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Dr. Muhammad Ali Ehsan |

PM Modi came to power with the Indians and the whole world looking up to a reformer but two years down the line, what is it that PM Modi has been able to achieve? Is his agenda of reform working? Is he working too hard only on maintaining his popularity and taking decisions that may not, in the long run, be in the Indian interest? Does India has an able and capable opposition today to challenge some of his actions that have sidestepped from traditional Indian military and political positions of the past?

And is Modi’s one-dimensional stand on terrorism worth world attention? Can a leader of a state which itself is involved in committing worst state terrorism on its own people (people of occupied Kashmir) be heard seriously – addressing the G20 Summit in Hamburg, Germany on 7 July 2017 the Indian PM said, “We the leaders of G-20.strongly condemn all terrorist attacks worldwide and stand united and firm in the fight against terrorism”. Will even a single leader of G-20 condemn India or question Indian state terrorism in Occupied Kashmir?

Read more: PM Modi’s tea stall to become a tourist attraction

The world cannot ‘stand firm against terrorism’ as long as their understanding and actions against terrorism are one dimensional that trample their consciousness only with petty self and economic interests. Modi sells that kind of one-dimensional terrorism to the world and it’s a shame that most of it buy it. First – a look at where stands Modi’s ‘military India’ and how the world should look at it?

Shift in the Indian foreign policy

Jumping on the American military bandwagon he has hastily bear -hugged the American president leaving Putin’s Russia which traditionally has been the major supplier of the military weapons and equipment to the Indians out in the cold.

Modi’s preference for weapon shopping (Stockholm International Peace Research Institute has said in its annual report that India’s defense expenditures have grown by 8.5% last year to $55.9 billion) and enhanced military expenditures is not only creating an image of ‘hostile India’ for its neighbors but some of its military actions including the military opposition to the current road building Chinese project in the Himalayas is redrawing world’s focus on a largely forgotten Indian-China border dispute

PM Modi during his recent visit to the US negotiated billions of dollars of arms deal with the Americans and managed Trump administration’s green light on the sale of $2 billion drones to India. Later visiting Israel he also signed the “largest defense contract” that Israel has ever signed with any country (India will buy $2billion worth of weapons and technology from Israel).

Modi’s preference for weapon shopping (Stockholm International Peace Research Institute has said in its annual report that India’s defense expenditures have grown by 8.5% last year to $55.9 billion) and enhanced military expenditures is not only creating an image of ‘hostile India’ for its neighbors but some of its military actions including the military opposition to the current road building Chinese project in the Himalayas is redrawing world’s focus on a largely forgotten Indian-China border dispute – an issue on which both countries fought a war in 1962 and which again is aggravating fast into an unnecessary military standoff between the two countries.

Read more: Tehran hits Delhi’s underbelly as Modi hugs Trump and Netanyahu

 Deteriorating Indo-Pak relationship

Pakistan has been facing Modi’s ‘military chauvinism’ in the form of increased ceasefire violations on the LOC, last year India claimed to have executed surgical strikes on the Pakistan side of Kashmir which Pakistan military vehemently denied.

The Indian military chief, General Bipin Rawat  has also been making some belligerent remarks  such as ‘any further military strike against Pakistan will be of a different manner and different style’, ‘if provoked India will strike inside Pakistan …we will surprise the enemy’ and ‘Indian army is fully ready for two and a half front war’.

Read more: Prime Minister Modi’s visit to Israel

Modi: A reformer or a Hindu zealot?

In an interesting report published in The Economist (June24th 2017) titled “Modi’s India” the newspaper has questioned whether ‘Modi is a Hindu Zealot disguised as an economic reformer?’ it goes on to explain  that ‘ Modi was the chief minister of Gujrat in 2002 when rioting there killed at least 1000 people, most of them Muslims.

‘Military India’ under Modi is creating suspicions and deep mistrust in the region. There is more possibility of military conflict in the region under a politically unchained Modi (Hindu zealot) facing no liberal opposition at home. The world must take notice of this.

