Hindu Vivek Kendra
«« Back
HVK Archives: History of forgetfulness

History of forgetfulness - The Indian Express

Jyoti Malhotra ()
June 8, 1998

Title: History of forgetfulness
Author: Jyoti Malhotra
Publication: The Indian Express
Date: June 8, 1998

It's been India vs The Rest for much of the last month. In the
post-Pokharan II sound and fury, unusually disturbing noises from
Japan have been almost drowned out - while the bilateral
relationship has dived into a slow, reckless spin.

For the first two weeks since May 11, Tokyo kept very quiet. Then
pressure began to build on America's closest ally to prove its

With an eye to proving loyalty to Washington - and a permanent
seat in the Security Council - prime minister Ryutaro Hashimoto
told Pakistan's Nawaz Sharif that Tokyo would help put Kashmir on
the Security Council agenda, only if it didn't follow India in
carrying out nuclear tests.

Islamabad refused, but Hashimoto 'thought he might as well add
insult to injury. Things might have been different, Japan's Kyodo
news reported him as saying, if the Kashmir issue had been placed
on the Security Council's agenda after India's nuclear tests on
May 11 and 13.

In a few words, Hashimoto had demolished a half-century of
understanding that has existed between India and Japan. He
forgot that an independent India had refused to sign the post-
World War II document, the San Francisco Treaty that sought to
bring Japan to its knees by condemning it as an "aggressor"

It slipped the premier's mind that it was an Indian judge, Radha
Binode Paul, who gave the only dissenting judgement when Japan, a
loser in 1945, was forced to face a humiliating War Crimes

That India's Jawaharlal Nehru was the first foreign statesman to
have visited Hiroshima in 1957 - at a time when everything
Japanese was anathema in the victorious West - and commiserated
with the victims of the world's only nuclear attack, ordered to
be carried out by none other than Washington.

But more was to come. As New Delhi gaped in horror, watching
official Tokyo play with practised ease its role as the cat's paw
of the US in Asia, Japanese foreign minister Keizo Obuchi decided
to further stir the pot.

Gratuitously, he offered mediation on Kashmir, not once but
twice. Tokyo, he said, would like to host an international
conference, to which India and Pakistan would be invited, to
discuss the Kashmir dispute. "(It) is a matter of very
considerable tension in that part of the world. We feel that the
tensions between India and Pakistan can be destabilising, not
only to South Asia but also to Asia as a whole..." said the
government's press secretary Sadaaki Numata.

For good measure, the Japanese permanent representative to the UN
in New York, went on to table a draft along with Sweden and Costa
Rica, reprimanding the audacity of India and Pakistan.

The resolution, passed over the weekend, has adopted a greater
sense of moral outrage than even the permanent-five declaration
did in Geneva days before. Unanimously, the Security Council has
asked India not to conduct any more tests, refrain from
weaponisation and end programmes for developing ballistic
missiles and the means to deliver them.

The significance of the Japanese-sponsored resolution has not
escaped New Delhi. Firs?, it is the first time in 33 years, since
the 1965 war, that India has been condemned by the UN's Security
Council, the world's most powerful forum. As if that wasn't
damnation enough, the Council's orders now will stymie Indian
efforts at going ahead with its missile programme as well as put
a dampener on the stated intention to induct nuclear weapons into
the armed forces.

If New Delhi goes ahead, regardless, it will be slapped on the
wrist for non-compliance. India's international isolation will
grow. Unlike Israel, which blithely violates Security Council
resolutions because of the unstinted support it receives from the
US, New Delhi will not even have Washington for comfort or

Interestingly, however, as official Tokyo's strategy of isolating
India on behalf of Washington unfolds, there are some indications
that the people of Japan may not be in full consonance of what
their government thinks. In fact, when New Delhi responded with
understanding to the freezing of aid by Tokyo in the early days
after it went nuclear last month, the message was --that India
would never be a security threat to Japan - in fact, if anything,
it would provide a balance of power to the other Asian giant,

The recent Hashimoto-Obuchi line seems to have, however, upset
that unspoken camaraderie. Tokyo is now likely to go a step
further in promoting the isolation of India, by creating new
linkages with Pakistan.

One week after India's nuclear tests on May 20-22, Japan floated
the idea of inviting Islamabad to join the Asean Regional Forum -
the only security organisation in this region, of which India was
invited to become a member three years ago.

"It is true that this is not a matter on which consensus can be
very easily obtained because there are difference countries with
different views, but we do feel that if possible it would be
desirable for Pakistan to be invited in some form or another,"
said press spokesman Numata recently.

Tokyo's increasing insensitivity to India, in fact, came into the
open last week when a high-level Japanese delegation told West
Bengal chief minister Jyoti Basu that Japan would not be able to
fund any new projects in his state.

Perhaps its time that someone reminded both sides that the ashes
of none other than Subhash Chandra Bose, are still kept in the
Renkoji temple in Japan.

That once upon a time, imperial Japan had helped Bose set tip the
Azad Hind Fauj to liberate India...

But that was such a long time ago. This is the brave new world

Back                          Top

«« Back
  Search Articles
  Special Annoucements