India should realise that it has to play a very important role in the geopolitics of the Asia-Pacific region.
New Delhi: Before the haunting visuals from Kabul last Sunday, hit our sensibilities with awe, scorn and deep concern for the common people of Afghanistan and kept us glued to the unfolding developments, just a few hours earlier, the nation was hooked to celebrations of milestone in our country’s history, the 75th Independence Day celebrations.
From the pictures on various National and Regional TV channels, it was clearly evident that @ 75 every person was attuned to the colours of our National Flag, the fervour of Independence, the recall of the sacrifices made by our political leaders and the defence forces who laid down their lives, defending the country and fighting the militancy within. The stories of valour, commitment and dedication, of those who thought of the nation first, and their contribution to the growth and development, in the great idea of unity in diversity, within the multiplicity of the languages, cultures and aspirations of the people collectively, immensely raised the bar of hope for our country. Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s speech from the ramparts of the Red fort, as a contrast to all the functions in the state capitals, in schools and public offices and private institutions across the country, made it for a great mood in the Nation. Despite the pandemic, the people were all together cherishing the bright colours of life.
Surely despite all the odds and criticism from various quarters, of some people and political parties with hidden agendas, the light at the end of the tunnel seems clear and bright. In a decade or two, things could really improve, if right decisions are taken at the right time. Infact now is the time to pay attention to our mistakes and shortcomings of the past and build on those mistakes for a better future. Already the world is witnessing the ticking time bomb of the climate change. Every country and region of the Earth has experienced this, in terms of weather upheavals, unexpected natural disasters and forest fires which have destroyed vast areas. The temperature is rising, ice is melting in the polar regions. Nature itself is unhappy and angry with the way mankind has overstepped sustainable barriers. In many ways we ourselves are responsible for our inadequacies, shortcomings, short- sightedness and greed.
Close by, the turn of events in Afghanistan is really disturbing and bad for the unfortunate population, particularly for the women and young girls and life for the feminine gender will regressively be shackled in sharia enforcement, curtailing their freedom and aspirations.
Sad, pathetic and criminal indeed. The country is enveloped in misery and gloom as in just a few days it has gone backward in time.
Along with our own introspection about our massive investments in Afghanistan, America has to introspect what it has achieved in its twenty year war in that country. Perhaps another 9/11 may have been avoided in their own country, even the slightest likes of it, but they have not been able to protect their Allies where in many countries in Europe, the likes of Taliban, Al Qaeda and ISIS have wreaked havoc. Now, there is a window for America to understand that militarisation of the Quad is the way ahead for a long term solution, to counter the illegitimate designs of the militant outfits and also Chinese expansionism. If not challenged now, it will be another area of further tension in the South China Sea or the Indian Ocean region, or even the Atlantic or perhaps the Pacific too. Rumblings are already there and China has to be stopped in its one belt one road initiative, which maybe its lifeline, from reaching the Bay of Bengal through Myanmar or Thailand. China has to be equally stopped from reaching the Arabian Sea from Pakistan or Iran. Its calculations of encouraging and recognising the Taliban right away, is testimony to its opportunism in an area which is rich in mineral resources and control of the opium trade. Similarly its expansion into the west towards Turkey and the Mediterranean has also to be checked. This cannot be guaranteed so easily, unless all the stakeholders get together on one platform, to save the Democratic world and insulate it from the onslaught of religious militancy and expansionist communism. Militancy and communism are both ideologies which are failed ideologies and can only be sustained by autocratic and oppressive regimes.
The world has barely escaped from the clutches of the Chinese leaked Wuhan virus. Already the effects of the slowdown in the economies around the world has given China the edge to expand its own economy, it’s GDP and consequently its military power, particularly the Chinese Navy which is now making calls to every major port in the Western world and even Americas Allies, as part of a grand expansionist policy.
Thank God we are getting out of the Chinese trap in terms of the many Chinese Apps and investment inroads, in strategic areas including 5G. India and the World has to protect itself from impending cyber-attacks from China, which can cripple vital installations and key data centres. We will continue to have a snooping neighbour which will not leave any opportunity of destabilizing our country. The China Pakistan and Turkey axis will continue to have negative connotations for quite some time till, events particularly economic, begin to portend political upheavals in Pakistan.
Thank God we had our own Covid vaccine and our dedicated Covid Warriors.
A lot many illegal immigrants and anti- national elements must be booked/ pushed out of the country. Kudos to our security and paramilitary forces for having subverted any attempt by the enemy to disrupt the peace in the country, on the Independence Day. This is alertness at its best and Atmanirbharta.
It is hoped that our politicians will not in any way, undermine our nation for their self interest and greed. Some politicians are seeking opportunisms in the Taliban taking over control in Kabul.They are injected with hope for drawing parallels with the events in our neighbourhood. Post Covid, we need better politics/governance and further upliftment of our economy, so that there are more employment opportunities. Because of the Covid lockdowns, at least prices of food items and particularly petroleum/oil, which has a cascading effect on the economy, need to be brought down.
Agitations and prolonged strikes disrupt our Economy, Parliament, politics and governance. The real farmer gets little for his produce and hard work and remains poor and dis-satisfied, despite the numerous subsidies that he gets from the Government. We need to get rid of the systems which nurture the political dynasties in our states, for instance Maharashtra, UP, Punjab Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan, Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka, Jharkhand, Bihar and of course Kashmir, which have kept the farmers poor for their own greed, of a vote bank. Hopefully there will be a consensus and a mutual understanding for the better between the Government and the farming community. The Indian farmer’s status in the economy as important stakeholders, must rise and they must get their due returns.
We finally need politicians with different educational backgrounds, who spring up, to fill our elected bodies for a specific time and need of the nation and who give their best and not become permanent and lifelong power grabbers, is the need of the hour. The politics of freebies is taking the country on the wrong path and the Election Commission of India must intervene to stop any kind of freebies proposed or promised for electoral gains specially from the public exchequer. It’s time we finally need accountability in politics and elected politicians should not have the power to unanimously raise their own salaries and pensions. There has to be a statuary body like the Pay Commission to look into this grave matter.
We need to dedicate ourselves to honest and transparent systems and be innovative in all key areas, which helps our economy grow faster and involves the population as real stakeholders.
The nation has to play a very important role in the geopolitics of Asia and Pacific region, in effect a salutary effect on the world scene. The world has to collectively put pressure on the Taliban in Afghanistan for a humane transition of Government and not take the country to the past. India’s efforts as the Chairman of the UN Security Council must convert into some kind of sanctions to be effective. India can ill afford to recognise a hostile Government takeover in Afghanistan. The British Prime Minister has said the same thing, recognising the great efforts made by his country in the area of freedom, protection and education of the women and the girl child in Afghanistan. India made very significant Investments in the Afghan economy, outcome of which now remains uncertain and unclear. In fact we have to be careful that the spill over from Taliban does not flow to the East and under the garb and guidance of ISI, it should not have a destabilising and ill effect on our own borders.
The nation must turn away from all negative influences and concentrate on policies for the betterment of the people and their overall well-being. We need to become a massive producer of goods and services, which meets International standards and competitive prices. We ultimately have to think big for ‘Make in India’.
Rajiv Kumar is a former chief producer of news and current affairs in Doordarshan and a Fulbright scholar.