Discussion on India in President Barack Obama's memoir titled "A Promised Land" reveals what the former US President thought about India, particularly Indian hostility against Pakistan. Obama also reveals that President-elect Joseph R. Biden opposed the US Navy Seals raid to kill Usama Bin Laden in Abbottabad in 2011. Biden was Obama's Vice President at the time.
Obama's Book Excerpts:
“Expressing hostility toward Pakistan was still the quickest route to national unity (in India)”.
"Violence, both public and private, remained an all-too-pervasive part of Indian life”.
All politics and violence in India revolve around "religion, clan and caste".
"Despite genuine economic progress, India remained a chaotic and impoverished place: largely divided by religion and caste, captive to the whims of corrupt local officials and power brokers".
Indians take "great pride in the knowledge that India had developed nuclear weapons to match Pakistan's, untroubled by the fact that a single miscalculation by either side could risk regional annihilation".
"(Manmohan) Singh had resisted calls to retaliate against Pakistan after the (Mumbai) attacks, but his restraint had cost him politically. He feared that rising anti-Muslim sentiment had strengthened the influence of India’s main opposition party, the Hindu nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP)"
"Across the country (India), millions continued to live in squalor, trapped in sunbaked villages or labyrinthine slums, even as the titans of Indian industry enjoyed lifestyles that the rajas and moguls of old would have envied".
“Joe (Biden) weighed in against the (Usama Bin Laden) raid (on compound in Pakistan)”
|Deaths From Poor Sanitation in South Asia. Source: Our World in Data
In his first debate with Democratic Presidential candidate Joseph R. Biden, President Donald Trump questioned India's coronavirus data while responding to Biden's accusation that his opponent has badly mishandled the pandemic. About 21 minutes into the debate, Trump said: "And, by the way, when you talk about numbers, you don’t know how many people died in China. You don’t know how many people died in Russia. You don’t know how many people died in India. They don’t exactly give you a straight count, just so you understand".
Talking about climate change, Trump accused India of being a leading polluter. About an hour into the debate, Trump said: "China sends up real dirt into the air. Russia does. India does. They all do". There are reports suggesting India has surpassed China as the world's top polluter. Images captured by the Dutch space instrument, Tropomi, show high concentrations pollutants like Nitrogen dioxide, Ozone and other pollutants produced by car traffic, industry and power stations in India, according to a Business Insider report.
Ambassador Kishore Mahbubani on India:
"One hard truth that Indians have to contend with is that America has also had difficulty treating India with respect", writes former Singaporean diplomat Kishore Mahbubani in his latest book "Has China Won?". "If America wants to develop a close long-term relationship with India over the long run, it needs to confront the deep roots of its relative lack of respect for India", adds Ambassador Mahbubani. It's not just Mahbubani who suspects the United States leadership does not respect India. Others, including former President Bill Clinton, current US President Donald Trump, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and CNN GPS host Fareed Zakaria have expressed similar sentiments.
|New York Times Cartoon
After the India-Pakistan aerial combat over Kashmir, New York Times published a story from its South Asia correspondent headlined: "After India Loses Dogfight to Pakistan, Questions Arise About Its Military". Here are some excerpts of the report:
"Its (India's) loss of a plane last week to a country (Pakistan) whose military is about half the size and receives a quarter (a sixth according to SIPRI) of the funding is telling. ...India’s armed forces are in alarming shape....It was an inauspicious moment for a military the United States is banking on to help keep an expanding China in check".
Speaking with Indian journalist Shekhar Gupta on The Print YouTube channel, Fareed Zakaria called the Indian state an “inefficient state”.“Indian government functions very poorly, even in comparison to other developing countries. Coronavirus has highlighted that reality, " he added. He did not clearly speak about the lynchings of Indian Muslims by people affiliated with the ruling BJP and the brutality of Indian military against Kashmiri Muslims, but he did ask: “What I wonder about (Prime Minister Narendra) Modi is, is he really bringing all of India along with him? He noted sadly:”India seems like roadkill for China".
Has New Delhi's abject failure in containing the coronavirus pandemic finally done what Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi's extreme brutality and open hatred against Zakaria's fellow Indian Muslims could not do? Has he really had it with Hindu Nationalist government? While he has not used his perch on CNN to do it, it appears that he has started expressing his disapproval of the performance on other platforms.
Here are a few of the key points Fareed Zakaria made while speaking with Shekhar Gupta:
1. There’s no doubt in my mind that the Indian government, and by that I mean the Delhi government, has handled this crisis (COVID19) very poorly.
2. Indian government functions very poorly, even in comparison to other developing countries. Coronavirus has highlighted that reality.
3. In a way, India seems like roadkill for China’s obsession with absolute control over their borders. I do think there is an opportunity here for diplomacy. I don’t think India needs to be confrontational about it (the LAC issue), but of course it should push back.
4. It is now a bipolar world. US and China are way ahead of the rest of the world. For the long term, India needs to decide it’s position with China.
4. Turkey under Erdogan has become more confident and independent. It is culturally proud. It is telling Americans to buzz off.
5. Popularity of political leaders around the world is linked to their performance on the coronavirus pandemic. In India, however, the issues of religion and caste are still dominating.
6. What I wonder about (Prime Minister Narendra) Modi is, is he really bringing all of India along with him? How many Muslims in Indian government? Or South Indians in BJP? It is much less diverse than Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru's cabinet.
7. I have been very sad to see how Indian democracy has developed over the last few years. It has become an illiberal democracy.
8. The India media is slavishly pro-government. Self-censorship is widespread in India.
9. The Indian courts fold in cases where government takes serious interest.
“Expressing hostility toward Pakistan was still the quickest route to national unity (in India)”, writes former US President Barack Obama in his memoir titled "A Promised Land. Obama goes on to add: "Violence, both public and private, remained an all-too-pervasive part of Indian life”. Singaporean diplomat, analyst and writer Kishore Mahbubani has argued in his latest book "Has China Won?" that America does not really respect India. Others, including ex US President Bill Clinton, current President Donald Trump, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and CNN GPS host Fareed Zakaria, have expressed similar sentiments. It has become increasingly clear that India's loudest cheerleaders like Fareed Zakaria are now starting to see the stark reality of Modi's India as a big failure on multiple fronts. Indian state has failed to contain the deadly COVID19 pandemic. India's economy is in serious trouble. The country's democracy is in decline. India seems like a roadkill for China. This turn of events has created serious problems for Pakistani "liberals" who have long seen and often cited India as a successful example of "secular democracy" at work in South Asia.
Here's a video clip from CNN GPS Show:
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