The landslide victory for the right-wing BJP was a clear message by the people of India that they had rejected the poor economic performance and pervasive corruption that characterised the Congress-led United Progressive Alliance coalition government. The Indian electorate has also given an unambiguous verdict against dynastic politics. The Nehru family can no more expect blind loyalty that overlooks performance and efficiency. This was evident, as the BJP has won seats practically all over India even in states like Andhra Pradesh and Tamil Nadu where it hardly had any presence in the past. Its total dominance in the Hindu heartland of Uttar Pradesh and Bihar was another blow to regional parties and the Congress.
The voter has given Narendra Modi a mandate to transform India, put the economy on fast track, initiate fundamental reforms and ‘improve governance with less government control’. His win has generated a new wave of enthusiasm among his millions of supporters who wanted a strong leader and also deep scepticism among his detractors who consider him divisive and a rabid Hindu nationalist. It is really the young voter who has been his main supporter. Today, 50 per cent of the Indian population is below the age of 35 and they are frustrated due to the lack of job opportunities and a sluggish economy. They see Modi as a pro-development leader with focus on the economy who will create jobs for them. At this time, he represents their aspirations and the expectation is that Modi will replicate his successful economic model of Gujarat on the rest of India. This would be a great challenge for him for he will have to deliver on the economic front and push through reforms, or the same surge of goodwill, that won him votes, could turn against him.
Modi is one of the most authoritarian leaders India has voted for after Indira Gandhi. With his style of governance, power will remain centralised. He can claim laurels in success but in the event of failure, the burden would be largely his. Modi is a very controversial leader who is feared by the minorities, particularly the Muslims, for his fierce Hindu nationalism and alleged involvement in the pogrom in Gujarat in which thousands of Muslims were burnt alive. During elections, Modi also engaged in tough talk against Pakistan (and China) and has alluded to pursuing a muscular foreign and defence policy. Lately, he has been far more conciliatory in his public utterances. Considering that the main thrust of Modi’s policy is to concentrate on India’s sluggish economy is a form of pragmatism that dictates that he will try to maintain a peaceful posture towards Pakistan without showing any flexibility in resolving the issue of Jammu & Kashmir, Siachen and even Sir Creek. It is unlikely that composite dialogue will be revived, but selectively, matters of trade and commerce could move forward. And Islamabad may grant the over-delayed MFN status to gain goodwill and normalcy in relations. Demand by India for expediting conviction of perpetrators of the Mumbai incident, handing over of Dawood Ibrahim and reining in of the jihadi militants is likely to continue; somewhat similar to the erstwhile policy pursued by the Congress. Any major bold initiatives to resolve issues or to expect that Modi would open a new chapter in relations with Pakistan would be premature.
Any recurrence of the Mumbai-type incident would be very risky and could lead to unintended consequences. For this, Pakistan will have to tighten control over jihadi groups so that they do not embark on adventurism and create serious problems for our state.
A major restraining factor on Modi to pursue his Hindu nationalist agenda will be India’s significantly large Muslim population and the priority that he accords to expanding trade and economic linkages with Middle Eastern countries. More significantly, competition with China would also suffer if India gets embroiled in regional quarrels.
Moreover, Pakistan, too, needs to take some tangible steps to show that it is genuinely committed to turning the page on its relations with India. The government, by tacitly allowing radical leaders, who are international pariahs, to frequently parade their militias on Pakistani streets as patriots, is throwing a red rag before the bull. Serious reservations of India aside, it is highly damaging for Pakistan’s interest and international image to embrace these regressive forces.
Irrespective of the pace at which the comprehensive dialogue moves, both countries should at least revive the strategic dialogue. New Delhi should seriously review the Cold Start doctrine that has been developed to respond to a potential terrorist attack from across the border as Pakistan is fielding tactical nuclear weapons as its deterrence. Now that Pakistan itself is the worst victim of militancy both countries need to address this common scourge through political and security cooperation rather than taking the risky military route of countervailing each other.
The volatility on the Line of Control (LoC) also remains a flashpoint between India and Pakistan and could easily trigger tensions that can rapidly escalate. Recurrence of violence on the LoC, with each side blaming the other for violation, makes matters worse in the absence of neutral UN observers to monitor the border.
