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Cecil Victor. April 26. 2014. MODI LOOK WEST POLICY


Editorial. Cecil Victor. April XXVI. XIV








Narender Modi-fnbworld


Manmohan Sigh-Narender Modi-fnbworld

If and when he comes to power in New Delhi,  Narendra  Modi will have to follow ‘weak’ Prime Minister  Manmohan Singh (Trojan horse Sanjay Baru notwithstanding)  rather than the sterile Pakistan policy of Atal Behari Vajpayee. If for no other reason than that Manmohan has laid the foundations of a “detour” that will undercut Pakistan’s “strategic barrier” intended to keep India out of the near horizon in Afghanistan.  It currently has the advantage of delinking India from its historical relationship with the new emerging nations of the Commonwealth of Independent States that were, till the 1990s, the Central Asian Republics of the Soviet Union.

Manmohan Sigh-Narender Modi-fnbworld

Manmohan Singh has managed the entente cordiale with Iran with a great deal of finesse (even in the teeth of American sanctions against that country) to shepherd India’s national interests through the troubled waters of the Gulf.  He has made it possible to open up a link with Afghanistan that will end Pakistan’s policy of depriving India of a west bound land corridor under the diktat of the “recessed” military establishment.

An example: The recent closure of the trade route between the two halfs of Kashmir by a ploy initiated by an agent of the Pakistan Army Inter-Services Intelligence who tried to bamboozle India into granting diplomatic immunity to a drug smuggler who was caught bringing in a truckload of Pakistani narcotics. For more than a month truckers from both sides were caught between the two checkposts. This did not happen because of actions of the favourite culprit the “non-state actor”. It was a retired Major General – the breed that has been entrusted with the job of creating the new Caliphate in the region with its epicenter in Pakistan using non-state actors as the spearhead.


That Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif did not raise a finger fast enough to end the charade as soon as it happened highlights the phenomenon of a democratically elected Prime Minister playing hostage to the military diktat. His stand on granting India the Most Favoured Nation treatment is another blatant example.


Pakistani jihadis-fnbworld

The jihadis within the Pakistani political milieu are waiting with open arms for the arrival of Narendra Modi. The moment he begins where Atal Behari Vajpayee left off after his ‘bus diplomacy’ was punctured by General Pervez Musharraf he would be walking into the ‘talk trap’ of the composite dialogue and the focus would be removed from Pakistani-sponsored terrorism.  The chapters of Indo-Pak relations during the Vajpayee-led NDA governance includes Kargil even when  sane voices were warning that Siachen should be removed from the negotiating table because it leaves room for more attempts by the Pakistani military to nibble Indian territory.  And sure enough Kargil happened. It was done under the camouflage of “non state actors” by the Pakistan Army’s Northern Light Infantry initiated by the Chief of Army Staff himself. Musharraf says Nawaz Sharif was briefed about the operation. Sharief says he was “not in the loop”. India under Modi is heading back to this façade of deniability and injured innocence.


If Modi is truly nationalistic he will take my advice that the onus should be put on both Pakistan and China by a demand that the territories under dispute that are under the control of these countries should become “crossroads of connectivity” by which, just as the two are utilizing the disputed territory to create road, rail and pipeline links between themselves, India should be allowed to use the Chinese-built Aksai Chin road in north Jammu and Kashmir for passage to Afghanistan’s Wakhan corridor. The link to Afghanistan could be a joint venture between China and India. It should be attractive to China  because it will give it a direct link to Afghanistan. The foundational diplomatese for this could be the pro forma ‘without prejudice to the claims  of all concerned’.


If Modi does not take this advice he will go down in history as the person who facilitated the creation of a Pak-China steel collar around India’s neck. The “Accidental Prime Minister” will come out as the one who created an alternative corridor through Iran to ensure that India retains its relevance to the world beyond Pakistan. 


Modi may believe that the clearance for the Most Favoured Nation treaty under a different camouflage is a goodwill gesture to him. He should look up what the Pakistan Army, through the use of its Taliban henchmen, did to the NATO convoys that, by a legally legitimate document, gave the right to free, untrammeled passage through  Pakistani territory for the NATO convoys. The same thing is going to happen to the Indian trucks that enter Pakistan through the Attari/Wagah  trade route or attempt to head for Afghanistan through the tribal areas of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (former North West Frontier Province).

Modi should concentrate on bringing to fruition the new trade route to Afghanistan through a modernised port at Chahbahar on the Iranian coastline. Iran has already created a road link to connect the port city to Zaranj where the India-built 200 km road from Delaram in Afghanistan arrives. At Dalaram the road links up with the Afghan ring road  which in a clockwise direction leads to Afghanstan’s Central Asian neighbours Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan and Tajikstan on the other side of the Amu Darya (Oxus River) which is so intimately linked to ancient Indian history.


Modi should exert himself to make his friends in the private sector to show more interest in the development of the Chahbahar Port unlike the indifference they showed when Sri Lanka floated the tenders for the Hambantota port which China scooped up in such a grand strategic coup. If the Indian private sector had shown some awareness of India’s strategic interest instead of just the profit motive, China would not be standing at our doorstep today.


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