Masthead graphic based on a painting by Gudrun Thriemer.

Sunday, November 30, 2008

M K Bhadrakumar, "The great game of hunting pirates," Asia Times online, November 22, 2008.

  "Making the coastal areas lucrative for local fishermen again could encourage pirates to return to legitimate livelihoods."

"Sir, you have done India proud." That was how the anchorman of a television channel in Delhi addressed the Indian navy chief, Admiral Sureesh Mehta, on the victorious sea battle by warship INS Tabar with would-be hijackers as dusk was falling on Tuesday evening in the Gulf of Aden.

Those words would have made Sir Francis Drake, the 16th-century British navigator and slaver-politician of the Elizabethan era, truly envious. Sir Francis had bigger claims to fame in a life cut short by dysentery while attacking San Juan, Puerto Rico, in 1595.

Unsurprisingly, the patriotic Indian media dutifully expressed its gratitude and confidence once again in the armed forces. The armed forces, too, gained an opportunity to look away from a raging controversy over alleged involvement of servicemen in terrorist activities by Hindu fundamentalists. The Indian navy has seen "action" after a long interlude of 37 years since the Bangladesh war.

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