April 12, 2007Foreign AffairsSecurity

In partial defence of Rajiv Gandhi

The last prime minister to have backed pax Indica

This is an archived blog post from The Acorn.

Thinking it through in Mint, Amit Varma has an excellent piece on the the Nehru-Gandhi dynasty and the scary certainty of having to see Rahul at the helm. The dynasty’s legacy of shame is vast, but Rajiv Gandhi’s intervention in Sri Lanka, contrary to Amit’s opinion, was by no means foolish. It was necessary and if it ended badly for India, it was because of Rajiv’s other, unrelated follies. And when V P Singh became prime minister, he was more interested in undermining Rajiv Gandhi than in India’s national interest.

Not only did Rajiv have some very good security strategists—Arun Singh and J N Dixit among them—he had the good sense to listen to them and the courage to make tough decisions. The huge majority in parliament, of course, helped.

As for Sri Lanka, intervention was not as foolish as non-intervention. Thanks to non-intervention, the LTTE has an air force, the Americans have access to naval bases, and China and Pakistan are selling arms to the Sri Lankan government.

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