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Senator apologises after calling India a 'grave threat' to US

July 27, 2009 12:02 IST

United States Senator John Cornyn, a Republican from Texas, has profusely apologised and expeditiously gone on damage control mode after stating that 'a rising India' is a grave threat to the US. Incidentally, Cornyn is the founder and co-chair of the US Senate Caucus on India.

In his web video, which has now been removed, Cornyn lashes out at the Barack Obama administration for halting the F-22 fighter aircraft programme by the Pentagon, on the recommendation of Defence Secretary Robert Gates.

The Senator from Texas states that the F-22's are "important to our national security because we're not just fighting wars in Afghanistan and Iraq. We're fighting --we have graver threats and greater threats than that: From a rising India, with increased exercise of their military power; Russia, Iran, that's threatening to build nuclear weapons; with North Korea, shooting intercontinental ballistic missiles, capable of hitting American soil."

Immediately, the web video was posted by TPMDC, with a comment saying, "Check out this new web video from Cornyn, in which he says we need to keep the F-22 plane in order to deal with emerging international threats including India."

Indian American activist Ram Narayan forwarded this web video to members of his vast network, and Cornyn's office hastily released a statement on Sunday, apologising and claiming that Cornyn 'misspoke'.

Kevin McLaughlin, spokesman for Cornyn, issued a statement saying, "Senator Cornyn misspoke saying India when he meant to say China."

Cornyn's spokesman went on to say, "As founder and co-chairman of the Senate India Caucus, no Senator has greater respect or admiration for India or values our relationship with them more. Senator Cornyn regrets the mistake and apologises for any misunderstanding this may have caused," McLaighlin said.

But the TPMDC site was generating a plethora of posts, with one Karl the Marxist writing, "He (Cornyn) or his aides are just idiots; or he thought tying together going to war with India or job losses was a good dog whistle."

Another, MarkG8, said, "Don't kid yourself, if it was within Cornyn's power, he'd gin up a war with Louisiana, let alone India, if he thought it'd save the weapons programme."

Mike from Arlington posted, "Someone told him that India was stealing our jobs and he wanted to go to war to get them and bring them back here."

EdA said, "This is the same India, of course, that is getting advanced nuclear technology courtesy of his fellow Texas scumbucket, George W Bush, in exchange for mangoes!"

But Kgb999 noted, "Interesting he left China off the list."

RobR echoed these sentiments, writing, "And yet he leaves out China, which is rising much faster than India, does not have a democratic government, and has a much larger (and) growing military complex."

Several posts also spoke of how the tech savvy Indian American community would spread the word of Cornyn's faux pas so fast that it would perhaps threaten the Senator's re-election, and harkened back to former Republican Senator George Allen's fate after he made the derogatory 'macaca' statement regarding an Indian American staffer of his then opponent Jim Webb. The furious Indian American community mobilised forces to defeat Allen, who was forced to give up his bid for re-election to the Senate.

Aziz Haniffa in Washington, DC