Recently, Shashi Tharoor wrote an article titled “Burma: India’s Bad Neighbor Policy”. My first reaction after reading the article was, ‘author is so confused’. Probably, Mr. Tharoor is trying to balancing it out between his Government’s views and his own moral values. On one sides, he defends the democratic rights of people and on the other, goes on to justify that India started support military junta for the sake of economic benefits. Mr. Tharoor quotes “India’s government cannot be blamed for deciding that its national interests in Burma are more important than standing up for democracy there”. In my opinion, for a nation that aspires to be a global power, this is a very compromising statement.
Mr. Tharoor also quotes “Any Indian government’s primary obligation is to its own people, and there is little doubt that the economic opportunities provided by Burmese oil and gas are of real benefit to Indians. There is also the strategic imperative of not ceding ground to India’s enemies on its own borders. India confronts an inescapable fact of geopolitics: you can put your ideals on hold, but you cannot change who your neighbors are”.
Basically, it appears that, Mr. Tharoor wants to say, wherever and whenever there are commercial benefits, Indian government should peruse it without caring about nation’s honour, morals and dignity. Let me remind Mr. Tharoor that, economic benefits are often temporary, what stands out in the history are the values of a nation. Often, it’s the values of a nation that determine its relationships with other countries. Also, his justification that Indian government went into business with military junta of Myanmar (Burma) only after Pakistan and China doesn’t make sense. Common, if your enemies do a wrong thing, that doesn’t mean, now you are also eligible to do the wrong thing.
The other day, when president of United States Mr. Barack Obama addressed the Indian Parliament, he rightly pointed out, if India wants to become a global power, it must behave like one. India has been shying away from commenting about human rights violations in Burma and other military ruled regimes, merely for the sake of economic benefits. Isn’t that being selfish? Isn’t that against moral values of India? But then, India has well-educated public representatives like Shashi Tharoor who through the magic of words would justify what India has been doing is the right thing. By the way, at no point I am saying US is actually behaving like a global power, but yes, we can set the right precedence by doing the right thing.
India must not just see itself as a great nation but also as a great civilization. For this to happen, our policy makes should take up challenge of standing to the values of India than merely justifying their acts as commercial ventures.
PS: Given that, Shashi Tharoor is hailed as a hero by majority of audience who follows internet blogs, let me say, I also one among those, who have liked the several works of Mr. Tharoor. But, I am not the kind of person, who would blindly accept what has been told.