Once you become a lawyer, you become timid and risk averse. Why so? because you become consequential and cautious of your actions. Before you take any action, you tend to think about its consequences. This is just a thought, which came to my mind whilst writing this article or blog, as you may chose to refer to it as.
I always felt that India and its foreign policy with regard to south Asia got somewhere confused and lost between two words “elder brother” and “big brother”. The intention of the Indian political leaders has always been to become an elder brother to all the south Asian nations and support them, accordingly with kindness and warmheartedness. But somewhere the Indian bureaucracy seems to be in love with the expression big brother. Perhaps they suffer from the colonial hangover of the past.
I have always felt that success of any nation and its relation with the neighboring world lies in giving rather than rationing. I have been closely following the Indo-Nepal relations whether it be people to people or government to government. I have realized gradual deterioration in relations between the two nations over a period of last 15 years. Nobody in the Indian foreign department seem to have bothered to curtail or rectify the same. Why? perhaps Nepal was too tiny or too taken for granted or too insignificant. After all many Indian bureaucrat (perhaps) felt that Nepal was literally too dependent on India – and rightly so. Neighbors are god gifted and you don’t tend to choose them; in fact there is no way you get that right of choice or first refusal.
If my neighbor has a humble background, I need not take advantage of that situation. Once a rich person asked god almighty, “what is this world of yours, why you did not do justice…..why there are so many poor people, why so much disparity and gap between rich and poor?” god replied “I did justice by creating and sending you to this world.” Such deep was god’s message that it made that rich man share his wealth with all the humble and needy around. People and nations who have capacity to share and help have those privileges by design of nature so that they could help others lacking that privilege.
Following the above example, India need to realize that it has a duty towards its humble neighbors to ensure that they don’t starve. I was in Nepal yet again few days back. One of our senior bureaucrats made a statement that if the entire globe accepted the Nepal’s constitution and India didn’t then what will be Nepal’s stance. Whether they will go with India or the remaining globe. What are we trying to prove? that we have a fist of steel and if India was to get annoyed, it can seal the borders and prevent the essential commodities to enter Nepal. The people of Nepal acknowledge that they are in entirety dependent on India but should we expect them to acknowledge this each second, minute, hour and day. This is brutal. When our PM Modi visited Nepal for the first time after becoming PM, I received so many calls where people actually compared Modi to god’s messenger. They became fan of Modi. The likened him so much that one senior lawyer called me specially to thank me and stated that first time India was appearing to be our elder brother and not big brother. He said “we need India’s hand on our shoulder because we also wish to grow”. And why not? each nation has a natural fundamental right to grow and be self sufficient and self reliant.
India need to introspect re: its south Asian foreign policy. It need to give and support selflessly. Even if it has agenda of gaining support then let it be reminded that you win people and nations by giving genuine support and not be expecting first and then giving. India today is a super economic and military power. Higher it goes more magnanimous it ought to become. Let us ensure that cooking gas is not sold in Nepal for 8000 Nepali Rupees. Let us ensure that nobody in Nepal starves because of lack or no movement of essential commodities from India to Nepal. Let both India and Nepal embrace each other and continue to grow. Let India help Nepal in becoming a proud self sufficient and self reliant nation. Indo-Nepal both are lands of Gautam Buddha. We are both brothers and will always be inseparable.
Author: Hemant Batra*
*Hemant Batra is an Indian lawyer with nearly 24 years’ experience in diverse legal assignments. He is founder of a renowned international law firm and is also secretary general of saarclaw; he is recipient of mahatma gandhi seva award and is a visiting faculty to leading educational institutions; his profile can be accessed by clicking http://in.linkedin.com/in/hb15aug
New Delhi, India