The BJP win for a second consecutive term in 2019 was a phenomenal success for Narendra Modi. The junta was looking at him to help them get rid of hunger, poverty, unemployment, illiteracy and other socio-economic evils. In August 2019, the BJP-dominated Parliament revoked the Indian-occupied Kashmir’s constitutional autonomy and split it into two federal territories: Jammu & Kashmir and Ladakh. The unilateral action annoyed both Pakistan and China. Modi followed with a legislation spree that targeted the 20 million Muslims of India.
These were the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA), the Citizenship Amendment Bill (CAB), the National Register of Citizens (NRC) and the National Security Act (NSA). The legislation was primarily aimed at changing India from a secular to a Hindu state where Muslims would be relegated as second-class citizens. Modi thus revealed himself as a hardcore member of the RSS rather than the prime minister of India, a constitutionally secular country and demographically a multi-religious, multi-cultural state. He represents India’s fast-developing patronizing attitude towards its neighbours. Modi also expedited the execution of India’s strategic plans in Iran and Afghanistan, primarily to isolate and destabilise Pakistan by sponsoring terrorism through Afghan soil, fuelling an insurgency in Balochistan and sabotaging CPEC.
However, karma (fate, destiny) tends to strike back as a result of one’s own actions. That started happening earlier in May 2020 when the Indian defence minister inaugurated the 80km Darchula-Lipulekh Pass link road, cutting across Kalapani, a disputed border area between Nepal and India. The Nepal Communist Party, the country’s ruling party, termed the road as a sheer violation of Nepal’s sovereignty as well as a stark example of bullying by its much larger neighbour. In retaliation, an irate Nepalese Parliament approved a new map that included Limpiyadhura, Lipulekh and Kalapani, the areas claimed by India. The map is indeed a severe blow to India’s overblown geo-strategic interests in the region. Then the Galwan River Valley of the Ladakh region near the Line of Actual Control (LAC) with China was turned into a graveyard of 20 Indian soldiers who were beaten to death in a border clash with Chinese forces. Showing India its true place, the Chinese also detained 10 Indian soldiers, who were later freed. India’s relations with China, Pakistan and Nepal may have been on the boil but its government does not get along very well with Bangladesh and Sri Lanka either. Quite surprisingly, with all the bad blood on its borders, India’s years-long diplomatic efforts came to fruition when it recently became a non-permanent member of the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) for a two-year term. India now needs all the more to act with responsibility so that its membership of the UNSC is truly justified. The situation at the LAC is still tense and could flare up into another border war between India and China. The Covid-19 pandemic has India really cornered, along with its on-going economic crisis. The 1962 defeat is still fresh in India’s mind as it braces itself for another military humiliation by China. It is a pity for Chanakya’s followers who believe in befriending the enemy’s enemy that they are now losing their age-old friends next doors. For India, the law of karma has come full circle.