Late last week BJP leader Subramanian Swamy threatened, India would break Pakistan into four pieces as soon as it would acquire the requisite capability which he believed New Delhi would get around April 2018. Normally such claims are best ignored as they serve no purpose other than poisoning further the already sullied relations between the two neighbours suffering from acute trust deficit. Nevertheless, the potential of such threats in accelerating the already wasteful arms race in the region cannot be ignored. Pakistan perhaps would have avoided bringing out of the basement its own N-bombs had India not goaded Islamabad into showing its hand by issuing open threats to Pakistan soon after New Delhi had conducted its tests in May 1999. Again, it was India’s Cold Start doctrine threat that had prompted Pakistan to develop low-yield battle-ready tactical nuclear weapons to offset the bigger neighbour’s advantage in conventional forces. Now the disclosure that India is only six months away from acquiring the capability to break Pakistan, even if it is just a hoax, would certainly force Islamabad to look for means to thwart such a threat diverting once again its meagre resources to a totally unnecessary exercise. However, the defence strategists in both India and Pakistan, one would ardently hope, are aware of the fact that a unified nuclear Pakistan is not as much a threat to India’s integrity as would be a Pakistan divided in four non-nuclear pieces. India has 22 official languages throughout the country, with many more unofficial languages widely spoken. Away from the Hindi core, linguistic minorities have majority status in many states Afghanistan does not possess any nuclear weapons but today the instability that has consumed this war-torn country is posing a serious threat to the peace and stability of Pakistan. By the same token, in case New Delhi, god forbid, succeeds in dividing Pakistan into four pieces the instability that would be unleashed on India’s Western borders would make it almost impossible for New Delhi to keep its multi-diversity from cracking up into innumerable pieces. One is, therefore, compelled by the Swamy’s self-delusionary rant to inject in the equation some harsh home truths gleaned from the Indian literature itself (India: Falling short of great power, published on August 31, 2017 in Geopolitics) to throw into bold relief some of the vulnerabilities of our bigger Eastern neighbour. No doubt, physically India dominates much of the subcontinent. In terms of land mass, population, economic activity and military capabilities, no other country in the region comes close. Yet India’s multi-diversity is keeping its misplaced big power ambitions in effective check. What to talk of breaking up an ‘unwanted’ small neighbour New Delhi is finding it increasingly difficult in maintaining and managing India’s unity in the face of so much diversity. India consists of many states acting autonomously, with minimal control given to the central government. And in as many as 12 states freedom struggles are going on in varying degrees of intensity since independence. New Delhi has been expending for decades huge amounts of resources in men, material and money attempting to brutally suppress these secessionist movements but so far to no avail. Many Indians are unable to effectively communicate in a shared language, which creates a Tower of Babel rather than a cohesive nation. India has 22 official languages throughout the country, with many more unofficial languages widely spoken. Hindi is the language of roughly 422 million Hindi belt natives, but outside of the Hindi core, linguistic minorities have majority status within many states. For example, Bengali is spoken by 83 million people and is the official language of West Bengal, Tripura, and the Andaman and Nicobar islands. Telugu, with 74 million speakers, is the official language of Andhra Pradesh and Telangana. Another diversity problem for India lies in religion. And this is becoming sharper by the day because of BJP’s intolerance and its single minded pursuit of Hindutva doctrine. Hindus are the most populous religious group in 27 states, but some provinces have majority or sizable non-Hindu populations. Islam makes up a majority in Lakshadweep (Off the coast of Kerala) and the occupied Jammu and Kashmir; it is a sizable minority in Assam (30.9 percent), West Bengal (25.2 percent), Kerala (24.7 percent), Uttar Pradesh (18.5 percent) and Bihar (16.5 percent). Regionalism is further compounded by disparities in economic development. Rich states like Maharashtra and New Delhi boast per capita net state domestic products (NSDP) of $2,094 and $4,376, respectively. Meanwhile, a poor state like Uttar Pradesh registers just $757 as its per capita NSDP. Economic activity is also not equally represented throughout the country. Some regions of India have a developed services-oriented economy like Mumbai or Hyderabad, which is a major IT hub. Others have limited and unreliable access to basic infrastructure such as electricity and water. The country’s industrial sector also reflects the wide diversity. Historically complicating these competing interests for the Indian government has been its limited ability to exercise control at the national level, as local government initiatives do easily usurp and at times bypass national ones. India’s hegemonic ambitions demand that it be able to project influence over each of the four nation-states bordering it within the subcontinent — Pakistan, Nepal, Bhutan and Bangladesh. Destruction of Pakistan, New Delhi believes, would help India meet two strategic objectives. The first is access to water resources from the Indus River Valley. India believes destruction of Pakistan is necessary to ensure water and hydroelectricity to its northern cities. Second, India believes it can resolve its lingering blood-soaked Kashmir ‘problem’ by destroying Pakistan which in its hearts of heart New Delhi fears poses serious threat to India’s own integrity. India’s northeastern states are separated from the mainland by the Siliguri Corridor, a strip of land that at its narrowest measures just 17 miles wide and; due to its positioning with respect to the Dolam Plateau, makes it vulnerable to attack from the north. A small part of Chinese territory dips down between Nepal and Bhutan close to this corridor, so New Delhi is under constant pressure to maintain its influence in these countries. India’s extensive coastline stretching 4,671 miles is vulnerable to attack as its Navy as of today lacks the ability to ward off effectively serious threats from across the oceans. The writer is a senior journalist based in Islamabad. He served as the Executive Editor of Express Tribune until 2014 Published in Daily Times, October 7th 2017.