|WHAT HAPPENED WITH INDIA? WHOM ARE THEY UPSET WITH?
15 February 2005
Some strange things must be happening on the way from New Delhi. The world's largest democracy and
solid U.N. supporter has been sending recent signals of dissatisfaction -- discreet, yet published in
mainstream media. In December, there was an intriguing comment about the Secretary General and "some
manipulators" amongst his team. This month, there was a more open editorial in the prestigious Times
of India. It said: "Kofi Annan who is no stranger to rejection from India was politely informed
that his energies were better applied elsewhere. New Delhi's reasons for refusing foreign aid as
well as stellar visits go beyond the argument that India can go it alone. Some of the disaster zones
in India are strategically important and it is unlikely that India would want to jeopardize
important security conditions for the sake of a foreign VIP visit." That seemed fairly usual until
the paper added another consideration that "India has never really considered Annan to be
well-disposed to it."
These are puzzling words considering that none other than Annan's Under Secretary General for
Communications and Media (or whatever the title is now) was just on home leave in India. Additionally,
at least two other Indians at the Under Secretary General level, Ambassador Sharma and Nittin Desai,
served in Timor Leste and Information Technology respectively. If you asked any U.N.
staffer he or she will immediately convey the impression that Annan's administration mainly favoured
Indians and some selected Pakistanis.
There must have been some reason for this approval. Either officials in Delhi are not adequately calculating the
number of their (very qualified) staff or they dismiss their currently senior Indians within the
Secretariat as not adequately representative. Otherwise, maybe Secretary General Annan has been led
to miscalculate with Indians.
Maybe India, which is earnestly working for a seat in a restructured Security Council, does not wish to
have any misunderstanding about its real no-nonsense targets. No Indian should divert
attention from the priority of getting a Security Council permanent seat. Furthermore, the candidates
they put for senior posts are their real candidates; no substitutes, please. In an interesting aside,
the Delhi main paper commended India for sending across a firm message to Kofi Annan "and his troupe
of media manipulators." Now, whom would they mean?