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Home > News > Report

'PM should have gone to the UN not Havana'

Aziz Haniffa in Washington, DC | September 14, 2006 13:47 IST

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A noted specialist on South Asian affairs, Professor Sumit Ganguly, who teaches political science at the Indiana University in Bloomington, has described Prime Minister Monmohan Singh's trip to Havana to attend the non-aligned summit, at the expense of attending the United Nations General Assembly in New York as 'a huge mistake', one that would necessarily anger Washington, particularly the US Congress.

Ganguly, a prolific author, who has written or co-written at least a dozen books and is expected to formally launch his latest book US-India Strategic Cooperation: More than Words, soon, said that at a time when the US-India civilian nuclear deal is pending in Congress and when the envisaged strategic partnership between the two countries could have been further cemented by attending the UNGA and meeting with President Bush -- not to mention making a further push for India's bid for a permanent seat in the Security Council and lobby for India's candidate for UN Secretary General Shashi Tharoor -- going to Havana "is so unwise."

He argued that "The whole concept of non-alignment, frankly is in tatters. I mean, I am reminded of (former Sri Lankan President Junius) Jayawardene, who at one point said -- even before the end of the Cold War -- the only two countries that can truly call themselves non-aligned are the United States and the Soviet Union."

Ganguly said the move was a foreign policy fiasco, particularly at a time when the nuclear deal is to be debated in the US Senate floor and knowing how the US Congress feels about Fidel Castro's Cuba.

He argued that if India felt compelled to attend the NAM, "you could have sent the minister of state for external affairs. There was no need for the prime minister to scream from the ramparts about the continued utility of non-alignment, and if the Left didn't like it, we just have to live with it."

Ganguly argued, "Because one thing I believe -- and the prime minister is astute enough to understand is -- the Left is not going to bring down the government down on this issue, because then they have to be faced with the possibility of the Bharatiya Janata Party coming to power."

"And, if there's one thing the Left dreads more than the Americans, it is the BJP," he added.

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Number of User Comments: 31

Sub: PM took a bold and correct decision by attending the NAM summit !

The Honourable PM of our country has demonstrated to fellow Indians and others world wide that correct and wise decisions are possible for those who ...

Posted by Dr. Cajetan Coelho

Sub: PM should have gone to UN and not NAM?

Non-sense. Prof. Ganguly exhibits typical American imperial arrogance. NAM is about ex-colonial nations trying to preserve and enhance their independence in a world dominated by ...

Posted by Dinkar Koppikar

Sub: PM\'s Havana visit

Its abubdantly clear now why PM chose Havana instead of UN, any doubts. It was to convince US congress that Brazil add South Africa favor ...

Posted by Mohanjit

Sub: PM in Havana

Why should the P.M. have gone to the UN? To appease Bush? The latter has not served India well, particularly in not supporting India\'s bid ...

Posted by Parvin D. Syal, M.D.

Sub: PM SHUD go UN

I totally agree with Mr Ganguly, but what to do Indian politicians think in one direction only or may be Madam Ji wud have said ...

Posted by sanjeev



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