No undue US influence on India
Milli Gazette Online
17 August 2006
An open letter to
Indian express Editor Shekhar Gupta
This has reference to your Walk the Talk interview with Natwar Singh (http://www.indianexpress.com/story/10371.html)
It is surprising that a person of your intellect, experience and a knack for quick judgments, should be so skeptical about Mr. Natwar Singh's plain, simple and no-holds- barred account of how the US is highhandedly interfering with internal matters of its supposed 'strategic partners' and does not rest unless it gets hundred percent stooges and yes man to be positioned at all levers of powers in any country that it has 'taken over'. India and for that matter, people like Natwar Singh are still living in the old world, when freedom, independence and Indian sovereignty has something to fight for. They do represent an overwhelming majority of Indian people, who will be celebrating their independence day on August 15 and one hopes not in vain.
To see a person of your caliber, going down so sheepishly trying to feign as if no such undue US influence exists either in the country or especially in the case of Natwar Singh, is indeed very sad as well as intriguing development. I cannot believe that a person of even a minimum of intelligence and conscience will knowingly and of his own volition, would be so brain washed. There has to be some reason, some motivation for you to keep trying to pose as neutral.
On the other side, Indian politicians appear to be startled at the culture of US relationship with its dependent nations. All niceties of friendship instantly evaporate, when US starts explaining what different understanding it has in contrast to what its opposite side has in putting down any agreement in cold print. We do not have any experience of negotiating with the US bureaucrats and technocrats. But all of them come through as if they have the final say in the matter and other side just sign or else.
Natwar Singh has correctly mentioned about Jack Straw and Abdullah Abdullah. These are two people heading 'Foreign Ministry' portfolios in their respective governments. So Natwar Singh was only limiting his allegation of US highhandedness to his line of work. In fact, we should draw conclusions how even obscure Indian firms, without any idea about the world politics, should be directly 'banned' by the US authorities in supplying life-saving formulations to Iran. America's global politics are now to be followed to the tee by all and sundry people of India. If today the US is against Iran, its war effort imposes a implicit control of all activities that a country like India was free to pursue in the 'best interest of its own people'. You can imagine how that will affect the whole society. How US laws, and Congress and trade negotiators will be constantly walking all over us. In 58 years, India did enjoy a sense of freedom, though its relationship in this globalization age was highly contained and therefore we did not feel pressurized into making compromises to suit other countries' vested interests or internal politics. But with this 'strategic partnership' we are into a veritable trap, without fully understanding as to where it will land us as a country. The worst part is, that in this world's largest democracy, one billion people are barely involved at the decision at highest level. The feeling and may be the fact too is, that the US brought in a regime change by bumping Rajiv Gandhi and maneuvering Rao and Manmohan team to take over India. This may appear to be oversimplification. But in nutshell, this is the fact. Natwar Singh has put it more graphically by highlighting the fact that Manmohan Singh is the only one of the eleven Prime Ministers of India that has not won even a local municipality election. PM's detractors can say that why he should be facing the people, when he is appointed by the world's super power, the US to head the government. That is an ultimate insult to Indian people and its so-called democracy. Are we not allowed to even note the highhanded subversion of our country?
You may contend that opening to the US, does open big opportunities for practically every sector of Indian economy and as PM would have it, we should bide our time, till we are strong enough economically to dictate our terms to our partners. This is a very debatable line of thinking that has to be put to the people to find out if India can allow its freedom and sovereignty to be subverted in the hope of any future bargaining with the US powerhouse that would restore our freedom of action.
There has not been any public accounting as to what India is supposed to give to the US in exchange for any number of supposed concessions. Or is it an open-ended account. The US bully will push as hard as it can and you are either supposed to lay down and enjoy it or try your best to protect your vital interests. We should have studied how the US behaves with its various allies and come out with Lakshman Rekha in every field of our interaction with the US. Our bureaucrats and technocrats do have immense qualification and expertise in this interactive field. The way, Kamal Nath walked out of Doha round, refusing to sign away our farmers rights, is an indication that we too have people with spine and conviction, that refuse to bow down to unjustifiable demands in the name of 'strategic partnership'. But those are rare examples. We cannot hold high hopes from our corrupted bureaucracy. If the highest in the land can be bought, what defense we can expect from the rank and file to save the country's best interests.
As a media person, you have a great responsibility on your shoulder. Do think over as best to save the country and speak out, if you think India is being dragged in directions from which there is no turning back. Or we can be rest assured that a century or two down the line, our children will shed their blood to fight once again for India's freedom from the US yoke.