U.S. firing at fishing vessel in Persian Gulf, killing one Indian: Big story in India, not here
Sometimes Americans just can't understand why Uncle Sam is distrusted - even hated - in some parts of the world.
This week's incident of a U.S. ship firing on a fishing boat in the Persian Gulf, with Indian nationals aboard, perfectly illustrates the problem. It is particularly insightful because the aggrieved country in this case - India - is supposed to be our ally in the war of terrorism. India, Israel, and the United States all find common cause in fighting Islamist terrorists.
Yet, in this particular case, an incident related to the war on terrorism (or more precisely, in this episode, a military build-up in the Persian Gulf against Iran) has put India, ironically, in the same position as archenemy Pakistan, where India's own citizens were fired upon (by the U.S.) in a tragic mix-up. And just as in numerous incidents involving Pakistan, the U.S. account of events substantially differs from the account of the victims.
(One would hope this one incident wouldn't undermine warming U.S./Indian relations, but the Indian government faces its own problems. That always means opportunistic politicians can fan the flames against a foreign power, even an ostensible ally.)
Finally, while this story has hardly dominated U.S. media (preoccupied with Ben Bernanke's pronouncements on the economy; political battles over Bain Capital and outsourcing; Capitol Hill battles about going over the "fiscal cliff"; etc.), it's been a big story in India.
(Thankfully, the death of a Bollywood superstar has now relegated this story to the second tier in many Indian papers.)
Here's an account of the fishing vessel incident from The HINDUSTAN TIMES... (And be sure to read the "comments" section!)
This is just about as bad as the Soviet Union covering up Chernobyl, though it's not nearly as BIG of a story.
Thu, Jul 19, 2012 6:13am
If you listen to my interview (above) with Gautam Adhikari, you'll find he offers a plausible explanation for the conflicting accounts which doesn't involve a cover-up.
Mike from Delaware
Thu, Jul 19, 2012 5:26pm
Yes, Gautam Adhikari explains that the captain of the fishing vessel tried to race past the US Navy vessel, and as Mr. Adhikari explained, in Allan's interview, that the captain made a mistake and it would have been better, more prudent, to have stopped and gone in another direction rather than trying to go by the Navy ship. He apparently doesn't seem to believe this incident will sour US/India relations.
Thu, Jul 19, 2012 7:09pm
From what I gather from Mr. Adhikari, the fishing people seem to be cut off from the outside world and any information pertaining to it. The captain may well have not known it was a US Navy vessel, or could have mistaken it for a merchant marine ship.
Allan, I know you have no control over this, but too many of your journalist friends have bad cell phones. This is not a swipe against them - they're interesting people, but I have to really strain to understand what's being said in a lot of these interviews.
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