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India. Myanmar. Tibet. April 8, 2008

Posted by K in contemporary.

India does not want Myanmar freed of Military despotism. India does not want a free Tibet.

India needs the Military Junta so that we can sell them arms. And indulge in shady agreements, such as the recent proposal to build a waterway project upto Myanmar and through it into the Northeast, because Bangladesh won’t allow India to access the North East through it. The waterway project costs some many crores, and in return, Myanmar get a dam or some other structure paid for by India.

I don’t understand why we need to access a limb of our country through such a circuitous route. I can understand why the Chicken’s Neck makes life difficult, but surely we could have tried to go through Nepal and/or Bhutan through existing roads. Both are friendly countries.

If anybody knows more about this particular issue, do leave a comment…

(Oh yeah, I remember I was much amused when I read this piece in the paper: an MP from the North East, I forget which State, threatened the Parliament that if the Centre did not provide Rail Connectivity to the North East, then they would ask China to do so! 😀 Very effective strategy, I must say…I am anticipating work beginning soon…) (PS- I was shocked to know the North East did not have rail connectivity…my hegemonised mind assumed all of India had access to the chuk chuk gaari.)

As for Tibet…enough has been written about it politically. I don’t want to add my uninformed two bits here. I am just SO glad Tibetans around the world are causing the Chinese Establishment to choke and sputter ahead of the Games 😀

Parisian Tibetans- great job on extinguishing the Torch (‘technical fault’ or otherwise…!!) 😀



1. Jennifer Lancey - April 8, 2008

Hello there. I was sent a link to your blog by a friend a while ago. I have been reading a long for a while now. Just wanted to say HI. Thanks for putting in all the hard work.

Jennifer Lancey

2. ish - April 8, 2008

Quite frankly, even I don’t know much about the Tibet issue and why India is supporting China and stopping the Tibetans from protesting and stuff like that, so decided to skip it.

The Olympics are unlucky that they’re happening in China though. In between the fight of two countries, or should I say, the complete arrogance and domination of one country on the other, the games are suffering. Gotta give it to Nicolas Sarkozy too, he’s the first guy to have come up in support of Tibet openly. Or maybe it’s just that he wants to figure in the news for something that doesn’t have anything to do with Carla Bruni. 😛

3. yaamyn - April 8, 2008

It’s all simple economics. China’s right up there, poised to become the world’s largest economy soon – and an enormous market – AND a military power. Make friends with China, reap the benefits.

It’s amazing – and really sad – that only these days only the money that matters. It maybe immoral, unethical, environmentally harmful… but as long as it makes financial sense – it is acceptable.

The Tibet issue is NOT ‘somebody else’s problem’. It’s a very real and ugly human rights situation. My Tibetan friends have told me scary stuff – and it’s no fun living without your own country.

As for India, it does have a dubious record when it comes to promoting democracy in the neighborhood, while trumpeting its own democratic credentials. It has sided with the Nepali monarch during their democracy movement, supports the military junta in Myanmar (professing a policy of ‘non-intervention’ blah blah) and continues to provide support to the dictator in my own country – Maldives. (The guy’s been ruling for nearly 30 years and ruined every democratic institution in that country!)

It is true that the Chicken Neck problem has affected the North East part of the nation. But it’s also true that that part of the country has been alienated by the government for too long… not to mention draconian laws like AFSPA employed to quell ‘problems’.
The region is too sparsely populated, too violent, too mountainous and forested to have railway tracks, I suppose. But surely, they have trains in major towns?

4. pr3rna - April 9, 2008

//an MP from the North East, I forget which State, threatened the Parliament that if the Centre did not provide Rail Connectivity to the North East, then they would ask China to do so!// they keep amusing us with their moronic outbursts. One of our ex-prime ministers didn’t know that Manipur was a part of India,don’t even bother thinking about them.
//Parisian Tibetans- great job on extinguishing the Torch (’technical fault’ or otherwise…!!// I heard that the officials had to extinguish the torch 4 times because they were forced to carry it in a bus.

