There are many things PM Modi said in his Independence Day speech. But what he chose not to speak on the occasion also makes an important statement. Just a day earlier, Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan had spent a great amount of time attacking Modi and RSS in his speech on the occasion of Independence Day. In PM Modi’s there was simply no mention of Pakistan at all. So, it can be argued that India has sent a message to the Pakistani establishment that they are too trivial things to be discussed in the grand scheme of things India has for itself.
It is not just the absence of mentioning Pakistan but how PM Modi chose to address the other neighbours tells about India’s approach towards Pakistan. Before deliberating further on PM Modi’s Independence Day speech on this specific point, let’s understand how this particular mode of response has evolved under the Modi government.
- In March 2019, a particular statement of PM Modi in his Townhall interaction had witnessed a huge round of applause. He said, “We have wasted a lot of time over India-Pakistan… Pakistan apni maut marega, usko chor do. (Pakistan will die it’s own death, leave it alone)”.
- When Wing Commander Abhinandan was in the captivity of Pakistan, PM Modi let the diplomatic channels to do their work and he himself conducted very calmly, not canceling any official engagements that were decided before. At that time also Pakistan PM, India’s opposition, usual suspects of India’s opinion-making class have produced much noise. But the end result was Abhinandan’s release in a very quick time.
Uniting Other Neighbours, Isolating Pakistan
Now let’s come to Independence Day Speech. As India Today analysed both the speech of Imran Khan and PM Modi through word counts, it has become clear that while the former was obsessed too much with India the latter has delivered a people-centric speech. Their research shows, the word which had the maximum frequency in PM Modi’s speech was ‘citizens’ with 47 times followed by freedom (30), water (30), poor (17), terrorism (16), farmers (15), Article 370 (14), tourism (13) and Army (10).
What is equally important is that in what context PM Modi mentioned the other neighbours. He essentially depicted them as victims of terrorism along with India. Without mentioning Pakistan, he had put that country in a category that promotes terror in the region.
“Some terrorist organisations have not only targeted India but are also damaging our neighbouring countries. Bangladesh and Afghanistan are also grappling with terrorist activities. In Sri Lanka, sadly, innocent people have been killed en-masse inside a church. Hence, we all have to unite and act proactively to bring security, peace, and harmony in this sub-continent.”
Further he said,
“Our friendly neighbour Afghanistan is also going to celebrate its 100th year of independence, four days from now. I would like to extend my heartiest greetings to them on this auspicious occasion.”
Considering the fact that Afghanistan has always blamed Pakistan for sponsoring terrorism and Pakistan is trying to get hold in that region in the background of a proposed pull-out of American forces, PM Modi’s words assume more significance.
The current government is doing whatever it takes to deal with the terrorism emanating from Pakistan’s soil. It is evident from surgical strikes and airstrikes India conducted. It has also achieved significant success in isolating Pakistan on global platforms. But what it has refrained from doing is to engage Pakistan in the war of words. Because it serves only Pakistani establishment as they try to make their people believe that India is the threat to Pakistan’s existence. That provides a reason for the military and terror outfits within Pakistan to justify their exploitation of resources as they present themselves the saviours against ‘India’s aggression’.
As PM Modi’s Independence Day speech and the other examples show that now India is denying such opportunities to Pakistan and decided that let the action speak.