Why do neighbours dislike India?

By TJS George

Major political shifts are taking place in India’s immediate neighbourhood — all of them inauspicious to India. In Maldives, Nepal, Myanmar, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka, local sentiments have found expression in ways unseen before. There’s a new geopolitical game being played out there, and India is not a player. Is Delhi uninterested or unable to have a say — uninterested because its priorities  are issues like new definitions of patriotism, and unable because prevailing political preferences have reduced the foreign policy establishment to an also-ran with neither vision nor weight.

Of the various reasons for this setback, three are important. First, even in Jawaharlal Nehru’s days — when India had a competent and effective foreign policy — Delhi and its ambassadors had a condescending attitude towards the small countries on its periphery.  This made neighbours dislike India from the start. Secondly, the BJP’s rise to power brought about fundamental attitudinal changes in India that filled neighbouring countries with suspicion laced with derision. Third, China plays Big Brother.

Maldives found it easy to publicly discredit India when an internal crisis forced it to declare emergency in February. China added to the embarrassment by saying that it would oppose any direct action by India. Delhi quietly swallowed the pills. To current President Abdullah Yameen, China is one of Maldives’ “most dependable partners.”

India’s handling of Nepal is a story of one disaster after another. At least after monarchy was displaced by democracy in Nepal, Delhi should have realised that this neighbour deserved more attention and more respect than it was accorded in the past. Instead, even desperately needed earthquake relief was provided with a superiority complex that stirred public protests in Kathmandu. The way Indian media covered the news of relief supplies showed that the superiority complex was by no means confined to political and bureaucratic circles.

Then came the induction of a Hindutva element into India’s Nepal policy. Under monarchy Nepal was a declared Hindu State, 80 percent of its population being Hindu. But more than two-thirds of the legislature decided in 2015 to declare Nepal a secular State. Instead of respecting this position, the BJP Government objected to it and used the Madhesis, Indian-origin Nepalese, to create a crisis. Against the background of Madhesi demand for changes in the constitution, an economic blockade caused widespread suffering in landlocked Nepal where everything from food to petrol was held up at the borders. It was the most dimwitted action in a series of dimwitted actions. China gained enormously at India’s expense.

A pro-China communist alliance has since come to power in Nepal. China, always shrewder, gives small countries the feeling that it respects them. Their aid programmes and economic projects may eventually make the small countries dependent on Beijing, but the absence of condescension makes a difference.

If the Hindutva profile of today’s India has put off a Hindu-majority country like Nepal, we can imagine its effect on non-Hindu neighbours. India’s plan to deport 40,000 Rohingyas to Myanmar ran into rough weather in that country. Border trade is also a bone of contention. Aung San Suu Kyi visits China and China offers her meaningful proposals centred round the Belt and Road economic corridor. Suu Kyi has emotional bonds with India where she studied. But those bonds have no relevance now.

Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina is personally beholden to India but is unable to prevent Muslim antagonism against local Hindus. The intractable border problems between India and Bangladesh are kept intractable by business lobbies interested in the smuggling of food items, livestock, medicines and drugs. To put it simply, India has more foes in Bangladesh than friends.

Sri Lanka leaning towards China is perhaps the most significant shift that concerns India. China’s virtual “purchase” of Hambantota Port in Sri Lanka’s southern coast gives it a strategic advantage that is unparalleled. There is additionally the “new Colombo” it is building on reclaimed sea in Colombo harbour. Across Sri Lanka today, what one sees is China and more China.

China looks a hundred years ahead. India looks to the next general election. Our policy makers should pay heed to the views Bangladeshi writer Tahmima Anam expressed in 2007. Saying that India was “aggressively self-interested,” she analysed “the peculiar paranoia of the strong towards the weak” and said: “We cannot love India. The relationship is too unequal for romance.” The wonder is China is stronger than India  and more “aggressively self-interested” in its current international activities. Yet no weak country says ‘We cannot love China.’ Strange? Perhaps not.

tjsoffice@epmltd.com

www.tjsgeorge.info

View Comments (8)

  • Is the author of this piece really Indian? I doubt it! This must be the piece of fiction collected by the Chinese megha!i don not know if all our neighboring countries hate us, but definitely this person hates Modi and his government more than China and Pakistan India!

