A time to cheer

During the Falklands War, some of us in the Labour Party were objecting to a few violations of international law. After the sinking of the Belgrano, when the assembled media started asking Margaret Thatcher questions, she stood on the steps of 10 Downing Street, and, said Rejoice! As always her political instinct was sound; people savoured the triumph and did not look at the quibbles.

I hope if and when the Lok Sabha meets, Dr Manmohan Singh will start his speech the same way. There is every reason to rejoice. The NSG agreement along with the IAEA approval is the biggest success of Indian foreign policy. Thanks to Shiv Shankar Menon, Shyam Saran, the unfairly maligned Ronen Sen, and of course the personal chemistry between George Bush and the PM, India has got away with murder. The very group set up to deny India any nuclear slack has now rolled over. When before has the US President got on the phone to the President of China to play for India? Remember how Lyndon Johnson and Richard Nixon humiliated Indira Gandhi. India paraded its moral arrogance and championed the useless Non-Aligned Movement full of unreliable dictators. The world ignored India. I know. I did not have to read the Indian Press all these years.

The delicious irony of all the fuss about Bush and Berman is that if the US Congress stalls the 123 Agreement, the NSG has freed India to do business with France and Russia or UK. Then the Americans would have done all the hard work and got no business out of it. Eyes are popping out at the $500 billion and that is possibly why the Congress will after all work overtime and do what their lobbyists want.

Now for the first time India is playing in the Masters Championship and playing without handicaps. It is not whining for the rules to be changed for it. But the Indian Opposition parties have a victim mentality. They are convinced that the world is out to get India even when scores of countries bent over backwards to be fair to India. They will look at every comma and semicolon, imagine ghosts and fairies and cry foul.

... contd.

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