A good foreign policy will be an extension of a country’s national policies of development. But the disconnect becomes shocking in the case of India. Hardly a week after the euphoria over the multi-billion dollar decision to raise a mountain corps for the Indian Army comes the dismal report on what constitutes “poverty” in our beloved country.
External Affairs Minister Salman Khurshid claimed that the decision on the war front was taken in “national interest”. No political party — including, tragically, the communist parties — questioned the efficacy of such definitions of “national interest”.
Now comes the shocking news that when the Indian political class speaks of “national interest,” how hopelessly out of touch with the realities they could be. Suffice to say, India would have roughly 250 million ‘poor people’ — or 700 million ‘poor people’ — depending on a bit of statistical jugglery and, of course, on how the political class chooses to view the tragic situation in our country which they have governed for 64 years since Imperial Britain departed.
The figure is 250 million if one were to argue that 60 cents is all that is needed for an Indian to keep body and soul together. But the figure jumps to 700 million if you slightly raise the bar of purchasing capacity to one dollar per day. Yes, a mere American dollar makes all the difference between heaven and hell for an Indian.
Yet, Khurshid claimed that India maintains “a rational, decent balance in our policies.” No, he is dead wrong — this is neither “rational” nor “decent”. This is plain illogical and it is sickening. We are losing our way. Read the lead story in today’s Hindu here.
– July 25, 2013