Since he took office as the proxy of Sonia Gandhi more than four years ago, Manmohan Singh has sought with zeal to carry out her agenda of rendering India helpless to any economic challenge from the EU or a military one from China. Even in her election campaigns, Sonia Gandhi conveyed the message that the minorities were in danger of losing their lives and property. Just as George W. Bush and Dick Cheney scared the US voter into giving them a second term in office?by painting rival John Kerry as an individual incapable of protecting them against terrorism?Sonia frightened the minorities into supporting her hodgepodge of competing corporate interests masquerading as political parties.
Manmohan Singh took four years to expose himself as simply window-dressing for implementing the policies of Sonia Gandhi. Policies that have by now ensured the near-emasculation of the Indian business community in its battle against foreign competition.
An action that is seditious in the extreme is the attempted effort to bind India to the NPT and CTBT after decades of struggle to develop domestic alternatives. Manmohan Singh has long been against India'snuclear expansion, including when he was Finance Minister (1991-96). Instead of permitting the AEC to reprocess all the spent fuel at its disposal, including at Tarapur, he has instead declined to source uranium from non-NSG states and more vigorously develop the country'sown uranium reserves. By throwing the country at the mercy of states that for long have sought to contain India, Manmohan Singh and Sonia Gandhi are in fact going against the vision of Indira Gandhi, who boldly went in for a programme of nuclear self-reliance. What needs to be done is to increase efforts for procuring uranium, fast-track the thorium programme, open up the nuclear and broader defense sector to Indian corporates and reprocess spent fuel. The agreement now sought to be entered into with the IAEA and the NSG ought to be replaced with another one that protects the country'stechnology and future. Should the US decline to agree to an equitable deal, India needs to sign a bilateral agreement with Russia, a country that has once again demonstrated its independence.
The country would find itself hard pressed to survive another term of the Sonia team. They need to go. Because of their access to money power, the Sonia-Manmohan duo is expecting to win its vote of confidence, thus giving it a few more months to fulfill Sonia Gandhi'svision of an India helpless before the EU and China. What the country needs is another general election, as soon as possible. And to ensure that the country is spared a repeat of the present, the NDA needs to go before the people and warn them that each vote is needed to protect the country from the catastrophe to which it is being led by the UPA. The next round could well decide the future of India.
In the UPA regime, one of the first steps was to open the floodgates for hundreds of thousands from Pakistan and Bangladesh to come to India. Those masterminding groups active in mayhem now no longer needed to sneak across the border, protected by fire from Pakistan'sarmy. They could, and did, come in on regular visas. It is no surprise that jehadi nests have sprung up precisely in those cities where such ?tourists? collected: Jaipur, Hyderabad, Lucknow and Mumbai. Since 2004, a powerful and largely home-grown network of terrorist groups has been formed across the country, that is building up its capabilities in order to strike at people and installations. Of course, the benefit of doubt has always been given to Pakistan. Even after the Kabul car-bomb, senior officials spoke off-the-record to mediapersons denying the involvement of the ISI. The suggestion that this misleading impression be put out came from a very high level within the UPA, one that is intent on painting Pakistan as a ?victim? rather than as the epicentre of terrorism. It is only when Afghan authorities shamed these pro-Pakistan propagandists within the UPA that they fell silent, but not before several television outlets had run scrolls that ?according to senior government sources?, the ISI was not involved in the blast.
Next came the unlocking of restraints on pro-Pakistan elements within Kashmir, headed by Mufti Mohammad Sayeed, the politician who as Home Minister was directly responsible for the actions that caused the 1989-1999 jehad in Kashmir. Today, with his vicious opposition to the leasing of land to facilitate the Amarnath Yatra (in the face of his own numerous favours to miscellaneous organisations, mostly pro-Pakistan), Sayeed is seeking to ignite a second jehad in Kashmir. The first caused the deaths of more than 40,0000 lives. A repeat may result in the felling of more than 200,000. It is because of the patronage given to him by Sonia Gandhi that the PDP leader and his flock are openly seeking to convert Kashmir into a mono-religious land, where only a single faith?that of the Wahabbis?will be allowed to exist.
