Oversensitive tilt detectors

The Indian media should discard its paranoid, defensive attitude towards foreign affairs

There’s something paradoxical about the Indian media’s attitude towards foreign affairs in general, and India-US relations in particular. On the one hand, Indian journalists have extremely sensitive tilt detectors that capture the subtlest of shifts in statements coming from Washington. On the other, they are almost entirely oblivious to the enormous shift in the who-needs-who-more in the region.

So it must be amusing (and relieving) for US officials like Richard Holbrooke and William Burns to visit New Delhi and face defensive questions from the media on the Kashmir issue. Their trip could have been a lot more miserable if the roomful of journalists had asked them questions such as “just why do you think that the Indian government must co-operate with the United States on Af-Pak?”, or, “don’t you think the fungibility of money means that the beleaguered US tax payer is financing the expansion of Pakistan’s nuclear weapons programmes, instead of, say, saving jobs in Boston?”

But because the macro-shift detectors were turned off and micro-tilt detectors were in overdrive, the big headline last week was about what Mr Burns said about the “wishes of the Kashmiri people.” Never mind that the wishes of the Kashmiri people have slowly but surely put that state on the path to normalcy. The US State Department is entitled to its bromides, but that’s no reason to turn them into headlines.

3 thoughts on “Oversensitive tilt detectors”

  1. You are clearly right in the substance of the matter

    Still, I wonder, if it isn’t useful to have a swarm of paranoid micro-tilt detectors creating a warning buzz, while the big boys with macro eye shades do their grinning and greeting behind closed doors

  2. “Never mind that the wishes of the Kashmiri people have slowly but surely put that state on the path to normalcy.”

    Never mind that ‘normalcy’ as defined by the scull cap rage boys means the defacto ethnic cleansing of Kashmiri Pundits. What is the difference between I-slam-o-bad, Kandahar, and Srinagar if it wasnt for the hindus? Bring back the Kashmiri Pandits and watch the ‘normalcy’ that follows. These jihadis should have no normalcy unless and until the Kashmiri Pandits live in Srinagar and not in the refugee camps. If they cant stand the Hindu neighbors they’ll just have to get used to the rifle butts of hindu soldiers.

  3. Hi,

    Most people don’t think about IR. Having formed a few opinions, probably in their college days, they tend to stick to them. This results in a lag time between when a change happens and when the public realizes it.

    So since nothing staggeringly obvious has happened, the fact that the US position has gone a long way downhill relative to the position of India since the US invasion of Afghanistan is not reflected in the attitudes of newspaper reporters.

    So what could happen to make public consciousness in India connect with reality? What happens to India’s foreign affairs position when educated opinion in India starts to think of the US as a great power, along with India, rather than a super power, above India?

    Ray,

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