A television presenter in New Zealand makes what he thinks is a funny crack about the Delhi chief minister’s name. The Indian government is incensed enough to summon the New Zealand high commissioner for a dressing down. The presenter has since lost his job.
Four policemen have been sacked in Australia over the circulation of a video and accompanying comments about Indians. This too becomes a diplomatic incident with the Australian envoy duly getting an earful from the foreign ministry.
India’s reaction to these incidents shows how thin the veneer of self-importance is stretched over our shortcomings that it can be pricked so easily. If anything, both incidents reflect issues New Zealand and Australia need to tackle, not India. Meanwhile, no harm in affirming that the government respects free speech. Or is that also a problem?