An Impact Assessment of Hindutva on Pakistan-India Relations

Considering the geographical importance of Pakistan and India, both are nuclear states having strong armed forces and vast natural resources. It can be viewed that any contention be that minor or significant, threatening vibe or a hostility, could bring in the mutually assured destruction of both the states, particularly the region in general.

Pakistan’s role and significance in War on Terror (WOT) made it the only dependable and reliable country globally as it has emerged from a victim to a victor. The contentions between India and Pakistan are keenly observed by the world, especially the provocative stances that are being driven by the radical ideology of Hindutva. It has been 70 years since the division of the subcontinent and the creation of Pakistan. However, Pakistan and India have been unable to resolve the disputes that have marred their relationship, making South Asia the flashpoint or the world’s most vulnerable region. The two nuclear-weapon states have fought several wars for the unresolved agendas of independence, making it unviable to seek the options of development and cooperation. There have been high points, and low points and expectations have been distorted since the Indian National Congress (INC) came at the helm of affairs from 2004 to 2013, and after Bhartiya Janata Party (BJP) took over in 2014.

After the triumph of the BJP in the 16th Lok Sabha elections and Narendra Modi’s appointment as Prime Minister of India, Pakistan attempted to open another chapter of bilateral talks with India. Pakistan’s repeated overtures for peace were invalidated by occurrences of unjustifiable breach of the ceasefire over the LOC in past.


BJP’s Hindutva ideology and Modi’s affiliation with right-wing Hindu nationalist groups, i.e., Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS), have negatively impacted Indian domestic politics and Indian offensive strategy towards Pakistan and regional states. Communal violence and anti-Muslim rhetoric have escalated. Additionally, Indian forceful stance against Muslims and Pakistan is evident in BJP’s foreign policy footprint. There is a need for the BJP government to leave the RSS outlook for internal amicability and peace with regional states.

Trans regional trade, economic and social development are the main areas of convergence between the two states however, the BJP’s rapid nuclear development, unprecedented arms buildup, making India the biggest arms importer, excluding Pakistan from the affairs of South Asia and the policy of exclusion towards the minorities particularly Muslims since the passing of Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) and National Register of Citizens (NRC) in 2019 and unilateral decisions regarding Kashmir, further blur the regional collaboration and cooperation of both the countries.

BJP, under the leadership of Narendra Modi, has been attracting a large number of vote banks of victories in state assembly elections. Even after Modi was reinstated in 2019, it can be analyzed that India is shifting to such an ideologically driven position where anti-Muslim rhetoric is applauded that too in terms of “Pakistan” and “Muslim” being used synonymously. Under the leadership of Narendra Modi, India possesses some very unfortunate social restrictions, vigilant assaults on Muslim communities inside India on the pretext of fake allegations, an aggressive foreign policy directed to Pakistan and a rigorous global campaign meant to sideline Pakistan and futile attempts to declare it as a failed state. Media has also come to favor Hindutva and BJP. The proponents of pluralism are unheard, and they are mostly seen as well-wishers and supporters of the Muslim community. Secular India is facing totalitarianism versus democracy.

The situation that is currently prevailing in India, regarding its threatening postures against Pakistan, unilateral abrogation of Kashmir’s special status emerges as an effect of the deeply embedded nexus between the radical Hindu outfits of Hindutva ideology, that are now united under the umbrella of ruling BJP government and the Indian army. This axis of evil is not only a threat to Pakistan but to the regional stability as a whole. Under Modi’s rule, Pakistan-India relations have deteriorated because his government has projected hawkish, discriminatory, and aggressive policies toward Pakistan, particularly Muslims within India. The diplomatic relations between Pakistan and India have been strained under the Modi regime with heavy force deployment in Illegally Indian Occupied Jammu and Kashmir. The current strategy of BJP is to sideline Pakistan in regional and global affairs.

In the last decade, Modi’s government and Pakistan’s bilateral relations are defined by the unresolved Kashmir issue, arms buildup, dispute over water resources, the use of psychological and hybrid warfare, and the indirect threats and warning to India. The mass atrocities in Occupied Kashmir at the hands of Indian forces have multiplied manifolds. Thousands have been killed, including women and children who have been raped and abused. The involvement of India’s Research and Analysis Wing (RAW) and funding to different spoilers for the violent attacks in Pakistan is an accepted fact by Kulbushan Yadev.

BJP is controlling the epicentre at New Delhi and all the other central offices of the government. People like Ajit Doval, former IB Chief and Sanjive Tripathy, the former RAW Chief, former Army Chief and creator of Technical Support Division (TDS) VK Singh are some of the spoilers that work for BJP. TDS is a well-known unauthorized terrorist department of the Indian army that focuses on creating instability inside Pakistani.

Maharashtra NavnirmanSena, a Maharashtra-based Hindutva association, is consistently engaged with assaulting outlets offering Pakistani items and undermining Pakistani craftsmen and sportsmen. Hardliner Hindutva sanctuaries like Bajrang Dal and Vishwa Hindu Parishad are actively engaged in defaming and attacking Muslims. Similarly, several spoilers are working at the behest of BJP against Pakistan. Press Trust of India reported that a minister, namely Subramanian Swamy, belonging to BJP, claimed that “it is time to wage war against Pakistan. If not waging it now, homework should at least be started”. India’s National Security Advisor Ajit Doval openly regarded BJP’s stance of “India-ness”. During a speech at Sastra University, blaming Pakistan of the Mumbai attacks in 2008, he stated that “you do one more Mumbai attack, you lose Balochistan.” Such appointments and irresponsible statements confirm that Modi’s anti-Pakistan agenda is not just limited to his electoral campaigns but at the helm of affairs, with a staunch anti-Pakistan team serving as the lead of National Security Team. A survey by American fact-tank Pew Research Center in 2017 published a report stating that 64% of Indians have a ‘very unfavorable’ perspective about Pakistan, an increase of 9% from the previous year.

BJP’s Hindutva ideology and Modi’s affiliation with right-wing Hindu nationalist groups, i.e., Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS), have negatively impacted Indian domestic politics and Indian offensive strategy towards Pakistan and regional states. Communal violence and anti-Muslim rhetoric have escalated. Additionally, Indian forceful stance against Muslims and Pakistan is evident in BJP’s foreign policy footprint. There is a need for the BJP government to leave the RSS outlook for internal amicability and peace with regional states. The ultranationalist rhetoric is like a double-edged weapon threatening India’s internal security and regional stability. India should thus avoid such offensive postures to maintain the region’s peace and security. Pakistan and India’s geopolitical, regional and bilateral relations need to be in sync if peace and harmony flourish in South Asia. Such a situation needs charismatic and robust leadership and a change in the attitudes and perceptions of the populace.

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About Zukhruf Amin 5 Articles
The author is working as a Research Associate at COPAIR. She holds an MPhil degree in Peace and Conflict Studies from NDU. She has previously worked at the Institute of Strategic Studies, Research, and Analysis (ISSRA). Her areas of interest are South Asian Politics, Peace and Conflict Transformation, and Climate Change.