Advani blames Nehru for many ills of India, hails daughter Indira

via Pioneer News Service | New Delhi published on February 15, 2010

Senior BJP leader LK Advani on Monday blamed former Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru’s style of handling foreign affairs for many of the problems the country presently facing and contrasted him with his daughter Indira Gandhi “under whom (as Prime Minister) Bangladesh was carved out and India took its initial step into the field of nuclear weapon”.

Sadly, Advani observed, the shock that Nehru suffered when confronted by China’s gross betrayal in 1962 virtually cost him his life while his mishandling of Pakistan left terrorism and Kashmir as two festering sores for our body politik right up to this day.

“The Congress Party has always projected Pandit Nehru as an exemplary helmsman of India’s foreign policy. The founder of our political movement, Dr Syama Prasad Mookerji, on the other hand, regarded Panditji’s handling of Pakistan as well as China as two egregious blunders of his,” Advani wrote in the latest post on his blog.

Advani quoted from a book of Fareed Zakaria, Editor of Newsweek International, whose late father was a committed Congressman, that India’s policies became “especially tough-minded and shrewd” during the reign of Nehru’s daughter, Indira Gandhi.

“We all know that it was during her (Indira Gandhi’s) regime that Bangladesh was carved out, and that India took its initial step into the field of nuclear weaponry. Those who have been following the development of India into a full fledged nuclear weapons state are aware that Pokharan I took place in 1974, during Gandhi’s tenure. The process then started was completed by Prime Minister Vajpayee through Pokharan II, where on May 11, 1998, three underground nuclear tests were successfully conducted,” he wrote.

“A more glaring instance of Nehruji’s unconcern for India’s own strategic interests” wherein the former PM refused to accept a US offer in 1955 of a permanent seat in the UN Security Council, till then held by Taiwan, he pointed out.

“He insisted that the seat be given to China. Interestingly, this fact is mentioned in his book on Pandit Nehru by Shashi Tharoor, an MOS in Manmohan Singh Government. When Nehru declined to accept the US proposal, his argument was that he did not want US to marginalise China. We thereby only hurt our own interests,” Advani maintained.

He recalled that China later went on to strongly oppose a permanent place for India in UN Security Council when Russia proposed the same at a conclave of Foreign Ministers of BRIC countries (Brazil, Russia, India and China) at Yekaterinburg (Russia) in 2008.

Advani quoted Zakaria’s book to recall that when Mountbatten suggested that there be a powerful chief of defense staff, Nehru turned down the suggestion.

“A week into his new Government, he walked over to the Defense Ministry and was furious to find military officers working there (as they do in every defence ministry in the world). Since then all armed service personnel working in New Delhi’s ‘South Block’ wear civilian clothes,” Advani quoted Zakaria.

He recalled that Nehru remained India’s Prime Minister from 1947 to 1964 and that his own Minster Krishna Menon observed in his autobiography: “We had no precedents to fall back upon because India had no foreign policy of her own until she became Independent …our policy therefore necessarily rested on the intuition of one man, who was Foreign Minister, Jawaharlal Nehru.”

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