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Lok Sabha Polls: US Report Claims India Is At Risk Of Communal Violence If BJP ‘Stresses Hindu Nationalist Themes’

PRERNA YADAV | 0
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| January 30 , 2019 , 13:46 IST

A United States intelligence report has warned of a possibility of an increase in communal violence during the upcoming General Elections in India.

As per the report if the Bharatiya Janata Party “stresses Hindu nationalist themes” and continued to complain of Pakistan’s “recalcitrance” on support for terrorists based on its soil India can face riots.

The comment on India’s upcoming general election is part of the US intelligence community’s assessment of worldwide threats in the year 2019 and was presented in the form of a written document to the powerful Senate Select Committee on Intelligence by Dan Coats, Director of National Intelligence.

"Parliamentary elections in India increase the possibility of communal violence if Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi's Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) stresses Hindu nationalist themes," Coats told members of the US Senate Select Committee on Intelligence.

"BJP policies during Modi's first term have deepened communal tensions in some BJP-governed states, and Hindu nationalist state leaders might view a Hindu-nationalist campaign as a signal to incite low-level violence to animate their supporters," Coats said in his written statement.

Coats in his written statement also warn of a strained India-Pakistan relationship at least until May.

"We judge that cross-border terrorism, firing across the Line of Control (LoC), divisive national elections in India, and Islamabad's perception of its position with the United States relative to India will contribute to strained India-Pakistan relations at least through May 2019, the deadline for the Indian election, and probably beyond," he said.

Despite limited confidence-building measures, such as both countries recommitting in May 2018 to the 2003 ceasefire along the disputed Kashmir border, continued terrorist attacks and cross-border firing in Kashmir have hardened each country's position and reduced their political will to seek rapprochement, he said.

"Political maneuvering resulting from the Indian national elections probably will further constrain near-term opportunities for improving ties," it said.

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