Friday, June 26, 2009

Strategic Alliance with the USA

The Government of India is in the process of reaching a comprehensive agreement with the USA on civil cooperation in nuclear power. The Left parties are opposed to it on the ground that it binds India to America as a global strategic partner and that has some long term ramifications. They say: “The nuclear cooperation deal is an integral part of the July 2005 Joint Statement, which has political, economic and strategic aspects. It is also closely linked to the June 2005 Military Framework Agreement signed with the United States.” (Left Parties’ Statement 2007) They look at the deal from their traditional anti-imperialist point of view and they make no secret that they consider the USA to be the number one neo-imperialist hegemon that has put on the garb of neo-liberalism. There is some element of truth in their assessment but I consider it incomplete. There is a cultural-civilisational-religious-racial dimension to America’s geo-politics which impinges both directly and indirectly on India’s national interests, and it is this aspect that all political parties, including the Congress, Left and BJP, have ignored so far. I shall call it the religio-ethnic dimension in brief. It has something to do with the national identity of America and its core allies.
National Identity and Secularism (or Sectarianism) of America
CONTRARY to popular belief, America is a deeply divided society on the basis of religiosity. The coastal cities of both the east and the west are centres of non-religious liberalism and are home to the major universities of world fame. We often tend to judge the USA by the social mores of these high-profile cities. The majority of people lives in Middle America and is deeply religious and harbour narrow sectarian outlook. They tend to have large families and their population is increasing faster. They are increasingly dominant in national affairs. They are primarily Protestant and secondarily Catholic. The presence of the third important Christian denomination, Orthodoxy, is negligibly small. Among the Protestants the Episcopalians and the Baptists are dominant. Both sprang from the Anglican Church in different times in history. Traditionally the Baptists have been more intolerant and devout, some say, fanatical. In contrast, the Episcopalians have been more tolerant toward other denominations and religions and have a more liberal-secular outlook, in the mould of the Church of England. But all that seems to have been changing for last one generation with the rise of the mid-20th century Evangelism. A very famous Baptist preacher, Rev Billy Graham, took centre-stage during the 1960s. He supported the American aggression in Vietnam to the hilt and to the last, even when it appeared that American withdrawal was inevitable. He was a family friend of most of the Presidents, such as, Johnson, Nixon etc. of that era. He was tremendously popular among the Blacks and was a friend of Martin Luther King, Junior, the legendary Black leader of the civil rights movement, till they fell out later over the Vietnam war. What is most important is that he had also a tremendous following among the Episcopalians. Wikipedia, the web encyclopedia, says: “Billy Graham, is a career evangelist and an Evangelical. He has been a spiritual adviser to multiple US Presidents and was number seven on Gallup’s list of admired people for the 20th century. He is a member of the Southern Baptist Convention.” The next generation saw the arrival of Pat Robertson, who is equally popular in America, a member of the closely knit top political circle. Robertson is a televangelist. He is the founder of numerous organisations and corporations, including the Christian Broadcasting Network (CBN), the Christian Coalition, Operation Blessing International Relief and Development Corpora-tion. He is the host of The 700 Club, a Christian TV programme airing on channels throughout the United States and on CBN affiliates worldwide. He is opposed to abortion and gay rights, Robertson is a supporter of the Republican Party and campaigned unsuccessfully to become the party’s nominee in the 1988 presidential election. He is a Southern Baptist and was active as an ordained minister with that denomination for many years, but holds to a charismatic theology not traditionally common among Southern Baptists. (Wikipedia 2007) The Middle America has a long tradition of donating enormously and regularly to church funds, and with the rise of Evangelism this trend has strengthened. The Evangelical movement has tremendous money power, which can be easily judged by looking at the number of their websites, TV channels, publications and worldwide network. The declared aim of the Evangelical movement is converting the whole world to their version of Christianity. Their enormous man and money power is active in North-East India, Africa, Eastern Europe and Latin America. They have tasted much success in targeting Catholics in Brazilian slums, and that has become a bone of contention with the Catholic Pope. To summarise, [1] the American Episcopalians and Baptists have come closer. They seem to be in the process of a de facto merger. [2] Both have moved away from their traditional worldview and found a new cause in Evangelism. President George Bush, Jr., born in an Episcopalian family, is a declared ‘Born Again’ Christian and a supporter of Evangelism. In his book, A Charge To Keep, he says he was inspired by the Baptist preacher, Rev Billy Graham, who was a family friend, during one of his visits to Bush family home at Maine and “this contributed to my decision to commit my heart to Jesus Christ”.
