October 09, 2006

India at the cross roads

Posted on 10.09.06 by Cynical Nerd @ 2:00 am
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We apologize for our extended absence due to a hectic non-stop work schedule. We thank all readers who wrote to us. We do keep an eye on the ever evolving situation with regards to the Indian national interest. Here are some of our thoughts:
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Geo-politics: The withdrawal of Shri Shashi Tharoor as a candidate of U.N. Secretary General is a slap in India’s face. The nomination itself was done by the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) without consulting South Block and India’s Permanent Mission to the U.N. Further it was done without gaining the confidence of a single UNSC permanent member. It could not even muster the support of non-adversarial South Asian nations such as Sri Lanka and Afghanistan. Finally, the sole veto came from none other than India’s “newfound friend” the United States. This indicates a lack of clarity in the foreign policy administration of the Manmohan Singh regime. It has been a saga of one failure after the other since 2004. Contrast that with India’s earlier successes where it gained membership of the East Asia Summit, its participation at the G-8 Summit and the establishment of the Brazil-India-South Africa Strategic Triangle.
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Sri Lanka: India is woefully absent in the deteriating situation in the island republic. India’s aloof posture provided space for the intelligence and military personnel of Pakistan to come in and aid the Sri Lankan army with weapons and training. Unconfirmed reports suggest that Pakistan had offered uranium tipped missiles and daisy cutter bombs to the Sri Lankan military but such reports are hard to confirm. Pakistan is reportedly keen to use Sri Lanka as a launching pad to destabilize India’s southern flank. Several commentators including the ex-chief of the Research and Analysis Wing (RAW) Shri J.K. Sinha have expressed deep concern about India’s lack of involvement in the fast unraveling situation in Sri Lanka.
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The efforts made by the previous NDA administration in de-internationalizing the peace process under the able stewardship of then High Commissioner Shri Nirupam Sen is now completely reversed by a singularly incompetent Nirupama Rao whose sole qualification was her links to the powers that be in New Delhi. India appears increasingly irrelevant to the resolution of the Sri Lankan crisis as it did in the events that unfolded in Nepal a few months back with dire consequences to its long term security. Once again, this is an indictment on the lack of strategic foresight of the Manmohan Singh administration.

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China: India’s China policy is increasingly being handled by the Communist Party of India (Marxist). The Left has complained about Chinese companies not being allowed to invest in strategic areas such as India telecom, shipping and ports. They are not worried that the same companies have strong links with the Chinese Communist Party and the People’s Liberation Army. The Indian Marxists had similarly defined India’s policy on Nepal a few months ago. The Maoists are poised to monopolize power in Kathmandu shortly in part due to the inept handling of that crisis by the PMO in New Delhi.

