Soft Borders with Pakistan: A Certain Suicide
By Moorthy Muthuswamy, December 2003
There has been a recent and unrealistic euphoria over the possibility of a sudden dissolution of historical hatred in South Asia, with India possibly opening its arms and borders to embrace the failed state of Pakistan that has been trying its level best to destroy India.
Until now there exist no serious analysis that discusses the potential outcome of this move – whether it would be a win-win situation for all countries or it would lead to Islamic extremism moving beyond Pakistan and further consolidate and destroy India through soft borders. My analysis outlined here indicates that soft borders with Pakistan would be suicidal for India and for the rest of South Asia. I discuss an alternate vision of achieving peace and prosperity in South Asia.
The EU Model is Inappropriate
Those who profess "statesmanship" or "vision" suggest a European Union (EU) type arrangement in South Asia. Few suggestions could be more inappropriate!
Almost all countries in the EU have a Christian majority and they all strive toward progress, not jihad. Now, for over ten years, the EU has declined Turkey’s application for membership. Turkey is an overwhelmingly Muslim majority nation with a large and growing population. A letter of mine published in the Washington Times on Dec. 18, 2002 tells us the EU’s concerns:
Why the EU does not want Turkey
In their column "Road map to a Western Turkey" (Commentary, yesterday), John C. Hulsman and Brett D. Schaefer have glossed over an important concern many Europeans have about Turkey's inclusion in the European Union: namely, giving Turkey's Muslim population easier access to settling in Europe.
European Muslims, including second-generation ones, have difficulty assimilating and are among the largest recipients of welfare. They also have high crime rates and poor education levels. While the native white population in the European Union is barely reproducing itself, European Muslims have among the highest birth rates. If Turkey were admitted to the union, Europe's Muslims could jump from about 4 percent to 20 percent of the population. Furthermore, there is the obvious issue of pan-Islamic extremism sweeping the world, including Europe, with the burgeoning of the immigrant Muslim population. It also must be acknowledged that, given its deep Islamic roots, Turkey is at best an experiment in democracy and modern development. Its admission into the European Union could portend the devastation of Western Europe through a massive influx of Muslims who have little in common with Europeans.
To this day Pakistan continues to be the primary incubator of worldwide terrorism, with many generations of its people passionate about waging jihad. It is a far more Muslim extremist nation than Turkey. Even if the military establishment in Pakistan is willing to embrace India, the Islamic religious power structure in Pakistan is committed to Islamizing South Asia by nook or crook. The Muslim clerics wield enormous influence across the spectrum of the Pakistani society. The clerical outlook towards India continues to be hostile and belligerent. These beliefs are rooted in ancient religious teachings, -- not subject to negotiation or rational discussion.
If some people think that soft borders and closer, people-to-people interaction with India will lead to a reformed Pakistan, how come India’ own Muslim population, living day in and day out in a secular and democratic nation has not merged into the mainstream but is also increasingly getting jihadized (http://www.saveindia.com/trend_should_be_a_friend.htm)?
Conclusion: Already reeling under an escalating Islamic fundamentalism, soft borders with Pakistan will speedup the irreversible destruction of India.
If India and other nations want to see a moderate and reformed Pakistan that focuses on nation-building rather than jihad, they must identify why Pakistan got itself into this mess in the first place. A letter of mine published in the Washington Times on Nov. 22, 2002 explains why:
Pakistan's undemocratic underpinningsThe conclusions found in "Studies say elites spurred to terror" (Business, Wednesday) are incomplete. The question should be, what causes political repression?Pakistan and India were created from 1947 British-ruled India. When the British left, both of these nations inherited democracy. Hindu-majority India has remained secular and democratic, but Muslim-majority Pakistan couldn't sustain democracy and is now a dictatorship. Pakistan also has become a dominant source and sponsor of Islamic terrorism.Pakistan couldn't sustain democracy because the retrogressive political indoctrination taught in its mosques does not allow the separation of church and state. This has led to political repression amid a flowering of Islamic fundamentalism.This conclusion tells us that if the United States wants to make any Islamic state a model nation for democracy, it must first address the issue of the hateful and retrogressive preaching in its mosques.
This observation, in combination with the plight of Muslims in India and even in developed European countries, and extremism among wealthy, educated Muslim Arabs make us come to the following inevitable conclusion: Islamic ideology is solely responsible for the plight of Muslims and Muslim majority nations.
Islam’s shortcomings must be addressed first before Muslims are given free reign to move about. Otherwise, freedom to travel will be exploited by Pakistani extremists who dominate Islam in Pakistan to wage jihad on infidels such as Hindus.
With regard to reforming Islam, it is notable, even within secular, multiethnic and democratic India there exist no reformed version of Islam (http://www.saag.org/papers6/paper599.html). We now reach an even more significant conclusion: To expect reformed Pakistan or even expect Indian Muslims to move away from extremism on their own is unrealistic for a foreseeable future.
An Alternate Vision
One should view Pakistan and even sections of Indian population as being inflicted with a social disease called Islamic extremism. The right approach here is to quarantine India with respect to Pakistan - the worldwide sponsor of this infection, and eradicate the disease within India and then work to eradicate it in Pakistan and Bangladesh. This should be a win-win situation. However, the act of opening India to Pakistan will lead to this disease further consolidating and expanding into India and eventually destroy it, -- just like the way it is destroying Pakistan and Bangladesh.
In the mean time India should focus on wealth creation through continued economic reforms, improved stability, and investment (http://www.saag.org/papers9/paper860.html).
Decisions can Wait
Many well-educated and capable visionaries leading Indian corporations in the areas such as software or pharmaceutical industries have enabled their companies to compete successfully with companies based in developed nations. However, this level of ability is yet to permeate the ruling class and the media, which appear to be still rooted in the "developing" world category.
India will get a leader at some point in near future that reflects this new emerging nation. Such a person should be capable of making world-class decisions. A reminder: China saw a phenomenal growth under President Jiang Zamin -- trained as an engineer. While not discounting the current leadership, which has performed admirably in many ways, I think among the best decisions it can make is to groom the next generation leaders of India and not rush into any major decision vis-à-vis Pakistan at this point. With India finally taking off, risky decisions that could undermine its future must be avoided.
It is high time the industry leaders of the emerging India also realize and work toward electing the future generation leaders who can aid wealth creation, promote India’s interests confidently, and make it secure.