Thursday, November 26, 2009

Why so diplomatic?

Today we are completing an year in sheer disbelief, anguish and shame, of how a terrorist attack, of an unprecedented scale, masterminded by our neighbour, executed by a group of 10 ruthless scavengers held the nation on tenterhooks for 62 hours. Toll in hundreds, bloodbath in iconic places in the financial capital, unimaginable scale of destruction to prestigious builidings, tragic loss of heroes from State Police and NSG who faced terror without the slightest hesitation, forgetting their families so that the larger population could watch their bravery on television - the thought sends a chill down our spine.
You don’t need to be a Marathi to feel this pain; you don’t need to reside in the city to share the fear, being an Indian will suffice. Every time visuals from the episode an year back, flash on TV or a 11-year-old kid quizzes on TV why his parents were killed in CST on that fateful night, you hang your head in shame to know how easily security lapses lead to such humongous loss of life. Nobody has talked of these lapses, the reasons behind not being able to uncover the operation in planning phase itself. The newspapers said that the terrorists were well versed with different places of attack, they did a recee before arriving, what were we doing when they did this recee?

We are sadly, the neighbor to a nation that foments terror every day, a nation that in spite of vivid proof tactfully declines our carefully prepared dossiers. We are neighbor to a nation that strikes terror on a visiting cricket team and thereby ruins our chances of a hosting an internationally important event, because you never know where terror will strike, you have to be paranoid. Millions of rupees as revenue from the IPL2 was lost so that loss of lives is avoided. Not bad at all, but how long do we cow down under fear and pressure? Why cannot we question from within, why are we not preparing dossiers on the officers who failed to do their duty in national agencies, who in spite of information input failed to see a catastrophe so bleak, in the making? When you have a rotten neighbor who is unrepentant for unleashing terror on your soil, why cannot you be more agile, buckle up and be prepared always?
Why this diplomacy, why mellow down as if nothing has happened at all?

Why shake hands with such a neighbor at Sharm-el-sheik? Why talk of Baluchistan, the biggest ever gaffe one can imagine? The people of India are still frustrated with what happened, they are still teeming with anger and helplessness. As an elected representative of the people of India of the highest order, is’nt the Prime Minister of India supposed to give a cold shoulder to the neighbor, shake hands with all leaders but meekly ignore the presence of this neighbor in the meeting room. I would have given a perfect 10 on 10 for such an act. Why have cultural, sports, or any ties in any field with such neighbors who cannot live and let live?

Strokes of diplomacy surface again with Prime Minister Manmohan Singh’s visit to the White House. Obama gave India a nice thrashing during his visit to Beijing, bestowing supreme powers on China to poke their nose in matters related to India –Pakistan border.
Where we stand in United States perspective was evident from Obama’s Beijing visit? For a nation that treats India like a pet Pomeranian, should we not assert our position and self-respect rather than respecting an invitation to a black tie dinner at the White House?

We must not sulk, that is immature, we must treat people with respect and be diplomatic, come what may. May be this is what the head of the nation is trying to teach us all.
Nevertheless, I find it absolutely impossible to draw a trace of logic from such actions.

Why be so diplomatic? Sometimes it is important to show your anger and emotions, of course, through right channels, which is when others know you are not to be taken for granted. Ten months into presidency, Obama has started playing games with India like his predecessors. Turning down on an invitation from the White House, a never given before to invite to an Indian on the pretext of some pressing official/national work, may be some security meet to not let another 26/11 happen would have been a good reply to the world’s Big Brother.
After all we have been diplomatic for a long time now.

References : Inspired by an article that appeared on Sunday Times, 22nd Nov 2009, by Mr. MJ Akbar -

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