Thursday, February 03, 2005

Cancelling SAARC was the Right Move

The anti-democracy events in Kathmandu this week are appalling -- but hardly surprising. India's neighborhood is decidedly illiberal (see Freedom House's 2005 Freedom in the World report). It's indeed a miracle that India has successfully sustained its democracy in the midst of this chaos.

We have little sympathy for the Maoists and are astonished that they are able to freely cross into India and find support among their Indian comrades. These Maoist leaders, whether Indian or Nepalese, need to be eliminated with extreme prejudice, and soon. This does not, however, require any suspension of democracy as the strange King of Nepal seems to think. He is a man of destiny, however (see Jonathan Gregson's fascinating book Massacre at the Palace: The Doomed Royal Dynasty of Nepal), so his steps need very careful watching.

We have previously cited the need for India to push democracy in the region, by force if necessary. Dr. Manmohan Singh's decision not to travel to Dhaka is a blunt, and much needed, message to both Nepal and Bangladesh where illiberal polities are spawning viciously violent extremism. We applaud this decision and hope the Prime Minister can sustain his pressure on these errant neighbors.

He will face opposition though, from intelligent realists who think it better to engage these nations than to pressure them. As neo-conservative idealists, we obviously disagree on this one. Such engagement is essentially appeasement and makes India punch way below its weight. Our neighbors should be made to understand that, while sovereign, they live in India's shadow and are expected to mature quickly to political modernity. Absent this, they should not expect much sympathy in New Delhi.

1 comment:

Rezwan said...

Primary Red:
Our neighbors should be made to understand that, while sovereign, they live in India’s shadow and are expected to mature quickly to political modernity. Well India showed their version of political maturity when the decision was first came to notice by people of the region from the news flash of NDTV. Bangladesh government was contacted hours letter and the decision was sent by a fax. That is contrary to diplomatic courtesy. Indian politics is modern but not mature enough to handle conflicting situations and make itself a idol in the region.

India considered only about their stand. Did they consider the billions of Taka preparations for the SAARC summit and the efforts of thousands of people to greet the delegates all wasted in vain? I am talikng about the timing of their decision. They could have postponed this long ago but not at the eleventh hour. This has create a negative image of India in the minds of many. Nobody should be held hostage to hasty decisions of one party.

You should be talking about India leading by example, not leading by force ignoring bilateral considerations. That is Dadagiri.