India's security lies in strong nationalism
IANS | 12 Feb, 2023
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India's national security has been weakened because an ill-conceived
narrative has been built by elements in the political opposition, that
the country was ruled by a 'Hindu' government, not a BJP government -
denying the fact of the BJP has come to power through an established
electoral process. Also, notwithstanding the principle of 'one man one
vote', they projected a legitimate rule by the majority as a movement
Ignoring the constitutional
test that all citizens continued to have the same opportunities and
protection of the law, the narrative further alleged that the minorities
in the country - principally the largest one of Muslims - had been put
in jeopardy by the present regime.
The concept that India
represents 'unity in diversity' is being misinterpreted to claim that
beyond 'freedom of worship' there was also freedom for 'communities' and
'regions' not to consider themselves as a part of the common nationhood
denoted by democratic India.
In some or the other form, the subversive idea that India was a land of multiple 'sub-nationalities' is being still propagated.
from a deliberate dilution of the declaration by our Constitution that
India was a Union of states and disregard of the express mention of the
word 'Nation' in the Preamble, to the political stand of sections of the
Opposition that in vital matters like saluting the national flag or
standing up during the singing of the national anthem, minorities should
be allowed an option, there is a constant denial of national unity of
Diversity of customs, social practices and festivities is
being presented as proof that India could never have a shared culture
of national pride, common recognition of India's friends and adversaries
and a feeling of joint participation in the national effort for
economic advancement and defence consolidation.
narrative is backed by a set of historians who marshalled 'evidence' to
emphasise that India was never a nation in the past - forgetting that
what is important is to build India of the present, into a strong nation
for the benefit of all its citizens.
The internal security and
stability of India are clearly threatened by external forces operating
in collusion with elements inside, to whip up the issue of ill-treatment
of the Muslim minority in India under the present regime and thus
create a situation where communal militancy could be exploited for
fomenting faith-based terrorism. They are doing this even though the
average Muslim knew that schemes for the poor would benefit the
community as well and realised that any case of public violence by
extremist elements had to be blamed on the law & order failure of
the concerned state administration - not on the Modi government at the
The majority-minority divide is being escalated out of
political motives with the opposition making the calculation that since
Hindus were in any case splintered because of caste, region and
ideology, the consolidation of Muslim votes behind it would be
Those indulging in 'Minority politics'
carry distorted notions of what would 'please' the Muslim minority -
like questioning the authenticity of the 'surgical strike' against
Pakistan, alleging that the Modi government was pushing India towards
becoming a 'Hindu Rashtra' even though they knew that the Constitution
did not permit any denominational stamp being carried by the elected
political executive and projecting CAA as a move against Indian Muslims
whereas it was specifically meant only to accommodate non-Muslim
subjects of 'Islamic' states around India facing violent suppression
All this propaganda could encourage Indian Muslims to
identify themselves with Islamic regimes elsewhere and subscribe to the
idea of Ummah - which is a notion being promoted once again by Pakistan
in its National Security Policy. Pakistan has declared India as its
principal adversary and reaffirmed Pakistan's right to 'protect' the
interests of India's Muslim minority.
For reasons of electoral
gains, political lobbies in India aided by anti-India forces outside are
even questioning the security strategy of the Modi government of having
no talks with Pakistan until that country gave up the use of
cross-border terrorism as an instrument of its state policy.
has to handle the serious situation that was being created by those
players in our domestic politics who would not place national security
As India proceeds with comprehensive measures
during its chairmanship of G20, to establish its place as a world power
and put it in the lead of the Global South in general and South Asia in
particular, certain international lobbies are also stepping up their
campaign to show that India was a highly divided nation lacking in
internal cohesion. They are even deprecating the democratic content of
the Indian state. This has to be effectively countered with the help of
Think 20, Women 20 and Civil 20 and through further activation of
diplomacy and outreach.
Pakistan, backed by China, is raking up
the issue of Kashmir and repeating the call for resumption of talks
between India and Pakistan- with Shehbaj Sharif, Pak Prime Minister
pretending to project Pakistan as a neighbour that did not want another
war with India, and desperately trying to earn some weightage with the
Unsurprisingly, Shehbaz Sharif kept silent on cross-border
terrorism against India and advanced the familiar plea that Pakistan was
itself a 'victim' of terror- possibly referring to the doings of TTP
but clearly covering up for Pak ISI's known collusion with Taliban, Al
Qaeda and ISIS.
The forums of G20 under India's Presidency
should find a way of getting the participating countries to condemn
'extremism and radicalisation' and while highlighting the importance of
inter-faith harmony, persuade global Islamic organisations and their
Indian counterparts to clearly reiterate that there was no place for
Jehad for solving any disputes in today's world.
