It was all is well for India; the South Asian member of G-20, an elite group of the developed West, Middle East and the big five of the world inclusive of Russia and China. Intelligence agencies all over the world are known to hunt down their opponents and kill them. It has been going on for decades and seldom have these things been taken up as has been the case now in the context of Canada and India.
Intelligence agencies of the pre 1979 Pahlavi Iran and the Islamic regime; both were known to do that job. Murders under suspicious circumstances of Ali Shariati in the United Kingdom and that of Mostafa Khomeini in Iraq by SAVAK in 1977, and post 1979; many of the Shah Generals killed in Europe after 1979, testify to that. Similarly, Baathist Iraq’s Mukhabarat hunted down a member of the dissident Al-Hakim family of Najaf, Mehdi Hakim, in Khartoum to do the job in 1983. Late Benazir Bhutto lost her younger brother Mir Shah Nawaz to one such blind murder, possibly committed by an intelligence outfit with the connivance of the regional operators. Not to forget the fact that an Iraqi Intel officer’s killing of an Israeli diplomat in Europe, actually precipitated the IDF invasion of Lebanon in 1982.
The geopolitical games cooking up between Toronto and New Delhi with Indian Punjab the epicentre can bring in new scenarios for the regional players. The situation does not demand, dusting of old manuals and acting upon them. It demands invariably a concerted mature approach towards the buildup. The transition from a darling to a rogue of the First World is always devastating for a Third-World state and the surroundings. It has stalled many plans and accorded opportunities for the foregone to make their presence felt
In the context of India and Canada, what is more baffling is that Sikhs from Indian Punjab have been the regular streaming diaspora since the Golden Temple days in 1984. An Air India flight 182 crashed somewhere in the Atlantic, with the Irish coast the nearest landmass at around 200 km, as the result of Sikh separatists’ act of terror in June 1985. As per the available information, suspected militants planted the bomb from its Canadian departure point.
The diplomatic rumbling soon after the culmination of the G-20 summit in New Delhi, which must have accorded Ingia the much-awaited diplomatic approval stamp from the developed world, seems to have evaporated for the time being. As things are moving, it seems that it might be just the beginning of the distancing of the Indian state from the developed world, if not in the corporate sense of the word, but in the geopolitical sense.
The demand by the big five-intelligence community comprising the USA, the UK, Canada, New Zealand and Australia from the Indian state to come clean on the issue of slain Sikh militant Hardeep Singh Najjar means that bad blood has been created. These developments, as we discuss the issue threadbare, have an impact on the current and future geopolitical set- ups, contemplated. A few takeaways might have a positive aspect for Pakistan.
India actually has been the fascination of the West led by the USA since 1947. While Pakistan has been seen from the onset as a satellite state in geopolitical settings; an intent demonstrated in the 1954 membership of Pakistan in Baghdad Pact, later renamed CENTO, India was viewed as a big market for products as well as a nation-state with which the West could develop ties on a non-military basis. The leadership in place in India led by Jawaharlal Nehru encouraged that aspect; it was seldom thought over to treat India in the same manner as Pakistan.
In fact, it was India, which in the event of its limited conflict with China in 1962, sent an SOS to the then Democrat Kennedy Administration to send military equipment on war footing, with which the USA complied. It was ironic that while the military transports like C-130 were offered in single digits by the USA to the PAF; India had a swift transportation of equipment like C-119 military transports in response to Nehru’s call. In the event of wars in 1965 and 1971, the USA, despite pretending, to be backing the military set-ups in Pakistan, especially in 1971, took extra care not to alienate the left-leaning Congress government led by the late Mrs Indira Gandhi. In the final analysis, the USA did not stand convinced of the need to support Pakistan in what it saw as a lost war of hearts and minds in the then East Pakistan; thereby avoiding alienating India further.
A glance through the WikiLeaks cables will further reveal that while Pakistan, at that time also ruled by the left-leaning PPP government led by Zulfikar Ali Bhutto in November 1974, it was hosting a multi-national CENTO exercise named Mid Link. The then Indian Foreign minister took up the issue in the Lok Sabha of that time condemning the exercise and making clear its displeasure over what it called US and Pakistani intrusion near its territorial waters. India, at that time a champion of the non-aligned movement, was a no0go area of sorts, where the USA treaded cautious paths.
During much of the 1970s and 1980s, India did not figure much in the State Department or Pentagon schemes of things. It was not before the gradual ascent of a right-wing political group by the name of BJP, that India was being considered for roles not contemplated before. The 1998 elections however, brought in BJP as a single entity, which can bag enough votes to be considered for the formation of the government in Delhi. It was not before 2001-02 that the party was in firm grip; enough to change the direction of India from a state not in the US orbit to the one courting the Republicans.
In the backdrop of the above-mentioned timelines and the current developments, it seems that the Indian state structure miscalculated its standing with the world and especially the Western world, with whom its strategic connections seems to have strengthened during the last decade or so. It is no secret that the Indian navy is being contemplated as a forward post for the American led containment of China in the Far East seas. Furthermore, its entry into the G-20 lately, its confidence in countering Pakistan after the 1999 Kargil fiasco, all indicated a new position for India.
Practically, the closeness of the Indian state with the international establishment and its influence over Twitter courtesy, relocating Gilgit-based users into places near Indian controlled Srinagar Valley which digitally mapped their presence, its one-sided narrative and the West’s readiness to accept it can get a big jolt. As things were developing in the context of the disputed state of Kashmir and Gilgit in the Indian establishment corridors, it looked as if a limited incursion into Pakistan in near future was a foregone conclusion. Practically, embroiled in its own contradictions, Pakistan was literally on the defensive.
The body language of the Western powers strongly indicates that if on one hand India miscalculated its immunity, the honeymoon seems over for both the parties. The Canadian government and many other Western governments, which usually look the other way when such killings are done by friendly intelligence agencies. and only raise a furore with non-friendly countries like Russia, China and Iran, it is a big break from the routine. Pakistani foreign policy minds have the opportunity to make the most for the long term.
Apparently, it seems that countries like the USA and UK might not be interested in the context of the Indo-Canadian row, but given the nature of Indian intelligence activities post-crisis, with murders reported in the community, the goodwill might be slipping away. With the Hindustan Times lamenting the fall out of the row, in the form of renewed Saudi support for an apparently dead Kashmir issue; the dial of history seems to be reversing.
The geopolitical games cooking up between Toronto and New Delhi with Indian Punjab the epicentre can bring in new scenarios for the regional players. The situation does not demand, dusting of old manuals and acting upon them. It demands invariably a concerted mature approach towards the buildup. The transition from a darling to a rogue of the First World is always devastating for a Third-World state and the surroundings. It has stalled many plans and accorded opportunities for the foregone to make their presence felt.