Regional peace, integrity, and stability are necessary for world peace and stability. World peace and stability can be achieved by regional integration, both within the region and among the regions. South Asia is one of the most volatile regions for world peace due to India's offensive realist approach towards the South Asian states. India is on the way to destroying the peace in South Asia by militarization and weaponization. India’s continued upward trajectory in her military, economic and political power within the region and the world is threatening the security of other states.
John J. Mearsheimer, the founding father of offensive realism argues that the structure of world politics is the key to understanding the state's affairs. International politics lies in the anarchist system of the world, which means there is no central authority above the states1. There is no central power that resolves the conflicts among the states. States do not know the intention of another state, so the structure of international politics forces the states to maximize their security by gaining more and more power for their survival. Every state wants to maximize its security by gaining more and more power2. States increase their military, economic, and political power relative to other states. States with a powerful military asserts their influence on other states by capturing and expanding their territories.
Economic power is also an important factor for any state that aims for hegemony. Economic power supplements military power. Political power is also necessary along with military and economic power for any state to become a regional and global hegemony. States acquire power in the above domains by blackmail, bait and bleed strategies, and bloodletting. According to realists, it is a zero-sum game in which one state maximizes her security and threatens the security of other states. However, global hegemony is impossible for any state in the view of realists3. States can achieve regional hegemony in any particular region. Regional hegemonic states counter the hegemony of other states in any other region to become a global hegemon.
India's Hegemonic Ambitions in South Asia
India wanted to become a regional hegemony in South Asia right after its independence in 1947. India also felt insecure in the international anarchic system, especially after its humiliating defeat by China in19624. In that way, India started to accumulate more and more lethal weapons from Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (USSR) to enhance its security. India realized that military power is necessary for her security and regional hegemony. In that way, India tested her first nuclear bomb, Smiling Buddha in 1974 and then five other tests were conducted in 1998 to claim her superiority in South Asia5. Indira Gandhi, Rajiv Gandhi, and Vajpai promoted offensive foreign policy towards South Asia, states. India's hegemonic ambition reached its peak when the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) government under Narendra Modi came into power in 2014. India under Modi adopted an aggressive foreign policy towards her neighbors. India is increasing its power to maximize its security by threatening the security of South Asian states.
Military power is important for any state to become a regional and global hegemon thus, India since its independence is struggling for more and more military power to become a powerful state in South Asia and the world. Today, India has the largest ground force, fourth6 largest army, and around 120-130 nuclear warheads7. Indian army has more than 1450000 active and 1155009 reserve personnel.8 India is increasing its defense budget every year and has announced a 70.6 billion dollars defense budget for 2022-23, which is 10% more than 2021-22. India is spending hugely on the latest weapons, aircraft, submarines, and technology for military superiority in the region. India is increasing its naval power in the Asia Pacific to maximize its security in the region. India, on the way of offensive realism not only wants to become a hegemon in South Asia, but also counter China's power in the whole Asia Pacific.
55%9 of India’s trade passes through the South China Sea, so India is increasing her naval power to counter any threats. India is containing China with the cooperation of Japan, the U.S., Taiwan, and other states of Asia Pacific. India also wants full control of the Indian Ocean to become a hegemon in the region. Indian maritime strategists often cite American naval strategist, Alfred Thayer Mahan's statement, “Whoever controls the Indian Ocean dominates Asia”10.
India's economy is the fastest growing economy in the world and Asia. India is the fifth largest economy in the world with a GDP of 3.28 trillion USD. Because of India's economic powers, India is able to other regional states influences. India is increasing its military and political power with help of economic power. It challenges and threatens the economic interest of South Asian states by using its economic power. India wants to control the market of South Asia but doesn't want to give access to its market. India demands a free market in South Asia but imposes tariffs on the products of other states due to its economic leverage in South Asia. India's ambition to become an economic hegemon in the region is threatening the economic security of South Asian states. This Indian ambition is one of the major causes of poverty, non-development, and low living standard of South Asian peoples.
Political power is also important along with military and economic power for any state to become a regional and global hegemon. Political power depends on military and economic power, therefore India always tries to enhance its political power. Due to growing economy and military strength, India is achieving a strong position in world politics. India joined many international and regional institutions to enhance her political power. India joined G20, 1: Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa (BRICS), 2: India, Brazil and South Africa (IBSA), 3: International Solar Alliance (ISA), 4: Coalition for Disaster Resilient Infrastructure (CDRI), and in 2021, 5: Supply Chain Resilience Initiative (SCRI)12.
