Gen Rawat’s statement itself is an anecdote for India’s political situation, where the ruling BJP, a political party with hard-line religious ideology, is losing popularity amongst masses ahead of the upcoming elections. It appears as if Gen Rawat’s speech is an attempt to face saving for BJP.
Pakistan’s religious identity is Pakistan’s own issue and nobody from the outer world can dictate Pakistan in this regard. It is true that Pakistan is suffering from radicalism, however Gen Rawal must know that the menace of extremism, pioneered by BJB and RSS, is gradually swallowing India’s secular identity as well.
Marshal further wrote, “In the past decade, extremist Hindus have increased their attacks on Christians, until there are now several hundred per year. But this did not make news in the U.S. until a foreigner was attacked. In 1999, Graham Staines, an Australian missionary who had worked with leprosy patients for three decades, was burned alive in Orissa along with his two young sons. The brutal violence visited on Muslims in Gujarat in February 2002 also brought the dangers of Hindu extremism to world attention. Between one and two thousand Muslims were massacred after Muslims reportedly set fire to a train carrying Hindu nationalists, killing several dozen people.”
While the Indian army chief wants Pakistan to change its identity, India has been enjoying strong ties with Islamic states such as Saudi Arabia and Iran, whose religious identity does not trouble Prime Minister Modi or Gen Rawat.
On the other hand, Pakistan is fighting extremism fueled by foreign hands. Other neighbors like Iran and China have no problem with Pakistan’s religious identity. China, an altogether non-religious state has made the strongest relations with Pakistan since its inception and has made one sizeable investment in Pakistan for the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC).
Pakistan is successfully combating extremism and terrorism and is trying to promote a culture of tolerance and inter-faith harmony. Opening of the Kartarpur Border speaks volumes about Pakistan’s foreign policy.
India’s constitution is secular but it is rapidly turning into a religious extremist state, which is what should be a matter of concern for Gen Rawat, not Pakistan’s religious identity.