By M D Nalapat
4 Oct 2008
The nightmare of the Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) - and its jihadi allies - is an India that becomes an economic powerhouse, able to clothe, house, feed and provide health and security to all its citizens. During the three decades ending this year, China leveraged its relationship with the US to achieve unprecedented economic growth. The collapse of the USSR, combined with the likelihood of China displacing the US within a decade as the primary power in Asia, has increasingly led Washington to seek a new ally in India, a country with which the US already has a dense web of economic, social, and now, defence linkages.
Should this get leveraged through a policy of placing India’s national interests first and avoiding harmful compromises such as downgrading interaction with Iran or slowing down the missile and thorium programme, by 2018 India will be on track to becoming the fourth-largest economy in the world, after the US, China and the EU. With each surge in Indo-US relations, those within the US establishment who are in denial over the reality of Pakistan being the epicentre of jihadi terror will grow weaker.
Only one factor has the potential to derail growing Indo-US economic and other ties, and this is an attack on Christians, of the sort seen recently in Orissa and Karnataka. Conversions cannot be prevented by legislation or the use of armed force by either the police or vigilantes. The overwhelming majority of Christians in India are uninvolved in the efforts of a few to convert those of other faiths, and it is a fact that much of the country’s health and educational infra-structure has been built by followers of the religion. Each convert is testimony to the need to rid Hindu society of social practices that are - and have always been - an affront to human dignity.
Swami Chinmayananda and the followers of Swami Ramakrishna early on recognised that the only way to inoculate the majority community against conversion to another faith was to instil within them an understanding of the multiple and vibrant strands of India’s 5,000-year-old traditional faith. One that enshrines “Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam” and Sanatan Dharma, which teaches us the universal truth, that there are many paths to realisation of divinity within us.
In 1997, this writer had written in this newspaper about his vision of “Indutva”. A word that encapsulates the fact that every Indian, no matter to which faith she or he belongs, exemplifies the fusion of the Vedic, the Mughal and the Western. The three civilisational strands have come together in India, and can ensure social cohesion and harmony that would be a nightmare not just for the ISI, but for those in China too that are nervous at India’s steady climb to great power status. Several policymakers in Islamabad and Beijing must have been gleeful at reports of churches being targeted in Karnataka.
In order to battle international jihad, India needs to craft strong alliances with Christian-majority and Muslim-majority countries across the globe. India needs to emerge as a favoured destination for both Russian as well as Arab capital, both of which are at present concentrated in Europe and the US, to the financial and geopolitical detriment of Russian and Arab investors, who have collectively lost tens of billions of euros in the meltdown caused by the Bush administration’s policies of promotion of unbridled greed.
All this assumes an India at peace with itself, and where places of worship of all communities are protected. The objective of the ISI is to create wedges between Indian and Indian, so that the country becomes the next Yugoslavia, a medley of ethnicities that finally falls apart in a violent spasm. The jihadis are only the most obvious instrument of such a policy of promotion of disintegration of India. Unfortunately for the country, by their acts of violence and segregation, some citizens who claim to be patriots are by their activities emerging as the closest allies of international jihad in India.
A one-time resident editor of the Times of India, Professor M. D. Nalapat is director of the School of Geopolitics of the Manipal Academy of Higher Education, India.
Source: The Times Of India, New Delhi