As progress on the resolution of the Kashmir issue seems not to be in sight, it is important that additional measures be undertaken to effectively stabilise the border. Pulling back forces a few kilometres on both sides and greater communication at the military-to-military level could contribute towards reducing such incidents.
The withdrawal of forces from Afghanistan and the emerging situation provide both a challenge and an opportunity for both the countries. They could cooperate to stabilise Afghanistan or act as rivals playing proxies and undermining each other. With prospects of Abdullah Abdullah winning the final round and his close relations with India, Islamabad needs a more circumspect policy.
There are lessons in BJP’s victory for our political parties, and more so for the fringe right, that secular India was prepared to tolerate religious nationalism provided it can deliver on the economic front.
Published in The Express Tribune, May 21st, 2014.
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We want sane minds in our sub continent.we had peace with manmohan Singh government for 10 years. Nuclear weapons will destroy half of India and the whole of Pakistan. Please convert loc as border. Please allow kashmiris easy access to pok.that is the only way. Un resolutions require Pakistan to remove their military from pok and northern areas. Please get area given to china too for plebiscite. Impossible. Tell your people the truth. I disagree with modi politics but he is elected fair and square. Do some soul searching and read about the plebiscite resolution before cribbing about it. You keep what you have and we keep what we have. My ancestors lost Lahore, pindi, sialkot, Gujranwala. Learn to live and let live. Jai hind. Sat sri aka.
@Economist: Lest keep in mind that in most of the poverty numbers, Human development index etc include mainly Muslim population caused by their religious social peculiartites. The poverty trend among these people cannt be changed or blamed on anyone else. It will be wiser to separate them in any economic, literacy figures etc,
@man0j: "Further, it has no traction in that state because of ZERO pre-poll alliances"
Factually incorrect. It is true that BJP allies in Tamil Nadu did no perform well in the elections - but it did have several pre-poll allies in Tamil NAdu.
@Indian reader: Looks like @hmmm went silent after we stuffed him with facts.....
@ Wg Cdr Tanvir Mohajir, How much more funny can you get! Although Army has brainwashed the nation the believe fairy tales, I expect Army to know the truth. Kashmir was independent till Pakistan army and tribals invaded it to forcefully take it over. India intervened on request of then king of Kashmir. You still hold the piece of land (and donated some to China too) which you do not have any right on. And "direct intervention in Baluchistan". Can't laugh more. You have been crying that for years, and also started recently crying that India sponsors TTP. But you never give any evidence. Your fairy tales might brainwash poor Pakistanis, but not whole world.
@hmm: here is the world bank site link. Check yourself
Talat Masood saheb, You should REALLY run your editorial piece through someone who is factually updated before publishing it on a platform of rep. In Tamil Nadu - the BJP won just ONE seat. Further, it has no traction in that state because of ZERO pre-poll alliances. Strangely, the sufferer here may be the aam-janta of the state and not the BJP [ in case Amma doesn't toe the centre's line in deciding major policy issues from time to time]
Whatever is but Pakistan should never expect any positive response and changes and expectations in Modi's policies regarding Pakistan.....
@ Wg Cdr Tanvir Mohajir "Surely a nation hit so hard by terrorist cannot possibly sponsor their activities. " +++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++ In case of Pakistan surely yes.
@ Wg Cdr Tanvir Mohajir, Who are you trying to kid my friend ... ? ... Pakistan's state sponsored terrorism and "Bleeding India with thousand cuts" policies are in place since 1989 ... now that Pakistan is receiving blow back of its own terror infrastructure, and tasting its own medicine, you guys can not simply play the victim and disown you policies of the past ... !! ... coming out of denial mode and owning responsibility of the past mistakes is the precondition for any positive change in Pakistan ...
@Anjaan: Why do the Indians have this perception that Pakistan demands unilateral concessions on issues is fairly confusing. All the issues vis-a-vis Kashmir, Siachin, violations of Indus water treaty, Sir Creek & direct intervention in Baluchistan. All issues created by India; unwilling to resolve them and saying-Pakistan demands unilateral concession. Coming to terrorism. Pakistan has paid a very heavy price both in terms of men and material more than any other nation in the world. Surely a nation hit so hard by terrorist cannot possibly sponsor their activities. Think about it my friend.
