Thiruvananthapuram, April 13: The Vice-Chancellor, University of Jammu Padamshree Professor Amitabh Mattoo today welcomed the setting up of a new think-tank on foreign and defence policy at the V.K. Krishna Menon Centre for International Relations, University of Kerala.The think-tank was inaugurated by the Union Defence Minister Shri, A.K. Anthony and the key-note address was delivered by Professor Amitabh Mattoo.Professor Mattoo talked about the need to establish think-tanks outside Delhi on critical issues of policy. "The Himalayas and the Indian Ocean have geo-strategically always defined India, and yet in contemporary times, the strategic elite of Lutyens’ Delhi have virtually monopolized discussion and decisions on our national security. It is most important that there is a real decentring of issues related to our national security and foreign policy if we have to develop a holistic and inclusive vision for our country and its future. Hopefully, in the foreseeable future, the peripheries will become the centre; those apparently on the margins today will help to define the text of our policies on foreign policy, strategy and security," said Professor Mattoo
Professor Mattoo, in his speech, referred to the great thinkers on international relations that this state has produced, including Sardar Pannikar and V.K. Krishna Menon. He said "Who can forget the contribution of Sardar Panikkar to Indian strategic thinking? His books Asia and Western Dominance and India and Indian Ocean are pioneering works on international relations and strategic thinking. On a more personal note, Sardar Pannikar was the Vice-Chancellor of Jammu and Kashmir University and wrote a biography of the founder of the J&K State, Maharaja Gulab Singh. He had earlier served in Maharajah Hari Singh’s government.
The former Defence Minister, Krishna Menon, I believe – and I know this is not a popular view – was probably one of the most incisive and brilliant thinkers that India has produced. He may have been difficult as a person, but I have personally been overwhelmed by his intellect. I have read, several times, his marathon speech on Kashmir in the UN and I cannot think of a more powerful defence, both in substantive terms and polemically, of India’s position on Kashmir."
Professor Mattoo complimented the Malyalis for the wide outlook. He said "Malayalis are, of course, imbued with a strong sense of international relations, not only because of the location of the state, but also due to their tryst with anti-imperial and anti-colonial struggles. I am reminded of the unanimous Malayali reaction to the then all powerful Diwan of Travancore, Sir CP Ramaswamy Iyer’s declaration of independence of the erstwhile princely state. Malayalis of all political shades rejected it and unanimously demanded complete integration with India. The famous slogan "American Model Arabikadalil" (let the American model go to the Arabian Sea) raised by the Malayali patriots led to the unceremonious exit of Sir CP Ramaswamy Iyer.
In conclusion, Professor Mattoo said that the Malyalis today seem to have replaced the Kashmiri Pandit as the new managers of the county’s security and foreign policy. If in the past, D.P. Dhar, P.N. Haksar, T.N. Kaul and P.N. Dhar dominated the Delhi discourse today it is A.K. Anthony, M.K. Narayanan and Shiv Shankar Menon.