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'India's New Muscle'

June 10, 1988

I am outraged by Eric Margolis' column "Measuring India's New Muscle" (Opinion, May 15). It was filled with innuendoes and guilt by inference and prejudice. India's naval power was gravely threatened during the 1971 Indo-Pakistan War when the Nixon Administration decided on a show of threat by the presence of the Seventh Fleet in the Bay of Bengal as a show of support for the murderous regime of former Pakistan President Yahya Khan against India. And while Margolis claims that Indian forces invaded what was then East Pakistan, he conveniently omits mentioning that this so-called "invasion" followed an attempt by the Yahya regime to strafe several Indian airfields around midnight when there were already millions of refugees from what is now Bangladesh. The refugees were fleeing the genocide perpetrated by Pakistan. When the U.S. spends billions of dollars on defense, it is no big deal but only self-defense against "the Soviet threat." But if a Third World country like India wants to modernize its armed forces, it is suddenly a world threat. India has no Nicaraguas, Chiles or Vietnams in its closets.

If Pakistan and China have serious concerns about India's naval or military power, the concerns are self-serving. But where does Margolis get his idea about Australia, Indonesia and Japan being worried over this? The real thorn for Margolis, the U.S. and its allies, is the Soviet Union's help to India.

Margolis' sources are "unconfirmed reports" "rumors" "likely answers" and "cynics" (all his words, not mine). Please, enough of this India-bashing. To his question "Who on earth threatens India's coasts?", the answer is China, Pakistan and its strongest ally, the U.S. (not necessarily in that order).

D.V. GOKHALE

Los Angeles

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