ISLAMABAD - A number of former foreign secretaries and ambassadors on Wednesday said that short-sighted and chauvinistic foreign policy being pursued by Indian government was proving as juggernaut, negatively impinging upon its economy and aggravating the communal divide. 

Taking part in a panel discussion held at the Information Services Academy titled “Decoding Indian foreign policy in the regional and global context,” the former diplomats, who had served Pakistan with their meritorious services, also explained that Indian foreign policy was historically deeply rooted in Pakistan bashing sentiments and garnered through nationalistic feelings recently stirred by the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) inspired Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) led government.

Former foreign secretary and ambassador Riaz Hussain Khokhar said that Indian foreign policy was very transparent one towards Pakistan and fanatically pursued by its different leaders from the period of Jawahar Lal Nehru.

The tone and tenor or shape might be different but it was driven by two main forces, including Indian hegemonic designs and its efforts to become a power in South Asia, he maintained. 

“Pakistan is considered as a major obstacle in that dream and objective. Their foreign policy may have changed in substance and style, but it was always motivated to weaken and disintegrate Pakistan,” he observed.

Khokhar said Modi’s government was formed on RSS ideology and had an ideological thrust under Hindutva. The Modi’s government was doing what was deemed popular in India.

Indian union is fragile one harmed by xenophobia and Islamophobia sentiments

The former foreign secretary while referring to core issue of Indian Illegally Occupied Jammu and Kashmir (IIOJK) between Pakistan and India regretted that global interests were driven by economical gains. India was trying to attract big countries with potential of its economy. 

Due to these policies, India would never give any concession or space to Pakistan, he cautioned. India was a big country but not a great one, he said and likened it to ‘an elephant with small heart and mind’.

The former ambassador said that Bhutan and Sri Lanka had very bad experiences with India.

Secretary Ministry of Information and Broadcasting Akbar Durrani was also present on the occasion.

Former ambassador Asif Durrani shared that local scene in India always shaped its diplomatic approach. 

India was striving to become permanent member of the United Nations (UN) despite its repeated efforts to flout UN resolutions on IIOJK, he added. 

Durrani further said that none of its neighbouring countries were happy with Indian approach. It was also playing a spoiler’s role in Afghanistan peace and reconciliation process, besides it was out to cause harm to China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC).

He said India would have to come to negotiating table to resolve the core issue of IIOJK and cited the holding of recent peace talks between US and Taliban after a long drawn war.

Former foreign secretary and envoy Salman Bashir said that Indian foreign policy was demonstrated through its conduct. 

It had a historical perspective because India was a product of colonial occupation and exploitation and packaged by its former colonial rulers. 

“Now, Indian union is fragile one harmed by xenophobia and Islamophobia sentiments. It will do no good to India,” he added.

Bashir further said that Hindutva policy of Modi’s government was pushing India back into the dark ages, harming its economy and aggravating the communal strife.

He said India would not reconcile with Pakistan under its current policy. “India cannot graduate beyond South Asia unless it respects its neighbours,” he added.

On the occasion, a documentary highlighting Indian hegemonic designs, its ties and recent tussles with its neighbours was also screened.