Analysis of India in Comparative Politics
Perhaps the most important issue to be addressed after the publication of this book is the dangerous climate that has risen in India. The debates over Kashmir, a small piece of territory both India and neighboring country Pakistan have been claiming since the 1940s, has heated up. The situation has grown to a point where the two nuclear powers have come the closest they have ever been to war, while the world holds its breath.
When Great Britain gave India its independence in 1947, the subcontinent was split into Pakistan and India. Jammu and Kashmir (the area’s official name) was declared sovereign at first, but was eventually split between to two diverse countries. Since 1999, an increase in attacks in the Kashmir region by such methods as tanks and suicide bombers increased. This is has pleased neither India nor Pakistan, and in May 2002, the world watched as foreign peacemaking attempts were made to avoid nuclear war, the closest call since the Cuban Missile Crisis in 1962. If war had happened, CNN estimated that an initial nuclear blast would kill as many as 12 million people, and Pakistan’s targets in India would have been India’s capital New Delhi and its largest city Bombay. 1
Though the fighting between India and Pakistan for Kashmir is as old as the countries’ independences, the renewed energy in fighting could prove devastating in the end. The situation has increased international participation. Pakistan President General Pervez Musharraf and India Prime Minister Biharia Vajpayee have been forced by international pressures to hold talks in the hopes of bringing peace to the nations.
The conflict between the two countries and the international focus on the conflict has given India a more serious and threatening presence in the world. However, the nuclear conflict is a not a threat to Indian democracy or the way the country is governed. The population of India could suffer a small decline, and the way of life would be forever altered, but the occurring conflict has nothing to do with India itself.
The most important thing mentioned in the beginning of the chapter that should be dealt with is the change of power in government and possibly a united front behind a leader rather than a party. In 1999, Vajpayee became prime minister again after suffering a defeat five weeks earlier. According to Asiaweek magazine, the election result, “gives a clear message to Vajpayee: We trust you, but do not trust your party.”1 Although Vajpayee holds no current title in the party, he is a member of the BJP (Bharatiya Janta Party). The Congress party has governed the country most years since India’s independence, and the system works so that parties rule. Another article in Asiaweek says, “Except for one coalition in the 1970s, no non-Congress government has ever survived more than 12 months in power. Because the cabinet consists of officials from many...