When Narendra Modi was elected as Prime Minister in 2014, he set out to do a Herculean task of inviting all our neighboring countries, China, Nepal, Bangladesh, Pakistan etc., for his grand inauguration. It seemed a great endeavor towards strengthening diplomatic, economic and emotional ties with them and the event was very impressive.
On December 25, 2015, Prime Minister Narendra Modi made a surprise stopover in Pakistan, Islamabad to meet Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif. This was first time an Indian premier ever visited the rival nation in over a decade as the smoke from the fires of 2008 Mumbai terrorists attacks were still smoldering over charred embers and wounds were still healing.
India and Nepal have a long strong bilateral history of support and trade with a deep connection to Nepal’s 81% Hindus and India 80% Hindus. After assuming power in May 2014, Nepal was one of the first foreign trips of the PM, visiting it in August. He visited Nepal four times and made strong declarations that India stood with Nepal all along its development journey.
China and India, two rich ancient civilizations tried to keep up good alliances over decades anchoring steady relations after the India-China war. Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Xi Jinping had intense conversations over time, building towards stronger ties. Xi Jinping visited India on a personal capacity for the first time in October 2019, and they had an informal summit’ in Mamallapuram on the beautiful island strip of land between Bay of Bengal and the Great Salt Lake, with an exotic private dinner held at the famous Shore Temple complex.
Diplomatic relations between India and Bhutan were established in 1968 with the formation of a special office of India in Thimphu. This is a time-tested unique, wonderful bilateral relationship fortified by trust, goodwill and mutual understanding. The special relationship has been sustained by a tradition of regular high level visits and dialogues between the two countries. Prime Minister Narendra Modi too reached out to Bhutan visiting it twice and he and the Bhutanese Prime Minister Lotay Tshering held long productive talks. The two nations signed 10 Memoranda of Understandings (MoUs) to infuse new vitality in their ties.
Pakistan: After PM Modi’s visit to Pakistan, on the morning of 1 January 2016 at around 03:30 IST, at least six heavily armed people dressed in Indian Army uniforms breached the high-security perimeter of the airbase in Pathankot and 7 soldiers were martyred in Pathankot.
On 18 September 2016, near the town of Uri in the Indian former state of Jammu and Kashmir, there was an attack by four heavily armed terrorists. It was considered “the deadliest attack on security forces in Kashmir in two decades” where 19 Indian soldiers were killed along with 4 terrorists.
On 14 February 2019, a convoy of vehicles carrying security personnel on the Jammu Srinagar National Highway was attacked by a vehicle-borne suicide bomber at Lethpora in the Pulwama district, Jammu and Kashmir, India. The attack resulted in the deaths of 40 Central Reserve Police Force personnel and the terrorist.
Relations between India and Pakistan turned from sour to kerala bitter gourd due to political cold-war escalations fueled further by terrorist scuffles with the Indian army. Serene relations were now impossible. Nationalism in India was rising higher and people wanted to see wild fire.
Bhutan: Bhutan took offense to the intemperate remarks of the Minister of State for Information and Broadcasting, Rajyavardhan Singh Rathore, after the cross border raid by the Indian Army into Myanmarese (Bhutan-Burma) territory. He said that the Indian government was now pursuing a new policy of “hot pursuit”, and that “We will carry out surgical strikes at the place and time of our own choosing”. Such statements would obviously be worrying for any neighboring countries. A new law was recently made for Indian nationals visiting Bhutan where we would need to carry a voter’s ID card or passport to enter Bhutan. Previously, no such documents were required signaling a shift in trust.
While Bhutan previously leaned on India for protection against China due to China’s aggression in Tibet, China cleverly has enhanced diplomatic ties with Bhutan, traveling as tourists to Bhutan bringing in a rich source of revenue, and poured in massive investments in Tibet opening wider avenues of opportunities for nascent Bhutanese traders.
Nepal: PM Modi 2015 blockade of Nepal provoked an economic and humanitarian crisis which affected Nepal where Nepal rose up with anti-India slogans and pro-China sentiments. Distrust towards India was rocketing due to poor foreign policies of PM Modi. Recently, for the first time in the Indian-Nepal history, Nepali police officers shot at six Indian citizens at the border and one of them died just because the Nepalese said the Indians were trying to illegally enter the border during the COVID crisis. There was no apology or regret on the part of Nepal for that indiscriminate shooting and they justified it.
The next thing that transpired was Nepal’s House of Representatives on Saturday unanimously passed a Constitutional amendment revising the map on its coat of arms to include three areas of Kalapani, Lipulekh and Limpiyadhura that India later in the evening asserted were part of its territory. The Nepal Parliament approved of a new map without a single vote against it. Many Indians said no one had united Nepal as PM Modi has done!
Pakistan started cuddling closer to China; and Nepal a country with a majority Hindu population was going further from India, as was Bhutan. It still remains to be seen how close they are to China.
Why did Nepal ruthlessly shot at our Indian citizens at the border simply because they were trying to encroach in, why did China annex Ladakh easily without a fight from India, why did Bhutan suddenly cool off ties with India, and of course why are our perennial strained relations with Pakistan never ending.
China: While the world in 2020 is battling the COVID-19 pandemic, lakhs of lives are lost, and medical science is still grappling with creating a vaccine, the Chinese army of 5000 troops shamelessly snaked over to Lakadh and annexed 60 square kilometers of India in Ladakh. Such brazen boldness was least expected at a time like this.
Then the worst happened! The bloodiest India-China clash in 40 years took place after this annexation, leaving 20 Indian soldiers and a colonel killed in a very brutal Medieval attack on our Indian soldiers by the Chinese troops in Ladakh’s Galwan Valley. This inflamed the already stoking fires in the border standoff between the two sides. As we know today, Chinese troops have entered the Finger 2 area of Pangong Tso provoking Indian military repercussions. Is China pushing for a war taking advantage of the situation today?
