India must articulate our own global vision and an independent strategic broad picture Indo-US nuclear deal is clearly for India’s advantage So,why this running away from realities and our weakness for factionalist politics?

It is a great pity that after the Left threat to withdraw support for the government,Prime Minister Manmohan Singh still chose to sound adamant and in a subsequent public function,asserted that India needs nuclear energy for its energy security. He didn’t choose to defend the nuclear deal on the grounds of its need for India’s strategic concerns.He really doesn’t seem to have a more broad picture of the world into which India would have to finds its path.

In a world that would be free of great power tensions or in any possible return to any new Cold War situations. India has to have an independent strategic role.And this,the present government,fails to articulate.India has to realise it is a mature democracy where new ideas and new ideals must emerge out of our own thinking and a confidence in our own capabilities to emerge as a major world power.

When I read about the sudden developments on the political front over the Indo-US nuclear deal,my thoughts went not forward but backward.Not to the future of India,of which I am so confident but of the century old India when the great sanyasi,Swami Vivekananda,went to the World Parliament of Religions in Chicago and thundered about India’s unique strengths and asserted Hinduism’s great universal appeal.

I went to a Ramakrishna Mission school.It was both a Ramakrishna and a Gandhian school and as such I grew up imbibing both patriotism as well as a love for the country as a repository of all the great wisdoms.So,whenever I see any faltering on the fronts of India, be it India’s great past or its great future ,I feel a special emotion or sentiment to rise up and stand for what I consider to be India’s great potential.

So,when I find the Prime Minister falter in truly explaining the many dimensions of the nuclear deal I thought of jumping at the Parliamentary gate and rushing into it to say what I feel like saying. Now,the nuclear deal is a process started earlier under the Vajpayee era.And let us remember that this is not just a Manmohan Singh handiwork and why this background is not explained to the MPs?Everyone wants to score a point and be it Yashwant Sinha or the CPI(M)and CPI wallahs,they seem to imagine that they only have the patent to stand up to the USA! It is a great illusion. The world is changed a lot these days.Globalisation and much of what the world was when the Cold War lasted had gone off.What we have is a unique historic situation,of course with the current dangers like international terrorism etc.The USA has been the sole superpower for the last 15 years or so and everyone knows it.Russia and China know this world reality,if not the Indians. All this doesn’t mean that what the USA has done in Iraq is justified.That is why India hasn’t sent troops as even other countries have done.This itself is a justification why India should reciprocate in other areas of co-operation.

And also,the USA too,after these years of dreadful experience in Iraq knows that the way forward is to find a solution through some sort of a UN cover.That is going to happen.The global strategic relations for the USA ,as for India ,have to be based on entirely new paradigms.The world is no less dangerous,though the last half a century hadn’t seen a major world war.That itself is a gain.We have to extend the space for peace in all possible ways. Our nuclear co-operation with the USA is not for making more nuclear bombs,though we can all pretend to be otherwise.Our sovereignty hasn’t been compromised,though we can have our own self-interested explanations and definitions of what constitutes our sovereignty.We import food,knowing well that this compromises our claims to be self-sufficient in food and food imports for a major country like India is a real threat to our economic sovereignty.As for the defence and security relations are concerned,there cant be only one way of looking at these complex issues.

Our short term perceptions have to be different to the long term perceptions.As on date our relations with all countries are fine,though we see Pakistan and China with some trepidation,given our past experience.We have some problems with these countries but our approach today is very different.Not to accumulate weapons of mass destruction but to be alert and at the same time be diplomatically pro-active and try to solve the issues through dialogue and more international in other spheres.This is what India is doing.

So,when it comes to energy security,yes this is the critical issue here too there can be different approaches,though the Indo-US deal is one such,an important one considering India’s isolation in the nuclear energy seeking sphere. Yes,there can be some reservations on the deal for the experts,but for the Communists it is just one more occasion to raise their opposition on an ideological ground.This,they did on many previous occasions,on when India joined the WTO and also before when we opened up our economy and introduced economic reforms. But to rock the boat when the deal is about to be operationalised is to show India in a poor light in the eyes of the world.

India is now a mature country and we have grown up,economically and otherwise,our highly educated skilled manpower is very well recognised and we are in a large way present in the American society,some of our current critics,the leaders from the BJP to the Communists,have their sons and daughters well settled in the US and they all know that the USA is now the most dynamic and most open society. Unlike Russia and China or other countries.So,as a democracy India must seem to be entering into some friendly relations with the USA.USA,let us not forget,is the most open society and a democracy.Any powerful President cant last longer than the Constitutionally mandated period.So,we can see that India stands to benefit to use the nuclear technology and much else to our own advantage.

India must also learn to move forward into the twenty first century world with faith in the future. Can any one country,including the USA or for that matter,a Russia or a China alone can decide and determine the future of the world?None can.Yes,collectively some major countries can join together for the future and prosperity for all.This is what is already happening.All the blocs,real notional, G-* and other groupings are only trying to advance the civilisation al goals.This is clear.India must create this confidence ,first in itself,among our own people.Our political parties must play their roles in responsible manner.Seniors like Vajpayee must speak out. Yes,the PM has slipped habit by saying”This is it,take it or leave it” and by such impatience! But this is not such a grave mistake.These impatience doesn’t alter the reality of the situation. Is there a scope to renegotiate?One doesn’t know.But in the scheme of things such things are not done in the way by displaying so many immature behaviour on the part of some of the senior-most members of Parliament and our leaders.

I believe sincerely that India hasn’t compromised its sovereignty at all by this deal.May be our capacity to influence world opinion will be enhanced by this unique deal for which the USA also has compromised its stated positions.In fact,George Bush,whatever may be his limitations,in this case has been quite forthcoming to cultivate India and India must be magnanimous in responding to his hand of friendship. Let us have confidence.Let us not feel so unsure of our own capacity to move across the world capitals and impress by our self-restraint in pursuing nuclear power for peaceful purposes only.Yes,India has a lot of hard work to do to win the credibility we lost when we went to explode the nuclear devices twice,once in 1974 and the next in 1998.Whatever we may say to the outside world about our ideals and ideas,the outside world will have reasons to suspect why we need now the so-called assurances to yet free to pursue a nuclear deal that would allow us to test weapons.No,that wont do.India has to reiterate in the interest of world peace that India wont pursue the weapon making route any more.Instead India must play a more pro-active role in the international arena to make the world safe from nuclear dangers.

In fact,it has become a greater responsibility for India to play a more enhanced international role. In fact,under Manmohan Singh we have somewhat lowered our vision,our NAM and Third world leadership role seems somehow lowered and subdued. In fact,one of the drawbacks of the present leadership style is to downgrade the Indian talents from diverse field in the service of the country.We seem to rely more on the retired tribe of government servants who also,one suspects,gave the wrong words for the PM’s mouth to utter in some desperation!

We have to send as our Ambassadors to major capitals of the world,as it was done during Nehru’s days,eminent men,scholars and experts and unique individuals to cultivate the world’s peoples towards India as a unique country.There are many such steps that are urgently need to enhance the image of India in foreign capitals.India can create an Indian Peace Corps for Africa and even for America! Why not? See ,how Jimmy Carter,even at this age,is able to capture the imagination of the world by his peace initiatives! Where are the equivalents to a Jimmy Carter in India? There is no end for imagination to work for India. That’s why one thought that came to me when I started out with this column was:we need a new Swami Vivekananda-type individual today to go around and tell the West that India is the country with a new destiny in the new century!

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2 Thoughts on “India after 60 years of freedom

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