India as World Power–Part 3 by Moin Ansari
South Asia is on a precipice. The current Western intervention will have long term consequences for the Subcontinent. Bangladesh recently commemorated the defeat of the patriots, but the lessons from the Battle of Plassey are lost to the current generations.”Lord Clive” reincarnated form General Patraeus has already arrived–not in the North East, but this time on the North West. Where are the the Siraj Ud Daulah’s who should be fighting the encroachment? Who are the Mir Jaffars supporting the conquerors. The East India Company’s reincarnation is NATO and ISAF already implementing Lord Curzons “On to the Oxus policy”.
It is pedagogical to review a seminal address of Farid Zakaria made to the “Child Relief” in the USA. The excerpts of this address are reported by Rediff news, a xenophobic and rabidly nationalistic Indian news source.
Fareed Zakaria, editor of Newsweek International, believes that while India has several Silicon Valleys within it, the country also has three Nigerias within.
“The Indian private sector is doing extraordinary things and the country is bursting with energy, yet behind all these is the reality,” Zakaria said alluding to the rampant poverty that coexists with affluence. That reality, he said, is that there are still close to 800 million people in India who live on less than $2 a day despite India being a democracy, which is its greatest pride.
His remarks came during a keynote address at the Child Relief and You-United States fundraiser May 5 in the presence of 200-odd guests.
Zakaria said in India, democracy has not allowed the rule of the majority.
“What you see issue after issue, state after state is that powerful minorities, farmers, minority interests and landed interests have been able to capture the political system and extract government benefits for themselves [by way of] subsidies, etc,” he said.
Noting that Indian democracy is wedded to these powerful minorities, he said this is not an unfamiliar concept in democracy — in the US they are called special interests. But he said in India it has proved deadly because people who do not get represented are the ones who are powerless. Little wonder, he said, that at the annual United Nations Human Development Index, India fares very badly.
“It is a great shame for Indian democracy. The large majority of people have somehow slipped though the cracks. So you see that India does worse than Bangladesh, worse than Cuba, worse than Syria, on all these measures. It does worse than many other countries that have lower per capita GDP [gross domestic product] than India has,” Zakaria said.
“It is one of the important things that will make it impossible for India to continue this extraordinary growth and for this growth to trickle down to the masses,” he said. Zakaria said there are all kinds of models of economic policy — from Hong Kong which was totally laissez faire to South Korea which had lots of tariffs and regulations, to Taiwan which was somewhere in the middle, to Singapore which was pro-market but had a huge government presence.
“But there were three factors that were in common in all these East Asian models. First was broad hospitality to markets and trade, investment in education, particularly for the poorer half of the population, and third was the investment in health,” Zakaria said. “Those are, so far, lacking in the Indian case,” he added.
Zakaria said when one looks at India’s great growth story, one has to ask oneself that if the country does not make significant investments in education and healthcare — which is essentially the investment in children that CRY is talking about — will India be able to sustain the growth rate and sustain it in a way that it spreads to the entire country?
“I have talked about India’s systematic and political failings. What we have to do in a sense is to take advantage of the great political strengths that India has — its openness, its democracy, its freedom and its participation at the civic society sector,” he said. “In other words, if India’s strength is the society, not the State, if India’s strength is the micro growth, not the macro growth, if India’s strength is the small entrepreneur and not the technocrat, then we have to leverage that and use that as best as we can,” Zakaria said.
“That is where you come in because it means that the only way this problem is going to be solved is if Indian society and the friends of Indian society mobilize and petition the government and get civic society involved, get nonprofits involved… That is the only way to get it solved — a broad, multi-pronged, multi-tier strategy that tries to attack the problem,” Zakaria said amid applause.
He said India is not going to get some “great minister of health or minister of education or minister for children’s affair” who is going to suddenly make all these things happen and therefore there is no point sitting around for a good government. He said the only way it could happen is by pressing the government as well as through a charitable solution. “It has to be bottom up approach and not a top-down approach which means that you can’t wait around and hope and wish. We have to reverse them,” he said.
