Source: “Eminent Parliamentarians Monograph Series – Dr. Syama Prasad Mookerjee” – Lok Sabha Secretariat, New Delhi, 1990
I personally feel that this world is big enough for all of us to live in. I do also feel that it is quite possible that there may be different ideologies in different parts of the world. It should be madness for anybody to think that the world must be built on one pattern and one alone. So long as people residing in one country or the Government representing that country decide to confine their activities within their own limits. and apply to their own people whatever doctrines they consider to be favourable or fashionable to them. it should not really concern the rest of the world. But the trouble arises when ideologies and principles either peacefully or violently penetrate into other territories and disturb the set up in those countries and come as a challenge to the world.
What is happening in the world today? The world is in the grip of lust for power, possession and prestige. These are the three things which are ruling the world. Naturally, we do not wish to take sides openly and blatantly. We do not wish it to be known that we are simply the torch-bearers of somebody else; because we also have our own philosophy and our own ideology. The doctrine for which India has stood has been the doctrine of live and let live. At the same time, if the danger signal comes, if the red signal comes. What is it that India will do? Suppose the Himalayas, which were considered to be impregnable, that huge border covering 2,000 miles for which no separate precaution or defence was thought to be necessary, but which has suddenly become an important frontier, happen to be the line through which there is penetration or infiltration into India, how is India going to defend herself? That also is very much connected with the internal conditions prevailing in India. The growing deterioration in our economic conditions is a menace to our internal security and our ability to check infiltration or aggression.
I have nothing to say against communist philosophy as such. The Indian people may decide to adopt whatever “ism” they like to adopt. But, we do certainly believe in democracy. We shall tolerate no external interference. I am not referring to the ideologies for which England or America may stand, or their sins of omission and commission. But, there are certain fundamental and basic ideologies for which India has stood and even stands today. We stand for freedom of expression, for freedom of thought, for freedom of association and religion and our Constitution has been based on the sound principles of democracy. India will not, therefore, and cannot accept any principles attached to totalitarianism or dictatorship. If there is an ultimate conflict between these two ideals, we cannot just sit on the fence. By all means let us try to negotiate; but if there is ultimate conflict, then what will India do? If the possibility of danger comes to India, can India alone, by herself, defend her territory against a big aggression? These are big question marks.
It is not my purpose to go into these detailed questions. But I would certainly tell the Prime Minister that the people of India expect that there should be a more realistic approach in respect of the foreign policy of India. No doubt, we stand for peace; but the inconsistencies and uncertainties of our foreign policy are making us slowly drift towards something which may bring disaster to India more quickly than what many think.
The last remarks that I would make will be with regard to Pakistan. The Prime Minister said nothing about Pakistan. In one sentence he has brushed aside Pakistan. So far as Pakistan is concerned, what exactly is our policy? As I have stated repeatedly, there must be an overall policy between India and Pakistan. We are supposed to be at the war with Pakistan in Kashmir. Pakistan is the aggressor there although what is true for Korea is not true for Kashmir. In all other matters, we are trying to carry on a conciliatory policy with them. Our policy- must be based on reciprocity, complete reciprocity. If we get good treatment from Pakistan. Pakistan gets good treatment, it is no use our merely saying that we carry on a policy of negotiation with them and ultimately become weak and humiliated.
I shall not refer in detail to Eastern Pakistan. The only ground on which the Prime Minister stands is that on an average about 2,000 people more are going back to East Pakistan every day. But, why are they going there, how they are living there, to what conditions of humiliation they are being subjected are questions which the Prime Minister has not been able to answer. He knows much better than even myself the life of misery, shame and humiliation which these millions of Hindus in East Bengal are being forced to live. He said in the course of his speech that whatever happens, India will never agree to any discrimination being made in reference to South Africa, whether it is based on race or religion. When people who had their loyalty fixed upon undivided India, who made Indian freedom possible, and today also naturally look to India for protection and help in emergency, are forced to live in an atmosphere of insecurity and misery and humiliation, then what is India’s policy in respect of them? Are we so weak as merely to watch and appeal? Today, what is needed is that the people of India must get a proper lead from their Government. If God forbid, the situation worsens.
India will have to depend as much on her arms and ammunition or military strength as on the united moral strength of the people. I was rather perturbed the other day when the Prime Minister excitedly answered a question put by a member and said that he was reducing defence expenditure. The matter has not been discussed in detail. If reduction in defence expenditure means a weakening of the military position of India. I say that the Government of India will be doing the greatest possible disservice to India as a whole.
Today two things are vitally necessary. We have to strengthen our military position. If we can’t do it alone. We shall have to do it in collaboration with others with whom we can stand on a common platform in defence of a common ideology. Then we shall have to strengthen internal strength and peace and satisfactorily solve the economic problem, as much as we can by our own efforts, as with the help of others so that we can create that solidarity and stability which would be impregnable both from the national and international standpoints.
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