It is becoming increasing clear that the prospect of India becoming embroiled in a war in the region, and indeed in a world war, is not a far-fetched one. As though to test the waters, various members of the establishment and ruling circles in the post 26/11/2008 era called for `surgical strikes’ against purported terror-camps in Pakistan.
The Indian people, on the other hand, do not seem to have much enthusiasm at all for any such adventure. According to reports, New Delhi has instead witnessed anti-war rallies, and there have been repeated calls for peace between the fraternal peoples of India and Pakistan.
This is being written at a time of intense intrigue in the region, where the occupation of Afghanistan by US led NATO alliance has reached an impasse. A transfer of power has occured in the USA with the ascent of Barack Obama to the Presidency and of Joseph Biden to the Vice-Presidency. These men have repeatedly stated that their administration would engage pro-actively in the south-Asian region and in their cross-wires are Iran, Afghanistan and Pakistan. Obama has pledged to withdraw troops from Iraq, with the clear intention of deploying them in Afghanistan. His first week in power has seen the sanctioning of strikes in the so-called tribal areas of Pakistan. While the latter regions enjoy something akin to autonomy, attacks there cannot be construed as anything but an attack on the national suzereignty of Pakistan. Under the pretext of continuing the war against terror, the Obama regime has clearly indicated that it will continue and intensify war and destruction in the region.
In reality, Obama wishes to bring some order to a world profoundly out of equilibrium in the post-cold war era, an order that would be of benefit solely for major corporations, finance capital and oligarchs, with war being the prefered mode to achieve this dastardly aim. The victims would be the common people and nations of this part of the world, who have nothing to gain from this state of affairs.
In the meantime, the Indian ruling circles are quietly biding their time and lying low for the general elections to take place in India in the first half of 2009. They wish to define a path that would be beneficial to the huge industrial houses, petrochemical giants, and the emerging India-based trans-national companies. They wish to settle their age-old rivalry with Pakistan on the one hand, cozy up to the USA on the other and emerge as a regional power, reap to their own benefit the bitter harvest of the economic crisis gripping much of the advanced capitalist countries, and expand their own sphere of influence on a scale not seen before. Part of the scheme involves energy security and to beef up favourable arrangements with Iran as well as Central Asian Republics with access to oil and natural gas, unfettered by the forces within Pakistan. Such a state of affairs cannot be attained without massive military build-up and adventurism and brutal exploitation of the people of the country, whose `blood, toil, tears and sweat’ would fund such activities.
It is also fruitful to recall that the ruling circles of India are precisely those that arose in the wake of the brutal war of 1857, the forces that connived and collaborated in crushing the revolutionary war. It is precisely those forces that forsook the Indian people and allowed the brutal partition of the country in 1947, and crushed underfoot the desire of the entire people of the region for liberation, and turned the partition to their own advantage. It is precisely those forces that crushed underfoot every further revolutionary upsurge in the country and advanced their own aims, and have today emerged as a belligerent ruling class. It is precisely those forces that realigned themselves after the collapse of the USSR to emerge as a rapacious power with dreams of being a player on the world stage.
The Indian people have also seen that every realignment above has meant nothing but a harvest of sorrow and blood for them. Therefore, the people of India must realize that if the Indian ruling class is to advance its aims of becoming a major imperial power, it is going to be at the cost of massive disaster for them.
Domestically the ruling circles stand completely exposed as a rapacious class interested only in their own enrichment. They destroy all in their path, whether it is in tribal lands in Orissa, agricultural lands in Nandigram and Singur, or in Goa. They organize pogroms here in the name of Godhra, there in the name of protecting Hinduism, elsewhere in the name of Salwa Judum. Therefore it begs the question as to why the masses should trust these ruling circles in foreign policy.
In light of the above, it is contingent that the masses arm themselves with this recognition, and accordingly orient their strategy for their liberation. They should realize that war means nothing but destruction and horror for them, and riches and power for the rulers. The working people of India must realize that their ruling circles are a parasitic and despicable class and must rid themselves of the latter at the earliest. The working people of India are brothers and sisters of the working people of Pakistan, Afghanistan and indeed of all the countries of the world. They must all unite and reject war as a method of settling differences, real and imagined. They must reject the ploy of the imperialists of organizing around the slogan of war against terror. A broad anti-war movement is the way in which the peoples of India need organize themselves and open the path to their liberation.