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HVK Archives: To hell with the bootlickers

To hell with the bootlickers - The Free Press Journal

M V Kamath ()
May 26, 1998

Title: To hell with the bootlickers
Author: M V Kamath
Publication: The Free Press Journal
Date: May 26, 1998

A certain weekly magazine has devoted almost an entire issue (May
25) to badmouth Atal Behari Vajpayee for daring to conduct
nuclear tests at Pokhran. To press its point it has devoted two
pages to show that when the Pakistanis fire their Ghauri missile
at India, it can wipe out 90 lakh people in Delhi and another
89.36 lakh in Bombay. That accurately.

In Delhi everyone within a seven kilometer radius will be killed
instantly. Everything will be reduced to rubble. And that would
include South Block, the Prime Minister's Office, the Supreme
Court, Bahadur Shah Zafar Marg, Delhi Zoo, Jama Masjid, All India
Institute of Medical Sciences, the five-star hotels, Nehru
Stadium, India International Centre etc. etc. In Bombay a five
psi (pounds per square inch) blast would raze Nariman Point,
Mantralaya, Colaba, Navy Nagar, the business centre at Worli,
Mahalaxmi, Bombay Central and parts of Bandra, Dadar and Kurla.

This is presuming, of course, that Pakistan has a nuclear war-
head. What this distinguished weekly magazine fails to tell us is
this: if, indeed Pakistan has nuclear weapons, shouldn't India be
prepared to meet any contingency by fashioning nuclear weapons of
its own?

But why should we worry about Pakistani or Chinese aggression?
The last war with Pakistan is 27 years old, isn't it? And isn't
Chinese aggression over 35 years old? That being the case, would
Pakistan and China ever think of attacking India after the
passage of these years? Alas, the First World War was over in
1918. Germany started the Second World War 21 years later. The
passage of years obviously failed to mellow German revanchism.
Would the passage of years mellow Pakistan?

The weekly says that with or without nuclear capability,
Islamabad is more than matched by India's conventional and
nuclear strength and Pakistan poses no threat to India militarily
- it can at most harass us by proxy wars. This, of course, has
been true for the last fifty years, but did that prevent Pakistan
>from fighting three wars against India? Pakistan continues to
make warlike noises still.

According to the weekly, militancy is on the decline with near-
normalcy returning to Jammu & Kashmir. That, according to the
weekly, is a sign that Pakistan is tired. What the weekly should
know is that precisely because it is losing its proxy battle in
Jammu & Kashmir should one be extra alert because Pakistan may
decide that unless it makes one last attempt, it will lose the
state for ever. The weekly presumes that Pakistani leadership
acts on logical grounds. Alas, it doesn't. Its hatred of India
subsumes everything else. When Pakistan last attacked India, does
the weekly (which, of course, wasn't in existence then) remember
what noises China then made? Next time China may make something
more than just noise.

The same weekly has an article that quotes Jane's Defence Weekly
as having said that "a signals intelligence station has been
established in Great Coco Island but it is unclear whether the
facility is controlled by Rangoon or Beijing". Why, one might
ask, would Rangoon be interested in setting up a signals
intelligence station aimed at India? Has the weekly cared to
think that over? And what else did Jane's Defence Weekly say?

It quoted Chinese sources as saying that work on the island had
begun two years earlier (in 1992) ith Chinese technicians
installing Chinese-supplied equipment". One is reminded of how
China secretly plotted to take a substantial chunk of the Aksai
Chin plateau, all the while professing friendship with India.
Some people will never learn.

Jane's then went on to say that the signal station is "thought to
cover the Andamans facilities" (incidentally owned by India)
together with shipping in the Bay of Bengal (where Indian
warships move around) adding that the Coco Island station ith
monitor communications in these areas and later may also monitor
Indian missile tests". How nice! and how very friendly of China!
The weekly says both Myanmar and China have denied the existence
of any such monitoring devices on Coco Islands. Does the weekly
really expect them to plead guilty?

Still later, the weekly quotes another reputed journal: The
International Defence Review, as saying that according to U.S.
satellites a 50-meter antenna for signals intelligence has been
detected in Coco Islands also in 1992. It is only fair to add
here that the IDR has since then been fudging its reporting,
except that last year it reported that "Chinese strategic
literature continues to list India as one of China's most likely
opponents in regional conflicts." George Fernandes, in the
circumstances, only echoed what China has been saying about India
in the last few months, except that India is a democracy and our
intelligent weekly and its editor can write a lot of nonsense and
get away with it. In China he would probably have been shot and
his weekly closed down.