The American Constitution enshrines religious freedom explicitly and unambiguously, it is well known. What is not well known is that America has many anti-cult laws on her statutes. A cult is defined as a cohesive social group devoted to beliefs or practices that the surrounding culture considers outside the mainstream. Under the cult laws any religious organisation, outside the pale of traditional Christian denominations, can be sued for millions of dollars if even one disgruntled or disappointed former disciple can be found who states that he/she has been taken advantage of. Many Hindu-Buddhist organisations and secular Yoga exercise groups have been sued under cult laws. Often an evangelical Christian enters a so-called cult in the disguise of a disciple only to come out later lifting an accusatory finger. Organised Christian cult-busting legal groups with dozens of lawyers and million dollar budgets go around systematically encouraging suits against Hindu and Buddhist groups. Such groups as the Hare Krishnas (ISKCON), Transcendental Meditation, the Sikhs under Yogi Bhajan, to name a few, have faced such suits and sometimes adverse settlements in the millions. To summarise, [1] what the Constitution gives with the right hand it takes away with the left, and [2] Evangelist influence is increasing as America moves more and more toward persecution of beliefs alien to mainstream Christian denominations.
I have written quite a few articles in the pages of Mainstream on the Baptist connection of separatism in North-East India. (Ghosh 1999, 2002; Ghosh and Kumar 2004, 2005a, 2005b) The British during the Raj consciously used religion as an instrument of politics and facilitated access to North-East India for American Baptist missionaries and had drafted a plan (the Coupland plan) for creating a Crown Colony comprising parts of India and Burma. After independence American missionary funding continued for Christianisation and secession. The American Government tacitly encouraged it for punishing non-aligned India, which had refused to join their camp. Nowadays the funding continues with renewed vigour from an America that is in the grip of combined Episcopalian-Baptist Evangelism. (See Note 1 for the American connection.) Many of the separatist organisations of North-East India are motivated by the political tenets of Christianity and employ terror tactics such as bombing of civilians and trains, forced conversion of people in remote hamlets etc. I am tempted to coin a term, namely Christianism, after the well-known term Islamism. The latter means, according to Huband (1999), ‘the ideological belief in the requirement to enact the political tenets of Islam as the basis of political life’. In the Indian North-East there are groups which believe in creating a Christian theocratic state as the basis of political life. A few excerpts from the political manifesto of National Socialist Council of Nagaland are sufficient to substantiate this point: To us the sovereign existence of our country, the salvation of our people in socialism with their spiritual salvation in Christ are eternal and unquestionable. …import of things repugnant to the taste of a Christian people would be prohibited.
We stand for faith in God and salvation of mankind in Jesus, the Christ, alone, that is, ‘NAGALAND FOR CHRIST’.
I call such people Christianist and their ideology Christianism. America is the main support base for Christianist separatists of North-East India. Returning to the proposed 123-nuclear Agreement, it is apparent that America expects its Indian ally to refrain from anything that is not in America’s strategic interest, and it restricts India’s hands in any natural-gas-deal with Iran. The least the Government of India could have done was to include a clause for closing funding channels from America to Christianist militants in North-East India, as a quid pro quo. There is no evidence that India has even mooted the topic.
Religio-Ethnic Core of America
HUNTINGTON (1996) in his book, Clash of Civilisations and Remaking of World Order, says that ‘Western Christianity’ is central to America’s civilisational identity. By Western Christianity he means Protestantism and Catholicism. He is hypocritically silent on Judaism, whereas in fact Judaism is integral to American civilisation. The Jews are a minority in America but they are the most significant minority, distinguished for their control of banking and finance, and contribution to music, film industry and all forms of intellectual activities from research in science and technology to economics, social sciences and liberal arts. Also they are singularly active and powerful in American politics. They occupy significant posts in both the mainstream parties in strength which is out of proportion to their number. From the inception of Israel in 1948 the American Jewry has been allowed to hold dual citizenship of Israel and the USA, a privilege not given to any other group or country. The West European Protestant and Catholic countries, Canada, Australia and Israel, form the block of kin-civilisation countries allied with the United States. After the disintegra-tion of Yugoslavia and the Soviet Union, a few countries of Central Europe, such as, Slovenia, Croatia, Poland etc. have joined this kin-civilisation group. But there is an inner core inside this group. This core consists of the English-speaking White nations and Israel. The security and welfare of the core is paramount and takes precedence even over the economic interests of America. This fact our Leftist politicians should do well to pay attention to. The next most important thing to America is, of course, her global economic interests, which include relationship with the oil exporting countries, most of whom happen to be Islamic. Most of these countries are in a dilemma over Israel’s brutal treatment of Muslim Palestinians and this dilemma is the greatest influence on American foreign policy and global politics, more than her neo-imperialist considerations. The central issue to this dilemma and American response needs a name and I shall call it America-Israel Kinship factor, in short, AIK factor. The worldwide growing anti-Americanism among the Muslims is the direct product of the AIK factor.
