Pankaj Mishra on David Cameron’s India visit

From Guardian: “It’s India’s poor who need Britain, not its military/business elites

“Delhi’s opulent five-star hotels swarm with lobbyists for Lockheed Martin, Boeing, Dassault and other arms companies. A recent rash of ill-suited and extravagant acquisitions by the Indian government prompted even Sunil Khilnani, a sober political scientist and author of The Idea of India, to warn of a nascent “military-industrial complex” in India.”

“This is particularly disturbing as the expensive new weapons are likely to be turned against people India claims as its own – and not just in the valley of Kashmir where an anti-India insurgency has consumed more than 80,000 lives, and where Indian security forces have shot dead 17 Muslim protesters, mostly teenagers, in just the past six weeks. The Indian government is also considering deploying the army and air force to suppress the growing Maoist rebellion.”

“Flying into this gathering storm, the British delegation seems to want little more than safe landing for its Hawk jets and other military hardware. Cameron will no doubt play to the Indian gallery by accusing Pakistan of terrorism while remaining silent about murder and torture in Kashmir. He will tickle the vanity of India’s elite by supporting their claims to a permanent seat at the UN security council and other high tables. He may even relax visa rules for Indians. But none of this can compensate for the severing of Britain’s old links with India’s great mass of ordinary people – or the replacement of Dfid’s lifelines to India’s poorest with a “new special relationship” that at present promises to do little more than enliven the parties of Delhi’s arms dealers.”


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