Readers would note that this writer has frequently alluded to transnational lobbies and described them as the decisive factor determining political developments. This may have sounded like paranoia reflecting faith in wild conspiracy theories. But the truth is that globalization has not only embraced the economy but equally affected both international and domestic politics. The reason is self-evident.
After the big multinational corporations achieved worldwide influence their loyalty and commitments in the natural course transcended national boundaries in pursuit of their profits. The influence exerted by money on politicians worldwide inevitably led to the same trend in politics. Therefore in assessing international relations it is over simple to identify nations.
What may be at work is a transnational lobby cutting across nations. This presupposes of course that for transnational lobbies to penetrate nations there must have occurred subversion of the government and that nation’s system. The key to assess events therefore becomes the specific agenda followed by a transnational lobby. Paradoxically, the knowledge of the transnational lobby’s influence in any particular event cannot diminish the government’s responsibility in allowing it to occur. The bottom line therefore is that even though a transnational lobby may be the instigator of any event it is the government of that nation that must be held accountable. In other words, governments must deliver regardless of the compulsions they face.
Pakistan of course offers the most glaring example of this problem. Undoubtedly a substantial segment of the Pakistan ruling establishment and public are desirous of good relations with India. But there is also a powerful subversive element within the establishment which through terror threats succeeds in demoralizing the silent majority into acquiescence. Confronted by this situation New Delhi has no choice but to sympathize with the sane elements in Pakistan but to demand that its government must deliver in order to safeguard India’s own national interest. That is how governments are compelled to conduct international relations in a world dominated by transnational lobbies.
Now there has occurred an event that indicates the influence of a powerful transnational lobby in America.
A young Indian diplomat posted in America, Ms Devyani Khobragade, was arrested in humiliating and provocative fashion on dubious grounds ignoring diplomatic immunity, handcuffed and later strip searched in custody. That this was no accident but deliberately preplanned became clear from the reaction of the US State Department. The US State Department spokesperson, Ms Marie Harf, glibly passed the buck to the justice department and the local police. She said:
“The State Department’s Diplomatic Security followed standard procedures during the arrest. After her arrest, she was passed on to the US marshals for intake and processing. So for any additional questions on her treatment, obviously, this would be the US Marshals and not us. I would refer you there.”
Khobragade was later released on a $250,000 bail and will have to appear in court in January. From the cold reaction of the State Department it should be clear that this breach of diplomatic conduct and courtesy is a deliberate and provocative act. The question is, why? How strange that while the US Defence department is eagerly seeking cooperation of the Indian navy in joint operations to establish maritime security in the Indian Ocean, the State department should commit this brazen provocation to derail Indo-US ties. Readers may draw their own conclusions.
Can there be any doubt that there are substantial elements within the US ruling establishment interested in furthering good relations with India? And yet there has occurred this brazen provocative act intended to destroy ties with India. Apart from the role of a subversive transnational lobby what other explanation could there be for this incident? Apart from international forces interested in distancing India from America who would benefit from this development? Analysts may speculate on the identity of such forces at their leisure. What needs to be understood and conveyed to US authorities is that the consequences of this action if not suitably and expeditiously reversed could be far reaching and game changing. But beyond formulating a response to the US Indians need to reflect on what this nation needs to do.
This crisis can be turned into an opportunity. The reactions of Indian leaders provide hope. The government has demanded American diplomats to furnish their identity documents as a counter snub. Lok Sabha Speaker Meira Kumar snubbed a visiting US delegation by refusing to meet it. Rahul Gandhi and Narendra Modi likewise administered a snub to the visiting Americans. Cutting across parties Indian leaders displayed promptitude and unity. This should be considered just a start. India’s political leaders should wake up to the dangerous and devious world abroad. Is it not time to unite and face the challenge of hostile transnational forces working against India? Administering snubs to the American government is not enough. There is a long diplomatic war against an unseen enemy that lies ahead. And a weakened India in desperate need of political reform to revive governance needs to marshal all its forces to meet the challenge effectively.
It is not enough for Narendra Modi and Rahul Gandhi to unite in rebuffing America. Is it not time for leaders to rise above partisan politics, submerge their egos and work as a team to protect national interest? Rahul Gandhi seems interested in party organizational work. Narendra Modi wants to run the government. Why cannot they work as a team? Why cannot Congress and BJP unite in taking forward the battle to its logical conclusion?
India needs systemic reform to restore governance. It needs strategic thinking to conduct foreign policy. It needs united national effort to succeed. Why cannot the Congress and BJP pool their talent and resources and form a national consensus government that might draw most other likeminded parties into its fold? If this were done in five to ten years India would change and become capable of even changing the world. This will be scoffed at as a wild dream. But do not all great ventures begin with a dream?