New Delhi: Partition is a settled question. When A. B. Vajpayee visited Minar-e-Pakistan, his chief objective was to settle the question of Partition once for all. Conceivably, he was the first prime minister to do so. Given Vajpayee’s RSS background, it also signalled a break from the RSS’s ideological construct of Akhand Bharat. Narendra Modi has contempt for such sensitive traditions. He does not understand the imperative of balanced pronouncements in geopolitics. Filled with hatred for the Congress party, he blames it for Partition. He has done so today on the floor of the House, and as prime minister. The Partition history is too complicated to blame one or the other party, and Modi’s parent organization, the RSS, did not even participate in the freedom struggle. The Muslim League and the RSS were two sides of the same coin. So one wonders on what basis Narendra Modi takes the high moral ground. Nevertheless, inter-party battles do not detain this writer at this point. The question that arises from Modi’s intemperate outburst on Partition is this: Does his government dispute the finality of Partition, thereby reversing the stand of every previous administration, including that of Vajpayee’s? And is Akhand Bharat back on the table?

Wait and watch. This wretched government will be rapidly backpedalling within twenty-four hours. Indian diplomats will be muttering under their breaths that they haven’t worked for a worse prime minister. And whatever India says or does, the goodwill generated by Vajpayee in Pakistan will take years to recover if at all, and it will certainly not happen till Modi is prime minister. He is jinxed for India.

Geopolitics flows from domestic politics but there are sensitivities associated with geopolitics which domestic politics must strive never to breach. Domestic political differences meet their great leveller in elections but there is no equivalent to elections in geopolitics. Nations and particularly neighbours have to coexist and all parties have to invest in good relations because a breakdown could lead to tensions and, in rare cases, war. Domestic political differences cannot be permitted to get so out of hand as to affect geopolitics and national security. In his excitability and intemperance, Modi becomes blind to the dangers he is courting for India; and when good sense prevails in the rest of government, it is often too late. Pakistan will draw the most horrible conclusions from Modi’s excess, and its existential fears will pull it closer to China and increase the antagonisms of the Pakistan army and terrorist groups. Narendra Modi has inaugurated another year of unremitting border bloodshed with Pakistan.

Indeed, Narendra Modi is deflecting attention from his own multiple failures by focussing selectively on Jawaharlal Nehru. The impartial verdict about the 1965 war was that it was stalemated between India and Pakistan. This was scarcely surprising. Impoverished India was partitioned in two. Neither country had private capital worth speaking of. Their armies and fighting doctrines had been one until the previous year. The Industrial Revolution with its spinoffs in modern weapons had bypassed them both. India might still have had an edge in the 1947-48 fighting but not to such an extent as to alter the course of history. India surged ahead for the first time in the 1971 war, but the Bangladesh War victory is something Narendra Modi would not dwell on. Modi tom-toms a limited border strike; it is nothing to the creation of Bangladesh, which was, and remains, a strategic masterstroke. India faces great perils under Narendra Modi. Strictly because of the rashness and aggressiveness of his government, India has diminishing influence with neighbours. Modi speaks of the Indian army “fighting” the PLA in Doklam. To put the record straight, there was no fighting in military terms. If Rahul Gandhi met the Chinese envoy during the Doklam crisis, it is not a treasonable crime. The envoy was -- and remains -- accredited. And to speak the truth, Doklam does not belong to India. It is a territory in dispute between China and Bhutan, and Bhutan has never asked India officially and publicly to safeguard its interests in Doklam.

India was peacefully rising. Narendra Modi’s thoughtless jingoism has ruined it all.