India's socialist godmother

Article Highlights

  • It's not every day that Italy manages to look less shambolic than another country.

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  • Two Italians refuse to face charges for shooting two Indian fishermen, leaving India with egg on its face.

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  • Carping about whether Sonia Gandhi prefers pasta or parathas distracts from the impact of policies she has championed.

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  • Thanks in part to Ghandi’s misguided priorities, economic growth has slumped to 4.5% this year from 9.8% in 2007.

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It's not every day that Italy manages to look less shambolic than another country. But Monday's announcement that two Italian marines won't honor a pledge to India's Supreme Court to face charges for shooting two Indian fishermen dead last year leaves India with the diplomatic equivalent of egg on its face. The marines, who had been in India since the incident 13 months ago, had ostensibly returned home briefly in January to vote in Italy's general election.

The diplomatic spat dominated India's front pages this week. On Wednesday, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh declared that ignoring the Indian court's order was "not acceptable" and warned Italy of "consequences."

But the real reason the incident has kicked up such a furor appears to lie elsewhere. India's most powerful politician, Congress Party President Sonia Gandhi, happens to be born Italian. It's hard to imagine this incident garnering nearly as much attention had the absconders been Greeks or Spaniards.

The full text of this article is available via subscription at WSJ.com, and will be posted here Monday, March 18, 2013. 

 

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About the Author

 

Sadanand
Dhume
  • Sadanand Dhume writes about South Asian political economy, foreign policy, business, and society, with a focus on India and Pakistan. He is also a South Asia columnist for the Wall Street Journal. He has worked as a foreign correspondent for the Far Eastern Economic Review in India and Indonesia and was a Bernard Schwartz Fellow at the Asia Society in Washington, D.C. His political travelogue about the rise of radical Islam in Indonesia, My Friend the Fanatic: Travels with a Radical Islamist, has been published in four countries.

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