It seems to me that there is no shortage of morons in India. Pakistan did not opt for "Cold Start Doctrine" but India did. You should study the ramification of using nuclear weapons and your own military's Cold Start Doctrine. Pakistan will retaliate only if India ever use nuclear weapons against Pakistan. If you guys are itching to pick a fight then perhaps you should pick a fight with China again.
@Gp65: As bjp member you can give whatever spin. You ask how do I know those that did not vote bjp rejected it. Just as you know that they did not reject. It is a pointless debate. Majority idians did notvoteforModi/bjp. Figure proves. His is not a popular mandate what ever you may say.
@hmm: 'Pakistan was far safe before Indian consulates opened in Afghanistan post Afghan invasion'
Why are you forgetting about the snakes you have reared and are now kicking your teeth. This was all Pakistan.
@hmm: 'India just cannot afford to go to another war'. Oh yes we can and will. You have under estimated us for too long. Best, try and test us to use your N-weapons on us.
@yes: 31% voted for BJP, 8% voted for BJP's pre-poll allies. In 12% of seats there was no candidate from NDA, so you can hardly call that as rejection of BJP. Finally of the remaining 49% how do you know the rest REJECTED BJP? No doubt they preferred a candidate from some other party but BJP could have been their second preference and they may have no problems if their chosen party allies with BJP.
It is a lesson to see the all-powerful Indian military and judiciary has no role in formation of any new govt. Modi is not even PM yet but has electoral powers to invite Pakistani PM while in Pakistan we have our army dictating foreign policies. This democratic character of India would not change with the changes in Govt no matter which party is in power.
@Wg Cdr Tanvir Mohajir:
Mr Mohajir, you have the wings which the General has not! The General has had enough of the military chivalry and is now enjoying politics and journalism which he was trained for in the military Government Your units have proven unable to intercept the intrusive flights of the enemy in the air space and dropping at ease the lethal bombs on civilians in the tribal area. The Prime Minister of Pakistan has interests for trade but none for armed conflict and would be grateful if his military buddies could sort out the policing work.
@hmm: Pakistanis are quiet liberal with data.....opinion masquerading as facts.
@Economist: @X-men: These are (800 million people below the poverty line in india using $2/day PPP) 2010 figures of world bank, just open their official website instead of quoting Indian govt figures or Wikipedia (which is a joke). Now, globally the creation to calculate poverty in any country is set at 2$/day NOT 1$/day, which your Govt uses to deceive everyone. Pakistan now uses $2/day purchasing power parity (ppp) to calculate poverty. Do some RESEARCH!
My last comment was not accepted by ET Mods.So I post it again... According to WORLD BANK site,India's poverty is 21.98% as of 2012..
Here is the link for that...U may not believe wikpedia,but I've provided you the source from the same WORLD BANK
@hmm: we are in 2014!...you are correct india have 800 million below $2! but those are 2004 estimates u should check latest ones after 2004 india achieved 7.7% avg gdp growth even obama also said tht he is surprised to see decline of poverty in india!
@hmm: Wow!! Stay happy in your dreams! Ya once india has so many poor now only 21% acco to indian govt. & 11% acco to world bank are offical fig. Below international poverty line. 800 Million were 2005-06 no. Dnt u know india putting 40 million ppl in its middel class every year!!...
India and congress win.our secularism is not and never at stake. God bless ramji.Mohammad, buddha and our Zoroastrian follower. India is for all. Rab rakha
@Polpot: Having seen both Nations up close ..would prefer Pakistan any day to India .
@hmm "Pakistan was far safe before Indian consulates opened in Afghanistan post Afghan invasion, I don’t have to explain it further."
Indian consulates in the 4 cities are there for more than 25 years. Besides it was not Indian Army attacking Lal Masjid, creating Talibab & all sort of Jihadi factories.
@indian reader: @Economist: Wikipedia is not an authentic source! I'll give an authentic source "world bank", as per their data, India has over 800 million people who are below, or on, the poverty line! Now we use $2/day to gather data on poverty, so do your research before you mislead others and people in your own country. Pakistan has a population of 190 million and look at this poverty figure of India, 800 million is just staggering! My 500 million estimation was just a humble evaluation lol. stop being delusional with your economic growth which has actually declined from 6% to 4%. Please look at the world bank site, Have good day!
