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Thursday, August 8, 2013

Indian soldiers killing ~ need for strong-willed Foreign Policy..

Owning any vehicle with pride, you sure would know of horsepower ~ the one that every two wheeler and car advertisement brags about.   

The killing of five Indian soldiers by Pakistanis along the line of control has elicited two kinds of responses in India – one naively hopeful and the other belligerently aggressive. One talks of continuing the dialogue with Pakistan no matter what happens on the ground, the other, coming largely from the opposition BJP and its supporters, talks of outright revenge. Yashwant Sinha, a BJP stalwart and a former minister, said the current Indian government was “sponsoring” Pakistan.  Hours after Parliament proceedings were disrupted over the statement made by Defence Minister A.K. Antony on the killing of five Indian soldiers along the LoC, senior BJP leaders lodged a ‘strong protest’ with Prime Minister Manmohan Singh over the manner in which the entire issue has been handled.  BJP took strong  exception to the wording of Mr. Antony’s statement that those who killed the jawans were in Pakistani military uniform contrary to the statement made by the Army — but later withdrawn — to the effect that the killers were Pakistani soldiers.

In this din, the ordinary patriotic citizen certainly feels that this needs to be addressed more sternly….’foreign relations’ is delicate ~ one needs to be diplomatic and have good relations with thy neighbour ~ but that should not eternally exhibit that the Nation would never respond to anything – even when it comes to coldblooded killing of its soldiers who protect the Nation.

President Obama  cancelled a planned summit meeting with the Russian president, Vladimir V. Putin, officials said Wednesday, a response to frustration at the Russian government for refusing to send Edward J. Snowden, the fugitive intelligence analyst, to the United States to face charges of leaking national security secrets. The move is also a reflection of growing tensions between the two countries on a series of other issues, including Mr. Putin’s continuing support of President Bashar al-Assad of Syria. The Kremlin expressed disappointment, especially with the president’s linking of the decision to the case of Mr. Snowden. A senior aide to Mr. Putin, Yuri V. Ushakov, said that Mr. Obama was still welcome to visit, but blamed the United States for not wanting to build a stronger partnership to manage bilateral and international issues. The daylong meeting between the two leaders had been anticipated for months. Officials said Mr. Obama will still travel to Russia for the economic discussions with other world leaders in September for a G20 summit in St Petersburg but will not attend a separate meeting with Putin was supposed to take place in Moscow ahead of that.

About a fortnight ago, another happened. Historically, Kenya has been a strong U.S. ally. According to a 2012 BBC global opinion poll, 79% of Kenyans view the U.S. positively, making citizens of the nation some of the most pro-American in Africa. President Obama, on his second official visit to Africa, again chose  to skip his Kenyan fatherland. Officials in the Obama Administration say the avoidance is due to the recent election of President Uhuru Kenyatta, who is under indictment by the International Criminal Court for his alleged role in post-election violence following the last presidential contest in 2007. The president is instead travelled  to South Africa, Senegal, and Tanzania, Kenya's next-door neighbor and perennial rival. While Obama was there is in his backyard, President Uhuru was on a trip abroad to meet with business and government leaders in Russia, Japan, and, most importantly, China.

Back home, riding on horses and ponies, around 50 Chinese soldiers intruded into the Indian territory of Chumar in Ladakh on July 16 staking their claim over the area. The Chinese troops started their incursion in the Chumar area on the evening of July 16 and they remained in the Indian area till the morning of July 17, the Hindu reported. Sources said the intruding Chinese soldiers asked the Indian soldiers to vacate the area claiming that they were standing in Chinese territory.

The frequency of such incidents increased around the time Defence Minister A K Antony went to China earlier this month and the two countries discussed measures to enhance peace and tranquillity along the Line of Actual Control between them. Defence Minister A.K. Antony visited China recently.  It assumed some significance as it was the first by a Defence Minister from India in more than seven years – the last was by Pranab Mukherjee in 2006. The Defence Minister was accompanied by a high-level delegation ~ but was the timing right and does that reflect that we are too soft especially when it comes to our foreign policy……

Of course in Foreign relations which is too complex for ordinary people like me to understand, neither extreme serves India’s national interests.  Simple expectation that things will improve  imposes a high burden on elected leaders that they continue engaging Pakistan’s civilian government even though it exercises little or no power over the country’s foreign policy.  The Firstpost correctly states that India needs is to strategically shelve Pakistan and create other options and pressure points. An obvious one is to take a new look at Afghanistan and reconsider strengthening the Afghan National Army, if not by supplying weapons then by helping in procurement.

Some will continue stating that Pakistan’s political leadership appears sincere about improving ties with India. In the autumn of 2008, President Asif Ali Zardari unveiled a dramatic, new road-map for peace. “India has never been a threat to Pakistan”, he told the Wall Street Journal. He called the Islamist insurgents in Kashmir “terrorists.” He spoke of a future where Pakistani factories would feed India’s huge cement needs, Pakistani ports helped decongest India’s clogged ones ~ and a few weeks later, Ajmal Kasaab and nine other Lashkar-e-Taiba terrorists sailed out of one of those ports, Karachi, headed for Mumbai ~ and Kasab is now forgotten, so also the killings.

With regards – S. Sampathkumar
8th Aug 2013.

PS : impressed by what has appeared in the Firstpost and some portions are reproduced from it too…

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