but also aims to weaken the regional states, thus, leading to their subordination.

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In the backdrop of china’s amicable posture, India has adopted a hostile regional posture loathed by many in the region. India is basically paranoid about China’s progressive and inclusive aura and her Sino-phobia is the actual force steering her regional behavior. Wherever China goes, India deems it necessary to follow the Chinese footsteps. This hegemonic approach has been fostered by BJP regime to an unprecedented level; thus, shaping Modi’s India the way Nehru never envisioned it to be.

Had India not affected the region by her dominating tactics in the pursuit of her regional supremacy, BIMSTEC could have had a fate different than that of SAARC.

Consequently, India’s regional hooliganism is an illustration of the fact that she is using interventionist strategies to have a stronghold in the South Asian region. And in this process to attain the status of regional power India is challenging rather threatening the sovereignty of her neighboring countries which is against the international norms, values, and laws.

While pursuing her hegemonic designs in the region, India’s participation in regional forums like SAARC, BIMSTEC is nothing but an effort to portray her soft yet false image. In fact, the Indian government has noted to exercise its concept of dominance in the regional forums as well and contributed greatly in making them ineffective. Lastly, had India not affected the region by her dominating tactics in the pursuit of her regional supremacy, BIMSTEC could have had a fate different than that of SAARC.

Miss Merwah Hamid Qureshi holds an M. Phil Degree in Biochemistry from QAU, Islamabad and is also a visiting lecturer for International Relations at National Officers Academy (NOA), Rawalpindi. She is a freelance content writer for online portals like Amazon. The views expressed in this article are author’s own and do not necessarily reflect the editorial policy of Global Village Space. 

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