India enriches the Commonwealth of Nations

The Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM) held in Perth last month produced one indubitable agreement- that India was emerging as a major world power and that its voice must be heard.

India opposed a proposal to establish a Human Rights Monitoring Council, asserting that the role of CHOGM was to direct and monitor development programmes within the Commonwealth and enable the member countries to promote economic and trade cooperation.

India said that Human Rights should be the prerogative of global institutions such as the UN.

India also highlighted the hypocrisy of the West and its double standards on Human Rights. While the West is keen to have the status quo monarchies in the Middle East to serve its interests, it unashamedly pushes its heavyweight on countries like Fiji, Maldives and Sri Lanka, which are on the fringe of their geo-strategic objectives.

I believe that CHOGM will use the Human Rights issue mainly against Sri Lanka at its next meeting in Colombo in 2013.

While the Sri Lankan Government has been accused of human rights atrocities against Tamil natives in their operations against the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam over the years, it is true that Tamil refugees from Sri Lanka were denied asylum and refugee status in Australia.

Dubious standards

This in itself is hypocrisy and double standards.

If the CHOGM is anything to go by, it is clear that India has graduated from a regional power to a great power and can speak for the smaller nations in Africa and Latin America.

New Delhi pursues diplomacy with an objective. India needs the support of these countries for its stake as a Permanent Member of the UN Security Council.

India would also not be conducting its diplomacy based on utopian concepts like Human Rights as its near competitor is having a free-run in Global South in the developing countries for its resources.

It is just a matter of time that India will join the race with China to enhance its sphere of influence and follow neo-colonialism.

The last thing that India wants is the label as the torchbearer of the West.

India has finally understood its strength in conducting the diplomacy.

As a country that houses the most number of English speaking people in the world, it has lived up to the expectation of filling the void left by the Great Britain in the realm of Great Powers through the Commonwealth of Nations.

Jo Johnson has stressed this point in his book, Reconnecting Britain and India published in 2010.

It is here that India’s founding fathers deserve appreciation and admiration.

Despite coming out of the colonial rule and having staunch opposition from the Indian population against joining the Commonwealth, they envisioned a day in the future when India would become a Great Power and use its economic muscle for the common good.

Balaji Chandramohan is our New Delhi Correspondent.

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