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In the 46th session of the OIC, external affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj was invited and despite Pakistan protest and boycott, the invitation was not retracted. The speech on ‘pluralism’ by Sushma Swaraj was published and BJP’s ministers were quick to jump that this was a big turn around and successful foreign policy initiative by the Prime Minister. They gave example that never in the history of Independent India, we got any invitation from OIC to speak. In fact, Mr Fakhruddin Ali Ahmad invitation was withdrawn at the last moment in 1969 at the insistence of Pakistan thus creating an embarrassing condition for the host country who had invited him and requested him not to attend the summit.

Since then, India has not accorded OIC any importance but with Modi government’s overdrive to score political points, India decided to send Ms Sushma Swaraj while Pakistan boycotted the preliminary session. Now, OIC has passed resolution presented by Pakistan criticizing India. While it does not matter much as OIC has been speaking this language for long but the Indian position was always ignoring it. Ironically, Pakistan has also been made the permanent member of OIC’s human rights body. Fact of the matter is that pluralism has never been strength of OiC member countries, neither are they devoted democracy and human rights. India’s strength was its strong secular credentials despite all its weaknesses of prejudices and biases as constitutionally, we are not a theocratic country.

Today, India is a power and world listen to it and want to embrace it. All this is not a one day work but India’s growth story and success of its institutions now well respected world over. Globally, the Indian model of coexistence has been appreciated but today there is a worry about India and its secular character. We always believed that political power is based on electoral calculations but institutions are there to balance things and implement rule of law to save us from collapse. These institutions are under tremendous strain at the moment, If we saw how our External Affairs Ministry and Defense spokespersons were under tremendous pressure then we have to realise one fact that Electronic media in India has become the biggest curse to our democracy and the a powerful threat to our national integration. It has put enormous pressure on our armed forces and all their action under public gaze and all their acts are being reported and discussed from morning till night. It refuses to accept that our ‘Fauzis’ too are human being who have family and children. In the din of their ‘bravery’, it create an unimaginable strain to ‘succeed’ without understanding the dynamics of region and tough ground situation. While all those who joined armed forces have to serve the nation and this come with their work profile and they go there with their head high, they also want to live a life and being loved.

In the last few days, we have got a number of messages from the family members, particularly the wives of those died on the line of their duties whether in war or handling the local crisis. It is well known fact, given the nature of our society, that the biggest victims of war are children and women. Once the ‘josh’ is cooled and calmed down, the bitter realities of lives take the center stage. We already know how after Kargil war, a number of young women lost their husbands though the government tried to compensate it through money to hide its own failure, the family crisis deepened. The crisis of losing a husband and losing a son. Now, it was women who were actually fighting each other. One seeking compensation for her son, while other for her husband. In many places these came in the court.

This society is brutal. It does not allow a woman to grieve as media is there all the time. If she marry after some days, media jump that she married leaving her ‘parents in laws’ in lurch. If she not, the life is difficult for her. Many of the parents in laws, want ‘her’ to marry the younger son against the will and we all know money becomes the big issue.

As I said, Indian foreign policy is coming under tremendous strain. So is our social structure, unity and integrity of the country. I am not among those who feel that Imran Khan has become a ‘peacenik’ because the power is still in the hands of the army and the agenda to bleed India remain the top of Pakistan’s military leadership. That is a historical crisis of the Pakistan elite. Though there was a time when many in India felt that a military leadership was useful for negotiations with Pakistan and General Parvez Musharraf was the prime example but the Agra summit between him and Vajpayee was foiled by Advani and hawks like him otherwise we would have progressed more particularly on Kashmir.

In the last four and a half years this government did not act on the ground but through propaganda. It allowed to create extremely poor and divisive narrative related to Pakistan which focused more to cater the Hindutva constituency and made little impact on Pakistan. The attacks on our security forces increased manifold during these years but the government and BJP leaders focused not on governance but on TV channels resulting in we became a laughing stock world over. I would say, more than the government, it is the these channels who have become huge embarrassment for our security as well as foreign policy establishment. They feel that they are glorifying our forces but in fact they are putting immense mental pressure through this war mongering. Pakistan actually won the perceptional war where hawks there feel Modi government more suitable their propaganda.

The drama played out by Pakistan in the release of Wing Commander Abhinandan actually was to preempt things and not allow the Indian side to score any point but I would still appreciate the sober way the armed forces dealt with the issue without giving the media much of a chance to convert it into a tamasha. I think it was a good strategy not allow media access and platform to create another crisis. Since Pulwama these fake warriors have been trying to create division and crisis for the benefit of their political patrons. Like their patrons they too want to go for a war without thinking of its consequences as well as without giving our forces to take a decision on their own. This is dangerous and has to stop. India can not afford to lose even the perceptional war.

Today, you need diplomacy to put pressure on countries which do not follow basic principles. A country like North Korea is now realising the cost of international isolation and coming for discussion. There are numerous other ways. No country would survive if it remain isolated. Further, for India, it would be better to strengthen political movements in Pakistan as well as strengthen its secular constitutional values. If people of India face discrimination on the basis of their religious or caste identities or due to their regional identity, how are we going to counter the propaganda by the others. It is a serious concern. If you exclude people, communities from the power structure and political process, you give potential ammunition to your opponents.

War take you nowhere. It destroy. It only bring destruction and no solution. We had so many of them and we are still fighting. We need to seriously engaged with people in the political process and develop a culturally inclusive society. You can not keep the kashmir people out of talk to bring peace in South Asia or between India and Pakistan. Kashmir for Pakistan is its Islamic agenda and Indian wanted to prove their ‘secular’ and ‘democratic’ credentials. It is important to first bring normalcy in the valley by strengthening institutions of governance involving political parties and civil society organisations. There is no other way than talks talks and talks. These are political issues which can be resolved through negotiations and open heart. Once we have done so, it would be easier to convince the world that the Pakistan need to act against the Islamic terror organisations. It will be equally important for Indian government to act against the venom spewing channels as well as the organisations campaigning against minorities in general and Muslims in particular. You can not win a war by deliberately excluding and marginalising nearly 15% of your population. It is time to put this to an end and strengthen the idea of an inclusive India which alone will defeat all those forces trying to destablise us.

Vidya Bhushan Rawat is a social and human rights activist. He blogs at www.manukhsi.blogspot.com twitter @freetohumanity Email: vbrawat@gmail.com

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