August 17, 2009

RSS chief Mohan Bhagwat terms Sharm el-Sheikh a diplomatic faux pas


By Virag Pachpore

Shri Bhagwat said that the reference to problems of Balochistan included for the first time in any dialogue between the two neighboring countries is not a good omen for India. The UPA government has not bothered to take the Opposition into confidence on matters of such diplomatic importance and thereby failed to maintain transparency in such sensitive matters.

"Inclusion of the reference to Balochistan and dropping of action against terrorism as a precondition to resuming the dialogue with Pakistan was a serious blunder. It exposed the chinks in diplomacy of Government of India. This has not only brought the issue of happenings in Balochistan to the notice of the global community, but has also created a confusion within the country vis-à-vis our foreign policy and transparency therein."

These views were expressed by RSS Sarsanghachalak Shri Mohan Bhagwat at the "Meet the Press" programme organised by the Nagpur Union of Working Journalists (NUWJ) at Tilak Patrakar Bhavan in Nagpur on August 3, 2009. Shri Bhagwat is the second Sarsanghachalak to participate in this programme after his predecessor the late Balasaheb Deoras, who had interacted with the scribes 38 years ago.

Criticising the Prime Minister for his diplomatic failure at Sharm el-Sheikh in Egypt in issuing the joint statement with his Pakistani counterpart, Shri Bhagwat said that the reference to problems of Balochistan included for the first time in any dialogue between the two neighbouring countries is not a good omen for India. The UPA government has not bothered to take the Opposition into confidence on matters of such diplomatic importance and thereby failed to maintain transparency in such sensitive matters.

In reply to a question on China’s expansionist attitude, the RSS chief cautioned the countrymen and the government to maintain a strict vigil to thwart any such evil move by the Chinese dragon. He referred to the warnings issued by great visionaries like Swami Vivekananda 110 years ago, Shri Ras Behari Bose and the second Sarsanghachalak of RSS Shri Guruji Golwalkar about the Chinese expansionist designs. Now the Chinese dragon has almost spread its tentacles to encircle India. It has established a good foothold in Nepal, Pakistan and Myanmar (Burma) and is even helping Sri Lanka in restricting India’s strategic and diplomatic movements.

Shri Bhagwat stated that China always considered India a major rival in its international designs and as such it is trying to spread its influence in the neighbouring nations to squeeze India diplomatically. China had earlier attacked India in 1962. Now also it has staked claim over Indian territories of Arunachal Pradesh, he said and urged the countrymen, government and political parties to understand this serious threat emanating from the recent Chinese movements along the bordering regions in the Indian subcontinent.

Challenges facing India
The Sarsanghachalak expressed concern over the lack of preparedness on the part of the central government to meet any security threat from within or outside the country. External and internal security is the major challenge confronting the country right now. "We are not prepared at the government, administrative and society levels to meet any eventuality that threatens our security," Shri Bhagwat said and added that we must be ready to face and frustrate any move that threatens our sovereignty and territorial integrity forthrightly.

The other challenge staring at the country is pertaining to development. "We need to develop our own model for the all-round development of the country and the society and need not imitate the models of others. We can borrow knowledge and technology but we should mould that in accordance with our needs and requirements for development. This is called ‘swadeshi vision’, Shri Bhagwat said while replying to a question.

Support to reservation
Strongly advocating the need for providing reservations to the weaker sections of the society, the RSS Sarsanghachalak stressed on setting a workable time limit and identifying the real beneficiaries. "The architects of the Constitution provided reservation for those people who had suffered social discrimination in the past. Those who had not suffered any such discrimination should not have been provided any reservation except on economic criteria. But now this provision is being used for political benefits by the parties in power. We need to create a situation where such reservations are not required. This is necessary because the policy of reservation is only dividing the society further in different sections and groups and creating a socio-political friction," he said.

The RSS chief advocated for forming a new impartial high-powered national committee to go into the various aspects of reservation policy. This panel should decide the guiding principles of reservation policy and also fix the time-frame for its continuance.

Missionaries-Maoists nexus
Though strong proofs could not be given to suggest a nexus between the Christian missionaries and Maoists in Kandhamal in Orissa, Shri Bhagwat said missionaries considered Swami Laxmanananda a strong hindrance in their proselytising activities in Orissa. They had even threatened the swami with life. But the swami was killed with an AK-47 rifle. Does that mean that missionaries possess such weapons? Therefore, it is very difficult to make any such statement. But locals in Kandhamal area believe in such a nexus between the two.

EVMs and voting right
Replying to a question on allegations of tampering with the electronic voting machines (EVMs) and making voting mandatory, Shri Bhagwat said that the Election Commission should probe the complaints about the EVMs and dispel the confusion from the minds of the people. As regards voting, he said the RSS supports 100 per cent voting and believes in creating awareness among the voters in this regard instead of making it mandatory.

Service projects
Shri Bhagwat said that the RSS is not averse to change according to changing times. "But we feel the change should come as a unanimous move so that we remain firmly rooted to our basic ideology and yet move forward with the changing times and situation", he clarified adding that a perfect balance between elasticity and rigidity should be struck while incorporating changes in the organisation.

He clarified that there is no such concept as "fail" or "pass" swayamsevak in the RSS. The Sangh is giving good training and trying to inculcate moral values in its swayamsevaks that too without any sanction. The basis of our work is pure love and affection. It is left to swayamsevaks as to how they should work within the society. There had been a great inflow of new workers in the RSS after the Emergency and the Ayodhya movement. Those new-comers had not gone through the rigors of RSS training. So there might have been some cases here and there but that did not damage the credibility of the Sangh. On the contrary, it has increased manifold in the recent times, he claimed.

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