terror in delhi 10/29
Tuesday, November 01, 2005
  A terrible editorial from the Wall Street Journal Today's editorial from the WSJ states:
This past weekend's terrorist attack against India is leading to much hand-wringing over the fate of the peace process with Pakistan. Doubtless, one of the aims of the barbarians who murdered 60 and wounded more than 200 with three bombs in crowded markets in New Delhi was to derail peace talks between the two old foes. But as real as the danger of overreaction is, it would be an even greater mistake to minimize the threat India faces.
How did the WSJ reacted after the 9/11 attacks? Did it begin with a phrase preaching about the dangers of overreaching American powers in world affairs?
First things first: It would compound the tragedy if the Indian government allowed the attacks to endanger the talks with Islamabad. The government will come under pressure to do so from the usual quarters -- Hindu nationalists whose very existence as a political force depends on whipping up ancient communal hatreds and fears. But peace with Pakistan would solve a host of problems and might even help both countries combat terrorist groups.
Peace at what cost. Osama Bin Laden said he will leave American targets in peace if it stops meddling with the affairs of the Middle East. After 9/11 we have seen more interventions from the U.S.A. which was cheerfully supported by this paper.
Turning things around will require looking at terrorism as an existential battle and doing whatever it takes to defeat it. To do this India's leaders will have to change an entire mindset about the way the world works. It will be all the harder to do so because this outlook was burned into the minds of the elites and the bureaucracy even before independence.
WSJ now gives some gratuitous lessons in running India's foreign policy.
As with many aspects of Indian governance of the past half century, it was Jawaharlal Nehru that set the tone and was the great enunciator of this outlook. It led, at best, to ambivalence and neutrality during the Cold War and, at worst, outright sympathy with Soviet positions.
The weekend's events show that it is impossible to remain aloof from the war on terror. To abandon its Nehruvian ambivalence will require political leadership. On one hand, it shouldn't be hard for India to take its rightful place alongside the world's other major democracies -- the U.S., Britain, Australia and Japan. As Indian analyst Swapan Dasgupta reminded us yesterday, the ruling party circles, however, do not want to upset their leftist and Muslim constituencies by embracing an international war against Islamic terrorists. But Indian Muslims have a greater stake in winning this battle than does its Hindu population, because terrorism fans hatred toward the Muslim minority. According to Mr. Dasgupta, there is no better example of the present ambivalence than the Indian government's opposition to putting pressure on Iran to dismantle its nuclear weapons program. In the editorial at the bottom of the page we explain why it should do so.
Now we get it. It is all about Iran. India rightly voted along with the US and others in the most recent IAEA resolution. What more does it want? Read on.
Facing up to its responsibilities as a democracy fighting the war on terror means not only supporting the international coalition in Afghanistan and Iraq and opposing terrorist-supporting states such as Syria and Iran, but also adopting forthright domestic policies. For what to do India need look no further than the example being set by Australia. There, the government of John Howard is currently fighting tooth and nail with the opposition to pass anti-terrorism laws.
The first and foremost responsibility of a democracy is to protect the lives of its citizens. And almost all the terrorists acts have been coming from the terror groups hosted in the Islamic Republic of Pakistan, enabled by its military establishment and its Inter Service Intelligence. It has nothing to do with Iran or Syria. So why the heck would India join in the U.S. fight against the war on terror when it is the U.S. which has been propping up Pakistan's military regime with offers of P-3C Orion naval surveillance planes, Aegis attack ships and the F-16 combat warplanes - all paid by the American taxpayer.
In other words, the best way New Delhi can react to Saturday's brutal bombings is by understanding that its real friends are with governments such as Mr. Howard's, and not in Tehran. Ambivalence is not a viable policy at a time when India itself is under attack.
In effect, this edit wants India to become another poodle to become one of the footsoldiers it its quest to re-order the world. The idea of India has been in existence even before the ideals of democracy has been established in the Classical Greek civilization. We have a mind of our own and we need no allies which don't respect our values.
 
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