[Assam] From ToI
dilipdeka at yahoo.com
Sun Jul 29 22:19:01 CDT 2007
"All one needs to do is look at the Indian press head-lines or NRI proclamations here in the USA or in Europe to know how much Indians need that notice of whom they suck-up to." --
The fact that some netter brought this article from someone called Campbell to our attention is a testimony to the older NRI generation's (at least some)suck-up to the western world. Talk to a 30 or 40 year old Indian and you will hear how they perceive India's relation with USA and UK. I suspect the western world can't handle that India's new generation does not pay them obeisance.
The respect aspect is changing every year. There was a time when the work of an engineering company from India would be checked and doublechecked. Now they are treated as equal partners. There was a time when US procurement managers would not put Indian suppliers on the approved vendors' list, and now Larsen and Toubro is a favorite supplier for high pressure vessels to the large oil companies.
Again, I am not saying the Indians are the best in the world but I must say their performance is improving and it is being noticed.
Chan Mahanta <cmahanta at charter.net> wrote:
I wasn't even paying attention to that part of the story. It is a spook vs spook intrigue that I don't pay much heed to. But now that you bring that up, why do you think that the hotel room could NOT have been bugged, even though it was chosen by the Brits themselves? Its not like that they had the place cordoned off by the British security apparatus before Blair came a calling? And it wasn't like some third party who supposedly found the bugs -- it said the Brits found them during their sweep.
At any event, what would be Campbell's motive to throw that in, while the entire book merited about ten references to an India with super-power pretensions? A calculated resurrection of the benign-neglect doctrine :-)? Racism? Die-hard colonial condescension? Fear of an emerging India? What?
Be that as it may, what I found ironic and held my nose at was ABV's supplication ( I had to look that up -means prayer to a higher power, a humble request for help from someone in authority ) for Blair not to pass India by on his Pakistan visit, the grovelling for equal notice, that much despised 'parity' problem that continues to haunt India :-), never mind all the bravado declaring it as past.
Not that I was surprised. I had a pretty good idea how much Britain or even the USA respects India. All one needs to do is look at the Indian press head-lines or NRI proclamations here in the USA or in Europe to know how much Indians need that notice of whom they suck-up to. What I was surprised by was ToI's ability to print the piece, warts and all, obviously written by an 'anti-Indian' , probably an ex-pat , if not a 'pseudo-secularist' who hates ABV or the BJP :-).
At 6:40 PM -0600 7/29/07, Ram Sarangapani wrote:
Hi C'da This news was reported also sometime ago (both in the British and Indian press). The Indian Govt. asserts that there was no way they could have planted bugs, as the hotel was chosen by the British Govt. And the M16 or was it M15 had gone thru the suites with a tooth comb. Now, how did all that get past British Intel. The story seems too convenient as a story for Cambell. --Ram On 7/29/07, Chan Mahanta <cmahanta at charter.net> wrote:
** Tsk, tsk!
Blair's spin doctor spills beans on Indian waiters, PMs
30 Jul 2007, 0038 hrs IST,Rashmee Roshan Lal,TNN
Did you know there are more Indian waiters in Britain than there are
coal miners?" Tony Blair was asked in September 1994 by one of his
high-flying researchers Peter Hyman.
It was two months since Blair had become the youngest Labour Party leader since World War II. Hyman's question presumably reflected the profound changes in late 20th-century Britain. Blair was desperate to
change his moribund party and drag it out of 18 years in the
political wilderness. Hyman, who became one of Blair's favourite
advisors, presumably asked his question to point to Blair the
geography of the change he must embrace.
Thirteen years from the day Hyman asked the question, the past is a
different country. As is Britain. Blair has departed Downing Street
after a decade as Labour's longest-serving PM. A new PM is in office.
Blair's former aides have scattered like leaves in the wind. One of
the most prominent of these, former spin doctor Alastair Campbell,
has published extracts from his diaries. The volume, titled The Blair
Years, finally hit stands in India.
And so we finally learn what PM Blair and his golden guys and girls
really, really thought about India in the 10 years they colonised the
PM's office and the British political landscape. Going by Campbell's
diaries, the answer is very little, if at all. Despite all the recent
rhetoric about a new special relationship between India and its
former imperial master, Campbell's diaries make clear that Blair's office, if not all of Blair's Britain, hardly thought about India,
except by default.
According to Campbell's account, Blair and Britain were forced,
post-9/11 to acknowledge India's needs vis-a-vis Pakistan for
face-saving Western tokens and gestures signalling New Delhi's
importance and influence.
In October 2001, says Campbell, Blair was on his way to Islamabad to
firm up plans with the West's new best friend, Pervez Musharraf, for
invading Afghanistan. New Delhi was not on the prime ministerial
itinerary. "We had a real problem with the Indians over the planned
visit to Pakistan," writes Blair's spin doctor, "Vajpayee was on the
phone, totally adamant that if TB (Blair) went to Pakistan without
also visiting India, it would be a real disaster for him. He
(Vajpayee) was normally so quiet and soft-spoken but there was both
panic and a bit of anger in his voice".
Later, Campbell describes the "two bugs" found in the British PM's
Delhi hotel room and notes, "we decided against making a fuss".
Campbell fulminates at some length about the "valet, Sunil" he is
assigned for the Delhi stopover, complaining that "he just would not
leave me alone...I was beginning to wonder whether he had been put
there either by the (Indian) spooks or a paper".
Soon in January 2002, and Campbell is once again recounting the
low-key theatricality of the UK-Indian relationship. Campbell's
memories of this passage to India appear to be dominated by Blair's
decision to wear a Nehru jacket.
"Hopefully it would be seen as showing respect (to the Indians)", he
writes. And then he damns PM Vajpayee with faint praise, describing
how Blair "pushed hard but got very little change out of Vajpayee. He
was holding out for a lot more from the Pakistanis. He was pretty
shrewd and his total lack of embarrassment at long silences was a
As a miniature portrait of Indo-British relations six years ago,
Campbell's sketchy recollections of the stop-start bilateral rhythm
offer an unedifying picture. There is British suspicion and Indian
supplication; "mystical" Indian silences and wordy British lectures;
there are unmemorable banquets in the Hyderabad palace, prying
natives and clumsy Indian intelligence moves. All of this larded with
streaky bits of Indian tub-thumping and British mantras on South
Asia's need for stability.
In the end, of course, it is significant that Campbell mentions India
barely half-a-dozen times in this account of the 10-year period in
which India's relations with its former master visibly and
conclusively changed. The significance may lie more in what he does
not say than what he does.
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