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    Rabble Rousing Random Ramblings by S Jagadish is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 Unported License.

    April 30, 2006

    Working in Afghanistan is risky business

    Suryanarayana, working for a Bahrain based company in Afghanistan, was killed by the Taliban apparently while trying to escape earlier today. The Taliban had given a deadline until this evening for India to stop aiding the Indian government in any form as a pre-condition for releasing Suryanarayana. Reports from Yahoo! News and Google News.

    While the killing is obviously a dastardly act, entirely consistent with the Taliban's attitude towards human life, it is unfair to blame the Indian government for the killing.

    When Suryanarayana went to Afghanistan, he fully well knew the risks of going there. Should the Indian government be responsible for every single Indian citizen employed outside India, in every nook and corner of the earth, regardless of how dangerous a place it is? I think not.

    Rambled @ 10:34 PM

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    7 comment(s)


    It's a very dangerous argument that the government shouldn't be responsible for the welfare of it's people, wherever they are.

    As it is our embassies/consulates seldom support Indians caught in difficult situations, even in non-dangerous countries! I shudder to think what will be the fate of expat Indians if 'watch your own a**' were to be the state policy.

    Per your argument, India also needs to close it's consulates/embassies in every dangerous country. If they don't help Indians there, what other purpos would they serve there?

    By Anonymous Vivek (May 1, 2006, 8:15:00 PM)  

    Vivek. My argument is that Suryanarayana was mature enough to realize the dangers of working in Afghanistan currently, unlike say the truckers who got kidnapped in Iraq. In such a situation, if the individual chooses to work in a dangerous place, is it fair to blame the Indian govt.?

    My argument is not about how the government should have a say in where people work. If it is the individual’s choice to go into a “war-zone”, why should the govt. be responsible?

    My argument wouldn’t apply to a country where there was no risk, even if the probability of getting hit by a speeding car in a “non-dangerous” country is the same as the probability of being kidnapped in Iraq/Afghanistan.

    By Blogger Jagadish (May 1, 2006, 8:29:00 PM)  

    Jagadish, what if a "safe" country were to become "dangerous" country suddenly? Like it happened Kuwait during Saddam's invasion. Does that give our government the right to abandon us? (as we are now in a dangerous ccountry).

    How is education (engineering) related to maturity? A trucker may be less educated, but still be more mature [and street-smart] than a gold-medalist Engineer. Besides we had no embassy in Iraq (back then). I am not implying government shouldn't have helped the truckers here. My argument is -education/maturity shouldn't be deciding who should receive support and who shouldn't.


    By Blogger Vivek (May 1, 2006, 9:47:00 PM)  

    Vivek, a country becoming dangerous suddenly is a totally different argument. Afghanistan has been a dangerous place to work in for over 15 years now, and by a conservative estimate, a decade at least.

    As for my comment on maturity, my understanding of the situation, the truckers didn't know they were actually headed to Iraq when their employer sent them somewhere. I may be wrong on that count, but my argument is that Suryanarayana knew where he was going.

    By Blogger Jagadish (May 2, 2006, 10:36:00 AM)  

    I think the reason why India must take the security of its overseas citizens seriously is to deter attacks on them. Foreign governments will take the job of protecting Indians and prosecuting their attackers more seriously if India does so first.

    Arguments such as whether it is India's job to look after every one of its citizens abroad are largely academic. The question is whether the Indian government's record deters or promotes attacks on its citizens. I think the answer to that is rather simple --- Indian citizens are easy game.

    By Blogger Nitin (May 2, 2006, 1:06:00 PM)  

    nitin: Fair call. But India's citizens could do themselves no harm if they chose to stay out of places like Afghanistan, Iraq etc. Mind you, Suryanarayana's case is totally different from those deputed to Afghanistan by the Indian govt. to build infrastructure etc. In those cases, the govt. will have to be ultimately responsible. Not in Suryanarayana's case. But will this killing be a wake up call for the govt. to call the bluff on Pak's continued assistance to the Taliban? All that bullcrap on how the north/northwest of Pakistan is basically out of Islamabad's control has to be rubbished.

    By Blogger Jagadish (May 3, 2006, 2:41:00 PM)  

    Check out this introduction article on India:
    * 1 Political India
    * 2 Demography
    * 3 Economy
    * 4 Sports
    * 5 Holidays

    By Anonymous india (May 18, 2006, 4:58:00 PM)  

    I'd prefer if you posted comments with your real name to add more credibility to your opinions. Obviously comments containing offensive and unsuitable language will be deleted. The opinions in the comments are your own views. You are welcome to provide a URL to your own blog, especially if it discusses issues you find here.

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