Afghan President visit to India
And, suddenly, this ugly Indo-American face-ff erupts!
We had almost finished writing this essay detailing what the latest Afghan-American face- off is like!
The various Indian experts and opinion-makers on the various TV screens seem to say that even today America under such a nice benign President Barack Obama hadn’t changed.
This is rather shocking. One media expert said on the TV debate that even the latest visit of Indian Prime Minister to the USA saw the US President not willing to receive the Indian visitor!
So, there is this basic ideological divide? Or, how else we can describe the latest ugly behaviour of the American administration?
You handcuff and arrest a senior diplomat, Devyani Khobragade. You strip-search her and put her in jail along with common criminals? So, America hasn’t changed?
It has its own bestial mindset? This brutality in public behaviour?
See below what the Afghan President, the mild-mannered Hamid Karzai has said about the American behaviour, its brutality towards children and women and families in Afghanistan. It is very depressing, very shameful on the part of the American establishment. Let us hope, the same revulsion, the same disgust pervades all across the American people.
It is a sad and very sad development. Afghanistan President, Hamid Karzai has paid a visit to India. He comes at a time when the US and Afghanistan are engaged in an agreement signing, called Bilateral Strategic Agreement BSA) that would station American troops of about 15,000 to be placed in nine locations inside Afghan territory and at the same time the rest of the American troops would be withdrawn.
The American engagement in Afghanistan is not so simple and straight forward.
The Afghan President while in India met and candidly spoke to journalists and strategic experts about what is bothering Afghanistan.
It is the behaviour of the American troops which indulge in mindless brutalities on the Afghan soil. The President narrated some incidents that were deeply hurting and blatantly brutal in character. One incident narrated by Hamid Karzais was when he visited a girl child, very seriously hurt and the child lost its face and this happened when the US troops entered a bus and shot indiscriminately and when they suspected a Taliban inside the bus. But in the process of such troops brutality the child is almost gone and when the President narrated the child’s condition it was heart-rending.
The President also narrated other similar incidents, all the handiwork of American brutalities, this time another child, 2 year old and it was a male child. Also, the President was much more forth coming. In a letter the US President, Barack Obama wrote to Karzai wrote back saying “We Afghans don’t trust you, the US and you don’t trust us”.
The exact words were: They don’t do this in America. So Obama must prove this. He (Obama) has not been proving it”. These are rather not nice words. Nor are they any more diplomatic language either.
UK world view
What sort of world views these two, not much loved nations, are entertaining?
There is a latest write-up in The Financial Times on the so-called intelligence expertise the two countries have shaped over the ears.
The so-called “Five Eyes” spy alliance among the UK, USA, Canada, Australia and New Zealand won’t make the world any better.
It is time Indian people wake up and learn to stand up to the Western countries.
India is becoming a power in the South East Asian countries and the USA, more than any other country or countries need India. With the rise of China and Japan and also with issues like Afghanistan’s future and also in the South China Sea over the Japan-China face-off, the USA need to cultivate India.
US have a certain world view. It considers itself as an exceptional nation. It is the Big Brother. The rest of the world would listen, must listen to it.
This world dominative motive is fortunately is not there under Barack Obama.
Now, the very world is having its own world view!
On the one side, China is rising. So too Japan in a new sense of upswing.
Then, there is the old country (the small island no one cares about, as said by the Russian foreign spokesman).US and UK had indulged in some unpardonable sins. That is when they systematically indulged in surveillance of nations around the world. More so, in particular such heads of states like Germany and Brazil and Mexico whose Presidents’ private phones and official phones were spied.
This was blown out by the Edward Snowden’s Wiki Leaks revelations.
But did the governments of the US and UK do? Nothing!
So, India has a big role to play in reshaping its basic values like democratic norms and protecting individual freedoms. Will India rise up to this historic duty?
That is a big question.
Further the Afghan President said in New Delhi “We do have families and children. We are also people. Afghan people are simple ones. They are not sophisticated. They see others as either friends or enemies”.
The BSA is all about what to do with the presence of American troops even after the bulk of them are withdrawn. Now, as for the American troops they always are behaving so brutally.
Though the Afghan native assembly, Loya Jirga agreed about the terms and conditions, the Americans are not a greeting to the conditionality’s imposed by the Afghan government. This is the rub.
