The Plain Speaking column in Mint on 8 October was superb. I’m fascinated by the use of language in India and especially Hinglish. Your explanations are spot on and have put into words what I have always known. I also find that one of the wonderful things about Hinglish is that as soon as you understand Hindi (or whatever other language is the mother tongue), Hinglish makes perfect sense as the grammatical structure is carried across. In the same way that English people trying to speak Hindi often manage to still sound ridiculously English and mangle sentences by applying their own sense of grammar. Learning some elements of the “root” language behind Hinglish was something I found to be immensely useful in communicating here in Delhi.
The article by Bharat Karnad on Myanmar, “The conscience-keeper’s costs”, Mint, 9 October, highlights some little-publicized information in our handling the Myanmar situation. India had all along been overly worried about the western border that it had completely ignored the northern perils. Its “look-east policy” came too late and little has been done after it was announced.
India’s connections with Myanmar are older, closer and stronger, than the latter’s with China.
Even if the present situation in Myanmar, with that country leaning towards China, is the result of our mistakes, we need to ensure that Chinese dominance there is halted.
A report in The Economist two years ago said that a large swathe of Myanmar, abutting the south-eastern border of China, looks more Chinese than Myanmarese.
There were media reports last year about how China is aiming at building a highway from Beijing to Singapore; all that is needed to achieve this goal is to strengthen some weak links for a few hundred kilometres.
Leaving aside its ability to quickly move men and materials from Beijing to our northern borders, it aims at achieving the ability to move people, goods and services quickly from Beijing to Singapore. The import of this aim cannot be underestimated.
Containment of China is the need of the hour but the world is so enamoured by it and its market that they dare not utter these words. It’s a great mistake on the part of Western powers to have ignored Myanmar’s woes and even now their efforts look proforma.
All hopes now centre on the United Nations, which should remain in the forefront and persuade the rulers of Myanmar to usher in democracy.
These concerns should be uppermost in the minds of our policy planners, defence strategists and the media.
This refers to the Revolution Economics column by Salil Tripathi, Mint, 4 October. Economic interests and ethical considerations apart, it’s always better to deal with democratic regimes than autocrats.
Myanmar being our neighbour, we have a special interest in stability and democracy in that country. It’s possible that Aung San Suu Kyi may not make a good administrator and may not be able to manage the complex problems of that country. It is also possible that Myanmar will slip into a turmoil after the military regime. We should think of those problems as and when they arise.
I feel we are awaiting signals from the US to proceed further. The present government has conducted foreign policy in a manner that our strategic interests are aligned with those of the US. America will take a decision when it suits it and the situation then may not be favourable to us.
We should put our interests as well as those of Myanmar first and explore all possible avenues to put an end to the cruel and bankrupt regime.