To this day, he has never categorically condemned the massacre or apologized for failing to prevent it.’ The impression that one gets after reading this report is that internally the ‘Hindu nationalist thugs’ are proliferating an Indian political culture that is becoming venomous and anti-minorities and externally its military is undertaking an aggressive posture that is irritating it neighbors and straining its relations with them.

‘Military India’ under Modi is creating suspicions and deep mistrust in the region. There is more possibility of military conflict in the region under a politically unchained Modi (Hindu zealot) facing no liberal opposition at home. The world must take notice of this.

Read more: Trump cracks deals with Modi; sells Pakistan dummies!

India under Modi

The reformer Modi has been lucky. India is a huge importer of oil, the decrease in oil price from being $100 a barrel in May 2014 to half its price helped Indian economy and it alone resulted in boosting its GDP by 1-2%. India has to cater for 1 million Indians who enter into labor market every month and it would not be able to absorb these Indians needing jobs if the current growth rate does not increase from 7% to 8-10%.  Such a growth rate will not be possible if India continues to pursue its twin objective of economic reform as well as military growth. One of the two will have to give in.

India resides at lowly 130 out of 189 in World Bank ease of doing the business ranking. ‘Infrastructure projects in India are stalled for lack of cash and corporate India is in the doldrums’ writes the Economist.

Another report titled ‘Briefing India’s Economy – The Constant Tinkerer’ in the Economist suggests that ‘the much-discussed privatization of the state-owned firms in India is yet to take place. The state still makes everything from prefabricated housing and condoms to fighter jets that even its own Armed Forces refuses to buy’.

Commenting on the State-owned banks in India the report further clarifies that,’ these banks account for 70% of all loans but are in dire straits after having extended credit to large industrial groups which went on to finance projects that failed to pay off. Around 20% of loans are either not being repaid or are likely to require restructuring.’

Read more: Why has Modi suddenly become a tree lover?

India resides at lowly 130 out of 189 in World Bank ease of doing the business ranking. ‘Infrastructure projects in India are stalled for lack of cash and corporate India is in the doldrums’ writes the Economist. In its report, the newspaper calls Indian media ‘tame’ and much like in Pakistan it cites the example of ‘Indian CBI raid on the properties belonging to the owners of NDTV, a television channel that tries to give equal air time to the Indian government and its critics.’ Other agencies the report cites ‘CBI (Indian Central Bureau of Investigation), the Enforcement Directorate of the finance ministry, the tax authorities and even local police forces in India are often accused of doing the government bidding.’

And would the region be not much better and boost an overall economic growth if somehow a confrontation seeking India focuses only on the core requirements of defense and security and not become militarily belligerent and thus necessitate deterrent military responses such as Pakistan’s short-range missile programmer ‘NASR’ against Indi’s cold start doctrine.

Indian priorities and preferences under the Modi government are not good for a liberal order that India as political and military power can infuse in the region. The ‘chest thumping’ nationalist and populist India that Modi is designing and creating is most likely to erode not only the promotion of human rights, democratic governance and the rule of law internally in India but externally as well such erosion may take place in the region and countries that are under its influence.

The big question that the Indian may ask is ‘What if the Indian economic security was not being hampered by calls for lack of physical security?’ Would India not be doing much better if it second -guessed its military priorities? And would the region be not much better and boost an overall economic growth if somehow a confrontation seeking India focuses only on the core requirements of defense and security and not become militarily belligerent and thus necessitate deterrent military responses such as Pakistan’s short-range missile programmer ‘NASR’ against Indi’s cold start doctrine.

Dr. Muhammad Ali Ehsan did his doctorate in International Relations from Karachi Univ; where he also teaches. His Ph.D. work is on ‘Civil-Military Relations in Pakistan’. He served for 25 years in Pakistan Army, and remained an Instructor in Pakistan Military Academy. The views expressed in this article are the author’s own and do not necessarily reflect Global Village Space’s editorial policy.

Dr. Muhammad Ali Ehsan, did his doctorate in International Relations from Karachi Univ; where he also teaches. His Phd work is on ‘Civil Military Relations in Pakistan’. He served for 25 years, in Pakistan Army, and remained an Instructor in Pakistan Military Academy.

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