3 Jun 2011
Speaking as an Australian, for whom India is a Commonwealth sister country: I have to say that for some time now, as I look out to our north and west, I have seen three large Powers. Which one should we befriend? Whom should we deal with most closely?
I see rapidly sharia-ising Indonesia, where Christians and other non-Musllims have been killed en masse in the recent past (and are still being killed, in West Papua). I see the rapacious and repressive regime in China, where for ideological reasons, as in Indonesia, Christians are persecuted, although the church is growing and may even reach ten percent of the population; and I see India, neither Muslim nor a maoist totalitarian dictatorship, where there is sporadic regional persecution of Christians, but whose dominant religion does not (as Islam does, or as Maoist atheism does) prescribe persecution of Christians. There is more freedom in India, even allowing for all India's faults, than there is in China or Indonesia; human creativity and energy are far less constrained; there is more room for people to move.
So of those three Powers, India is the one for whom I feel greatest affinity, and with whom I think an alliance would be worth having (especially now that I know of the long, long struggle of India, against the Jihad that inflicted such terrible wounds upon her).
I would rather see us (Australia) selling coal and perhaps in future even uranium, for power plants, to India; and strengthening the historic ties that, because of the British raj, already exist. If the US, our ally and indeed our rescuer in WWII, *also* forms an alliance with India, then we Aussies would be be in a good place, between two powerful friends.
Up till now Australia has been, foolishly, cosying up to China and Indonesia (and pouring, uselessly, and expensively, 'aid' into Indonesia, and military training, etc.). I want to see us ending our very unhealthy relationship with dangerous Muslim Indonesia - NO MORE 'AID' AND MILITARY TRAINING! - and using a much longer spoon with China, ad turning instead toward India (while also cultivating further the friendships we already have with the Philippines, South Korea, and Japan).
Some further observations. India and *Israel* have been gradually warming up to one another. It started at citizen level: all those young Israelis trotting off to India for a year or two after their IDF service. Some of them ended up doing business of various kinds with India, after that. The IT explosion in Israel has led to more interaction with India, many of whose bright young things are equally into IT.
There was an Israeli called A Carlebach/ Karlebakh, who wrote a scathing essay about the effects of Islam on its adherents, in 1955 (he called it 'the worst of all plagues'), who *also* travelled to India, and fell in love with the place, and wrote in Hebrew a book about what he saw as affinities (all sorts of surprising affinities) between Indian and Hebrew/ Jewish culture - a book that sold like hot cakes, and went into the back pocket of many a young Israeli adventurer in India.
Mumbai, where Muslim jihadists murdered not only HIndu Indians, but also singled out for particularly horrific treatment the Chabad house, is significant too, in that it drove home a commonalty between India and Israel: they were forcibly reminded that they are assailed by the same conscienceless enemy. The rescue of the Holzberg child, Moshe, by his courageous Indian nurse, can be seen as powerfully symbolic. I notice in Jerusalem Post talkbacks, whenever there is some Muslim atrocity in Israel, or when the Gaza Muslim rocket-throwers attack, that posters identifying as Indian quite commonly appear, offering sympathy and hard-headedly realistic advice about Jihad.
Once Obama is out of the way, I hope the next President of the US will make it his business to not only reaffirm America's own alliance with Israel, but also to woo Mother India and encourage the development of India's relationship with Israel as well. A creative threesome...Israel, India, the USA...makes all sorts of cultural, scientific, commercial and political/ military good sense.
Final observation: when I looked at the victims of 9/11, and looked at the nationalities of the foreign victims, I was struck by the fact that, after the UK (67 victims) the foreign country that suffered the largest single loss on that day was the world's *other* great (though flawed) democracy, India (41 killed). The presence of so many Indians in the WTC said to me that to a certain extent the India-America relationship already exists.
More should, perhaps, be made of this. I would like to hear more about those 41 Indian citizens whose ashes on 9/11 were inextricably blended with those of their American hosts and colleagues. I would like to hear their stories. I think those stories should be part of the process by which America and India turn toward one another, as they face that which threatens them both: the Third Jihad, as well as the cruel and greedy tyrants of China.