Standing up for what’s right

I sometimes wonder what makes the leadership of our country adopt double standards.

Because when we are dealing with China, we always blow the trumpet of democracy. When our leaders stand at the world podium, we call ourselves the slow but stable democratic republic that will reach “there”. We even (rightly) send our ambassador to the Noble prize ceremony applauding Liu Xiaobo while China threatened us of consequences.

On the other hand, we have this man been given the red carpet in New Delhi. It is stale news but that is not the point. If you did not bother to click on the link I gave you a couple of sentences ago, you should know that, that link points to a list of the world’s worst dictators. He is called Than Shwe and he is the man responsible for everything wrong that has happened in Burma. A few months ago, he visited the Taj Mahal and got a picture clicked (Interested? here, that’s another world’s worst dictators countdown list, by the way).

The same man was also responsible for house arrest of Aung San Suu Kyi. She, until recently, was in house arrest, for 24 years.

24 years.

The lady won the Nobel Peace prize, just like Liu Xiaobo, for her pro-democracy movement in Burma. In fact, she also won the Jawahar Lal Nehru Award back in 1992, an year after she won the Nobel. Then, ideologically, the Government of India should snap ties with any country that treats pro-democracy leaders like this, let alone spread the red carpet.

Exactly the opposite happened. Why?

Gas, most probably.

India is eyeing the vast Gas reserves Burma has and thus this stand. But hasn’t a country that once stood for principles and what was right has deviated because of interests of world power and economy? The same is happening with the Tibet policy (I am not even sure if one exists). Ultimately, issues like these have become ace cards and bargaining chips. It is this attitude that made President Obama make the startling statement of “India has shied away from Human rights abuses in Myanmar”.

These are no signs of a matured democracy. In fact, far from it.

I am tempted to quote Shashi Tharoor here. The man who was ridiculed for his short stay in the Indian Cabinet has a keen eye as far as India’s foreign policy is concerned. While criticizing India’s stand on Myanmar and The Lady, he said: India opted for national interests over democracy. It was a policy of the head ruling over the heart but it also lost its soul.

It’s a very strong statement from a man who understands the nature of Democracy too well. And it is a sad state of affairs as far as India’s foreign policy is concerned.

PS: Suggested reading-

1. From Sri Lanka, this article: here
2. The Shashi Tharoor article here.

4 thoughts on “Standing up for what’s right

  1. Yes Aditya, Democracy in India is mere tokenism. Often in its name it’s anarchy. But when it comes to foreign policy, it’s always self-interest and not morals that’s the guide. It applies to most nations.

  2. Pradeep Sir, but don’t you think it is the sign of a matured state to take stands that go beyond nurturing self interest? I mean, of course we have to look at what suits us in economic terms but there has to be a least denominator that a country should qualify to, for us to even deal with them?

  3. A dual nature of Govt of India. If you want to become a respected nation then stand up for right, keeping silent does not help.

  4. I’d prefer a different take, Burma is a different story, and besides, who dares say that China isn’t a democracy? Merely being a one party democratic system doesn’t disqualify this nation.

    In the non-ideal geopolitical arena where your territorial integrity and sovereignty is at stake every minute of the hour, you can not (and should not) be living a utopia, like Nehru did.

    Preaching and practicing are two different things, and we’ll do a lot better if we started practicing a little bit more restraint in being self castigators. For me it’s another form of intellectual lunacy.


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