Indian Hypocrisy is Himalyan

In a lofty speech delivered via video to the 75th General Assembly of UN (September 2020) – the first of its kind initiated in the wake of the pandemic — Prime Minister Narendra Modi took great pains to explain a range of issues from India’s “Neighbourhood First Policy” to the new dimensions of the Indo-Pacific region.
Among the achievements he highlighted was this unusual factor peculiar to India only: “In the same period (i.e. within 4-5 years),” he said “600 million people have been freed from open defecation. “This was not an easy task. But India has achieved it,” he said with pride.

The entire SAARC neighbourhood joins India in celebrating this achievement. But what baffles the SAARC partners in the region is why India continues to defecate in the neighbourhood so openly and unashamedly? The biggest shock of being a SAARCian is that no one ever knows when India would decide to defecate either in your front yard or backyard. There isn’t a single SAARCian that is not working ceaselessly to keep their patch free from India faeces. India’s “do-as-I-say-and-not do-as-I-do policy” has been a fundamental flaw in India’s foreign policy.

The failure of SAARC to progress as a regional bloc – the only regional bloc to stagnate so far — is due solely to India’s pursuit of self-interest at the expense of its neighbours. If there is a problem in SAARC you can be sure that India is somewhere in it. And yet the Prime Minister boasted in the same speech, “We have always worked for the interests of humankind and not driven by our own self-interests.

BY H.L.D. MAHINDAPALA



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