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The Chinese through their North Korean lackeys have successfully put the United States and its allies in North East Asia (South Korea and Japan) in a fix. Today’s nuclear weapons test by North Korea will have several consequences for the present world order. For one, Japan might jettison its pacifist inhibitions and invest in a nuclear arsenal. Two ,the NPT regime would unravel slowly. Beijing is expected to exploit the situation to derive more concessions in a world where the Bush doctrine is unravelling - be it in Afghanistan, Iran, Iraq or North Korea. Does India have a policy here?
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Indo-American relations: The sorry administration in New Delhi has put all its eggs in one basket i.e. the United States. The UPA was not able to convince the U.S. Senate and Congress in removing questionable clauses amending the proposed Indo-American nuclear deal. Now with the Senate in a lame duck session, this deal in its present form has little chance of passing. This is clearly a blessing.
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The question is how should India improve its bargaining power when a new Congress and Senate (possibly more hostile given the likelihood of the Atlanticist Democrats gaining a majority)? The Indo-American nuclear deal was a flawed one to begin with in that it envisioned the opening of several Indian nuclear plants to IAEA inspections. Manmohan was once again about to barter away long term strategic interest for a short term gain of dubious value.
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Pakistan: Prime Minster Manmohan Singh made an astonishing statement that Pakistan too was a victim of terrorism and went ahead with the joint anti-terror mechanism in the sidelines of the Non Aligned Summit in Havana. Pakistan made it clear that there was no question of it handing over any terrorist suspect to Indian custody. Much to the PMO’s embarrasment, the Mumbai police went ahead in publicly naming Pakistan’s ISI as the mastermind behind the 7/11 terrorist attack.
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Meanwhile, the U.S. ambassador to Pakistan Ryan Crocker had advised India from disclosing such information publicly. He urged that the evidence be discussed privately with Pakistan. Let us recall that the Naramsimha Rao government gave the timer used in ‘93 Mumbai attacks to the United States as evidence of Pakistani hand behind it. U.S. authorities promptly destroyed it under the garb of ‘testing’. It appears that Indian policy towards Pakistan is increasingly defined in Washington rather in New Delhi. This is seen in efforts to negotiate a mutual pull back from the line of control in Siachen, a move that would benefit Pakistan, not India. India lacks a policy with regards to the incipient revolt in Balochistan that accounts for 40% of Pakistan’s territory. It appears that New Delhi is unable or unwilling to exploit the weaknesses within Pakistan to due effect.
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We attribute this to the short sighted policies of the likes of newly appointed Foreign Secretary Shiv Shanker Menon who are eager to please the yankee bankroller. India to this day lacks a full time Minister of External Affairs, a subject that continues to be handled by a lame duck Prime Minister.
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Afghanistan: The Taliban is clearly making a comeback. NATO forces are increasingly under hostile fire with highly trained milita coming across from Pakistan. Musharraf has the West in a bind. Since the Waziristan peace deal between the Pakistani Taliban and Islamabad, Taliban attacks against NATO forces have tripled. There has been an alarming surge in suicide bomb attacks in Kabul. There is already talk of negotiating with the Taliban from the likes of Bill Frist the Senate majority leader. The United States plans to cut and run in Afghanistan.
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The Taliban (or whatever new name they are likely to be called) will serve as Pakistan’s fifth column in Afghanistan. Pakistan will direct them to pursue their jihad in Jammu & Kashmir just as in the 1990s. This will be diasastrous. India has to raise the cost for Pakistan from trying such misadventures. Balochistan offers India an opening in this regard. Once again, the PMO has no credible strategy to deal with an incipient crisis with huge consequences to the security of India’s northern flank.
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Internal Security: The latest series of engineered protests by ‘left-liberal intellectuals’ and ‘foreign-financed human rights’ groups demanding the clemency for the convicted terrorist Mohammed Afzal in the December 2001 Parliament case represents one symptom of the malaise that exists in India. The fact that the perpetrators of the attack have been brought to justice in a short-period of six years (by Indian standards) shows the relative seriousness with which they were pursued. Compare that with the ‘93 Bombay blasts whose perpetrators are just being convicted. Of course, we do not know the status of the attacks that happened earlier (Delhi, Varanasi, Bangalore, Malegoan to mention a few).
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Something is just not right when so-called western-financed intellectuals (read Arundhati Roy and Medha Patkar) plead for one terrorist who masterminded the attack on the citadel of Indian democracy and killed several others while another terrorist who masterminded the Coimbatore bomb blasts gets therapeutic massages in his luxury prison cell in Kerala. Has India lost its moorings under the current UPA administration?
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Stiffling of Dissent: Under this prime minister, the PMO has become all-powerful managed by an unelected clique. We are yet to get a full time External Affairs Minister. Earlier while negotiating the terms of the nuclear deal with the United States, those former and present nuclear scientists expressing concern were routinely pooh-poohed in a pliant media. We saw several cases where the Indian Express and its shamelessly pro-American “strategic affairs” editor C. Raja Mohan regularly cast aspersions not just on India’s foreign policy experts of yesteryear but also on their caste and regional backgrounds.
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The same happened later with the “peace process” against the advice of distinguished ex-diplomats like Shri G. Parathasarathy, security experts like Shri B. Raman, Brahma Chellaney and Bharat Karnad. There again the PMO’s pro-American media advisor Sanjaya Baru launched an all-out media offensive by terming those opposing it as “BJP supporters”. In the latest episode the Air Force Chief S.P. Tyagi was forced to publicly express concern that the American sale of F-16 to Pakistan was a serious problem for the Indian Air Force. The PMO was not too happy as this went against the spirit of the new “strategic ally” of the U.S. and “peace with neighbor” at all cost. It is clear that Manmohan has been bought over!
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Over to you readers for your reflections and observations!
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Co-authored by Cynical Nerd and Jaffna.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I am blaming the last BJP government for all these current failures in Indian policies.

They did a blunder in allowing the Congress to hold position in Government this time.They should have tried all possible methods to get hold of power after the last elections,if they were truly sentimental to Indian National Interest.Instead they remain as Gandhians and silently watched the Congress playing for grabbing power in Centre.

My advice to them is to never allow this to happen again once they are in power.The country needs somebody who loves this country to rule.

The majority of people in India are uneducated.Its easy to lure them based on money,caste etc to gain power of this nuclear capable nation.The country cannot rely on them that they are executing their vote based on national interest.So even if the methods are not fare it is of utmost importance to ensure that the right people are ruling this country.There is no need to hesitate in using all the cards in ones pocket to win the game.Remember what Narasimha Rao did earlier with Jharkand MLA's to grab power.The Congress and Communists are doing just that to protect THEIR interests.I am wondering why the BJP is not able to do that even when it has so many capable leaders.

There is no use in sitting silently and waiting for the Skies to come down by itself.Because the country is ruled by enemies within, with the help of external enemies.The Congress, through their 50 years of rule have rightfully accessed the people of this country.So they know very well, how to fool this people for gaining power.This is one truth that the BJP should understand.