Saturday, November 28, 2009

Babri Masjid Demolition; A Look Back from Ankara

Babri Masjid Demolition; A Look Back from Ankara

( From the Ambassador's Journal)


While posted at Turkey's capital Ankara, I was playing a few hands of bridge with friends at the Indian embassy residence, a few days after the 6 December, 1992 demolition of the Babri Masjid in Ayodhya, India. The friends were; head of Turkey's Foreign policy think tank ,Seyfi Tashan and his wife and Prof Okyar and his wife .Prof Okyar's father Fethi Okyar, was close friend and early mentor of  Turkey's founder Kemal Ataturk . Quite often , diplomats relax playing bridge or golf as in East Asia , where serious business is often transacted .During the 1991 US led coalition war on neighbouring Iraq , while posted at Amman , Jordan's capital ,the British Ambassador or some one else would come over for a spot of bridge .Just to take our minds off the tensions.


But in Ankara ,after a few hands , I went over to the next room to take up a telephone call .It took me some time to return to the bridge able .I tried to look as normal as possible and continued playing and sipping whiskey ,but my friends sensed something was amiss. So I told them that a small bomb placed under the car of my second secretary had exploded .But there were no injuries .The car was parked in front of the block of flats where he resided .I made sure all necessary action had been taken like calls to the police station, the ministry of Foreign affairs and no one was to go near the car . My friends apologized and left expressing their sympathies.


On 6 December itself , as per routine I had switched on CNN and BBC before lunch and felt somewhat uneasy at the huge crowd which had been allowed to collect around the Babari Masjid perimeter in Ayodhya .A few hours later when I switched on the TV again , I was stunned at the news and graphic scenes of the demolition with of ker sewaks (voluntary workers) having climbed up the mosque , dismantling it brick by brick .And then that empty feeling after the demolition .The TV channels also showed Indian Prime Minister Narsimha Rao , as if he was fiddling and did little to stop the demolition .


The demolition was bound to have repercussions, specially in Muslim countries , although in Turkey being a secular state, Muslim extremists were kept under control .In fact the violence and killings in Turkey were being carried out since 1984, in a  rebellion by Abdullah Ocalan led Marxist PKK (Kurdish Workers Party ) for autonomy for Kurds in South and East of Turkey , where they are concentrated . The bloody rebellion and counter measures had already cost over 35,000 lives, mostly Kurds but over 5000 soldiers too. Thousands of Kurdish villages had been bombed, destroyed , abandoned or relocated and millions of Kurds were moved or migrated to shanty towns in South , East and West wards .


One-third of Turkish army was tied up in South East, the cost of countering the insurgency amounted to $6 to $8 billion per year .It had shattered the economy of the region and brought charges of police and military brutality and human rights violations in the West to which Turkey is linked through  NATO , OECD and associate EU membership . But most of the violence was confined to South and East of Turkey, and sometimes in Istanbul , which because of the migration had a very sizable Kurdish population , next only to the Kurdish city of Diyarbakir.


Majority of Kurds in Turkey would be satisfied with cultural autonomy but their aspirations were dashed time and again. Till 1986 even to claim to be Kurd was a crime and their language could not be used .Since 2002 some progress has been made. Kurdish is quite different from Turkish and belongs to the Iranian language family. The Kurdish nation totaling over 25 million straddles the mountainous regions of Turkey (14 in 70 million), Iran (8 out of 70 million), Iraq (4 out of 20 million ) and with more than half  million each in Syria and another half  million  in Russia, the Caucasus and Central Asia. But Kurds have been abused by the neighbours and exploited by big powers throughout history. Some what like the Kashmiris now .Despite everything Kurds remain most well integrated in Turkey and have occupied the highest official positions. Salahaddin remains their greatest medieval hero.


Kurds are an Iranian Aryan people caught up in ethnic upheavals and intermingling of Aryan, Turkic and Semitic races going on since 2nd  millennia BC from the Eurasian steppes to the Mediterranean , the Gulf and the Indian Ocean .But the Kurds have lived in the region since they shifted from the steppes in 2nd millennia and were  mentioned as the Kurduchoi who had harassed  Xenephon and his Ten Thousand  retreating towards the Black Sea from Babylon in 401 BC .


