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India @ G20 - Arindam Mukherjee

My dad had a decent stock of rural bong proverbs. One that I remember particularly is ‘Biyer shomoy koney boley ami haagbo’ (Bride, while sitting for the marriage rituals, says ‘I gotta shit’).

A wise saying, don’t you think? Clean colon is an absolute necessity; you are not supposed to, as civilized beings, go about taking a dump anytime anywhere, unless an emergency. Training the body and mind right from childhood to adopt a routine bowel movement is as important as any other daily habits. Of course, the SJWs would differ; they subscribe to my-mind-my-shit logic (and since they don’t have much of ‘mind’ anyway, that leaves the slogan at my-my-shit) but that’s another story. In order of things, let’s assume you decide to brush and take a bath after waking up, and proceed to the breakfast table. And after stuffing yourself heavy – breakfast is after all, the most important meal of the day – you put on your tie and shoes and get ready to leave for work. And when you hear the pool-car honk outside the gate, you realize that you gotta crap. ‘Oh crap!’

And why am I talking about dad’s proverbs during the middle of a December week? It so happens that Mr 56 Inches – after spending 95% of the past 5 years trying to look hip in million-dollar suits (probably using aromatic scrubs and shampoo too, though I am not sure), and making friends with Americans – has realized that he had missed out on the primary, and now there is barely enough time. So, he hastily goes about spending an extraordinary stretch with Xi and Putin by the side-lines of the Buenos Aires G20 Summit. They meet thrice(!) and are very happy, I am given to understand, with the outcome of their meeting.

While I am sure this is in good time for Russia and China, I am little less sure about India. Establishing international relations – with all respects to the ancient bong proverb – is quite unlike shitting, that, 3 minutes – and you are as good as new!... nor for that reason, is it like overnight scrapping of banknotes. Diplomacy is like cooking biryani – the stuff of seasoned, old and wise men/women who know their game.

The definitive good thing here has been the appointment of Gokhale as the Foreign Secretary. It is only after this act that New Delhi has realized that wishing life to the corpse of pivot-Asia is not going to help, China is financially too big to be bullied, the Taliban is here to stay, China is financially too big to be bullied, Donald Trump has one wife, China is financially too big to be bullied, Whatsapp is still free, China is… but this good thing has happened in March 2018. Kinda late.

Vijay Gokhale, immediately after taking over, has cascaded an unusual number of interfaces with China; these meetings have been quite productive, from the feedbacks that keep floating around. There has been a fair thaw in Sino-Indian relations (the acid test being, post March 2018, Pakistan has been a little uneasy with Indo-China engagements).

So though 2018 has been a good turnaround year for India’s strategic imperatives, be it engaging with China, buying oil from Iran, opening bilateral discussion with KSA, or showing some spine in the S400 deal, and though the sensible-breed of analysts both in India and across the world think it is impressive of New Delhi to be finally making the effort to shrug off its alignment ambivalence in favour of a couple of decisive moves on the board, I fear – since this FP overhaul is brand new; at a sapling stage – that this could very well be #1 casualty on the “Things to Screw” list of Uncle-obsessed-UPA, should they come to power in 2019.

Eurasia is about to rock! But since change of government here brings in a lot of dismantling and undoing etc, whether we’re gonna be a part of it or not would depend on democracy@work in India. 

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