India also wants to become a permanent member of the 6: United Nations Security Council (UNSC). India is struggling for a permanent seat in UNSC for many years. India along with G4 members their campaign in favour of their ambitions at the UNSC.13 India is still struggling for a permanent seat in UNSC under the BJP government but failed.
India's Offensive Foreign Policy towards Pakistan
India considers Pakistan a major hurdle in the way of regional hegemony in South Asia, it is the only state in South Asia that is capable of challenging as India's aggressive foreign policy. India's security strategies and policy formulation are Pakistan-centric. Its foreign policy is always aggressive towards Pakistan and doesn't miss any chance to destabilize the country. It uses its military, economic and political power against Pakistan threatening the security of Pakistan. Pakistan always gives a quick response to India's aggression and challenges its hegemonic ambitions in South Asia and beyond.
Pakistan strongly opposed the G4 proposal in UNSC along with other Coffee Club members. India uses her soft and hard power to influence Pakistan so that Pakistan is removed from the way of her hegemony. India, under the BJP government, continued offensive foreign policy towards Pakistan with the ideology of Hindutva. India is importing new weapons and defense systems from France and Russia such as Rafael and S-400 defense system, respectively, to threaten the security of Pakistan. India's allege surgical strike in the territory of Pakistan on February 26, 2019 shows the aggression of India. Pakistan retaliated against India on February 27, by targeting checkposts in India and also hitting its aircraft which reflects the preparedness of Pakistan Armed Forces against aggression. Pakistan captured the Indian pilot Abhinandan and later handover to India, as a goodwill gesture for peace and prosperity. India then abolished Article 370 and 35A and changed the special status of Kashmir through her military power on August 5, 2019.
Moreover, India is interfering in Pakistan's internal affairs by funding the militants and anti-Pakistan groups in Pakistan.
India is also involved in terrorist activities in Pakistan, Kulbhushan Jhadev is a proof of India's state-sponsored terrorism against Pakistan. It is also involved in propaganda against Pakistan to defame its position in the world. The unjustifiable claims of Pathankot and Uri attacks on Pakistan is one such example of Indian propaganda against Pakistan. India wants to able Pakistan as a terrorist state, but in reality, India has a hand in the terrorist activities in Pakistan. India is also involved in fake news and propaganda against Pakistan Armed Forces. India wants to weaken Pakistan internally by creating misunderstanding between the public and armed forces. Indian Intelligence Agency, RAW along with the help of Indian media and anti-Pakistan intelligence agencies is performing such activities. Indian lobbies try to propagate Pakistan as a terrorist-sponsored state. The Indian influence in Asia-Pacific Group to put Pakistan in FATF’s blacklist is an example of lobbying against Pakistan.
EU DisinfoLab reported that India is heading fake news networks against Pakistan and some other states. They also reported that vast networks of 265 fake media accounts in 65 countries are serving India's interests. Nowadays Pakistan's Armed Forces are the target of Indian propaganda, the reason being Pakistan Armed Forces are the center of gravity for Pakistan. Pakistan Armed Forces are professional and always ready to tackle every threat from India and other actors. Pakistan Armed Forces, with its limited resources, are defending the country very well from every conventional and non-conventional security threat.
International Peace Day is observed in the world every year on September 21 to promote peace and prosperity in the world. The theme of International Peace Day 2022 is "End racism, build peace”. Peace can be achieved if every state follows the notion of equality within a state and with other states. Peace can be achieved if regional and international major powers stop threatening the military, economic and political security of weaker states. Peace in South Asia means peace in the world, which can be achieved if India ceases her offensive realist approach toward south Asian states. India should stop the regional and global hegemonic ambitions because equality is the basic principle of the UN.
1 Brandon Valeriano, "The Tragedy of Offensive Realism: Testing Aggressive Power Politics Models Brandon
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India’s Rise: on Feet of Clay?"
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13 Karel van Kesteren, " REFORM OF THE UN SECURITY COUNCIL: A NO-WIN SITUATION?" 15 August 2022 , https://brill.com/downloadpdf/book/edcoll/9789047416050/B9789047416050_s019.pdf
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