Growing Distance by MOHAMMED ATAUR RAHMAN (MAY 24, 2008)

It is distressing to note that the Afro-Asian world, along with other developing nations, is getting alienated from India, writes Mohammed Ataur Rahman.

There was a time when India was among the four leaders of the influential Non-Aligned Movement. The other three were: Indonesia, Egypt and Yugoslavia. Nehru, Sukarno, Nasser and Tito had acquired iconic stature among the people of post-colonial societies.

India and the other three carried so much weight in the UN General Assembly that they could ensure the passage of any resolution that they decided to back. The entire Muslim world, barring a few countries, stood behind India. The few who did not could be counted on the fingers of a hand.

Today the situation is entirely different. India is no longer seen as the champion of the Third World, nor as a great backer of the Arab world. Increasingly, the Palestinians have begun to see us as closely allied with Israel. That has nearly destroyed the old warmth between Palestinians and India.

Because of the growing proximity with America we are not able to protest even when President George W. Bush has tried to postpone Palestinian statehood for another 60 years. Nor do we hear any voice of protest against Israeli atrocities in Palestine.

No wonder, recently the NAM criticised America for signing a treaty on nuclear cooperation with India. It made the point that signing a nuclear cooperation treaty with a country (India) that refuses to sign the NPT is an ill omen for the future of nuclear non-proliferation. Only a few years ago we would not have expected such remarks from the Non-Aligned Movement. That only shows the growing distance between us and the rest of the post-colonial world.


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