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Re: Indians



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Administrative Note:
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Week's Agenda: Political & administrative reforms
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Hello Everybody,
I am writing to IndiaPolicy for the first time so please bear with me if
it seems that I don't know what the heck is going on.

>From the flurry of emails that I have received it seems to me that
the issue currently being debated is whether India should commit(perhaps
through the use of force) to  protect the lives and interests of persons
of "Indian Origin".In this respect India's intervention in SriLanka was
brought up to support the case.I have a few points to make about
this.

Firstly let me provide you with counterexamples which I hope will
illustrate the problems one faces when trying to extend the protection
of the Indian state to POIO(persons of Indian origin).Lets take the case
of Kashmir.OIC setup a committee to oversee and coordinate policy on
kashmir.More specifically their intent was to influence India through the
collective negotiating power of the OIC.Now if we acccept the proposition
that India ought to extend protection to POIO then the OIC is right in
extenting its support to Kashmiri muslims.Indeed we would also have to
accept as justified any Pakistani policy 
directed towards the protection of Indian muslims in India.It is
afterall a sad fact that not all Indians are seen equally in the eyes of
the law (and particularly,law enforcement).

Now one can argue that Pakistan may not extend support to Indian muslims
in general because most Indian
muslims do not satify the "origins' test with respect to Pakistan.But
ofcourse this is not really an objection but a way of sweeping the problem
under the rug the problem being: how does one define "persons of Indian
origin". In some fundemental sense any standard is arbitary and there is
no intrinsic way to Characterise a person as being of Indian origin
without dealing with challenges to our soverniety that would arise if the
same standard were to be applied to Indian citizens. Indeed if cultural
and/or linguistic affiliations were to be made the test then why not
religious affliations.If having had a parent or grandparent who was a
Indian citizen is made the test then why stop at two generations.I am sure
that many Indian muslims And kashmiris in particular can trace atleast
some of their lineage to individuals from states in the OIC.

But I will admit that this example still leaves a few dark spots so let me
provide you with yet another counter-example.As we have more and more
foriegn investment in India should India allow,let's say the US, to use
force on Indian's in India if US citizens and/or interest's are
legitimately threatened(and if the Indian law enforcement is unable to do
so for whatever reason).I think we all would agree that it would be
unacceptable if that were to happen.
So now we go back to the Srilanka example.It should by no means be taken
as an axiom that Indian involvement in Srilanka was a good thing both in
terms of our moral committments and in terms of furthering our interests
in that country. Indeed as for the
latter it looks like that action may have hurt our interests while the
morality of
the action can also be debated.But we should not get bogged down with one
example.In general if India were to extend it's protection to POIO then we
would have to accept that the same of other nations who may choose to
extend their protection to Indian citizens whom they deem to be of their
ilk.

So I will end by agreeing with the individual who stated that India
should reserve it's protection to it's citizens(as it is usually
defined.Offcourse it is another issue as to whether we should be more
enlightened and consider ourselves  citizens of the world rather than
adhere to a rather arbitary standard -being born in India for
instance).As citizens it is our privilage to have India's might behind us
but it is earned through the responsibilities that we as Indian
citizens(and nobody else) have to towards our country.
Thanks for bearing with me.   

Abhijit Sarkar            

PS:Sorry for any spelling and/or grammatical errors.



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