Social Scientist. v 12, no. 138 (Nov 1984) p. 34.

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New Thrust of Imperialism in South Asia

THE ASSASSINATION of Mrs Indira Gandhi and its gruesome aftermath in Delhi and other parts of the country revealed quite sharply the disruptive potential of divisive forces in India. Whether the Punjab movement culminating in Mrs Gandhi's assassination is part of a well orchestrated campaign to destabilise India is debatable. These events however do underscore the erosion of political processes in t-he background of a growing social and political crisis which has encouraged the growth of divisive forces seeking to undermine national uniiy. The process of disunity has been accentuated by the basic weakness of the system and the ruling party which, due to its class outlook, is incapable of countering communal and revivalist forces. Many of these sectarian tensions present for the last three decades have in recent years crystallised into secessionist demands as happened in Assam and Punjab in the context of an intensification of imperialist activities around India. This has serious implications for India's stability and security because the process of increasing disunity is often marked by external support for scccssionism and revivalism and exacerbation of imperialist pressures in the South Asian region. This paper examines the factors and processes which account for the growth in the overt and covert activities of imperialism and its implications for India, as well as the growing political and institutional crisis which engenders communal and separatist forces.

The ascendancy of the Reagan administration marked an intensification of the imperialist attempts for global hegemony manifested in the U S strategy of confrontation with the Soviet Union at many levels. Addressing the British Parliament in June 1982, Reagan called upon the West to fight back by force and subversion the expansion of socialism.1 He clearly stated that the security of ^our countries is indivisible and must be approached on a global basis."2 At the global level it was virtually an attempt at reshaping the overall strategy by building a coalition of imperialist powers including 'socialist' France and Japan to meet the so-called Soviet threat in Europe and the Third World. This shift in U S policy sharply reversed the process of detente and directly resulted in the acceleration of the militarisation drive. A stark manifestation of this new militarsim was the installation of the Pershing and Cruise missiles in Western Europe despite stiff opposition.

< Centre for Political Studies, Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi.

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