thyroid medication

We've detected an outdated browser.

You may want to consider updating your browser. International Policy Digest requires a modern browser in order to view the website properly.

Click here for information on how to update your browser.

Continue Anyways
World News

Will Modi’s Election Destabilize Asia?

Will Modi’s Election Destabilize Asia?



Experts in international security view the latent India-Pakistani conflict as potentially one of the most dangerous worldwide. India and Pakistan desperately need to build a lasting peace, and must avoid further friction. Enter Modi, the newly elected prime minister of India. Modi, as president, is a potential nightmare for those hoping for a better relationship between India and Pakistan. This is mainly because of Modi’s controversial role in the 2002 massacre of Muslims in Gujarat, which happened while he was the region’s Chief Minister.

The problem is that popular opinion among Pakistan’s political elites is that India just elected a prime minister who is responsible for systemically killing Muslims. Therefore Pakistan’s leadership is likely not only to mistrust Modi, but also to grow increasingly hostile towards the Indian population as a whole. In Pakistan, growing mistrust equals growing military influence, since the Inter-Service Intelligence (ISI) has historically always been able to use crisis atmospheres to increase their power. Between the US using drones in northern Pakistan with only partial permission from the Pakistani government, India turning to Hindu nationalism, and a failure to effectively eliminate domestic Taliban groups from ruling parts of Pakistan’s periphery, the ISI is bound to take charge sooner or later.

Furthermore, ISI’s growing influence is made even more likely by the fact that Pakistan’s current prime minister, Nawaz Sharif, has spoken in favor of the ISI, where other Pakistani presidents have usually tried to decrease its power. The fact that Pakistan’s prime minister has chosen to attend Modi’s inauguration means very little in terms of the realpolitik of the region.

The ISI taking charge means that there will be a focus on the expansion of Pakistan’s nuclear arsenal. This thought is worrisome, because Pakistan does not handle its nuclear arsenal responsibly and nuclear weapons therefore could fall in the hands of Taliban insurgent groups. While these groups lack the delivery system to take full advantage of these nuclear weapons, they could easily make a so-called “dirty bomb” out of them, and use a low-tech delivery system, such as a truck, to deploy where they see fit (most likely in India).

Increased ISI power would most likely also mean increased government funding for non-state actors. The ISI likes to use these as proxies to fight for their interests in Kashmir, especially Lashkar-e-Taiba (or simply Lashkar). However, these groups are loose cannons, and are likely to attack not just under ISI direction, but also autonomously. Thus, Lashkar was responsible for the 2008 terrorist attacks on Mumbai, an attack contrary to the interest of Pakistan, because it served only to destabilize the India-Pakistani relationship, and cause India to increase their domestic security spending. Finally, more power to the ISI means less focus on the domestic development of infrastructure that Pakistan so desperately needs.

If ISI gains power India will be likely to increase its military and national security spending. Modi has already signaled this. This in turn is likely to trigger a reaction from China, who is likely to do the same. Xi Jinping has proven to be a military hard-liner, and is therefore likely to react more to India’s potential military expansion than his predecessor, Hu Jintao. This has been apparent in China’s aggressive posture in its claim to the so-called “nine-dotted line.” Increased military spending would likely make Japan uneasy, resulting in increased spending on the Japanese “coast guard.” Furthermore, increased China spending would likely also threaten Taiwan, leading to US involvement. These events would therefore have the potential to lead to a vicious circle, and trigger a security dilemma in Asia. The hostility could then fester and lead to an Asian Cold War.

Of course this is a worst-case scenario, but this does not mean that it is unrealistic. Should this worst-case scenario play out; there is no easy solution. The conclusion to all of this is that India’s election of Modi is a game-changer, and professionals in foreign policy should immediately start contemplating how to deescalate what might quickly become a very sticky situation in Asia.


What you are talking is totally unrealistic. Its either you do not understand Asia's political dynamics, or you doubt the statesmanship of Asian leaders.

Mr. Narendra Modi isn't involved in Gujarat riots as per the investigation done by India's Supreme Court. Also, he comes from a party which established best of ever relations with Pakistan (search for A.B. Vajpayee's Lahore Trip). Even Pakistan's political elite would know that the coming up of a right-winger to power in India decreases the level of doubts in the Indo-Pak relationship.

