Drudge Retort: The Other Side of the News
Wednesday, February 26, 2020

It was meant to feed the insatiable ego of President Trump and to demonstrate the "exceptional" relationship between the two leaders. Hundreds of artistes welcomed the President at the airport while projecting the ancient culture of India. New Delhi wore a festive look and the ugly side of the city was camouflaged by cosmetic touches. It did remind me of pre-Partition days when Indian aristocracy expressed their loyalty and affection for the British royalty.

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No doubt there are several commonalities between India and the US. There are parallels in their historical experience. Both have been former colonial powers and struggled for freedom. This experience of subjugation and earning independence through a protracted struggle is equally applicable to Pakistan.

A more substantive reason for the emerging warmth is the burgeoning defence collaboration.

India is one of the leading buyers of American defence equipment and technology today. President Trump, during the visit announced the sealing of a $3 billion defence deal. India's defence procurement from the US was nearly $17 billion since 2007 and these new contracts would give a fresh impetus to its procurement. The list includes the purchase of 24 MH-60R Seahawk helicopters. India has allocated $10 billion to be spent on purchases from the US in the next three to five years. It insists on the transfer of technology and manufacturing the weapon systems in India. The US will be willing to oblige to an extent that it does not entail any latest technologies or equipment. By leaning in favour of the US, India is gradually moving away from its traditional supplier, Russia.

Obviously, no one expected that President Trump would either publicly or privately mention India's gross mistreatment of Muslims and other minorities. Or of its dangerous slide toward transforming India into a Hindu nationalist state and imposing a draconian regime on Kashmir. India's brutal manifestation of human rights and religious bias also found no mention.

President Trump's own record reflects a strong bias against Muslims and other minorities, economic considerations aside.

Ironically, while the visit was in progress, clashes were taking place in Delhi between anti- and pro-Citizens Amendment Act groups.

The Muslims, who constitute between 12-16% of India's population and other minorities such as Christians and Dalits, are a constant target of the government's discriminatory policies. These policies may win favour with the Hindu nationalists, but are going to be a major drag on national development in the long term. It is a different matter that President Trump would not comment on this issue in public or even during their personal interaction, as his own record of dealing with minorities is a subject of criticism.

PM Modi's policy to weaken Pakistan will never succeed. The more India unfairly puts pressure on Pakistan and the US maintains silence, it further justifies Pakistan's leaning on China, strengthens its bonds with Muslim countries, and cultivates better relations with Russia and the European Union.

#1 | Posted by J_Tremain at 2020-02-26 12:28 AM | Reply

Interesting. And an accurate assessment.

#2 | Posted by J_Tremain at 2020-02-26 12:28 AM | Reply

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Drudge Retort