Wednesday, October 03, 2007

Burma burning

Global Hypocrisy On Burma
by Satya Sagar
Of all the countries around the world the most shameful position is held by India, once the land of the likes of Mahatma Gandhi but now run by politicians with morals that would make a snake-oil salesman squirm. India likes to claim at every opportunity that it is ‘the world’s largest democracy’ but what it tells no one, but everyone can see, is that its understanding of democracy is also of the ‘lowest quality’.

Why else would the Indian government for instance send its Minister for Petroleum Murali Deora to sign a gas exploration deal with the military junta in late September just as it was plotting the wanton murder of its own citizens. In recent years India, among other sweet deals, has also been helping the Burmese military with arms and training- as if their bullets were not hitting their people accurately enough.


Explaining India's silence over Burma
by Subir Bhaumik
"We cannot have democracy at home and support military tyrants in the neighbourhood. India must do all it can for the restoration of democracy in Burma," said the country's top human rights lawyer, Nandita Haksar.
...
But two months ago, Indian Foreign Minister Pranab Mukherjee defended the country's Burma policy at a meeting in the north-eastern town of Shillong.

"We have strategic and economic interests to protect in Burma. It is up to the Burmese people to struggle for democracy, it is their issue," he said.

19 comments:

Maruthi Ramesh Nallapati said...

At this rate, would also prescribe disengaging from Pakistan because it's ruled by a military dictator?

Here is a quote from Pranab on India's policy towards its neighbors:

"Sometimes, we find that frequent use of this very powerful instrument (of the UN Security Council) becomes counterproductive. Instead of correcting the errant rulers, it ends in the sufferings of the innocent people. I would not like to give you examples because all who are present here are well aware of it," Mukherjee said. Therefore, his prescription was to try and engage the world community with Myanmar. "

from http://specials.rediff.com/news/2007/oct/02sld1.htm

Puru said...

Pa, sorry for the delayed response.
I do not quite understand your point.

Aung San Suu Kyi, won the general election in 1990 and since is under detention. Isn't 17 years long enough for the world to cajole the military leaders to heed to people's wishes? By not opposing the military rule, aren't we opposing what the people of Burma want?

Total sanctions might be drastic, but at least we should be in the debate of how to pressurize the military? Instead we are signing multi-million dollar deals with them, selling them arms and giving them military training! and the irony is we call ourselves the largest democracy. What about others who are fighting for it?

Maruthi Ramesh Nallapati said...

puruman,

What I meant was that, if we applied the same standards, we will have to stop negotiating with many other countries. We cannot negotiate with Pakistan because it's being ruled by a military dictator who overthrew a popularly elected democratic government in a coup. we cannot negotatie with china because it has brutally suppressed the non-voilent tibetan independence movement and actively tramples upon its citizens' basic rights. Even bangladesh's democracy now seems seriosuly questionable. But are we not negotiating with them? Then why apply a separate yardstick for burma?

India did voice its concern for human rights and advocated democracy in its recent vote in the UN. perhaps, as you said, we should also exert additional diplomatic pressure on the government and offer moral support for its people.

But, at the same time, we should be pragmatic, negotiate with the existing government (just as we negotiate with communist china and military pakistan) and take care of our interests in the region such as growing militancy in the north-east and our increasing demand for oil. I don't see anything wrong in that.

-Ramesh

Swati said...

whats with CPM on burma. no shame they have.

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