Modi’s Hawkish Style of Leadership

Author Name: Shaza Arif       27 Jan 2021     Regional security/Region

The leaked WhatsApp conversation of popular Indian journalist Arnab Goswami with former Broadcast Audience Research Council (BARC) CEO Partho Dasgupta has exposed the true face and intentions of Prime Minister Narendra Modi. conversation makes it fairly evident that India state-managed the Pulwama incident on 15 February 2019 and the Balakot strikes on 26 February 2019 to secure more votes in the elections scheduled a few months later by flaring up anti-Pakistan sentiment in the Indian public.

Modi’s actions clearly indicate that he has used the “Diversionary Theory of War’’ according to which leaders tend to instigate war in order to divert the attention of the masses from internal domestic issues. It is widely known that Modi favors ultra-nationalism as a tool to revamp his political stature. Instead of showing notable progress in fundamental areas such as economy, employment, healthcare, poverty-reduction and other important issues, he tends to please the Indian public, particularly the Hindu-hardliners by taking aim at Pakistan which is generally very sellable in India.

After taking his seat as the Prime Minister, Narendra Modi manipulated the Indian media in spreading an anti-Pakistan narrative across the whole country with channels instigating hatred towards the country. Pakistan’s Prime Minister, Imran Khan has rightly pointed out that the leaked conversation has revealed an unholy nexus between the Modi government and Indian media. The content of the conversation implies that Goswami knew about the government decisions well ahead of time which suggests that both Balakot and Pulwama were pre-planned and state- managed.

The most appalling aspect of the text exchange was the joy expressed by the Indian journalist over spiking Television Rating Points (TRPs) due to the death of Indian soldiers, which indicates that human lives, even those of their own soldiers have no value in Indian politics.

Another aspect which needs due attention is that Prime Minister Modi did not hesitate to politicize the Armed Forces by getting them involved for his own vested interests and used them in a way that could have borne disastrous results. This, in itself is a stark reflection of his personality and lack of a moral compass.

On the one hand, Indian leadership accuses Pakistan of sponsoring terrorism in India without any concrete proof, while itself masterminding activities that are threatening regional stability and undermining bilateral relations.

Analyzing all aspects of this recent episode, it becomes evident that India is not interested in fostering durable peace in the region. This dangerous style of leadership will have grave implications not only for South Asia, but also India itself. Modi’s actions will ensure that South Asia remains in a perpetual state of conflict. This perilous military adventurism can result in major conflict between the two nuclear-armed countries making the region even more prone to instability. The world must understand that these actions will not only impact India and Pakistan, but also the world at large. Shouldn’t something be done before it is too late?

Another area which requires due attention is that by spreading hatred against Pakistan, Indian leadership is corrupting the minds of Indian youth which will further strain an already-tense relationship between both countries for years to come.

For Pakistan, this development is neither new nor surprising, rather it is a reaffirmation that current Prime Minister of India is willing to disregard regional peace for personal glorification. Throughout his election campaigns in 2014 and 2019, and to date, Modi’s hostility towards Pakistan and his keenness to take reckless actions remains unchanged, and if anything has become far worse.

While the world has witnessed that Pakistan was able to avoid major escalation due to its calculated and responsible response, it should draw important lessons from Modi’s recklessness.

The Pulwama crises may not be the last of its kind rather the Modi regime will always remain active in this regard. More incidents of the same magnitude could be staged again for his personal aggrandizement.

Pakistan should maintain its preparedness in all domains to counter any aggression from the Indian side, while at the same time, remaining pro-active in pursuing diplomatic measures. It needs to highlight that India is acting irresponsibly, and more aggressive actions are expected noting the hawkish actions of the country’s leadership.

Consequently Pakistan should effectively highlight Modi’s heretical leadership style and create more awareness about the severe implications of his actions.

This leaked conversation reaffirms Pakistan’s stance on Indian aggressiveness and also serves as a good example to highlight India’s role as a regional bully under Prime Minister Modi.

Shaza Arif is a Researcher at the Centre for Aerospace & Security Studies (CASS). She can be reached at cass.thinkers@gmail.com

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