India Insight

With Libya, is India confused or just too clever by half?

India abstained last week from a U.N. vote on the no-fly zone in Libya that also authorised military action, but since then it has been more vocal in its rejection of airstrikes, joining China and Russia in criticising the coalition of Western powers and the Arab league and its actions against the Libyan government.

One of three Air Force Global Strike Command B-2 Spirit bombers returns to home base at Whiteman Air Force Base in Missouri, March 20, 2011. REUTERS/Kenny Holston/U.S. Air Force photo/Handout“We regret the air strikes that are taking place in Libya. We are viewing ongoing violence with grave concern,” Foreign Minister S.M. Krishna told reporters on Monday, in comments carried by NDTV television channel. It echoed an official comment on Sunday.

India’s declarations signal that New Delhi will not step in line with the West despite its growing ties with the United States and Europe — highlighted by a string of visits last year, including President Barack Obama’s and the leaders of France and the United Kingdom.

This is not new. India for years has gone against U.S. interests in a string of geo-political issues, including Myanmar. But it has counted on the fact that it is now economically too important to be sidelined by any Western power due to any criticism of the West.

India, especially the ruling Congress party, still has deep roots in the Non-Aligned Movement. And domestically, it plays well with voters often skeptical of Western intentions.

Is New Delhi working on Kashmir solution?

At least 64 people have been killed across Kashmir during anti-India demonstrations, one of the worst outbreaks of unrest since a separatist revolt against New Delhi broke out in 1989.

A Kashmiri protester throws a stone towards police during an anti-India protest in Srinagar August 30, 2010. REUTERS/Danish IsmailFrequent curfews, security lockdown and separatist strikes have kept the Muslim-majority Kashmir valley on the boil, shutting down much of the region for the past two and a half months.

New Delhi has been criticised for failing to respond to violence that has wounded hundreds, closed down schools and colleges also.

Pricol killing: Labour at the receiving end?

The killing of a manager at a factory in Coimbatore by workers, sparked off by the sacking of dozens of their colleagues, can in no way be condoned, but it raises questions on the state of labour in India in a time of economic pain.

Roy George, a 47-year-old vice president at Pricol, was attacked by workers wielding iron rods after 42 employees were dismissed from a unit of the auto parts maker.

These employees were fired after they disrupted work, company officials say. A senior official was quoted as saying George was targeted because he was “weaning away” employees from a union that was leading the protests.