Chest thumping by ruling BJP leaders over so-called surgical strikes carried out by Indian Army on the morning of September 29, 2016. Prime Minister Modi, Defense Minister Parriker and a host of ministers and BJP & RSS leaders have claimed these to be proof of new assertiveness of the BJP Govt. against Pakistan abandoning what is being termed as “strategic restraint”. Since these claims by the Govt. functionaries, other ruling class politicians have doubted the veracity of these strikes on the one hand and Congress and other UPA constituents claiming that such strikes were carried out earlier by the UPA Govt. on the other. Denial of any such strike by Pakistan, even carrying a large posse of foreign journalists to the sites claimed to have been hit in these strikes and the statement of UN monitoring mission Kashmir that no LoC violation had occurred on the time claimed in the Govt. statement, has resulted in confusion further confounded. Moreover, the claim by Govt. ministers and BJP leaders that this was first time that such an action was carried out by the Indian Army has been disputed and has been so admitted by the foreign secretary. It is clear that Modi Govt. and BJP-RSS has sought to project this ‘action’ as some sort of their ‘muscular’ approach to relations with Pakistan.
These claims by Modi Govt. have come at a time when Kashmir valley has been under continuous curfew for over 100 days. People’s lives have been hit hard. Heavy force has been used by the Govt. to crush the people’s movement whose current phase erupted after killing of Burhan Wani on July 8. Over a hundred have been killed and more than a thousand have suffered serious eye injuries due to use of pellets. Protests have been continuing in all parts of the Valley and this time even rural areas have erupted. These protests and violation of democratic freedoms and human rights by the Indian Govt. have attracted worldwide attention. These violations have been condemned by democratic sections in India as well. Modi Govt. has no intention to take any steps to ameliorate the situation, rather they wish the present situation to continue so that they may exploit it for their schemes of ruthless suppression and communal polarization in the country. Even the opposition ruling class parties have nothing to offer as they all stand opposed to democratic aspirations of the people of Kashmir.
These claims by Modi Govt. have also come at a time when there are increasing protests in the country by different sections of the people almost across the country. Even land owning sections of peasantry are up in arms as the agrarian crisis deepens and peasant distress scales new heights. Tribals and Dalits are being targeted in different parts of the country with their legitimate rights violated and their struggles suppressed. Not only agrarian crisis has deepened, the industrial sector, particularly manufacturing is stagnant, even declining and with these unemployment problem has worsened. Govt. has sought to increase the tax burden on the people in the name of making tax rates uniform through GST. Overall, people have realized the jumla of “Achhe Din” was a worst hoax perpetrated on them by the corporate media controlled by foreign and domestic big business. With nearly half of the term of Modi Govt. completed, people are only seeing “Bure Din” with worse to come. With people’s dissatisfaction rising, Modi led BJP has to face elections in several states in the coming months, including in the most populous state of Uttar Pradesh (UP).
In order to drown the voice of the Valley and protests across the country and with a view to coming elections, Modi led RSS-BJP Govt. claimed and publicized strikes across the LoC in Kashmir. The main purpose of Modi Govt. is to hide the fact of struggle of people of Kashmir by shouting about the role of Pakistan, to whip up national chauvinism by directing people’s dissatisfaction into anti-Pakistan rhetoric and to unleash a communal polarization in the country through warmongering, particularly in poll bound states.
Claims and noise made by Modi Govt. were driven mainly by domestic agenda, there are several alarming points in the recent build up and warmongering. While Indian Govt. officials accept that it is not the first time that such action was taken, it is the first time that Indian Army has openly accepted carrying out such action. Obviously it was at the instance of Modi Govt. that Army adopted this stance. Indian mainstream media and particularly TV channels went overboard in unleashing frenzy on the issue. They not only raised no questions, rather they tried to silence all others from raising any question painting all queries with anti-national brush. They gave free play to warmongering by RSS-BJP Govt. Mainstream media, particularly electronic media, poses a serious threat to democratic rights of the people. More its reach increases, more dangerous its impact becomes.
There is an attempt to equate nationalism with Army and security forces. It is obvious that such a nationalism is opposed to the oppressed sections who bear the brunt of the repression by security forces. It is quite natural for RSS which had kept itself away from the struggle against British colonial rule, to give such a twist to nationalism as opposition to imperialism has never been on its agenda. It is pertinent to point out that these forces had been instruments of colonial rule and were not forged in the course of struggle of Indian people against foreign rule. It is a comment on the anti-colonial credentials of the sections to whom power was transferred by British colonial rulers that they chose to keep this instrument for their own benefit to suppress the people of the country.
Unleashing of this hysteria has international dimension as well. Modi Govt. has been openly and brazenly aligning itself with the US Admn. and its strategic interests. Modi’s likening of the strikes to actions by Zionist Israeli Govt. only further strengthens the impression of Modi’s inspiration. It has been officially admitted that Modi Govt.’s National Security Advisor, Doval, had talked to his counterpart in USA, Susan Rice, before the claimed strikes. However, given the decline of US imperialism and multi-polar nature of today’s world, rising contradictions among imperialist powers and sharpening conflicts around the world, Modi Govt.’s alliance with US imperialism would be viewed with deep suspicion by other powers in the world. What Modi Govt. intends to gain by aligning closely with US would be offset by other powers. Moreover, in aligning with US imperialism, Modi Govt. is making India share the burden of a declining superpower which is intent on fomenting troubles in different parts of the world. US imperialism, overstretched as it is, would like to pressurize Pakistan to snap its closer ties with China but it has enough interests to care for in that part of the world.