PM Manmohan Singh has wrapped up at the Non Aligned Movement conference and is on his way back to India. The question though that everyone is asking is couldn’t the PM give NAM a miss in the midst of the Coalgate scam? KC Singh, former diplomat, says that very few important leaders came to the NAM summit, and it served no purpose for India.
“There are a lot of senior leaders from the world who have given this conference a miss. Of course Iranians sweetened things for India by receiving the PM on a bilateral visit one day before NAM. This is a visit which was over due for nine years. If we did not make that visit in nine years, why did it have to be made now?” Singh said to CNN-IBN in a television debate.
“Essentially what has happened is that NAM has been hijacked by intermediate powers who are using it to further their own agenda in the world. For Supreme Leader of Iran addressing the opening session, he was talking of joint global governance and then he went on to abuse United Nations,” he added.
Singh also criticised the stand taken by the PM and said, “In the rhetoric PM adopted, we saw him in a parallel NAM universe. Unmindful of the kind of relationship we develop with the west, unmindful that we are a non-permanent member of UN Security Council till the end of the year. We sat through a diatribe against the United Nations which the poor UN’s Secretary General had to defend.”
According Singh, by attending NAM, PM sent a signal that he is not relevant to solving the Coalgate crisis.
“The signal you send is that, perhaps if the target is not available the crisis will die down, or you are not relevant,” Singh said.
Also on the show was Vinod Mehta, Editorial Chairman of the Outlook group, who defended the PM’s decision to got to NAM since it was held in Tehran.
“It must have been a tough judgement call, but I believe he finally made the right decision. The battle lines are already drawn in India, so I don’t think him being here would have made a difference,” he said.
“This NAM conference is not held in Bali, it is being held in Tehran. And India has very good relations with Tehran, with Americans breathing down our neck, I think the visit to Iran by the PM on its own, without the NAM summit would have been looked down upon,” he added.
Mehta also said that the whole summit has been beneficial to India, since the PM was able to talk to Iranian leaders and Pakistan’s President Asif Ali Zardari.
“What he has achieved is that he has been able to talk to the top Iranian leadership and the meeting on the sidelines with Zardari, all together its pretty useful,” he said.
“(By not attending) domestically he would have sent the wrong message that India’s international obligations are not important,” he added.