Glowing in Bushfire
President George Bush’s visit to India has indeed turned one of the oldest equations on its head. India, which never quite fitted in the western world’s alliance, is now considered one of the best buddies that the US is likely to have in the near future. There are several reasons why the White House wants India on its head. One is that India has a seemingly bottomless pool of talent that will keep the West’s factories and businesses ticking. And few of them are likely to moonlight as terrorists. Two, India’s market is maturing and millions of Indians have developed an appetite for the West’s expensive products. And last, perhaps a key factor, India is likely to buy billions and billions of dollars worth defence hardware. And that more than any other reason is going to keep the Pentagon’s generals, who have a hatred for India, at bay.
It is just as well that the world’s wealthiest democracy and its largest democracy have got together. With Islamic terror being the top concern for both India and the US, it’s good they have decided to combat it together. Al-Qaeda is on the rebound and the world is a lot less safer than it was before 9/11. It’s in the interests of both countries that they join forces to smoke out folks like Osama bin Laden.
Perhaps if the Americans had had some foresight and not worked for the destruction of the Soviet Union, the world would have been a safe place for it today. Now that the bear is not there anymore, America’s old friends—with the exception of its poodle Britain—have decided that friendship with Uncle Sam has outlived its usefulness. The US can’t project the bear bogey to keep small insecure countries in its orbit. So it has finally has to make do with friends like India
Bash in the USA was superb. It was after a long time that I read such a nicely worded article. The author’s experience has come in handy and he writes with perspective. The author is right that 15 years ago the US Congress came within three votes of cutting aid. The aid was a small amount—barely $35 million and not many wanted it anyway—but the bitterness it would have caused would have been unimaginable. The clock’s come full circle and today US politicians want to score points by visiting India. Indians in the US are deep-pocketed and that’s a big factor in deciding voting patterns on Capitol Hill. Nobody’s doing us a favour; let’s not forget that.
Your new revamped NRI/PIO section is pretty cool. There are more pages now, which is good because the magazine is focused on people of Indian origin living outside India. Most of us outside the country are clued in to what’s happening in India thanks to satellite TV. Today, people in a remote and backward island nation like Fiji can watch Zee TV and Star News. Indians in Silicon Valley can watch cricket matches live or cry along with the K-factory tearjerkers. Anyway, my point is you guys are doing a fabulous job but add some meat to the NRI sections.
Deep into Africa
The Tanzania story was great. What I liked about it was that it highlighted a part of the world that few Indian tourists visit. Tanzania is not your staple coach-class tourism package with the usual honeymooners, mom-pop-two-kids and retired folk in tow. It’s a place where you see action up-close with the very real possibility of coming face to face with a lion free and ferocious in its own territory. You eat what the locals eat, live like they do. In a week, you absorb their life and be part of it. You get every penny’s worth of your tourism dollars. You won’t get that in Thailand’s massage parlours. Or the streets of Singapore.