The impact beyond borders
As situation turns volatile across India, especially in the North-Eastern state of Assam, Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe's due visit to India has been postponed amid "intensifying violence in parts of the country", as per a report. Strategic thinker and commentator Brahma Chellani explains with apt clarity that "Abe's postponement of his India visit is a loss especially for Assam. A summit there would have highlighted northeast India's role as the bridge to the rest of Asia. Assamese have legitimate concerns over the threat to their cultural identity, but mob violence is not the answer." Given how the North-Eastern region is potentially India's Achilles Heel, safeguarding it by safer and more favourable methods of taking people in confidence prior to the announcement of a major decision like the Citizenship Amendment Bill would have been a method that would have reflected well on India. Prime Minister Abe was due to leave Japan for India on Sunday for the three-day visit and was expected to hold talks with his Indian counterpart in Guwahati which has turned into the epicentre of the street protests following the passing of the contentious Citizenship (Amendment) Bill, 2019. With the situation the demanded that Army be brought in to quell the violent protests, two lives have already been claimed so far. Also, considering that this is not the only world leader to change plans, Bangladesh Foreign Minister has cancelled his trip to India. This is a bill whereby members of Hindu, Sikh, Buddhist, Jain, Parsi and Christian communities who have come from Pakistan, Bangladesh and Afghanistan till December 31, 2014 and facing religious persecution there will not be treated as illegal immigrants but given Indian citizenship. With the heated communal pivot of this move of the Central government, the message sent out to the world is that India's secular ethos dangle at the stake. As much as this is a grave concern within India, it is also shaping perceptions beyond the borders.