It was difficult to organize serious terror attacks in well policed Ankara .My own assessment was that some extremist Muslim elements had organized the explosion as an expression of anger and a warning. To the best of my knowledge the perpetrators of the bombing were never traced or captured . The government of India did not compensate the officer for the loss of his damaged car .Obviously he had not anticipated any such contingency while insuring his car .This is typical of Indian establishment .Legitimate grievances are not met but crooks get compensation , even pensions as freedom fighters to fraudsters . The concept of rule of law , which evolved in Europe after centuries of warfare and blood shed is alien to Brahmanical perspective .


Naturally I went to the Turkish foreign office and we briefed media explaining that the demolition was the work of extremists and cranks and not approved by the majority of India's population. I also traveled to Istanbul, Turkey's commercial , cultural and media centre to explain the unfortunate events specially to right wing religious media , which Pakistan exploited. This was the only time in my four years tenure when security forces shadowed me in the city . One morning there was a security flap when without informing the security I went for my morning walk and even dropped at friend nearby for a cup of coffee. 


Unlike many Muslim countries after Turkey's revolution in 1920s and modernization and westernization most educated Turks wear European trousers and jackets .Islamist party leaders and commercial and media supporters are highly educated like President Abdullah Gul , Prime Minister Recep Tayip Erdogan and others . They are computer savvy .


Ataturk had closed all Sufi and other Tarikas /schools ( whirling dervishes now mostly delight tourists ), declared Aya Sofia as museum , which was converted from a magnificent Basilica into a mosque when Sultan Fethi the Conqueror took over Constantinople , naming it Istanbul .


Prophet Mohamad's hair, footprints and other relics , swords of first four Caliphs etc can now be seen in Topkapi ( palace ) museum in Istanbul . In spite of electoral hints and promises that the Islamist government , which has now ruled Turkey since 2002 , would convert back Aya Sofia and some other old churches into mosques , no such attempt has been made in a country which is 99% Muslim . There is a lesson in it for India specially Hindus . The matter of the Ayodhya mosque and the Ram Janambhumi temple is now sub-judice .Any way this has at least stopped some in the lunatic fringe of Hindu hardliner family like the Vishal Hindu Parishad(VHP) to soft pedal demands for handing over the Shahi Idgah mosque in Mathura and the Gyan Vapi Masjid in Varanasi so that temples could be built on these sites.


That the demolition was not condoned by a majority of Indians was proved when elections were called in four states ruled by Hindu hardliner Bhartiya Janata party (BJP) including in Uttar Pradesh (UP) , where Ayodhya is located after their governments were dismissed for the party's unconstitutional actions .Except for Rajasthan , where in now accepted dynastic syndrome ,too many near relatives of the Congress party chieftains were given tickets , the electorate defeated the BJP in other three states including UP .But the state leaders declined to have Prime Minister Narsingh Rao, for electoral campaigning, his reputation having been tarnished by allowing the demolition under his watch . According to a poll at that time , majority of Hindus expressed unhappiness at the demolition of the mosque .


The demolition was allowed to take place by the BJP Chief Minister of UP Kalyan Singh , after he had given an assurance to the government in Delhi and also to the Supreme court of India that no harm would be done to the Masjid and the surrounding structure under dispute. BJP leaders like LK Advani , whose chariot rides across India polarized Hindus and Muslims , created communal disharmony and inspired and encouraged the demolition were present and appeared to acquiesce and even actively encourage the demolition. Clearly it was well planned and the leaders were in the know of the conspiracy.


The demolition and the consequent violence in India created a small problem .After the collapse of the Soviet Union and supposed end of the Cold War , I was keen to establish military to military relations between India and Turkey , since Turkish armed forces are protector of secularism .Having met with the Turkish Chief of General Staff a few times at receptions , I wrote to External Affairs ministry to look after him during the technical halt in Bombay on his way to Kuala Lumpur in January 1993 .The Turks are fascinated by Bombay's coastline and glitter as it reminds them of the Bosporus in Istanbul separating Asia from Europe .On his return the General told me laughingly that he could not go to the city as people were throwing stones at each other , an euphemism for the communal carnage following the demolition .( How ever I did succeed in sending to India his successor Gen Ismail Haqqi Karadai , 3 years later ,the first ever visit of a Turkish Chief , who came back impressed and thus began military to military relationship between India and Turkey)


After the demolition ,a one man Commission of Enquiry was set up under Justice Manmohan Singh Liberhan to submit a report on the events leading to the demolition of the Masjid .However he took 17 years, was given  over 40 extensions at a cost of Rs 8 crore (80 Million) and finally produced a 1,029 page report . Verdicts and inquiry commission reports are lengthy, obscure and very boring. Such commissions are generally a ploy to evade decision making or avoid accountability .They are often granted extensions from a combination of political expediency and pliant judges eager to prolong their sinecures of privilege in retirement. It makes justice convoluted, time-consuming and expensive.

