Saturday, November 15, 2008
INDIAN LEADERSHIP : LOST OPPORTUNITIES
India cannot afford another weak kneed Prime Minister at its helm, who should read “Foreign Affairs for Dummies” before taking on the wheel of the nation. Foreign leaders have assailed Indian leaders in public and private (Kissinger tapes etc) and this was not without reason.
India’s defensive stance in the global platform was built around non-alignment and non-violence, as if that would give India a high moral ground. The question people forgot to ask: High moral ground from whom – from the marauding Chinese, expansionist Russia or the interventionist USA? Or were we trying to impress the plethora of smaller African and South American nations whose standing in the international forum counted for nothing. Nobody likes a weakling – they are not given respect.
India today, deserves respect.
India today, has to chart its path out from the venomous snake pits of jehadism, Chinese and Pakistani confabulations, global economic meltdown and other myriad contentious issues – and for that we need a strong Prime Minster.
We have had eminent leaders with global perspective whose vision has been world betterment. Whilst the cause is certainly noble and I salute it, India has had to sacrifice its ‘strength’ on the socialist alter.
A LITTLE HISTORY NEVER HURT ANYONE:
MAHATMA GANDHI: How MK Gandhi transformed from a “recruiting sergeant” for the British during WW1 to “Mahatma” is engaging reading. However it is his use of non-violence as an all weather solution for all aggression that was ridiculed.
With Japanese invasion imminent in July 1940, Gandhi championed a policy of “non-violent defense” of the sub-continent which, according to him, required that Indians ‘calmly’ allow themselves to be butchered until such time as the “aggressor” gets mentally and even physically tired of killing non-violent resisters, whereupon the Japanese, presumably disgusted with themselves, would withdraw.
To the British whose backs were pushed to the wall, in 1940, Gandhi appealed: “.. to accept the method of non-violence and to fight Nazism without arms”, which involved, he wrote “inviting Herr Hitler and Signor Mussolini to take what they want.” Gandhi continued, “Let them take your possession of your beautiful island, you give it, but you will give neither your souls, nor your minds.”
To Generalissimo Chiang Kai-shek, in his meeting with Gandhi in Kolkata (Calcutta) in Feb 1942, Gandhi advised: “You will allow yourself to be slaughtered, but you will refuse to owe allegiance to them”.
YEAH, RIGHT !!!!
Understandably Churchill went into an apoplectic fit and Chiang Kai-shek dismissed it airily as being irrelevant for China.
Probably Gandhi got his first lesson when he was hounded out of “Grand Hotel” by Islamists in Kolkata whilst giving his speech there, post India’s independence. He muttered publicly then, that non-violence will probably fail against illiberal regimes. It was too late for Gandhi – he was killed by right wing Hindu groups for giving away Akhand Bharat (undivided India).
JAWAHARLAL NEHRU: Nehru refused to believe that the Chinese were an enemy and was completely taken in by “Hindi Chini Bhai Bhai” (Hindus i.e Indian and Chinese are brothers) chants that the Chinese propagated. He rubbished the news emanating from Lhasha and forward posts. His Defense Minister taken in by this, even ordered ordinance factories to make coffee percolators and toasters as he deemed that they would have spare capacity to do so. The Chinese attacked and Nehru was taken by surprise!
After the 1962 debacle, Nehru’s health deteriorated. His sister Vijayalakshmi Pandit advised him rest, but Nehru replied: “What for; to what end should I recover my strength?”
Nehru’s shock can be gauged from a parliamentary debate in March 1963. Asked if India planned to do anything about the road the Chinese had built linking Sinkiang with Western Tibet, a dispirited Nehru replied; “I can do nothing.”
MORARJI DESAI: Possibly no one harmed India more other than this PM. He believed that India could drive out any enemy without the “bomb” (nuclear bomb). At every moment he would state: “I don’t believe that Ramanna even made the bomb.” He went on to say that he did not care what happened to India, but for reasons of morality the country should not have nuclear weapons!
