Sunday, January 09, 2005

India, the tsunami and aid

openDemocracy will publish an article later this week on the politics of the tsunami in India by Antara Dev Sen, the editor of The Little Magazine in Delhi. This will go alongside my bit on the science.

Ahead of the publication of Antara's piece, it's interesting to read the analysis by Edward Luce in the Financial Times, India defends refusal to accept foreign aid (online 5 Jan). Luce observes:

Many assume New Delhi's stance is...tied up with its goal of achieving a permanent seat on the United Nations Security Council.

He reports a Western diplomat as saying:

"India wants to be seen as part of the solution, not part of the problem...It has certainly been part of the solution in countries like Sri Lanka. But if assessments in the future shot that India's refusal of foreign aid has cost Indian lives, then this will not add to its reputation."

On Indian co-operation with the US, the following from Raja Mohan, a security analyst in New Delhi:

"The idea of self-reliance is still the default position of both India's left and right and it does look outdated...What is new is India's happiness to work to this extent with the US military in its backyard. India knows China would try to till any regional gap vacated by the US military".

This last point made clear by extent to which China is going for a deep water navy including a very large submarine fleet and, ultimately challenging US power in the Pacific and the Indian Ocean.

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