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Modi's 'Chappan Inch Ka Seena' Shrivels As US Navy Warships Exercise In Indian Waters And Advertise It With Impunity!
After many, almost daily failures, of the Narendra Modi-led NDA government, on domestic issues, now there finally is a huge international-diplomatic embarrasment as well. A warship of the US navy not only entered and exercised in Indian waters without prior consent last week, the Biden administration has with impunity challenged India's protest.
Soon after reports in the media about the US navy warship entering the Indian waters near the Lakshadweep Islands on Wednesday without New Delhi’s prior consent came, the Modi administration protested somewhat! But the US response to what it claimed was "excessive maritime claims" by India, shred to pieces the claims by the Modi Sarkaar of the Indo-US camaraderie like never before.
A statement from the Commander of the US Seventh Fleet said the navy would continue to perform such “freedom of navigation operations” in future to uphold “the rights, freedoms, and lawful uses of the sea recognised in international law” was an added insult to the injury. Diplomatic and navy veterans have not only reacted sharply to this but have also questioned the feeble and meek response by the Indian government to this muscle flexing by the US navy.
The not-so-powerful response to the whole issue, compared to the one by late prime minister Indira Gandhi during the liberation of Bangladesh, reminded many a old timers how the 'Iron Lady' had refused to be arm-twisted to Henry Kissinger, thes Secretary of State during the Richard Nixon presidency.
The Nixon administration had during the Bangladesh Liberation War tried to intimidate India by sending Task Force 74 of the Seventh Fleet to the Bay of Bengal. This was a way to also show old ally Pakistan of siding with them but Indian prime minister Indira Gandhi had refused to let go and worked the diplomatic wires with ally USSR, which despatched naval units from its Pacific Fleet - something which not only thwarted America’s muscle flexing in Indian waters but rebuffed any such moves in future too.
What is more surprising and shocking in comparison to Indira Gandhi's brave moves is the fact that the PM, over busy with electioneering of course, has not issued any statement and has let the mandarins in the MEA speak. But they too haven't been heard well.
The statement from the Commander of the US Seventh Fleet defended the operation by the guided-missile destroyer USS John Paul Jones in India’s exclusive economic zone (EEZ) as “consistent with international law” and described New Delhi’s requirement of prior consent as “inconsistent with international law”. Remember, if India wants to conduct any similar exercise, a prior consent for military exercises or manoeuvres in its exclusive economic zone or continental shelf, are required.”
Our foreign ministry has issued a statement decrying the exercise, the defence ministry is mum but there is a huge outcry in the defence establishment and many navy veterans feel there "has been a huge breach in maritime laws and Security" and that it needed a much stronger retaliation by the Indian establishment.
But here again, it seems, the chappan inch ki chaati (the broad chest) of the prime minister seems to have shrivelled under the weight of his quest to keep his US friends in good humour. Nation and its security be damned, if it may in the process!
(The writer is a two-time legislator from Rampur Khas and is the Leader of The Congress Legislature Party In The UP Vidhan Sabha)