Naivete in extremis

The naivete of Indian diplomats never ceases to amaze! A one-time diplomat and now adviser to Nitish Kumar, Pavan Verma, on a TV panel discussion charged Amit Shah and, by extension, Narendra Modi, with “proactively” violating the Constitutional rights of suspected terrorists shot in so-called fake encounters in Gujarat with their “proactive counter-terrorism” actions! Left to the likes of Verma, Yasin Bhatkal would no doubt be let off after reading him an Indian version of the American “Miranda rights”! And this Verma fellow made a career of the cynical business of diplomacy? Good lord!

By this reckoning, Indira Gandhi, her cabinet ministers, and party appointees as chief minister, Punjab, should be held directly culpable for the sustained, ruthless, and bloodyminded extra-legal elimination with extreme prejudice of Khalistanis and would-be Khalistanis in the early 1980s, and the carte blanche given DG, KPS Gill, and his extraordinarily brave and courageous subordinates such as Ajit Singh Bhullar, SSP, Tarn Tarn District, who killed himself when having eased the border state from the grip of terrorists, he was hounded by motivated human rights activists after peace returned to the state, even as the Congress Party govts in Punjab and in New Delhi cravenly looked the other way. [All this is brought out by my good friend, NV Subramanian, in his latest piece “Dirty tricks” accessible at Do look it up.]

In any case, what does Verma think counter-terror ops are — a mild disagreement at a cocktail party in Thimpu (where he was ambassador)? With such naivete worn on their sleeves, it is little wonder Indian diplomats are unable to protect the country’s interests abroad, leave alone act sensibly, and make the right policy choices. With this kind of personnel in the GOI, can the country expect to in any way match up with China, whose preferred mode of dealing with even peacefully protesting Tibetans and Uighurs in Xinjiang is a bullet to the head, and no nonsense about it?

[Verma also lately discovered in an op/ed that Pakistan seems to be a far better practitioner of Kautilyan realpolitik with deft handling of the asymmetric instrument of ‘kutayuddha’ or covert war using terrorism, than is India. Per chance, he picked up this nugget from my 2002 book — ‘Nuclear Weapons and Indian Security’.]

About Bharat Karnad

Senior Fellow in National Security Studies at the Centre for Policy Research, New Delhi, he was Member of the (1st) National Security Advisory Board and the Nuclear Doctrine-drafting Group, and author, among other books of, 'Nuclear Weapons and Indian Security: The Realist Foundations of Strategy', 'India's Nuclear Policy' and most recently, 'Why India is Not a Great Power (Yet)'. Educated at the University of California (undergrad and grad), he was Visiting Scholar at Princeton University, University of Pennsylvania, the Shanghai Institutes of International Studies, and Henry L. Stimson Center, Washington, DC.
This entry was posted in Asian geopolitics, civil-military relations, guerilla warfare, Indian Politics, Internal Security, Pakistan, South Asia, South East Asia. Bookmark the permalink.

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