“All this sounds very gloomy, but I think it is less gloomy and India growth story is not as fragile as it sounds because of the event this evening and because of organizations like CRY. There are all these problems but there are all these solutions and people, who are interested, who are motivated and who want to do something and who are beginning to change the dynamic,” Zakaria said, ending his keynote on an optimistic note. http://www.rediff.com/news/2007/may/23fareed.htm
Now we begin addressing the solutions to the problems of penury in India.
CAN SINGH OVERCOME HIS “AKHAND BHARAT” PROGRAMMING?
CAN HE SHELVE “THE INDIA DOCTRINE“-& STOP IMPOSING INDIAN HEGEMONY ON ALL NEIGHBORS?
WILL HE CONTINUE TO SELL THE EPHEMERAL MIRAGE OF ILLUSIONARY INDIAN TRIUMPHALISM?
CAN SINGH UNDERSTAND THAT THE WORLD HAS REJECTED THE PENURY STRICKEN INDIAN MODEL?
CAN HE STOP HIMSELF?-TRYING TO CONVINCE OTHERS ABOUT A FAILED MODEL OF GROWTH?
WILL SINGH CONTINUE TO TALK DOWN AND LECTURE THE SMALLER COUNTRIES OF SOUTH ASIA?
Prime Minister Manmohan Singh meets Pakistanis. Will it be the usual hubris filled lecture to the “children of a lesser God” or will he engage the Pakistanis in genuine dialogue? The world does not need more declamations on “Cross-Border” and “Afghanistan“. Is it going to be the usual rhetoric from the “Akhand Bharat” “India Doctrine” theme, or will it be a new chapter in the India Pakistan relations? Can Dr. Singh and the Indian intelligentsia overcome their handicaps and build bridges of harmony with Pakistan. Can Dr. Singh overcome his Brahamanic training and can he see the Pakistanis as real people? Can he comprehend the nuances of a complex society? Will his accompanying party come with their canned speeches on the caste ridden “plutocratic oligarchy” simply to insult the hosts? Will the usual suspects from the across the border try to sell “democracy” to put the Pakistanis down? Will the irredentist, revanchist and triumphalist Indian media accompanying him continue to base their visions of peace on the rejected Simla Agreement or will the media play a constructive role in moving beyond Agra, Lahore and Delhi?
Indian intelligence: “‘the aim of RAW is to keep internal disturbances flaring up and the ISI preoccupied so that Pakistan can lend no worthwhile resistance to Indian designs in the region.” Its not just Pakistan. Nepal and Sri Lanka also face the same challenges.
Do we expect more declamatory bombastic grandiloquence or will the world hear substantive content driven statesmanship?
Are we going to get more ciceronian, oratorical, elocutionary, stilted, speeches or will we get profound results driven expositions?
In case Dr. Singh can burn the “Akhand Bharat” play book, he can go a long way. If he sticks to the old Nehru script he will be ignored and continue to be irrelevant on the world stage. The world looks to Mr. Singh to take some bold steps. Is he up to it, or can we expect more of the “same old” “same old”?
Can Dr. Singh ignore his Hinduvata, BJP, Shiv Sena constituency? In case Prime Minister Singh can rid himself from the Italian earphone, the American script and the Russian papers, Rupee News gives some suggestions to Dr. Singh.
DR. SINGH: IF YOU WANT PEACE DON’T MAKE THE FAUX PAX OF MENTIONING “SIMLA”!
My dearest Pakistani, Bangladeshi, and Sri Lanka brothers and sisters:
Our tryst with destiny on the 15th of August 1947 turned into a nightmare for the penury stricken citizens of our country. All our countries are held hostage to the extremists on all sides. When “we bicker” and kill each other, “they” profit. South Asia remains the only island of poverty in Asia, and many parts of South Asia are worse off than Sub-Saharan Africa.