The weekly says that Vajpayee should have been "more open with
Bill Clinton and the other leaders he wrote to, to justify his
government decision" that "these leaders, particularly the
American president, are determined to turn India into an
international pariah, so the need to give these gentlemen a full
and comprehensive explanation imperative. According to this
weekly, Vajpayee's letter to Clinton is classic in terms of
fudging. As the weekly sees it, the letter is so casually
written that it "adds insult to injury". The weekly probably does
not know that the friendly leaders on whose intelligence it does
not seem to have too high a regard, are not exactly dumb. They
have excellent spying facilities.

One presumes that they are kept informed by their respective
foreign offices of what is going on. In other words, they are
not "dumb, driven cattle" and if they do net know of India's
compulsions, then they don't deserve to be treated any better.
Incidentally, according to the weekly, Bill Clinton is intent on
turning India into an "international pariah". So is it the
weekly's contention that Vajpayee must lick his boots as the
weekly seems determined to do on' its own? Has the weekly lost
all sense of self-respect?

The weekly is angry because having said that he would set up a
National Security Council, Vajpayee has pre-empted the act by
taking an important decision all on his own, without benefit of
the said Council's sage advice. Has it occurred to the weekly
that. Vajpayee might have sought the advice of the heads of the
Armed Forces who should know a little bit more about India's
security than its editor?

One would imagine that the Armed Forces have some appreciation of
India's needs than a headstrong editor who seems to be the local
spokesman of the State Department. No Government is beholden to
an editor - any editor - as to give its reasons for doing
anything. The weekly says that "a debilitating and criminally
wasteful arms race already existed in the sub-continent and now
we have gone and added the nuclear component to it".

There was a time, under Jawaharlal Nehru and V.K. Krishna Menon
when a decision must have been taken not to engage in a
"debilitating and criminally wasteful arms race"; it was very
noble of the two gentlemen who taught us to sign Hindi-Chini-bhai-
bhai in chorus. For our efforts China kicked us in the teeth. We
had to go to Washington, hat-in-hand to ask for help. No doubt
this weekly wants its to repeat that performance. For some people
and journals begging comes very natural. When Nehru's knees gave
way in the face of the Chinese attack, he wrote to Washington
asking for help. In his book Nice Guys Finish Second., B.K.Nehru
who was then our Ambassador to the United States, writes: "When I
read it in, its entirety (it) was so humiliating that I found it
difficult to prevent myself from weeping". But more humiliation,
the Ambassador writes, was yet to come.

When that letter was presented to the assigned official, Carl
Keysen, his words to B.K.Nehru were: "So your spirit couldn't
stand even a minor attack for two weeks? Churchill went on
fighting single-handed without any help from anybody for two
whole years: you have collapsed in fifteen days=94. B.K. Nehru
could have explained that the English Channel separated Britain
>from Europe, in those days there were no missiles worth the name
and the nuclear bomb had not yet been made besides which, unlike
India which has an enemy to its left in Pakistan and an enemy to
the right, sharing a common border, fighting is not all that

Writes B.K.Nehru: "The destruction of his (Jawaharlal's)
personality was not born out of fear. It was the destruction of
his entire weltanschauung which destroyed him. The treachery, as
it seemed to him, of the Chinese attack, had destroyed at one
blow his firm belief in Asian solidarity..." Some people will
never learn.

According to this weekly while India was already a great nation
before May 11, "it would become an even greater nation if 44 per
cent of its population did not live in absolute poverty. This
can, of course, be arranged. If we sell our soul to the United
States and to European nations and beg of them to give us
charity, they would be most happy to do so. We would then become
not an international ariah but a sophisticated beggar and get
more than Pepsi Cola and Coca Cola.

That is what Suharto did. Perhaps the editor of the weekly does
not read news in his hatred of his mother country. The tragedy
is that in their hatred of the BJP some of our editors are
willing to damn their own country and to not mind the cost. When
editors lose their self-respect, wherewith shall the journals
they edit be imbued with it. Even a starving dog will show its
teeth and snarl if some one wields a stick at it, our
intellectuals are worse than curs.

This weekly asks: "Why did the BJP government do it? Why did a
50-day coalition on the verge of collapse rush into an act which
at least three infinitely more stable regimes had considered -
and rejected?"'

The answer is plain: because they were, like the weekly, cowards.

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