Justice Liberhan was asked to inquire with respect to the following matters:

  1. The sequence of events leading to, and all the facts and circumstances relating to, the occurrences in the Ram Janma Bhoomi-Babri Masjid complex at Ayodhya on 6 December 1992 involving the destruction of the Ram Janma Bhoomi-Babri Masjid structure;
  2. The role played by the Chief Minister, Members of the Council of Ministers, officials of the Government of Uttar Pradesh and by the individuals, concerned organisations and agencies in, or in connection with, the destruction of the Ram Janma Bhoomi-Babri Masjid structure;
  3. The deficiencies in security measures and other arrangements as prescribed or operated in practice by Government of Uttar Pradesh which might have contributed to the events that took place in the Ram Janma Bhoomi-Babri Masjid complex, Ayodhya town and Faizabad on 6 December, 1992;
  4. The sequence of events leading to, and all the facts and circumstances relating to, the assault on media persons at Ayodhya on 6 December, 1992; and
  5. Any other matters related to the subject of Inquiry

Justice Liberhan's  conclusion is unsurprising but unequivocal and bold: the demolition was part of a well-thought out plan — a "joint common enterprise" — hatched by the top leadership of the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh, the Vishwa Hindu Parishad, the Shiv Sena and the Bharatiya Janata Party, the last organisation correctly described as a "front organisation" of the RSS.

Wrote Sidharath Vardrajan in 'Hindu' that "Unfortunately, the recommendations which emerge out of his daring excavations are so mousy that they bear no resemblance whatsoever to the forthright conclusions which precede them. After having indicted 68 individuals for bringing the country to the brink of communal disaster, Justice Liberhan doesn't call for the filing of charges against those that have escaped being arraigned so far in the demolition case, nor does he speak of expedited criminal proceedings.

"This is surprising given his repeated use of the phrase "joint common enterprise" to describe the conspiracy. Ever since the 1999 Tadic judgment of the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia, international criminal law has developed the notion of ascribing liability for mass crimes to those who might not have been direct participants but who willingly facilitated the commission of criminal acts through the positions they occupied in the hierarchy of the organisation involved.

"Had Justice Liberhan developed the concept in his recommendations and pushed for an end to the pervasive impunity enjoyed by politicians, police officers and bureaucrats, he would have earned the gratitude of the nation. But he has done nothing of the sort. Other than calling for the separation of religion and politics and making some other tepid suggestions, the report steers clear of recommending either short-term steps to ensure justice in the demolition case or long-term measures to protect the country from a repeat of the tragedy. "

The leakage of the report in the Indian media on November 23.2009 opened a Pandora's box with News channels and media carrying on endlessly discussions and talks , with scoring of debating points but without much clarity or accountablity One thing is clear ; the rule of law in India appears to be outside the comprehension of Brahmanical ordained understanding of law.

Poet AK Ramanujam said that Indians don't seem to have a sense of absolute .They place everything in some context or another. And, depending on the context, what the rest of the world would regard as being wrong in absolute sense, becomes quite all right in India.

Thus Indians in general have no sense of rule of law. Show me the man and I will show you the law . All this is even supported by our epics , Ramayana and Mahabharata .Trickery by Lord Rama in killing Bali or the apostle of truth Yudhister  proclaiming the death of Aswathama (elephant) for military gain are lauded , accepted and readily employed in daily life.


Rule of Law or equality of all before the law is a European evolution , along with the concept of a modern state and nation , which emerged after centuries of wars between the emperors and kings and the Pope and other religious leaders , barons and common people fighting for equality and rule of law .Kings were guillotined , hanged or  killed or expelled in France , Russia ,Turkey , China and other countries , before the concept of nation and equality before law emerged and took hold. India has not gone through such a metamorphosis as yet .

