CAA-NPR-NRC: India now hyphenated with Pak, says Menon

CAA-NPR-NRC: India now hyphenated with Pak, says Menon

Former National Security Adviser (NSA) Shivshankar Menon (Twitter Image)

Emphasising that recent actions, including the CAA-NPR-NRC exercise, are "increasingly isolating" India in the international community, former National Security Adviser (NSA) Shivshankar Menon on Friday said the move have resulted in India being "hyphenated" with Pakistan as a "religiously driven and intolerant" State.

Menon, who also served as Foreign Secretary before he assumed the office of NSA during the UPA regime under Manmohan Singh, said even India's friends like Bangladesh have been "taken aback" and there was "no meaningful support" for the series of actions, apart from members from diaspora and “rag-tag bunch of Euro MPs” from the extreme right.

He was speaking at a press conference and public briefing on the 'Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA), National Population Register (NPR) and National Register of Citizens (NRC): Unconstitutional, Naturally Divisive and International Disgrace' organised by Constitutional Conduct Group and Karwan-e-Mohabbat here.

Menon highlighted that several world leaders, including French President Emmanuel Macron, German Chancellor Angela Merkel and chiefs of UN bodies on human rights and refugees, were critical of the recent moves and referred to international conventions on human rights, civil and political rights as well as economic, social and cultural rights.

"We seem to be in violation of international covenants. Those who think that international cannot be enforced, they must consider political and other consequences of being perceived as violators of international conventions," he said.

Referring to Bangladesh Home Minister ‎Asaduzzaman Khan's remarks "let them fight among themselves" when asked about CAA and NRC, he said, "if this is how our friends feel, think of how happy this will make our adversary. What we have achieved in the recent past is to hyphenate our image with Pakistan in a fundamental way, as religiously driven and intolerant state."

"What the world thinks matters more to us now than ever before. More than half of our GDP is in external sector. We depend on the world for energy, capital, technology, essential raw materials, fertilisers. So disengagement or going it alone is not an option. But we seem determined with actions like these to cut ourselves off and isolate ourselves. That is no good to anybody," he said.

He also appeared critical of External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar cancelling a scheduled meeting with a US congressional delegation over the presence of Indian American Congresswoman Pramila Jayapal, who has been critical of the Indian government. "Rather than attending the meeting and putting forth India's views, we chose to duck this."

Menon also expressed concern over the breaking of bi-partisan consensus in the US on India with actions like Prime Minister Narendra Modi's 'Howdy Modi' event in Houston when he said 'Ab ki baar, Trump Sarkar'.

He lamented that India has "gifted" its adversaries "platforms from which to attack us", as he said that United Nations Security Council discussed Kashmir for the first time in 40 years following the scrapping of special status to Jammu and Kashmir. 

"We lost our ability to be an example and a model for other countries in the sub-continent, as we were during the freedom movement, in the early years of the Republic and immediately after the radical reforms in 1990s," he said.

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