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Thursday, February 15, 2024

Will Modi stop selling what sells best? Hatred against Pakistan

BJP's Narendra Modi has won elections in India and set to rule for his second term. Previously, Modi's stance towards Pakistan has been harsh but Pakistani Premier thinks condition can stabilize with Modi. But what if hate against Pakistan is what got him the premiership? Will conditions between both countries ever straighten out?

Imran Jan |

The rise of strongmen around the world is becoming a common phenomenon now. However, the blind support for the bigotry and hate-driven politics is unprecedented. Benjamin Netanyahu won an unprecedented fifth term. He is set to become the longest serving Prime Minister in Israeli history, even longer than David Ben-Gurion who was the country’s first Prime Minister often described as “Israel’s George Washington”. All this despite the corruption scandals.

In India, we just saw Narendra Modi claim victory in the behemoth Indian elections despite the embarrassment caused to Modi and India in the wake of the dogfight with Pakistan, where an Indian fighter plane was shot down by Pakistan and its pilot Abhinandan captured. Later on, he was returned in a mind-boggling swift manner.

The conflict between Pakistan and India is not based on some external stimulus that causes people on both sides to hate each other. The hatred is very deep-rooted.

Prime Minister Imran Khan had said that the chances of achieving peace between Pakistan and India would be higher if BJP wins the election. That has happened. BJP has achieved a landslide victory. I do not know what drives Imran Khan’s opinion about this but a little use of common sense coupled with a little bit of history lesson would help disillusion any Pakistani has wishing for peace with India. The harsh truth is that now that Modi would be unshackled by re-election worries, his hatred laden rhetoric and actions would become even more pronounced.

India’s Previous Stance About Pakistan

Those who say that Pakistan needs to clean its own house and not allow its soil be used for terror against other nations especially India, forget two simple facts: One, let us assume that Pakistan actually did use terrorism against India and let us say that Pakistan were to stop all that and did the so-called house cleaning, would India then stop criticising and targeting Pakistan or let me put it this way; Before India successfully banded terror and Pakistan together, was India a well-wisher of Pakistan? Two, India is the leading aggressor in the region.

Read more: Balakot airstrike: India’s failure at legal front?

Despite UN resolution allowing a referendum in Kashmir, India has deployed over 700 thousand Indian army soldiers in the occupied Kashmir, which is the most densely militarised zone in the world. Aggression creates terrorism, not the other way around. This simple yet little known phenomenon is important to pay attention to. Indian aggression in Kashmir creates people with legitimate grievances and anger toward the Indian army and attacks such as Pulwama are clear manifestations of that.

It is worth pondering over that an external stimulus is needed for a nation to change its perception about another nation. America invaded Afghanistan and Iraq not because there was some sort of deep hatred toward these nations but rather external stimuli caused the American people to support, with varying degrees, the invasion of both the countries. Likewise, a set of stimuli have also been at work in driving the desire to end these wars. Those stimuli in the case of Iraq and Afghanistan are ‘economic and security concerns’.

Read more: Pakistan better buckle up for Modi’ rising – Jan Achakzai

Americans want to see the end of the Afghan war and are strongly against another foreign entanglement not because they care about Afghan lives or other lives but rather about the lives of the American soldiers. More importantly, foreign wars are rightly seen as a reason behind the weakening economy and declining wages. The fact that these wars were not based on deep-rooted hatred inside the minds of the American people, also makes it easier to end the wars and for the American people to forget about them.

Narendra Modi has no benefit in creating some sort of a pro-Pakistan narrative and face strong backlash from his saffron scarf wearing extremist Hindutva support base.

The conflict between Pakistan and India is not based on some external stimulus that causes people on both sides to hate each other. The hatred is very deep-rooted. The anti-Pakistan sentiment inside India has stood the test of time. Bad Pakistan sells and Narendra Modi has been very skillful in marketing himself as the man who represents this anti-Pakistan strongman. His credentials support his bigotry driven strongman claims; he is responsible for killing over a thousand Muslims in the state of Gujarat when he was the Chief Minister there.

Should Pakistan Expect a Change

While economy and the dead bodies of soldiers arriving in America draped in American flags were strong stimuli changing Americans’ perception about wars in Afghanistan, Iraq, and also Vietnam to name a few; the stimuli of peace gestures from Imran Khan is not going to cut it for the Indians. The Indian people do not see any economic or security benefit from being friends with Pakistan.

Read more: US cannot win the war in Afghanistan

And as I mentioned above, this conflict is not based on some stimulus such as 9/11 or the WMDs fear, this is rather deep-rooted. Put simply, this is not a temporary hatred caused by one or two incidents. And there is the absence of the stimuli that usually change a nation’s perception about being in conflict with another nation. Indians do not foresee a betterment in their lives by exchanging their deep hatred with love for Pakistan.

Therefore, these futile efforts of peace with India must be abandoned. Imran Khan should focus more on the respect and dignity of his nation. Narendra Modi has no benefit in creating some sort of a pro-Pakistan narrative and face strong backlash from his saffron scarf wearing extremist Hindutva support base.

Read more: Indian attempts to diplomatically isolate Pakistan have failed: Tehmina Janjua

It would be like expecting McDonald’s to stop selling fast food because improving people’s health by minimizing their junk food intake is a morally good thing. Why would Modi give up what he had been selling quite successfully? More importantly, why should Pakistan even expect it?

Imran Jan is a political analyst. He can be reached at imran.jan@gmail.com. Twitter @Imran_Jan. The views expressed in this article are author’s own and do not necessarily reflect the editorial policy of Global Village Space.