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The Hindu Editorial

5-December-2023

1. A dark shadow on New Delhi’s credibility.

Topic: GS2 – International relations

Introduction:

  • Recent U.S. Department of Justice indictment against an Indian national for targeting Khalistani separatists raises questions about New Delhi’s credibility.
  • Balancing covert operations and public diplomacy becomes crucial to maintaining international trust.

Challenges in Other Friendly Countries:

  • Various intelligence operations, such as the return of UAE princess Latifah, the attempted kidnap of Mehul Choksi, and the conviction of Indian naval officers in Qatar, face legal challenges.
  • India’s handling of these cases impacts its image and trust among friendly nations.

U.S. Indictment and Trust Issues:

  • The U.S. indictment against an Indian national for conspiracy to murder Khalistani separatists raises concerns.
  • Lack of full information sharing by the U.S. with India suggests a trust deficit, despite recent high-level meetings between leaders.

Trust Issues between U.S. and India:

  • The U.S. seems more focused on the alleged plot than curbing the activities of wanted individuals, indicating a lack of trust in India’s information.
  • The situation echoes the 2008 intelligence sharing on the Mumbai attacks, revealing historical trust challenges between the two nations.

Impact on Bilateral Ties:

  • Trust issues impact the longer-term arc of U.S.-India relations despite growing bilateral and strategic ties.
  • India’s differing reactions to Canadian and U.S. allegations highlight a potential double standard in its international engagements.

International Image and Double Standards:

  • India’s actions raise questions about whether it projects itself as a “hard power” willing to take risks or a supporter of international law building cases through diplomacy.
  • Double standards in international reactions to covert operations underscore the complexity of global relationships.

Impact on the Neighbourhood:

  • Neighboring countries like Sri Lanka and Bangladesh initially stood with India, but revelations from the U.S. indictment may prompt them to scrutinize Indian agencies’ activities.
  • South Block and Indian embassies in the region need to reassure neighbors about India’s role in their domestic affairs.

Conclusion:

  • The lasting impact of the episode depends on the image India wants to project globally and whether its actions align with its stated values and interests.
  • The Ministry of External Affairs’ commitment to investigating the allegations will determine the government’s stance on covert operations and extra-judicial actions.

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