Trump, Nixon, and Kissinger And Imran Khan: India Has a Behavior Problem

President Trump has slammed India for shortchanging America.

His Pakistani counterpart agrees. And so do the Europeans.

In short, all the victims of of any negotiations with India have similar experiences.

Prime Minister Imran Khan is the first chief executive of Pakistan to have articulated India’s behavior problem during international talks.

India, he says, is a large country ruled by small-minded people.

Former US president Richard Nixon would agree. So would his secretary of state Henry Kissinger.

Nixon called former Indian prime minister Indira Gandhi “a bitch,” according to declassified US government documents. Kissinger was even harsher in his assessment of Indian negotiating style: “Indians are bastards anyway.”

President Trump, too, would agree. He is angry at Indian trade practices and the way Indian officials treat their American counterparts.

“When they (Harley Davidson) send a motorcycle to India, as an example, they have to pay 100 per cent tax — 100 per cent,” Trump said recently in remarks to a gathering of governors of all the states at the White House.

Western trade negotiators would agree with Imran, Trump, Nixon, and Kissinger.

The Indians have driven American and European trade negotiators to tears, adopting unreasonable positions even on simple issues.

India is expected to impose retaliatory tariffs in response to Washington’s steel and aluminum import duties any time now. New Delhi has taken the decision in principle but officials are delaying implementation for fear “the US may hit back at major Indian exports, such as medicines, diamonds and auto parts,” says a CNBC report.

After nearly two decades of negotiations, American and European interlocutors have concluded their Indian counterparts are fond of brinkmanship, are unreasonable, uncooperative, and arrogant.

That is exactly what Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan concluded last week following India’s decision to abruptly call off a scheduled meeting of foreign ministers of Pakistan and India at the UNGA.

The Indian statement was ridiculous. Whoever drafted it was grasping at straws, trying to find credible reasons to justify aborting the meeting. The best they could come up with is to cite a Pakistani postal stamp marking the second anniversary — on July 8 — of the extrajudicial murder of a Kashmiri internet sensation who rallied Kashmiri youth against India’s seven-decade-old military occupation.

Imran Khan was right in describing the Indian behavior as “arrogant and negative.” And then the best part: a swipe at controversial Indian premier Narendra Modi. “All my life,” said Prime Minister Khan, “I have come across small men occupying big offices who do not have the vision to see the larger picture.”


Mr. Khan’s jab reminded me of a line that I have been using on my TV shows and columns for the past three years: that India is an elephant with the mindset of a mouse.

I do not mean this as an insult. I respect the Indian people and nation. But I believe this large and diverse country is hijacked by a northern Hindi-speaking minority that fails to represent true Indian diversity. This northern ruling elite has led India to unnecessary wars with China, Pakistan and Bangladesh, nuclearized the region, and transformed Kashmir into a global humanitarian tragedy.

The latest achievement by India’s northern rulers is to exchange blows with the United Nations over a report that describes massive Indian rights abuses in Kashmir. A firm UN response forced India to stand down.

The northern elite perpetuates its control by stoking hatred toward neighboring countries. The flavor of the month could be China, Bangladesh, Nepal, Bhutan or Pakistan. Pakistani luminaries visiting India face threats and harassment. By comparison, every ordinary Indian visiting Pakistan feels loved and protected. Pakistanis are known for their hospitality.

Federal Pakistani minister and close Imran Khan aide, Fawad Chaudhry, put it best in these words: “Pakistan wants talks. India wants to weaken Pakistan from within. Pakistanis never entertained anti-India sentiments. India should review its own mistakes, not blame us for everything. Can’t Indians sit down and resolve issues?”

Note: India thought canceling a meeting with Pakistani foreign minister in New York would somehow grab international headlines. To its dismay, President Trump shook hands with the Pakistani minister, and, as the photos in this Twitter feed show, the Pakistani minister kept busy meeting counterparts from key nations.

Looks like the world has all but ignored the latest cry for attention from New Delhi.

A version of this column published by Daily Pakistan Global.

Journalist with an eye for stories hiding in the grey area between national security, changing societies, and human rights in the MENA region.

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Ahmed Quraishi

Journalist with an eye for stories hiding in the grey area between national security, changing societies, and human rights in the MENA region.