An Adversary : Who and Why?
NO matter what the Western political leaders profess in public, they practice something close to what is described in Huntington’s aforementioned book. They perceive Muslim and Orthodox countries as the ‘other’, a twin adversary. However, each adversary has to be handled differently. Also, there is large body of Muslims in today’s world who believe in Pan-Islamism. To such Muslims America gives a clear signal: “If you attack my core, the retaliation would be swift and all out.” Such attacks on the USA and Western Europe will be viewed as terrorism. But similar attacks on Russia, Serbia, India or Thailand would be viewed as freedom struggle. The secessionist tendency in Kashmir is almost as old as India’s independence and India has fought a few wars with Pakistan over Kashmir. The Anglo-American powers have always sided with Pakistan, overtly or covertly. When the terrorist insurgency started in Kashmir in the 1980s, this attitude on their part persisted for next 20 years and only now it seems to be softening. Bosnia, Kosovo, Chechnya are all cases in point with respect to the US attitude to the Orthodox. The Orthodox countries need not be accommodated at all, because America’s economic interests are not tied up in Orthodox countries. In fact they can be sacrificed to placate the Muslim sentiment and counter-balance the AIK factor and America has done precisely that with respect to Serbia and Russia, as I will show later.
At one time America considered the Soviet Union an enemy country because it was the centre of world communism. On the part of the Communists the idea of exporting revolutionary ideas and overthrowing capitalism was a mission. The Cold War grew out of such circumstances. But that is a thing of the past. The Soviet Union has disintegrated and Eastern Europe has embraced capitalism and so has China in the garb of the so-called market-socialism. Why does America still continue with hostile posturing vis-à-vis Russia? It is because America needs an adversary for a definite reason, for the sake of maintaining an armament industry which is gargantuan in size, generates enormous employment and helps the government to spend tax money without causing inflation. The global arms market is so huge and involves so many players globally that it would be safe to say that the world capitalist economy would get into recession if true peace (instead of cold war of one kind or another) prevails and the armament industry of all countries is forced to close down. So an adversary is necessary to maintain public support and the raison d’etre to keep the arms manufacture and defence research going. In the 1980s President Gorbachev of the erstwhile Soviet Union had offered a deal for negotiated, calibrated and gradual mutual disarmament to the United States. The offer was rejected after much pretensions and negotiations, because the leading capitalist power cannot create a serious disorder in the global capitalist economy. After the collapse of the Soviet Union, the new Russia again extended its hand of friendship to America, and again it was rejected. Now President Putin has reasserted Russian dominance in whatever remains of her zone of influence in Eastern Europe and Central Asia. Russia has been forced to re-start the arms race.
Russia’s Chechnya
CHECHNYA is a republic in the Caucasus mountains in the federal structure of Russia, inhabited mostly by a Muslim population. The recently arrived Wahhabism from Saudi Arabia has managed to displace the traditional Sufi Islam practised in the region to a great extent. (Khan 1999) This has bred militancy, terrorism and separatism. President Boris Yeltsin tried to come to terms with Chechen aspirations by granting them autonomy, but that spurred them on further to export Wahhabism and separatism to neighbouring Dagestan and Ingushetia by terrorist methods. Finally Russia, led by President Putin, was forced to crack down and militarily subdued the Chechen guerrillas. Thereafter sporadic acts of terrorism continue. A few years ago Chechen terrorists took over a school in Beslan which finally resulted in confrontation with the security forces and a bloodbath leading to the death of hundreds of children. The Western powers, led by the Anglo-Americans, had been pontificating to the Russians right from the beginning of separatism that they should give independence to Chechnya; the Chechens are fighting for freedom and self-determination, etc. After the Beslan massacre President Bush of the USA uttered a homily that Russia should settle politically with the Chechens and give them freedom. This invited a slap of a statement from President Putin that America should settle politically with Osama bin Laden and give him what he wanted. It is to be noted that the Beslan incident came well after the plane-bombing of the World Trade Centre in New York, USA on September 11, 2001, and Osama bin Laden was considered the top leader of the Al-Qaeda that perpetrated this horrific act of terrorism. This incident shows up the American double-standard with respect to Islamist terrorism and how America is prepared to placate Muslim sentiment at the cost of Orthodox Russia.