5. sporadicblogger - April 10, 2008

Ish- India can’t piss off China, as Yaamyn points out. As for Sarkozy…yes, I’m glad he came out against China as far as the Olympics go…unfortunately, on the commerce front…Mr. Sarkozy is very happily selling arms to China, or leading a European bid to change policy with regards to selling arms to China(in favour of China), I forget which…

Yaamyn- It’s not fun living without your own country indeed. I feel terrible for the Tibetans, esp as India will never move its ass as far as demanding autonomy or freedom for Tibet is concerned. India will be scared of retaliation by China which already controls large parts of Arunachal Pradesh, and consider those parts to be a part of China.

I did not know Maldives had a dictator…I need to read up more on the political situation of your country. Perhaps you could leave me a link or two?

And as for the North East-no, only Dispur and one other town has a railway station. I feel if they can put up rail connectivity in the Himalayas and Kashmir (and start crazy projects to build airports a kilometre away from the LoC…) they can most certainly improve, actually, INTRODUCE! rail infra in those parts.

The North East is VERY neglected, and there will be consequences.

6. sporadicblogger - April 10, 2008

Aunty- Moronic outbursts by who? 🙂 The North East MP or the ex-Prime Minister? And who was that ex-PM? 😀

7. pr3rna - April 10, 2008

The North East MP and that ex- PM was Charan Singh.

8. sporadicblogger - April 10, 2008

aunty- But I don’t think the outburst was moronic, I think it was quite clever infact 🙂 How do you get the Centre to give you basic infrastructure? Remind them that China and India have been trying to wrestle the state from each other…:D

9. yaamyn - April 13, 2008

Yup! We have a full functional dictatorship in the Maldives… But being the smallest county in Asia, with a population under 400,000, it doesn’t gather much attention.
It’s s-l-o—w-l-y being dismantled, all right.. but I don’t see a very bright future there. My uncle was once imprisoned and tortured for about an year after uttering something like ‘ I hope to live long enough to see another government ‘ over a game of cards with his friends… :-/
The media was completely under govt. control until pretty recently, and the television continues to churn out government propaganda… and suppressing democracy and freedom in every manner possible.
(They completely ignored the Nepali anti-monarchy riots, for instance)
Here are some links:

And there’s this really helpful site – the doyen of Maldive freedom of expression – http://www.maldivesculture.com/main.html

10. yaamyn - April 13, 2008

I think India can do better to protect its interests in the North East and Kashmir. It just needs some radical changes in approach… Say, repealing of draconian laws like AFSPA that gives the army complete immunity from prosecution.

The Indian army’s human rights record is already in the pits. Just last week or so, I read a report about a Mass grave near the LOC on the Indian side.. with nearly a thousand unidentified bodies.
The police used teargas to disperse outraged protestors… and none of these really grabbed the headlines from what I saw. Nearly 70 000 people have died or gone missing since the insurgency. Surely, somebody must take the blame!
Even Indian NGOs and Human Rights activists are routinely harassed or ignored with the silent collusion of the popular media.

The separatist activity and army excesses in the NE and Kashmir are suppressed, rather than debated and discussed. I personally feel that most North Easterners I know have an identity crisis. ‘Don’t call us Indian. we’re different’ is a common refrain. And those who consider themselves proud Indians are still treated differently in other parts of the country.
The pride in their identity could be seen in the final stage of the last season of Indian Idol – which sort of build up into a Darjeeling vs Shillong thing. In fact the fan hysteria, and Prashant fan clubs in Darjeeling have since been utilized to spark off a new separatist movement for the long demanded Gorkhaland… *sigh*

11. yaamyn - April 13, 2008

Of course – there’s money in war, not in peace. There’s political clout to be harvested from anarchy and chaos.
If India, or the powers concerned, were interested in restricting the army or been confident of local support for the Indian union in the ‘troubled regions’, it would have acted long ago.

India has already backtracked from conscientious stands it had taken earlier on Tibet, Palestine, Iran etc. There’s more money in China, Israel and of course the US of A. Myanmar maybe ruled by a ruthless human-rights-be-damned military junta. But there’s money in supplying weapons, and a tactical advantage of having influence in the China dominated region.

Power and Wealth are the languages spoken these days. 🙂 India is just joining in the party!

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