    • In defense of TJS George :

      As a serving senior foreign service officer ( I am forced use a pseudonym ) I have to admit that TJS George has highlighted the unpleasant truths.

      India has always treated the neighboring countries with much disdain and now we are reaping the results
      India is badly isolated among its neighbors, has no friends . China has very cleverly cornered India through clever diplomacy .

      Just gifting the junk Dhruv helicopters to Maldives does not buy friends
      We need to stop gloating over the Dokalm standoff . China could have crushed India like a cockroach but decided to pick its battles wisely ,that's all .

      Just because TJS George said the unpalatable truth he does not become a traitor or a Congress agent . Indeed , by the telling the true state of affairs he proven that he is a patriot

  • TJS George seems to be a paid agent of the congress party and always writes a biased reports.

  • China has been nibbling away our Indian territory during the mother and son's rule under defacto mute Mohan Singh rule , no issues for George! Rahul and Vadra had cozy personal business relationship with Chinese , no issues there! Pakistan has been beheading our soldiers during that time, no complaints from George! As per him, we had great relationships with our neighbors! India did not have any respect in the international community then, no problem for George! Under MMS rule, India was bending down while China and Pak had their way, that us what Geoge calls it a good relationshi?
    For once, India stood up agaist bullying and Dokla standoff assertively, and Goeoge thinks Modi lost the good relationship with neighboring countries!?
    Does George think that bleeding behind is the indication of a good relationship! Then, MMS achieved a lot of "good relationship" and Modi definitely lost it especially for China and Pak! Beheaded soldiers and lost Indian territories indicate thar! Anyway Gandhi family were the beneficiaries of that good relationship!
    Now people should decide who is this author? He definitely does not have an Indian heart or a soul! Hope our neighbors reward him for this service!

  • Our neighbors may like or dislike India, it is their judgement not a great concern! But what is so alarming is, when Modi has such a great international stature and honoured by even Muslim nations why are some people are so bent backwards with hatred? If you just read articles from this author, he speaks as though utolopia was lost with the election of modi! He has criticized modi, demoralized Indian army , our police on Every occasion painting the picture that India has become a worst country o this planet! He dies not speak about the murders of BJP workers in Karnataka or Kerala but wants to attach every other death to the handiwork of modi and his gang! This is not journalism , but just pure hatred! In the hear of anti modi, he has stated hating Hindus in general unless they prove to be Congress loyalusts or communists . If Hindus were so intolerant as George accuses them , he would not be living to see another day after publishing so many anti Hindu articles, or nobody at be reading them! Freedom of press is good if that freedom brings out the truth! But, This is a work of pure hallucinations laced with hatred.
    So, as some think, China showed mercy at Dokhlam and did not punish India ? Some MORONS think so, but even China does not believe it! You people should get some life! It is people like Vadra and Rahul who have business relationship with China. Rahul had sent an emissary to Pak, mani iyer to muster support to pull Down modi government! Do you think if crushing Indiain Dokhlam was a possibility, Rahul would not have advised china to do so? If that was possible, China would have taken that route! They preferred to use the stray dogs living in India who are faithful to China bark for them!

