India - Pakistan: Civil War in Pakistan Could Envelop India
STORIES, ANALYSES, EXPERT VIEWS
The smugness with which many in India viewed the events in Pakistan, was noticeable. Sanjaya Baru (writer and policy analyst) cautions “the ‘civil war’ we witness today in Pakistan could envelop India if we continue to pursue divisive and sectarian politics…..If extremist groups within all religions, Hindu, Muslim or Sikh, are not acted against by the state, they will consume the country the way in which extremist groups are tearing Pakistan asunder.”
The national security challenge both within Pakistan and within India, writes Baru “is essentially a domestic challenge of rising economic inequality, religious extremism and regional sectarianism…..It would be no exaggeration to say that internal threats to national security pose a greater challenge in both countries than external threats to security.”
India’s middle class ‘acted as a break on extremist politics'
But there is a difference. Many social scientists believed that an important distinction between India’s growth process and Pakistan’s was that the latter was characterised by extreme social and economic inequality, with a feudal and powerful upper class dominating both the political and military institutions. Pakistan hardly had a middle class of any economic or political significance. India, on the other hand, argues Baru “was able to facilitate the emergence of an aspirational middle class that created a domestic market for growth. The Indian middle class also acted as a break on extremist politics, while Pakistan’s poor fed rising sectarianism and extremism at home.
“It is this divergence in the growth processes that enabled India to remain a plural and secular democracy even as Pakistan lived through a cycle of military coups and failed experiments in electoral democracy……”
In the Indian context, the Karnataka results show that the "electorate refused to submit to religious blackmail and has extended its support to a developmental agenda….”