Wednesday, September 14, 2005

Undiplomatic Act

Never thought we'd stand with BJP on something, but here it is!

Via Times of India, BJP flays PM for his comments to President Bush that he is surprised at Mr. Vajpayee's opposition to the Indo-US nuclear accord.

Whatever the nature of our internal politics, surely it has no place in a Prime Minister's discussion with a foreign leader -- the personal nature of Dr. Singh's comments is, therefore, particularly surprising.

Hopefully an apology will be conveyed and a lesson will be learnt.


doubtinggaurav said...

Congress apologising for trifles such as impropriety.
Don't you know it's their God given right.


Kaunteya said...

Whats your problem with BJP?

Dilip D'Souza said...

Primary Red, do tell me without assuming it is a given the way everyone else seems to assume: exactly why does "the nature of out internal politics" not have a place in a PM's discussion with foreign leader?

If the PM is surprised at Vajpayee's opposition, why must he not say so? Even to Bush?

I have never understood this thing of presenting a united face to the world. If we are not united, we are not united. What's the sense of pretending we are?

Your explanation awaited with eagerness.

As for Kaunteya, I thought everyone had problems with the BJP. Not least, people in the BJP themselves (See Khurana, ML; see Advani, LK; see Vajpayee, AB).

doubtinggaurav said...


You don't discuss domestic policy with foreign leaders
I can't imagine Bush discussing to Indian PM about Democrats.

It's not pretending it is decorum of politics.

Primary Red said...

Kaunteya: Please read our post on our views of BJP.


As a general matter, the greater the internal schism on foreign policy, the weaker is the leader's hand in negotiating with his/her counterpart. Afterall, what's a deal worth with a leader lacking support -- consequently, valuable concessions are few and far between.

Presenting a unified front on such matters is, therefore, not simply a matter of appearance -- it has material implications.

Of course, everyone gets that democracy has debate. In open societies, everyone can read this debate in blogs and newspapers. But, does this imply we shouldn't put our best foot forward when negotiating? Why bring up a weakness when it serves no purpose -- other than scoring a self-goal?

At this level, each word has meaning and purpose -- and is so scrutinized. Casual banter has no place when national destinies are involved. So, if Dr. Singh brought up Mr. Vajpayee, there must have been a carefully honed reason for it.

What possibly could Dr. Singh have sought to achieve by singling out Mr. Vajpayee's opposition? To make the point that there is opposition in India -- which might require more concessions from the US? Thats certainly plausible; heck to this end, Mr. Vajpayee's opposition might perhaps even have been a ploy. But what kills this theory -- the only possible theory -- is Dr. Singh's self-congratulatory comments during the same meeting that India's parliament is strongly supportive of the Indo-US deal.

Which is it, opposition which deserves more American concession, or strong support which means it's time for the bubbly? Dr. Singh can't have it both ways.

Truth is, he slipped from his script. He certainly didn't mean any harm -- but you can't slip at this rarefied level. People can die if leaders of powerful nations make even seemingly harmless mistakes. If he strayed from the script here, where the stakes are high, how might he react when the stakes are even higher?

These are the issues, which hopefully you'll agree with. As you know, we are supporters of Dr. Singh generally -- but to not call him out on his mistakes would mean our support for him when he does right (most of the time) gets diluted too.

Best regards.

Dilip D'Souza said...

Don't have more time now for just this much (promise a longer response soon): The Hindu reports today that Singh's remark came in response to Bush referring to the "debate and disagreements in the US Congress over the July deal". This should answer doubtinggaurav and you.

More later.

doubtinggaurav said...


Did he say
"Republicans supported me, but I am surprised democrats opposed my initiative" ?
Manmohan Singh claimed that Indian Pariliament except A.B. Vajpayee supported him.
There were leaders belonging to left who questioned the deal so it is incorrect.
I still don't think he should have mentioned any person by name.
This looks like washing dirty linen in USA, even if he is not.

PS When you say everyone has problem with BJP, I am certain you use some defintion of "Everyone", which I am not aware of.
I know many people who don't have problem with BJP (Ofcourse they are not "enlightened intellectuals")

Anonymous said...

Its nothing new, is it?
I was wondering why Nut-war Sing didn't get fired for his comments on our Nukes.

The Prime Minister's statement to George Bush clarifies why.

This Government believes partisan politics are not restricted to electoral grounds, and just in India.

That DDD should ask why Bush should not be told is, amazing.
Or maybe not.


Blog Archive