Perilous Interventions: The Security, a Harper Collins publication is the outcome of an insider’s account, that of Hardeep Singh Puri, India’s representative of the UN Security Council from 2009 till 2013.
Hardeep Singh Puri was in Udaipur today evening as part of a book signing event under the Kalam series, a Padma Khaitan Foundation event, organized by Udaipur’s Cultural Rendezvous at Radisson Blu.
Candid as ever, Ambassador Puri overwhelmed the elite gathering with his crisp elocution and flamboyant interpretation of decision making at the highest levels of global politics.
Puri, in his tete a tete with the audience, spoke on global situations prevalent today, the decisions of super power institutions leading to atrocities in the Middle East – Libya, Syria, Yemen.
The role played by superpowers in provoking terrorism through organizations like the Islamic State in Middle East,; Russia’s interventions in Crimea, Ukraine right down to India’s intervention to affairs in Sri Lanka were adeptly described by Puri, with solid examples and explanations on how the clock moved.
In the question session, Hardeep Singh Puri was asked very specific questions relating to India’s policy shift with Pakistan and Sri Lanka, and he answered with his insightful understanding of the political influences at that time and now.
Puri said that Rajiv Gandhi was a witness to the building of the Tamil rebels against the Sri Lankan Sinhalese, by his mother, the former Prime Minister of India. Tamil rebellion fueling was India’s intervention in Sri Lankan matters – which was in chaos at that time and India hoped to benefit by this intervention, is what the then Prime Minister Indira thought. This very own Tamil terrorism resulted in the assassination of Rajiv Gandhi, although he was keen on disintegrating the rebellion.
Earlier, Congress had created Bhindranwale to control the Akali Dal in Punjab, but the same force resulted in the assassination of Indira Gandhi.
“America is not our friend – this is our misunderstanding. A country which supported the rise if Islamic State to control Iraq, supported Taliban to oust Russia from Afghanistan and many other interventions in other countries for their benefit – both commercial and political, cannot be anyone friend. America will behave the way Trump behaves – changing stance every day”, argued Puri.
On Pakistan, Puri was very bitter and confirmed that though the surgical strike was successful and the right thing to do, India must not continue with its soft stand and policy on Pakistan needs to take a radical shift from that of the last 4 decades. Pakistan has taken a setback from the surgical strike, but it will retaliate and we must be ready for that – a significant policy shift is warranted, he said.
Journalism in the modern world is rooted in commercial and political will – said Puri, hitting out at media. Though, not generalising the perspective, Puri said that during the American elections, each media except Fox was biased towards Clinton. Pollsters were proven wrong by the people. The voters expressed one stance and went ahead with the other, keeping media playing the trumpet in another direction.
On Indian elections held in 2014, Puri, who is a member of the BJP, had then asked on how the BJP would win with such limited percentage voting in its favor, to which Arun Jaitley had replied – “It is not the arithmetic that will result in the BJP’s victory, it is the Chemistry – the people will chose a new leader, not because he or she is the best, but because the competition is ineffective” – this is what happened in India in 2014 and now in US in 2016.
On demonetization, Puri was clear in his thoughts, calling it a very audacious and ambitious step, and a much needed radical decision, in the face of opposition from every quarter. He said that he might have answered differently if his analysis of the decision was questioned a week earlier, but now, he is sure that this step as a solid action against black money and terrorist funding and will result in benefits for the country’s economy and the common man. He said that this policy decision will be followed by many other beneficial decisions, in times to come, and the current transactional chaos should not be taken in isolation.
Hardeep Singh Puri ended the session by answering questions by the media and signing his book Perilious Interventions for the audience who thoroughly enjoyed the interaction.