India almost terminated its nuclear weapons program under Morarji Desai, with help from (SURPRISE SURPRISE) Atal Behari Vajpayee. Ironically AB Vajpayee, then Minister of External Affairs (who later became India’s PM from BJP) represented the right wing nationalist Bharatiya Jan Sangh party, which was sworn to acquire nuclear weapons for the country. So, why did Vajpayee run counter?
The Cabinet was convened to discuss preparations for nuclear testing and weaponising. At the end of the discussion, the Cabinet voted by a vote of 3 – 2 and approved nuclear testing and weaponsing. The two NAY-sayers were Morarji Desai and AB Vajpayee. Later on Mr Vajpayee defended his position by saying : “INDIA SHOULD NOT OFFER PROVOCATION TO THE PAKISTANIS”.
Whether Vajpayee was doing it on his will or was pressured by anti-nulclearist Jagat Mehta, he exorcised his ghost when he became PM and gave orders for nuclear testing. There is a side story to that too – it was probably the Russian intelligence that informed India that Pakistan was preparing to to test nuclear weapons and India did not want to be upstaged. He remains my second favourite Indian PM (after Indira Gandhi) - however it is during the last part of his tenure that there were uncomfortable questions aptly brought out by TIME in its article : Asleep at the Wheel?
However the worst crime of Morarji Desai: According to the September 18-24, 1988 issue of the weekly Indian Magazine Sunday, RAW agents claimed that in early 1978, they were on the verge of obtaining the plans and blueprint for Kahuta nuclear plant that was built to counter the Pokharan atomic blast, but the then Indian Prime Minister Morarji Desai not only refused to sanction the $ 10,000 demanded by the RAW agent, but informed Pakistan of the offer. According to the report, Pakistanis caught and eliminated the RAW mole.
One of the commentators MAX stated the following : "Regarding Desai, the reason he exposed RAW's plans to Pakistan is because he was with loggerheads with Indira Gandhi, and he felt RAW was Indira's puppets that is intended to protect her arse. That's why from day one he was dead against RAW."
INDIRA GANDHI: Probably the best Prime Minister India ever had. She was sabotaged by her minister and in the second instance she failed to take advantage of a situation.
India had readied plans to strike the Pakistani nuclear plant (Kahuta). With the strike imminent, the US intelligence was alerted by source(s) on the staff of PC Alexander, Principal Private Secretary to the Prime Minister. Washington, in turn, informed Pakistan of the attack plans and the latter’s airforce , in turn, readied to strike Trombay. Prime Minister Gandhi could still go ahead, but developed cold feet and called off the strike.
After the end of the 1971 war, India held 90,000 Pakistan soldiers as POWs. India let go of these POWs without getting anything in return. Indira Gandhi could have solved the vexed Kashmir problem then and there. POWs in exchange for Pakistan held Kashmir and signing that the whole of Kashmir belonged to India. A truly historic blunder, which continues to flummox war historians.
PV NARASIMHA RAO: He turned down an invitation by Moscow to absorb the best and brightest from the Soviet defense science and industry into the Indian strategic armaments projects, as the crumbling Soviet government could not afford to pay them, because the piddling sums in hard currency the Russian scientists were ready to settle for, in rupee terms amounted to more than what the highest civil servants drew as salary in Indian currency. The deal amounted to chosen Russian scientists getting free lodging, transportation etc, a salary of Rs 10,000 (USD1 = Rs 24 at that time, now Rs 48) per month, plus USD 200 in hard currency. After the Indian snub, the best amongst the Russian experts were then grabbed by CHINA.
WHY A STRONG NATION IS RESPECTED & FEARED : Whether its big as CHINA or small as ISRAEL.
CHINA: In 1996, the US tried to frighten Beijing into easing military pressure on the island State by ordering a nuclear carrier task force from its Seventh Fleet into Taiwan Straits. Instead of being intimidated the Chinese fired missiles literally across the bows of the advancing American ships, claiming they were conducting missile tests. A chastened US quickly re-routed its flotilla out of harm’s way and the crisis was defused.
