Permit me to go back to the days of 1947-48 up to 1950, when the Commonwealth of Nations was just a fledgling organisation. India became a sovereign Republic on January 26, 1950.
Then, Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru hailed the birth of the Commonwealth. As he acknowledged then, true globalisation means and entails global citizenship of all people on this planet. The word Commonwealth profoundly conveys the meaning that we share the wealth gifted to us by nature as well as the economic, social, cultural aspects of all member-nations. Nehru in his magnanimity and true spirit of statesmanship acknowledged the Queen of England as the Head of the Commonwealth, though India became a Republic.
Prime Minister Manmohan Singh’s decision to stay away from CHOGM 2013 does not augur well for his statesmanship. He has missed a great opportunity to interact with other heads of state as well as with the Sri Lankan President for a frank talk on the Tamils issue.
Wg.Cdr. (retd.) K. R. Dwarakanath,
Dr. Singh could have raised crucial issues at the meet. Instead, he has bowed to fickle allies who will now claim their pound of flesh in 2014.
The Indian decision is at best political inexpediency when viewed holistically; in a region of strategic importance, it is a classic example of flawed foreign policy. Constructive skills of diplomacy skills displayed by India in the September elections to the Northern Provincial Council in Sri Lanka and its net gain have been sacrificed at the altar of narrow and parochial political considerations.
The editorial stand of The Hindu on the Prime Minister not going to Sri Lanka as being wrong is not correct.
We should not forget the axiom that democracy follows the principle that it is by the people, of the people and for the people of India. In this context, bowing to the wishes of the people of the south is right and ascribing it as a “narrow regional view” is unjustifiable. Nevertheless, as the editorial points out, India should be ready for the strategic and diplomatic fallout.