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Mainstream, Vol XLVI No 32

Nuclear Deal—Another Client State of USA

Wednesday 30 July 2008, by Bikash Choudhury

The British East India Company came to India for trade and commerce and lived to rule the country for a century. The irony of the nuclear deal is the same party, the Congress, which spearheaded our freedom movement, is falling to the imperialist trap and inviting the Bush-led US Administration to do business again in India by our economist-turned Prime Minister Dr Manmohan Singh. The credibility and intention of Dr Singh may be unquestionable but apparently he is ill-advised.

Dr Singh must recall the unilateral military strikes of Iraq by the USA in the guise of eliminating the weapons of mass destruction from the then Sadam Husain administration of Iraq that ended up annihilating millions of innocent lives and a prosperous country further dividing two warring communities—Shia and Sunni—leading to political instability, lawlessness and destruction of the productive economic infrastructure. Closer home in Pakistan, the USA has always meddled in the internal affairs with sops of financial aid and defence supplies. They have deliberately supported military rulers and destroyed democratic institutions and political forces in order to fulfil their larger strategic goal in the region.The US ambassador’s role during selection of the Premier of Pakistan after the general election is a testimony of the modus operandi and intention of the so-called superpower in a unipolar world. Betrayal on fuel supply to the Tarapur reactor in 1970 must be factored in while assessing the dangers of the current nuclear deal. Countries like Mexico, Cuba, Vietnam, and Nicaragua have suffered heavily because of US policy at different points of time. Can we afford to add one more country to that list, India? India has since independence consistently pursued non-alignment as its foreign policy and opposed NPT. The UPA Government’s decision in favour of the current nuclear deal would tantamount to acceptance of the NPT in another form and scrapping of the 60-year- old policy of non-alignment framed under the direction of Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru, the first Prime Minister of independent Indian Republic, while heading the undivided Indian National Congress.

Currently, the Bush-led US Administration is more desperate to clinch the nuclear deal with India due to four factors. One, after the Iraq misadventure the Republican Administration wishes to rebuild their international credibility so as to make it acceptable before the US electorate in the coming presidential election. Two, to create a strategic axis of client states starting from Afghanistan, Pakistan and India to form a formidable presence in decision-making in three neighbouring states to contain China in any future regional policing role. Third, to gain an unassailable position to exert further pressure on future negotiations in commercial and strategic issues linked to our sovereign national interest. Four, the USA also looks forward to a window of opportunity to get information on the Indian nuclear programme civil/ defence to use them just as they did in Iraq if need be.

Dr Singh has been hailed as the messiah of Indian economic liberalisation in1991 and if manages to survive as the PM, would go down in the history as the weakest Prime Minister who traded off the sovereign interest of the country for short term energy security. Ms Sonia Gandhi must have an ace or two to turn her disadvantage into a credible advantage; she can keep her protégé and at the same time prevent her party from committing a historic mistake.

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