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September 2017 Edition of Power Politics is updated.  Happy Diwali to all our subscribers and Distributors       September 2017 Edition of Power Politics is updated.   Happy Diwali to all our subscribers and Distributors       
Issue:Sep' 2017


Masses still suffering !

Jagdish N Singh

In an address to the Aligarh Muslim University way back in January 1948, our first Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru lamented , " Although many of my old dreams have been shattered by recent events, the basic objective still holds and I see no reason to change it. That objective is to build a free India of high ideals and noble endeavours where there is equality of opportunity for all." Regrettably, even after seven decades of our Independence we are far off the objective Nehru and other founding fathers of modern India had so well defined.
Ours is a democracy. It means happiness of the largest sections of humanity living in a given society. There is a near consensus across the non-partisan pubic spectrum we are definitely better than most of the states that call themselves democracies today. But India still remains a tale of widespread poverty, illiteracy and squalor. Development whatever has been appropriated mostly by a few post-colonial political elites and their allies in different sectors. The majority of our people are still languishing in inhuman conditions.

Partition riots Since Independence we have had too many shocks. The successive governments at the Centre and in the States in post-colonial India have at times failed to protect its citizens' right to life, the most fundamental of all human rights. They failed to prevent communal carnages that took place immediately after the Partition and later in Delhi, Punjab, Kashmir and Gujarat. They have miserably failed to protect the minorities of Kashmir from the Islamabad-backed secessionist and local communal forces . They have failed to protect innocent citizens from the triggerhappy self-styled Maoists too.
The greatest tragedy of the Nation is there are elements in our legislative –administrative apparatus who have little sense of our citizenship values . The values enshrined in our Constitution are : secularism, socialism ,democracy and republicanism. Few of our political representatives seem to care for these values today. Many of our political representatives have allegedly been linked with the corporate, communalist and casteist mafias . Ours is a socialist state. Our Constitution prohibits any concentration of wealth in a few h a n d s .
Politicians are supposed to prevent , not promote this act. But that has not happened . It has been highly disturbing to learn that certain politicians have come to amass huge wealth after joining politics.

Maoist violence It is good Prime Minister Narendra Modi has been talking of a new India by 2022. He has also been warning against economic corruption. He must act against corrupt politicians first.
In a conversation with me long time back, former Speaker of our Lok Sabha Rabi Ray suggested our intelligence apparatus must be genuinely autonomous to watch the behaviour of political representatives and keep the power and money-hungry elements off our politico-administrative system. Prime Minister Modi could take steps along the lines of Ray.
Most importantly, citizens of India must be vigilant against the politicians amassing wealth. They are the first to know which politician in their midst is doing what ? Also, saner elements in our politics must come together with their counterparts in non-political sectors and impress upon the Government to act for development and against corruption .

Policy blunders

Jawaharlal Nehru Like it or not, our first Prime Minister Nehru's Tibet policy was a blunder. His Home Minister Sardar Ballabhbhai Patel warned him against the Chinese communist imperialist designs in the region. In 1950 Patel wrote to him that the Chinese "managed to instil into our ambassadors a false sense of confidence in their so-called desire to settle the Tibetan problem by peaceful means." Nehru's Law Minister B R Ambedkar, too, was critical of India's then Tibet policy. So were most of the then Gandhian and socialist leaders across the country. But Nehru would not listen and proceed with his own conviction in the area of foreign affairs.
Needless to say, Nehru could do what he thought , for he happened to be ultimate in foreign policy matters. Michael Brecher has observed that even though he was not "entirely free from the influence of individuals and institutions in India," he was "the philosopher, the architect, the engineer and the voice of his country's policy towards the outside world." B R Nanda observes Nehru proceeded with his strategy (non-alignment ) , for he "had been the mentor of Gandhi and the Indian National Congress on international affairs" and, later, it always required his "personality to transform the rational into the real." ( India's Foreign Policy : Nehru Years).