It is quite interesting to see how single minded Pakistan is in pursuing its aims. All that India controls it must negotiate to communicate "good will" and "large heartedness". All that Pakistan occupies is off the table - Indian claims aside! The arguments are very similar on India's cold start doctrine. Likewise, when Pakistani's talk about the notorious Gujrat riots, they never mention the entire story of Hindus being burnt alive. One wrong does not make another right. But selective convenience is reflective of what "secular" means to them.
Rarely have I seen such a balanced analysis in Pakistan newspapers what amazes me evenmore is the fact that the writer is a former high ranking officer of Pakistan military. It augurs w ell for the bilateral relations between our two countries. It is well known that Pakistan government can not take a policy decision without the concurrence of the army. Modi ji is a shrewed politician. He also knows what is possible to achieve. He will certainly not like to do anything that may destabilize the democratic government of Pakistan. A democratic Pakistan is in India's interest. People of India want friendly relations with Pakistan and I believe the sentiment is similar over there. Notwithstanding some hardliners on both sides.
@Author: Sir, pragmatic advice by you. But you say "in Gujarat thousands of Muslims were burnt alive". Really?
I guess Indian commentators just pass amusing comments & vote them all day over here, keep it up! lol. @numbersnumbers: Pakistan was far safe before Indian consulates opened in Afghanistan post Afghan invasion, I don't have to explain it further.
@hmm: and what is Pakistan's score ? over 37% of it's population living below poverty line ?
as per latest statistics, India's poverty percentage is 22%
@hmm: First you worry about your country and your poor people.
What is the fuss about when 70% of Indian electorate has rejected Modi?
@hmm india had growth rate of 9percent it was brought down by UPA second term of curruption now that modi is come it will come back on track. "China has a phenomenal growth" china is not a democracy. India is, we have to take everybodies viewpoint and have support to pass a bill plus china is three times india's size and largest population. You can compare russia to china. But only Brazil, South Africa and other similar bigger democracies with india. "UN resolution" to get to UN resolution you will first have to take back land you sold to china, back off your army from your controlled kashmir and do plebiscite there. Once you do that tell us we will follow up till then don't rant."Violating water treaty" you went to international court every time on this farce what happened? You lost every time because there was no truth to the nonsense propaganda being spread there."India has numerous consulates in Afghanistan" india has four consulates in afganistan who were and are always targeted and killed. While your consulates are safe. And you are questioning us instead your own on this exaggeration and attacks? "Baluchistan,kpk" where is the proof than random conspiracy theory and assumption? Any live caught person? Confession? Like we had kasab,others,witness,phone conversation tapes? What's surprising is you find Raymond Davis, other FBI agent in airport, Chinese tourist, Middle eastern shiekh,random Vietnam guy in your controversial areas without permission yet you blame us with no proof but paranoia than them.
A fairly balanced article from a Military man. Economic growth, governance and development are the plank on which Indians voted Modi -- he as well as citizens know it. No doubt about what the priority should be. In a world where economic opportunities are few and risky the India opportunity with its requirement of Trillions of Dollars to build infrastructure, has countries and Corporations salivating, including China which is joyous at the elevation of Modi, likening him to Nixon(why Nixon,ask the Chinese). Everyone seems to know which side their Bread is buttered.
Today, we live in a world where Knowledge and Technology are the drivers of success and any form of Ideology, a lodestone around the neck. That a poor man of humble origins, a Tea seller could go on to lead the worlds largest Democracy, has given democracy worldwide a massive fillip and succeeded in cementing the belief that India today represents a land of true and great opportunity. That India has finally risen above the clutches and quicksand of caste and religion, will also enthuse all lovers of the worlds oldest Civilization. It has taken India 67 years post Independence to arrive at the doorstep of greatness, only mismanagement and folly of its own making can stop it.
@Wg Cdr Tanvir Mohajir: As long as Mr Modi is in power; we might as well forget about it. Under the present circumstances the best we can do is to at least keep the issues alive and hope against hope that in some future time, we may attempt to solve the problems
What makes you think that Modi will last a single term? For all I know, he may be PM for the next 15 years.
However you are right about one thing. If Pakistan is looking for more territory, it definitely will not happen. In fact, it is quite possible that Modi might seek the whole of Kashmir as per the UN resolution.
