Letters to the Editor — April 15, 2021

On the election trail

In the context of the high-decibel elections, the quality of public discourse has taken a beating. It is no exaggeration to say that with every election, the slide continues. The unfortunate truth is that the political arena has become little more than another avenue to belittle one’s opponent, using innuendo and disparaging comments. We need to establish a climate for healthy public discourse as befits the office one holds. The political process will suffer enormously if there is a lack of courtesy and ignoring the important democratic tradition of respecting dissent. It is disappointing that institutions which should have been the guardrails of democracy have not lived up to their credentials. We need to set dignified standards of civility and decorum in public life.

H.N. Ramakrishna,


I am 77 and a long-time reader of this daily. This is probably the first time I have come across a Prime Minister stooping so low in public discourse (Inside pages, “Modi is mocking me, says Mamata”, April 14). Our political leaders need to learn basic decency. Cheap politics has no place in India’s rich and varied democracy.

C.K. Prem Kumar,

Palakkad, Kerala

It does not behove India’s Prime Minister to stoop so low to mock a woman political opponent. The sing-song utterance is more akin to a cat call. The exalted office of Prime Minister requires and obliges its holder to behave like a true statesman. It is inexcusable to be seeking to justify or condone the way the leader makes his salutation by citing political hostility between the BJP and the TMC. No self-respecting woman would wish to be called or spoken to in that tone of voice.

G. David Milton,

Maruthancode, Tamil Nadu

The Prime Minister should understand that if he has been elected as the Prime Minister, so too has the West Bengal Chief Minister. Both must accord respect to the offices they hold even while campaigning for their parties. Mr. Modi’s catcall-like jibe may be to keep the crowd in good humour in the heat of the political campaigning but it is setting a bad example for future leaders of his own party. Former Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee never violated or allowed his party men to cross the limit when it came to decent public discourse. On many an occasion, Mr. Vajpayee even expressed his displeasure against his party leaders using undignified language against political opponents.

N. Nagarajan,


U.S. Navy intrusion

Just when India-U.S. bilateral relations seemed to be gathering considerable momentum through cooperation on strategic issues and a plethora of multilateral issues, comes the disturbing report that India and the U.S. are sparring over their respective perceptions and interpretation of international maritime laws.

If it is for the first time that the U.S. Navy has issued a public statement giving details of the operation, it is a clear sign that the newly elected President of the U.S, Joe Biden, whose foreign policy seemed refreshingly different from his predecessor’s abrasive policy, is no different from him when it comes to following the U.S’s foreign policy of asserting its supremacy over smaller, less powerful nations. What is unacceptable is that the U.S. has not even ratified the UNCLOS, and therefore, seems to be flouting Article 19 of the Convention that restricts military activities in foreign EEZs. The U.S is apparently using the FONOP to ride roughshod over coastal nations to claim their exclusive territories. It is appalling that this self-acclaimed champion of democracy, which challenges China on its unwarranted maritime claims and behaviour in the South China Sea, is proving to be not very different from the autocratic nation when it comes to hegemony. The U.S’s hostile behaviour toward India in the Indian Ocean could cast a shadow over India’s Quad partnership. As military activities in another state’s EEZ have been a bone of contention during the negotiations for the UNCLOS and there is a lot of ambiguity over the legality of military operations in foreign EEZs, India, by virtue of being one among nearly 20 nations purporting to regulate or prohibit military activities in their EEZs, should push for more clarity on the issue in the UNCLOS.

Nalini Vijayaraghavan,


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Printable version | May 12, 2021 4:41:23 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/opinion/letters/letters-to-the-editor-april-15-2021/article34320598.ece

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