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Thursday, June 1, 2023

Why Bharat must change its modus operandi towards Balochistan

Last month on August 6th, Bharat constitutionally abrogated the conservative and absolutist Article 370 from the state of Jammu and Kashmir. The move – which proved to be a stumper for Pakistan’s diplomacy wing – triggered a  fission of frustration catalysed with enigmas in Pakistan’s entire establishment. Pakistan’s frustration found many ways to carve itself out open on the world canvas, the darkest of it was their military and ISI’s sweating attempt at maligning Bharat at world stage. Every brush of the box was used to paint a case for liberation of Kashmir from Bharatiya state and longing for merger with Pakistan. 

Pakistan ever since its creation – which was a result of instalment of intense religious hatred, fundamentalism and extremism along with clever populistic political play – has used every trick to annex Kashmir from Bharat. It partly, due to negligence of Bharatiya state, succeeded in annexing a third of J&K in 1947. Bound by its ideology of Gazwa-e-hind, Pakistan has injected the mission to destroy Bharat into its veins.

Though, by abrogation of article 370, Bharat has further knotted the vindictive mission for Pakistan, it is also equally unambiguous that Pakistan will try every possible pernicious trick to return its way in quest for annexation of Kashmir. The state of Pakistan, deeply enmeshed in and fuelled by terrorism and religious extremism, will eventually return to turf with new challenges for Bharat. 

For years we have been burned by our house fire lit by neighbour Pakistan. And for years we tried extinguishing the fire. Every time the neighbour came with new idea to again lit fire in our house, repeatedly burning us. Despite our strength, might and nationalism, Pakistan didn’t stop perfidiously harming us. And it won’t stop, until we completely quash it’s malevolent establishment, break its backbone.

The best way to foil and counter Pakistan’s mission of destroying Bharat is by dismantling the entire state of Pakistan. This is the time Bharat shifts its gear from being defensive counter aggression to hardcore lethality. We can start by changing our modus operandi towards Pakistan’s most vulnerable part – Balochistan. 

Balochistan, apart from being the largest province of Pakistan making 40% of total area, is also the least inhabited province with only 5.94% of total population. The province is also the most marginalised province with only 20% of population having access to safe drinking water, only 25% villages electrified, a whopping infant mortality rate of 108, highest poverty rate, lowest literacy rate and share of GDP in Pakistan’s economy witnessing a steady drop from 4.9% in mid 1970s to 3.7% now. Despite being carved on soil which possesses one of region’s richest mineral reserves, the state of Balochistan has singled out and charred to backwardness by Pakistan. 

The balochs have locked themselves in an intense fight with state of Pakistan for occupying their land, illicitly and unjustly, since 27th March, 1948. The land has witnessed 5 major conflicts by balochs against Pakistan, each fiercer than earlier. Even at complete lack of any visible external support, Baloch sarmachars (freedom fighters) once succeeded in regaining their independence for a short while. The current and the fifth conflict – which started after the assassination of one of greatest Baloch leader Nawab Akbar Khan Bugti in 2006 by Pakistan military – is the biggest conflict till date. 

Despite Pakistan’s unremitting interruptions in Kashmir, Bharat has completely refrained itself from espousing and promulgating the Baloch issue. Lack of which has given Pakistan an upper hand over us. ‘Lack of unity’ in Baloch tribes – a reason often cited behind Bharat’s blasé and disengagement in Balochistan – is, though concurring with reality, a fallacy on many points. The Baloch tribal lack of unity is no different from diversity of opinions in Bharat or Europe, given for the fact that all of Baloch tribes are unanimously united for the ultimate cause of attaining freedom.

Shunning of Baloch issue on the basis of ‘lack of Baloch tribal unity’ fallacy, as it often happens, is a ludicrous mistake. Another possible reason behind Bharat refraining indulgence in Balochistan was the fear of prompting an counteract by Pakistan. The fear was a parrying inclination. Bharat, as a state, has a proclivity of non-indulgence in others’ internal matters, which, however banal in this case, spawned the initial blasé. All of the reasons are unworthy of countering the geopolitical advantages we have on our table if we free Balochistan. 

