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Israel s Imperial Dignity

Israel's 'Imperial Dignity' G P D With a territory which is only a hundred li square, it is possible to attain the imperial dignity.

Sino-Indian Talks Edging Closer

Sino-Indian Talks: Edging Closer?
G P D THERE was never any doubt that the border was the main problem between India and China. The shap decline in the relations between the two states durng 1959-62 war, in the main due to India's insistence that it would defend the farthest possible frontier that British India ever claimed. China did not understand the view to begin with and later did not accept it. We have since been clear in our minds where our frontiers lie. (We have not been so clear on the ground, however. But that's another matter), The Chinese have been clear on the ground where their frontiers lie. A good old problem of contradiction between objective reality and subjective' appreciation of history, shall we say?

Of Cannibals and Socialists

Of Cannibals and Socialists G P D EVER Mince five different newspapers and journals have started serialising Kissinger's wisdom under exclusive rights, the only addition to our knowledge has been in terms of eating habits in the socialist world. If the Soviets like boars, the Chinese are apparently cannibalistic. The source of the latter piece of wisdom is Brezhnev himself. Kissinger has claimed that Brezhnev gave him this view of the eating practices in Beijing. More recently, as we all know, Brezhnev has claimed that he and other fellow-Russians have never questioned the socialist character of China. We refer here to his speech at Tashkent on March 24. This might mean that the Soviets in their extreme magnanimity are willing to forgive any offences (including cannibalism) that the Chinese might have committed. Any takers in Beijing?

Resurrecting the Monster View of China

Resurrecting the Monster View of China NEW DELHI seems to be full of Indochina, First there was the inauguration of the Centre for the Studies on Indochina at the India International Centre. T N Kaul is to be its Chairman. What studies the Centre would do on Indochina no body can say. It is not known if there is anybody on its council with any expertise on Indochina. But the fact that T N Kaul will preside over the Centre makes one tithing certain. Its studies will be in impeccable English and whenever its research becomes audible it would be even more of a pleasure. There are not many in India now who can use the English language so well as T N Kaul, But then the difficulty is Kaul actually speaks two languages. One is his old-fashioned, suave and rather diplomatic English, the other is his political language. We cannot say we fully like or even understand the latter. Kaul in his remarkable speech during the inauguration went hammer and tongs at China and the US, one felt, in that order. The overriding problem in Indochina is China and unless those misbehaving urchins in Beijing are made to behave there shall be no peace in Indochina! Sceptics like us have the impression that it is quite customary with the section of an elite in India not to attack the United States either in isolation or as the principal enemy. If you combined your attack on the US with China or Pakistan or both, it is so much safer. More particularly, if you attack China as much or even more than you attack the United States, everybody is happy. Reagan

The Lady Doth Protest Too Much

The Lady Doth Protest Too Much G P D AS is her wont, the lady has thundered. The certainty with which she speaks is indeed admirable, We wish we had some of it ourselves. Unfortunately we don't. The reference is to our Prime Minister's statement to the BBC that India cannot be dominated by any superpower. She said With a confidence so typical of her that "we are not dominated at all". So the statement relates to the oresent situation, but also speaks of the foreseeable future, foreseeable by the lady and her theoreticians. We do not know who her theoreticians are. Perhaps she has none. She has only speech-writers who occasionally plagiarise from Pakistani economists, but that's another matter! We cannot think of any statesman in the third world who is so supremely confident. Across the border the Pakistani politician- generals are not confident of their positions, let alone of their views. In the tower of Babel that Asian politics has became, one voice stands out quite clearly. Its thrust is quite clear. It is unmistakable and perhaps the most coherent in what it has to say. It is Indira Gandhi's voice. It has only one thins to say to the West: "We are not' dominated at all." She may be right. .There are many people here and abroad who are persuaded by her logic that India cannot be dominated. We are a little sceptical. When a Third World leader indulges in bravado, one can Safely assume that the reality is cuite the opposite. But may be, this time it is different. After all, the number of capitals happy with the noises being made in Delhi is, if anything increasing. This much credit must be given to Indian foreign plicy, i e, to Indira Gandhi. To persale people from places as different as Moscow and London (if not Washington) to brieve that you cannot be dominated is no mall achievement..

Confused View

In its last years the military regime stood on a stilt on four and a half pillars: the military, the bureaucracy, the land-owning rich, the business-cum- industrial houses and the fragile constitutional facade hewn out of the highly perishable quarries of basic democracy and the 1962 constitution. The 'retired military officers' became a visible segment of the ruling elite1 further strengthening the principal pillar of the regime; the military. Rizvi shows how the Ayub Khan military regime collapsed as a result of its weaknesses and contradictions. It was felled by the people and not by the organised political forces, that is, the political parties. They could not restore representative civil government. Ayub handed over power to the Commander-in-Chief of the army. Some Pakistanis realised during the crisis of 1968 that a decisive military defeat alone could bring an end to military rule in Pakistan. Rizv's study of Bhutto frames the man in his tragic and almost inevitable failure to build a strong civilian regime in Pakistan in five years. Had Bhutto continued for another five years he might have succeeded in breaking the political back of the military. In his last two years, however, he succeeded only in strengthening the military's political clout. The military realised that it had to remove Bhutto from the political scene if it were to return to power in Pakistan. Hence the coup of July 1977 and hence the hanging of Bhutto.

