Wednesday 10 February 2010

Hidden hand poisoning ties between India and the West? (UPI Asia)

Manipal, India — Quiet surveys conducted through multiple sources indicate that the root of the spasms of "curry bashing" – violent attacks on Indian students – seen in Australia over the past year is the belief of migrants from some European states that only whites ought to be allowed to emigrate to Australia.Since the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1992, Germany ensured that a huge chunk of Western Europe's resources would go into subsidies for the eastern part of the continent, believing that ethnicity would trump economics.

Had Western Europe adopted a strategy of relying on global skills for its expansion, rather than relying on a single source, Eastern Europe, with a half-century history of dysfunctional educational and occupational networks, that most productive part of the world would have witnessed rates of growth closer to those of India and China than to Japan’s.

As matters stand, the hugely expensive Western gamble on Eastern Europe is likely to see the eclipse of Western European companies within the next 15 years, faced as they will be by competition from China, India and Brazil. Had even one-third of the investment that flowed into Eastern Europe gone to India, for example, the returns from that would have been enough to wipe out the losses now being made in Eastern Europe.
Eastern Europe surely includes many highly artistic, liberal and talented individuals. Yet it also includes those whose notions of ethnic privilege belong to a bygone era, but have now been made the foundation for EU immigration policies.

Such individuals would like to see the United States, Canada and Australia copy the European Union in shutting the door to those of non-European ethnicity. They have linked up with anti-nonwhite immigrant lobbies in all these countries to seek to enforce an effective ban on even highly skilled migrants from nonwhite countries.

Even the United Kingdom is following suit, placing higher and higher barriers to entry for people not of European ethnicity. In the United States such advocacy, although at the core of much political ideology, has as yet been ineffective. Australia, however, is the country where such an "EU strategy" can be expected to find its greatest resonance.

Ironically, modern Australia depends increasingly on Asia for its present and future prosperity. The steady decline of the relative importance of Europe has meant the replacement of that continent with Asia as the primary market for Australia. In the skills pool as well, the most cost-effective talent can be found within Asia – individuals that would not have the societal drawbacks associated with, for example, some segments of Albanian and Romanian society, nor the prejudice against nonwhites that has been an unfortunate mark of elements within Europe for a considerable period.

The Australian police would like the world to believe that the more than 2,000 attacks in Australia on people of Indian origin in the past 19 months is a random occurrence. But in fact, it is an organized pogrom by those seeking to ensure that Australia follows the EU in shutting the door to nonwhites.

Within this group, those least likely to fight back are the Indians – and hence the multiple attacks on this usually identifiable segment of the Australian kaleidoscope.

Apart from an innate meekness, another distinguishing characteristic of the Indian student community in Australia is that they are often as poorly educated as some of the migrants from Eastern Europe, and hence compete for the same jobs. Given the belief within the eastern part of the EU that North America and Australia ought to follow the EU's lead in substantially shutting the door to nonwhite entry, it would not be a difficult task for interested parties to incite some of these elements to violence.

Just four days after the Nov. 26 to 28, 2008 terror attack on Mumbai, on the basis of information provided by those with the ability to monitor such a situation, this columnist had – correctly, it now turns out – identified elements within the Pakistan military as having been behind that outrage.

Those same sources have informed this columnist that the intelligence agency of a large country has been active in Australia, seeking to foment attacks on the Indian community, in order to "not only poison ties between India and Australia," but more broadly, between "India and the white countries."

This agency would like to see a distance develop between India and the West, to ensure that there is no future alliance between two peoples who are culturally and strategically much more closely linked than they imagine.

According to such reports, it has been a relatively easy and inexpensive matter to incite ill-educated recent migrants to Australia from locations such as Albania, Romania and Bulgaria to acts of violence against the Indian community. Such acts have led to considerable media attention in India, although as yet there has not been anger against white people generally. Most Indians see this as a local affair that does not detract from their view that the European races are among the most liberal and culturally sensitive in the world.

This columnist is somewhat skeptical of reports of an outside, intelligence agency element in at least some of the attacks on Indians, but will not rule out the possibility, given the paranoia in some quarters about the warming ties between India and the West.

In any case, it is clear that Australian federal agencies should stop seeing this as a local law-and-order problem, and frame the problem in the broader context of future ties between India and countries with European-origin ethnic majorities. Thus far, almost no one has been detained for any but the more grievous attacks, and the questioning of even these has been perfunctory. This needs to change.

Indeed, the reaction of some of the Australian police can only be termed bizarre. John Overland, the chief of police in Victoria – the state that includes the city of Melbourne – recently asked Indians to avoid attacks by "looking poor" and by avoiding the use of electronic gadgets and other essentials of a modern life.

He also warned them not to drive taxis or to live in poor neighborhoods. Presumably the Victorian police will arrange alternative accommodation for those of the Indian community who lack the resources to change their present addresses. Thankfully, Commissioner Overland did not also ask Indians to wear only a loincloth and to walk about barefoot.

Indians have as much of a right to migrate to Australia as do Albanians or Bulgarians, and even to work as taxi drivers and to use iPods in public. Of course, if there is an outside link behind these attacks, the violence will continue even if the police chief's unorthodox advice is followed.

Australia's future lies with Asia, just as the European Union’s does with India, and it is hoped that the authorities there will not go the way of their racial purists and follow Brussels in immigration policies that shut out nonwhites. To do so would provoke reactions in Asia that could poison ties between that continent and its neighbor to the west.

The stain from recent events in Australia can affect much more than the reputation of a country that – almost correctly – prides itself on its liberal values and its frontier spirit. It is time for Kevin Rudd to quit playing the ostrich and use his resources to prevent further developments that could inflame public opinion in India against his country. If that happens, the intelligence agency that is purportedly behind these attacks will have won the game.

-(Professor M.D. Nalapat is vice-chair of the Manipal Advanced Research Group, UNESCO Peace Chair, and professor of geopolitics at Manipal University. ©Copyright M.D. Nalapat.)

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