New Delhi: After meeting the Cyprus President who is visiting India, Prime Minister Narendra Modi said he stood for “peace, security and development”. Security and development maybe, but the word “peace” jars when he speaks of it. Narendra Modi is perhaps India’s most hard line Prime Minister. He would, one suspects, be ecstatic with that description. But it is bad news for India and infinitely bad luck for Indian democracy.

Today, the Attorney General, Mukul Rohatgi, told the Supreme Court that the Centre was willing to talk to political parties in Jammu and Kashmir but not separatists. Talks with political parties are a no-brainer. Political parties active in Kashmir, whether of the national or regional variety, are already involved in the election process. What is there to talk to them? It is the sacred duty of a democratic republic to engage the outlier parties and convince them to enter the mainstream. This process succeeded to a remarkable degree in the North East. It has succeeded less in Kashmir because it is internationally disputed with a foreign party, namely Pakistan, which has triumphantly prosecuted a low intensity terror war in the entire state since the late 1980s.

The paradox arising from this situation is this. India is more than happy, in the intervals when Pakistan is not murdering Indian soldiers in Kashmir, to talk to Pakistan’s political leadership. On the day that three soldiers, a young officer, a subedar and a naik of the army, were killed in Kupwara by terrorists, an emissary of Modi was meeting Pakistan’s Prime Minister on a hush-hush matter. Heads of governments of adversarial nations should meet, because summit diplomacy is a better alternative to war. But it is strange that the Modi government is ready for secret parleys with Pakistan but adamant that it will not restart the political process in Jammu and Kashmir. In other words, the Centre will not talk to its own citizens in Jammu and Kashmir, whose internet services moreover have been illegally banned, but it is open to negotiations with Pakistan, the epicentre of terrorism.

Is this logical? Does it make political sense?

In governmental circles, there is talk that the Modi government is implementing the so-called Doval Doctrine. A. K. Doval is the National Security Adviser and a former director of the Intelligence Bureau. All the hard line of the government manifest in Jammu and Kashmir is attributed to the Doval Doctrine. This writer cannot independently confirm whether indeed there is such a doctrine and if it carries the NSA’s name. Either way, it is a disaster. There is another suggestion that the RSS is behind the hard line. This is quite possible because the RSS is known for hare-brained schemes. But again, there is no confirmation.

But whether it is the Doval or the RSS doctrine does not ultimately matter because the buck stops with the Prime Minister. And he hasn’t a clue of what is coming. Because this government works in a kind of hermetically sealed chamber with all two-way access to the outside world barred, it is not privy to the international conspiracies being mounted against India. There is a strategic design behind Pakistan’s decision to permit the former army chief, Raheel Sharif, to head the Saudi Arabia-inspired 39-nation Islamic Military Alliance to which Pakistan has committed some 6500 troops. Imran Khan was resolutely opposed to this but finally agreed. And no: It is not the money, although no one minds money.

And no sooner China is able to put behind the North Korea crisis, it will avenge its loss of face on the Dalai Lama issue. Knowing the Chinese, they probably have more than three plans ready to teach India a “lesson” for entertaining the Dalai Lama in Tawang. India is not prepared. That is the blunt truth. This writer refuses to be carried away by the chest-thumping and jingoism of the Modi government. And finally, very soon, China will raise the Kashmir violence in the United Nations with Pakistan providing all the evidence. The new UN chief is not pro-India. India may still get away but it is worth remembering that China is not Pakistan. It is a world power with a veto in the UN Security Council. And do not be too sure that Donald Trump’s America will back India on Jammu and Kashmir. The Trump administration has already shown an interest in mediating the Kashmir dispute even though India has rejected the offer.

The sooner the Narendra Modi government reads the writing on the wall, the better. A Prime Minister should never be egoistic when it concerns the nation or be so self-obsessed. In his place, Atal Behari Vajpayee, the great man that he is, would have acted proactively to end the cycle of violence in Kashmir. India has fewer options than the Prime Minister mistakenly believes. Donald Trump has upended the world. If you cannot put your house in order, you can quit dreaming about a permanent seat in the UN Security Council. Lots of people are now embarrassingly pointing this out. A stock statement from their side is this: “If you cannot bring peace and stability to a small part of one province, how does India imagine it can handle the disputes of 200 nation-states at any given time in the UN Security Council?” Narendra Modi has to get off his high horse. Time is running out for the Centre in Kashmir.

Editor’s Note 1. A brilliant point was made in the Supreme Court hearing on linking Aadhaar with PAN, which this writer opposes. The opposers in the Supreme Court said it amounted to slavery, in the sense that the government was claiming bodily ownership of individual citizens through the device of biometrics. It is a significant step towards dictatorship masquerading as tax reform, and alters the nature of the relationship between the individual and the state. The people have come together to create the republican state, and the Preamble of the Indian Constitution clearly enunciates this. The state cannot turn around and own the people, which is the singular aim and ambition of this government. India has entered a state of undeclared Emergency.

2. Tax terrorism has commenced in this country. Money has dried up. SMEs hit by demonetization (a monetary measure of unparalleled monstrosity) are being refused bank funds hit by the Vijay Mallya syndrome. Big business is not willing to invest in this atmosphere of fear and uncertainty. India’s growth story is well on its way to being destroyed.