ISRAEL: On June 8th 1971, A convoy of Indian peacekeeper soldiers, flying the blue UN flag from their jeeps and trucks, were on their way to Gaza, when they met an Israeli tank column on the road. As the Israelis approached, the UN observers pulled aside and stopped to get out of the way. One of tanks rotated its turret and opened fire a few feet away. The Israeli tank then rammed its gun through the windshield of an Indian jeep and decapitated the two men inside. When the other Indians went to the aid of their comrades, they were mowed down by machine gun fire. Another Israeli tank thrust its gun into a UN truck, lifted it, and smashed it to ground, killing or wounding all occupants. In Gaza, Israeli tanks blasted 6 rounds into UN headquarters, which was flying the UN flag. 14 UN members were killed in these incidents.
Israel had a war to win, a nation to save and anything that went against that was obliterated.
Even a US warship. USS Liberty was a NSA snooping machine that was trying to catch the Israeli war as it happened. Ariel Sharon and his men were at their heinous best in Egypt and not knowing what intelligence NSA has picked up, would have reason to suspect the worst – that the agency had recorded evidence of the numerous atrocities committed in Egypt. This would be devastating evidence of hundreds of serious war crimes, approved by senior Israeli commanders. Israel gave the go-ahead to attack USS Liberty. For the first time since WW II, a US Ship was attacked so blatantly.
Without warning the Israeli jets struck - swept wing Dassault Mirage IIICs. The aircrafts had no markings. The Mirages raked the ship. As soon as the Mirages pulled away, they were replaced by super Mystere fighters. There were 821 separate hits to the hull and superstructure. In addition to rocket, canon and machine gun fire, the Mysteres attacked with 1000 lb bombs and napalm. Not over, the Israelis unleashed 4 torpedoes of which 1 hit with devastating blow.
32 American crew died (2 more to die later). 2/3 of the rest were wounded.
Israel informed the US naval attaché in Tel Aviv, that Israeli air forces have attacked the USS Liberty in error.
Yeah, right !!!
The US accepted a paltry US $6 million in damages from Israel. The US Johnson administration and Congress covered up the entire incident. The State Department even asked the Israeli ambassador if his government had any objections to Mc Gongale (Captain of USS Liberty) getting the “Congressional medal of honour”. “Certainly not”, Israel said.
Two recent events in 2008.
The US is pounding away suspected terror sites in Pakistan.
Russia attacked two provinces of Georgia - South Ossetia and Abkhazia because it was in their supreme national interest to do so. This had two immediate effect. Israel moved out of the war zone a week before the hostilities started and lay prostate at the Russian premier's feet asking for forgiveness (Israel war arming Georgia and did not want Russia to arm Iran with missiles). Germany too lay prostate at the Russian premier's feet and promised them that Germany will not support NATO membership to Ukraine and Georgia. For Russia - other than pipeline advantages, political milestones were accomplished too with this one act.
India too, needs to understand, that strength and resolve are rewarded and given obeisance to. It keeps mute to all the internal bombings and the current political shenanigans are busy trying to subvert India by indulging in shameless vote bank politics. The episode of Amar Singh is so nauseous that I could puke at his puffy face: He is apparently trying to pay the Islamic terrorists of Batla House Rs 1 lakh each. If this is not treason what is?
What INDIA needs today is not another idealistic, jelly kneed PM but a pragmatic, strong PM able to deal with current pressures. India is at an inflection point with its recent phenomenal success with the moon mission and nuclear deal. We now need a team of leaders who will catapult India to a new stratosphere of strength and readiness.
CONGRESS PARTY : PM – PRANAB MUKHERJEE and DyPM – KAMAL NATH
BJP : PM – LK ADVANI and Dy PM – NARENDRA MODI
To Rahul Gandhi – Learn the ropes for 10 years and then we will see.