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Thursday, December 09, 2021

What is India doing in NAM?

Why are Indian politicians so fearful? Why do they behave like teenagers with acne and angst rather than like leaders of a global power....

Written by Meghnad Desai |
July 26, 2009 3:24:28 am

Why are Indian politicians so fearful? Why do they behave like teenagers with acne and angst rather than like leaders of a global power? Lalu Yadav and Mulayam Singh Yadav may call themselves socialist but they fear not being protected from the masses. Indeed,every tinpot party leader and chief minister wants to be surrounded by Black Cats like some erstwhile nawab rather than a democratic leader.

And why is everyone afraid of Pakistan? First,the Prime Minister goes to a totally useless Non-Aligned Movement ‘summit’ as if the Cold War hadn’t ended 20 years ago. If by non-aligned,one means anti-American,then what were Dr Singh and Mr Gilani doing there? Once there,they meet in some dark corner and issue some faltu statement which was neither here nor there. And then all hell broke loose. One sentence and the Opposition thinks India has lost half her territory!

Hillary Clinton concedes that the US wants a special relationship with India and suddenly everyone is back to the days of 121 and Hyde Act. Then George Bush got on the phone to deliver the NSG. This time,Obama renews the same Act with weapons supplies and again the eagerness to take offence would shame a delicate debutante.

Please wake up to a great power status and smell the coffee. India is no longer one of the second rate nations that crowd NAM. Nations aspiring to permanent membership of the Security Council do not waste their time on dysfunctional neighbours who cannot present any serious military or political challenge. India has its own strategic interest in its own region,which is surrounded by a bunch of failed states,and it has paramount concerns in Asia. The only power to which it has lost one war and faces a possible conflict across thousands of mile long border has to be treated seriously,not so much as an enemy but a possible troublemaker. To insure against China,India cannot rely on NAM—which failed it in 1962—but on its own strength and strategic alliances.

Of course,no one in the MEA or PMO will say so openly but I do hope they have thought about this. I would sack them for neglect of this issue than on bad drafting of one line in that forgettable document. At least,the civil servants have to be responsible. They are not MPs who waste hours on silly TV programmes rather than discussing the murder of an innocent boy in Haryana for marrying in the “wrong” gotra.

The hopelessness of the BJP,which has become a sorry shadow of its former self leaves the UPA a freehand to do what it likes. Alas,the UPA has hardly inspired confidence since its victory; the cowardly way in which the Congress spokesmen have abandoned Dr Singh on the issue of Sharm statement tells you that apart from the three—Madam,Doctor and Baba—we can forget about the rest as far as courage or sanity are concerned.

Luckily,India can operate without the government doing much as long as it does not get in the way. When you see that while the political classes are always despairing of reaching rural India,Sunil Mittal finds no problem in selling them mobiles by the millions. Nandan Nilekani will no doubt crack the problem of identities. We need to outsource government more. Take railways for example. Why suffer at the hands of ministers who only care for their one province and let the rest of the country go to hell. We could have Japanese style bullet train if Ratan Tata or Rahul Bajaj had the task entrusted to them. Someone told me,I hope correctly,that Mukesh Ambani is thinking of giving over a SEZ for opening a Stanford class institution. More power

to him and people like him who have vision and competence,qualities which few MPs can be accused

of possessing.

There is one more thing to be said for the private sector honchos. They won’t ask for Black Cats.

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