Akhand Bharat shouldn’t enter Indian military gates. Army can’t afford to lose focus

Whenever India’s political or military leaders brandish threats during periods of ‘uneasy peace’, Pakistan Army becomes the main beneficiary.


In 1999, Former Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee visited the Minar-e-Pakistan in Lahore. It symbolised the Indian State’s acceptance of Pakistan’s sovereignty. On 1 December 2022, Prime Minister Narendra Modi, writing on the occasion of India assuming G20 presidency, emphasised the lasting appeal of spiritual traditions that advocate the fundamental oneness of us all. He reiterated ‘Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam’, or  ‘The world is one family’.

However, Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh, the ideological fountain of the ruling party, has continued to maintain a different tune. In April 2022, RSS Chief Mohan Bhagwat claimed that the idea of ‘Akhand Bharat’ could be a reality in the next 10-15 years.

The Akhand Bharat argument

Hindutva proponents have conceived Akhand Bharat as a geographical space comprising a subcontinent that identifies itself with Hindu civilisation and cultural homogeneity. Akhand Bharat includes, in varying versions, Pakistan, Bangladesh, and portions of Afghanistan, Nepal and Sri Lanka. The contemporary spine of this argument rides on the notion that with Partition, Bharat (India) has been unfairly and unacceptably divided. Therefore, its restoration to historical and cultural homogeneity is the aspiration.

Vinayak Damodar Savarkar, one of the original proponents of this concept, had advocated a strategy for achieving Akhand Bharat. The first phase was to be directed toward regaining Hindu supremacy within Independent India, and the second phase was to deal with geographical spaces held by foreigners. So the statement by National Security Advisor (NSA) Ajit Doval in November 2021, which said that India’s civil society is the new frontier of war, echoes Savarkar’s first phase for the realisation of Akhand Bharat. Doval also emphasised that wars have ceased to become an effective instrument for achieving political and military objectives.

On the other hand, Defence Minister Rajnath Singh has consistently maintained that it is only a matter of time before Pakistan Occupied Kashmir (PoK) is recovered. He also said that Partition on religious lines was a historic mistake.

When asked about Singh’s statements on PoK, military leaders—like the late Chief of Army Staff General Bipin Rawat and very recently, Srinagar-based 15 Corps Commander Lt General Amardeep Singh Aujla and Northern Army Commander Lt General Upendra Dwivedi—also made similar statements: If and when orders are given, the Army will be ready to reclaim PoK. Political rhetoric seemed to find military backing even as China posed a military threat on the northern borders….