Serbia’s Kosovo
SERBIA, the heartland of the erstwhile Yugoslav Federation, Orthodox by religion, had been traditionally held in high regard by the West. During World War II the Serbs stood up to Hitler. In contrast, a major section of the Croats, the Catholic inhabitants of Croatia, another republic of the federation, collaborated with the Nazis and massacred the Serb Orthodox minority in Croatia under the guidance of a Catholic clergyman. The Nazis took advantage of the traditional hatred between Catholics and the Orthodox in that part of the world. Later during the 1950s Yugoslavia, defended by a predominantly Serbian Army, defied the Soviet dictator, Stalin. It continued to defy the dictates of a domineering Soviet Union till the time of Brezhnev. Politically Yugoslavia since World War II had been non-aligned in spite of being ruled by Communists and endeared herself to the Western powers. Led by Tito she always pursued a policy of mixed economy and not “command economy” as the rest of the communist bloc. Basic freedoms, such as freedom of expression and travel, were respected. All in all Serbia had earned goodwill and prestige from the Western nations.
In the next phase of history after the break-up of the Soviet Union and Yugoslavia, Serbia’s contribution to the defeat of Fascism and building of democracy was forgotten in no time at all. In the civil war that followed the disintegration of Yugoslavia, the West supported Catholic Croatia along the Serbia-Croatia border. There was ethnic cleansing committed by both sides. The evidence against Croatia was suppressed by the machinations of a NATO intervention force. Vanita Singh (1992), who lived in Yugoslavia at that time, has given an excellent impartial record of these events. But the worse was yet to come. In the Bosnian theatre of the war it was a triangular struggle among Muslims, Catholic Croats and Orthodox Serbs. Again all three committed war crimes, but it was only the Serbs who were held guilty. Their leaders, Karadzic and Milosevic, were demonised by the West. Europe for the first time saw infusion of Mujahideen warriors from non-European Muslim countries fighting on the side of Bosnian Muslims led by Izetbegovic. The NATO imposed a settlement on Bosnia. And then Kosovo, a southern province of Serbia, went up in flames.
Kosovo has an interesting history. Slavs entered the Balkans in 6th to 7th century AD. By 1190 Kosovo had become the administrative and cultural centre of the medieval Serbian state ruled by the powerful Nemanjic dynasty. This dynasty lasted 200 years and still today Kosovo is known by Serbians as “Old Serbia”. In the Middle Ages the Balkans were occupied by the Ottoman Turks and they imposed discriminatory laws against the Christian population leading to large scale conversion to Islam. Both Albania and present-day Kosovo had Christian and Muslim populations and there were continual strife and see-saw struggle between Christian Serbs and Muslim Albanians/Kosovars. During the Nazi occupation of World War II, the Serbs resisted and the Albanian/Kosovar Muslims collaborated; thousands of Kosovo Serbs were expelled by armed Albanian groups, notably the Vulnetari militia. It is still not known exactly how many fell victim to this, but Serbian estimates put the figures at 10,000-40,000 killed with 70,000-100,000 expelled. Kosovo was on its way to becoming an Albania- dominated province.
There is resurgence in Islamic militancy all over the world and Bosnia and Kosovo are no exceptions. As stated before, the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and America-Israel Kinship (AIK) factor are primarily responsible for this. But Huntington (1996) thinks otherwise and says, ( p.116, Chapter 5: Economics, Demography and the Challenger Civilisations), While the rise of East Asia has been fuelled by spectacular rates of economic growth, the resurgence of Islam has been fuelled by equally spectacular rates of population growth. Population expansion in Islamic countries, particularly in the Balkans, North Africa and Central Asia has been significantly greater than that in the neighbouring countries and in the world generally.
He backs up his statement with impressive and latest birth rate data. The demographic factor may have skewed the politics of both Bosnia and Kosovo to some extent. There have been consistent reports of Albanians (mostly Muslim) pouring across the mountainous border into more prosperous Yugoslavia (that is, into Kosovo) from a Stalinist Albania throughout the latter half of the 20th century.
