India has rightly objected to US President Barack Obama’s bracketing of India with Pakistan. For this is moral equivalence of the most despicable manner.
Moral equivalence is the obliteration of moral hierarchy in human actions, thus equating, say, a minor theft with murder. A recent instance: a prominent Leftwing historian equated the RSS with the Islamic State. Now, I am not a member of the RSS, or even its admirer, but such description smacks of animus. For, at worst, the organizations affiliated with the RSS have indulged in vandalism and beaten up Valentine’s Day enthusiasts; but comparison with the IS is certainly odious.
Obama is also guilty of moral equivalence. At a press conference after the fourth Nuclear Security Summit, the US President wanted to “see progress in Pakistan and India, that subcontinent, making sure that as they develop military doctrines, that they are not continually moving in the wrong direction.” He was worried about the “nuclear arsenals” shifting to some countries, “especially those with small tactical nuclear weapons that could be at greater risk of theft.”
His remarks are as condemnable as they are misleading. To begin with, he cannot and should not speak about India and Pakistan in the same breath, for India is a modern, plural, liberal democracy that has never exhibited expansionist tendencies, while Pakistan is a theocratic state which discriminates against its own religious minorities, exports terror, and destabilized its neighbors. India liberated Bangladesh, but showed no inclination to occupy it; within a few weeks of the Pakistan Army’s surrender, we handed over power to the local leaders and quit the country. On the other hand, Pakistan has ruined Afghanistan and caused a lot of mischief in Kashmir and other parts of India.
In short, India, the world’s largest democracy, cannot be clubbed with Pakistan, a terrorist state. And these are not secrets; every educated person knows them; at least, the President of the US is expected to know them.
“Yes, we have seen those [Obama’s] remarks. There seems to be a lack of understanding of India’s defence posture,” Ministry of External Affairs spokesperson Vikas Swarup said. This is seems to be diplomatese for ignorance.
Secondly, there is no “risk of theft” as far as our nuclear arsenals are concerned; the risk lies beyond our western border. In fact, theft and shenanigans played a major role in the building up of Pakistan’s nuclear arsenal in the first place. Swarup correctly pointed out, “Since the context was the Nuclear Security Summit, the President’s own remark that ‘expanding nuclear arsenals in some countries, with more small tactical nuclear weapons which could be at greater risk of theft’ sums up the focus of global concern.”
Obama’s baloney over “military doctrines” is also reprehensible. First, again there is moral equivalence: New Delhi’s military doctrines are defensive, whereas Islamabad is notorious for spreading jihad and nuisance. Second, if he was alluding to the perception that the Narendra Modi regime may order ‘surgical strikes’ against the terror camps and nuclear facilities in Pakistan, the allusion was an infringement on our sovereignty. It is the fundamental duty of any government to protect the lives and limbs of its citizens; so, any surgical strikes, if and when they happen, will be perfectly justified.
It is time India made it clear to Obama and other Pakistan-appeasing American politicians that we cannot be taken for granted.