Tharoor tweets wisdom



I think that diplomats who talk like army generals after retirement do nothing but burden people with retrospectively acquired wonky wisdom. Such specimens feeding on popular fears are on display these days on numerous television channels and newspaper columns.

They talk endlessly against Pakistan and China for reasons good and bad. They confuse more than they educate. They certainly speak more than they actually know.

Even the seminar circuit is packed by superannuated experts dishing out unsolicited advice to the government on how to conduct its Pakistan, China and even Middle-East policy. They liberally hurl darts at all perceived and real enemies of India. But when it comes to the United States, their eloquence gives way to meaningless, nay subservient, niceties about the country run by a Nobel Laureate who has agreed to send 40,000 additional troops to Afghanistan along with a deadline for their withdrawal.

These foreign policy/security experts have turned talk shows into unending blusters with little or no regard for diplomatic nuances or the finery of language that make for a good discussion. There are some honorable exceptions to the rule. But that’s about it.

So, in the middle of such mindless cacophony to turn India into a nanny-State, Shashi Tharoor, an expert in multi-lateral diplomacy who’s now a junior minister in the Foreign Office, has made a brave intervention in the largely one-sided debate on a visa policy to prevent the likes of

David Headley from flying in and out of India on multi-entry permits.

“The 26/11 killers had no (Indian) visas,” tweeted Tharoor in what was the most understated but effective show-casing of the flip side to the shut-the-doors on foreigners cry. I too feel that xenophobia is no good way to fight terror. There are other better ways of doing it.

A pertinent question Tharoor raised was whether India must allow terrorists to make the country less welcoming? “Making it more difficult to visit India (through mandatory intervals between two visits) alienates the country, costs millions of dollars (spent by foreign visitors during their stay) and hurts a large number of innocent tourists,” he wrote. “The issue isn’t security versus tourism, but whether visa restrictions protect our security.”

One couldn’t have agreed more with Tharoor. The price of liberty is eternal vigil— not insulation. I am reminded in this context, of the response of Yashwant Sinha, then Minister for External Affairs, to a request to open the Wagah land border then closed for entry to and from Pakistan.

When told that some intelligence organizations and the bureaucracy was opposed to it, he picked up the phone to ask the designated authority whether or not arrivals from the other side would have visas legitimately issued by our Mission in Pakistan. “We are giving them visas on the premise that they are ordinary visitors and not a security threat. So why deny them the option of crossing in by the land route,” he asked.

Wagah was opened and permission granted. But that happened when relations were better between our two countries. Things today are a lot more difficult.

The need for being extra-cautious cannot be rejected out of hand.

But visa restrictions that’ll impede movements of all foreigners including those from friendly countries, make no sense. The Home Ministry needs to be more innovative and the Foreign Office more assertive. Than alone can we arrive at a balanced policy that protects security and promotes India as a preferred destination.

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  • http://www.rediff.com Paritosh

    i think that India must tighten its internal security by levying more restrictions and tough rules on visitors from Muslim nations and unfriendly nations like China.

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  • Rajiv

    India decision to mandate length between subsequent visits, is easily one of the dumbest, crudest and self-defeating step that any government can take.
    Its so farcical and so self-evidently self-defeating that it boggles the mind. Did Daood Gilani ( alias Headley ) suggest to our home ministry to implement this ? Will this have prevented 26/11 ?

    The answer is an unequivocal NO. This would not have prevented the Pak state from mounting this criminal act.

    It will inconvenience and obstruct trade, which is the cornerstone on which our nations recent economic advance is based on. I hope, Mr Sharma and others in the media, high light this.

    regards
    Rajiv

    [Reply]

  • Joseph Thomas

    I think it is time for the governement to see the wisdom in Mr. Tharoor’s observations. Instead of rubbishing it , foriegn ministry and the home ministry should discuss about his observations . We cannot be hypocrits. We need leaders like Mr.Tharoor to l ead lead our country.

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  • Jasmeet Singh

    We need a strong visa regime. Millions of dollars saved by allowing free access can be offset in a minute with a major terrorist attack . I think we gain nothing by allowing free access to countries like China, Pakistan , Saudi Arabia and Bangladesh.
    We need a herculean effort to beef up our security. India is surrounded by all these evil countries hell bent on destroying it. Its time we stop being hypocrites and turning the other cheek.
    India’s security apparatus is disorganized, its response time to emergencies is pathetic and the political will to tackle security problems lacks direction.It is true that terrorists may not need visas, but who is going to stop them from getting one if they decide.

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  • http://Instablogs.com Anil Maheshwari

    Mr. Sharma has a valid point. But like former diplomats, a selected gang of journalists too make umpteen rounds to the TV studios to present only un-holistic approaches on subjects of every hues and colours. Mr. Shashi Tharoor, a ‘junior’ minister in the Foreign Ministry tweets frequently and does not hide his comments. His colleagues must learn a lesson from him in this age of “New Media” in which transparency is the buzzword.