Sardar Ballabhbhai Patel Nehru had a special corner for China. In his first broadcast on the All India Radio on Septmber 7, 1946, soon after he formed the 'Interim Government,' he referred to China as a " mighty country with a mighty past." He said, "our neighbour has been our friend through the ages and that our friendship will ensure and grow."
Nehru assumed China would honour the spirit of the 1914 Simla Convention between British India, China and Tibet and the 1951 Tibet- PRC Agreement and Tibet would flourish together with India and China as an autonomous region.
The rest is history. Tibet has long lost its traditional autonomy. Regrettably, leading democracies have cared little for Tibet. New Delhi, too, has not done better.

B R Ambedkar Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee's Tibet policy rather turned worse. Nehru's policy was to ensure the autonomy of Tibet until Tibetans themselves determined whether China would have suzerainty or sovereignty over their land. New Delhi under Prime Minister Vajpayee forgot the whole of Tibet and conceded to Beijing that the Tibetan Autonomous Region is " part of the territory of PRC."

Atal Bihari Vajpayee Will Prime Minister Narendra Modi rectify the Nehru-Vajpayee blunders ? He claims to be a follower of Ambedkar. Will he follow him on Tibet ? In a discussion in Parliament in 1954 Ambedkar wished India should have accorded recognition to Tibet.

Friction intact

Rajnath Singh In a media interaction at a piping ceremony of the Indo-Tibetan Border Police (ITBP) last month, Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh said Beijing was " inclined" to resolve the ongoing standoff between the Chinese People's Liberation Army (PLA) and the Indian Army at Doklam near the Bhutan-Sikkim-China tri-junction. I am not sure there is a conducive mutual understanding to justify Singh's optimism.
Experts say New Delhi and Beijing have been embroiled in their 4000 km long border dispute since the sixties. The dispute is over a territory of 125000 sq km. In the Eastern sector this is over 90,000 sq km. In the Western Sector it is over 33000 sq km . And in the Middle Sector it is over 2000 sq km.
The efforts made after Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi's historic Beijing visit (1988) achieved little in solving the border disputes between the two nations. The Joint Working Group , presided over by India's Foreign Secretary and China's Vice- Foreign Minister , met 14 times , and so did its subgroup India-China Expert Group of Diplomatic and Military Officials . All that happened after over a dozen meetings of the Joint Working Group and the Experts Group was that maps showing the respective versions of the two armies were exchanged only for the least contentious Central Sector, that is, the Uttaranchal and Himachal Pradesh borders with Tibet where no fighting had taken place in 1962.
During Prime Minister Vajpayee's Beijing visit in 2003 , India and China instituted a Special Representative mechanism to explore a solution to the border problem from the political perspective. This mechanism , too , has wasted so much of our precious time and resources without achieving anything concrete. The Sino-Indian border friction is more or less intact.

Jewish narrative

Temple Mount in Jerusalem It is heartening to note that Prime Minister Modi has been sensitive to the aspirations of the Jewish nation. After his government took over in 2014 , New Delhi has increasingly backed Israel at the multilateral fora . It abstained at the UN Human Rights Commission in July 2015 on a resolution critical of Israeli forces' rights record in the 'Occupied Territories' during 'Protective Edge'.
New Delhi also abstained from backing a radical Islamist narrative on the Temple Mount at the UNESCO vote in Paris in October last. During Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas's visit to New Delhi in May this year , New Delhi dropped any reference to Jerusalem while expressing its support for a Palestinian State. Prime Minister Modi seems to be aware that Israel's theological, historical, and archaeological claims to Eastern part of Jerusalem deserve due attention. Knowledgeable sources say Prime Minister Modi is well aware of the importance of Israel for India and the world today. His recent journey to Israel has turned out to be a grand success. New Delhi may move India's embassy in Israel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem in due course.
Jerusalem is the capital of Israel. Our embassy must be in the capital only.
A leading Middle East expert based in the United Kingdom states : "All nations respect fellow nations and establish their embassies in the nation's chosen capital. Israel should not be an exception. All nations should establish their embassies in West Jerusalem. This move does not undermine the idea of two-state solution. According to the vision of two-state solution, East Jerusalem will be the capital of Palestine and West Jerusalem the capital of Israel."
The expert adds, "Some nations have already established diplomatic missions to Palestine in East Jerusalem, yet they are having their embassies to Israel in Tel Aviv. This is curious."