Someone told me that Tavleen Singh who is somewhere in Davos doing something twitted yesterday conveying her dismay that too many TV honchos from Delhi were hanging out in the Swiss resort but all they were doing was interviewing Indian businessmen and the czars in the UPA-II setup, which they could as well have done in Delhi. True. But I go one step further.
Why Davos at all? Why not Sanaa? Why not Cairo? Can you think of two more exciting places on the planet today than these last two Middle Eastern capitals? Why should we have to depend on Richard Falk over and over again whenever a revolution unfolds in the Middle East?
What is happening in the Middle East will be of great consequence to India - arguably, even more than what transpires in Davos, which is a relic of a time before Europe went bankrupt and Americans went home to attend to domestic affairs. Egypt is a stellar example of what happens when sleaze, venality and corruption combine with an indifferent, insensitive state to form an explosive mix. On his way back from Davos, shouldn’t Montek Singh Alhuwalia have a stopover in Cairo? Egypt and India have a lot in common other than that they were ‘founding fathers’ of the non-aligned movement. They both took to neo-liberal economic policies with gusto and are famously “pro-American” regimes. Both aspire to be regional powers and are claimants to UN security council membership and both are notoriously corrupt regimes. But the crucial difference is that unlike the Mubarak regime, India is a ‘democracy’, (altough an Australian commentary earlier in the week ascribed the unique distinction to India as the ‘most corrupt liberal democracy in the world’).
The tumult in Egypt can take unpredictable turns. Falk doesn’t think former IAEA chief and Nobel laureate Mohammed El-Baradei can provide effective leadership. Muslim Brotherhood is waiting in the wings as the flames of anger spread in the Middle East
. How well is India placed if Islamic regimes appear in the region? Our over-identification with pro-West Arab regimes, our strategic ties with israel, our neglect of ‘non-state actors’ such as Hamas and Hezbollah, and, of course, UPA leadership’s wilful degradation of ties with Iran - all these may come to haunt Indian interests. The crunch comes if the Saudi regime packs up. The regional crisis comes at an awkward time when Riyadh is caught in the middle of a painful transition to the post-Abdullah era. Ominously, Pakistani foreign minister Qureshi said yesterday in Islamabad while announcing the Pak-Afghan joint commission to steer a peace process, that they intend to seek OIC intervention in Afghanistan.
Posted in Politics.
– January 28, 2011