New Delhi: If India had not become so divided under Narendra Modi, it would have maintained its previous steady geopolitical growth and not felt so vulnerable to China. Across the realms of society, politics and economics, Modi has introduced divisive factors or policies leaving India to face an uncertain time ahead. Unless these divisions are repaired and healed, the country may find itself in a geopolitical nutcracker sooner than later.

India’s adversaries would behold with satisfaction the ferment among Dalits and backward classes and the despair seeping into minority communities and especially Muslims. While Jammu and Kashmir historically has kept apart from mainstream Indian Muslim politics and concerns, it is nevertheless tormented by unprecedentedly muscular security policies which are making it the more distant from the Indian Union. The security environment in Kashmir is a complete negation of Indian liberal democracy and plays into Pakistan’s hands.

In the minds of Muslims in the rest of India, however, there is no dispute about India as their homeland. But their citizenship and patriotism are being daily brought to dispute by Narendra Modi’s ruling party. Now Bihar and Bengal have joined the list of communally sensitive states. Communal polarization may or not assist the growth of the BJP. But it definitely weakens India geopolitically. Chinese and Pakistani geo-strategists would be closely observing the Indian scene with barely concealed glee on their faces.

Or consider the Dalit angst. On one hand, their situation has worsened in terms of caste atrocities in which the ruling party appears complicit. Narendra Modi’s home state grabs the headlines in this regard. Days ago, a Dalit was killed for the temerity of owning and riding a horse. There’s not a word of condemnation from Modi about the incident. Unsurprisingly, Dalits have risen in shock and anger against a Supreme Court ruling diluting the operation of the SC/ST Act.

On the other hand, the sword of termination of reservations hangs over their collective heads. There’s loose talk of constitutional amendments. There’s certainly a case for making reservations more pointed and focussed towards the needier among the Dalits and other backwards. But assorted BJP legislators purposely have made the reservation debate divisive. Their aim is to split society for votes which can scarcely strengthen the country geopolitically. Unless India returns to the plural vision of its founders, it has no future.

In politics as well, divisiveness tops the agenda of Narendra Modi and his party. There can be nothing more obscene than the phrase “Congress-mukt Bharat”. For his own reason which needn’t be speculated here, the RSS chief has distanced his organization from the slogan. That aside, how is a multiparty democracy (the very soul of India) to function if the ruling party encourages mass hatred against a former ruling party? The very worst thing in geopolitics is to demand “unconditional surrender” of the adversary. It rarely leads to peace. How on earth is peaceful politics to survive if every ruling party vows to exterminate the opposition? This is fascism. And fascists throughout history have proved terrible at strategy and the long game. Without domestic political stability and peace, India is geopolitically lost. The internal is reflected externally. India’s loss of traction in South Asia is not disconnected to the domestic crisis.

The economy reflects the same ills as politics and society and the disorder is compounded by Modi’s self-destructive allergy for technocrats and experts. No government in its right mind would have resorted to demonetization to eradicate black money. There were ways of doing it without hurting the economy and in particular the unorganized sector where the poor lost their small fortunes and tiny enterprises overnight. But black money was not the primary target of demonetization. It was the opposition. The BJP had to win UP by hook or by crook. What magical transformation has the BJP government brought in UP? A monk’s place is in an ashram, not the chief minister’s office. Demonetization killed India’s growth story and it has been further buried by an ill-conceived GST. Social disarrangement has taken its own toll on the economy. Which Indian or foreign investor would risk capital with medieval weapon wielding zealots on the loose? Narendra Modi is squarely responsible for India’s geo-economic slide.

The geopolitical battles looming ahead are, at their core, geo-economic ones, and India is unprepared to face them. India is at war with itself. Narendra Modi perhaps believes divisive politics will ensure his return in 2019. May be they will, may be they won’t. Divisiveness indubitably, however, will weaken India on the world stage.