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Indian elite’s longing for the West’s high table can only bring ridicule

Indian elite’s longing for the West’s high table can only bring ridicule

While the Indian elite resorts to strident nationalistic rhetoric and jingoistic grandstanding in domestic politics, its psyche longs for a seat at the high table of Western democracies.

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Last Updated : 29 May 2024, 05:13 IST
Last Updated : 29 May 2024, 05:13 IST
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The government’s decision to attend the G7 summit in Italy (June 13-15) and the conference on Ukraine in Switzerland (June 15-16) can only be seen as a cynical act. The explanation that this decision reflects New Delhi’s commitment to advance the interests of the Global South won’t fly.

A plausible explanation would be that the ‘International Khan Market Gang’ — to borrow the most recent coinage by External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar — has put the government in a quandary. India’s ruling elite are in an untenable position being branded as pariahs by mainstream US media.

Signs are multiplying that the US has fallen out of love with India’s ruling elite. Within hours of India signing a contract with Iran for the operation of a terminal in Chabahar port, the US state department spoke of sanctions. Again, Quad gets marginalised in favour of a new grouping called ‘The Squad’ with the Philippines taking India’s place. Of course, this estrangement is attributable largely to India’s refusal to identify with the Western moves to isolate Russia.

Meanwhile, the powerful Five Eyes are in turn taunting, harassing, and humiliating New Delhi in a sniper war to implicate it in alleged murder plots with hired assassins in North America, the indignant Indian denials notwithstanding. 

The paradox is, while the Indian elite resorts to strident nationalistic rhetoric and jingoistic grandstanding in domestic politics, its psyche longs for a seat at the high table of Western democracies. The contradiction is that the elite wants to cherrypick while the US won’t settle for anything less than India unequivocally toeing the Western agenda from A to Z. 

However, the fact remains that the government’s decision to pander to the West by participating in the two forthcoming events still makes no sense. The two events, masterminded by Washington, stem out of the panic gripping the US and its allies that Russia has gained the upper hand in the Ukraine war, which throws their alliance system into disarray, and may toll the death knell for the ‘rules-based order’.

The two back-to-back events focus on charting out the trajectory of the Ukraine war and on a speedy supercharge of NATO's spluttering agenda to inflict a ‘strategic defeat’ on Russia. The G7 nations are coalescing around a plan to secure an enormous loan by using Russian assets frozen in the West as collateral — a scandalous move that is clouded by legal uncertainty.

This is happening against the backdrop of a plan NATO is drawing up to secure a five-year military aid package of up to $100 billion under the rubric ‘Mission for Ukraine’ in a bizarre attempt to shield the war from ‘winds of political change’ that could usher in a second Trump presidency! NATO secretary general has followed up with a call on allies supplying weapons to Ukraine to end their prohibition on using them to strike military targets inside Russia!

The government is misleading public opinion that the Swiss conclave is a free exchange of ideas. Far from it, the conference’s sole purpose is to address President Zelensky's so-called peace formula, which involves Russia’s eventual capitulation, payment of reparations, a war crime tribunal for the Russian leadership, etc.

Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov with characteristic plain-speaking stated, “Those who are now being courted and pressed into coming to Switzerland, creating a crowd, and posing for a ‘family photo’ in order to be able to then bloviate about broad-based support for Zelensky's peace formula, should be aware of the place they are being lured into. They are expected to support an ultimatum that will then be presented to Russia. This is ridiculous.” 

EU foreign policy chief Joseph Borrell underscored that all other peace proposals (by China, African and Arab states, etc.) are off the table, and the deliberations are not about negotiation. The idea is to isolate Russia and cobble together a ‘Collective West + Global South’ ultimatum demanding its capitulation. Moscow won’t accept it. 

What has India got to do with all this skulduggery? Our decision-makers should carefully assess NATO's proxy attack on the Russian early-warning Voronezh M radar system in Orenburg, which provides data on space objects for outer space control to guard against a surprise thermonuclear attack. It is an unprecedented attack in the entire chronicle of the Cold War, and harbingers an extremely dangerous phase of NATO-Russia confrontation looming ahead on the horizon.

(M K Bhadrakumar is a former diplomat.)

Disclaimer: The views expressed above are the author's own. They do not necessarily reflect the views of DH.

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