Rather than bow to such a grotesque demand, secular elements within the state need to build a massive temple in the Kashmir Valley, as well as churches and gurudwaras, to send home the message that India is a secular country. By such an action, it will become clear to Wahabbi elements in Kashmir, as well as the rest of the pro-Pakistan brigade, that their efforts to destroy Kashmiriyat will not succeed. The building of different houses of worship in the Kashmir valley ought to have been done earlier. Unfortunately, even during the term in office of the NDA, there was a cosseting of religious extremism in Kashmir ,with the result that the degeneration of the secular ethos that has been witnessed since 1989 continued during 1998-2004 as well. Both Mufti Mohammad Sayeed as well as his secular-phobic daughter was indulged in by the PMO during 1998-2004. However, the license given to them to pursue their toxic agenda has sharply accelerated under the UPA, which has allowed the government in Kashmir to function as an agent of the Wahabbis, in defiance of the Constitution of India.
What needs to be done is to reveal a complete list of the land grants made by the PDP-Congress combine since it took office, so that the public can see for themselves the nakedly extremist logic behind the well-funded agitation against the lease of a small area of land to the Amarnath Shrine Board. Governor N.N. Vohra has distinguished himself in the past for his adherence to transparency, hence the request that he release records of land grants made by the now-defeated government. The people have a right to know. Of course, as has been witnessed by the secrecy with which the nuclear negotiations are being conducted, Sonia Gandhi'steam is allergic to sharing information with the people of India, even information already made available to external interests. The country is waiting to see if high constitutional functionaries such as President Patil and Governor Vohra will ensure through their behaviour that their allegiance is to the people of India and not to the particular politician who placed them in their current jobs. This columnist respects both, and trusts that they will show their mettle in the period ahead.
From a security perspective, there is a strong case for containing?before reducing?the Wahabbi influence over the Kashmir administration by creating a separate Ladakh state and a Jammu state. These two zones have nothing in common with Wahabbism, yet their ability to roll back the onrushing Wahabbi tide is being constrained by the control that the Kashmir administration has over them. The sooner Kashmir is trifurcated, the better for the people of the entire state, as well as for the nation. Also, in view of the fact that Pakistan-occupied Kashmir is a jehad factory, there needs to be a security cordon between it and the rest of Kashmir. This would be in contrast to the gaps in the existing firewall that have been deliberately created since 2004.
Particular attention has to be paid to West Bengal and Assam, as there are more than ten million illegal Bangladeshi migrants residing in these two states, several with unlawfully-obtained voting rights.
Since 2004, ?secularism? has been defined in Soniaspeak as a policy that in effect discriminates against the majority community. Why should only the places of worship of a single community be under the control of governments, including those known to follow an exclusivist agenda? Why should institutions started by the majority community not be given the same privileges as those started by others? In a secular state, all faiths get equal treatment, unlike in India, where a particular faith has long been singled out for discrimination against its adherents.
Just as the Sonia team has sought to exacerbate societal tensions, whether those of community or caste, it has systematically worked to demolish the economy. Interest rates have doubled, and are threatening to go up further. The tax system has once again become punitive and authoritarian, with the remedies available to the citizen drastically reduced. Growth-boosters such as Special Economic Zones have practically been banned, while once again, the Nehru policy of creating private monopolies is being followed. Yes, politicians made money. The difference is that in the past, this was because of taking decisions that created new enterprises and wealth. These days, the bribes are being paid to perpetuate existing monopolies or create new ones, just as was the case during 1950-80. As for the field of education, centres of excellence are under government attack, and the potential for India to emerge as the education hub of the globe is being squandered
(The writer is Vice-Chair, Manipal Advanced Research Group, UNESCO Peace Chair & Professor of Geopolitics, Manipal University.)