Here is this viewpoint of the Left's opposition from Frontline.The missives from Condy Rice and others ,lecturing India on its foreign policy,ties with Iran etc.,only serve to underscore the US's crude attempts at armtwisting and coercing the Indian leadership into this deal,drawing much suspicion,especially as Dr.Singh has been far from truthful about the terms and real price that India will have to pay for such generosity from Uncle Sam,that threatens to scrap or cap our fast breeder programme and turn India into another "rent boy" of South Asia!http://www.frontlineonnet.com/stories/2 ... 401800.htm
It is not the text of the nuclear deal that the Left and the other parties and individuals have objected to but the context.
A Fighter aircraft takes off from the USS Kitty Hawk during the joint exercises involving the navies of the U.S., India, Australia, Japan and Singapore in the Bay of Bengal in 2007.
AN influential section in the Congress party, seemingly determined to see the nuclear deal through, has triggered a new crisis for the United Progressive Alliance (UPA) government. The “technocrats” in the Congress, led by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, have put the nuclear deal before key issues such as the rising inflation rate.
In the last week of June, despite the stated opposition of the UPA’s constituents and the Left parties’ threat to withdraw support, the government instructed officials of the External Affairs Ministry and the Department of Atomic Energy (DAE) to go to the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) with the finalised nuclear safeguards agreement.
New Delhi wants the IAEA Board of Governors to convene an emergency meeting to discuss the India-specific safeguards. The government wants to complete the formalities with the IAEA so that it can, hopefully, get the Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG) and the U.S. Congress to approve the deal formally. External Affairs Minister Pranab Mukherjee had not so long ago gone on record as stating that a minority government cannot go ahead and unilaterally sign a deal.
Most observers feel that it is a race against time for the Indian government if it goes ahead and tries to operationalise the deal. There are many sceptics in the NSG and their number is expected to grow when the Manmohan Singh government is reduced to lame-duck status. The Left parties have re-emphasised that they will withdraw support to the government if it goes to the IAEA.
With the political credibility of U.S. President George W. Bush at an all-time low, it will be difficult for the government to surmount the NSG hurdle and for the deal to go to Congress for its final approval. New Zealand, Ireland and Sweden are among the countries that are known to have reservations about the deal. Even South Africa, which has taken a principled stand on disarmament issues, seems far from convinced about the “special treatment” meted out to India by the West. (Abdullah Minty, the South African representative in the NSG, is known as the “ayatollah of disarmament” in diplomatic circles.)
New political leaderships are in place in Japan and Australia. The decision of the new Labour government in Australia not to supply uranium to countries that are not signatories to the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT), such as India, is a reflection of the changing international opinion on disarmament issues. If the India-U.S. deal does go through, it will be the first time a nuclear state outside the NPT has been allowed to engage in civilian nuclear trade.
A former Indian Foreign Secretary told this correspondent that the India-U.S. nuclear deal would happen but not under the dispensation of the Bush administration. He is of the view that it would be better for the nuclear deal to remain in “cold storage” for the time being. The diplomat, who is an outspoken supporter of the deal, said New Delhi should wait for a new administration to be in place in Washington.
According to him, even the next U.S. President, whether it is Barack Obama or John McCain, will push for the deal. He said the American political establishment, cutting across party lines, is aware that if the deal becomes a reality, New Delhi will remain strategically tied to Washington for the foreseeable future.
The Left parties, along with other parties, have been arguing forcefully for the past three years that the UPA government is leading the country into Washington’s strategic embrace. It is not the text of the nuclear deal that the Left and the other parties and individuals have objected to but the context.
Former U.S. Under-Secretary of State for Political Affairs Nicholas Burns had said that the nuclear deal was “perhaps the single most important initiative that India and the United States have agreed to in 60 years of our relationship”. The Bush administration, with absolutely no foreign policy successes to boast of, desperately wants the India-U.S. nuclear agreement as part of its legacy.
Burns, during his visit to India earlier this year, repeatedly called on the Indian government to complete expeditiously the process of going to the IAEA. The U.S. Ambassador to India, David Mulford, also indulged in a bit of arm-twisting and bluster. He told an Indian television channel that if the treaty was not processed by Congress in June this year it was “unlikely that this deal will be offered again to India”.
A high-level U.S. delegation comprising Senators John Kerry, Chuck Hagel and Joseph Biden, which visited India in late February, had the same message. The Senators urged the Indian government to conclude the mandatory agreements with the IAEA and the NSG by June, so that Congress could ratify the agreement by July. Another high-level bipartisan congressional delegation visited New Delhi in the end of June.
In the past few months the Bush administration has piled on the pressure almost on a daily basis. A day before the UPA-Left coordination committee meeting on June 25, the U.S. State Department spokesman warned that “every day that goes by is one less day on the legislative calendar” for Congress. “It certainly gets harder every day that it is delayed,” he said.
Recently, U.S. Commerce Secretary Carlos Guiterrez said New Delhi would have to make some “tough choices” to save the deal. Manmohan Singh, if not the Congress party as a whole, seems to have made the choice –sacrifice the government to save the nuclear deal.
