“What is India doing for European security?”
This is the exact question that External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar was asked point-blank at the Munich Security Conference last week. One can think of any number of responses, none of them as civil as what the minister chose to give.
Most of all, seriously? After 70 years of arming and supporting Pakistan, the West really wants to ask this question?
You just looked the other way on China and COVID. You looked away as Chinese troops brutally attacked India in the middle of a pandemic. And you just left a huge cache of weapons, even attack helicopters and transports for the Taliban in Afghanistan. The smaller of those weapons have already made it into the hands of terrorists in Kashmir.
And now you dare ask what we are doing for your security?
But the West is not kidding. Over the last one month, the West has hit us with almost everything they have, demanding that we join their war. Governments think tanks, foreign policy experts, newspaper columnists, even sundry comedians and Internet influencers. They are pleading, they are threatening, they are hysterical. Come on, India. You must condemn Russia, or else.
The other day, ambassadors of all EU countries met in Delhi in a show of solidarity for Ukraine. That is their business, of course, but why Delhi? Was no other capital city on earth available to them? It was yet another tactic to put pressure on India.
So far, our government has refused to buckle under pressure. And, by most accounts, the vast majority of Indians are with the government on this one. Should we spoil relations with a long time ally and number one weapons supplier to make the New York Times happy? No way.
But it does not end there. We have to dig deeper behind the motivations of the West. Why this extreme focus on India all of a sudden? What big difference would it make to the Western effort if India were to condemn Russia? I have to be sceptical here. We all know that India has been climbing the global power ladder for a while now. Did we become a superpower already without actually realising it?
Suppose for a moment that India agrees to make Washington happy. Or as think tank experts like to call it, decides to stand up for “democracy and freedom.” Suppose that our External Affairs Ministry released the most blistering statement condemning Russia’s actions in Ukraine. What happens next? Will the Russians retreat immediately, terrified of the fearsome power of the Indian Army? Will Russia and China, fearing sanctions from India, fold like wet tissue? Will they start celebrating with Indian flags on the streets of Kyiv? I doubt this.
Then why is the West so desperate to have us on their side? Here is one possibility. They are not seeking our help. They are just trying to demonize us.
They understand India’s interests and compulsions perfectly. They know that New Delhi will not toe their line, and India will not condemn Russia. That is why they have drawn a moral line in the sand and are shouting from the rooftops that India is on the wrong side of it. Who hates freedom? India. Who supports aggression? India. Who is hypocritical and against a rule-based international order? India.
And here is the real subtext of what they are saying. Which is the country that does not deserve any support from the world? India.
My mistake. It is not subtext at all. In fact, they say it quite openly. Indians are hypocrites. Because India won’t go against Russia over Ukraine, the Indians deserve nothing from the world in their struggle against
Again, they are not seeking our help. They are manufacturing an excuse for themselves to stay out in case of Chinese aggression against India.
If something were to happen between China and India tomorrow, the West would like to stay out. Of course, they would. While placing sanctions on Russia, they couldn’t even bring themselves to give up the chance to sell expensive watches and jackets to Russian oligarchs. Do you think they would be willing to give up trillions of dollars of trade, and their entire supply chains, to make a point against China and in support of India? Ha!
But nevertheless, it would be a bad look for the West. The supposedly democratic West sided with the Chinese Communist Party dictatorship against a democratic India.
How to get out of this tangle? The answer is obvious. Demonize India on all fronts. Go label the Indian government as genocidal and Nazi. They do this behind the facade of “experts” and “civil society organisations,” of course. So they get Freedom House and Swedish V-Dem or whatever to declare that India is not even a democracy anymore. When war breaks out in Eastern Europe, they get the New York Times and Wall Street Journal to tell the world that Indians hate freedom.
China likes this, of course. They understand that India derives tremendous moral authority from the fact that we are a democracy. There are only two ways for China to blunt this advantage. One, China could transform itself into a democracy, which the Communist Party obviously doesn’t want. The only other option is to vilify India internationally so that India is also seen as an authoritarian, and genocidal state.
This is exactly what the global media, the experts, the think tanks have all been saying for eight years now. The West needs this narrative against India. China needs this narrative against India. And both are presumably willing to pay. What a wonderful coincidence that “experts” worldwide have come to exactly this conclusion: India is evil.
That is how Delhi Police using water cannons became an international human rights violation. Water cannons which are used around the world, in France, in Germany, in Italy or in Switzerland, run no such risks. We just saw Canada declare a national emergency, seize private property and suspend civil rights to clear out one bridge after a two-week protest. But nothing can compare to the horrors of Modi’s “undeclared emergency.”
Or think about it this way. If the West really needed us so desperately, do you think they would have spent the last eight years demonizing us? They were happy to back even Saddam Hussein, the military dictators in Pakistan, and even Osama bin Laden personally when they thought these guys could help them. But India of 2022 is such a cruel and unjust place that the columnists at the Washington Post have to scream out their conscience?
As President Biden would say; come on, man….
Author: Abhishek Banerjee is a prominent social activist in India.
Disclaimer: The article was first published on DYNASTYCROOKS. The author is solely responsible for the views expressed in this article. The opinions and facts are presented solely by him, and neither The Australia Today News nor its partners assume any responsibility for them. You can find more of his writings here.