In USA, if someone attacks the USA, the country is smoked and flamed. Same in the United Kingdom and most of the other countries… But in India, if you attack us the answer is clear and very strong. We WILL NOT PLAY CRICKET WITH YOU.
It is sad that our foreign policy is decided over tea and cricket and not over what really concerns the nation. Lets see a few countries and important periods from India’s foreign policy history and compare them to a classroom situation.
Non-Alignment: You were once rich. You were travelling in a train with all your riches. A classy and rich looking person comes and sits next to you. You like him; he is white. He offers you a biscuit, you eat it, but the biscuit’s drugged; he loots you, makes you his slave; tells others that you are his prettiest slave. Every day, you wish you hadn’t eaten that biscuit; then he lets you go, when he feels you are no more pretty enough. You hate biscuits now. You hate strangers now. You are scared of strangers now. You close the doors, shut the curtains, stay home and tell everyone to leave you alone. You make tea and convince yourself that you are good enough to be anything you want and it is your choice to sit at home and watch TV
Panchsheel: Basically five pricinples, (1) Don’t trust strangers. (2) Don’t take biscuits from strangers. (3) Make your own biscuits. (4) Be nice to everyone but don’t make friends. (5) Dream of a world where biscuits are not drugged and everything is fair.
China: The class bully; He was your best friend in nursery; you cried when teacher beat him, but he saw you as the teacher’s pet. He pretended to be your best friend, but one day pulled your shorts down in front of everyone. You were humiliated but could do nothing about it. You want to build muscles and one day take revenge, but you were too poor to buy protein for muscle; and too afraid to ask others (remember the drugged biscuit?). Therefore, you tried to give him some of your things to appease him.
C was also poor. C saved and almost starved himself to death so he can eat full meals later, but realized his folly. He is more pragmatic and cunning, so he went to richer people and did their work in return for chicken and eggs. He bulked up; he did more work and ate more eggs. Then he owned poultry. He traded eggs for iPods, became the cool and popular rich kid. Your stomach hurts because of jealousy, and also because you haven’t eaten in many days. You give him a condescending look and feel superior. Now he makes cheaper iPods, buys guns, bullies you. You reach out to your senior A in school, upload a picture with him on FB (in return for doing his homework) to show you are friends.
America: That guy in the senior class who only likes you because you do his work. You like him because he is popular, rich, lives in a big house and lets you in sometimes. You wish you were him; you also like him because he can bully any other bully. He helps you when in need but he always takes more than he gives.
But now he has more juniors who can do his homework; and he plays with C on the school cricket team. They are starting to hang out together, but A is in a run of bad form, while C is the new star of the team. C might be made captain soon. A is starting to get worried. He offers to pay for your coaching so you can become a better player, and displace C as the star of the team and eventually get A back (because he is your friend remember?). But you are too fat, and too lazy. You blame it on your extra toe, and climate change and what not. You don’t mind being friends with A but you don’t want to trouble C, so you play cricket on the video games, hoping one day A will come back and C’s condition will worsen.
Russia: Another senior in school; once the philosopher and guide of C but later parted ways. Likes you a little because you once praised him at a party in front of all the parents and teachers; hates A. You love him. He gave you new pencils when no one else did; he sold you his old pencils for cheap. He once bullied both C and A. You love him also because he is selling you a fancy refurbished compass box. You want to become best friends but he finds you boring. Enjoys hating A; loves making A look like a fool. He also recently is using A’s biscuit which A had wanted to throw away.
Pakistan: Your pretty sister you love to hate to love to hate. Once joined at the hips, both of you parted ways on a very bitter and acrimonious note. She harbours a grudge against you for keeping one of the crown jewels but as with all failed relationships, it goes beyond that. You still have feelings for her of a very complex sort, and take her abuse in your stride. She flirts with others, including C, as if to spite you. She always spurns your well-intentioned offers to let bygones be bygones and start afresh. The last time you offered to treat her and give her a gift, she poured salad on your face in front of everyone and stabbed your feet with her sharp stiletto. Maybe, she will come around eventually, you hope. With women, you can never tell. Meanwhile, you just grin and bear it, sadly shaking your head as you watch her make a mess of her life.
[…] This is the second part to India’s Foreign Policy. To read the first part please click on this link. […]