K Gajendra Singh, Indian ambassador (retired), served as ambassador to Turkey and Azerbaijan from August 1992 to April 1996. Prior to that, he served terms as ambassador to Jordan, Romania and Senegal. He is currently chairman of the Foundation for Indo-Turkic Studies. Copy right with the author E-mail <> ;.Blog -



Thursday, November 26, 2009

Why I am worried about Dr Singh's visit- Rajeev Srinivasan

Why I am worried about Dr Singh's visit- Rajeev Srinivasan


In early 1970s , while posted as First Secretary at Ankara , I was still learning about the finer points of diplomacy , the difference between glitter and real politic , although I had done  stints in early 1960s at Cairo, a major centre of non- aligned movement under President Gamal Abdul Nasser and then Algiers , a magnet for independence and revolutionary movements from around the world . In fact it was at Algiers that I shook hands with the legendry revolutionary icon Che Guevara .

Turkey by comparison was decidedly in the capitalist US led Western camp in the Cold War against Soviet Union and other communist, socialist and nationalistic nations , emerging out of colonial domination and exploitation by the West. Turkey was a member of the NATO alliance pitted against Warsaw pact powers, with Bulgarian and Russian ( now Georgian and Armenian ) borders at its West and the East ends, a historic enemy in Iran and Syria too ,since the latter broke away from the Ottoman empire . Relations with Greece although Athens is also a member of the NATO alliance have always remained tense and even war like sometimes , somewhat like between India and Pakistan .It was no different with the Republic of Cyprus , closely aligned with Greece ,which under Archbishop Makarios, exploited its membership of the non-aligned movement to needle the Turks . Only with Iraq , Turkey's relations were generally friendly .

Once when Turkey's Foreign Minister, an old veteran with a heart condition , was visiting London in 1970s , he fell ill. He was hospitalized .But lo and behold , next day the Ambassador of Greece was at his hospital bed with a huge bouquet of get well flowers , wishing his Turkish counterpart the very best of health . Some what surprised, I enquired from my Greek colleague about this expression of bonhomie and good will .He laughed and said that it was normal diplomatic behaviour . In any case , he then added with a mischievous smile , the Greek Ambassador was only ascertaining in person , how ill was the Turkish Foreign Minister and prepare for any contingency if something happened to him , since under him Ankara  had initiated friendly measures with Athens. Touche .

So do not be taken in by the glitter of the show organized by the Americans for the visit of the Indian Prime Minister .Washington appreciates only raw power .Look at the results of the visit , the hard real politic , which appears to have yielded little so far .Indians still remain enamoured of the Anglo-Americans and are easily carried away by some nice words of praise and the glitter and symbols . but miss the hard ground reality .

I will give my assessment of the outcome of the visit later , but I repeat below a hardnosed preview before the visit by Rajeev Srinivasan , a US based journalist. In India itself ,the visit's outcome seems to have cooled ardour of gushing Indians and looks somewhat like a damp squib .The media is now engrossed in a report , 17 years too late about the destruction of Babri mosque on 6 December, 1992 with its serious ramifications for Indian polity and the wailing and breast beating about the rape of India's commercial and cultural centre ,Mumbai by ten commando trained terrorists from Pakistan a year ago on 26 November. So what is new !

Cheers and take care Gajendra Singh Delhi. 26 November, 2009.


Why I am worried about Dr Singh's visit

Rajeev Srinivasan , Rediff  23 November, 2009


In the old black-and-white Frank Capra film Mr Smith Goes to Washington an idealistic small-town man played by James Stewart is elected to the US Congress, where he is appalled by corrupt politics; but in the end his innocence wins over the blase denizens of the capital.

In a sense, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh's trip to the US in the near future is being portrayed in the same way, but the Indian is neither as idealistic nor as naive as the Jimmy Stuart character, nor is there likely to be a happy ending.

US President Barack Hussein Obama  has just returned from a tour of Asia. And exactly where did he go? China and Japan , and also Singapore and South Korea, but not India . This one fact speaks volumes about the mind-share India occupies in the American establishment: India is not important. (Nor is it part of Asia according to them, but we will not digress. However we can be quite sure that a future Obama trip to India, if any, will be bracketed with one to Pakistan. Welcome to re-hyphenation.)

Obama's joint statement with Chinese strongman Hu Jintao could well have been written by the Chinese, when it comes to its perspective of India: It referred to the India-Pakistan problem and suggested that China should intervene in it. The implication is that China is the master of Asia, and that lesser powers such as India and Pakistan (yes, hyphenation again) must listen to China.

Then there was the recent appointment of Robin Raphel to the Richard Holbrooke team dealing with Pakistan and Afghanistan. Raphel is well-known as one of the most virulent and vitriolic critics of India in the entire US Democratic set-up. She was, until August, a registered and paid lobbyist for Pakistan. She is infamous for insisting that the accession of Jammu and Kashmir to India is not final, and for asserting that Pakistan is the very epitome of a 'model, modern, and moderate Muslim nation'.

