Obama Got Osama: The View from India

BY DAN-CHYI CHUA
May 04, 2011
*Special to asia!

It is a range of reactions that greeted the news in the Indian press – from the sceptical to those who say it is time to punish Pakistan.

717 US President Barack Obama and State Secretary Hillary Clinton watching the live video stream of the raid on the compound of Osama Bin Laden. (Source: White House)

 

Osama bin Laden's body was thrown into the sea to deprive his followers of a shrine, as well as to rid the complication of where to bury the world's most notorious terrorist.

But Digvijay Singh leader of India's ruling Congress Party said, “However big a criminal one might be, his religious traditions should be respected while burying him.”

The next day, he got slammed by the opposition BJP and his own party was quick to express that they did not necessarily feel the same way.

However, Singh was not the only one who took issue with the burial at sea.

In her blog in one of India's leading English dailies, the Times of India, Sharmila Ravinder noted that “the US government was in a haste to get rid of Osama unlike in the case of Saddam Hussein where a full-blown trial was held for mass consumption”.

Eric Holder Jr, Attorney General of the United States, appearing in front of a Congressional panel was asked the question how would the Government handle Osama Bin Laden if he were to be ever captured alive. Would there be a federal court trial or a military commission? The Attorney General stated that Bin Laden “will never appear in an American courtroom,” according to The Washington Post’s Carrie Johnson. “Let’s deal with the reality here. The reality is we will be reading Miranda rights to a corpse.” Holder said he was being “flippant” but added that bin Laden “will be killed by us or by his own people”.

 

CP Surendran, the paper's senior editor and journalist mooted:

...there is every reason to believe Pakistan's government has failed to protect its sovereign space. President Zardari, who claims he was unaware of Osama's presence in his country, should resign and hand over powers to the US president Obama, since logically speaking he seems to know more about what is going on in Pakistan and has the means to control the events in that country.

Alternatively, if Pakistan's military establishment did know of the operation, which is quite likely as prolonged invasion of their airspace by a foreign country is likely to be detected by their machines, Zardari is lying.

 

There were also the usual questions asked about just how much Pakistan knew about bin Laden's whereabouts. There were also predictably, calls from the Indian press for the U.S. and the world to take a harder stance against its traditional rival.

In a piece in the same paper titled “After Obama, target Islamabad”, Tarun Vijay wrote:

...it is the right moment to work immediately help turn world attention on the bloody terror games Islamabad plays. It has become the virtual headquarters of al-Qaida and a threat to world peace and societal harmony. The western world must be made to realize that its pro-Pakistan policy and the belief that a pet Islamabad would help its war on terror is self-defeating. The more the US grants dollars to Pakistan ($18bn so far in eight years from 2001 to 2010), the more teeth it provides to terrorism and uncivilized Taliban. American dollars are the one major reason to create a self-obsessed India hater and “soft on terror society” in Pakistan, which rules the masses a la Saddam Hussain and nurses a vested interest to keep common people away from literacy, democracy and entrepreneurship. The feudalism and old hierarchical attitude, once a gift of the colonial British rulers, is now fed by American dollar grants creating societal imbalances and providing a space to Mullahs and the Taliban to have their say among the gullible people.

We must launch an immediate international campaign about Islamabad having nukes

And remember Islamabad is a nuclear power. We must launch an immediate international campaign about Islamabad having nukes that can well be used not only against us but also against Europe and the US by mad head jihadis.

 

The editorial in the Times of India warns of the ramifications of bin Laden's death on the Obama administration and consequently the region.

With an eye on the 2012 US presidential polls, President Obama may speed up the withdrawal of American troops from Afghanistan. But this could as easily lead to chaos with serious security ramifications for the region, including India. Indian diplomacy will need to scramble to deal with the consequences of bin Laden's death.

 

Best-selling Indian-born author Salman Rushdie – the famous recipient of an Islamic edict calling for his death after Muslim clerics deemed his book “The Satanic Verses” to be insulting the Prophet Mohammad – declared that it was time now to “declare it (Pakistan) a terrorist state and expel it from the comity of nations.

For a long time now America has been tolerating the Pakistani double game in the knowledge that it needs Pakistani support in its Afghan enterprise, and in the hope that Pakistan’s leaders will understand that they are miscalculating badly, that the jihadists want their jobs. Pakistan, with its nuclear weapons, is a far greater prize than poor Afghanistan, and the generals and spymasters who are playing al Qaeda’s game today may, if the worst were to happen, become the extremists’ victims tomorrow.

 

dan-chyi chua

Dan-Chyi Chua was a broadcast journalist, before forsaking Goggle Box Glitz for the Open Road. A three-year foray led her through the Middle East, China, SE Asia, Latin America and Cuba, and she's now grounded herself as a writer for theasiamag.com, content with spending her days in Jerusalem.

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