Saturday, March 16, 2013

Foreign Relations - India's Headache

You get impressed by Indian Supreme Court when it takes Delhi Darbar to task in demanding 'why Indian Politicians are flouting designations like VIP and VVIP and how can those designations be retained in a democratic society'? Supreme Court is right on.

Alas, that same Court we find flat footed when one wonders why did Indian Supreme Court allow those Italian Guards to leave India when they were accused in murdering Indian Fishermen and the trial was about to start? How did Indian Supreme Court believe all those affidavits and assurances from Italian Embassy and Italian Officials? Why would anyone go back to a foreign country for the trial when Italians dispute whether that trial is legal or not? Italian Government argues that the incident happened in international waters and hence India does not have any jurisdiction in these matters.

How come Indian Supreme Court turned out to be so gullible? It is understandable that Supreme Court would believe legal assurances of a foreign government and generally would not get into the business of understanding political ramifications. That was the job for Indian Central Government which is even more lousy than Supreme Court. Indian Government is not on record asking Court to be prudent in these matters and not let go those accused guards. The guards claimed they wanted to participate in Italian Elections, Indian Supreme Court believed that and ever eager to promote Democracy all over the world, the Supreme Court allowed those folks to leave India! While these accused murders were running out of the gate Indian Government did nothing! Wow!

(The guards were earlier allowed to leave India to celebrate Christmas with their families and they came back after the new year. I guess that precedent might have made Indian officials to be lenient and relaxed.) 

Indian government is back into the familiar territory - horse has left the barn and now you try to close the gate and run after the horse...PM Dr. Singh is ordering review of the entire gamut of Indo-Italian relations as if there is something profound happening between these two countries or there is some kind of Trillion dollar trade flourishing between them! Except for the export of Sonia Gandhi way back when our Indian prince Rajeev Gandhi fell for her in England; for most Indians 'Italy' does not ring a bell and there is nothing much happening between these two countries. What leverage are you talking Dr. Singh to force Italy to return back those accused? To start with, Italy is infamous for her barely functioning government and politics. Italy can barely prosecute under-age sex adventures of a septuagenarian politician Berlusconi and still trying to mop up the mess left by him. How on earth such a country would have any respect for a judicial process in some far away place? The election where these accused guard voted, produced inconclusive verdict. I guess at this rate these accused would stay for the next election which is going to take place soon and then another one there after and so on. When entire Italian political system is in some kind of vortex to produce a minimum government, who cares for noises from Indian PM in Rome?

Let us see to what an extent EU fulfills this void of active foreign relations management on behalf of Italy when Italy is totally inward looking politically. It will be a test for the effectiveness of EU and we will see how much merit is there in all this talk of squabbling European nations subsuming their sovereignty to EU. 

It is good that Switzerland is not part of EU, else EU would have asked India to punish rapist of a Swiss national before accused Italian guards reach Delhi. But in any case, India should quickly find these rapists and prosecute them. May be the same alert Supreme Court attends to these matters and forces wheels of infamous Indian Justice System. And it will be also good, if Supreme Court reminds Indian Government that letting these accused rapist die while in jail without full sentence is not an exact conception of 'justice' India wants to promote.

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