On top of this, reported last week that Christine Fair, who had rubbed Indian officials the wrong way recently regarding Baluchistan, was offered a job as the 'South Asia' expert in the Obama administration, which apparently she turned down.

The indications, therefore, are that the Obama administration does not take India seriously. All of the latter's hollow pretensions to great-power-hood have been seen through by the Democrats, one might think.

But if they are so smart, why do Democrats persist in kow-towing to China and pouring money into Pakistan? It must be because it is standard Democratic Party policy. Despite the illusions many Indians harbour, Democratic administrations have been nastier towards India in general, notwithstanding the sterling counter-example of the Republican Nixon-Kissinger duo sending the 7th Fleet to the Bay of Bengal in 1971 to intimidate India.

Liberal-left types in the West, despite protestations to the contrary, are fascinated by totalitarians and fascists. They are impressed by Vietnamese who defeated them, and Chinese who fought them to a standstill in Korea.

On the other hand, they despise a weak and moralising nation like India (some of them have not yet forgotten V K Krishna Menon's marathon speech at the United Nations, nor all the hot air about non-alignment.) Obama is the only US president in recent years to have refused to meet the Dalai Lama , as appeasing China is high on his agenda; similarly the Democratic fascination with Mohammedan tyrants as well.

Victor Davis Hanson of the Hoover Institution wrote in The Wall Street Journal that Obama may well be following in Jimmy Carter's footsteps. Carter, of MEOW fame (moral equivalent of war), who groveled to Middle-Easterners, bringing upon himself the Iran hostage crisis that destroyed his presidency.

Obama is going down this path with his Af-Pak policy, which consists primarily of outsourcing the Afghan problem to Pakistan's Inter Services intelligence, to be followed by the United States declaring victory and leaving. He is ignoring the instructive example of Neville Chamberlain appeasing Hitler .

Meanwhile the ISI cannot believe its good luck: Obama is showering billions on it on top of the $11 billion that Bush has already given them, with nothing to show.

On top of this, there is an entire generation of Cold-War-era non-proliferation ayatollahs, many of them Democrats with ties to Obama, who believe India has no business maintaining a nuclear arsenal. These people are on the ascendant, and strangely they have no problem with proliferation by China or Pakistan: The The Washington Post reported how the CIA merely stood by and watched when China delivered two full-fledged nuclear bombs to Pakistan in 1982.

Shortly thereafter, Pakistan, as part of the A Q Khan nuclear Wal-Mart, happily proliferated these to third parties.

Quite clearly, the non-proliferation ayatollahs have a rather interesting twist on semantics: for them, 'proliferation' is defined as India creating a minimum deterrent to defend itself from two nearby rogue States. Of course, these are the same people who created treaty after treaty -- Non-Proliferation Treaty, Fissile Material Cut-off Treaty, Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty -- whose prime intent was to contain the Indian nuclear deterrent.

The respected Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists reported recently that Pakistan's nuclear arsenal is bigger than India's, and that they are growing it rapidly. India has no more than 60 to 80 warheads, Pakistan at least 70 to 90, and China 240.

Of course, India is also handicapped by not having a proven delivery vehicle like an intermediate-range ballistic missile that can reach Beijing  (and also by having voluntarily declared a moratorium on nuclear testing). This should be enormous cause for concern for India, because it leaves India vulnerable to the blackmail of a first strike by Pakistan or China, neither of which has ever said they will not indulge in a first strike. India cannot deter them because the threat of a second strike is meaningless if the others' arsenals and delivery systems are bigger and more reliable.

On the political side, here is another fear -- about what Manmohan Singh may concede in Washington. His recent trips have left a trail of wreckage as far as India's foreign policy is concerned. This leads one to wonder whether the foreign ministry lacks the resources to brief the prime minister.

Look at what the PM has said on previous trips abroad:

In Britain in 2005, while receiving an honorary degree from Oxford, Singh said that colonialism had done India good. He claimed that India benefited from 'meeting the dominant empire of the day'. He omitted to mention that the dominant empire had stolen roughly $10 trillion, and left hitherto prosperous India poverty-stricken.

