Indian Subcontinent, a spot in the map of Asia, where 8 countries shares its border with India. A place, which has its own culture & is more than just a country. It is a civilisation by itself. Miles apart, certain traditions are still common among the population. In this series, we shall see how Indian subcontinent is centred around insecurity to Great Indian Democracy & its people.
Bangladesh. A nation that came into existence due to pure revolution, with the help of India and India alone. It was a classic war. I say classic, as it is one of the few wars after WWII that won peace decisively. The only other being Vietnam. It is still a matter of debate in Bangladesh, on its exact Independence Day even today.
How is Bangladesh now towards India after 1971?
A multi-billion dollar question. According to Indian Security agencies & armed forces, a large number of Migrant populations from Bangladesh keep coming into India. A lot of terrorist organisations are having safe havens in Bangladesh. These terrorist organisations have had base in Bhutan until a deadly Bhutanese Army operation a few years ago. They were chucked out from there, either alive or in boxes. Myanmar also has given shelter to anti-Indian elements in the past – though situation is changing now since the top leadership started to move away from Chinese influence.
Bangladesh is a rear-enemy. As Kautilya defines rear enemy as the one who is behind your back, whom you just cannot ignore. And, is a friend of your enemy. (Refer Pakistan’s ISIs link with ULFA & others).
But, the question is, does India need to ‘react’ to such ‘push’ from across the border or just need to be “pro-active”. Well, there are many ways to deal with this menace of pushing in illegal immigrants into northeastern states and other Indian territories. Let’s see the options available to India one by one.
Option 1: Chuck them out
One of the most discussed radical / permanent solutions is to handle the illegal immigrants with iron hands. Yes. In a way, it is indeed workable. They are more than 40 lakhs already in North-East states. Chucking them out is going to be a massive operation. But, it needs to be done to secure India’s wealth & population from cultural fundamentalization. After all, 1971 was fought only after huge influx of people moving out of (the then) East Pakistan into India. Even the Iron Lady of India, was shaken by the impact.
Considering Indian history, India should deal with them sternly NOW. I say NOW, because, it is a pro-India government in Bangladesh. Sheik Hasina is much more considerate than Khaleda Zia. (There is a history attached to it, let us not get into it right now.) Sheik Hasina was much helpful in containing anti-India elements operating out of Bangladesh. She launched an operation against them, with huge success. Effects are: (i) The bombings have come down considerably on the Indian side. (ii) ULFA is now broken. And, one faction is indeed towing Indian line. If Khaleda Zia wins elections in Bangladesh and comes to power, India may have to re-think immensely on this option. By the time, India get another chance, the number of immigrants would be counted in crores and not in lakhs. Hence, it is NOW or NEVER.
Option 2: Seal off the border & consume the immigrants
Well, this option is, on the face of it, not maintainable. Consuming a foreign population that too illegal ones, is not just a bad idea, but also a poor joke. How can a nation of 120 Crores absorb 1% of the number from a foreign country in no time? It takes a couple of generations for even naturalised citizens to become culturally one. And, here, we are consuming 1% of nation’s population in a small geographical part of the country (not more than 40,000Sq.Kms). It’s insane. It’s also a grave security threat as the ‘consumed citizens’ would be settled in a territory bordering their ‘home nation’. Even if we are to ‘consume’ them, it should be split across the nation. Maybe, not more than 1,000 in a district. That’s the way to go. Also, what are the socio-cultural & economic impacts of this consumption? Ok, I leave this to a certain group of intellectuals to get to the bottom of it.
Option 3: How can India stop it pro-actively?
When I was discussing option 1 and option 2 with my friend, a member of IDSA, he gave an interesting solution. This is the most perfect solution without even dealing them with Iron fists. It is about helping Bangladesh develop its Northern districts which creates opportunity & stops the moving population upwards.
What if, India invests a few million dollars to develop Northern districts of Bangladesh by setting up factories & sending our agricultural experts to help develop farming methods there? They have huge rains and not to mention, floods, in any given year. Setting up check dams across the territory & develop hydro-power projects in Northern Bangladesh? Generating sustainable employment can stop this mass exodus? Only time can answer if it is really really employment & greener pastures that are driving people from there.
Option 4: Keep them, with extra territory
Dr. Subramanian Swamy an Indian politician has an aggressive solution to this all. Yes, India shall consume the population here. Since almost 1/3rd of Bangladeshi population is here, we shall take one-third of land from Bangladesh. From Khulna – Dhaka – Sylhet. Hmm…I kind of agree to this. Not because India want to act as an aggressor to occupy more land. But, even talk of this aggressively would not just stop Bangladesh from taking back its citizens, but also would stop other neighboring countries to stop meddling with Indian territory & population.
I guess, the last option is the most sustainable one. And, cost-effective too. All India need is to air statements from Delhi. Of course, a few Divisions put on alert on the border would create magic.
These 4 options are the ones that I have heard and my views on the same. All the above 4 options are possible to be even thought about IF & ONLY IF India has a strong ruler. Let that day come, India & Indian Sub-continent shall change forever.
To quote Kautilya: “A ruler’s most important of duties is to provide security & welfare to his subjects.”
To be continued in Part – II