By Kamal Morarka
The events which are mentioned in news are not very encouraging. There is talk of giving Ganga cleaning contract to the Israelis. While we do not object as rational people as long as the work is done with good technology, it is for the Hindutva forces to see whether they want Ganga to be clean by the Jews. England, Germany and France have already offered technology earlier. So this government as usual wants to appease somebody and tease other countries. This is not a good foreign policy statement. Israel is a very small country four thousand miles away from us. It cannot be our staunchest ally. Of course they are selling 41 percent of arms production to India. So for them India is important. However, the Prime Minister is fond of changing his mind and his policy, but it is not a very major issue except it should be understood by Hindutva forces.
Of course another spoiler of the atmosphere is the report that bricks have started arriving for the construction of Ram Mandir. The statements by some MLAs etc. that they will not care for the court verdict, temple will be made by 2018. It appears that the BJP has decided to polarize the country. For 2019 elections they want to make religion their main plank. These are all very unfortunate things. This is not the India which the constitution envisages and of which the prime minister always says the constitution is the book by which he abides. Whatever the pressure on him, India is not going into rational and sober directions.
Again there is saber rattling – all with the eye on election – that whip up tension in Kashmir, whip up tension on the China border and with a pliant Army Chief who makes public statements which are not expected from an Army Chief. Things are bound to be bitter, but definitely anybody who understands foreign relations and the limitations of India and problems ahead will not advocate even a limited skirmish with China, because there is no comparison of strength of the two countries. And India has got a lot of problems to attend rather than start military activities with either of its neighbors. But the country is passing through a phase; I think this government has done what it could in three years. Now they are preparing for 2019 elections, so they will not take any decision which will be in the interest of economic development or long-term planning. Whatever they will do they will do with an eye on vote, to be able to win 2019. It is a tall order. This country is far more mature and complex than what these people think. Indira Gandhi did a similar thing in 1977, when there was a no opposition to her in the press but the result went entirely against here. So India cannot be taken for granted, people of India cannot be taken for granted, but you never know. They say a new generation has come whose thinking is different. Let us see.