In Havana at the Non-Aligned Meet in 2006, Singh informed a delighted General Pervez Musharraf that Pakistan was also a victim of terrorism, just like India, and absolved the Pakistani State of involvement in acts of terrorism. This, almost immediately after the Mumbai blasts in July of that year.

In the US in 2008, with George Bush a lame duck and the Democrats rampant, Singh assured Bush: 'The people of India deeply love you'. Exactly how did Singh arrive at this conclusion? And how exactly did he think this would be received by the severely anti-Bush Democrats, who were likely to win?

In Sharm-al-Sheikh, Egypt [ , in July 2009, Singh gratuitously introduced Balochistan into the Indo-Pakistan dialogue and promised a delinking of talks from terrorism. The grateful Pakistanis are now using Balochistan as a major card in their propaganda claiming Indian malfeasance there. They have also concluded that the 26/11 Mumbai siege has now been forgotten by India -- that is, Pakistan can proceed with further acts of terrorism with no untoward consequences.

Aren't there people who know how to craft diplomatic verbiage that serves the usual purpose -- to obfuscate and mystify while sounding pious -- instead of having the PM say things that then require substantial damage control?

What might the PM agree to in Washington this time? One grim possibility looms. There is a lot of talk about the G-2 from people like Zbigniew Brzezinski, the former Cold Warrior and eminence grise extraordinaire (who can forget he was an admirer of Osama bin Laden in the old days?). The G-2, that is, the US and China, is to divide the world up among them: the Atlantic and the Eastern Pacific to the US, while the Western Pacific and the Indian Ocean Rim belong to China.

China is delighted to go with this prescription, which is reminiscent of Spain and Portugal dividing up the world between them with the Vatican's blessings some centuries ago. A few months ago, a Chinese admiral suggested precisely such an outcome: They would look after the Western Pacific, he kindly offered the Americans the eastern part of the Pacific.

It is entirely possible that, given the trial balloon of the Sino-US statement on China's role in South Asia, the Americans will convince Manmohan Singh to endorse the idea of the G-2. There will be the usual round of 'clarifications' and 'retractions' and howls about 'misquotes', but at the end of the day, it would be plain as daylight that India had publicly accepted banana-republic-dom in the Asian Century.

We have to be prepared for such an eventuality. And that is why the US does not respect India as a potential ally. India is only a source of raw materials and a market, just as the imperialists saw it. India does not deserve any respect, either. A wimpy India -- which cannot deter even a failed state like Pakistan -- is merely an extra in the big scheme of things.

A nation that has no long-term strategic intent, and whose leaders can be easily manipulated through flattery, is a banana republic. Unlike China, which intends to rule the world, India, which can only imagine itself as a second-rate power, will remain one. Welcome to realpolitik.





Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Indian Vice President Ansari Calls for Greater India –China Understanding and Cooperation for Asian Security and Development ‘

Indian Vice President Ansari Calls for Greater IndiaChina Understanding and Cooperation for Asian Security and Development '
In his inaugural address at a Conference on Asian Relations organized by the Indian Council of World affairs at Sapru House in New Delhi from 21-23 November, 2009 , Vice President of India , Mohamed Hamid Ansari  called for an "active partnership between New Delhi and Beijing and mutual sensitivity to each other's concerns ( which) is thus vitally necessary if stability, security and prosperity in the shared spaces in their near and distant neighbourhood are to be effectively ensured." He added that while "economic cooperation between us has become a principal driver of our strategic and cooperative partnership for peace and prosperity--- how India and China deal with various trans-national challenges such as terrorism, illegal migration, smuggling of drugs and arms and pandemics would affect large parts of Asia. The joint vision of the leaderships in India and China is to ensure a global order in which our simultaneous development will have a positive impact for our peoples and economies, as also for the rest of the world."
Mr Ansari's stress on India China relationship is very pertinent and timely since the powers that be in India like lemmings are being drawn into the Washington's web , whose soft power is having unusual success in India at the cost of New Delhi's vital long term interests .The Vice-President has earlier too pointed out a corrective direction.
India is unlikely to have any vital strategic conflict in foreseeable future with Russia , a country which the current Indian leadership has ignored .It has also annoyed Iran ,the premier Shia state with its proxy battle with Sunni Saudi Arabia in Pakistan and Afghanistan . Tehran could also provide useful info on Pakistan and doings of its intelligence agencies .A diligent India could have played China against USA, instead it has become a hostage to US objectives. Remember how Washington used Saddam Hussein and Iraq against an exploding Shia revolution and fervour in Iran.
The US and Israeli lobbies have become too strongly entrenched in India .The monster of terrorism trained ,financed and armed by US led West , Saudi and other Arab kingdoms , is daily provided oxygen by the Israeli occupation of Palestine and its atrocities including genocide in Gaza .Western leaders and its corporate media in cahoots with its subservient Indian counterparts have succeeded in diverting the monster's attention on an ill prepared and dysfunctional Indian security establishment . India seems to have outsourced its security to Washington .It will have serious adverse consequences for India and its security.

