Russian revolutionary leader Lenin once said, “Show me who your friends are, and I will tell you what you are.” If we apply this to Narendra Modi and India, we can see that the Prime Minister of the world’s largest democracy counts among his closest allies both Israel and Myanmar. That speaks volumes, and does nothing for his carefully nurtured uncle-ji image.
It cannot be lost on anyone that Israel and Myanmar have appalling records for riding roughshod over international human rights and UN sanctions whilst enforcing brutal occupations, committing war crimes and carrying out ethnic cleansing. That’s why the world should not be too surprised that India has delivered a dream scenario to the extremist Hindu nationalists in its ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) by stripping Indian-controlled Kashmir of its decades-old special status which gave the Muslim-majority state unique levels of autonomy.
However, the disputed land of Jammu and Kashmir appears to be in danger of being ethnically cleansed by Modi, who has repeatedly demonised the region and its people by labelling it as a hotbed of religious extremism and terrorism. That’s the well-worn terminology used by various tyrants around the world when they want to crush and oppress ordinary people.
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Modi’s next move may well be to ethnically cleanse the Kashmiris from their land in a scorched earth policy like the one conducted successfully by the military in Myanmar in 2015 against the Rohingya people. Both may have taken their cue from the Nakba in 1947 when Palestinians were driven from their lands at gunpoint by Zionist terror gangs and the nascent Israel Defence Forces.
At the time of writing, 48 hours have passed and not one word has come out of Washington where Donald Trump, the so-called leader of the free world, remains uncharacteristically mute about what India has done. In Britain, home to the world’s largest diaspora Kashmiri community, the Foreign and Commonwealth Office has also remained silent, as has new Prime Minister Boris Johnson. Even the opposition Labour Party has been slow to condemn the unfolding drama. The extremely active pro-BJP political lobby has invested heavily in ways to infiltrate and influence political parties of all stripes on both sides of the Atlantic, and is clearly starting to reap the benefits.
It is quite clear that India spurred on by its close friends, will be emboldened to continue its military campaign. As Modi was putting the final touches to this treachery last weekend, he and his Israeli counterpart Benjamin Netanyahu were playing footsie on Twitter in “honour of Friendship Day”.
“Happy #FriendshipDay2019 India!” tweeted the Israeli Embassy in India. “May our ever strengthening friendship & #growingpartnership touch greater heights.” Modi responded in Hebrew: “Thank you. I wish a happy Friendship Day to the wonderful citizens of Israel and to my friend [Benjamin Netanyahu].” India and Israel proved their friendship throughout the ages, he continued. “Our relationship is strong and everlasting. I wish that our countries’ friendship will grow and bloom even more in the future.” The love-in between Tel Aviv and New Delhi continued with another tweet from Netanyahu: “Thank you, my friend, India PM @narendramodi. I could not agree with you more. The deep connection between Israel and India is rooted in the strong friendships between Israelis and Indians. We cooperate in so many areas. I know our ties will only strengthen in the future!”
Netanyahu apparently intends to visit Modi next month, no doubt to offer more advice on how to make friends and influence people while crushing any resistance to occupation; in other words how to get away with murder in full view of the international community. Modi was probably given similar advice by Myanmar Commander-in-Chief Senior General Min Aung Hlaing who visited Delhi last month, when India and Myanmar signed a defence cooperation agreement. The Indian leader invited Hlaing to visit India right after the US announced a visa ban on him visiting America due to the Rohingya genocide.
The key players in this triumvirate of evil are all passionate about their brutal occupations of Kashmir, Palestine and Rakhine State, where most of the remaining Rohingya live. The three have spent billions supplying and exporting weapons to each other over the past decade and their police forces have also traded information and training on how to conduct “anti-terror” operations against Kashmiris, Palestinians and Rohingya.
The objective of self-determination held dear by millions of Kashmiris and Palestinians has been thwarted and diminished by the post-9/11 “war against terror”, a euphemism for attacks on “Islamist terrorism”, a term that has gained a lot of currency in Myanmar these days. Written off and demonised as so-called Islamist extremists, this toxic label has made the rest of the world less willing to challenge the cultural, physical and brutal ethnic cleansing of Palestinians, Rohingya and now, I have no doubt, Kashmiris.
As the UN once again proves to be a toothless organisation in the face of this latest act against the Kashmiris and their rights, it will be down to global solidarity movements to come together and demand justice. Sadly, there are few crumbs of comfort for the people of Kashmir; not for nothing are its people known as the forgotten Palestinians.
As Israel, Myanmar and India gloat in their solidarity, mutual support and friendship, one can only guess what will be the next stage in what could prove to be the final chapter of Kashmir’s bloody story since 1947 when India and Pakistan became locked in conflict over the Muslim-majority region in the northernmost part of India. It will not be lost on Narendra Modi that Myanmar has ethnically cleansed more than a million Rohingya in recent years without a single prosecution in the international courts. Thanks to Modi’s new best friend Benjamin Netanyahu and his ilk, the plight of Palestinian refugees has, if anything, worsened year by year over the past seven decades. In short, Modi knows that India is more than likely going to be able to get away with murder, as Myanmar has, and Israel has. This triumvirate of evil has innocent blood on its hands, and things are about to get worse.
The views expressed in this article belong to the author and do not necessarily reflect the editorial policy of Middle East Monitor.