Pakistan is a democratic nation, even if its history doesn't suggests so. What sort of "growing mistrust" you talking about? Why would Pakistan's masses develop mistrust with their government for what happens in India?

Do you even understand the difference between "Hindi" and "Hindu? Hindi is a language, while Hindu is anyone belonging to "Hindu" culture. There has always been Hindu cultural nationalism in India, and there always will be. Narendra Modi or anyone else from those group of people whom you consider "controversial", do not aim to promote any kind of religion-based nationalism.

As far as Pakistan's nuclear arsenal is concerned, it already does have quite a lot. Why would Narendra Modi coming to power, or America's drone attacks prompt the ISI to increase nuclear arsenal? Pakistan's nuclear weapons are already far more superior than that of India. Added to that, they are a means of deterrence, not destruction.

You talk of nuclear weapons falling into Taliban's hand.. haha.. have you ever visited a nuclear laboratory? Would terrorist groups in Pakistan be knowing where the nuclear bombs are kept? Pakistan is one of "Next-11" nations, slated to join the BRICS group in about thirty or forty years. Its army, its government, its whole administration are competent and responsible enough to take care of nuclear weaponry. I do not doubt your intelligence for being so kiddish in your article; I believe it's the way west generally looks towards any Islamic military power.

Political assertions of Pakistan's army is already on a decline. The army knows that for it to survive, it needs a stable, and democratic Pakistan. Under the leadership of Nawaz Sharif, Pakistan has been able to attract foreign investments, get bail out package from World Bank and strengthen relations with neighbours like Iran, India, China, etc.

For India, it will keep on increasing its military spending, not because of Pakistan, but because of China (who it considers a bigger threat than Pakistan) and because of its global military-power ambitions.

India's increase in military spending would definitely send a signal to China but it doesn't create much difference. China's military spending is already more than four times than that of India's. India still depends upon Russian technology and hasn't been much of a power in indigenous development of weapons. I would also like to remind you that China's actual spending on military isn't known. Analysts believe that it could be more than double of what its budget displays.

China and Japan aren't in a state-of-war. So, keep that Japan argument out.

China isn't also going to invade Taiwan, if you think so. It would not do that before it topples America as world's biggest economic, military, and diplomatic power. Even when that happens, America would be the world's second biggest power, and its influence would be more-or-less similar to that of China. In that case, China could continue shouting about Taiwan, or Senkaku/Diaoyu islands, but a full force military aggression is not going to happen.

Asian cold war.. get out of your history books.. live in reality.. recognize the importance and influence of economic diplomacy. Do not just jump over predicting a cold war.

Asian leaders are wise enough to avoid any sort of confrontation, or war-like situation. Coming of a right-winger to power in Asia do not mean rise of another Hitler, it rather means the rise of another Deng Xiaoping, or another Shinzo opening up gates for commercial relations, thereby benefiting the whole region.

Vikas Kumar Jha
Vikas Kumar Jha

The article needs better proofreading. Narendra Modi is pm, not president. And it is Pakistani pm, not president who attended the swearing in.



Thank you for your comment! I As I conclude by saying, this is certainly a worst case scenario. 

I will respond as best I can to your comments, one by one.

1. I understand that President Modi was cleared by all charges by India's Supreme Court. However, this does not change the fact that Muslim's both in Gujarat and Pakistan are still weary of his role, and skeptic about the ruling. As for the Lahore Declaration, that lays 15 years back, and proved unsuccessful.... There are still Skirmishes between India and Pakistan in Kashmir a few times a year to this date.

2. Pakistan is not classified as an "electoral democracy" by Freedom House or any similar NGO that I am aware about. There are numerous problems in Pakistan with freedom of speech, rights of the press, fair and free elections, etc. When I speak about growing mistrust, I speak about the Pakistani elites who's mistrust is growing towards Indian's in general, because they elected Modi.

3. Yes, Hindi nationalism was a typo. I meant Hindu. I am definitely think that Modi's political agenda is based in Nationalism. I can't say that I agree that his agenda is not (at least to some extend) based in Indian Hindu culture and religion.

4. It is imperative that Pakistan’s nuclear arsenal does not grow because it is not as safe as we would like to think. See the Atlantic article I linked to for more info on that. The ISI is in favor of expanding it; they do not believe to have a guaranteed second-strike capability at the moment. The drone strikes and Modi's election has to do with the likelihood of the ISI getting more power increasing. Lastly, whether nuclear weapons’ increase or decrease the stability of a region is a matter of Scholarly debate.

