• Puja Shah

We are Living in Precarious Times…



Photo by fotografierende from Pexels

The Pulwama terror attack and thereafter retaliation by the Indian Air Force with an air strike on JeM training camps has invoked the minds and hearts of every Indian citizen. With the penetration of news debates, media coverage and whatsapp forwards, many of us are divided or at least, in two minds about the current political scenario not just in India but across the world.

Well, UK is having a nervous breakdown with the Brexit. The country is upending the policies that have set its national course for 50 years. It is nothing more than a fantasy project of Theresa May and her government, which has only resulted in chaos, trade issues, economic uncertainties and job confusions.

A President who is a king of disorder is driving America in isolation. He is fighting with his own intelligence agencies, amusing his own compatriots every time he opens his mouth, and as a reader writes in NY times, “Mr. Trump is no master of the actual duties of the presidency, but he is a master of using the media for his own ends,”. He is a Twitter happy President. The Russian President has threatened a strike on America and is stocking up nuclear weapons. Mr. Trump has also entered into a bruising trade war with China. What could be worst for international trade - two largest economies at odds with each other?

China is pacing towards being an economic and military world power but is experiencing slow growth. With great power comes great responsibility. The more China extends itself around the globe, the heavier the burden will be. While the country has deep pockets, there are economic and financial challenges at home. Then, does China have what it takes to be the next global superpower or rather what kind of a superpower is it willing to be?

Eventually, all of them will face what we call the Prisoners Dilemma in Game theory. The prisoner's dilemma is a standard example of a game analyzed in game theory that shows why two completely rational individuals might not cooperate, even if it appears that it is in their best interests to do so.

Should these nations collaborate or compete?

Amidst all this, commendably India is playing the international game very well. It has made friends with the Islamic countries – Saudi Arabia, UAE, and the Southern Republic. It has strategically formed a friendly ring around Pakistan. India has also made friends with China, Russia and America. It is growing at a healthy rate.

India’s surgical strike after the Uri attacks and this recent air strike after the Pulwama attack has sent a strong message around the world about a bold, modern and aggressive India. All these years Pakistan played a strategic game with India. They would sponsor terror attacks on India and then spread the fear through diplomatic channels about the devastation that could be caused if a nuclear war started between the two countries. India was afraid and so India never retaliated. However, in a post-Pulwama statement Former Pakistan President General Pervez Musharraf rejected the prospects of any nuclear attack from Pakistan on India and stated that if Pakistan will attack India with one atomic bomb then the neighboring country could "finish us by attacking with 20 bombs".

It took an enemy state’s head to convince us of our power! We didn’t know we had this power, or did we and our then leaders were feeding some personal hidden motives by not using it. With the ‘’give it back in their language’’ attitude India has put Pakistan under a lot of political pressure. Their confidence is broken. We have managed to push them to the brink of isolation.

Now, we all question: From here on will this Indo-Pak saga stop forever? Maybe, not. If not anything else, I think most of us are certain of this harsh reality.

The bottom line is nothing will change in India unless a courageous leader reforms the bureaucracy. Our office holders need a shift in mindset. It needs to be hardwired into their mental, emotional and cultural systems that they are “Here to Serve”.

Things are improving and there will always be room for improvement but as of today the health, education and safety systems in India are still in a sorry and pathetic state.

Will this ever be fixed?

What is India’s action plan to deal with this one giant transnational enemy – climate change?

Will India and Pakistan ever be friends or at least, friendly?

Where does patriotism end and nationalism begin?

The answer to these questions will shape the future of India.

A perspective inspired by India Conclave'19


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