Intrinsic uncertainty and instability – India

Both India and China suffer from serious internal tension

Updated 13 February, 2014

For India the main sources are:

  • The yet-to-be eradicated caste system – outlawed since independence over 60 years ago
  • The disparity between urban and rural population on the one hand and haves and have not’s resulting in a continuing ‘Maoist’ insurgency,
  • The sub-surface antipathy between extreme Hindus and Christians and, of course, between Hindus and Muslims,
  • The yet-to-be resolved Kashmir issue, leading onto Indo-Pakistan mutual mistrust.

India’s internal tensions

Similar to China, there are three main sources of tensions: economic, social, and ethno-religious. Plus there are political tensions.

Economic tensions

Since 1967 there has been a growing spread of the Naxalite insurgency. The name derives from Naxalbari a village in West Bengal where peasants rose against the authorities. It is based on Maoism. And it has now spread across the so-called Red Corridor, holding sway over 40% of the geographic area. The government regards them as more threatening than the situation in Kashmir. Sometimes they are termed the ‘red Taliban’. The Red Corridor, interestingly, connect the two Communist-ruled states of West Bengal to the north east and Kerala to the south west. Though both governments – until 2011 elections, run by the Communist Party of India (Marxist) – disclaim any link with the insurgents who are supported and sponsored by the break-away Communist Party of India (Maoist).

The Naxalites have been credited with several train derailments, the blowing up of rural police stations and attacks on other establishments. With the widespread nature of the insurgency, India cannot easily bring its armed forces to bear and has to rely on local police and paramilitary forces. Like guerilla forces everywhere, when the authorities show up, the rebels melt into the background or, in some cases, the jungle.

The root cause for the continuing strength of the Naxalite movement is the ongoing disparity between the rich and poor, between the urban and rural ‘economies’. Sadly, although there are grand plans, it is not clear how they will be implemented and what the consequences will be.

Early in 2014, some kidnapped village officials have been released under ‘parole’ not to go back to their anti-Maoist activities or else the whole village would suffer.  This is a major change from the killing of such officials and the harassment of the villagers from whence the officials came –

For example, big Indian cities have huge slums, none bigger than Dharavi (of Slum Dog Millionaire fame) in Bombay. It was going to be replaced by a modern metropolis as the land is estimated to be worth $10bn under the Mumbai Slum Rehabilitation Authority. But the plans of the MSRA do not show where and how the c600,000 residents (out of c6m slum dwellers in Bombay) were going to be re-housed! Also, there were no clear plans of what would happen to its industry that contributes an estimated $1bn to the economy.

There is also serious tension between farmers and industries. In 2007 the Nano micro car factory planned by Tata in the outskirts of