India’s policy shift towards Balochistan and it’s future

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On August 15, Prime Minister Narendra Modi, mocking Pakistan’s actions of glorifying terrorist activities in India, said that India, unlike Pakistan, has always extended support and condolence towards any such terrorist activities in Pakistan. He proved the point by highlighting the 2014 Peshawar killing of 130 children and reminded that India felt deep regretat the loss of the life of 130 children who were mercilessly killed in the tragic incidence.

To what has been titled as an unprecedented move of Narendra Modi as suggested by the diplomats, India’s reference to the Balochistan has been watched as a move to internationalize the issue of the Balochistan Separatist movement in Pakistan. The changes in the policy includes the internationalization of the entire issue of Balochistan and issues such as listing the Indian embassies there and easing the visa restrictions for the people of Balochistan coming to India.

Though, India is yet to announce its line of action and plans for the Baloch politics but, it has intended to raise the issue at the U.N. The leader of the Baloch Republican Party, Azizullah Bugti, has sought the Indian government in general and Mr. Modi in particular to go beyond words and extend support to their struggle, i.e., the Separatist movement in Balochistan. Several critics of the issue also highlight that India is raising this issue internationally as a response to Pakistan for its ill strategies towards the Kashmir issue, including the mass scale human rights violations in Pakistan occupied areas of Kashmir.

The Baloch issue is not new to India. India has been involved with the same and has also been mocked for it by Pakistan with its comment that the Indian intelligence agencies should stop interfering in Baloch. But question that arises is as to why has this concern become utterly crucial in the present time? The answer would be that India is now trying to strategically take the matter where India is trying to change its tactics rather than changing its policy entirely towards the Baloch issue. This particular move by India can also be seen as a move towards keeping an eye over the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), which links the Chinese Xinjiang region to the Gwadar port in South West Pakistan region. If India changes its tactics, it can keep an eye towards both its neighbors and the 46 Billion dollar CPEC project between Pakistan and China.

It can be said that India is not trying to jeopardize this cocnern by changing its perspective and policies towards the Baloch issue. What India is trying to do is to mark its presence in a manner which will have an impact, by supporting the Baloch separatist groups. By strategizing its policies over the Balochistan area, India can have a direct impact on Pakistan as Balochistan has a port facility which has direct connection with India.

From Mr. Modi’s speech on the Independence Day, it is clearly discernible that he addressed the people of Pakistan occupied Kashmir, Gilgit and Balochistan. Thisclearly draws attention towards the actions of Pakistan towards the said regions. All these areas have experienced gross human rights violations due to Pakistani State actions.

To counter this, Pakistan has accused India since long for fuelling terrorism in the Balochistan region and supporting their independence movement. The Balochistan area happens to be the largest province of Pakistan, where Pakistan has claimed against India for its state sponsored terrorist activities in Balochistan region, back in 2009 a narrative that came in from Islamabad established that India has been involved in state sponsored terrorism in Balochistan. But Mr. Modi’s recent speech on its policy shift on Balochistan, has emphasized equally on Pakistan’s own atrocities on its people in the Pakistan-occupied Kashmir and the Balochistan region. This has clearly signaled that if Pakistan tries to internationalize the Kashmir issue; India will take a similar way out towards the internationalization of the Baloch issue.

Through this shift in policy, India is trying to hegemonize its presence in the area without, at present, having an intention to take the area in future under its control, rather India has supported the Separatist movement in Balochistan against the atrocities done by Pakistan in the area. The recent appeasing attempts made by Pakistan to develop the region has been by industrializing the area, to which the Baloch Republican party has responded that by merely industrializing the area, no benefits would result for the people as this move will only bring profits to the rich. The development project of Gwadar area by bringing manpower from Punjab and Paktukhwa has been seen by the Balochi people as something which will later reduce its own people to a minority in their own region. What India is doing is that it is trying to take advantage of the actions/atrocities of the Pakistani state over the people of Balochistan. India will simply cause trouble to Pakistan through its new Baloch policy and tactics.

The most important part of this entire issue is that what is the future of such a policy of India? It can be said that the recent speech made by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, has established that India will have a positive relation with the Balochistan politics and will also support their separatist movement. Through this particular move, India will have an impact over both its neighbors, i.e., China and Pakistan. China, because the recent shift in the Baloch policy can have a great effect on the CPEC, i.e. China-Pakistan Economic Corridor, which is a heavy investment project of China and Pakistan. On Pakistan, India can have a direct effect in terms of penetration (as Balochistan has an active port which can be directly connected to India). And at the same time, India can have a direct political and economic impact in the Baloch area. The new policy towards Baloch can, at present be called as a shift in tactics by India towards this particular sensitive issue of Pakistan, but at a later stage this particular policy will give India immense power to keep Pakistan vexed with its presence in the area. Though that particular presence of India wont directly mock Pakistan into a war situation, but rather, it would have an internationalized approach where it might drag Pakistan into a dialogue by strategically creating a dialogue over the issue with rest of the world and further supporting the separatist movement in the Balochistan area, which will eventually be a threat or setback to Pakistan’s statehood as Balochistan is the largest province of Pakistan. The only problem for India regarding this entire issue is that if the Balochi cause is dropped mid-way, then that will be a setback creating a dark spot on the credibility of India, which it cannot afford in terms of Pakistan. Hence, a strong support has to be extended towards the Balochistan issue even in future in order to suffice and make use of this new policy shift towards Balochistan.

 

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