The rest of the history is brief. When the Bosnian civil war came to an end, the NATO intervention there emboldened Albanians in Kosovo and they started ethnic cleansing of the minority Orthodox Serbs. President Slobodan Milosevic strengthened the presence of the Serbian Army and security forces many fold to maintain law and order and protect the Serbs. This caused an exodus of Albanian Muslims. The NATO bombed Serbia proper for three months and into the Stone Age by destroying all power houses, utility network, road bridges and important public buildings. Serbia was forced to withdraw all security forces and the bombings came to an end on June 10, 1999. The Albanians moved back, some of the resident Serbs escaped and since then Kosovo has demanded secession from Serbia. This demand is backed by the NATO. Right now the NATO and Russian forces are present in Kosovo to protect the remaining Serb minority who live in enclaves. When Kosovo gains independence, what would happen to them? Everyone knows that they would have to escape. To me secession of Kosovo does not seem morally justified and I perceive a close parallel with India’s Kashmir, except that there never was an exodus of Muslims from Kashmir, although the Hindu exodus of 1989-90 has not been reversed so far. If Kosovo secedes with NATO assistance, would Kashmir be the next target of the Western powers led by America? The track record of America does not inspire confidence. She has to counterbalance the AIK factor continually to placate the Muslim world.
India’s Strategic Interest in Central Asia
INDIA has her sole overseas military facility at the Ayni air base, 15 km from Tajikistan’s capital Dushanbe, under the 2002 bilateral defence agreement with Tajikistan. The refurbishment of the Ayni military base, for around $1.77 million (about Rs 7 crores), was completed earlier this year nearly 24 months behind schedule by the Indian Border Roads Organisation. India is likely to be evicted from its sole, albeit fledgling, overseas military facility under pressure from Russia, which has considerable influence with Tajikistan and is concerned over New Delhi’s burgeoning ties with Washington.
There are other developments in Central Asia. In order to check the entry of a freshly aggressive NATO on the one hand and Islamism on the other, a Collective Security Treaty Organisation (CSTO) was loosely formed in 1992 in Tashkhent. Later some other countries joined it and the Treaty came into force formally on April 20, 1994. The signatories are Russia, Armenia, Kazakhstan, Kyrghyzstan, Tajikistan, Uzbekistan, Azerbaijan, Georgia and Belarus. The Treaty reaffirmed the desire of all the participating states to abstain from the use or threat of force. The signatories wouldn’t be able to join other military alliances, while an aggression against one signatory would be perceived as an aggression against all.
China is not a member of the CSTO and is the key country in the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO). Such a name has been chosen deliberately to keep India out. India cannot possibly join the SCO for the same reason as why she cannot join a hypothetical Rawalpindi Coopera-tion Treaty. Names matter. India can, however, seek an ‘observer’ status in the SCO, which is notably not a military alliance. China’s relationship with India is not going to change much in the near future and China would maintain an aggressive posture by claiming Arunachal, and military thrusts and jabs along the border. But India need not be unnecessarily perturbed since we have adequate strength and China would never engage on this side of the Himalayan ridge line. China may have superior strength in ICBMs and nuclear arms, but infantry engagement across a mountain is another matter. She remembers what happened when she sent her Army into Vietnam during the 1980s. Skirmishes along the North-Eastern border would continue and India must keep a vigil, take local action, lodge a protest when appropriate but not get perturbed. China would continue to arm Pakistan and give it nuclear and missile technology to keep India tied down on her western borders. All this is because of Dalai Lama and Buddhism, both having an Indian connection. Chinese Communists consider Buddhism a competing religion/ideology and a threat, and persecute any organised Buddhist activity in mainland China, such as Falun Gong. (Ghosh 2002b) They just about tolerate organised Lama Buddhism in Tibet but have circumscribed it to a great extent. India must make a realistic assessment of any international situation and should neither whip up nor get carried away by emotions. India must come to terms with China’s phenomenal economic and military rise. It is completely unnecessary to even think of a containment of China. How does it matter to us if China becomes a superpower? Our priorities should be security along the border and economic development. It would be sheer stupidity to think that America can help us contain China, even if she wants to. China has close economic ties with the USA, become the hub of production of consumer goods for thousands of major US companies, holds 900 billion dollars worth of US treasury bonds, and helps maintain the world dollar standard. It means that China subsidises the American consumer and America is ‘indebted’ to China.
Russia is drawing closer to China in the face of the hostile Western posturing, and the SCO and CSTO—which have some overlapping membership—may soon sign a protocol of cooperation. (Bhadra-kumar 2007) Is time running out for India in Central Asia?
