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The ‘Supreme Irony’ Of Modi’s Republic Day Invite To Obama – A Joke On Sovereignty?

By Sanya Malik:

“Awe and fear have always co-existed when dealing with the Modi phenomenon” writes Rajdeep Sardesai in an article in Indiatoday. One can’t ignore this man who charmed his way into Madison Square Garden, posting selfies and live tweeting across the world, as the first tech-savvy Indian P.M., urging Indians to join his “Make in India” campaign. 2014 will always be remembered as the year a veteran office holder was ousted by a “Chaiwallah” to become the Prime Minister of India. While one looks forward to a pro-business approach ahead for India, it also fills my mind with fear. The fear dates back to the 2002 Godhra riots, and extends to the caste card played by Modi in the 2014 elections. I was almost sure my fears were not unreasonable when Santa came this year to teach me “good governance”. Being quite the charmer of words that he is, his silence on the RSS’s “Hindutva” rhetoric is quite worrisome.

Source: Wikimedia Commons
Source: Wikimedia Commons

Come 2015 and Madison square itself reaches India. Many Indians are already welcoming Modi’s invite to Obama for the Republic day celebrations, the first U.S. President invited for such an event. At this point, I again come to doubt Mr. Modi’s “good judgement” for inviting the President of America to be a part of the celebrations of a day that signifies autonomy.

Let me begin by quoting what a group of 6 left parties has highlighted regarding how the mainstream media has almost failed to notice how it is a supreme irony that the day which symbolizes India’s independence and sovereignty is being graced by the head of a country which has done the most to assault and destroy the sovereignty of many countries around the world.

Many have chosen to call Mr. Modi’s invitation as the “the greatest diplomatic triumph” for India. However, it seems to me no different than any other major political visit apart from one interesting detail that this is the same American President who denied a visa to Modi a few years back. Yes, it is a way forward for India on the global front, but one must not lose sight of what price India will have to pay for this “friendship”.

While many rejoice the so called Indo-U.S. bilateral talks, the left is wary of U.S.’s ulterior motives. Infact, six left parties – the CPI, CPI(M), CPI(ML)-Liberation, AIFB, SUCI(C) and RSP have called for a Protest Day on January 24 against the visit of President Obama. The protest is based on three main agendas – namely, Halt US aggression, Stop interference in India’s domestic matters and Stop US-India strategic collaboration. The intent of the protests is to focus people’s attention on the balance of power in the strategic relations between India and the US.

The US has, for years now, maintained its status of being the supreme power. It has meddled with the affairs of various countries, for its own good, pretending to serve global peace interests. Kavita Krishnan from the CPI(ML)-Liberation opines: “What the US intervention in Afghanistan and Pakistan has done serve as a warning to India. Infact, currently, the United States is targeting and destabilizing governments and countries in West Asia by military interventions like in Iraq, Libya and Syria. President Obama himself is responsible for the aggression in Libya and for the rerun of bombing and sending troops back to Iraq. The US is doing everything to destroy Syria as a national entity.” My fear is that the price for the Obama visit is that India will have to participate in the Afghan campaign.

The recent Fergusson case has brought into light USA’s domestic turmoil, entrapped in racial violence by the police. Further, the discrimination towards Muslims and the terrible record of torture by the CIA with the approval of the U.S. government only deepens the irony of Obama’s visit.

I cannot believe that our Prime Minister has not noticed this irony, or maybe he has chosen to deliberately ignore it. In a joint press statement, the 6 parties accused “the BJP government of pursuing a pro-US foreign policy which is contrary to an independent non-aligned foreign policy. This is being done in the interests of Indian and foreign monopoly capital.” Through this visit, America will pull the strings of our government to fulfil its own vested interests. The Left parties choose to protest the decision to renew the India-US Defence Framework Agreement for another ten years. By demanding a greater stake in India’s defence industry, the USA will deny India its strategic autonomy.

