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Naked Nukes

Jun 21, 2002

Over the last few months, our leadership in New Delhi has been exposed for what it is – a government based on religious ideology and willing to beat the war drums to divert attention whenever and wherever required. And when you think about it, that sounds a lot like the previous governments under the Congress and its allied parties. For anyone who ever thought that the BJP was a secular party even after the demolition of the Babri Masjid in 1992, events in Gujarat and the rendition of Newton’s Law as a defense of the events in Gujarat (“Every action has an equal and opposite reaction”) should hopefully have removed that notion once and for all. However, if there are still some believers in the BJP’s secular credentials, there is the Dunce Law (“Once a fool, always a fool”) as a defense of their incapability to see the BJP for what it is.

The parochial minds of the bogus politicians in the BJP and the Congress, have missed yet another opportunity for India and Pakistan to get out of their vicious cycle of military spending and help their citizens achieve a higher standard of life.

Terrorism is a terribly expensive game for governments to play with costly repercussions for the state sponsors. Ask Mrs. Gandhi’s lieutenants who helped create Bhindranwale or Rajiv Gandhi’s advisors who helped the LTTE. Across the LoC, Musharraf is feeling the heat from his own gang of thugs. And the BJP will have to pay for the atrocities in Gujarat.

And when you have the effects of state sponsored terrorism becoming an embarrassment for the government, the governments try to do things to divert attention – to move the bad news about themselves away from the front pages of the local newspapers and find another focal point. For the BJP, the Pakistan-Kashmir link was a nice diversion away from all the bad global and local press on Gujarat. For Musharraf, the dangers from a nuclear-armed neighbour were good enough to keep his local critics at bay and focus on the country’s attention to survive from a first strike by India.

Both the governments got what they wanted: a lot of heat and excitement and more breathing time to figure out how to deal with their bad boys in their respective camps and how to pacify the “extremists” within these extremist-led governments (I don’t believe that a majority of Hindus wish to hurt a Muslim or that a majority of Indians wish to go to war with Pakistan). The BJP has pulled the tactical coup of nominating a Muslim as a President to pacify the critics of Gujarat (and, simultaneously, finding someone mentally agile enough to know the difference between a button for launching a nuclear missile and the button for the evening drink). Musharraf has won himself more support from the US and the Western world because they recognize the need to have a known lunatic in control of nuclear arms rather than an unknown lunatic.

And the people who live in the sub-continent? What did they get? (Not that it matters to the political leaders.) Well, they got the pleasure of being on CNN yet again for more of the wrong reasons and will probably have to wait for another 5 years before any significant foreign investment finds its way into the country or before any boom in tourism arrivals helps our economies grow. Not that foreign investment and foreign tourists are the sole and only reason why any economy can grow but, after all the socialists and MNC-bashers have had their say, at the end of the day foreign investment, trade, and travel can add a lot to a country’s wealth. Unfortunately, the political leadership of India and Pakistan have - pardon the expression – nuked any chance of rapid economic growth for the next few years.

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