India’s cancellation of the scheduled meeting between Shah Mehmood Qureshi and Sushma Swaraj hardly comes as a surprise. For Indians to walk away from dialogue is nothing new. Neither are the absurd reasons given for the cancellation of the meet. When the Indians don’t want to talk, they fabricate excuses, no matter how bizarre they seem to refuse participation in the peace process. And as always, the real reasons are different from what is publicly uttered by Indian officials. In this case, the real problem is domestic politics that had nothing to do with Pakistan. The Indian Prime Minister is under fire from within the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) for accepting peace talks from the Prime Minister Imran Khan, at a time when the country is heading for an election. BJP primarily relies on anti-Pakistan and anti-Muslim vote to succeed in the elections. Therefore, for Modi and his BJP fanatics to be seen engaging in peace talks with Pakistan ahead of the elections may not be a good strategy. The Prime Minister is also caught in a corruption scandal over the Rafale jets deal. Thus, attention needed to be diverted somewhere else and so as usual Modi played the anti-Pakistan card. It may be painful to see a country’s Prime Minister carrying out systematic annihilation of its minorities when he should be the one taking responsibility for their security and safety. But what more can you expect from a man whose entire life reeks of bigotry and fanaticism Anti-Pakistan sentiment in India has hiked during Modi’s rule. In fact, anti-Pakistan propaganda and hatred against minorities, particularly the Muslims, have been the hallmarks of Modi’s reign as Prime Minister. The BJP/RSS have perpetrated numerous crimes against the minorities. Forced conversions of minorities to Hinduism have been widely reported by the media. Also, the violence against Muslims has increased. In addition to this, the Hindutva pundits are rewriting Indian history to project a false Hindu narrative. These fanatics are poisoning the school textbooks with hatred against Muslims. The Indian media continues to bombard their public with fabricated and hate-filled stories against Pakistan and terrorists like Naval Commander Kulbhushan Yadav are the manifestation of India’s agenda against its neighbours. And now we have the Indian Army Chief making preposterous statements to deflect international pressure from the atrocities it’s rouge army is committing in Kashmir. While highlighting the crimes perpetrated by the Indian forces in the valley; the UN report on Kashmir has also made it clear that the freedom movement in Indian Occupied Kashmir is indigenous and not instigated by Pakistan. Bipin Rawat’s warning to Pakistan army and his threat to launch another surgical strike may well have been ordered by the Prime Minister himself. Yet, no matter how politically productive these statements might be for BJP’s prospects of success in the upcoming election, they certainly do not bode well for peace between the two neighbours. The monk’s appointment as UP’s Chief Minister, clearly reflects the principles and prejudices guiding PM Modi in his decision-making. It is also an ominous sign of where India is headed, but so is Narendra Modi’s election as the Prime Minister of a country that prides itself on secularism The Indian PM’s bid for cheap popularity by escalating tensions with Pakistan is not only unbecoming of the office he holds, but has also damaged the prospects of peace and normalisation of ties with Islamabad. PM Imran Khan was keen on restarting the stalled dialogue between the two countries. In fact, all governments in Pakistan have tried to stress upon New Delhi the importance of dialogue and peaceful settlement of all issues. However, India has never reciprocated peace offers from Pakistan, and under Modi, India has gone a long way in the opposite direction. The decision to cancel the Foreign Ministers’ meeting was announced on the World Peace Day, an act despicable in itself and illustrative of India’s parochial mindset. But then, let’s not forget what Pakistan’s PM had to say about leaders like Modi whom he referred to as ‘small men occupying big offices.’ Modi’s decisions on the international as well as the domestic front continues to highlight his narrow vision. He appears to be completely incapacitated by his hatred against Muslims to see the ‘larger picture’. Last year, PM Modi nominated Yogi Adityanath to become the Chief Minister of Uttar Pradesh- a state with a large Muslim population. Adityanath is a notorious Hindu extremist. He founded the Hindu Yuva Vahini, a militia responsible for violence against minorities. The monk’s appointment as UP’s Chief Minister, clearly reflects the principles and prejudices guiding PM Modi in his decision-making. It is also an ominous sign of where India is headed, but so is Narendra Modi’s election as the Prime Minister of a country that prides itself on secularism. It may be painful to see a country’s Prime Minister carrying out systematic annihilation of its minorities when he should be the one taking responsibility for their security and safety. But what more can you expect from a man whose entire life reeks of bigotry and fanaticism. Perhaps, the only good that Modi has done so far is expose the hypocrisy of Indian secularism. The writer is an independent researcher in public policy and international relations. He can be reached at email@example.com Published in Daily Times, October 2nd, 2018.