India’s Neighbours.

Even God has a Sense of Humour! I found this joke just in time to use it as a preamble to this post.

God was in the process of creating the universe.
And he was explaining to his subordinates
‘Look everything should be in balance.

For example, after every 10 deer there should be a lion.

Look here my fellow angels, here is the country of the United States.
I have blessed them with prosperity and money.
But at the same time I have given them insecurity and tension….

And here is Africa. I have given them beautiful nature.
But at the same time, I have given them climatic extremes.

And here is South America. I have given them lots of forests.
But at the same time, I have given them lesser land so that they would have to cut off the forests…

So you see fellows, everything should be in balance.

One of the angels asked…

‘God, what is this extremely beautiful country here?’

God said……. ‘Ahah…that is the crown piece of all. ‘INDIA’,

My most precious creation.
It has understanding and friendly People.
Sparkling streams and serene mountains.
A culture which speaks of the great tradition that they live.
Technologically brilliant and with a heart of gold…..

The angel was quite surprised:
‘But god you said everything should be in balance.’

God replied –
‘Look at the neighbours I gave them.’

This post is the direct outcome of a question that Conrad posed to me as to how I perceive India’s neighbours, other than Pakistan.

In all fairness, I must really start with Pakistan as contrary to what my readers may have gathered from my posts about Pakistan, I have great admiration for some elements of Pakistan society foremost among them, their English language press and some very brave writers. There are elements there, just as there are in India, who genuinely believe that peace between the two nations can be of benefit to both but, events keep overtaking these elements. Pakistan’s lawyers brought about a significant change in their society by a democratic process which alas is floundering today due to forces beyond any one’s control. If there is any kind of optimism about Pakisatan, I do not see any proof of it. I leave you to come to your own conclusions after you read this moving piece.

Let us move a bit Eastward and come to Nepal. Nepal believes that India gives it the big brother treatment, and I am nor surprised. What Nepalis do not understand is that Indian bureaucrats and politicians, who are the only ones that are perceived by Nepalis as Indians, give the same treatment to Indians too. Nepal too is going through a great deal of turmoil with recent democratic processes having dislodged the monarchy and installing a Maoist in power who seems to be clueless about quite what it is that the Nepali wants. These are uncertain times there and we already have a number of economic refugees from Nepal who come into India to make a living and send money back home for their families. This process increases with monotonous regularity and while so far no advese developments have taken place in India, it is a potential area for trouble.

Nepal is also used by Pakistan to launch some of their clandestine operations against India and this is a matter of regular concern between both countries.

Further Eastward, we have Bhutan, with which India has excellent relationship and there is no trouble there whatsoever.

The same cannot be said about Bangladesh, from where Islamic terrorists are regularly pushed into India and fleeing villains from India find safety and hospitality there. With the recent election of a new more secular government, it is hoped that matters will improve and there are indications to the effect. Bangladesh also has the perception that India acts the big brother and my comment during discussions of Nepal pertain here too. We have regular inflow of economic refugees from Bangladesh and this is now beginning to assume serious threats in some parts of the country with jihadi elements mixing up with them.

Another neighbour with little or no major impact but from whose territory Indian terrorists operate with impunity, is Myanmar. While we do not have much to do with them, that Indian trouble makers find shelter there is a matter of concern for us.

To the south, we have Srilanka where we have excellent government to government relations as well as great people to people contacts but their problems with the LTTE has had its impact in our southern state of Tamil Nadu where there is a sizable population sympathetic to the Tamils. We also have a number of refugees from there living in Tamil Nadu causing not a little friction with the locals for employment.

Over all, our problem is Pakistancentric. With the Indian economy getting stronger I suspect that we will have economic refugees assuming alarming proportions with the ever present threat of jihadi elements also coming in with them from Bangladesh as well as Pakistan.

The Indian establishment has its work cut out for it if only it would do some thing serious about the nation’s security rather than the obsession with politics and and making unofficial money. There are sufficient pointers that the growing clout of the urban middle classes is beginning to bring about much needed change and that is the only optimistic note that I can bring to this note.

Apart from the problems that we have with cross border terrorism, we also have the home grown varieties of disaffected elements, religious and secular and that is another topic altogether about which I shall post in due course.

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