How much the Indian public opinion will trust US promises?
Prime Minister Dr.Manmohan Singh had visited UK and later USA. UK visit didn’t produce any dramatic results, except he got a hon degree from Oxford. In the USA he got the USA to help Indian in civilian nuclear energy tech. But India had to abandon the traditional posture to pursue independent nuclear deterrent strategy. How much India gave in and how India gained in the process are questions that will remain haunting the Indian public opinion.
We should remember certain hard truths. First, the Prime Minister doesnt carry much political legitimacy, except as a nominee of Sonia Gandhi. So, his credibility to have won any concession from the USA remains rather empty. India is now an adult nation and the Indian public opinion too is now a bit mature enough to see the political realities behind the political outward face. And let us remember, always, that America is still untrustworthy in the Indian public mind.
So, let us realise that there is now a real gap between what Dr.Singh is said to have got from the USA and also what the Americans had given to India. This gap is a great reality and no amount of spin, either by the PM’s official machinery or the accompanying media crowd, can get rid of the mental block the Indian public opinion had developed about the American domination of the world. We don’t want to take any negative view nor we should be fooled to falsely believe the official spins, either the Indian or the American variety! In our view, it is only a long and deep intellectual introspection and cogitation by the main currents of Indian public opinion that can give our on-going India-UK/US relationships a shared stability of a basic belief.
Foreign affairs for India is always critical for our independent nationhood and now under Dr.Singh or under his predecessors, there is no serious evolution on our Freedom Struggle days foundational beliefs. So, what we can do now? Yes, we have to take again a robust common-sense view. We have to move along with the world currents, we have to open our genuine civilian nuclear power programmes for international inspection, keeping in view our totally peaceful commitments. So, in a way Dr.Singh did his mandated job!
The past hangs heavily with the UK. The PM in his speech at Oxford had unwittingly dealt with how India gained by “good governance”. The Brits are a tricky sort of people always. They always assumed that India needs Brits’ advice! So, soon after Dr.Singh’s rather timid exposition of the so-called India-British relations, obviously, the speech was prepared by some pro-British bureaucrat or bureaucrats, with some witty remarks and some irony etc., had led down India, as the reaction from the Indians shows. Apart from what the Dr. said, what he failed to say hurt most Indians. Dr.Singh didn’t tell the British how India with its mastery of English language had beaten Britain in software superpower status gained by India. Oxford taught Indians to become bureaucrats like Dr.Singh. Oxford didn’t teach a Narayanamurthy who came from nowhere and now makes even the US industry to tremble! For the New Delhi bureaucrats, we mean the more pretentious Oxbridge fellows, old and ageing IAS/IFS and the economists, in particular, Narayanamurthy and men like him are red rags! These IT wallash had proved much of the government economics, much of our economic policies and more irritating, the worthlessness of a whole gamut of government services and agencies servants lording over the fate of the poor and the unfortunate didn’t create enough economic growth.
One immediate irritant we have noticed is that the influential and prestigious London Financial Times (July 15) chose to write its first editorial on Indian governance in New Delhi is no good!
Words like paralysis, economic reforms in taters, cave-in by Mrs.Gandhi, dangerous constitutional precedent, messier, fumbling performance, no firm leadership etc. are freely used! to describe a government whose head you had received just the other day! Yes, this is typical of the innate British character! Indians seem to be accustomed to receive such pompous whiteman’s wisdom! This is the reply to Dr.Singh’s praise for learning good governance from the colonial masters!
As for the visit of the PM to USA, it is anybody’s guess what would be the actual outcome! Perhaps, nothing substantial would come about! Why?
Indians need to know certain things very clearly. This magazine has all the necessary qualifications to say these things! First, the Brits, the official establishment and the ruling coterie, are highly pretentious and wont allow Indian to shine as an independent power, the Americans, the White House occupants and the ruling power structure is one of pure simpletons! The Americans are only conscious of their status as a world military power, nuclear power and economic power. Americans, more so George Bush, now badly needs India stand by his side, if not support, for his trap in Iraq! US would very much like involve India in some face-saving formula to get out of Iraq. Without loss of face!
If somehow, under some defence co-operation pact or otherwise, USA needs India in the future face-saving formula.
So memories of the past hang-ups, India, during the China wars, during the Bangladesh crisis, the Cold War years and much else are all rankling in the Indian public minds. So too America’s own past mistakes, outright blunders, in Vietnam, now a defiant disregard for the UN etc. would make any Indian weary of the many new American gestures, gestures on which not much weight could be put.
Who knows, in some desparate moment, Bush might given in to India’s request for civilian nuclear technology and other India’s wish list!
But India and USA are fundamentally on opposite poles! India is a champion of the UN, India wants UN Security Council seat, India wants to play a more visible role on the global scenario in a number of areas where India genuinely believes it can enhance world peace and prosperity. But USA wont like to see a peace-loving India to be seen in a more favourable light. So, to conclude : The PM’s visits to UK and USA are fine but they cant solve India’s many problems.
India is now deficit in wheat and may likely to import. But there is no reason to panic at the thought of wheat import. What India has to demonstrate to the people and to the outside world is that we have to learn to live by our own wits! Not by others’ charities!
So, be it UN Council seat, or civilian nuclear technology, or wheat or hundred other things, India has to go ahead with her own perceptions of her own independence and self-reliance intact!
So, the PM has to realise that he had not done anything dramatic yet. The one and more year of office hadn’t given the government the legitimacy. May be that is the reason that this government hasn’t delivered on its promises. A government, like an individual, has to function on some core beliefs.
That is why we tolerate so many non-performers in the government! So, ultimately, it is again the public opinion and also the public anger, and public disillusionment that would decide the success or failure of the government. This government too cant be an exception, right?