The Americans had always behaved as if they were the lords of the world; they are the lords of all they survey. So, Afghanistan in its search for friends and supporters has turned to India. But then India is also faced with several dilemmas. There are geo-regional issues.
There is Iran with whom the whole world is grappling with the nuclear issue and now there is some agreement. But then Iran is also giving access to its port city Chah-bahar. The port is so critical for Afghanistan and also India where India is having a development project that aims to open up new routes to Afghanistan and also for India to develop new routes to Central Asian countries.
That development would open up new routes and also new trade opportunities.
But then there are other issues like Pakistan on the one side and also China on the other side. These two countries have so much strategic interests in these India-Afghan territories as well as in their own perspectives.
Defence and security in the region is also highly complicated. Pakistan is a nuclear power, so Iran’s sensitivities are also very critical for India to reach out in this region. Now, as for the Afghan people seeking military help, equipment, this again is a very sensitive issue.
In all these developments it is the role of America in the Afghan affairs that would place India is a very delicate position. Now, as for American brutalities in Afghanistan, India has its own issues with the USA.
US have now become a thorny issue in India after the Indian envoy was treated so badly. She was handcuffed, a diplomat from a friendly country treated in this manner!
Devyani Khobragade was arrested as she was leaving the school where her daughter was studying and she is a diplomat in the country and yet to handcuff a senior diplomat!
This was the height of American arrogance and a bit too much of a display of beastiality on the Americans part. As of now, American President, Barack Obama, is still enjoying many friendly feelings among the Indian public. But his second term already facing so many problems inside his own country as well as from friends and allies for a range of reasons and American leadership is itself is under much attack.
America is still the world’s lending economic and military power.
But then this pre-eminence of American nation, its economy and people, its culture and also the fact that a very large presence of the American Indians, some 21 million Indians, all go to make a huge difference to the way the current tensions are building up.
The outcry after the Edward Snowden’s Wiki Leak revelations about the US/UK spying scandals the great glamour that once we Indians attached to the American way of life had dimmed. Why, now with the American economy is in the slowdown mode, there is every chance that the old glory of American values, the so-called and much admired open society values, individual freedoms etc are likely to dim further.
Also Obama’s legacy over the immigration bill and the way Obama sought to curb the entry of highly skilled immigrants, in the opinion of great many American technology leaders is likely to impact on the innovative leadership of American science and technology.
Also, of course, we in India have to realise how we Indians are also making an impact with new developments like the indictment of Rajat Gupta and Rajarathnam who were found to be committed some serious crimes in insider trading cases.
As for foreign relations, as for foreign affairs of the USA, it needs allies like India very much in its leadership role in the international arena.
But then India and Indians also must wake up to the great many opportunities for India in its emergence as a serious democratic leader in Asia, South East Asia and also in the Middle East as well as in the Western hemisphere.
The point is that America cant no more take India or granted. Indian peoples’ anger and displeasure are getting stoked further by everyday developments. The latest snubbing of America is at the hands of the Lok Sabha Speaker, Meira Kumar who refused to receive the American diplomats, officials when they wanted to call on her.
This sort of rift should be attended to at the earliest.
American education is much sought after by Indian students. Also, the visa issue is going to undermine American reputation for fairness. American culture is also very all-pervasive. From cuisine to cinema to clothing, there is this widespread Yankee impact.
So, there is a great deal of duty on the part of Indian intellectuals and culture exmiyebokierts to dwell on the limits and openness to the Yankee culture impacting on the Indian culture. There is also the Indian family, family values vs. the American-one-single mother families and also the rising divorces and other sensitive issues to even such new issues like gay rights.
The gay rights and gender equalities call for some new perspectives. Everything from the American shores is not civilised products and services. Health issues, obesity to other issues in health, why even in healthcare issues.
India needs a very heavily subsidised universal healthcare and this is almost an article of faith and public policy. So too universal education. So too school education.
The gun culture of the American youth is foreign to Indian schools system.
So, let the two nations, the USA and India remain open societies. But then this is only the one common link. But India and USA would remain two distinct cultures. Two world views, as to other issues, from religion to secularism as we practice in India.