‘Know little about India, let alone Manipur’: Europeans on EU’s agenda politics

The New Indian speaks to Europeans in France and finds that they have no awareness of events in Manipur even as European Parliament found it fitting to pass a resolution on the issue just before PM Modi’s state visit to France

| Updated: 14 July, 2023 5:57 pm IST

PARIS: In the wake of the European Union’s resolution on Manipur, Editor-in-Chief Aarti Tikoo from The New Indian decided to find out the awareness levels of Europeans on general knowledge related to India. The aim was to assess how much is European Union invested in understanding and learning about India and then frame their resolutions against India.

The conversations conducted by Aarti Tikoo uncovered a startling reality: Europeans have a limited knowledge of India’s socio-political landscape. Most Europeans displayed a lack of knowledge about India’s diverse geography, political dynamics, and cultural complexities. This revelation raises important questions about the EU’s credibility in addressing India’s internal issues.

The EU parliamentarians’ resolution on Manipur, a region affected by violence, brought attention to the need for a deeper comprehension of the complexities and nuances of India’s socio-political reality. How can they effectively comment on a situation they seemingly have limited knowledge about?

The discussions revealed that Europeans often associate India with major cities such as Delhi, Kolkata, and Mumbai, as well as iconic landmarks like the Taj Mahal. While these associations provide a glimpse into India’s rich heritage and cultural significance, they fall short in capturing the intricate fabric of its diverse society and geography.

The limited understanding observed among Europeans underscores the importance of conducting thorough research and engaging in meaningful dialogue to comprehend the complexities of a nation’s internal affairs. Making sweeping resolutions without a comprehensive understanding can potentially undermine the credibility of the EU’s stance.

Even as Prime Minister Narendra Modi arrived in Paris on a State visit, in another French city, Strasbourg, the European Parliament (EP) called on the Indian government to act “promptly” to halt the violence in Manipur and protect religious minorities. The resolution was passed by a show of hands on Thursday after a debate on the issue on Wednesday evening.

The resolution, which called on the Indian government to address the situation promptly and protect religious minorities, was deemed “unacceptable” by the Indian government.

Watch them speak here:

During the debate preceding the resolution, Members of the European Parliament (MEPs) emphasized the importance of human rights in the EU’s dialogue and relationship with India. This diverse range of political voices united in passing resolutions on rights issues in Venezuela, Kyrgyzstan, and Manipur. The resolution specifically highlighted the need to safeguard Manipur’s Christian community, grant access to journalists and international observers, and repeal the Armed Forces Special Powers Act.

The Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) spokesperson, Arindam Bagchi, strongly criticized the European Parliament’s move, characterizing it as reflecting a “colonial mindset.” Bagchi asserted that the Indian government, including the judiciary, is actively addressing the situation in Manipur to maintain peace, harmony, and law and order. He also suggested that the EP should focus on internal matters rather than intervening in India’s affairs.

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