Call for the trial of Manmohan Singh and his Foreign Policy team

I have strong reasons to call for the trial of former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and key members of his foreign policymaking team.

I have strong reasons to call for the trial of former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and key members of his foreign policymaking team such as Shivshankar Menon, Salman Khurshid and M.K. Narayanan for treason against India’s national interests along with crimes against our future generations. In my hand is Bharat Karnad’s book, “Why India is Not a Great Power (Yet)”, and each paragraph I read resembles a distressed child telling us that these leaders mauled India’s national interests consistently, disturbingly and deliberately, and subordinated this nation of 1.3 billion souls to the interests of adversarial states like China and Pakistan. While Karnad’s 552-page book will need a long review, this review article focuses on how the foreign policy team led by Manmohan Singh crushed and crippled India’s global status and ambition in the world.

If you are a youth under 25 constituting about 55 percent of Indians, this nation belongs to you and your children more than it belongs to my elders or to my generation nearing 50. So, it’s essential for you to know how these Indian leaders engaged in crimes against India while being in power. Manmohan Singh was the prime minister for ten years from 2004. While our ancients taught us that India should be the Vishwa Guru (world leader), Manmohan Singh, as the prime minister, wrote in 2007 that India “does not desire to be a global superpower.” Shivshankar Menon, who served as the national security adviser to Manmohan Singh for four years till 2014, dismissed “status”, “prestige” or “any other goal” that could appear as “popular or attractive” for India.


In this book, Karnad slays the “delusional strain” among India’s foreign policy thinkers right from Nehruvian days and reveals how a host of our leaders from Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru to Manmohan Singh was practically working for China and other enemies of India. When India was offered a membership of the UN Security Council by the US and Russia separately, Nehru wrote: “Informally, suggestions have been made by the United States that China should be taken into the United Nations, but not in the Security Council and that India should take her place in the Security Council. We cannot, of course, accept this as it means falling out with China and it would be very unfair for a great country like China not to be in the Security Council.”

The book reminds us how India is being told even now to be a “responsible power” and a “net security provider” – limited to shouldering the agenda of foreign powers. Its revelations are also consistent with the information in public domain, based on the statements of those involved in the underground of Track-II diplomacy with Pakistan that Manmohan Singh was close to handing over PoK – the Pakistani-occupied Kashmir – formally to Pakistan as part of a U.S.-brokered pact, notwithstanding his statements to the contrary. This is a betrayal of India, especially since there is legal clarity that people born in PoK and Gilgit-Baltistan, both being part of Jammu & Kashmir, are Indian citizens. Due to the criminal silence of Indian leaders, we don’t even see them as ours.

From the mid-1990s, the United States initiated a policy to build relationships with India and other Asian nations to meet the challenge of the rising China. It is being seen as the containment of China based on the principle of balance of power. However, speaking in Beijing, the capital of India’s adversary, Manmohan Singh attacked “the old theories of alliances and containment” as “no longer relevant.” This statement was consistent, writes Karnad, with Shivshankar Menon’s “contemptuous dismissal” of balance of power as “very Nineteenth Century” – the “underlying conceit” being that “India can do without allies and partners.”

In 2011, Menon lambasted nationalist Indians for “much loose talk about India as a potential superpower.” There is a line of thinking that as long as some Indians travel by bullock carts and bicycles, India should not embark on a mission to Mars, or build cars and motorbikes. Menon defined India’s posture as that of “strategic restraint” and saw it as a distraction, stating: “Eliminating poverty and realizing India’s potential will be the focus of our efforts – not external entanglements, arms races or other such balance of power distractions.” What if India achieved a great power status, the author asks, Memon asserted: “that would be fine.”

This line of argument was also articulated by Salman Khurshid, who served as the external affairs minister from 2012 onwards. Addressing an Oxford university audience, Khurshid spoke highly of India’s “softly-softly approach” in its foreign policy. “We do not assert ourselves,” Khurshid said, “by intruding, dictating, or imposing.” When China warned India not to collaborate with Vietnam in offshore oil exploration, external affairs minister SM Krishna responded, notes Karnad, “with fighting words to the effect that the South China Sea is not China’s sea” but Menon qualified it by saying India would consider such a role in “the Indian Ocean and our neighborhood” only and if “it contributes to India’s own transformation.” It appears Menon’s sole purpose to serve Chinese interests first, the Indian interests second.

When contentious points emerged in the India-US relations during his tenure, Manmohan Singh diverted India’s foreign policy objectives to non-issues and domestic matters. This diversion is seen in five points outlined by Manmohan Singh at a meeting of Indian ambassadors in 2013: i) foreign relations will be shaped by India’s “development priorities”; ii) the Indian foreign policy should ensure “wellbeing” of India which should be the “single most important objective”; iii) India should work for “beneficial relations with all major powers”; iv) India must “create a global and security environment beneficial to all nations”; v) “our values” such as “democracy and secularism” should be the basis of ties with India’s neighbouring states.

In the anarchical society of states, where ambassadors are willing to break each other’s nose to protect their nation’s interests, these five points were worthless words from a prime minister unable to defend India’s interests. This cowardice was termed as “the Singh Doctrine” by Sanjaya Baru, the prime minister’s media adviser. In February 2006, when Manmohan Singh was also the external affairs minister, his ministry prevented the Indian Navy from attacking pirates who seized a ship flying the Indian flag; and his government chose to pay ransom to free the Indian citizens. As detailed in the book, Indian Navy Chief Admiral Arun Prakash was bitter about this surrender of the Indian state before a handful of pirates and cowardice of Manmohan Singh.

Karnad’s book has numerous incidents on how army and navy officers were humiliated by the team led by Manmohan Singh. Shivshankar Menon spoke against Admiral D.K. Joshi, who was asked a question in Beijing how Indian Navy would respond if China seized Indian warships deployed in South China Sea to protect Indian energy assets jointly owned with Vietnam. Admiral Joshi gave a standard response that “rules of engagement” will apply whenever India’s “right of self-defense is impeded” – but Menon issued a statement saying Joshi was “misled” and the Ministry of External Affairs issued a statement to the effect, observes Karnad, that “New Delhi is more mindful of Chinese sensibilities [than the Indian military is].” The crimes by Manmohan Singh’s team do not cease here. The author narrates another incident: In its intent, the 2010 Operational Directive issued by defence ministry to the military services designated China as the main threat but it was quickly “diluted” by Salman Khurshid who described as China as “major concern” and Pakistan as “part of the Chinese picture” – as if Khurshid was watching a Bollywood movie.

During the tenure of Manmohan Singh, an attempt was also made to revive Nehru’s now-irrelevant and inconsequential foreign policy through Nonalignment 2.0, a quasi-official document supposed to serve as a vision document authored by Congress party’s parasites. At a function to release the document in 2012, M. K. Narayanan, the national security adviser to Manmohan Singh from 2006 to 2010, stated that India must avoid “too activist a [foreign] policy” and that hard power – i.e. military power – is not “necessary” for India because becoming a great power is “an unaffordable luxury.” In line with this thinking, India’s junior external affairs minister Shashi Tharoor conceived “Pax Indica” – a treatise on soft power meant to serve the interests of foreign powers and sell to them “India’s sense of responsibility to the world.”

In this excellent book, Karnad also investigates the responses of the counterfeit liberal writers like Amartya Sen, Ramachandra Guha, Minister Jairam Ramesh and others. Sen lambasted India for the 1998 nuclear tests and dismissed them as “the thrill of power.” Guha, who sells himself as a historian, is quoted as saying: “India will not become a superpower”; and since it is poor, “India should not even attempt to become a superpower.” Jairam Ramesh is quoted as saying by Karnad that India’s great power aspiration is “dangerous.” The author reminds such writers and thinkers that if poor economic conditions were an acceptable reason, the sixteenth-century England would not have funded the enlargement of the Royal Navy on the path to becoming a great power. While subject-matter experts will read Karnad’s book, it must also be read by India’s youths enrolled in Indian institutes of technology and management. At this point in time, India’s defence will benefit the most from non-experts and new ideas.

Disclaimer: The facts and opinions expressed within this article are the personal opinions of the author. IndiaFacts does not assume any responsibility or liability for the accuracy, completeness, suitability, or validity of any information in this article.
Former BBC journalist Tufail Ahmad is the executive director of the Open Source Institute, New Delhi. Ahmad is the author of “Jihadist Threat to India – The Case for Islamic Reformation by an Indian Muslim.” He tweets @tufailelif
  • SuchindranathAiyer

    This misses out on the parivar-that-loots-together-to-stay-together selling Nepal to the Maoists.

    UPA 1 even interceded with UK and US to ensure that nothing would interfere with the Maoists taking over Nepal and spread a canard about the Nepal Royals that would do Bollywood and Hollywood credit.

    Jayalalithaaaa added her two bits worth by having the Kanchi Shankaracharya arrested at Hyderabad as he was leaving for Kathmandu to rally the populace behind the Crown.

    The entire attention of India’s scurrilous anti-Brahmin journalism was, thereafter, directed at defaming the Shankaracharya deflecting attention from the many scams of Manmohanomics “coalition dharma’ and the vicious crucifixion of an innocent Kanchi Shankaracharya to the glee of aliens from BBC and CNN to Christianity and Mahamuttonism to India’s judiciary and journalists

  • Saurav

    I think majority of Indians concluded this and hence the reason CONgress got wiped out in 2014 National Elections.

  • KRA

    But really, what laws were broken? Isn’t it a stretch? The policy or lack thereof stems from inferiority complex, a low self esteem, lack of self confidence and ignorance from a bunch of old lefty farts oblivious of the worldly matters. I have no doubt that some of them were on the payroll of KGB, ISI or China. Fat chance proving that these crooks were on the payroll of a foreign government, much less convicting them and packing them off to Tihar. With the corrupt judiciary, if any one is dreaming of jail time for these crooks, then I have bridge to sell to you.

  • JustSaying

    Excellent article . A person, especially if s/he is in public domain, should be objective and honest in their assessment and opinion. However, left/communist brigade have no idea what being objective or honest means.

  • Avijas Karyakkaran

    The foreign policy of MMS govt. was dictated by The Hindu Newspaper. Their Marxist leaning is clearly evident from the support they still give to the Personalities, so called historians and economists, mentioned here.
    Even at that time people justifiably called Man Mohan Singh sarkkar a Shikhandi sarkkaar ..
    This book have proved that it was quite true !

  • R. Singh

    Nehru Gandhi Congress handed over Tibet to China and sent millions of Tibetians into slavery.

    They actively assisted Chinese Military to conquer Tibet, by providing Kolkota Port and military supplies to Chinese Army.

    Giving Kolkota Port to Chinese Military meant, their supply line were shortened and now they did not have to bring military supplies from their railhead which was 1,500 KM away.

    Previously Chinese military had to bring military supplies through 1,500 km of inhospitable , mountainous territory , Tibetian territory, defended by Tibetians.

    Nehru- Gandhi Congress gave Chinese Army safe passage through Hindustan directly to Tibet.

    Look up respected Investigative Journalist Claude Arpi ‘s expose .

  • Jitu

    Ok… I am just a lay person and do not understand foreign policies or legislations. But from this article, the only thing I could make out was that someone named Karnad has written a good book that I probably should read. Rest of it is just mumble-jumble.

    It’s unclear how the ex-PM committed any criminal offense and why he should be tried for it? In fact, the article badly needs editing. With all due respect to the author whose articles I usually like, and who opinion I almost always agree with… this article is fraught with grammatical and logical errors making it difficult to understand what the sentences mean and what the author is trying to convey. I had to read and re-readmany sentences to make a head and tail of it.

    I guess, I’d take the author’s advice and read the book he is so highly trying to recommend. Hopefully, the book makes more sense than this article did.

    And IndiaFacts… please get someone to edit your article before they get published. Be it in Hindi or English. No mater what the choice of language is… bad grammar and syntactical errors make the website look sub-par.

    Also, the title of this article is mis-leading. The article is more about a book than about anything MMS or his stooges did.

    • JustSaying

      Exactly which article are you reading ? Can you provide a link please ?

      • Jitu


        The one above.

        Read this… “Shivshankar Menon, who served as the national security adviser to Manmohan Singh for four years till 2014, dismissed “status”, “prestige” or “any other goal” that could appear as “popular or attractive” for India.”

        Where did he dismiss?
        How did he dismiss?
        What exactly did he dismiss? The words? Their implication? What?

        The article does not say.

        The the author in the next few paras says…

        “In this book, Karnad slays… ”
        “The book reminds us how… ”
        “This statement was consistent, writes Karnad…”
        “… notes Karnad, …. ”
        “Karnad’s book has numerous incidents on how… ”
        “As detailed in the book,..”
        “observes Karnad, that … ”
        “The author narrates another incident: …”
        “In this excellent book, Karnad also investigates…”

        Essentially….. the entire article is what Karnard says, what Karnard thinks. Like I said… I rather read the book to find out what Shri Karnad has to say. To that end… this is a good book review. Not exactly an article that states in clear words what the ex-PM or his stooges did beyond peddling their agenda.

        When you are calling for trial.. I do hope you expect them to do something worth calling a trial than mere changing words here and there. It would have been more incisive if the author of the article actually showed which policies were changed rather than who said what or how they changed the words.

        As for the parsing/syntactical errors I had seen… I could not find them. May be they were corrected after my comment. Not sure. I don’t see them any more.

        • JustSaying

          Conclusion can be drawn from what other people say. Author has done the same. If, according to author(who has based his article on what Karnad has said) some of the decisions taken and comments made were highly detrimental to India’s interest,safety and sovereignty then it is OK for him to demand what he is demanding.

          • Jitu

            If they took decisions and made policies detrimental to the interest of nation, they should be persecuted for treason. But if they made comments, which suggest their wrong intention but does not prove much beyond that, I doubt it is logical or even legally possible to even make a case against them.

            Like I have said, the article does not bother showing us how the accused are culprits. If there is a case there, as the headline screems… it seems weak.

          • JustSaying

            I am not commenting what Mr Ahmed has said is right or wrong. I am pointing out, it is all right for Mr.Ahmed to say what he is saying if he thinks he is right.

          • bmniac

            The use of the word persecute for prosecute clearly shows who should take the advice!

          • Jitu

            Thanks for pointing out your ignorance. 🙂
            Do look up persecution and prosecution to know the difference. I wrote exactly what I meant. What you read it as, or what you think I meant… is not my problem. 🙂 🙂

            As to the need for an editor… my comment is not being read by hundreds. His article is.
            Or… if you think his article deserves no more attention than my comment does… I have nothing to say. 🙂 🙂

          • Jitu

            Here you go. Now will Mr. Tufail Ahmed ask to bring Shri Modi to trial for saying this??

            Think about it. How is Shri Modi statement any different from the ones quoted by Mr. Ahmen in the article above. IF we are to put people on trial for every obscure statement they make… then Shri Modi is guilty too.

            The point is…. it’s not what people say( unless it is forbidden by law) that should decide whether or not we should put them on trials but the policies they make and the actions they take.

            That is why I called this article above BS.


    • bmniac

      The advice “please get someone to edit your article before they get published” may be needed but from your comment you need it much more. The article does exaggerate quite a bit perhaps to make a point.

      • Jitu

        Exaggeration, digression, whataboutery, smoke-screens… these are hallmarks of the secular liberals who rely on diversionary tactics to deflect from more important issues.

        Am actually glad, I had the sense to question (t)his article much before Tufail’s anti-Hindu leanings and his hypocrisy came to fore. It just confirmed what I merely doubted and questioned… That this is a red herring meant to send us on a wild-goose chase.

  • Arun

    While call for a trial does not impress me and generally I find myself in agreement with Mr. Bharat Karnad, there is one point though that flummoxes me – for a leadership that is so diffident almost to the point of suffering from a severe inferiority complex when serving as India’s representatives on the world stage, what accounts for the very same leadership’s super self confidence and super success in maintaining their hold on power and policy within India ?
    To say that we have been hamstrung ourselves with “gandhian ” “ethical” norms is really missing the point. No gandhian norms and no ethics stops this leadership from pursuing power and exercising hegemony once they have it, and even when they formally lose it, exercise it through moles and proxies, within India and over the Indian population.
    We need to introspect here.

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  • Akshaya Kumar Patra

    Is this Menon is progeny of the infamous Menon of Nehru era,seems like a China mole.How abt hanging d pictures of these gaddars in Toilet basi.Definitely a better idea!

  • Looky

    India witnessed the greatest scams during UPA tenure, Commonwealth Scams, 2G, Coal gate, Augusta, to name a few.
    Indians external debt increase more than double in 10 years of UPA rule than the entire independent India in the previous 55 years.

    More of the country’s wealth went overseas during UPA rule. Few smart politicians like Chidambaram’s son has investment in Singapore, how come where did the money come from?.

  • Zain Khan

    No matter what you say or do you are still a 3rd rate citizen and will always be considered as a 5th column.

    • rajiv irodov

      ur hatred for him only spoils ur image not his.

    • Looky

      And you are first rate citizen, do you even pay tax?

    • rovingeyein

      Jihadi John spotted…

    • JustSaying

      He is a citizen but you are third rate being.

  • Rajat Datta

    One really wonders whether the British colonial rule was continued by the Congress party after 1947. It is really shocking to see the state of the nation even after 70 years of independence. Shashi Tharoor would do well to investigate the crimes committed by his own party before he even begins to question the British.

    • R. Singh

      Nehru- Gandhi- Jinnah divided Hindustan between themselves and the British.

      Of course they continued the colonial raj.

      The structures of the Colonial Raj were continued.

      No reform of administration – IAS, Police, was carried out.

      Colonial laws were not repealed.

      If that does not show The clear intentions of the successors to the British, what does.?

      • Rajat Datta

        Yes, you are right.

    • sketch

      They certainly controlled us and kept our moral down by their media houses.

  • Arun

    One prosecutes for crimes, not for policy differences – no matter how bad the policies were, unless crimes were committed. That is Democracy-101.

    If this is a trial by public opinion, well, the UPA lost.

    • Rajni

      crime he committed at first place is to allow UPA chairperson Sonia to dictate to PM of country she was not dipty PM….he humiliated the images of PMO

      • Arun

        Which laws were broken?

        • Rajni

          it was unconstitutional what was constitutional position of sonia she had no business to look at the govt files & dictate & finalise the govt business you tell under which law was she authorized to do so ? was she minister in manmohan’s cabinet was NAC constitutional body…..

          • Rama

            Arun, you are defending the indefensible. Why anyone should bat for that disgrace of a human being MMS? As you very well know, law is an ass.

          • Arun

            Although not the Arun who posted the initial comment, it has to be said a trial is no answer for policy differences
            You win the government and implement whatever policies you feel is right.
            By the way I generally tend to lean more towards the Bharat Karnad school,if it may be called that.
            This trial-shial is a waste of time.

          • Arun

            I bat for the principles of democratic governance, not for MMS. Policy differences are to be dealt with at the ballot box, and in the arena of public opinion and not in the criminal courts.

  • Rajni

    Macaulay’s children colonial brown sahibs looted the nation left right & center under the nose of PM M.M singh while he bowed to italian mafia queen Sonia & her family enjoyed the power PM M.M singh enjoys the title of running most corrupt govt……yes he is answerable to nation he should be tried under law…. India needs to amend the constitution so that only electable person from lok sabha becomes PM….PM must be elected he/she should not be back door entry from Rajya sabha 2. PM can not be superseded by any chairperson…..3. PM should be natural born citizen of country …PM can not be married/ marry foreigner / should not be married to foreigner because that can cause threat to national security just like diplomat can not be married to foreigner how can cuntry have PM married to foreigner just because she wears saree enough is enough colonial communal bankrupt congress should not have let rajiv gandhi becom PM…nation does not want repeat of italian mafia queen sonia like situation …. Macaulay’s children colonial brown sahibs are brainless creatures no country allows what colonial communal congress allowed by choosing Rajeev Gandhi as PM & italian mafia queen Sonia as UPA chairperson & surrendered to her & gave her free hand to loot the nation…….

  • subodh1945

    MMS and his team main aim was to make india again a colony of one or other superpower , agree was treason on ther part