As more and more details emerge, Indian Army’s “hot pursuit” into Myanmar three days ago looks like an elaborate media management exercise that aims at protecting Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s image as the “Iron Man” in the downstream of the devastating attack by the Naga rebels on June 4 in Manipur.
The junior minister in the information ministry probably blurted out the truth – it was a “revenge attack” by the Indian Army. So, the Indian leadership ordered the “revenge” attack so that it would have a cathartic effect on the Indian Army on the one hand, while on the other hand our prime minister’s stature as the “Iron Man” remained intact. Period.
But, the matter doesn’t end there. The iron is melting in the Indian summer heat. Serious issues have arisen.
India’s ties with Myanmar are affected. The reports say the Indian ambassador was given a mouthful by the Myanmar government. By now, it must be bazaar gossip in the South Asian capitals surrounding India.
All in all, it is incredible that Delhi claimed to have conducted “hot pursuit” in a country whose constitution expressly prohibits the presence of foreign troops on its soil.
If only one could be a fly on the wall if and when National Security Advisor Ajit Doval travels to Myanmar to render the Indian apology for the crude manner in which Delhi embarrassed that country’s leadership.
Meanwhile, the Naga leader who apparently ordered the June 4 attack on the Indian Army in Manipur, S.S. Khaplang, is undergoing medical treatment in the Yangon general hospital. Why doesn’t Doval seek his extradition?
But then, Khaplang is at the moment negotiating a deal with the Myanmar government whereby his movement NSCN (K) joins the democratic process in that country and will take part in the November general election.
In sum, India will continue to have an adversary in the NSCN (K), whereas the outfit ceases to be a threat to Myanmar’s security. Isn’t that funny? Pray, what is going to be the future of India-Myanmar cooperation in fighting the NSCN (K)? The Modi government is misleading public opinion.
The root problem is that the Indian discourses blithely take the Myanmar government for granted. This is a travesty, given the potency of Myanmarese nationalism, which is no less rabid than Hindu nationalism.
Do not overlook that the strong undercurrent of “anti-Indian” feeling in the Myanmar mindset is comparable to the other neighbouring countries. Do not forget the pogroms in Myanmar (then “Burma”) against ethnic Indians.
Besides, Delhi should have been mindful that politics in Myanmar is rapidly transforming and the regional powers are adjusting themselves with great pragmatism.
Nothing highlights this more vividly than the warmth and cordiality with which Chinese President Xi Jinping received Aung San Suu Kyi in the Great Hall of the People in Beijing on Thursday.
Yet, India has literally charged like a bull into the China shop. What crassness and diplomatic insensitivity!
Even more deplorable is the manner in which some of the our ministers have been bragging about the “hot pursuit”. They don’t realize that they look like imbeciles unworthy of a great nation that has aspirations to be a responsible member of the international community.
In particular, the jibes by the Indian ministers against Pakistan are simply appalling. They probably took the cue from Modi himself who breached protocol proprieties by speaking disparagingly about Pakistan during his recent visit to Bangladesh.
However, the plain truth is that there is nothing India can do to instill fear in the Pakistani mind. It is a nuclear power and its military is geared on 24×7 basis to confront India. It is a major regional power, and an India-Pakistan conflict is the last thing the international community wants.
Our ministers who hold university degrees should know all that. But then, who are they kidding? The answer is simple: You and I.
In fact, the only reason for this media campaign by the government, whipping up jingoism, is to shore up the sagging credibility of the Modi government by diverting public attention from its failings.
The right thing to do is to clinically, objectively analyze why the June 4 attack took place at all with such devastating effect. How on earth did things go so horribly wrong?
But then, someone should be answerable. That in turn would have necessitated the Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar taking the moral responsibility for the death of 20 Indian soldiers. There was a time in India when for lesser things, ministers resigned and returned to their villages.
Instead, Parrikar ducked, took the diversionary route of rhetoric and began expounding the Indian (Hindu) “mindset” in the Modi era, making himself the darling of the regime. A smart politician, indeed.