By M.D. Nalapat, director of the School of Geopolitics, the Manipal Academy of
Higher Education, India.
June 22, 2003
On August 15, 1947, India became free. But the day before, nearly a third of
the country had been cut away from it to form Pakistan.
Since 1948 Pakistan has conducted a continuous war with India, from overt
conventional assault as in 1948, 1965 and 1971, to the covert war that has
engulfed Kashmir since 1989. The bigger neighbor has exhibited all the
hesitation and restraint typical of a democracy, while Pakistan, where the army
has been in effective control since the first declaration of martial law in 1958,
has shrewdly played its limited cards to great effect, combining with the United
States ‘against communism,’ and with Communist China against India, getting
repaid with weapons for use against one of the only three consistently
democratic countries in Asia, together with Israel and Japan.
After India’s first nuclear test in 1974 China began funneling technology to
Pakistan which, by the end of the 1980s, made it the only Muslim country with
a nuclear device, together with missiles that could hit large parts of India. The
US, which after the Soviet collapse had bought the Saudi argument that
Pakistan could be a bridge into Muslim Central Asia, looked the other way while
this cross-border proliferation took place, while putting a virtual technological
quarantine on India.
By creating a state with an ideology totally opposed to that of its neighbor,
Britain condemned India to a constant state of external conflict and internal
insecurity. Looking at the present meltdown in Pakistan, it does not seem likely
that peace will break out anytime soon.
The constant chatter about an ‘imminent’ India-Pakistan conflict has resulted in
a flow of foreign investment to India that is less than 10% of that going to
China. Most of the diplomatic interaction between New Delhi and the European
Union or the US is an endless rehash of formulae for ‘resolving’ differences
between the two countries.
For that to happen, either Pakistan or India would have to give up its core
ideology, for Pakistan is an Islamic republic where jihad is the official motto of
the army, while India is a democracy.
Were an independent state of Palestine to be established alongside Israel, the
latter would be condemned to the same fate that India has faced for the past
55 years a permanent state of insecurity. Just as Pakistan believes it is the
successor to the Mughal Empire and that therefore historical justice demands it
reestablish Muslim rule over the whole subcontinent, almost every Palestinian
believes that the entire territory “from the river to the sea” belongs to him by
Yet just as the ‘Pakistani’ identity was a fiction brought to life by the colonial
power, so was the ‘Palestinian’ identity. In reality, there is no ‘Palestinian
people’ with features distinct from the other Arabs of the region.
Were an independent state of Palestine to be created, Arab Israelis might suffer
from dual loyalty. Just as Pakistan tries to establish its influence over India’s
156 million Muslims by posing as their champion, elements within the proposed
Palestinian state would try to create an allegiance between Arab Israelis and the
In brief, the creation of an independent Palestinian state on the lines laid out in
the road map would not bring peace. Instead, it would condemn Israel to
decades of conflict with its new neighbor.
If Israel tries to please the US, the UK, the rest of the EU, and assorted
busybodies around the world by failing to ensure that it has defensible borders,
and if it agrees to the creation of an entity that by its very nature will be hostile
to it, its present leaders are creating a monster that will certainly emaciate, and
may even devour, their nation.
What needs to be done is for Israel to annex the territory required to be secure,
while ensuring that the residue gets formed, not into a single state but into
several entities such as a city-state of Gaza, on the Singapore model. Some of
the territory abandoned by Israel could get absorbed into Jordan, where One
Person, One Vote would then become the norm, as it is in India or Israel.
India and its people are still suffering from the ‘unwisdom’ of its leaders in
permitting the creation of a country that has become an ulcer on its flank. Will
Israel’s leaders learn from this example, or will they too condemn their people
to the kind of hell Pakistan has created for its neighbor?
They must not allow Israel’s borders to be militarily indefensible nor welcome
the creation of a state whose people find their identity solely in the quest for