@Wg Cdr Tanvir Mohajir: We should not give in so easily. Meaning thereby that granting MFN status to India will be counter productive.
All Modi has to do is to drag Pakistan to the WTO to get MFN as it is one of the requirements for Pakistan to be a member of WTO. Modi can also exert influence to undo the GSP Plus status of Pakistan.
@Wg Cdr Tanvir Mohajir: Well said Sir.
@Wg cdr Tanvir Mohajir, " Under the given circumstances an aggressive foreign policy, I think will be [email protected] Pakistan HAS been following an aggressive policy for the last 67 years. Three major attacks on India would support that. What has Pakistan gained from it? Extremism? Land? Kashmir? What?
"The Indus water treaty which is being violated blatantly by India presently..... " Really? Have you ever read the IWT? All allegations by Pakistan against India have been disproved by court of arbitration etc. etc.
Gen Talat Massod has written a good and a balanced piece. Let Pakistan benefit from his advice.
Find the article very balanced and well researched
Author says "Its total dominance in the Hindu heartland of Uttar Pradesh and Bihar was another blow to regional parties and the Congress.".
Uttar Pradesh and Bihar are called Hindi heartland(not Hindu), because these are Hindi speaking states.
Also in the alleged Gujarat Pogrom as you say it, he has been acquitted by the courts of India. If you look at the riots of India, no other riots have been investigated to it's logical conclusion like the Gujrat riots. By the way 700+ Muslims died and 250+ Hindus died not 1000s of muslims as you claim. Lots of Hindus/Muslims died due to police firing. Gujarat riots is a shame, no Indian is proud of it, just like any other riots of India. Indians like me believe that India will have less riots under Modi. We believe we will focus more on nation building under Modi as compared to caste/religion politics under Congress.
As the author said correctly "The Nehru family can no more expect blind loyalty that overlooks performance and efficiency"
@1984: @Economist: 5% growth rate would take India nowhere, remember that India has a population of 1.2 Billion & will surpass China, in coming years, in terms of population. China has been growing at a phenomenal growth rate of 8-9% for past few decades & it is still far from calling itself a developed nation! India just cannot afford to go to another war or else its economy will slump even more. Its a bubble which can bust any moment, so be humble when you talk about economics, and even more so when you see 500 million people living below the poverty line on the roads of India.
Well Indian trolls like you usually forget the difference between the biggest and largest democracy when it comes to economic terms. India's economy is biggest(not largest ofcourse) just because of their sheer population.
**Hindi heartland for Hindu heartland
@hmm: In case you haven't noticed, India has consulates in exactly the same Afghan cities that Pakistan has theirs located, so what's your point?
"Relating to Modi’s India" ++++++++++++++++++++\
Corrected : Relating to India's Modi.
@ Wg Cdr Tanvir Mohajir,
There is a perception amongst the people in India that when you Pakistani's demand that India deal with Pakistan on the basis of equality and mutual respect ... you guys actually mean unilateral Indian concessions on Kashmir and other similar issues ... and no preconditions of terrorism on dialogue ... correct me if I am wrong ...
I can detect a claer envy among Pakistanis re Modi +++++++++++++++++++++++++++++ Whrn will Pakistan have its Modi Moment? India has defeated Pakistan not only in cricket but also in real democracy....
@Wg Cdr Tanvir Mohajir: Well said Sir and completely agree.
Change of governments through elections is most civilised manner to change government . Loss of ellections is not end of road for UPA or Congress. Even now Congress commands vote share of 24% as agaisnt 31% of BJP. Hence , around 70% of Indian voters have opposed BJP lead alliance . This itself is strong message both for winners and losers. India's secular fabric and plural /diverse principles will have to remain intact. This vote is for change ..aspirations of common Indians have risen after sustianed growth observed since 2004. New govt riding on sucess of its prime candidate will have to rise above petty politics, communal agenda and deliver the results which it promised during high pitched election campaign. This vote was never for Hindu Rashtra or ideology propogated by RSS ( the fountainhead and prime mover behind BJP) . Hence , NDA will have to tread delicate rope , if it wants to redeem its promises made to voters of India. This results once again proves Democracy and India's constitution has won ..giving oppurtunity to diverse groups like BJP, TDP etc to come to power at Centre. Lets rejoice this great democratic traditions built and sustianed over times by enumerable leaders like Pandit Nehru, Sardar Patel, Shashtri, Ambedkar etc.
