India’s External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj made a vitriolic condemnation of Pakistan when addressing the UN General Assembly on Saturday. “Why is it that today India is a recognized IT superpower in the world and Pakistan is recognized only as the pre-eminent export factory for terror?” she said. Her remarks have been praised by Indian Internet users but lambasted by Pakistani media. She was also deemed by Indian media as having taken a veiled dig at China for blocking international efforts to blacklist Jaish-e-Mohammad chief Masood Azhar.
By trumpeting India’s justice and grandeur while rebuking its neighbor’s foolishness and ugliness, the minister seems to have moved herself and the whole country. But it is a grave disaster when Indians are confident in their rightness and their neighbors’ wrongs while super-proud of India’s capabilities in cultivating engineers and doctors. A country that despises others can hardly seek agreement over conflicts.
India’s bigotry toward Pakistan doesn’t match its much-vaunted ambition to be a world power. By inflaming nationalism in the Indian public, Indians become more determined to make India first than even US President Donald Trump’s “America First.” If they can’t reach this goal, the blame certainly belongs to others that care about their own interests and don’t do exactly as India wants.
There is indeed terrorism in Pakistan. But is supporting terror the country’s national policy? What can Pakistan gain from exporting terrorism? Money or honor? Is India really an IT superpower that produces engineers and doctors when it is hell-bent on believing Pakistan is evil?
India also seems to assess China’s strategic hostility with its own logic: China’s sound relations with Pakistan are to counter India. China’s road construction in Doklam is to threaten the security of its Siliguri Corridor and China’s Belt and Road initiative operates programs with Pakistan and other South Asian countries to encircle India. In any case, India’s interests always reside at the epicenter of this logic.
With smooth development of its economy and foreign relations in recent years, an arrogant India has looked down on Pakistan and assumed a haughty air with China. It takes for granted that it should be feared by neighbors and wooed by the US and Europe. If smart enough, India should befriend China and respect Pakistan, preventing disputes from spilling over. Holding on to its peripheral diplomacy of good-neighborliness, China has no desire to confront India. Hostility does no good for China.
Accepting others in a friendly way, China believes that countries in the 21st century won’t be feverish about war or hostility like invaders of the last century. Many countries still have historical issues that can’t be addressed easily. When defending its interests, a nation should be able to understand other’s interests. It is politically imbecilic and unsophisticated for Indian elites to conclude that Pakistan exports terrorism. They should have seen the efforts and sacrifice that Pakistan has made to rid the world of terrorism and refrain from mixing disputes over terrorism with their own historical disputes.
There is no reason for India to disdain China, a stronger and better-organized country. Instead, India should learn a lesson from the Doklam standoff and rid itself of incomprehensible smugness.