The US hits back


It is not surprising that the US is on the warpath targeting the Indian government’s decision to cancel licences of nearly 9,000 NGOs. The US ambassador to India, Richard Verma expressed apprehension about “the potential chilling effect of these regulatory steps focused on NGOs.” He described the US-India relationship as a strategic plus and added that there was a strong case for dissent and the asking of embarrassing questions by NGOs. US interest lies mainly in the future of the Ford Foundation which has antagonized the Indian government by funding firms and organizations engaged in political activity. Greenpeace India has also been under scanner for receiving foreign funds to sabotage Indian economic interests. Greenpeace is now reported to have run out of funds.

There is no doubt that democracy thrives on dissent. But no sovereign country can allow foreign agencies acting as human rights and human welfare fronts to interfere with political activities on its soil. NGOs should not surreptitiously poach on a foreign country’s national politics and national tensions threatening that country’s security interests. Discussions between two countries can only be permitted in the internal matters of one country if the other is in any way involved. The US for instance is committed to the stand that the Kashmir dispute has to be settled through bilateral talks between India and Pakistan without third party meddling. India cannot take a proactive stand on racial violence in the US even though the Indian diaspora there may be involved. The Ford Foundation and Greenpeace have no right to be embroiled with tensions in India which do not affect American residents in this country. Besides, the NGOs are not accountable to the Indian government about the use of its funds.

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