When a bomb blows up in Pakistan, it affects India. When the Tamils blow themselves up in Sri Lanka it affects our business. When Bangladeshis are killed Bangalore feels the jolts. We need to move away from that.
To eliminate conflict from the Subcontinent, we want to bring prosperity to all the countries. Because the republic of India is the largest and most powerful country in South Asia, we want to be magnanimous. The new century awaits a vision from us. Our future generation will not forgive us, if we do not correct course and move forward in peace.
As the Prime Minster of India, I have already consulted all major parties in the country, and we have consensus. We will try this out. If it works, we will have a prosperous region. If it does not work, India will continue its march towards progress alone and wait for other countries to join us, when and if they are able to.
As a representative of the Lok Sabha we proclaim the following:
1) The Republic on India opens its universities to all citizens of Pakistan, Bangladesh, and Sri Lanka. Special quotas will be created to the IITs and research programs.
2) India will plan to build 100 new women’s hospitals and 100 new women’s IT universities in Pakistan, Sri Lanka,Bhutan, Maldives and Bangladesh where medication and services will be provided free of cost.
3) India also forms the Earthquake Relief, Tsunami Relief task force for SouthAsiaand will move 50,000 of its soldiers to specially build a Disaster response academy with representation from Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, Bhutan, Maldives, and Pakistan. Our SAARC response team will provide help to our countries but also be available to disasters throughout the world
4) India unilaterally opens her markets to Bhutan, Maldives, Sri Lanka, Pakistan and Bangladesh. We will expect the same courtesy for Indian products in 10 years.
5) Immediate curtailment of Indian defense budget by 25%. We expect all countries to match that budget cut, and we expect that the amount be re-directed towards poverty alleviation plans.
6) Immediate and forthwith action against the Chakma tribal and the TTP with the full might of the Indian forces to eliminate them from India and choke their supply lines.
7) India will hold referendums in Behar and Assam to resolve all issues.
8) India is ready to accept China’s claim in Aksai Chin if China accepts the Indian claim on Aranchul Pradesh. We also accept the current boundary between China and India as the permanent boundary, eliminating any need for belligerence. India will stamp out all Tibetan rebels in India and expect China to stop aiding the Naxalites in Nepal and India.
9) Our conflict in Kashmir got us started on the wrong footing. We need to address that and solve it now. We announce a referendum in Jammu and Kashmir to confirm the re-drawing the boundaries based on the Chenabsolution, with the river Chenab being the boundary between India and Pakistan. All of Kashmir would be totally demilitarized under UN supervision and joint patrolling by India and Pakistan and a joint SAARC defence force
10) India announces the immediate withdrawal of Indian forces from Jammu and Kashmir (Chenab line along linguistic lines), Siachin and Sir Creek.
11) Using the Indian and Pakistani currency in all of Jammu and Kashmir, and possibly in the entire Subcontinent.
12) Creation of joint task force to develop the water resources of Jammu and Kashmir to create a Switzerland in the area. India pledges $5 Billion to the endeavor. Our plan would be to get $20 billion per year from tourism from the area.
13) We will ask for a permanent South Asian member of the UN Security Council seat to be rotated by all members of South Asia.
14) I have talked to the Pakistani , Bangladeshi, Bhutan, Maldives, and Sri Lankan prime ministers and they are amenable to revamping the SAARC. We need years of peace to begin moving towards the goal of a South Asian Union patterned on the EU.
15) India will spend $5 Billion to build roads from Delhi via Pakistan to Europe and Central Asia. Indian trucks would run on the elevated highways and high speed trains would run non-stop directly to Kabul, Teheran, Beijing and Europe via Pakistan.
With these endeavors, we expect the world to look at us with a different perspective. We need to stand as equals with the rest of the Europeans and the Americans. Let us strive to make South Asia as an island of peace and prosperity.