The assassination of the Russian ambassador inside the art gallery of Ankara might be spatially far removed from India but it holds great importance for South Asia. The world is looking into the assassination from the lens of Alleppo and the Russian intransigence in the West Asia. However, for India, which stands lonely in the region, reverse indoctrination constitutes the biggest challenge.
Despite the fact that political regimes have often been blamed, and rightly so, for their religious slant, India has been able to buffer its civil and military institutions from religious bias. Of course, caste continues to be a reality but it has not led to any personal act of violence against a political opponent in India.
The only time the military faced a semblance of communal challenge was after the assassination of former Prime Minister Indira Gandhi when Sikh resentment became a reality, and cause of concern for both the political and defence establishments.
Pakistan, Sri Lanka and Bangladesh are three countries where the defence establishments have gone through the process of reverse indoctrination. The worst example is that of Pakistan where even the generals are afraid to fine tune the Army because pro-Taliban sentiment looms large amongst the middle contingent.
The assassination attempt on former President Pervez Musharraf from the armed services itself, and the brutal assassination Salman Taseer, former Governor of Punjab province in Pakistan by his own bodyguard are two examples which elucidate the point.
In both the above-mentioned cases, perpetrators of brutal violence were mentally disturbed because they felt that religious basis of the state and their identity was being challenged. In Ankara, a Turk (who also happened to be a police officer) died for what happened in Aleppo, disregarding his national identity, sense of duty towards the organisation and responsibility towards civil society.
Constitutionally speaking, the job of a state is to defend its citizen, but when the enemy becomes an organic and intimate part of the state, revolts often lead to a coup or a complete breakdown of the law and order. But for the situation to aggravate this far, there has to be a subservient political establishment which creates bad precedents by giving in inch by inch to the radical elements. This has been the case with Pakistan, and now Turkey.
What happened in Turkey resonates closely with Pakistan. In both the cases, public institutions have been subverted from inside and political executive is too weak to protest, fearing for their own life. The police and the army, on the other hand, have metamorphosed into a beast which feeds on its own people.
India doesn’t suffer from a similar problem but it should remain open to the possibility that it is not immune to it. But what makes it difficult for India is that it is surrounded by countries where civilian institutions aren’t doing well.
With the US exiting Afghanistan, India needs to work towards ensuring against the latter falling into the hands of so-called good Taliban. If Afghanistan does go back to the Taliban, the consequences would be long and hard for the entire subcontinent.