Monday, October 11, 2010

Diplomacy or Duplicity?

Any visit by a president of the United States to India is a cause for great expectation and fanfare within the echelons of Indian politics and its polity, and Obama’s upcoming visit is expected to create no less an effect. However, India’s expectations of support and empathy from the US with regard to its perennial conflicts with Pakistan have always fallen flat, insofar that America cannot afford to ingratiate India at the expense of Pakistan, while the reverse may be true to some extent. The ascent of Obama to the highest post in the US has so far not augured very favorably for India, in that Obama’s stance towards the Indo-US nuclear deal and the offshoring of US jobs to Indian shores has not been particularly agreeable. These fears find further confirmation in the diplomatic jugglery resorted to by the US High Commissioner in India, Mr Tim Roemer, when, in a recent interview to Times Now TV channel, he was quizzed by new journalist Arnab Goswami about the prospects of US president Barack Obama’s upcoming visit to India. Goswami’s questions on US policy regarding Indo-Pak issues and Kashmir seemed to fall on deaf ears as Roemer ducked each of them by digressing into issues of little or no importance. For example, when asked about the continued American support to the Pakistan government in spite of that country’s abysmal record in nuclear proliferation and its continual abetment of all forms of terrorism against India, Roemer chose to talk instead about the number of Indian students that are studying in the US, the grand opening ceremony of the Commonwealth Games, and many more things totally irrelevant to the crux of the question. Either Roemer is totally uneducated in the affairs of the subcontinent, or his attitude is a reflection of the current American stance towards India’s problems, which, if true, does not reflect very well on the prospects of Obama’s visit to India. It may well be another charade of superficial affection hiding the intent of double diplomacy that US has forever pursued in this region.

Friday, October 8, 2010

CWG - A Sordid Reality Show

India has long been struggling to rid itself of the seemingly inextricable images of filth, dirt and corruption that have clung to it like a leeches ever since it embarked upon a journey of reinventing itself on its own post independence. The last two decades have seen the Indian psyche undergoing a pleasant change with governments, corporations and individuals committing themselves to a quality of life hitherto unseen on Indian shores. The endeavors of a vast majority of Indians towards mending the many flaws in the Indian social, political and economic systems have begun to bear some fruit, with the world at large viewing India as a symbol of something other than its clich├ęd shortcomings, and Brand India beginning to get its due respect on foreign turfs. So, it hurts all the more, when one hears and reads about the embarrassing fiasco that the build-up to the Commonwealth Games 2010 had thrown up, borne of a few unscrupulous and corrupt individuals, inflicting an unkind cut upon the country’s image, which has taken so many painstaking years to brush up. It would hardly surprise anybody to know that money laundering and corruption are ineffaceable aspects of Indian politics, but that Kalmadi and his associates have put the honour of the country at stake in their perennial pursuit of illegal wealth, hoping that the world would be none the wiser, points to unpatriotic behavior, and cannot, and should not ever be condoned. To the utter dismay of all and sundry, even as the murk kept flowing out of the CWG village, the smug arrogance and apathy of the CWG organizers, Kalmadi and Co., brushing every mishap and every sordid condition aside with nonchalant statements that range from ridiculous to hilarious, managed to shift international focus from the country’s main street of prosperity and growth to its squalid back alleys of filth, corruption and depravity. The CWG 2010 had threatened to become more a reality show on India than anything else. The Government of India (read PM) needs to abandon its passivity and work towards restoration of the impaired dignity of the country. Swift and exemplary punitive action must be taken against people like Kalmadi to discourage others of his ilk from harboring such insidious aspirations.

Trapped in The Web

With the turn of the century, I graduated from inland letter cards to email; from landlines to mobiles; and from social visits to socia...