5. I know that an insurgency groups (including the Taliban) has attacked a bases believed to hold nuclear warheads. In one case they even held one for up to 24 hours (I believe it was, haven't double checked this). Again, see the Atlantic article.

6. My point is not that China is weary of Pakistani military expansion, but that India are, will react, and this in turn might lead China to react to India. So, I agree with you here.

7. China and Japan have disputes over islands and waters.

8. China certainly has a strong military posture near Taiwan, and latest pushed the US out of the Taiwan Strait with it.

9. Lastly, I don’t believe I mentioned this would lead to war, or the rise of Hitler. I argue that Modi as leader could trigger the security dilemma, which in turn could lead to a COLD war.

As I already stated, I write about the worst-case scenario, but do not think it is unlikely to happen. In the end, only time will tell. I hope you’re right, I fear that I may be.

Again, thanks for your comment.



Part 2 Of my Comment

4, 5. Look Pakistan's government and its administration will have to keep the nuclear arsenal secure because its in their favor. It wouldn't be India, terrorist would like to nuclear bomb at first, it would be Pakistan. So, to stop that from happening, Pakistan would keep its nuclear arsenal safe and secure. If you read about Pakistan's nuclear programme, you would come to know that Pakistan's government hasn't even listed where does it keeps its nuclear arsenal, just like any other nation. There are just speculations about it being kept at specific locations.

As far as ISI is concerned. You please decide whether its the ISI, or the army who would like a self-power increase with Modi's coming to power and America's drone strikes. By the way, America has been drone-ing Pakistan for many years now. Why does the question arises now?

What sort of threat Modi is for Pakistan that its army would like to increase its power? India and Pakistan are not in a state-of-war.

Why is the west and not India more concerned on Pakistan's nuclear arsenal? Because they believe it was the AQ Khan, Pakistan's nuclear gem, who transported information and formulae related to nuclear to North Korea and Iran. It's not at all got to do anything with India, or Asia.

6. China and India are weary of each others' military expansion. But this isn't going to escalate a war. India's biggest trading partner is China. Probably that would give you the extent to which India and China share relations. China doesn't need to react to India because it's already a semi-superpower and India is no-match to it.

7. China and Japan have disputes over Islands and Water for the last 50 years or so. These things take time to get sorted-out. A war on this isn't gonna happen. China is superior to Japan, but Japan cannot be called a lower power. America, bound by its commitment to help Japan in a war, acts as a deterrent to any wrong that might happen. Wars between equals do not happen. When two powers know each others' capability to cause destruction, ugly rhetorics continue to be delivered but a war doesn't happen.

8. Taiwan is protected by United States, so forget about anything happening to it. If China needed to do anything against Taiwan, it would have done it by now. It's not at all related to Modi's rise. China invading Taiwan or something like that can only happen fifty or forty years later when China would have surpassed US in all departments. By that time, Modi wouldn't be India's Prime Minister. Probably, not even be living.

9. Well you suggested a WAR. What's a COLD war? It's a phase when countries, or group of countries are on a brink of war, and the war could happen anytime. If the phase ends without any bullet fired, then we term it as a "COLD" war. You can't just predict a cold war. It's absolute nonsense.

A worst-case scenario is something which could happen, but your writing is baseless and meaningless. It's not a vicious cycle. Do not term it as so. In a vicious cycle things keeps on happening. A situation which gives rise to another situation and then the second situation aggravates the first. This a vicious cycle. The incidents you think might happen are not inter-related, so it can't be termed a cycle, leave alone the vicious.

Also, in a war, or a cold war (as you suggest), there must be two sides against each other. But you are bringing a lot of nations together, without any bi-polarity. China, Japan, Taiwan, Pakistan, India all in a brink of war because of Narendra Modi.

You know why I wrote Hitler? Because last time when a whole continent got into fire was because of Him. You seem to relate the situations but do not relate the personalities. Not fair. Even Japan wants to get out of America's shadow and become a "normalized" nation by deleting (or amending) Article 9 of its constitution. Do read about it.

Respect the fact that India is the only country which hasn't invaded any country in the last 10,000 years of its history. So, India's Prime Minister becoming the cause of tensions in Asia - a continent of uncountable dreams and aspirations, a continent that aims to topple western influence, is baseless, I would say.



