“At least today, stop listening to your Abida Parvin and destroy the DVD of Veer Zaara!” Declared my friends as they heard the live telecast of Sarabjit’s sister’s emotional outcry. And once again, the intrinsic diplomats within every Indian were aroused. We all began to deliver our verdicts as to how a rogue nation like Pakistan must be annihilated. The BJP erupted with their pseudo patriotism and the Congress desperately tried to balance all sides. And I began my cacophony yet again!
Around a week back, the Indian judiciary celebrated forty years of the landmark judgment of Kesavanada Bhararti v State of Kerala. The case, in many ways, had redefined the legal perspective of our nation. The verdict was a celebration of an evolving Indian democracy. The 700 pages long verdict had not just defined the parliament’s power to amend our constitution. It contained the synthesis of the constitutions of 71 different countries which the attorney general had relentlessly created!
The case had brought about a new doctrine in Indian Jurisprudence- The basic structure theory. It implied that the parliament could amend the constitution up to any extent until it altered the basic structure of our constitution.
If a country represents a person, its foreign policy his ethics, then, the judiciary is his conscience. India had followed the precedence of a state none other than Pakistan. The country, not only had a Christian Chief justice (under whom the theory was framed), but also a Hindu Chief justice on a later date. Pakistan had a pure conscience.
Today, we stand at a very significant stage for both the nations. Pakistan is largely turning into a failed state. coups, military hassles and terrorism are overpowering the nation that had once started off on the same foot as India. India, on the other hand, is facing a stage of transition. We too, are increasingly turning into a bunch of hysteric mass and social frustration is on the rise. Most pertinent of all, both the countries are approaching elections.
Almost every Indian child is brought up with hatred towards Pakistan. We are made to believe that the country had emerged straight from the dungeons of evil. Perhaps, it is a similar situation even across the border. An uncanny mistrust breeds amidst the strained relation of these two nations. However, there is still a lot of similarity that hides behind this contempt.
Unlike any other nation, India can be the nation, closest towards understanding Pakistan. No, this is no humanitarian appeal to the Indian government towards playing the peace maker. One must realize that peace making, in international politics is not always done through sweet speeches. Rather, effective diplomacy and careful strategies hold the key. India must keep aside its populist politics and take the burden of the truth.
Pakistan, as it approaches its first completion of a democratically elected government is now desperate to sustain democracy. The nation is devastated with terrorism and an overwhelming power of the military. The country struggles to survive amidst its own problems of Baluchistan, Taliban and corruption. In a situation as such, India may play a very significant role in forging an alliance with the nation. Economic ties are imperative to not just support better business and bigger markets, but also to build political trust. As the elections take place in Pakistan, India must remain vocal and in complete synergy with the need for democracy in Pakistan. If democracy develops, the military power shall decline and hence the security of both the nations shall strengthen.
The 2014, withdrawal of U.S from Afghanistan shall also be an important point in the history of our relations. Pakistan, in an increasing fear towards Indian influence in the Afghan has often aided the Talibs. India must ensure a hard talk and a clear stand on this particular issue. The political parties of Pakistan, too, have to realize that, if the Taliban continues to be in power, terror threats also increase for Pakistan. Under such happenings, it would be largely difficult to sustain the Pakistani democracy. On the other hand, if Afghan develops its own governance and becomes self sustained, all the countries would benefit politically and economically.
I love Shahrukh khan! So do the Pakistanis. Often does, Shahrukh, represent my country just as much as Abida Parvin represents Pakistan. Both these countries must collaborate and work towards such socio-cultural ties that can bring the people closer. Yes, Abida Parvin is a Pakistani singer. But she sings Ghalib who is intricately tied in the Indian culture. One must realize that we have shared the same culture for thousands of years until we were partitioned. This very cultural heritage must be utilized to sustain a strong bond amidst the two nations.
However, even as we discuss these strategies, the Prime minister of India is muzzled by his coalition parties and the opposition. With every step that the center tries to initiate, there is uproar in the parliament. The state leaders threaten to withdraw support, the opposition stalls parliament and the entire nation erupts in rage. The Indian mob wants to see blood. Later, the media attacks the leader for his silence.
The government often reminds me of my school days. I was always snubbed by my teachers for being very talkative. And, whenever, I was quiet in class, they called me dull!
The problem with us is that we want instant and quick remedies. They killed Sarabjit, we’ll kill them!! They breed terrorism, we shout Hindutva! India wants magic! We are opiniated. Yet, it takes us just a few hours to declare a common prisoner a ‘martyr’. Sarabjit’s martyrdom reminds me of the kid who called a random stranger his best friend to make his other friends jealous. India desperately needs a Hero to prove Pakistan an anti Hero.
Salman Khurshid is not just any other foreign affairs minister for India. He is also India’s message for secularism to those who try to see us as a Hindu majoritarian pseudo democracy! Diplomacy is not a magic potion that can fix all issues straight right after consumption. Diplomacy is a journey through the passage of time. One has to hold his patience in order to watch foreign relations flourish. India must practically exert itself as the leader of the developing democracies. The immediate need is also to rise above the mediocrity of Indian politics. The entire system must stand up as one in order to make a statement at the global level.
The basic structure of both the nations’ ideals calls for integrity. The soul of the Indian foreign policy stands for peace and development. Repeated peace negotiations between the two countries have been hampered by the military interference in Pakistan. India must ensure and support the rise of a stronger, democratic and more consolidate form of government.
Even recently, the Pakistani court did not hesitate to disqualify its own Prime Minister. Repeatedly, the Pakistani judiciary has taken a number of upright decisions regarding elections and various other issues. India must take this opportunity to renew its relations with one of its most important neighbours.
India should look forward to the bright scopes at the International level. It is high time that we leave behind the cynicism and monotony that we are sinking into. We must stand up to shape our future and write our own destiny.
The Indian Soft Power
“It’s not the country with the larger army but the country with the better story that will prevail – we have to be able to tell the better story.”
Shashi Tharoor on ‘Soft Power’ as a Foreign Policy