    • 1. Sultan of Oman “Said-bin_taimur” offered port of Gwadar as a gift to India in 1950, but Nehru declined the gift. Later sultan sold it to Pak. Now Pak has given it to China which is used to keep spying and survilence around Persian gulf, centre, and South Asia and check Indian growth
      2. PM Nehru refused to accept kalat《Baloochistan) to merge with India after the king of balooch Ahmed Balooch in 1947.. Later Pak forcefully invaded Baloochistan and occupied in 1948
      3. In 1962 was China attacked north east India and killed over 50000 people . PM Nehru had the audacity to ignore that in aggression and said, not even a blade of grass grows in that barren land, so did not care Later, ULFA BODO nd other groups of North East It did did not want to stay with India as they did it protect them from massacre by the Chinese army.
      4. Nehru gifted the COCO island(Google map q4.13858593.368422) to Burma. Burma gifted it to China to spy on India. China has an airstrip and spy station there working against our nation.
      5. PM Nehru had agreed to give our Hyderabad to Pak, but sardar Patel failed that bid by a planning operation polo -also called Hyderabad Mukhthi Sanghram against Nehru wishes and surrender the NIZAM to India Nehru was very angry at Patel for this move.
      6. USA offered UN permanent seat in 1950, Nehru refused to accept it. Again Russia offered India a perm and seat in UN security council which Nehru refused it again in 1955. And he ensured that China will get that seat. Today, China is blocking every move from India in getting any UN membership.
      7. In 1947, after independence Nepal PM matrika Prasad koirala conveyed his desire to join India, but our PM Nehru rejected the offer
      8. PM nehru gifted the kabo valley Manipu 12000 square km to burma. Now Burma is supporting China
      9. Kashmir issue is the glaring example of his shortsightedness and incompetence. He believed that PAk and Chinese are friends and UN was a fair body! That was the grandest of his illusions and we are suffering every single day because of it!
      10. He was called chacha Nehru by the Indian kids, but it reality he is more of a chacha to Chinese and paki children as more kids have died or destroyed due to paki terrorism!
      As some British newspapers remarked, India never got independence in 1947 and Nehru was the last viceroy who was Indian by Birth. His every dicision was just to please pak or China. Yet Chinese did not support him! It was an one sided love affair! Today, all his failures are coming back to haunt us.
      Nehru hated the nationalists like Patel and Bose and hell bent on pleasing the Muslims and the British that he played so many dirty tricks!
      But the times were favorable, Gandhi was too idealistic to understand the con games of Nehru and media and textbooks praised Nehru and built the grand patriotic image that he never was!
      This day, we see Rahul carrying his DNA and sending emissaries to Pakistan to overthrow Modi !
      Similarly they Rahul and congress trying very hard to make deals with China to bring down the BJP government even during the Doklam crisis. BJP is highly nationalistic and Rahul and his friends can’t tolerate! Just like Nehru could not tolerate Patel and Bose, his great grandson cont tolerate Modi!
      Now, George being a great fan of Nehru has to condemn every move by Modi! No surprise in that! You can watch Modi hatred in every one of his articles! He can’t make us believe that no problems that all problems were because of bjp! All the problems congress created are coming to light under bjp! The truth is now exposed!
      But, if truth be told, congress is the root cause of all the problems India is facing! Especially the Nehru clan!
      Even Rajiv had his share in the Srilanka crisis that he sent Indian army (IPKF) to kill Indians in Srilanka! Congress controlled media always presented their version of the truth! Congress should not have been allowed to continue, but media was under the grip and truth was never told!

      • No wonder , the rest of the world thinks we are a third wired country! It is even surprising that Indians survived the rule of this creep! Fortunately many congressmen of that era were true Gandhians unlike the playboy Nehru! He totally misused media girl his own personal gains and image!

      • This is an eye opener! We were all misled in our childhood that Nehru was as selfless a man as Gandhi! We were provided information and text books, the self serving lies for generations! Lal BAhadur shastiji remarked once that Nehru is only interested in bringing up his daughter and that news never came to public! Nehru was a great manupulator that he only made British happy ! Indians need to be congratulated that Inspite of him being the PM, Indians worked hard and did not perish! Thanks to some congressman who Preserved Gandhi's values! I think even Jinnah could be a better pm compared to Nehru