The Council at Sapru House was established in 1943 to promote the study of national and international affairs. It had housed Indian School of International Studies ,later transferred to the Jawaharlal Nehru University, where new entrants to Indian diplomatic services were attached for some months to study history, international relations and law etc .In fact Mr Anasari and his other nine colleagues including the writer were trained there in 1962 , before being posted out to Indian missions abroad .So we have known and worked with each other for almost 50 years  .The Ministry of External affairs started its own Foreign Service Institute later, where the author was responsible for making it fully functional during 1987-89 .

The full address of the Vice President is reproduced below
Cheers and Jai Hind Gajendra Singh 24 November ,2009, Delhi  
Address of the Hon'ble Vice President of India Shri M. Hamid Ansari at the Conference titled "Emerging China: Prospects for Partnership in Asia" organized by ICWA and AAS at Sapru House at 1030 hours on 21st November 2009.

November 21, 2009
New Delhi
I am happy to be here at this seminar organized by the Indian Council of World Affairs and the Association of Asia Scholars. Sapru House itself has a place in the evolution of our foreign policy thinking. Established in 1943, the Council is tasked to promote the study of national and international affairs. More than a generation of scholars, analysts and diplomatists has passed through its portals.
It was here that Jawaharlal Nehru, with his vision of Asia forged in the fires of the struggle for freedom that raged across the entire continent of Asia, organized the Asian Relations Conference in 1947 as a non-governmental gathering.
Human societies live in time and space. A historian has noted that in the year 1500 each one of the great centres of world civilization was at a roughly similar stage of development, some more advanced in one area but less so in others. Subsequent events were to show that initiative, technological innovation, intellectual liberty and a flourishing economic base provided the critical mix that allowed the West to dominate the world for almost five centuries.
The Asian Relations Conference was held at the end of one era and at the threshold of another. One theme of the Conference was the contours of the awakening of Asia; another was cooperation and partnership among the countries and peoples of Asia. The objective was spelt out by Nehru: "We propose to stand on our own feet and to co-operate with all others who are prepared to co-operate with us."
Six decades later, the continent stands at the threshold of another Asian era. In this period the Nehruvian vision of Asia, indeed the geographical unity of the continent so to speak, has ceased to matter for geo-politics or economics. Asia developed, but the development was perceived and reflected in individual countries, sub-regional and trans-regional groupings. Japan emerged from the ruins of the Second World War as an important economic powerhouse, South East Asia has witnessed rapid economic growth and there has been a dramatic change in the economic, military and political profile of China. India has developed at a much faster pace in the last decade bringing millions out of poverty and showing that substantive social and economic progress is possible through democratic governance.
In this period, even as India and China enunciated the Five Principles of Peaceful Co-existence as the corner stone of inter-state relations, the bilateral relations between them did not always conform to those very principles. Yet, as Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi presciently put it in 1988: "What must not be forgotten in a listing of differences is a listing of commonality in our world outlook. There has been significant parallelism in the views expressed by India and China on a wide range of issues relating to world security, the international political order, the new international economic order, global concerns in regard to environment and space".
A glance at the Asian map shows that over a wide arc extending from West Asia, through Central Asia, to South and South East Asia to East Asia, Indian and Chinese interests intersect. Active partnership between New Delhi and Beijing and mutual sensitivity to each other's concerns is thus vitally necessary if stability, security and prosperity in the shared spaces in their near and distant neighbourhood are to be effectively ensured.
The leaderships of India and China during the past two decades have cooperated in creating mutual political and economic stakes for mutual benefit. Economic cooperation between us has become a principal driver of our strategic and cooperative partnership for peace and prosperity. Yet, cooperation does not preclude competition. We realize that countries compete in global markets and such competition is constructive and beneficial rather than adversarial.
The post-Cold War world also demands that we readjust our theoretical models of state behaviour. Traditional concepts of polarity, alliance building, balance of power and spheres of influence have to contend with the impact of globalization where opportunities for, and threats to, human welfare and national progress have a global character. How India and China deal with various trans-national challenges such as terrorism, illegal migration, smuggling of drugs and arms and pandemics would affect large parts of Asia. The joint vision of the leaderships in India and China is to ensure a global order in which our simultaneous development will have a positive impact for our peoples and economies, as also for the rest of the world.


