(Weekly Organ of the Communist Party of India (Marxist)
April 27, 2008
THE temerity of US imperialism’s advise to India on how it should deal with the visit of Iranian president, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, to New Delhi on April 29 reconfirms, if such reconfirmation was ever necessary, that the USA seeks to deal with India as its “subordinate ally”. The remarks of the spokesman of the US Department of State have not come as friendly unsolicited advice but smacks of imperialist arrogance of a self-appointed world policeman. His remarks amount to calling upon India to convey to the Iranian president to comply with what the USA wishes. This is tantamount to gross interference on how India should conduct its relations with other countries. This is simply unacceptable. Such blatant interference in India’s internal affairs and foreign policy positions must be outrightly rejected as an insult to our sovereignty.
India has rightly rebuffed these remarks stating that both India and Iran are ancient civilizations whose relations span centuries. Both, therefore, are perfectly capable of managing all aspects of their relationships without, as the MEA spokesperson said: “any guidance on the future conduct of bilateral relations as both countries believe that engagement and dialogue alone lead to peace”.
Such attempts by the USA to influence or even pressurise India into taking positions that dovetail US strategic concerns resoundingly vindicate the apprehensions voiced by the Left in connection with the Indo-US nuclear deal anchored, as it is, in the US Hyde Act. Readers will recall that the Hyde Act explicitly states that India must take foreign policy positions that are “congruent” with US positions. It also stipulates greater enmeshing of India with USA’s military and intelligence activities globally and in South Asia.
In this context, it is necessary that India must go beyond the official response of rejection of unilateral US interference on this count. This visit by the Iranian president must be utilised to further the Indo-Iranian gas pipeline project. It is widely recognised that this pipeline is not only a cheap energy source but will also go a long way in augmenting the energy capacities so urgently needed for India. In fact, if the argument of the protagonists of the Indo-US nuclear deal was based on this question of energy augmentation, then the gas pipeline is the cheapest and the best option for India as it comes without any conditionalities. This will immensely help us in meeting our expanding energy requirements. The UPA government must proceed ahead with this pipeline deal without any further delays.
As regards the USA asking India to take up the issue of Iran’s nuclear programme with the president, it must be noted that Iran is a signatory to the nuclear non-proliferation treaty (NPT). Iran is, therefore, bound by the rights and the obligations conferred by this treaty. It has the right to pursue a civilian nuclear programme while being obliged to abjure from undertaking any nuclear weaponisation programme. It is for the international watchdog to ensure Iran’s compliance on this score. The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) has already stated that Iran does not have a nuclear weapons programme or capability.
The IAEA had made similar observations regarding Iraq in the past. That, however, did not prevent or deter US imperialism from proceeding to launch a war against Iran and continue with its military occupation based on an intricate web of fabrications. Every single excuse the USA forwarded to the world as the legitimate reason for its attack on Iraq has been proved to be untrue. If it is making a similar case with Iran today and seeks to tread on a similar path as it did with Iraq, then India can never be a party to this.
Given this, it is necessary that India move beyond its official rebuff of these US comments by summoning the US ambassador to India and conveying in no uncertain terms that India cannot tolerate such gross interference in its internal affairs and conduct of its foreign policy.