Opposition should not necessary mean only blind opposition to anything that a government does. Unfortunately, even seventy years after the founding of the Republic, we lack maturity as a nation. We, in the Opposition, oppose just because we are in the Opposition. Once we change places, we change over views also, now supporting the very things we had opposed while in the Opposition.
And this holds true of every party, including the ruling BJP. Take the case of visit of the Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed Salman. If Rahul Gandhi had his way, Modi would have sent back MBS, as he is widely known, from the airport itself. Why? Because he went to Pakistan two days earlier and there he announced an aid package for the near-bankrupt country of $20 billion. It was not enough that post-Pulwama, India had specifically asked him to alter his schedule, not to fly to India directly from Pakistan and instead fly from his own country.
That meant MBS flying back home and reaching India 36 hours later than previously scheduled. That was message enough to the de facto ruler of one of the richest countries in the world. But India had made its point. Then an objection was raised that the prime minister should not have gone to the airport to receive him. Why not? Could he have denied him that privilege once he had granted it to the UAE ruler and previously to the former US President Barack Obama? Do not forget we source over 30 per cent of our oil from Saudi Arabia.
And every year tens of billions of dollars are repatriated by Indians employed in the kingdom. Can you risk the loss of jobs and money by momentarily slighting the visiting Crown Prince of Saudi Arabia in order to satiate the appetite of Rahul Gandhi for irrationality and unreasonableness? Pragmatism must inform the conduct of foreign policy.
We all know the result of a woolly-headed idealism that Rahul Gandhi’s maternal great-grandfather practiced in foreign policy and the high costs still being paid by successive generations of Indians to this day. Besides, the visit of the Crown Prince was not devoid of gains. To begin with, he did condemn in no uncertain terms the terror attack in Pulwana.
The joint statement said that all States should “reject the use of terrorism against other countries; dismantle terrorism infrastructures and to cut off any kind of support and financing to the terrorists perpetrating terrorism from all territories against other States; and bring perpetrators of terror to justice”.
If this is not a clearest reference to Pakistan, nothing else is. Short of specifically naming Pakistan, he could not have been more explicit. Of course, he did not join the hosts in specifically naming the sponsors of that terror. But this could only have been expected. As a close of ally of Pakistan, Saudi Arabia has bailed it out repeatedly. On his visit earlier in the week to Pakistan, it provided the much-needed infusion of some $20 billion to the near bankrupt country.
Pakistan, a member of the Islamic bloc, has all along played puppet to the Saudi Arabia. Its leaders invariably run to Saudi Arabia for protection against persecution by the successor regime. Tens of thousands of Pak military personnel are employed in Saudi Arabia on security and other official duties.
As the leader of the Sunni Islam block of nations, Pakistan has joined Saudi Arabia — and thus, incurred the wrath of the Shia Iran and of Qatar, which, though Sunni majority still toes a middle line, refusing to do the bidding of the Saudi Arabia and UAE.
Remarkably, India has refused to take sides between the Sunni Saudi Arabia and Shia Iran power tussle. It maintains equally warm ties with Iran and Saudi Arabia, importing considerable oil from Iran as well. Would Rahul Gandhi like India to condemn Saudi Arabia merely because it has an ally in Pakistan?
Or would he like us to condemn Iran for exporting terror to Israel, Lebanon etc through its proxy Hezbollah to win the gratitude of Saudi Arabia? Obviously, the answer to both the above questions is a big no. Last but not the least, the MBS visit has yielded a promise of $100 billion investment in India. Even if a fraction of it fructifies it will only be another positive for India. Therefore, Mr Gandhi, do think before you speak.