Again, the issue of India’s autonomy arises when India is forced to open up its financial sector to the U.S. capital – 49 % FDI in the insurance sector, the weakening of the patents regime to benefit the U.S. drug companies, dilution of the civil nuclear liability law to favour U.S. nuclear firms. America’s pressures that India give up its food security programme and weaken labour rights and environment laws to benefit US corporations is a disaster that awaits India. Such development has never achieved inclusive growth. Hence, India should ensure that cooperation with the U.S. does not mean adhering to American “commercial” interests.

It is evident that the US is so worried about a rising China that containing it has become imperative for the US, and it must find friends in Asia. Hence, America will begin its game of playing India off against China. At this point, India must maintain its strategic autonomy.

To me, the R-day visit is not a foreign policy game changer by Mr. Modi. Infact, U.S. is exploiting India for its own interests. Dear Mr. Modi, let 2015 not be the year when India became a dancing puppet in America’s hands. India’s current situation reminds me of the old morality plays of Faustian tales where the price paid for over-ambition is a “deal with the devil”. Let us not be blinded so as to believe that this “Faustian deal” has something substantial for India in it.

You must be to comment.
  1. Dr Avinash Sinha

    Dear writer,
    I feel that your article is so badly written that makes mockery of
    democratic norms & election processes. India & USA are large democracies.It is natural that their heads would meet more often.
    Uptil now Mr. Modi has not done anything which can be said that it
    is against common man. He also tried to be friendly with China but
    their response is not friendly till now.
    Let us hope that friendship will grow between USA & our country which is real youth ki awaz.

    1. Aditya

      And the people of US vote for imperialist dictator. They should rather vote for people like Kim Jong Un, the great leader and accept his vision of governance.

      I can create a website, jack up poll results with tactics that I want. There is nothing new.

  2. Gaurav

    If according to you america would pressurize to dilute labor laws, it just shows how poor your understanding of the American economy is. They are the strongest proponents of fare practices and labor laws.

  3. Abhismita Sen

    Quite a nice article. Deserves to be in an Academic journal

    1. Aditya

      Have academic journals become so bad in quality?

  4. Vipin Gupta

    It’s a wonderfully written article. May this becomes an eye opener for Modi-blinded BJP. The cabinet needs to through away the self-accepted Modi-suppression, if it wishes to serve the country.

  5. Harsh Doshi

    Check out the latest article on how Brand Modi can potentially transform Indian Politics on Harsh Doshi’s blog, Fine Baked Bread.
    https://finebakedbread.wordpress.com/2015/01/11/can-brand-modi-get-indian-politics-to-work-the-corporate-way/

  6. Cheers

    LOL, is that the best you can come up with? Before, the election it was Modi is a mass murdering fascist dictator that will turn Indian into a Hindu Rashtra. Now you’ve toned it down considerably from those moronic claims. Good for you.

    On a separate note, do tell us openly whether you think Rahul baba would be the better PM? You see, that’s where all Modi critics falter, even they are too ashamed to admit they like Rahul.

  7. Rajesh

    ““a supreme irony that the day which symbolizes India’s independence and sovereignty is being graced by the head of a country which has done the most to assault and destroy the sovereignty of many countries around the world“.”

    It also happens to be a country whose Constitution forms the basis of our own, or did your leftist buddies not tell you that? Or how about the Supreme Irony of Congress having a Pakistani chief guest in 1965, while border skirmishes were occurring, shortly followed by full scale war. Or how about the Saudi King being chief guest in 2006? Or is the Muslim holy land not a terrorist funding dictatorship that oppresses women and minorities in your pseudo-secular world? But dont let the facts get in they way of your fantasy. Modi bad. Bad bad. Very very bad.

    1. lol

      Well, to be fair, Sania does describe herself as “A lover of fiction”. LOL.

  8. Aditya

    You have quoted left parties again and again. Have you ever read the constitution of the beauti-fool CPI(M), which wants “The Dictatorship of Proletariat”. Go read that once.

