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India Unwilling to Censure Mugabe
Posted: Friday, July 18, 2008

Zimbabwe Watch Reporters
July 18, 2008

India is unwilling to censure its old ally, President Robert Mugabe of Zimbabwe.

President Mugabe earned another term in office last month in a run-off election that was boycotted by the MDC leader Morgan Tsvangirai.

Zimbabwe's Justice Minister Patrick Chinamasa called the MDC leader's announcement of withdrawal a 'nullity'. "Effectively, the official position, from a constitutional (legal) point of view is that the election should go ahead, regardless of the MDC leader's withdrawal. This is what the Electoral Law in Zimbabwe provides."

India's foreign secretary Shivshankar Menon told reporters last week that India was "...looking to the African Union on the Zimbabwe crisis and would follow its lead." "India does not interfere in the internal affairs of another country," he said at that time.

India's Minister of State for External Affairs Anand Sharma attended the African Union summit at Sharm el-Sheikh in Egypt in late June, where he met 23 African foreign ministers.

Prior to the summit, delivering a speech at the valedictory session of a seminar on Africa and Energy Security, organised by the Institute of Defence Studies Analyses and International Peace Research Institute, Sharma said India's engagement with the African continent is "distinct and different". He said, "India's approach has not been and never can be exploitative."

Contrary to US and European's hostile interference, especially with their relentless calls for more sanctions to be imposed on Zimbabwe, India's ongoing foreign policy is outlined as having close ties and cooperation to all African countries and intends to continue to consolidate those gains to intensify bilateral economic and commercial links for mutual benefit. As far back as 1996, India's Prime Minister, while in Harare, concluded a Memorandum of Understanding on the development of small-scale industries in Zimbabwe.

In June of this year, Indian Ambassador to Zimbabwe Venkatesan Vashok has said that Zimbabwe should fully exploit India's technological advancement to transform its economy and develop its infrastructure.

"I feel we have cutting edge technologies and human resources potential, both of which can be of great help to Zimbabwe particularly in key areas such as health, agriculture, infrastructure development and mining," Vashok said.

Some commodities exported by India to Zimbabwe include pharmaceuticals, fine chemicals, rubber products, fabrics and transport equipment while the Asian country imports metals, steel, tanning and coloring material from Zimbabwe.

It has been reported India's "deliberate go-slow" on Zimbabwe was also a reflection of the "double standards" on the part of many Western nations, according to an Indian diplomat who declined to be named given the sensitivity of the issue.

He, however, admitted that India's new-found zeal to get cracking on its strategic partnership with the US may also have something to do with the go-slow on Zimbabwe. "India is balancing the nay-sayers on its new pro-West policies with its silence on Zimbabwe."

"Will the US and Britain make the same comments about Kenya, or even Pakistan?" the diplomat asked, adding, "India is not China, and that cuts both ways."

Russia and China on Friday, July 11, 2008, vetoed a resolution backed by the US and Britain along with other Western nations to impose additional sanctions on Zimbabwe at the UN Security Council.

After years of praise and accolades from the West, President Robert Mugabe of Zimbabwe comes under severe criticism and sanctions from Western governments for expropriating stolen land from White settlers and their descendents for distribution to the Black majority in Zimbabwe. Since the accelerated land reclamation commenced, over 300.000 landless Black Africans have received land from this exercise.

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