SPARE the rod, spoil the child, unfortunately, the international community seems to have forgotten this quote. India, the world’s largest democracy, is single-handedly attempting to destabilize the region and force South Asia into an open conflict. However, the international community seems quite content with letting India throw its tantrums and doing nothing to rein it in. The analogy of comparing India with petulant child may seem to be a bit harsh or even cruel but unfortunately, for the lack of a better comparison I have to opt for this analogy.
In the past half a decade, India has resorted to violate Pakistan’s territory, revoked Kashmir’s autonomous status, engages in a conflict with China over the Dokhlam Plateau, has been caught red-handed in espionage activities in Pakistan, openly supported violent Hindu extremists and has officially declared that it believes the nuclear capability of Pakistan to be a ‘bluff’. These characteristics are comparable to a child that has tied a cape and wants to jump off the roof of a building, just because he ‘believes’ he can fly. No amount of reasoning, rationale or common sense can force that child to come down from the building. Only the fear of punishment and deterrence can force some sense into the child. Unfortunately, in the case of India, this is not a possibility. The international community has remained inattentive either deliberately or unknowingly and as is the case with inattentive parents, the children have no concept of punishment or consequences, so is with India.
India has openly defied the United Nations Security Council Resolutions by revoking the special status of Kashmir but no concrete measures and steps have been taken by the international community to either punish or deter India. Students of Realpolitik always argue that the international relations hath no moral compass, it only does what is right for its interests and it seems that the liberalist arguments of global harmony and sustainable peace have been dealt a death blow by the problem child of South Asia.
The entire international community is praising India’s space program and the determination that took the aspirations of a billion people to space. Make no mistake, I am not going to sit here and tell you that India’s space program feats are not worth applauding, it is indeed a massive milestone for the country and deserve to be appreciated but are we seriously going to ignore the hell on earth that has been created for the Kashmiris? Is the international community going to be appreciative of India for trying to land a rover in space while it continues to lay down bodies in Kashmir?
The threat and danger of India’s insistence of carrying out unilateral actions in the region will only lead to further instabilities. It needs to be remembered that India claims that its borders with China are also disputed and this has already led to the Dokhlam standoff. If India’s current behavior is anything to go by, it seems a conflict with China is also imminent. With South Asia (including China) being home to more than a quarter of the world’s population and three nuclear weapons states, the question that begs to be asked is can the international community afford to be complacent about these actions?
Instead of blessing India with more technology transfers and civil nuclear deals, focus of the international community should be towards punishing India for its gross human rights violations and to make it aware of the concept of consequences of its unilateral actions. For now, the people of Kashmir can only hope and pray that the rest of the international community is shook awake from its deep slumber.
—The writer works at the Islamabad Policy Research Institute as a Consultant.