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Conflating Pusillanimity and Diplomacy

  • Every single country in the world is supposed to conduct its affairs both internal and those vis a vis other countries primarily, or exclusively if you like, with its self-interest as it topmost priority. However, there are other features that are intrinsic to the national character, ethos and culture of a country while dealing with issues in their own countries and with those involving the outside world. On that count, whereas the US comes across as thoroughly haughty and arrogant by virtue of its fast receding ‘super power’ status (?), China stands out for its Confucian shrewdness and the secretive nature of how it conducts its affairs, both within its borders and without. On the same analogy, Pakistan as a close neighbour may be seen as one whose policies vis a vis India, are dominated, especially since 1971, by a sense of revenge and vindictiveness ,considering how India had gone on to break that country in a manner that was marked by thuggery and skulduggery and surely that was of a piece with what the neighbouring country had sought to return in kind since the breakout of militancy in Kashmir. 
  • One may ask: where does India figure on the issue of conducting its domestic as well as its foreign affairs in the world of today?As we have witnessed over the years, the manner in which (the) India (of today) has been conducting its affairs both at the domestic as well as at the international front, the fact is that more than anything else, it is utter timidity, cowardice and pusillanimity marked by a sense of inferiority complex that defines its action on the ground. Look at the lack of compunction and an absolute contempt with which it treats the weaker sections of the Indian society as also the countries in the region which are perceived to be weak and an easy push over. Hark back to the recent jibe by the UP CM Yogi Adithyanath at those who utter “Abba Jan” (rather than Pitaji to address a father) that shows how the powerful and the mighty in India hold in contempt sections of their countrymen who are perceived to be weak and toothless. It’s interesting to note how that pusillanimity cries itself hoarse, particularly so when dealing with the fast unfolding developments in the region, involving in particular the Taliban, whose ascendency to power in Afghanistan has understandably caused collywobbles to the Indian political establishment. This is because it just can’t hope to continue to be doing what it has shown itself to be too good at doing, at least over the past couple of decades – using the Afghan soil to bleed to death the country next door by causing unspeakable violence and acts of terror there, lest the latter summons enough heft and sinew to emerge as a force to reckon with in the region to challenge its hegemony and dominance in the region. And, for God’s sake, why should the neighbouring country be scoffed at or demonised for cosying up to the Taliban, if only because the recent turn of events in Afghanistan would help put paid to the chain of machinations that were being hatched from there against that country ever since the Taliban were hounded away from there in 2001? 
  • On the other hand, it beggars all description to see how this larger-than-life view of itself as a regional power (bully?) by India contrasts starkly with its complete capitulation and an abject surrender to the arm twisting by someone being looked upon as that much mightier and powerful than them. The reference is to China which is reported to have annexed a tidy 1000 sq. KM’s of the Indian territory in 2020, and with such finesse effortless ease. In its reaction, India swearing by its honour – and national pride – that ‘China is lying’ and that “not even an inch of the Indian territory has been ceded away to them” betokens a mindset that privileges shadow boxing over the actual act of fighting it out on the battlefield. And all this is only because India are in mortal fear of the Chinese which is obviously on account of China being seen, and rightly so, as a formidable, no nonsense adversary, unlike the minnows next door who have long been used by India as a punching bag where India can (at least pretend to) do an Uri or a Balakot at will, never mind the laughable vacuity of such claims, as it routinely turns out to be the case later. In its own interest, India and its inward looking cabal of leaders would do well to smell the coffee and tell themselves, not that China is rising but that China has already risen on the scene to emerge as a superpower, dislodging the US from that distinction along with the latter’s fawning cronies elsewhere who had not long ago entertained delusions of enjoying at least a semblance of regional dadagiri

The views and opinions expressed by the writer are personal and do not necessarily reflect the official position of VOM.
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Written by M A Sofi

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