Divided India greeted Trump

By Pramod Khandeparker
Thursday, 27 February 2020

Whatever that US President Donald Trump and his family members did and spoke during their two-day otherwise historic visit to India is going to be a part of history because most of it was a product of high diplomacy.

Whatever that US President Donald Trump and his family members did and spoke during their two-day otherwise historic visit to India is going to be a part of history because most of it was a product of high diplomacy.

What is however sustaining is that our country is today a divided house - divided on the basis of religions and not exactly the agonizing caste system. But, a day may come when all will realize that this grand division was like much ado about nothing and it was not worth shedding blood and build communal hatred on account of it. Sadly, India’s glorified ethos of secularism had crashed on issues like citizenship and registration of citizenship because some politicians wanted it to be so.

I had an apprehension that with his verbal outbursts before arrival in India Trump may try to browbeat Prime Minister Narendra Modi and that a gutsy Prime Minister like Indira Gandhi would be needed to handle the US President more effectively than Modi. She had proved her mettle during the Bangladesh War half a century ago when an arrogant American President Richard Nixon was blowing hot and cold and even dispatched the Seventh Fleet to the Bay of Bengal to scare a determined India to oust the threat of East Pakistan and establish independent Bangladesh as per the aspirations of the local people. That Nixon saw the end of his career due to the Watergate Scandal is a different story.
However, once Trump set foot on Indian soil accompanied by his entire family, the scenario had totally changed in favour of India and that big President was talking about loving this country and particularly Modi, both countries joining hands to defend their people from the threat of radical Islamic terrorism, boosting defence cooperation and negotiating ‘a fantastic trade deal’ [something about witch there was tremendous apprehension before Trump actually landed in our country].

The presence of the sea of humanity at the world’s largest stadium at Motera in Gujarat and greeting the visitor by saying “Namaste Trump” had done the magic. So much so, that the US President even lost control over the number of times he either hugged or shook hands with Modi.
Trump even turned sentimental when he complimented India as the world’s largest democracy and thus was the leader of the world. The US President’s remarked that while our two nations have many differences, they are both defined and propelled by a fundamental truth - the truth that all of us are blessed with divine light and every person is endowed with a sacred soul. Obviously, he was referring to Swami Vivekananda. In fact, the observations made by Trump are a reflection of the recognition by the civilized world that India had remained a successful democracy despite wide diversity and its cultural ethos have proved to be a binding force over the millennia.

What was a matter of worry was the large scale violence and arson let loose by those fighting against Citizens Amendment Act and those wanting to support it. The opponents had turned desperate even as the US President was about to land in New Delhi. By that time major violence had erupted and it took lives of 13 persons including a policeman besides many more cops sustaining injuries by Tuesday. Buses and petrol pumps were set ablaze in places like Zaffrabad, Moujpur, Chandbag, Khureshi Khas and Bhajanpura.

Many Muslim women too had participated in the protest. There was a significant statement by Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal that people from outside the national capital were joining the scenario and that the local police were not getting proper orders to deal with the emergent situation. He was of the view that violence was not the answer to seek redress to any grievance. The authorities however lost no time to bring north Delhi under prohibitory orders of Section 144 of Cr. P.C,

The Trump-Modi summit proved to be a major success considering the $ 3 billion defence deal whereby India would be able to receive sophisticated copters like Apache and other major arsenal, the advance dialogue on trade deal, the commitment to end terror and creation of a fresh ambience for improving bilateral ties and people-to-people relations besides emerging the two nations as major energy partners. Melania Trump was also doing a bit to support the bonhomie by visiting a school and interacting with students freely for a long time. The details of the summit are yet to come out. Nevertheless, regional issues like Chinese expansionist strategy and close cooperation to combat the same, seems to have been discussed at length by the two leaders.

What is equally relevant is that Trump has cut Pakistan and its anti-India tirade to size with his free and frank interaction with the Indian leaders including businessmen. The Kashmir issue did not figure during the post-summit briefing by the two leaders. Trump mentioned it at the press conference at the fag-end of his visit. At the domestic level also, the violence created on the issue of CAA did not in any way interfere with the visit of Trump. On the other hand, Trump’s repeated praise of Modi must have screwed the happiness of many opposition parties. The situation is such that it will be very difficult to undo the consolidation of the bilateral ties forged during the summit. In fact, over the last half century, I have not seen such a friendly summit taking place in India. The special aspect of this summit was that personal relations and feeling for each other had triumphed over faceless diplomacy. This was possible because of the care taken by Modi to call on Trump quite a number of times during multi-lateral conferences held across the world.

The opposition parties have scored a victory of disgrace. What they could not do during the last two Lok Sabha elections, they have accomplished it over CAA and NRC. What they have achieved is to divide the country’s population on an issue which is largely misunderstood. For example CAA was enacted to provide citizenship rights to the minorities made to suffer in countries like Pakistan, Afghanistan and Bangladesh. Now, the protests are being organized all over the country on the ground that the law enacted by both the houses of parliament did not make mention of Muslims and that was how the same has become unconstitutional.

The point is Muslims are not the minorities in these countries. They are the majority population on account of which all the three nations have become Islamic Republics. But, who cares to understand the issue? After all, the Constitution acknowledges ‘the right to protest’. So, use this right whether the usage of the same is right or wrong. Isn’t everything fair in democracy?

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