Indian ostracism in South Asia


Dr Muhammad Khan
Since last few weeks there is a state of emergency in the Maldives, the island South Asian state. This emergency though triggered by political crisis and differences between the Government of President Adullah Yameen and opposition, has deep involvement of Indian Government. In fact, India has been involved in the destabilisation of successive governments in Maldives ever since 1988, once there was a coup attempt made by a group of rebels along with missionaries against the Maldives Government. Indian Navy conducted Operation Cactus and rescued the then Government.
It was later revealed that, India stage managed the coup in Maldives and later sent its Navy to project its military in Indian Ocean. This entire episode had two subtexts; first, India, owing to its geographical proximity with all South Asian states can assist in their security upon any external aggression or even to mitigate the domestic political crisis. Secondly, Indian military is strong enough to quell any military attempt in South Asia and Indian Ocean Region. But, the overall and dominant objective was to prove its supremacy and military might (power politics) over the region and all regional states of South Asia.
Under the current crisis, with a state of emergency in the Island state, India is trying to create further division and chaos to create a cause for its interference as it has done in the past. The steps taken by the incumbent Government have been criticised by the India, declaring that, the state of emergency imposed in the country is unconstitutional. The Foreign Office of Maldives has strongly responded the Indian Government. A per spokesperson of Maldives, “There is no doubt that the Maldives is experiencing one of the most difficult periods in the history of the nation, yet, it is important that friends and partners in the international community, including India, refrain from any actions that could hinder resolving the situation facing the country.”
Since Maldives Government has understood the Indian strategy therefore, has reacted strongly against any Indian involvement. It is worth mentioning that, India has been interfering in the internal affairs of almost all South Asian countries since decades. Nepal, Sri Lanka, Bhutan, Bangladesh and even Afghanistan have been experiencing the Indian involvement. Unfortunately, despite being a Hindu state, Nepal remains a prime target of Indian deep state stratagem to coerce the country as client state. Nepal has many a times tried to break the octopus squeeze of India. But due to geographically landlocked position, contiguity and trade dependence, Nepal had to compromise to avoid the wrath of India. So immense was the Indian interference in Nepalese socio-politico and economic affairs that the nation could not adopt a consensus constitution after a decade of political infighting. Literally, Nepalese sovereignty remained hostage to India.
Within Nepal, Indian RAW and other government officials have been instigating Madheshi and Janjati people living in Terai regions. These proxies created unrest through protests, thus proving a cause to India for enforcing economic blockade of Nepal. The blockade of 2015 resulted into a serious shortages of food, medicine and fuel, multiplying the miseries of Nepalese people who had already braced the deadliest earth quake. But, there is a strong hate against Indian policies in Nepal. In recent past, there have been protests and in some cases, protesters marched in Kathmandu and rest of the country even burning effigies of Indian Prime Minister, Narindra Modi. They even vociferously chanted slogans like “Down with Indian expansionism! Down with Modi.
Nepalese nation broke the shackles of India and are bravely expressing that their sovereignty cannot remain mortgaged to the Indian imperialism. It is to be noted that, People of Madhesi and Tharu etc were systematically migrated from Indian states of Bihar and UP to create an ethnic imbalance for complete control of Nepal as the country is strategically most important vis-à-vis China. It is shameful for the Indian secular character that, it state machinery has been involved in human trafficking of Nepalese girls and even children later ending up as sex workers. India’s interventionist and expansionist scheming, hegemonic designs, bullying tactics continuously applied over the neighboring countries need to be projected in a manner that exposes her real intents and aspirations.
Quoting Chines News Portal, ‘The New York Times’ has revealed that, eleven Chinese warships sailed into the East Indian Ocean in February 2018. The prestigious newspaper has disclosed that, “A fleet of destroyers and at least one frigate, a 30,000-tone amphibious transport dock and three support tankers entered the Indian Ocean.” This deployment of Chines Navy is indeed, being attributed to the crisis situation in Maldives. The independent sources have confirmed that, India is opposing the current Maldives Government ever since, President Yameen signed an agreement with China on Beijing’s Belt and Road initiative to build trade and transport links across Asia and beyond. Indeed, China has signed such deals with countries in Asia and Africa in line with its Belt and Road initiative to improve imports of key commodities, upgrade infrastructure and trade routes in the region and boost its diplomatic clout. China has even invited India to be part of it. India rather responding positively on this gigantic global initiative has started opposing China and its Belt and Road Initiative. On its west, India is opposing China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC).
Though India is enjoying substantial regional influence across South Asia due to its size, geographical proximity, comparative economic might, and historical relevance, it cannot be allowed to interfere in the internal affairs of the South Asian countries. Under the changing regional and global security environment, it is strongly felt that, China must play a part in South Asia to balance the growing Indian influence as India is trying to marginalise the smaller states of this region.
— The writer, Professor of Politics and International Relations, is based in Islamabad.

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