Monday, May 4, 2015

An agreement is worth something only if you can make it expensive for the other side to violate it

Said : Arun Shourie in an interview with Rakesh Sinha, National Editor (News Operations) of The Indian Express (published in the May 4, 2015 edition) which claims to follow the Journalism of Courage.

The interview appears under the heading "Let’s not be in a hurry to resolve border dispute with China : Arun Shourie." Shourie has meticulously analyzed the current scenario of the Indo-China relations and highlighted the challenges facing the country in dealing with this Asian Tiger. He has advised to learn from the past mistakes of leaders like Pandit Nehru and also urged PM Modi to involve experts like General Raghavan and Shyam Saran who have spent years and years studying China, and its methods. "When you meet them (Indian experts), reflect carefully on views and assessments that are contrary to your instincts," he added.

Some of the other quotable quotes of Shourie from the Express News interview are reproduced below :
Pakistan is the immediate problem, China is the principal challenge in the long run — and in part Pakistan is a problem because of China. 
Indeed, China is facing many problems. But China’s problems are not going to solve ours: all they can do is that they may give us a little more time.  
China views India as a potential nuisance — one that must be kept busy in South Asia. And it has a willing instrument in Pakistan to do so.
Shourie's views can be useful but they just provide a kind of precautionary tool that may be used while dealing with the Chinese leaders. But when asked "So in your view what should the government be doing?," Shourie could hardly provide any meaningful answer which can be termed as something novel or even new.

At the end, I realized that although Shourie's analysis and observations are quite important and can be really useful but there is no reason to believe that PM Modi is ignorant about them and he is not seeking experts' opinion. We may not be knowing his list of advisers but I am sure he must be listening to them. He is a good listener but to expect him to take the ultimate final decision contrary to his instincts will rather be not only too much but also be impractical. The so called Experts, including Shourie, also form their opinions based on their instincts. 

Somehow, reading Shourie's views has strengthened my thinking that to analyse a difficult and complex situation may be quite easy or free of any faults but to deal with it may not be as easy as many experts think or advise. That's why leaders at the highest level eventually tend to postpone such issues. Perhaps Shourie also, therefore, as per the headline of his interview, rightly (consciously or unconsciously) advices "Let’s not be in a hurry to resolve border dispute with China." Is it not  because we have no other viable alternative?

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