Russia has always been a reliable friend to India, whereas America’s record is mixed. What would be our standing in Central Asia after the 123-nuclear Agreement with the USA goes through? Can we not acquire nuclear fuel and technology from a resurgent Russia? The USA backtracked from a signed agreement on the Bokaro steel plant in the 1960s. Internationally it has withdrawn from many treaties when its national interests so demanded. The Kyoto Protocol on climate change, Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty (CTBT) and Strategic Arms Limitation Treaty (SALT) are examples. There is already the Hyde Act, and a future President may interpret this Act to his convenience and withdraw from the 123-nuclear Agreement with India. Conclusions
DURING the Cold War era Russia was Communist and India non-aligned. British imperialism had ended and given place to Anglo-American neo-colonialism. India as a non-aligned country wanted friendship with all, but was viewed with suspicion by the Western powers. They struck a pro-Pakistan posture and tacitly encouraged Kashmir’s secession. In North-East India they facilitated Baptist-inspired separatism. Notably, religion was used as an instrument of politics in both arenas to trouble India. Russia, as the prime component of communist Soviet Union, stood by India in all confrontations with Pakistan, was the largest supplier of military hardware and helped India to industrialise, whereas America backed off from a signed agreement to build a single steel plant.
Now the world paradigm has changed. The conflicts are no longer ideology-based but civilisation-based, as per Huntington (1996), and the most important ingredient of a civilisation is its religion. In this era what is the probability that America would retract from fomenting trouble in the North-East by reining in funding from the Baptists? It is pretty much nil, in my opinion. America herself is in the grip of Evangelist fervour as Baptists and Episcopalians are gradually merging, and support of the Christianist militants of the North-East will likely gain momentum. America, in this mood, cannot be a reliable strategic partner. In addition America has to appease the Muslim world in all other theatres except in the Arab-Israeli conflict of West Asia. She has conveniently picked Orthodox Christianity as the adversary and has encouraged Islamist separatists in Kosovo and Chechnya, and bombed Serbia to Stone Age, in order to neutralise the effect of the AIK factor. For a long time America had categorised Islamist terrorism in Kashmir as freedom struggle, and only recently has resiled from that stand. When Afghanistan’s and North-West Pakistan’s Taliban militancy becomes somewhat pacified, America will likely revert back to her original Kashmir posture again, to reward (and perhaps stabilise) Pakistan for her cooperation in the Afghan frontier.
Our foreign policy seems ill-advised and short- sighted. We seem to be putting all our eggs in the American basket. We may have limited joint naval exercises with America but should not enter into any military or strategic pact or understanding with her. However, we should join the CSTO, retain our military base and presence in Tajikistan and influence events in Afghanistan. If China can have close economic ties with the USA, hold billions of dollars worth of US treasury bonds and help maintain the world dollar standard on one hand, and cosy up to the CSTO on the other, why cannot India continue her traditional friendship with Russia and at the same time have a working relationship with the USA? What the government is proposing right now is an extremely close strategic tie-up with America to the detriment of our relationship with Russia. In the end it is a question of finesse in conducting foreign policy. We should learn from Pakistan; observe how it acquires nuclear power with the help of China, carries on ambivalently with the Taliban and yet milks her relationship with the USA to the last drop. In contrast, our foreign policy is offending our traditional and reliable friend, Russia, by a ham-handed one-sided approach. The government must rethink and change direction. What I have tried to show is that, under the present geo-political circumstances, Orthodox-majority secular Russia is a natural and reliable ally of Hindu-majority secular India. The Orthodox, unlike the Protestant and Catholic, do not have a proselytising mission to convert the rest of the world to their faith, and religion matters in today’s world.
Note 1
THE official language of Nagaland is English and its ‘national anthem’ is also in English. Irving Berlin (1888-1989) wrote “God Bless My America”, a patriotic song that has been quite popular in the US since WW II. As per the Library of Congress (of the USA) records, it is “America’s unofficial national anthem”. The Naga national anthem is a true adaptation, just short of a copy. The original American is given below, and the Naga one alongside in square brackets.
God Bless America [God bless my Nagaland] -Land that I love [That I love] -Stand beside her, and guide her [Stand beside her, and guide her] -Through the night with a light from above. [Through the night with a light from above] -From the mountains, to the prairies, [From the mountains and the valleys and] -To the oceans, white with foam [The hilltops where I roam] -God bless America [God bless my Nagaland] -My home sweet home. [My home sweet home.] -For more details about the song refer Library of Congress -(

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