Allow me to dilate a little on conceptual frameworks. Partnership in Asia has primarily taken four forms. The first is one of Asian regionalism. Asia has been primarily reduced to the total of its constituent sub-regions like GCC, SAARC, SCO, ASEAN, BIMSTEC and the MGC or the Mekong Ganga Cooperation framework. The second means of partnership has been through inter-regional dialogue forums like Asia-Europe Meeting (ASEM) and APEC. The third framework is one of global and multilateral organizations. These include the UN and its specialized bodies, the IMF and World Bank, WTO and WIPO, Asian Development Bank etc. There also exist thematic organizations such as the G-20, Organisation of Islamic Conference (OIC) and the League of Arab States. The fourth framework is that of bilateral relations between countries of Asia.
The last decade has seen two contradictory trends at work. Even as market-driven globalization is a reality, the global political and economic institutional framework has weakened and is evident in the diminished role and influence of bodies such as the United Nations, IMF, World Bank and WTO. Nations have resorted to regional political and economic institutions to resolve problems and cooperate for mutual gain. This phenomenon is most visible in the economic arena. With progress being stalled in the Doha round of trade negotiations, countries of Asia have concluded regional and bilateral free trade and economic partnership agreements creating the so-called "noodle bowl" of Asian regionalism, spurred on by the inability of global multilateral bodies to address the Asian economic crisis in 1997 and leading to the emergence of the ASEAN+3 framework.
The evolution of community building and partnership in Asia thereafter led to the launching of the East Asia Summit (EAS) process. The first Declaration issued in Kuala Lumpur called for the EAS to be an open, inclusive, transparent and outward looking forum. The ultimate vision is one of Asian economic integration by converging the Free Trade Agreements among Asian countries into an Asian Regional Trade Agreement. This could, later, lead to the creation of a broader Asian Economic Community.


Ladies and Gentlemen

Partnership and cooperation among Asian countries is a necessity to take advantage of the opportunities emerging as a result of the region's increasing economic integration, as also to face the common threats of terrorism, proliferation of weapons of mass destruction, energy shortage, security of sea lanes, pandemics, natural disasters and others. China is an important element of this architecture of cooperation, as are India, Japan, Korea, ASEAN, Australia, New Zealand and all other Asian sub-regions.
The future weight and success of Asia is the sum of the success of each of these national and regional components and the tenacity of their inter-linkages. Long-term security and stability in Asia is dependent on the ability of Asian countries to build mutual stakes in one another. Every framework that can further this process should be encouraged and welcomed. A few caveats however would be in order:
1. No partnership architecture or process should be exclusive or exclusionary. It should seek to bring into the fold as many Asian nations as possible and articulate an inclusive, open and transparent process of community building.
2. Community building in Asia should not be a reflection of the emerging redistribution of global or regional power nor should it be a platform for projection of narrow economic and political interests of a nation or group of nations.
3. Soft regionalism based on informal dialogue and consultation mechanisms, consensus building and open structures is a better alternative to hard regionalism based on rigid and definitive institutional structures, inflexible mechanisms and formal dialogue.
4. A multitude of formal cooperation structures could lead to a pick-and-choose policy for 'forum shopping'. The "noodle bowl" of free trade agreements and comprehensive partnership agreements is overflowing and the impact of these numerous bilateral and multilateral agreements on trade efficiency is an open question. Eventually, there would be no alternative to effective and functioning global multilateral institutions such as the United Nations, IMF, the World Bank and the WTO to ensure that there is a fair, transparent, open and rules-based global political and economic order.
Before I conclude, and in a gathering of strategic thinkers and analysts, it is relevant to recall the words of a master of statecraft of the 19th century. Nations, he observed, travel on the stream of time which they neither create nor direct but upon which they can "steer with more or less skill and experience." I am confident that this conference would make a contribution to this compendium of skill and also come forth with some practical suggestions about how trans-Asian connectivity can be achieved in an early time frame.

I thank the Indian Council of World Affairs and the Association of Asia Scholars for inviting me to inaugurate this Conference and wish your deliberations all success.