Dear UPA, Pakistan has given you a big opportunity, make use of it

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While facing an enormous crisis in domestic politics, the UPA government has an equally big opportunity to hit back in the foreign policy domain. Why doesn't it make this opportunity count and disallow any space to rivals like Narendra Modi, who is making full use of the inertia at the top.

The Congress-led UPA government must be thankful to Pakistan for giving it enough reasons to get provoked and turn what looks like an endless bilateral crisis into a golden opportunity.

Sounds bizarre? It is not. The Pakistani establishment has been pursuing various routes to corner India politically and internationally. Indian jawans are having a tough time preventing intrusion of Pakistan-based terrorists at the borders while Islamabad is acting on a definite plan by seeking international interference in Kashmir.

In 1999, the BJP govt made use of the nationalist pitch to make electoral gains

The prime minister of Pakistan looks well-intentioned but is little effective in improving the relations between the two neighbours. There is little possibility that the situation at the borders will improve and terrorists will continue to haunt the Indian security forces. Islamabad is also set to get financial and infrastructural aid from the Americans and Chinese, much to the dismay of India.

But the Indian government has much to do unilaterally instead of regretting and engaging in a fruitless tu tu main main with the opposition. In fact, Pakistan alone gives it an opportunity to give a fitting reply to all its critics and turn the pessimism of 2014 on its head.

It just needs to raise the nationalistic pitch. A striking feature of governance in the developing world is that no matter how much an incumbent ruler struggles in administration and domestic policy-making, if it puts up a strong nationalistic face against external threats, then it can hope to overcome all odds. For in a post-colonial state, an external enemy acts as a glue for a nation and the incumbent government can take full advantage of the situation.

In 1999, we had seen how a victory over Pakistan in Kargil brought the beleaguered Atal Bihari Vajpayee government back to power and it left a strong legacy in foreign policy matters. Similarly in 1971, Indira Gandhi emerged as Durga after she led an adventure that dismembered Pakistan.

The same applies for the rulers across the border as well. No matter what kind of government rules from Islamabad, a civilian or military, a fierce nationalism always keeps the nation, which is otherwise crippled by several pressing problems, together and India is a common target for the incumbents to survive in power.

Narendra Modi, the face of the main opposition party for the 2014 Lok Sabha polls, is also making efforts to capitalise on the foreign policy factor for it is one aspect that unites the voters of the nation, irrespective of the innumerable divisions that are otherwise difficult to bridge.

Even the chief minister of Jammu and Kashmir is heard blasting Pakistan for trying to internationalise the Kashmir issue. But surprisingly, not much is being heard from the UPA/Congress ranks apart from some routine statement from the concerned minister.

It will be great if Rahul Gandhi, who has been raising the poll pitch at various rallies across, also speaks something on Pakistan's sinister design on Kashmir besides his regular explanation on food bill. The country also expects some tough words from Prime Minister Manmohan Singh or UPA Chairperson Sonia Gandhi on this serious issue. But we are witnessing representatives of the Congress busy mocking the Gujarat development model more than addressing Pakistan's nefarious acts.

Rahul Gandhi often speaks about the 'good work' of his predecessors and it is time he speaks about his grandmother's adept handling of one of the history's biggest humanitarian crisis in 1971. It is not that he didn't speak on it ever but he projected it more in the light of a family achievement, which is grossly misleading. The Congress leadership should and must fuel a nationalist passion by utilising the Pakistan factor.

However, having said that, centrist forces have an eternal disadvantage. They can't tilt to the extreme unless, of course, a daring individual of Indira Gandhi's calibre imposes her will.

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