The writer clearly missed few important aspects & I'm not surprised since his views are usually not entirely balanced, so lets see what's on the other side of the coin. Modi hasn't been a PM before & we have yet to see what he does, being a PM is a different ball game than being a CM of some province. Secondly, this is an open secret that India has been interfering in KPK & Baluchistan, which has also engulfed all of Pakistan, since the day it established its consulates in major cities alongside the Pak-Afghan border. What India needs to do? Stop this continued interference in Pakistan via Afghanistan, resume dialogue process, stop water treaty violations which could result in future wars, & resolve Kashmir issue as per UN resolution. Unfortunately Indian Government has always been hesitant from dialogue & i hope some sense prevails if it really wants to resolve issues with Pakistan.
Article by and large is very balanced. Please note that Most Indians, including a significant Muslim population don't consider Modi communal. Indian courts found nothing against Modi in spite of Indian and international media onslaught. Modi does not believe in appeasement policy towards any community. Time and again he has said that each and every Indian is equal for him. Modi has nothing against Pakistan except that he and most of Indians feel that Pakistan is fighting proxy war with India through jihadis. Modi and his government will not engage with Pakistan unless Jihadi factories operating from Pakistan are dismantled. Mumbai like incidence will certainly be a recipe for disaster under Modi government. Modi is not the type of leader who will show any restraint even if costs are phenomenal. As far as Kashmir is concerned, even softest Indian government will not agree to Pakistani demands. Forget about Modi agreeing even discussing Kashmir. Only possible solution to Kashmir problem is converting LOC into an international border. I don't think Modi will be offensive towards Pakistan. However, his response to any provocation from Pakistan can be very unpredictable and out of proportion. Modi is not a person who is used to diplomatic language. I don't think Modi will worry too much about trade relations with Pakistan. Modi will not make any advance towards Pakistan unless Jihadis are reined.
What kind of flexibility do we expect from India on Kashmir, Siachen and Sir Creek? Sounds cliched and meaningless.Do we have to keep saying these things ? If nothing happened in 10 years of congress rule how can we expect flexibility from Modi government.
Dear sir, Although I agree to a great extent with what General Talat has written. Modi as Prime Minister is certainly not in Pakistan's interest. To counter the situation; what the General is suggesting is largely a passive approach. The style Mr. Modi adopts for governance and his rhetoric against the Indian Muslims is well known. What we also know is his low tolerance toward Pakistan. Under the given circumstances an aggressive foreign policy, I think will be better. We should not give in so easily. Meaning thereby that granting MFN status to India will be counter productive. If we only concentrate on trade with no strings attached; will bring us to a situation where our strategic issues will go into cold storage for good. if this happens the consequences for Pakistan will not be very encouraging. The Indus water treaty which is being violated blatantly by India presently will practically cease to exist. Then there is the Kashmir issue and Sir Creek which will be practically forgotten. Finally the Siachin problem where Pakistan spends substantial amount of money to ensure a status quo will all go into hibernation. I am by no means implying; that an aggressive foreign policy will will help solve the problems. As long as Mr Modi is in power; we might as well forget about it. Under the present circumstances the best we can do is to at least keep the issues alive and hope against hope that in some future time, we may attempt to solve the problems if Saner elements come to govern India. Mr Modi is far too aggressive for a weak or a passive foreign policy. His attitude towards Pakistan is most unfriendly and biased. He needs to be tackled shrewdly. It should be made clear to him in no uncertain terms that he has to deal with Pakistan on the basis of equality and mutual respect. Anything less is not acceptable.
Wg Cdr Tanvir Mohajir
pakistan have a option???really? Indian economy is now 3rd largest in world & [email protected]%!! We have to normalize tension at any cost! That will be good for both india & pakistan!! We can learn many things from indian elections the way they conduct!
Finally an author who is looking at the 'realistic' options available other than praising Jinnah for 2 Nation theory,lamenting about the death of secularism in India or fearing for a Muslim holocaust....
You suggestions are upto the point.Modi wont be ready to discuss about Siachen or Kashmir or Sir Creek..He has been voted to bring back the economy and thats the first thing he will do..So Pakistan needs to be patient and start with business and commerce before jumping into contentious issues