Time to Cool Down, Now by Dr Mohammad Manzoor Alam (DECEMBER 19, 2013)

India’s withdrawal of some of the diplomatic previleges of the US embassy in India is only fair and reciprocal. So far India has been treating US officials and diplomats with honour and dignity in face of the worst provocations.

Sample: India’s incumbent defence minister George Fernandes strip-searched like a common criminal on a US airport, former president Abdul Kalam frisked; film stars Shahrukh Khan, Amir Khan and John Abraham detained and humiliated.

India did not react to any of it. However, when they stripped and looked into Indian diplomat Devyani Khobragade’s “cavities”, India had enough of it.

The Indian response, which is toughest ever, has been lauded by many. Minister Kamal Nath has rightly said that the US should know India is not a banana republic.

The image of Congress Party as a traditionally lenient party that has immense tolerance for humiliation has changed dramatically to that of a combat-ready organisation.

The BJP, which has always been a great admirer of the United States since its Jan Sangh days, has jumped into the fray fearing that all the credit for patriotic self-respect could be cornered by the Congress Party.

Yashwant Sinha of the BJP has given the government the unsolicited advice that it should arrest homosexual US diplomats as, according to the latest ruling of the Supreme Court, it is illegal in India.

Needless to say that such jingoism and misplaced bravado is unwanted and unnecessary. There is no point in escalating the confrontation. Any day major countries have more to gain from toleration and cooperation than confrontation.

The BJP thrives on conflict as is evident from the electoral gains it makes after every communal riot it engineers. No wonder, Lalu Prasad Yadav has nicknamed it Bharat Jalao Party (Burn India Party).

Given a free hand, the Bharat Jalao Party can very well burn down India’s relations with important nations. The time now is to work on limiting the tension in Indo-US relations rather than escalating it.

The jingoistic constituency in India would love to see an escalation in the conflict. It is important to cool down now.


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