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  • vijay kumar

    It’s strange that Shashi has got away a second time on dissent. Now is it the same party which demanded Zail Singh like loyalty where he was willing to clean utensils in Madam’s house?

    Life and times have changed.

    Maybe the Congress is getting some internal democracy.

    Wonder what would have happened if the Minister would have said something on some action by Sonia…

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  • Nikhil

    Vinod,

    I agree that visa restrictions do not guarantee homeland security and we run a risk of turning away visitors and tourists. What are the alternatives when we are running short of everything in our consulates. There is no substitute for using better technology and hiring more manpower in Indian consulates located in threat prone countries. Visa restriction, consequently, is the second best choice; although I do not like it.

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  • me

    Tharoor tweets wisdom,
    His past job has made him bird who after taking long flights come n sits on its favourite branch ,and not like Skylark who no matter how high he flies always land on the ground ,let him take his time to be like Skylark

    [Reply]

  • Anil Kumar

    Stupid logic, does criminalization of stealing stop staling no so let us decriminalize it..

    Exactly this sort of logic is being touted in thsi blog.

    Every time we give VISa to pakistain cricket fans many of them vanish in india.. No points for guessing what they do after disappearing in India.

    We should make this kind of adventurism as difficult as we can do for Pakistania and Bangaldeshis.

    [Reply]

  • http://www.Mottaki.singh.com Mottaki Singh

    the key problem between pakistan and india and around countries is the region of Kashmir. As a indian. We think this predicament is a colonial result and brought by UK colonists in 1947.it has been disputed between India and Pakistan since partition in 1947 by UK colonists.However. We should focus on our concerns to UK Gov and tangle with them.It is unfair to endure the pain in us.It is also useless for india to take on heavy responsibilities by themselves.On the other hand. India Gov.and current affairs commentator and specialist must realize the main asia regional countries that try to be a union whatever in economic or finacial to fight with the west. Because the west countries especially US Gov. their stratagem in only one super power which is USA. They donn’t allow the another super power to rise up as well as india.If we continue to fight and consume ourselves inside the areas.That’s means we are fooled by American politicians.nobody can get the real development and great improvment whatever in any fields in the near future and US will toward to the edge of U.S. imperialism. the result will be that the world will be more volatile and values conflict.the Americans will continue to control the world’s political trend and plunder the world’s economy and enslave the people of other countries. No one wants to see the future like this.do not from one extreme to another in the point.

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  • Abu Ahmed

    Wearing off of the novelty factor and competition with cinema & TV would definitely take its toll. However, IPL is now a very popular and profitable venture for invisible gamblers and zillions of punters world-wide – Cricket is just a launching pad for all such people, legal or illegal. and it took another Gujju criminal minded to launch it.

    [Reply]

  • Anonymous

    Fantastic Post…Thanks for Sharing
    dlfipl

    [Reply]

  • Joe

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    [Reply]

  • http://twitter.com/prakash7603 Prakash

    I was born and raised in India, but spent about 8 yrs in america, dated women from different backgrounds white, black, hispanic, indian. Most Indian women can cook but can be very demanding, have princess complex, parents can interfere too much in relationship. Its like dating a ninja if things don’t workout goodluck. The biggest advantage of dating a western women is freedom of choice, if you don’t want kids still not a prob you can work it out. My preference is european girls, they are not stuck up, down to earth and simple yet beautiful.

    [Reply]

  • raghunandan

    Many Indian girls have completely screwed up ideas about men and marriage. They hate men but love men. They hate being submissive to men, they believe they can be nasty and ugly and walk all over a man and still expect the guy to adore them on a pedestal. Although tradition says Indian women worship men like Sita, modern day Indian girls are FAR from Sita. They are nagging, irritating, bitchy, selfish, greedy women who don’t give men the space in a relationship, are not willing to do any housework, are proud of their careers and money and more than everything, ***** about the man and his family. Hence divorce rate in India is on an alarming rate.

    [Reply]

    Prakash Reply:

    Feminism is spreading around the world. These days modern indian women are worst to approach. Indian society and women will judge you on how much you make and not how you make. I tried to go on a date with this indian girl and she didnt even want to talk to me bcos i did not had qualification just like hers(Master’s). Western women on the other hand do not mind dating anyone. I am happy dating and marrying western women.

    [Reply]

    Prakash Reply:

    Feminism is spreading around the world. These days modern indian women are worst to approach. Indian society and women will judge you on how much you make and not how you make. I tried to go on a date with this indian girl and she didnt even want to talk to me bcos i did not had qualification just like hers(Master’s). Western women on the other hand do not mind dating anyone. I am happy dating and marrying western women.

    [Reply]

    Prakash Reply:

    Feminism is spreading around the world. These days modern indian women are worst to approach. Indian society and women will judge you on how much you make and not how you make. I tried to go on a date with this indian girl and she didnt even want to talk to me bcos i did not had qualification just like hers(Master’s). Western women on the other hand do not mind dating anyone. I am happy dating and marrying western women.

    [Reply]