Although the government led by Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru saw itself as the inheritors of the British raj, the reality is that the Raj (while it lasted) seems to have a far better job of looking after its own interests than numerous governments in post-1947 India have been in protecting the interests of the people of India. Those in government seemed oblivious to the consequences of Partition on the geopolitical footprint of India when they meekly accepted the division of a country united by a common DNA. Attention was not given even to the cutting off of connectivity to core elements within its neighbourhood of the decision to force the armed forces of the Republic of India to cease fire even before the entirety of Kashmir was liberated from marauders pushed across the borders by Vivisector-in-Chief M.A. Jinnah, or to the consequences for the water and land security of India of allowing Beijing to control Tibet rather than ensuring a continuation of the earlier situation, in which sovereignty vested with Lhasa rather than get transferred to Beijing. Whether it was Nehru or his successors including Vajpayee, the manner in which its occupation and control of Tibet was accepted so completely by India (without any corresponding gesture of goodwill from the PRC) was both expected as also unfortunate. At no stage during the 1950s would it have been difficult for the Indian Army and Air Force to block the PLA from taking over Aksai Chin. Judging from published material, it would appear that the annexation of that part of Jammu & Kashmir by the PRC took place without even token resistance by Government of India, for reasons that have yet to be revealed. The country is waiting for Prime Minister Narendra Damodardas Modi to obey his own best instincts and remove the cloak of “official secrecy” from events of the past that would have been made known to the public in any democracy other than India, a country where colonial habits of governance do not simply survive but thrive. In India, the promiscuous use of the Official Secrets Act has served to cover up an immense variety of misdeeds on the part of those in authority, which perhaps explains why every successor government seems as wedded to the maintenance of secrecy even over matters that no longer have any bearing on national life or public interest. Not merely are present sins covered up so as to facilitate misdeeds in the future, but even those committed in the distant past as well. Prime Minister Modi has taken welcome steps in the direction of the transparency needed for accountability, and these need to be expanded.
Unlike many of his predecessors, who regarded the Northeast as hardly consequential, Modi has from 2014 itself regarded that part of the country as deserving of special attention. More has been done to improve connectivity between the rest of the country and the Northeast during Modi 1.0 and Modi 2.0 (and in this, Union Minister Nitin Gadkari merits commendation for the manner in which he has effectively carried out the PM’s mandate) than in any previous period. Given the centrality of ASEAN to the future of India as a thriving country, it is essential that the Northeast be linked not just with the rest of the country but with external neighbours to the east. The building of highways and the growth of settlements should ensure that the longstanding situation wherein so much of the border has become the preserve of the narcotics and smuggling lobbies (many controlled by elements of the Sino-Pakistan alliance) gets eliminated. In the context of ceaseless efforts of the GHQ Rawalpindi-PLA combine to destabilise the Northeast in particular, care needs to be taken so as to ensure that the external foes of India and their associates within the country do not succeed in any plan designed to hatred and suspicion between the states of the northeast. In this, Assam has an important role. It is clear that there was an external player behind those who shot and killed six police personnel belonging to the Assam cadre on the borders of the state with Mizoram. The blockade of access to Mizoram that has been caused by the actions of a few within Assam merits careful investigation, as such an activity fits perfectly with the requirements of the Sino-Pakistan alliance to create hardship in Mizoram, a state where this deadly combination of two militaries who accept no limit on what they are prepared to do against any country that is their target, which India has of course been for several decades. This blockade needs to be ended swiftly, while a sustained effort needs to be made to locate those and take action against those who are seeking to promote hatred and violence in the Northeast. The people of the region are among the most talented in the country, and deserve the peace that is essential to the prosperity that is possible once the numerous schemes for the Northeast put into execution by the Government of India get into high gear. Preserving peace should not be treated as a political game but as an essentiality that ought to be embraced by every citizen of India. The way forward must be free of the pitfalls that continue to manifest themselves as a consequence of the actions of the Sino-Pakistan alliance and their network within the country. The sooner this gets identified and uprooted, the better for the return of tranquillity in this vital corner of our country.
MDN