The timing of the deal coincided with the intensification of a “new Cold War” – it came at a time when the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation (NATO) was being transformed into a new grouping that identified Russia and China as its rivals. At the Bucharest NATO summit, President Bush announced that NATO was “now an expeditionary alliance that is sending its forces across the world to help secure a future for freedom and peace for millions”.
The Bush administration has announced plans for an anti-ballistic missile (ABM) system aimed at neutralising the comparatively small intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) programme of China and has threatened Russia by putting up missile bases on its borders. At the Bishkek summit in May, Russian President Dmitry Medvedev and Chinese President Hu Jintao issued a joint statement condemning the American ABM. The two leaders were also critical about the “double standards” in the Bush administration’s foreign policy, especially on its reliance on the unilateral use of force.
It is feared that a successful conclusion of the India-U.S. deal will make New Delhi a junior partner in Washington’s aggressive pursuit of its geo-political designs in Asia. India could end up supporting Washington’s game plan to monopolise the oil and gas reserves in West and Central Asia.
It is no secret that one of Washington’s primary goals in forging an alliance with India is to checkmate China’s rising power. Former U.S. Ambassador to India Robert Blackwill, who is now a paid lobbyist for India, said in a speech in New Delhi when he was holding his diplomatic post that both India and the U.S. should get together to face the challenges “from the enemy beyond the third mountain range”.
India’s traditional foreign policy has been noticeably affected, as is clear from its vote against Iran in the IAEA and its foot-dragging on the negotiations for the gas pipeline deal with that country.
The U.S. Congress, in the last week of June, passed a non-binding resolution demanding that the Bush administration impose “stringent inspection requirements” on trade with Iran. The strong language used is seen by many observers as a precursor to an economic blockade on Iran and a possible military campaign before the end of the year.
In the first week of July, Congress is expected to pass the resolution endorsing draconian sanctions against Iran. The resolution demands that the President initiate an international effort to “immediately and dramatically increase the economic, political and diplomatic pressure on Iran to verifiably suspend its uranium enrichment activities”. The European Union (E.U.) has already succumbed to pressure from Washington; it has announced stringent sanctions on Teheran, including sanctions on Bank Melli, Iran’s leading bank.
New Delhi is under pressure to impose similar sanctions. According to reports in the Indian media, the External Affairs Ministry has recommended that New Delhi emulate the E.U. action. In May last year, key American Congressmen backing the India-U.S. deal wrote to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh expressing “their grave concerns” about India’s ties with Iran. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and other senior U.S. officials advised New Delhi against signing the gas pipeline deal. Condoleezza Rice also controversially questioned the relevance of India’s membership in organisations such as the Non-Aligned Movement (NAM).
The UPA government, despite the commitment given in the Common Minimum Programme (CMP) to follow an independent foreign policy, tilted towards Washington at the very outset of its term in office. Without consulting the Left, whose support was crucial to its survival, the government signed the U.S.-India Defence Framework Agreement of June 2005, the precursor to the India-U.S. nuclear deal.
This agreement provided the basis for the defence establishments of the two countries to collaborate in multinational operations without the consent of the United Nations. The agreement also includes the provision of India partnering the U.S. in its aggressive anti-missile programme aimed at China, Russia and Iran.
Reports in the American media at the time suggested that the Indian government had given tacit permission to the U.S. government to set up “lily pad” bases on its territory. The U.S. has such small bases in Pakistan, Thailand and the Philippines and uses them to stock up arms to be used in contingencies.
It may not be a coincidence that the bulk of the major joint military exercises India conducts these days are with the U.S. Army. The quadrilateral military exercises involving the navies of India, the U.S., Japan and Australia held last year in the Bay of Bengal sent the wrong signals to Moscow, Beijing and other world capitals. During President Bush’s visit to India in 2006, the two governments signed a Logistics Support Agreement that gives the militaries of the two countries the privilege of using each other’s facilities for maintenance, servicing, communication and refuelling.
There is increasing pressure on the Indian government to sign up to the Proliferation Security Initiative (PSI) and the Container Security Initiative (CSI). Both are American initiatives to interdict the clandestine movement of WMD (weapons of mass destruction) material. The 2005 India-U.S. Global Democracy Initiative is another illustration of the two governments cosying up, allegedly on the grounds of promoting “shared values”. The UPA’s CMP had only emphasised improving relations with the U.S., not a full-scale military and nuclear embrace of Uncle Sam.
Henry Sokolski, in an article in the U.S. Armed Forces Journal in May 2006, wrote: “Give New Delhi the nuclear technology it wants, our diplomats argue, and the U.S. gets access to India as a strategic partner of a billion citizens.”
The Left parties predicted at the time that India’s foreign policy would become “congruent” to that of the U.S. as a result of the Defence Framework Agreement of 2005 and the 2006 nuclear deal. The U.S. Hyde Act, which is inherently linked to the nuclear deal, specifically states that the U.S. government expects Indian foreign policy to be sensitive to American global concerns.