    Dictatorship wanting fools talking about democracy. What an Irony.

    1. Ranadheer

      I think you didn’t have an exact idea about word Dictatorship in the phrase “Dictatorship of proletariat”.It would be good if atleast you try to know that.

    2. Aditya

      Experience of Soviet, China and North Korea is enough to understand the word dictatorship

  9. Abhinay

    Not a very smart piece, how do you expect Modi to think about such things? He is a mass murderer.

  10. Newmoon

    Dear writer ,
    You seem to be a left supporter…
    Do you have better ideas to increase foreign investments and India’s development …if yes , please share…
    Otherwise critics are everywhere to critcise Mr Modi and the bjp govt…!!!

  11. rohit

    The biggest irony is that we tend to lean to a dogmatic left who idolize mass murdeers such as stalin and mao…

    Leftism is shrinking in to a rabid philosophy without much thought given on the logic of reason.

    Though im vary about a lot of modis decision i see fdi as an opportunity to integrate our intelligence and technology in foreign know how.

    Rather then buying defence equipments from outside, we will now have plants here more jobs and we will be importing the technology out here.

    It would be an eye opener 2 see what the left have to say abt tht.

  12. Prabhat kumar

    India is a democratic country and i respect your right speech but the party you are referring for your support of your argument are left part who mostly believed Marxist ideology and there presence in India democracy is negligible in number. And your writing is biased on basis of writer as you have degraded the constitutional value by not respecting the order of supreme court by relating the PM with 2002 Godhra riot. As you are writing something which rather than creating harmony may lead to unrest in society.

  13. Shankar

    Why it is always anti modi. Not just the author but then everyone who post here. Why don’t we try supporting and love or country for a change n stand by it…

  14. Ashok Singh

    Hi Sanya,

    We come from cultures of Athithi devo bhava. It will difficult for you understand but the blaming US for instability is like blaming US for religious riots in India.

    What we need to pick up is the stand point from U.S. 9/11 that anyone who damages Indian secularity should be punished at any cost.

    Even after SIMI was connected to bomb blast in India. Many of s claimed leaders are still free.

    Blaming US for bad governance of their own country is not right.

    A good example is Turkey . Turkey had never asked help form US and also had a clear standpoint of not helping US in fight against ISIS until his conditions are met.

    What we teach comes back to us. Creating strong moral value in next generation is the only way to save the country . If current generation grows in the environment of corruption, cheating, breaking law and getting away and these values has nothing to do with social status of a person. if you think between 1950- 1980 people of india did not have wealth but they moral value now they have wealth but lost moral values.

    if we have young generation thinking to care about others we would not have to worry about politician keeping the development money in swiss bank account or doctor selling human organ,

  15. Korotania

    As expected of a graduate in English literature from “VENKY”, a lover of fiction, self-proclaimed movie critic and a travel lover. And yes, a Marxist… nice piece of fiction btw. Go ahead with your “link this to that theory” and ta-da… theory proved. You’ll be a good story writer in Saas-Bahu serials. “Kya Obama ke badhte kadam rok paegi Simar? Yahi hai agneepariksha Simar ki.”

  16. Ravi

    I found two problem to author
    1 ) Obama’s visit is normal as other country leaders
    2 ) A Joke On Sovereignty

    On first point
    We are developing country and we have to take help from developed nation that’s fact and no country will help without their personal interest, there can be debate on how much India have to compromise to complete our interest. As per my knowledge power is one of the biggest problem in India and one of the solution is nuclear power, second is our defense which we mostly import from Russia or USA.
    I think this visit somehow help to overcome this two problem and many more.

    On second point,
    I think that was the best day to choose where we can showcase India’s culture to world with presence of world’s most powerful person. Logic behind “A joke on Sovereignty” is like you cannot celebrate “Republic Day” as you could if Mr. Obama wasn’t there is similar to “you have guest on your birthday”.

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