The Indian hegemony continues and continues its dictatorship in South Asia. Is India a democratic country ? No, how can it back military coup in Nepal and dictator Jigme in Bhutan and army in Burma? Indian foreign policy is directed by expansionist dogma and hangover of British slavery.
Rakesh Sood is called back because he failed. Here is one more shocking revealation from Indian columnist Sidharth Bhatia on why all the neighbors hate Indian hegemony, the RAW and its grand design in Nepal, Sri Lanka, Pakistan and Bangladesh and Bhutan.
Why do our neighbours hate us so much?
A few years ago, on a visit to Kathmandu I was gently advised by an Indian friend living in the country for some time on some do's and don'ts. "The Nepalis are very sensitive about the way Indians behave with them. The best suggestion I can give you is to be polite at all times and not ever speak to anyone, including shopkeepers, waiters and the like in Hindi but English."
I could understand the first part -- Indians can get boorish while abroad and they may not even consider Nepal as a foreign country but as their own backyard. But why the language restriction? The answer came: "When you speak in Hindi, it appears you are treating them as someone lesser than you, as servants. That is the only reason you would assume they should know Hindi. By speaking in English you treat them as equals."
On another occasion, during a trip to Colombo, I found the locals polite as only Sri Lankans can be. But only as far as cabbies and shopkeepers were concerned. The Sri Lankan elite have nothing but resentment and contempt for their bigger neighbour. My first visit was some years after the Indian Peacekeeping Force (IPKF) had packed its bags and come back home. A retired Sri Lankan diplomat, who had served in New Delhi, regaled me with stories of India's imperialist behaviour. "Nehru wanted to annex Sri Lanka; it is part of the Akhand Bharat (larger India) design. Your high commissioners behave like viceroys and now you send your army here too. What else can this mean?" No amount of pointing out that Nehru was never a believer in Akhand Bharat and the IPKF landed in Sri Lanka on the express invitation of the then president Jayawardene convinced him. He and many of his compatriots felt India would gobble up their country one day and in any case ordered it around a bit too much.
Sri Lanka is a friendly country -- so you can imagine what they think of us in Pakistan, where the elite has always resented India and the common folk are fed a steady diet of anti-Indian propaganda through their school textbooks and state-run media. The word hegemony comes up constantly in conversation with even those who belong to the intelligentsia.
What causes this bitterness? What is about India that arouses so much hostility among its neighbours?
Some part is easy to understand. India is bigger than all of them put together. Its population and its economy tower over the others, even if its social indicators are far behind. Sri Lanka's literacy levels are ahead of India while Pakistan has managed things like primary health much better. But it is India which has been on a scorching growth path and is attracting global attention in everything from software development to Bollywood to its stock market. Not that India is without its problems -- there is internal strife in Kashmir, the north-east and in large parts of the hinterland. But a country of its size can absorb these shocks much better than a smaller one. Sri Lanka is in the news for its civil war, Nepal for rampant instability and poverty and as for Pakistan, to be known as the epicentre of global terrorism cannot be very edifying. So envy definitely plays a role in the perception of the neighbours.
But some blame must also fall on us. While the others accuse us of behaving like an imperial country, the truth is we cannot make up our mind what or who we are. A proper imperial country would be under no confusion about its role. India sometimes flexes muscle, on other occasions wants to give pyar ki jhappi (the Gujral doctrine) and aid and ends up sending out mixed signals. Our policy in Nepal is confused -- are we monarchists or pro-democracy? The Maoists are in the government, whether you like it or not. There is little doubt that their behaviour leaves a lot to be desired. But when they show pro-Chinese leanings and want to re-look at the long-standing Indo-Nepal treaty, we don't talk to them, we fly into high dudgeon. Then our nostalgia for the old days returns. Instead of talking to them, we start flirting with the former king, or give that impression. A truly imperialist power would read out the riot act; we play footsie -- Rajiv Gandhi had ordered an off-the-record blockade of the border and immediately got the Nepalis to see the advantages of being friends with India.
In Sri Lanka, the irresponsible attitude of Tamil Nadu politicians is guiding our moves. The timorousness of VP Singh, when he recalled the IPKF has remained to this day -- so sending any kind of military assistance to the Sri Lankan government is a taboo subject. But it ends up looking as if we are pro-Prabhakaran, who should be enemy number 1. Not surprisingly while we lay off, the Chinese move into Sri Lanka, right at our doorstep.
Being big and powerful also means being responsible. But a country must be guided by enlightened self-interest and command respect and some fear too. If Sri Lanka and Nepal say they will not let any foreign country interfere in their affairs, they have a perfect right to do so. India too must make it clear that Chinese fishing in the neighbourhood goes against our best interests. We want to be friends with everyone in the region, but not at any cost. The Nepali, Sri Lankan, Pakistani or Bangladeshi is not likely to start loving you for it, but will start respecting you for it.