Wednesday, May 08, 2002
Front Page |
Southern States |
Other States |
Advts: Classifieds | Employment | Obituary |
By K. K. Katyal
Of late, New Delhi's ties with the E.U. seemed to have been jinxed. This was first evident last year on the occasion of the grouping's summit with India here during the presidency of Belgium. As a result, the gains of the earlier summit in Lisbon could not be consolidated and some misunderstandings cropped up between India and Belgium. That was well before the problem of Gujarat or Ayodhya and was not related to any sudden difficulty in India-Pakistan relations. It was not India's fault then. The present problem arose during Spain's presidency and almost exclusively revolved round Gujarat.
The Indian reaction took the following forms. One, quibbling over the demarche whether or not it was delivered to our Ambassador in Madrid or here during last week's meeting of officials. Whether in writing or verbal, it was a political action, denoting disapprobation a severe form of communication than, say, a note verbale. What mattered were the views of the E.U., as conveyed to India, not the form in which this was done. Two, objection to the "leaks'' by foreign missions of their internal documents relating to developments in the host country. It was not for the first time that the gist of a document not meant to be released found its way to the Press. It happened several times in India and if it was objectionable, New Delhi, too, had been guilty of this charge. And why assume always that this was a "leak''? It could have been a case of enterprise of a journalist. Three, disapproval of "use'' of Indian media by visiting foreign dignitaries.
This point was made when the Finnish Foreign Minister in an interview during his visit here expressed concern in reply to a question on Gujarat. Again, it was not for the first time that a foreign dignitary was interviewed by the media and certain views not to the liking of the Government were expressed. At times such interviews were arranged at the instance of the Foreign Office itself. Is it the stand of the Government that an interview by a visiting senior official does not amount to the "use'' of media if the views expressed therein are palatable to it?
The Indian stand had the effect of adding to the annoyance of the E.U. It is nobody's case that New Delhi had to submit to the pressure of others or take meekly the sermons from abroad. But in today's world, where information, too, is globalised, comments by others on the situation here have not necessarily to evoke cries of "interference''. In the case of Gujarat, as already mentioned in these columns, certain points could be made, while conceding the gravity of the developments that this was an aberration, that the secular pattern was intended to be protected, that the trouble remained confined to Gujarat and, fortunately, did not spread to the neighbouring areas in Maharashtra and Rajasthan, that the various institutions the judiciary, the Human Rights Commission and the media rose to the occasion.
Even now it is not too late to learn lessons from the recent past in the matter of our dealings with the E.U. From July onward, the E.U. Presidency will go to Denmark and, luckily, nothing has happened to disturb India's relations with this country.
On the contrary, the recent visit of the Danish Foreign Minister was a smooth affair. What transpired in his discussions with the Indian side is not known (and to the gratification of the officials here, there were no "leaks'', but there was no jarring note in public.
Denmark, it may be recalled, showed appreciation of India's stand at the Durban Conference on Racial Discrimination.
This goodwill needs to be preserved and built upon. Quite a challenge for our Ambassador in Copenhagen and, of course, for the officials here.
At a time when the E.U. seems to be pitted, as it were, against India, New Delhi could take solace from the helpful stand of the U.S. On Gujarat, it was mild in its reaction and on other issues, arising from India-Pakistan relations, and on Kashmir, it showed understanding of New Delhi's position.
These points were conveyed, with remarkable clarity, in the interview to The Hindu by the National Security Adviser, Condoleezza Rice, and the Deputy Secretary of State, Richard Armitage.
Send this article to Friends by E-Mail
The Hindu Group: Home | About Us | Copyright | Archives | Contacts | Subscription
Group Sites: The Hindu | Business Line | The Sportstar | Frontline | Home |
Copyright © 2002, The
Hindu. Republication or redissemination of the contents of
this screen are expressly prohibited without the written consent of