Nehru and Congress Party Muffed a Great Chance to Incorporate Kalat and Baluchistan in India
Balochistan is in in the news these days because of an insurrection that has been launched by the tribesmen of the region against Pakistan. A major part of Balochistan consists of the state of Kalat which was ruled by a Nawab. The Khanate of Kalat was a princely state that existed from 1666 to 1955 in the center of the modern-day province of Balochistan.
Historically the state of Kalat was never a part of India and was a semi-independent state which had gained independence from Iran in the 18th century. The state of Kalat got independence from Nadir Shah. The Nawab established his state. He was however militarily weak and agreed for an accommodation with the British rulers of India.
On 15th August 1947, the Nawab of Kalat Mir Ahmad Yar Khan decided not to join Pakistan. Unfortunately or shall I say unwittingly the Nawab in dispute with the British had appointed Muhammad Ali Jinnah as his lawyer. He was not aware that Jinnah was going to stab him in the back. At that time the situation in India was tense as in Punjab and Bengal there was widespread rioting between Hindus, Muslims, and Sikhs.
In such a scenario, Pakistan had invaded Kashmir. When Pakistan attacked Kashmir the Nawab offered to accede to India. Later the home minister Sardar Patel said that no offer had been received from Nawab of Kalat. This observation can be taken with a pinch of salt as now it has come to light that Patel was not even in favor to have Kashmir which was the predominantly Muslim state as a part of India.
It was only when the Pakistani invaders almost reached Srinagar that Lord Mountbatten ordered Nehru to intervene in Kashmir. Unfortunately as is well known Nehru did not have the stomach for a military operation and with almost 40% of the area still in occupation of Pakistan agreed for a ceasefire. This was at a time when the Indian army was advancing and had pushed the invaders back from Srinagar.
Accession to India
The Nawab was aware of the mahem, murder, and mass rapes of Kashmiri girls by the tribal Invaders by the Pakistan army which was dominated by Punjabi Muslims . This convinced the Nawab to accede to India.The Nawab did make the request for accession to India but VP Menon the home secretary said that India could not accept this request. The home minister Sardar Patel didn't want to acknowledge that the Nawab had made a request to join India but the bigger culprit was the prime minister Jawaharlal Nehru who decided that there was no need to have Kalat incorporated in the Indian Union as it was "very far." This was a very strange logic as India itself was a state spreading across thousands of miles
Port of Gwadar
Nehru's second blunder was on the port of Gwadar which is now the lynchpin of Chinese naval activity in the Arabian sea. Gwadar was the property of the Emir of Oman.
The Emir was keen to dispose of this property as at that time it had no commercial value. He offered the port of Gwadar to India for a price of hundred thousand pounds. This may not be the exact figure but he was ready to part with the port of Gwadar for a substantial sum of money.
The proposal was discussed by Jawaharlal Nehru and rejected. His opinion was that Gwadar was "too far." As usual, he had very little strategic sense of history. He did not realize that the British controlled islands in the Atlantic and Pacific as well as the Indian Ocean which were miles from the homeland
Nehru missed a glorious opportunity to have an Indian outpost at the mouth of the Persian Gulf.
The Nawab used to listen to All India Radio and in 1947 October he heard a broadcast that quoted VP Menon the home secretary as having rejected the Nawab of Kalat accession to India. This shocked him. Jinnah came to know about this and immediately ordered an invasion of Balochistan. anklet The Pakistan army moved fast into Balochistan and the Nawab was forced to sign on the dotted line.
India lost a golden opportunity to have influence in Balochistan. The Baluchis are a fearless lot and they started an insurrection against Pakistan which is even now unfolding. Tens of Pakistani soldiers have been killed in Balochistan and the Chinese are wary of the tribesmen who are also targeting the Chinese in the region. The fact is Balochistan is rich in minerals and gas at the same time it has a sparse population. All the resources of Balochistan are taken away to other states of Pakistan and the state itself is backward and inaccessible.
This fueled resentment and an insurrection took roots. On the other hand, India under Nehru let go of a golden opportunity as he had no strategic vision. It is well known that he also lost the state and the entire Aksai Chin to China. Yes, there are many people in India who swear by the name of Nehru not realising that what he has done to India is almost impossible to rectify. Balochistan is effectively under control of the Pakistan army and general Musharraf even ordered helicopter gunship to be used against the Balochi leadership fighting for independent Balochistan. The much-respected leader Bugti was killed by armed helicopters and later general Musharraf was charged with murder for the same offense.
In a recent interview, the successor to the Nawab of Kalat mentioned the attitude of Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru. However, he was hopeful that with the advent of Narendra Modi a new-look India will emerge.
In the meantime, we can just read the history books and think over the chance of making India the most powerful country in Asia and how it was muffed by Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru