India’s Role in Darfur: Not just China and al-Bashir in Sudan

india_darfur.jpgLast week, the International Criminal Court (ICC), issued an arrest warrant for current President of Sudan, Omer Hassan Al-Bashir. Al-Bashir has been charged with five counts of crimes against humanity: murder, extermination, forcible transfer, torture and rape. He also faces two counts of war crimes. The ICC may be growing its first tooth.

Behind the warrant were the many groups that have tirelessly worked to bring global attention to the matter. The Save Darfur campaign has been extremely successful example in rallying public support, beginning in churches and university campuses, to influence the public dialogue and bring pressure upon public officials. Through organizing local events, but aiming to influence public opinion on a global level, the campaign is a model in their use of new media, internet, and public rallies and theatre to bring attention to the genocide and plight of a people. While I am in admiration of the campaigns strategies and efforts, it is still worthwhile to ponder on global culpability in allowing such genocides to continue to occur.

As part of these efforts, the campaign has been successful in bringing pressure upon China for its continued support of the genocidal regime and its willingness to condone the Sudanese governments behavior in its bid to keep receiving returns on its billions of dollars investment into the countrys oil industry. Although on some level I understand realpolitik and Chinas strategy of attempting to find oil supplies in those states that are considered pariahs by the US in order for China to satiate its growing oil needs. Still I cannot condone such actions and cannot trade human life for oil.

Grassroots efforts and political efforts are starting to show that the pressure upon China for its support of Sudan is beginning to have effect. Steven Spielbergs boycott of the Beijing Olympics was one example. Protecting Sudan through its veto ability in the Security Council of the United Nations (UN), it is understandable why world pressure focuses on China. It is heartening that the pressure may even be beginning to have some effect.

However, left out of the equation is India.

India has long supported its economic interests despite worldwide attention about the ongoing genocide in Darfur. Indias oil flagship ONGC Videsh Limited is operation a producing oil field in Southern Sudan and is seeking to expand its efforts. It is these oil fields that are part of the reasoning that fuels the ethnic cleansing of Darfur and it is largely oil revenues that are used to purchase the weapons used for the extermination.

One European group commented:

Unless ONGC Videsh wishes to dissociate from universal human values, the company will have to ensure that its operations are supportive of the principles that underlie the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

ONGC Videsh seems to believe that Sudan’s wars are none of its business. In fact, the company is in business because of the war.[link]

However, it is not only oil-interests that lead India to support Sudans genocidal regime. The past few years, despite increasing scrutiny over al-Bashirs callous regime, India has successively increased its trade investments in Sudan. India is now the sixth largest exporter to Sudan.

Even now with charges being brought up against al-Bashir, India has still not ended its defense of the regime. Earlier, India, as a leader in the NAM movement, filed their protests over the ICCs indictment, hoping to invoke UNSC to suspend the ICC prosecutions for 12 months, but could be renewed indefinitely. It seems India not only wishes to continue impunity at home, but promote it internationally as well.

Sudan knows who its allies are as diplomats have already left Khartoum seeking Indias help. The Sudanese Embassy even used Indias example to justify why it should be exempt from prosecution:

We reject this decision on the basis that it has no jurisdiction over us, as we are not a party to the Rome Statute that established it. We reject its pretension to authority over our sovereignty on the same principle that the United States, India, China and many others who aren’t signatories stand on. We reject it because our own judicial institutions are as capable and independent as those of any other well functioning democracies in the world.[link]

Tellingly, India is listed even before China. Sudan understands that India has manufactured an image of “democracy” and is using India’s example to hide its atrocities.

Last year an Indian aid worker in Sudan wrote the following about her experiences:

Trading with a country without any social responsibility, and turning a convenient blind eye to a conflict of gargantuan proportions, does not bode well for the emerging economic and political giants of China and India.

But, while there has recently been a chorus of international disappointment that China is not pulling its economic weight in Sudan, India too cannot be excluded, for its hands are very much in the honey pot.[link]

Recently a spurt of my writings have been in calling for “ending impunity” and challenging for a better India that respects human rights. Sikhs, Kashmiris, Indians, and human rights activists that care for the future of human rights and beyond should work to begin placing multi-faceted pressure upon the India State to end its support of the Sudanese government.

India is undoubtedly a regional leader in South Asia. For the same reason that activists press the United States to respect human rights, as it is a global power and leader and its impunity is used as an excuse by all other countries, so is the case of India in South Asia. India should not be given a free pass under its crafted faade of democracy, while China is being held accountable. Pressure must begin mounting on both countries. Just as the ‘Save Darfur’ campaign has a special section calling for an end to China’s support, we should press them for something similar on India. Ending and bringing accountability of India’s support to the Darfur genocide could be an umbrella bringing various South Asian human rights activists in greater contact with one anotehr and with other global human rights movements.


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25 Responses to “India’s Role in Darfur: Not just China and al-Bashir in Sudan”

  1. Zhang Zemin says:

    If you want support for your causes, stop disguising your propaganda in back handed language.

    India has "manufactured an image of democracy", Where do you come up with these statements. India is a democracy, which is currently controlled by a devout Roman Catholic (Sonia Gandhi) who is working with the neo-Roman Emperor (the Pope) to convert the heathens (infidels) of India. I would have imagined anti-Hindu fascists like yourself would be proud of India's current rulers.

  2. Zhang Zemin says:

    If you want support for your causes, stop disguising your propaganda in back handed language.
    India has “manufactured an image of democracy”, Where do you come up with these statements. India is a democracy, which is currently controlled by a devout Roman Catholic (Sonia Gandhi) who is working with the neo-Roman Emperor (the Pope) to convert the heathens (infidels) of India. I would have imagined anti-Hindu fascists like yourself would be proud of India’s current rulers.

  3. gao says:

    just to mention that Japan buys a LOT of Sudan's oil. Go figure it out.

  4. gao says:

    just to mention that Japan buys a LOT of Sudan’s oil. Go figure it out.

  5. US Democrat says:

    India's current PM is a Sikh gentleman (accomplished economics scholar). An Italian-born Catholic woman is a power player. Until recently, it had Muslim gentleman (a highly accomplished physicist) as its President. All of this in an 80% Hindu majority country. If that isn't a democracy for you, what is, dude?

  6. Jodha says:

    US Democrat,

    Michael Steele is now the Chairman of the RNC, while Howard Dean is the Chairman of the DNC. That must mean that the RNC is much more sensitive about race than the DNC. Right?

    Easy answers to easy questions:

    On the Sikh PM – he was not elected, but selected for the seat. The reason he was selected, because was essentially because he could not even win a regional election and is filling the seat until Sonia Gandhi's son, the heir-apparent Rahul Gandhi is ready to continue the feudal Nehru-Gandhi dynasty.

    On the Italian-born Catholic woman power-player – if merely marrying into the Nehru-Gandhi family is the only requisite for political power and becoming a 'power-player' in India, it seems we have a feudal dynasty in place

    Then you, asked:

    If that isn’t a democracy for you, what is, dude?

    Answer: Democracies don't engage in 'state terrorism' against its own citizenry.

    Shouldn't we hold India to this standard?

  7. US Democrat says:

    India’s current PM is a Sikh gentleman (accomplished economics scholar). An Italian-born Catholic woman is a power player. Until recently, it had Muslim gentleman (a highly accomplished physicist) as its President. All of this in an 80% Hindu majority country. If that isn’t a democracy for you, what is, dude?

  8. Jodha says:

    US Democrat,

    Michael Steele is now the Chairman of the RNC, while Howard Dean is the Chairman of the DNC. That must mean that the RNC is much more sensitive about race than the DNC. Right?

    Easy answers to easy questions:

    On the Sikh PM – he was not elected, but selected for the seat. The reason he was selected, because was essentially because he could not even win a regional election and is filling the seat until Sonia Gandhi’s son, the heir-apparent Rahul Gandhi is ready to continue the feudal Nehru-Gandhi dynasty.

    On the Italian-born Catholic woman power-player – if merely marrying into the Nehru-Gandhi family is the only requisite for political power and becoming a ‘power-player’ in India, it seems we have a feudal dynasty in place

    Then you, asked:

    If that isnt a democracy for you, what is, dude?

    Answer: Democracies don’t engage in ‘state terrorism‘ against its own citizenry.

    Shouldn’t we hold India to this standard?

  9. Gus says:

    india is democracy but Indian leaderships is stupid and only focussed in politics and petty vote getting…

    Indian media if they bring all this to Indian people's attention then these cheats and self serving beurocrats and politicians of india will look into…

    India is democracy ..Yes . it accepts diff. religion people on top..yes , but then all these are to stay in power. If musharaff can win elections for them..these indian leaders will fall on his feet…

  10. Gus says:

    india is democracy but Indian leaderships is stupid and only focussed in politics and petty vote getting…

    Indian media if they bring all this to Indian people’s attention then these cheats and self serving beurocrats and politicians of india will look into…

    India is democracy ..Yes . it accepts diff. religion people on top..yes , but then all these are to stay in power. If musharaff can win elections for them..these indian leaders will fall on his feet…

  11. H Singh says:

    India is successful in creating a sham veneer to cloak the crimes of Hindu India.

    India denies Sikhs to be Sikhs and enforces Hindu Laws on Sikhs as a national policy yet the Hindu Propagandists spread the absurdity that India accepts all people.

  12. Hari Singh says:

    If democracies do not engage in state terrorism, then perhaps no country on earth including USA is democratic. We have to keep the democratic and human rights issues separate.

    I am all for bringing India accountable for its human rights abuses during its counter-insurgency operations. However, we should not start an anti-India tirade as this article certainly does by calling it a sham democracy. India is certainly is a genuine democracy in which parliament is supreme and national elections are held to form the government. Had there been any military coup or overthrow of government by revolution to impose dictatorial regime for indefinite time? Therefore, in case it has proven that India has the ability to work as democratic. However, I do believe that most of the poor people in India believe that government in India is oppressive rather than sympathizer. Perhaps, this is next challenge before India that it can bring development which is inclusive of all groups.

  13. H Singh says:

    India is successful in creating a sham veneer to cloak the crimes of Hindu India.

    India denies Sikhs to be Sikhs and enforces Hindu Laws on Sikhs as a national policy yet the Hindu Propagandists spread the absurdity that India accepts all people.

  14. Hari Singh says:

    If democracies do not engage in state terrorism, then perhaps no country on earth including USA is democratic. We have to keep the democratic and human rights issues separate.
    I am all for bringing India accountable for its human rights abuses during its counter-insurgency operations. However, we should not start an anti-India tirade as this article certainly does by calling it a sham democracy. India is certainly is a genuine democracy in which parliament is supreme and national elections are held to form the government. Had there been any military coup or overthrow of government by revolution to impose dictatorial regime for indefinite time? Therefore, in case it has proven that India has the ability to work as democratic. However, I do believe that most of the poor people in India believe that government in India is oppressive rather than sympathizer. Perhaps, this is next challenge before India that it can bring development which is inclusive of all groups.

  15. H Singh says:

    "Hari Singh"

    India has outlawed democratically elected governments in Punjab and Kashmir and imposed dictorial rule. The Governors of state are not elected by the people and yet the Governors can outlaw a state government to impose President's rule. The President who never is an elected rep of people. Lastly, India doesn't has any requirement for EVEN the PM to be an elected representative of people. The current PM is the best example. Yes, you may still call it a democracy but it is sham democracy where the democracy only means rights of Hindu majority. Hence, the shame-ness that is being veneered doesn't fully cloak the truth that burgoes underneath.

  16. H Singh says:

    “Hari Singh”

    India has outlawed democratically elected governments in Punjab and Kashmir and imposed dictorial rule. The Governors of state are not elected by the people and yet the Governors can outlaw a state government to impose President’s rule. The President who never is an elected rep of people. Lastly, India doesn’t has any requirement for EVEN the PM to be an elected representative of people. The current PM is the best example. Yes, you may still call it a democracy but it is sham democracy where the democracy only means rights of Hindu majority. Hence, the shame-ness that is being veneered doesn’t fully cloak the truth that burgoes underneath.

  17. Peace says:

    I really don't know what to say anymore…

  18. Peace says:

    I really don’t know what to say anymore…

  19. singh says:

    India isn't a democracy — its a castocracy. Do yourself some justice and research before you call India a democracy. The Indian Government has always put puppets like Manmohan to fool the illiterate into thinking non-Hindus have a say in India. These puppets were meant to fool the illiterate masses of India –they must be overjoyed that they are fooling the "literate" too.

  20. singh says:

    India isn’t a democracy — its a castocracy. Do yourself some justice and research before you call India a democracy. The Indian Government has always put puppets like Manmohan to fool the illiterate into thinking non-Hindus have a say in India. These puppets were meant to fool the illiterate masses of India –they must be overjoyed that they are fooling the “literate” too.

  21. There is a requirement for heightening India's intellectual commitment on peacekeeping ideas focused around its own particular experience.In exuding from the CUNPK with USI,it would improve India's 'soft power' in an alternate measurement as a significant donor nation.Doctrinal suggestions that join India's involvement in sub-routine operations would be valuable,especially in strong peacekeeping circumstances.

    ~Emily Reed.

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