China with no democracy and massive repression is a better bet for Vince Cables than India with its messy democracy.


London: An article by Vince Cables on India (India buckles under a deadly second wave of Covid; A global battle for supremacy emerging, 27 April) is riddled with inconsistencies and condescending arrogant pronouncements on India. Coming from a Liberal politician it is all the more shocking. He describes the public cremations in India as lighting up the sky like a recreation of Bosch’s hell. There is no sensitivity nor any respect for the situation. These comments are of a man looking down on another race of people. It is shocking coming from a Liberal politician. Vince laments that India’s plight is not on “our” priority list. Anyone seeing the British media coverage of India in the last week would say we were morbidly obsessed with India’s plight. British media has covered scenes which would be considered in bad taste here in the UK. Vince goes on to claim that there is a “dehumanisation” of figures in India. Presumably meaning there are so many of them that people are just numbers. For good measure he adds many Indians die anyway of preventable diseases and poverty. He even turned his attention to public defecation as a problem, “in spite of Modi’s drive to build more toilets”. Vince goes on to take a swipe at India’s disastrous economic contraction of around 12% in 2020. It could have helped if Vince had mentioned any country that was doing well at the time. Vince decided to ignore the fact that India was on course to be the leading growing economy this year. In the UK, government bailouts of tens of billions of pounds will mean that many generations will have to carry the burden of fighting Covid.

In a self-congratulatory overdrive Vince mentions how Britain cheerfully is looking forward to the end of the lockdown. No mention that after Narendra Modi managed to bring corona under complete control, that lockdown was lifted. Corona, however, is a tough nut to crack. It could well be that corona will rebound here in the UK after the opening up. Will Boris Johnson be called complacent if that happens? Vince seems to also have forgotten the almost 130,000 deaths (could they be well under the real figure?) here in the UK. He would be forgiven if he did because we have not seen on our television screens wailing relatives and also the huge queues for burials of the dead. The UK has had one of the highest death rates from Covid in the world.

Finally, Vince worries that while India languishes with its messy democracy and intolerant Modi, China will surge ahead. China with no democracy and massive repression is a better bet for Vince than India with its messy democracy. And as a parting punch Vince wants the West to prop up India not for India’s sake but for the sake of the West. I suppose the often-flaunted massive trade deals with the world’s largest market will be put on a backburner.

I have always wondered how liberal people like Vince are. And realised that you need to scratch the surface and the old colonial mentality emerges.