The role of
Think 20 and Civil 20 in particular is going to be extremely important
in this- they must receive guidance from the NSCS functioning under the
National Security Advisor.
India's economic advancement is as important as safeguarding our national security as part of the global security environment.
the South Asian perspective, security issues are important not only for
India but for the world at large. G20 must warn the democratic world
against the continuing threat of faith-based terror fomented by
Pakistan-India has been doing this at all international platforms so
far. This will require a lot of analysis and preparatory work. It has to
be remembered that India must be secure and economically strong for
becoming a major world power.
It is important that India deftly
handles the so-called Islamic world for countering the machinations of
Pakistan against this country on the communal front. The Muslim
Brotherhood had originated in Syria and Egypt as an Islamic movement
against the 'nationalist' and pro-Soviet Arab leaders - Hafeez Assad and
President Nasser - had revived its hold on Egypt in Mohammad Morsi's
time and pushed the country towards Islamic extremism. It is relevant to
note here that the founder of Jamaat-e-Islami on the Indian
sub-continent before Independence, was also an admirer of the
The Jamaat has been the principal instrument of
building a fundamentalist regime in Pakistan. With the advent of the
Presidentship of Abdul Fatteh Al Sisi, Egypt is back on the path of
nationalism and moderate Islam that suits India.
In recent years
countries like Qatar, Yemen, Turkey and Malaysia have emerged in
parallel to Saudi Arabia - they have accommodated Islamic radicals
hostile to the US-led West. Pakistan has found a way of cultivating
these countries while retaining its old bonds with Saudi Arabia.
has a close friendship with Saudi Arabia and UAE who are on the right
side of the US politically and who have like Egypt under President Al
Sisi, shown an accommodating stance towards Israel.
The move of
India to invite the President of Egypt as the Chief Guest at the
Republic Day Parade adds to the outreach of the Modi regime in the
Muslim world and helps to counter Pakistan's mischief of playing the
Muslim card against India.
Pakistan has set Indo-Pak relations in
a Hindu-Muslim framework and deliberately tried to revive the
environment of Partition- it is aware that as many Muslims lived in
India as in Pakistan at present.
The secular Republic of India
is a contrast to the Islamic state of Pakistan in terms of the total
equality of rights including the right to worship conferred on all its
citizens. There is no reason for Indian Muslims to look up to Pakistan
for any 'political' support and this is the stand of many Islamic
establishments here including Darul Uloom Deoband that rebuff the
attempts of Pakistan to meddle in the affairs of Muslims of India.
for their vested interest, many players in domestic politics join hands
with the Ulema and communal elite guiding the Muslims, in playing
minority politics and encouraging a separatist ethos in the community.
This is a challenge on the internal security front that has to be met in
Defining features of nationalism that
embrace all the communities here have to be emphasised and their values
instilled among all citizens while stringent action was taken against
agents of the adversaries creating internal disruption here in one way
or the other.
'Sabka Saath Sabka Vikas Sabka Vishwas' is a
perfect call for the economic development of all regardless of community
labels and is somewhere a counter to any propaganda that minorities did
not have the same opportunities as others had.
'One man one
vote' establishes political equality while the right to worship
demonstrated socio-cultural freedom. There is equality before the law
guaranteed by the highest court of the land - any failure of law and
order on the part of a state can be questioned legally and through the
force of public opinion.
The politics of minority separatism
weakens national security and the collective well-being of citizens. We
have strong penal provisions against incitement to communal violence.
The threat to internal security arises from open or covert attempts of
the anti-India lobbies to mix religion with politics and claim a
separate political identity for the largest minority.
high positions have been on record pressing for a 'share in political
power at the Centre for Muslims' - how different this line is from what
the pre-Partition Muslim League stood for, is difficult to understand.
Why should Muslims be led only by Muslims politically and why should
Muslims not be in leadership positions for the majority community on the
basis of advocacy for the common nationhood of India?
declarations of the Bali R20 meet regarding respect for and recognition
of other faiths and rejection of extremism and radicalisation, should be
utilised for highlighting the idea that India was politically one and
that in the sphere of religion no 'supremacism' can be claimed by one
Culture as a gift of religion must emphasise the common
good for all as also the common benefit that a strong nation brought to
all its citizens. India will be strong if all citizens uphold it as one
nation - any propaganda to the contrary strikes national security at its
roots and should be firmly put down.
(The writer is a former Director of the Intelligence Bureau. The views expressed are personal)
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