WITHOUT CLOSE FRIENDS Malvika Singh The candidate that the Indian government supported within minutes of the coup that took place in the Maldives came at the tail end of the election result that was declared on Saturday. His impact on the polls was zero. The former president, Mohamed Nasheed, led with a huge margin, only to prove how wrong India was in supporting a move that was misguided, erroneous, anti-democratic and illegal, something that should never have been approved. Will India learn its lessons from this and other mis-steps that have been initiated as a result of its peculiar attitude towards other nations in its neighbourhood? We have managed to alienate the Saarc countries, thereby antagonizing the nations that could have been Indiaâ€™s steadfast partners. Indiaâ€™s foreign policy requires serious restructuring. India must reassert its position, ethics and democratic moorings if it is to make a substantive impact on its neighbours and on the world. We seem to have lost our intellectual creativity and appear hopelessly confused, unable to think and act for ourselves. In a â€˜globalizedâ€™ order, India plays â€˜follow the leaderâ€™. I often wonder why we chose the big, bad â€˜leaderâ€™ we did. We have, in recent years, alienated all our traditional friends, instead of ensuring that our new friend befriends and tries to understand what inspires and motivates ancient civilizations that have been destroyed by the engines of growth in the â€˜new worldâ€™. Second fiddle If the United States of America is desperate to assault Syria, it should first consider attacking the nation that allegedly exported the nerve gas to Syria. Had Britain not sold the nerve gas to Syria, as is being alleged, this development may not have taken place. The cowboy mentality that continues to overwhelm the political and administrative classes in the US is unacceptable in a globalized world where partnerships and dialogue should be dominating the narrative. The strong-arm tactic, followed by drone attacks, carpet bombing and heaven knows what else, can only have a negative consequence. It seems that the US is seeking reasons for retaliation, a step that will make this planet even more dangerous than it already is. Political arbitration is the only way forward under the given circumstances. India, with its unusual DNA, could have played the role of an international arbiter if it was being led by a fine and committed leadership that could think out of the box. Instead, it took â€˜sidesâ€™ and decided to sit on the fence even though a strong intervention on its part was the need of the hour. For this reason, India is not taken seriously as an equal partner by any nation. We are being used by a declining superpower that wants to gain access to our volatile but potentially lucrative neighbourhood. Colonization is at its very worst in the new millennium. Lost legacy We have forgotten our extraordinary legacy and strengths and relegated them to the back-burner, even as we go about cloning and absorbing the worst elements of an alien culture, instead of accepting the best that the Western world has to offer. The British gave us a language but they also added indigenous words to their expressions. They re-fashioned their bed tea to chhota hazari. Our khichri became their â€˜kedchereeâ€™! We followed their â€˜fashionâ€™, their life patterns and more, till Gandhiji rekindled our pride in what was our own. Today, once again, we blindly eat hotdogs and hamburgers, wear frocks and pants, look and behave like caricatures of an alien culture. We need a messiah to restore our identity and reinvent our persona by spelling out a blueprint for a civilized, intelligent and proactive democratic state. Without close friends *************************** With an acne like Khurshed, who is a clueless muddle and mutton headed rudderless politician, what better can be expected of our foreign policy. Every foreign policy is a misadventure or a cover-up. We have been reduced to be the laughing stock of Asia and redundant to the Asian geostrategic and geopolitical scene! China dictates to us, Pakistan mocks us with repeated provocation and our good Doctor still harbours shamelessly his ardent desire that he will chat with Sharif, Maldives has made us look the fool we are, Sri Lanka with impunity shoots or captures our fisherfolks, Myanmar encroaches our territory and we still think we are on the way to be a superpower! What a hypocritical dream!