Two Steps Forward, One Step Back

Two Steps Forward, One Step Back G P D FROM a no-war pact to a friendship treaty is no small progress. India and Pakistan seem to have achieved it during their latest round of talks. Following the Agha Shahi visit to New Delhi from January 30 to February 2 it became clear that Indira Gandhi and Gen Zia were keen on putting Indo-Pakistan relations on a not-so-firm basis of "as little of mutual suspicion as possible". The exchange has taken the usual course. Going by the Indian Press coverage of the talks, it appeared as if Indo-Pakistan differences were irreconcilable and that the two countries' perceptions of the South Asian situation had no common points. Gradually the weather seemed to clear. Now it appears as if there were no differences worth the name between the two long- lost brothers. A panel has been created to go into and solve outstanding issues between India and Pakistan, The idea of a 'no-war pact' (author Gen Zia) has been replaced by the idea of a 'friendship treaty' (author Indira Gandhi). Discussions will continue. Drafts will be exchanged. Explanations will be sought. It is even possible that a document might be signed which might be called by a third and respectable non- aligned name.

Battle Won, But the War

Battle Won, But the War?
G P D GENERAL JARUZELSKY and his comrades seem to have won the first battle in Poland. Everybody in the world from Reagan in Washington to Deng Xiaoping in Beijing was talking of the imminent Soviet intervention in Poland. There was in fact an attractive theory floated. The theory was that the Soviets intervene once every 12 years: Hungary in 1956, Czechoslovakia in 1968 and the expected intervention in Poland in 1980-81. It all looked very attractive, except that it did not happen. In the meanwhile the Polish communist party planned its counter- offensive against Solidarity. The General seems to have pulled it through.

Dalit Literature

Dalit Literature tion or two more of urbanisation? Does and should the rejection of 'Brahmanical" literature necessarily involve turnG P D ing one's back on traditional literature IN December 1981 the Lokayan (Gujarat) organised a pioneering seminar on Dalit literature in Bombay. It was pioneering in the sense that it was the first of, what might hopefully become, a series of get-togethers of Marathi and Gujarati Dalit writers and critics. The fact that it was the first of its kind and also that two literatures were presented and discussed made some of the proceedings of the seminar very formal and elementary. Nevertheless the seminar succeeded in identifying some of the problems that Dalit writers face, particularly in Gujarat. The Dalit movement is relatively young in Gujarat. It does not have a tradition in terms of either a social movement or a literary movement, as it certainly has in Maharashtra. Precisely for that reason the deliberations showed earnestness and led to exchange of some useful information and experience.

India-China Talks

India-China Talks G P D THE Gonsalves mission to Beijing seems to have been a tame affair. It has teen said by many that the fact that there were 'cordial' and 'friendly' talks between India and China after nearly two decides is in itself quite an achievement and progress. This is, of course, true. One must remember also that the Sino-Indian talks of 1961 were a miserable failure. They had provided a fat officials' report on the border question find had, in a sense, directly led to the military confrontation of 1962. The officials' report was an exercise in futility. It was a major factor which made a Sino-Indian settlement an impossibility. Both India and China demonstrated through the report how questions of territory can in fact be the most insurmountable obstacles to normal relations between states. To accuse one side of unreasonableness and of taking the road of confrontation as Robert Maxwell does is to ignore altogether the remnants of history and the territorial imperative that survive in the foreign policies of modern states, whether socialist or non-socialist. China and Soviet Union have given us enough evidence since the days of the Himalayan war that their leaderships are no less capable of pushing their very traditional, historical and at times irredentist claims to territory at the cost of everything else. To be sure, Nehru was no less guilty of that. But then this must now be taken as an inevitable part of world politics. Territory' is one problem which seems to defy proletarian internationalism and Afro- Asian solidarity. Our problems with China are but one example of what has become a constant feature of world politics.

Westward Slide

Westward Slide G P D INDIRA GANDHI is back from yet another trip abroad. This trip, as she rightly claimed in Paris, has been quite successful in projecting the new image of India and India's foreign policy; India and its foreign policy, positions are now betted understood in Europe. Considering that Westerners usually understand only such positions as1 meet their requirements, the implications of the PM's statement should not be tery obscure. In other wof ds, Indira Gandhi has managed to strike a friendly note in Rome and Paris and, of course, to keep high the baner of non-alignment in Sofia as well. Indian foreign policy has taken a new and decidedly pro-West turn.

Long Shadow over South Asia

Long Shadow over South Asia G P D IF there is one role that Indira Gandhi can do full justice to, it is the one of being and acting tough On return from the Cancun meeting she addressed a press conference at Palam airport during which she quite unceremoniously dismissed Gen Zia's offer of a no-war pact with India. The arguments were old and familiar. The Indian refection of the offer itself was not quite new or unexpected. It remained one almost of the Nehru-Menon rejection of Ayub Khan's offer of ' joint defence'. One has to say 'almost' because the grounds of rejection then were rather different The question posed then was "joint defence against whom?". The argument then was that Pakistan and India did not share the same world view, had different perception of enemies and so en, and as such Joint defece against different enemies was not possible.


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