NEWS & VIEWS
Recently, the Economic Times quoting Chinese state media stated: “The Maldives asking India to take back its military helicopters and personnel deployed there reflects the country’s increasing desire to rid itself of the excessive Indian influence.” Global Times also in its editorial highlighted Indian anxieties with regard to Maldives stating that “India has a strong desire to control South Asian countries, as it regards the region as its backyard. It was wrong on the part of Indian diplomats and security officials to think that the move by the island nation came at the behest of China, which does not interfere in any country’s internal affairs”. India has always desired for keeping Maldives as its client state, and attempted to install a pro-India government by hook or by crook. The crisis in Maldives emerged because of Indian interference, which considers Maldives President as pro-Chinese.
India is particularly sensitive to any effort by small South Asian states toward independence and sovereignty, especially their ties with other major powers. All small South Asian nations want to extricate themselves from India’s domination and hegemony. The problem is that India views Sino-Maldivian ties with anxieties, as Maldives has been trying to engage China to construct a port in Northern Atoll, which straddles West Asia, South East Asia and is located close to India’s Lakshadweep Island i.e. 700 km. In August 2017, Maldives also permitted three Chinese warships to visit the country overruling India’s protest. Indian designs of establishing hegemony in the region are not hidden from anyone. In pursuance to this malicious agenda, India has been interfering in internal affairs of neighboring countries. It had gone all out to downgrade sovereign state of Nepal into its client state; however there is resistance against Indian hegemonic designs.
India, despite friendly ties with Pro-India Bangladeshi Government led by Awami League, exerted pressure to resolve Teesta river dispute on Indian terms. Analysts are of the view that Modi’s confrontationist posture towards neighbors is unlikely to benefit India; and they suggest that India stands to gain by giving them respect. Of course, India is wary of China’s increasing influence in Nepal, Maldives and Sri Lanka. Nepal has been a prime target of Indian deep state stratagem to make it a client state after subduing Bhutan and Maldives. Nepal has many a time tried to get rid of India’s influence, but due to being a landlocked country and trade dependence, Nepal had to compromise to avoid India’s wrath. 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 turmoil and confrontation.
However, when it did adopt a federal, democratic and secular Constitution in 2015, India had instigated Madheshi and Tharu people living in Terai region of Nepal. Those proxies said to be of Indian origin created unrest through protests, and India enforced economic blockade of Nepal in 2015, which resulted in a serious shortages of food, medicines and fuel etc., thus adding to the miseries of Nepalese people. On 8th February 2018, Nepal’s Communist parties secured an overwhelming majority in the Upper House of Parliament with 39 seats out of 56 seats, paving the way for the Leftist alliance to form the country’s government led by its leader KP Sharma Oli. Earlier, the Left alliance of the CPN-UML and CPN-Maoist Centre had secured 174 seats in the 275-member Parliament in the country’s historic provincial and parliamentary polls in 2015 that many hoped could bring much-needed political stability to the Himalayan nation.
People of Nepal are valiant and they have been resisting India’s hegemonic designs, which India appears to have realised belatedly. In January 2018, during the meeting with the leaders of Terai based parties, India’s External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj said that constitution amendment was internal issue of Nepal; thus the Terai based leaders should cooperate with the left alliance government and resolve the issue of constitutional amendment. Moreover, by intervening in Sri Lanka’s domestic politics decades ago, first by propping up the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam, and then by sending military forces to ‘keep peace’ there, it ended up creating bigger problems for itself. India should learn lesson from the history and stay away from interfering in the messy domestic politics of its neighbors. Since India knows that Pakistan is the hurdle in its hegemonic designs, it is trying to destabilise Pakistan.
India has excellent relations with Afghan government and also NDS, and through them India is trying to promote ethnic disharmony in Pakistan. Although, there is some positive change in Afghan government’s attitude, yet after Taliban’s attack in Gazny fingers of accusation are being pointed towards Pakistan because of RAW-NDS nexsus, Afghan government should seriously do something to facilitate the return of its refugees in a dignified way. Apart from that, Indian government recently stooped so low as to use Cine Employees Federation for placing a ban on Pakistani artists/technicians for working in Indian producers’ films. These India’s shenanigans and intrigues cannot help the Afghan government. There is unprecedented increase in the attacks of Taliban as well as in the causalities of Afghan National Defence Forces. Gains of the Taliban have once again proved that the peace in Afghanistan cannot come without direct and purposeful dialogue with the Taliban.
—The writer is a senior journalist based in Lahore.