India faces two hostile neighbours in Pakistan and China. They have been like that for about 70 years. They are likely to remain hostile for long time.
The only twist in the tale is the new bonds of friendship between Pakistan and China. As both nurse ill feelings about India, they make good friends. Pakistan thrives on bleeding India regularly. It used to suck America and ensure steady flow of dollars into its coffers under the US policy of containment of communism (USSR & China) during the Cold War. The end of the Cold War and emergence of terrorism as the new threat to stability and peace in the world in general and in the Asian region in particular has impacted foreign policy goals of major world powers. Pakistan was quick to adopt terrorism as its state policy to create trouble for India and deployed its rogue army to set up camps and train terrorists. By now the world knows that Pakistan runs terror factories and exports terrorists to selected destinations in the world. At a time when Pakistan has earned the reputation of a terror state and thus, become completely isolated, China has blessed it with its friendship and complete support, albeit for a small price.
That price is the Pakistani support for the Chinese policy of BRI (Belt & Road Initiative). It is under the Chinese policy that Pakistan has hypothecated the interests of its people to Chinese expansionist ambitions, which have been variously compared to the entry of the East India Company and ultimate subjugation of India and subsequent partition of the country. OBOR or One Belt, One Road and CPEC (China Pakistan Economic Corridor) are seductive expressions and allurements to the ruling Pakistani Generals, who are known to be living lavish lives at the cost of the poor people. These Generals have the weakness for power and wealth. That was exploited by America and other super powers earlier and is now being exploited by China.
These Pakistani Generals had created instability right from the day Pakistan was created. It soon bartered away democracy for military rule. Its Generals deposed elected prime ministers, hanged them or assassinated them openly, brutalized their own citizens, indulged in mass rapes of women in the erstwhile East Pakistan (now Bangladesh), broke the country into two and have created extremely volatile situations for breaking it further into many more independent nations such as Baluchistan. The Pakistani Generals thrive in this kind of instability and liberally contribute to create instability in the whole region, in particular in their neighbouring country Afghanistan.
It is the Pakistani Generals’ dictatorial temperament and attitude that China loves and which endears them to China. China is far removed from democracy. It acts dictatorial domestically and globally. It has no respect for international law. It seeks to justify its party dictatorship. Its people work in sweat shops. The communist revolution, which started as a movement for the rights of the peasants and labourers, has become the worst instrument of their exploitation in human history.
China is no global welfare state. It seeks to realize its economic goals through OBOR/CPEC. The grand projects are to silence the domestic clamour for democracy, human rights, fundamental rights, decent wages and non-military opportunities of livelihood. Currently they are suppressed. The day the real picture of the economic, educational, health and social conditions of the peasants and the labourers become known, the real picture of poverty and deprivation will expose the hollow claims of the revolution. This much of growth and progress could have been achieved even without loss of millions of lives in the name of revolution. Dictatorship of the party or the military Generals is simply nothing more than a mask for killing innocent people. It is such meeting of minds that has brought China and Pakistan closer.
But this is not a good sign. It would promote dictatorships, which combined with kingship in the region holding sway over vast territories, would only delay the changeover to democracy. It means perpetuation of exploitation of the peasants and labourers for a very long time.
There are reasons for both Pakistan and China harbouring hostility towards India. India wants to live in peace and seeks to promote peace globally. She believes in peaceful coexistence as good neighbours. India is a thriving democracy with a functional independent judiciary. It is distasteful to both Pakistan and china, none of whom wants democracy, rule of law, independent judiciary, fundamental rights, human rights or peace. There are meagre chances of either of them ever becoming a strong democracy in the near future. China had attacked India in 1962 and has since been indulging in border skirmishes since then. Now with Pakistan under its patronage, it need not take direct action against India anymore. It can achieve its goals through Pakistan, whose Generals are always itching to bleed India so that they can boast about their bravery before the people to justify military rule and suppress all movements for democracy in Pakistan. This condition is likely to continue for long.
In the circumstances, India has to formulate its policy taking into consideration the reality and discontinue the romantic view of peace and peaceful co-existence. With neighbours like Pakistan and China, only the powerful can imagine to live in peace.
India will need to continue to strengthen its democracy and rule of law. It has to establish its status in the comity of nations as a developed world democracy and economy. It alone can secure for India a respectful status in the region too. Pakistan and China are not adherents to secularism. Pakistan is an Islamic State. Pakistan has provided the Chief of Army to the combined military of about 40 Muslim Countries in the region. It can’t be ignored excepting at the cost of peaceful existence of India. The Pakistan sponsored terrorism against India is inspired by the single objective of destroying India and capture it so as to establish once again the rule of Islam in India. Presently the world has become a victim of a serious armed conflict between the crusaders and the jihadis. And this does not portend well for a secular country like India. There is no Hindu State in the world. Nepal was the only Hindu State, but it is no longer so. There are not many Buddhist States. Tibet lost its freedom for being a Buddhist country. Had it been an Islamic country, the history of Tibet would have been different. When the world is divided between the crusaders and jihadis, other minority religions have no negotiating power.
It gives a chance for a country like China to exploit the instability in the region by playing fundamentalists against the secularists and promote their own economic interests. China is today a technologically advanced state. Pakistan gets its military supplies from China, Russia, Europe, America and even Australia. India not only has to become a technologically advanced state fast, it has to establish its technical leadership in several critical fields rather very fast. It is a stupendous task at a time of de-industrialization.
Fortunately, it is not de-knowledge or anti-knowledge time. India’s strength lies in its healthy ideals of non-expansionism, peaceful co-existence and justice for all. With superior technological attainments, it can live with its ideals forever.