One Big Reason for the Attacks from Our Neighboring Countries
We have a hundred arguments as to why we are attacked, but the truth is no one can harm us if we are strong within. The enemy is always within and not outside. Our main problem is the new climate of hate emerging in India reinforced by spurious hate speech from insidious groups twinning venom into the fabric of our nation propagating fear between the different religions. This new climate that emerged has never been witnessed to these high proportions in India before. The right wingers actually deny this, but they cannot restrain even from online abuse, further proving this hate is true.
Divide and Rule: Media and platforms of social media especially WhatsApp generate the highest volumes of fake news designed to divide and rule fragment the country to build religious tensions between Hindus and Muslims. However, this fake news spun out by Godi Media and morphed videos were busted and lies were exposed through fact-finding agencies. Police cases are registered against these media outfits. The CAA bill marked divisions in India. Hate heated up the nation and India never saw so many burning buses, houses, even people burned alive, gun shots and violence erupting all over the country. Over time, it was learned that rioters were planted to malign the peaceful nature of the protests.
They work situations to put hatred between Hindus and Christians. False stories of conversion are spun around. In one instance, for example, a neighbor asked a Christian for a Bible and he gave it; within minutes, the cops were called and the neighbor told the police that the Christian man was forcefully trying to convert them. The cops got that Christian neighbor arrested for trying to “covert” his neighbor. Such are the false perceptions created to generate fears and divide Indians further.
Since 2016 to 2020, there is over 100% rise of hate crimes against Christians all over the nation with physical violence, attacks on women, children, burning down churches, threats, intimidation, and house churches forcibly closed down by religious fanatics and local authorities and even killing Christians. Those hate crimes will never be reported by main Media because “it is a sensitive issue.” In 2019, it is recorded by the Open Doors World Watch List that India is the 10th Most Dangerous Country to Live in for Christians where previously it was the 31st. This rise is in just a few years. The recent terrible killing of Samaru Madkami 14 who was lynched, hacked into pieces by a group of religious fanatics in Odisha, was a religious hate crime. An unhealthy, unnatural, and exaggerated propaganda about Christians converting is being spread causing this increased hatred and violence.
In an atmosphere of fear and hatred, prosperity cannot produce its fruit and creativity and inventory cannot build its pathway.
The neighboring countries are watching this atmosphere of hate and instability and it empowers them. They are taking advantage of our internal divisions and rising hate. The constant threat to Indian citizens of “Go to Pakistan” is degenerating the word “Pakistan” making it sound like anathema to many Indians. This negativity and hate vibes from in India has united the neighbors against India to deeper degrees. Right wingers often snarl to the others if they complain about the hate, “If you don’t like it, leave the country.” India has always had Russian support; today Russia, China, and the Middle East are getting closer.
Financial Downfall: People want to invest in a country which is politically stable in a tranquil atmosphere enhanced by loving friendly people. Such nations thrive. Luxembourg in Europe is now known to be the richest country in the world. If you study the social climate in the country, you will find it peaceful and happy. No one wants to invest in a country with political unrest with the threat of riots to spurt out any minute, terror of hate religious crimes or fear of rapes and murders. With the release of goons by political parties to meet their ends, there was a loose noose of law enforcement over these criminals, who are quickly released and even garlanded or applauded sometimes. With this political message from the men on top, rapists and murderers are now empowered and set out on a rampage of raping girls and women and then setting them on fire.
Through this, the neighboring countries got a signaling that India is not a country to invest in. They are drifting away from making serious investments in India. President Trump and Prime Minister Xi did not make any major trade deals with India and even though there was great talk of doing so, nothing materialized. There are scarcities of jobs also after the COVID pandemic. Tourism was at its lowest ebb even before the COVID crisis. In the past, Western nations would flock to India, but in recent years, they prefer holidaying in Hawaii, the Bahamas, Mediterranean countries or Europe, as India seems a battle-zone to them right now. Our neighboring countries took advantage of these cracks of economic meltdown and rose to hit us down even further.
Insecurity: India is not a Red Samurai nation, but a democratic secular republic and the world has always applauded India for its vibrant democratic environment and energy. If the ruling party leaders show the world it hates its minorities, it is choking its democratic air and the world will not feel as secure about India. The hate speeches of Hindutva nationals against Muslims would incite fanatical and terror groups outside India. The recent attacks in Kashmir increased to the proportion of hate speeches spewed by the fanatical pseudo-nationals.
This does not send out positive waves for India. When we talk about tackling terrorism and then tyrannize our own citizens with fear tactics, are we any different? Introspect, look within and see the message we are giving the world.
A divided house will fall drastically. India became a divided house. Even when the Opposition was willing to stand with the BJP, the BJP would suddenly turn around and humiliate Opposition leaders in a personal humiliating capacity. It becomes difficult to stand with a Government which turns against its own people. Atal Bihari Vajpayee of the BJP ruling from 1998 to 1999, followed by a full term from 1999 to 2004 governed India far better and had better relations with the Opposition parties. India was able to progress to a good level in those years.
I know a girl whose mother was constantly telling others terrible things about her own daughter. People started to isolate the daughter, but later, the mother herself lost her credibility and respect. In the end, the house and family fell together, while the neighbors watched spitefully.
When a country is divided, it is weak, and that is when the neighboring countries will draw in their weapons to wound it and bring it down. The people who are causing these divisions forgot one thing – a divided house within itself will fall and crumble, and they too will fall when the house crashes. By calling your own citizens anti-national is only weakening India’s strengths when you fight your own.