Is there a Method in UPA II’s Madness ?

via Dr. Vijaya Rajiva published on May 13, 2010

With the spate of Congress ministers engaging in irresponsible shenanigans the people of Bharat may well ask if with friends like these they need enemies! The last few weeks have witnessed shocking statements coming out of senior Congress ministers, the latest being Environment Minister Jairam Ramesh. His  remark while on foreign soil (China) whether his
Home Ministry was being paranoid in their suspicions of China’s attempts to gain entry into India’s telecom and communications network is a prime example.

The remark was serious enough for the PM to talk personally to the minister and admonish him and ask that he contact the Home Minister. Indian journalists have by and large been charitable in their interpretations of  Ramesh’s motives, with Vinod Mehta of Outlookindia, observing that this may be a case of intra ministerial competition, though even  Mehta could not quite fathom how this remark could have come from a minister whose intelligence has
never been in   doubt. In a debate on NDTV,  Chandan Mitra of The Pioneer,was severe in his criticism of Jairam’s ethical lapse in criticizing his own Government and that too on foreign soil on a matter of the country’s internal security. Saba Naqvi Bhaumuki, in that same debate, called  the entire episode “weird” but Ms.Naqvi is not well known for the seriousness of her
journalistic analyses (the present writer has to date read only one serious article of hers, and that interestingly and perhaps revealingly, was on the question of Waqf properties).

Throughout the serious debate, she had a smile on her face, and it was only when she made the irrelevant remark that the BJP should not make a great deal out of this episode since their ministers had made excursions into historical issues, such as Jinnah and the Partition (reference to Mr. Advani’s and Jaswant Singh’s discussions), that her purpose  became clear. Chandan Mitra appropriately responded that history should be studied and in any case Jairam Ramesh’s lapse was a serious issue.

How serious an issue can be gauged from the fact that the Minister  seems to have been acting as a lobbyist for one particular Chinese telecommunication company, Huawei,which is seen as suspect by many countries, both in Europe and in the U.S. Huawei has links both with the PLA and officials, retired and serving of the Chinese intelligence.

B. Raman has warned of the dangers in his timely article  ‘ A Wake Up Call’ (Outlookindia,May 9, 2010). Mr. Raman is an experienced security analyst . He was formerly Additional Secrretary(retd.), Cabinet Secretariat, Government Of India, New Delhi, and presently, Director,Institute for Topical Studies, Chennai. He is also associated with the Chennai Centre for Chinese Studies.

“Prudence demands that in our enthusiasm for expanding our economic ties with China we should not allow suspect companies such as Huawei a free run of our country, and access to our communications network, which could facilitate their collection of intelligence in times of peace and war and paralyse our criticial infrastructure during any military conflict.

The Indian intelligence agencies have done the right thing in sounding the wake-up call. Instead of taking their warnings seriously and examining what mid-course corrections are called for in our policy of giving a free run to Chinese telecommunication companies, Shri Jairam Ramesh, Minister of State for Environment, has chosen to ridicule the intelligence agencies and the Ministry of Home Affairs for imposing, what he has described as, needless restrictions and for being paranoid about Chinese investments. He has been quoted as saying:

‘We are imagining demons where there are none.’ “

B.Raman in ‘ A Wake Up Call’

The present writer in a previous article (  ‘Shashi Tharoor: Gentleman artist or New Delhi’s Man for all seasons ‘ published in Haindava Keralam,05/05/2010) had asked whether Tharoor’s actions were mere idiosyncrasies or whether there was more to all this than meets the eye. His attendance at a Seminar (as reported in the Kerala press) where the guest lecturer was expected to be a well known supporter of jihadi Islam (Yusuf Quadarawi) is questionable.

For further details about this unsavoury character Quadarawi,the reader is referred to

Then, there is the unusual situation of Digvijay Singh criticising the Home Minister for undertaking to deal with the Naxalite menace. There have been reports about the Church’s connections with Maoist insurgents in the Philippines. Only the nationalist BJP and the Left Opposition stoutly defended the Home Minister. Sonia Gandhi has remained silent throughout. There is some speculation that her silence can be attributed to the fact that missionaries have
not been attacked by the Naxalites.

Is there indeed more to all this than meets the eye ? The BJP has done the right thing by calling for Jairam Ramesh’s resignation. It is also time for the people of India to call the Congress on what seems to be a pattern of anti national conduct on the part of its ministers.

( Dr. Rajiva taught Politcal Science at a Canadian university)

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