Sunday, September 30, 2007

Your Friendly Red Neighbour

What do Bangladesh and India have in common? Both have a red neighbour ... OK, so I tried to pre-empt your guesses, because Bangladesh and India do have a lot in common, including the famed, self-professed Bengali intelligentsia! But I wanted to guide your answer to one particular avenue, that is to the red neighbour Bangladesh has ... aka West Bengal, or Poshchim Bongo ... Who see red in just about anything anybody does.

Take the example of the 123 agreement. I know a lot of the blogosphere has been talking about this ... there was an article in the ToI today, titled Bengal urgently needs industry which is based on a dialogue with Mr. Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee. The CM talks about a pro-Soviet lobby (as in the past, it would seem), and there were those who followed the China line during the 1962 war (a border dispute). While every citizen of the country to hold whatever opinion they feel like, one must ask ... What does one say of people who toe the enemy line during hostilities?

Sadly, this is not just relegated to the past. The blogosphere is abuzz with thoughts that the Left is toeing the Beijing line. Read this for an example. What does the Congress do? I think the Congress would do well to go it alone ... There is plenty of support in the country for the deal, and the country shouldnt let one element of a coalition hold the entire country to ransom.

This should be taken in the light of the fact that China is doing far more with respect to their energy security than India is. Neither is China per se opposed to nuclear power, nor are they allergic to working out a similar deal with Pakistan (its been reported in the press, but I cant seem to find the link). For one, India is hampered by the relationship with Pakistan. We dont seem to be having a strategic outlook with the Indo-China region, nor do we seem to be having an integrated policy towards the Central Asian Republics. There is huge scope for India to work very closely with them, but somewhere, we seem to be losing the race. While we might well say that "slow and steady wins the race", but the fact remains, we are not doing anything close to running. Add to this the fact that we dont even seem to have a policy towards exploitation of renewable resources, be it solar, or wind energy (we have plenty of them, as I am sure anybody student of Geography would agree!). Why cant we, for example, take a leaf out of the Dutch book, in the form of windmills? Surely, this is not a Quixotic idea?

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