The Indian Naivety

Carnet Hebdo

By Nita Chicooree-Mercier

Parting with small islands runs the risk of being charged with reducing the size of a country’s territory. This charge, whether proved or not, has been levelled in the light of an alleged 1967 big deal between a politician who ‘responds to flattery’ in the portrait drawn up by a British high-ranking official to the ertswhile UK PM, H. Wilson, according to press reports.

In 1947, Nehru actually naïvely gave away two small islands that were part of the Indian territory to Burma just because those two islands were located nearer to Burma’s coast! Bet on Indians to be so naïve. The final outcome of Indian generosity is that Myanmar (formerly Burma) handed over the two islands to China which wasted no time to set up a military basis there.

Idhar bhaaloo, udhar sher

Between the devil and the deep sea. However, India has learnt that even in international relations politics is a combination of Machiavel and morality. Supporting sanctions against and keeping aloof from the military régime of Myanmar have brought no positive results to India. That’s why it has kept mum over the greed and the paranoia of the bankrupt régime which has been suppressing democracy and which prevented help from reaching its hapless people when cyclone Nargis devastated the country a few years back.

In exchange for its support of the régime, Rangoon has shown cooperation in tracking down rebels in the North East of India and preventing them from taking shelter in Burma. And why let China alone snoop around to gain access to the mineral riches of Burma? It remains to be seen how the newly liberated Aung San Suu Kyi will deal with India, Thailand and China if she is elected in a democratic election in a few years.

Obama’s lecture

Whoever be the president of the US, the same old rhetoric repeatedly comes up in the official high-talking discourses. The president reminds India of their common values to promote peace, justice and democracy in the world, principles which India has shied away from in its relation with Myanmar. And yet, the US president took care not to openly condemn Pakistan for exporting terrorism on Indian territory. The US zealously practices the art of realpolitik in its relation with countries like Saudi Arabia and Pakistan as if the suppression of the thirst for democracy among the people in those countries did not matter. At least, Burma does not send funds to terrorists. Washington has kept silent over the suppression of rights of the Balochs, the Sindhis, the Mohajirs, the Pashtuns and the people of Gilgit by successive régimes in Islamabad. Nor has it raised a finger to admonish Pakistan over the frequent massacre of the Shias by Sunni extremists.

You may understand Indian leftist intellectuals or Sri Aurobindo’s adepts when they are outraged by their country’s shifting stance from Nehruvian morality to the defence of narrowly defined national interest. But such lecture from the Americans, just hallucinating!

French Connection

Le Canard Enchaîné has raised questions about the Belle Riviere Villas, which would have been acquired by people close to Pierre Raffarin, previous French PM who was on a visit here at the time of its inauguration. So it would seem that 2004-05 was the blessed period for French interests to expand in Mauritius. It was the right time to establish friendly relations with Mauritian politicians heading the country and obtain juicy contracts and State lands. What did the politicians gain in the big deal? Just some friendship, most probably. It is high time ICAC dug into what lies behind any contract between politicians of all creed and moneyed investors in the country, foreign and local. The fans who usually are so quick to air their views on every political issue in the daily newspapers were suddenly silenced. They probably believe that political parties are peopled with Mr Clean. Such naivety!

* Published in print edition on 19 November 2010

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