The most prudent advantage of a free Balochistan for Bharat is countered and diminished Pakistan. Espousing the Baloch issue will give Bharat an upper hand over Pakistan. Decluttering the Baloch issue to make it compatible for Bharat will automatically make it more labyrinthine for Pakistan. Pakistan’s Kashmir card – which it loves to use at every international gathering and diplomatic engagements – will have a legitimate counterpart from the Bharatiya side.

Bharat utilising the Baloch issue conscientiously coupled with PoJK and Gilgit-Baltistan case can provide an incredible advantage, completely dismantling the Pakistan’s paradigm and steering tectonic shift in geopolitics towards Bharat. Balochistan’s rise aided by Bharat will also spawn mentality for replication in the vicinal province of Sindh and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa also. Bharat can utilise Baloch land to further disintegrate Pakistan and can morph into beginning of the end for Pakistan. 

Pakistan’s growth is heavily dependent on the province of Balochistan. For years Pakistan has exploited the rich reserves of Baloch land and stayed on the policy of giving nothing back to them in return. Understanding the significance of Baloch land along with consciousness of its meagre non-economic value, Pakistan is aiding Chinese capture of the province in exchange of exchequers. Pakistan’s growth in Punjab is modelled on poverty in Balochistan. And China, in all understanding of this, has been capitalising on this Pakistani need by acquiring access to, or gradually annexing, Balochistan.

Chinese BRI’s flagship infrastructure, and colonising, project CPEC runs through Balochistan ending at port of Gwadar. Which, undoubtedly, makes Gwadar and Balochistan one of most important strategic points for China. Bharat supporting the Baloch movement will provide an impeccable uppercut to Bharat over China. Establishing a permanent and powerful influence in Balochistan can provide Bharat with tremendous strategic advantages. 

The geopolitical strategies at the helm of the region of Balochistan is of paramount significance and prudence, especially to Bharat. For a aspiring global power like Bharat, ensuring economic security is undoubtedly the top priority. Balochistan is a key to that locker where we can secure our assets for future economic requirements.

The region is home to rich mineral resources and possesses a vast reservoir of oil and natural gas. Bharat can utilise the region’s economic prowess through exploration, extraction and development of reservoirs by Bharatiya technologies. The vast energy resource of Balochistan can suffice great part of Bharat’s rich energy demands, significantly easing the energy crisis. Balochistan also sits on an extremely critical strategic point. It is passage from Arabian Sea to energy and resource rich Central Asia – Afghanistan, Turkmenistan and Kyrgyzstan – which makes it an tremendously significant strategic region. Bharat can capitalise on the region’s situation and can establish direct, devoid of Pakistan, connection with Central Asia and Russia. 

The 771 km long coastline of Balochistan oversees the busiest and richest passages of the world’s oil coming from Middle East. Strait of Hormuz – the critical choke point passage of world’s 20% oil trade – lies in close approximation of Balochistan’s Gwadar port. In 21st century, ports play an extremely important geopolitical and strategic part in a country’s muscle power, sometimes vital to countries’ significance. Pakistan without Balochistan and Sindh will be just a landlocked country like the Central Asian nations. Having Balochistan as an ally will enable its long coastline which can add in enhancement of Bharat’s defence and economic prowess. 

When Prime Minister Narendra Modi in 2016 spoke of Balochistan from the Red Fort, he triggered a chain of intellectual thinking. PM Modi torched a beam of light on the dark realms of Balochistan through his address. Now since the issue has captured the limelight, it is important for Bharat to carry onto it. This is the time Bharat not only extinguish but also counter the fire caused in our backyard for years by our neighbour. This is the perfect time for Bharat to change its modus operandi towards Balochistan.

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Yogendra Thakur
Yogendra Thakur
A student and two time state topper in Astrophysics and Art of Lecturing. Primary focus areas are Indology and Economics.


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