Connecting the Dots: Modi’s Bid to Upstage Politics, Geopolitics Thru Brinkmanship

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Adil Dar (Pulwama attack suspect) belonged to occupied Kashmir-based Hizbul Mujahidin (HM), a local militant outfit–he was not from Jaish-e-Mohammad which India claims operates from across the boarder.

PKONWEB Report (New York/Islamabad) — In September 2018, Pakistan’s newly formed government led by cricketer-turned politician Imran Khan held out an olive branch to India’s PM Narendra Modi calling for peace talks–it was turned down. Mr. Khan’s team realized that Modi’s sulfurous response to Islamabad’s gesture has been put off by Modi until India’s national election due soon–Mr. Modi seeks a second term as PM amid spiraling ebb in his popularity countrywide–his and his party BJP remains preoccupied bandaiding their chance to win nationwide again–they had lost state elections in 3 critical states a few months earlier.

“When I won the elections and came to power, the first thing I tried to do was extend a hand of peace to India,” PM Khan told the crowd at the Future Investment Initiative (FII) held in October in Riyadh, adding that the overture was later “rebuffed” by New Delhi.

“What we are hoping is that we will wait until the elections, then, again, we will resume our peace talks with India,” Khan said, referring to India’s nationwide polls expected in April or May 2019.

A month earlier, Kashmir Times had reported (September 10), that a Adil Ahmed Dar (so-called suicide bomber) was apprehended by Indians in the occupied valley and hushed into military vehicles. The report also said that Dar belonged to occupied Kashmir-based Hizbul Mujahidin (HM), a local militant outfit–he was not from Jaish-e-Mohammad which India claims operates from across the boarder.

Fast forward: February 14 (coincidentally Valentine’s Day)–it was also on the same date that Valentine’s Day Massacre is well known in the US when in 1929 Valentine’s Day murder of seven members and their associates belonging to Chicago’s North Side Gang (mafia) was staged. The men were gathered at a garage on the morning of Valentine’s Day, where they were lined up against a wall and shot by four unknown assailants who were dressed like police officers—a false flag operation.

In the Pulwama suicide attack story considered a false flag op, Indian media continued to paint Dar belonging to JeM and not HM–his name surfaced after the Vehicle Borne IED blasted in Pulwama killing more than 49 Indian security personnel–and with clockwork precision, its media and establishment went on an overdrive.

Related Article: The ‘Pulwama Attack’: False Flag Op Suspected

Earlier in December, Modi’s Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) suffered an embarrassing defeat in three state elections in its stronghold just months before national elections. With a regional party offering support, the Congress party is set to rule all three states.

The setback to Modi’s ultra-nationalist Hindutva-driven Bharatiya Janata Party revived the political fortunes of the secularist Congress party under Rahul Gandhi, who took over as party president from his mother, Sonia Gandhi, a year ago. Weeks back, Rahul’s sister Priyanka Gandhi joined him to campaign for elections due in April. Congress which has a traditional support base from minorities specially Muslims, saw its graph climbing up–sustained polarity created in the country between Hindus and Muslims was witnessing a backlash much to the dismay of Modi constituency which fuels itself with the divide.

With elections near, both parties pushed forward to creating critical mass of their support base. While Rahul reached out to Priyanka and the educated liberal millennials, Modi invoked same narratives as in 2014 when he first got elected–the media dubbed it the Modi wave–it has been running out of shine over the last 24 months.

The inevitable further reinforced itself a month earlier in January when , India Today Mood of the Nation survey report confidently predicted the end of Modi wave in upcoming elections. “Just a year-and-a-half ago, Narendra Modi’s re-election as prime minister was considered a given. Now, it is no more a certainty,” it said. Forget the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) repeating its feat of winning a majority on its own as it did in 2014, it is far from certain that even the BJP-led National Democratic Alliance (NDA) can cross the 272 mark in Parliament, it added.

That was the stunning conclusion of the India Today Group-Karvy Insights biannual Mood of the Nation (MOTN) survey conducted between December 28, 2018, and January 8, 2019.

MOTN was significant as it came barely few months before the general election. Also because it is the first time since Modi came to power in May 2014 that an MOTN poll predicted the NDA will not cross the majority mark.

Two weeks later, the Pulwama attack happens–several observers consider it a false flag–and a week later, another shocking survey report appeared claiming that 83% Indians say Modi-led government is most likely outcome after 2019 general election.

The incumbent Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi has received a massive thumbs up in a mega Times Group online poll–over 2 lakh respondents took the survey, the report claimed.

The survey also claimed that Congress president Rahul Gandhi is a distant second as the most-preferred choice for PM among online voters, with only with 8.33% voting for him.

How come such a big swing in the national mood was detected in only few weeks? What happened between January and this month–a time-span of 6 weeks? Was the “mood” surveyed differently–offline versus online?

Interestingly, the Indian spy (Kulbushan Yadav) case was being held this week by ICJ in Hague–a four-day exercise which could have made the world see daily India in the defense, and Pakistan painting the former purple for carrying our hybrid warfare—a much lethal and ominous cross-border non-kinetic (non-visible) tool for a country than “terrorism” (visible).

So, Modi team probably had to do something differently, attractive and politically profitable—in the best case scenario it could yield massive vote for them but in the worst case scenario it would be unthinkable in all dimensions—diabolical approach timing-wise, strategic-wise.

The tactics therefore used are ending up becoming self-serving and exposing a leader of the biggest democracy like the emperor without clothes–another emerging embarrassment for Modi after state elections debacle.

Yesterday (February 26), in the wee hours, India therefore staged a “non-military” incursion across the Line of Control into Pakistan territory. The term “non-military” was coined by Delhi itself, meaning, it was not meant to engage Pakistan militarily but had other meanings albeit significance attached to it. Like what? Political, polemic? Nevertheless, Pakistan responded kinetically a day later (today) to Modi’s great game. Two Indian aircraft were shot down and three pilots were taken into custody by Pak military.

“Told you we will surprise you differently… Now this is called surgical strike. Two Indian jets downed, pilots captured by Pakistani forces,” one official tweet said. PAkistan’s was a kinetic response to what India said was its “non-military” response to Pulwara attack by Dar, a Kashmiri militant in occupied Kashmir.

Meanwhile, Pakistan prepares to host Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir and Turkish President Erdogan 3 weeks from now and expects investment galore would continue–earlier this month Saudi Crown Prince bin Salman announced more than $20 billion investment and “Consider me Pakistan’s ambassador in the kingdom” narrative.

Earlier, between the kingdom, UAE and China, a whopping $14 billion to $16 billion in loans, bailouts and grants for Pakistan were announced.

This week, US-Taliban talks’ fifth round is ongoing in Doha–US envoy Zalmay Khalilzad thanked Pakistan for facilitating the peace talks.

Modi and the Delhi establishment have much to complain about–for shift in spotlight vis-a-vis geoeconomy and geopolitics of the region.

Modi, however, may have been able to diabolically shaken and stirred his Hindutva constituency weeks before the elections, but the turn of events has created a space for conventional wisdom to ultimately prevail: Don’t fish in troubled waters. ‘Give peace a chance,’ as Pakistani premier said last week—months earlier he had said the same to President Trump, “we will ally for peace with the US, not for war” in Afghanistan. It’s happening.

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