People's Democracy

(Weekly Organ of the Communist Party of India (Marxist)


No. 38

September 28 , 2008



PM Flagrantly Violates His Own Assurances

THE prime minister has left on his ten-day tour of the USA and Europe. Apart from addressing the UN General Assembly, he is slated to meet president Bush on September 25. On the basis of official leakages, this meeting is being projected as one that will clinch the India-US nuclear deal. The prime minister, we are told, is to make a `triumphal’ return to India.

The time of reckoning has, thus, come. The prime minister can no longer mask the series of departures that he and his government have made from the assurances he himself had given to the parliament and, thus, to the people of India. On August 17, 2006, the prime minister had given nine assurances as the bottom line of India’s acceptance of the India-US nuclear deal. These are being reproduced elsewhere in this issue ( see page 2).

At that time, the July 2005 joint agreement between Dr Manmohan Singh and president Bush and the March 2006 Separation Plan were the two agreements discussed in the parliament. The US Congress and the Senate were discussing two versions of a Bill to grant the president a waiver to conduct nuclear commerce with India. This, subsequently, became the infamous Hyde Act.

During the 2006 parliamentary discussion, the prime minister had stated, “I had taken up with president Bush our concerns regarding provisions in the two Bills. It is clear that if the final product is in its current form, India will have grave difficulties in accepting these Bills.” He went on to state that in case the assurances he made are not honoured, then India will `draw appropriate conclusions’.

The fact of the matter is that many of the assurances given by the prime minister remained violated. These were violated when the Hyde Act was passed by the US Congress. This retained all the “grave difficulties” that prime minister earlier spoke about. Later, some others were violated when the text of the 123 agreement was initialed. Subsequently, as is now clear, the US presidential reference to the US Congress recommending the adoption of the 123 agreement as well as the clarifications of the US State Department to the queries of the US Congress has nailed the fact that many of the prime minister’s assurances are not honoured. Through these columns in the past, we had exposed the manner in which the PM’s assurances were systematically being violated, step by step, in the process of negotiating the India-US nuclear deal. In the bargain, India ends up being tied to US imperialism’s global strategy impinging severely on our independent foreign policy and sovereignty.

The issue, thus, is not one of accepting the CPI(M)’s or the Left’s critique of this nuclear deal as being against the fundamental interests of India and reducing India into a subordinate ally of US imperialism. The issue is whether the prime minister of India will remain loyal to his own assurances to his own people made in the Indian parliament?

Clearly, the prime minister and the Indian government are not prepared to honour their own assurances. What else can this be construed as other than outright betrayal. Such a betrayal of trust by the prime minister negating his own assurances to the parliament has serious consequences, both for India’s future as an independent nation in the world and for the future of India’s parliamentary democracy itself. For, in the final analysis, the executive (government), whose head is the prime minister, is answerable and accountable to the legislature. The negation of this accountability is the negation of the Indian Constitutional scheme of things. In this case, however, such a negation has been manipulated through rank opportunism and downright political immorality of maneouvring a majority in the Lok Sabha that we witnessed during the recent (dis)trust vote.

What we are asking is simply this: the prime minister must stand by his own assurances to the parliament. Otherwise, as he is fond of repeatedly stating in the parliament, history shall judge him. Prior to that, however, the Indian people shall surely do so.

(September 24, 2008)