As the comment is too large. I am cutting it into parts.


I would also respond to your arguments, point-by-point.

1. Firstly, it is "Prime Minister" Modi, and not "President" Modi. Now coming to how Muslims take Modi and his leadership, I would like to remind you that Pakistan was formed on the theory that Hindus and Muslims cannot live together, and they are of different cultures. So, Pakistani people and the Muslims there; they would treat, fear, and be skeptic of any of India's "hard-liner" politician, leave aside Mr. Modi. When Atal Bihari Vajpayee, India's former Prime Minister visited Minar-e-Pakistan in Lahore, it was "purified" with water by some extremist elements of Pakistan.

Malala Yousafzai in her book clearly states about how Pakistan's school curriculum is filled with Anti-India, Anti-Hindu rhetorics.

Look, Pakistan's public discourse has always been anti-India, anti-Hindu. So, if Muslims in Pakistan think negatively or wrong about Modi, its perfectly fine. That's something which keeps the "idea" of Pakistan alive.

As far as the Muslims in Gujarat are concerned, they aren't scared or skeptic about Modi's leadership. Modi had won assembly elections in Gujarat for the third time in a row, before he became the Prime Minister of India. For three times in a row, he won 2/3rd number of assembly seats. That's something not possible without the support of Muslim voters. The "Sachar" committee report commissioned by former PM Manmohan Singh proves that Gujarati Muslims have better access to public facilities than Muslims of any other part of India.

The party which Modi is in, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), got more than 160 Muslims elected in Gujarat in the Municipal elections out of 200 fielded. Yes, on BJP's ticket, Muslims got elected in Gujarat. In a village with more than 90 percent Muslim population, guys from BJP win with more than 60 percent of the vote-share.

Gujarat also gave 26/26 seats to BJP in the recently concluded Parliamentary elections which again isn't possible without Muslim supporting Modi and his Party.

The Lahore declaration basically comprised of "restraining from use of nuclear arms". India and Pakistan have not got into any nuclear war, till date. So, in a way Lahore Declaration is a success. The Parliaments of India and Pakistan, both, ratified the declaration. So, I believe at least the political elites of Pakistan, at that time (1999), were supportive of peace initiatives by BJP government. The Kargil incident, which happened just two months after Vajpayee's Lahore visit was not planned by Sharif government. It was planned and executed entirely by Pervez Musharraf (then Army chief, later President of Pakistan).

Shahid Aziz, former army chief of Pakistan entirely blamed Musharraf and his three confidants for the Kargil war. Maleeha Lodhi, and Ishtiaq Ahmed have done the same in their books. There is a consensus that Nawaz Sharif didn't know even a cent of what was happening in Kargil heights.

Why I go 15 years back is because today we have the similar type of leadership as it existed in 1999 - Nawaz Sharif, and a nationalist (then Vajpayee, now Modi).

Skirmishes happen along Kashmir, soldiers from both the sides get killed.. and that's been happening for years. Does it have anything to do with Modi's election?

2. NGOs, rating organizations, they set parameters to check the level of democracy in a country. Some countries perform good on some parameters, others perform on others. This doesn't mean a country isn't a democracy just because a NGO classifies it as undemocratic. Pakistan had its first democratic transition of government last year, the world hailed it, leaders across the globe congratulated Pakistan for democratically electing the new government. This is the biggest proof that democracy in Pakistan is running, and is alive. As far as the different set of parameters are concerned like freedom of press, speech; this is just a way to compare nations, compare the levels of democracy in a nation, its not done to classify nations as democratic or undemocratic. Democracy in a nation means that the constitution of nation words it as a democracy and there are time-bound elections.

Pakistan's elites developing mistrust about Indians? What does that mean? Why would the rulers, the elites, the powerful people of any nation develop mistrust about any other country's citizenry? Just because they elected Modi? Does the statement has any sense? The elites of Pakistan have got to deal with the elites of India - civil and military. They do not have to deal with India's common people.

3. Can you please give any proof, or statement, or anything else conveyed through Modi that proves he has a religious Hindu agenda?


@InternationalBite @JacobLarsen Do not worry you are just speculating about India. We are not like Abrahams people (Jews, Muslims and Christians) you all have blood on your hands. If India is threatened then we will have the right to replay. Abrahams people are a threat to world peace.

Share This