People's Democracy

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


Vol. XXXIII

No. 30

July 26, 200

Editorial

 

Resist This Eagerness to Become Subordinate Ally

 

 

THE recent visit by the US secretary of state, Ms Hillary Clinton, has yielded substantial gains for US imperialism in roping in India as its subordinate ally. India's External Affairs minister in a statement made in both the houses of parliament has said: “We have also agreed on a new bilateral dialogue architecture within which we will continue discussions between our two countries on a wide range of issues”. 

 

The text of the two major agreements concluded during this visit clearly shows that the new architecture is, indeed, a very wide canvas which directly impinges upon India's political and economic sovereignty as well as its independent foreign policy.  However, there is nothing bilateral about this architecture. It is a plain and simple unilateral imposition of an agenda by US imperialism and a willing surrender by this UPA-2 government. 

 

In fact, prior to the visit, the mainstream media in the USA as well as many statements by the representatives of the Obama administration had given a clear indication of what they expected from this visit. Three senior US officials had said that the USA expected India to sign an agreement facilitating the sale of sophisticated US arms. Commentators in the USA had said that such a deal would be “a tangible accomplishment of Hillary Clinton's first trip to India as US secretary of state and it could prove a boon to US companies such as Lockheed Martin Corporation and Boeing Co.” Both these defence contractors are in the running to compete for India's plan to buy 126 multi-role fighter planes  which would be one of the largest arms deals in the world today.   Additionally, US officials estimate that the sale of nuclear reactors as a follow-up of the Indo-US nuclear deal will represent upto $ 10 billion in business for US companies like General Electric and Westinghouse. 

 

In order that such lucrative deals for the USA materialise, it was required that India sign an agreement on “End Use Monitoring” of US defence and defence-related equipments. In common parlance, what this means is that the USA has the right to inspect all defence installations where equipment bought from its corporations is being used. This means that India's strategic military installations will now be thrown open to US surveillance, seriously compromising India's security concerns and its sovereignty. 

 

It is well-known that the USA requires Pakistan as a very strong and dependent ally in order to combat the Taliban effectively in the region. Under these circumstances, permitting US inspections of our military installations is, clearly, not in our national interests. 

 

The New York Times in an editorial on July 18 had actually set out the US agenda for the visit of Hillary Clinton and the future road-map for the strategic alliance between the two countries.  Apart from urging this relationship to deepen as this would bring a bonanza for US corporations in defence and nuclear commercial deals, it has set out a six-point agenda.

 

First, it says, “It is time for India to take more responsibility internationally.  It needs to do more to revive the world trade talks it helped torpedo last year.”  In other words, India must allow the Doha round of negotiations in the WTO to proceed unhindered by diluting its positions on Non Agricultural Market Access (NAMA) and Agricultural Safeguards. The Doha round got stuck on these two crucial issues which are life and death questions for Indian agriculture and our farmers. Any dilution of our position would only mean further ruin of Indian agriculture and the deepening of agrarian distress. 

 

Secondly, “As a major contributor to global warming” (sic) India is urged “to join the developed countries in cutting green house gas emissions”.  We have seen, through these columns, how such  universal targets applicable to both the developing and the developed countries is heavily loaded in favour of the advanced capitalist countries, who in the first place  are the major contributors for global warming.  India has always  taken a position  that the developed world  will have to  take a greater share of responsibility in combating climate change.  India can  rescind from this position  only at the peril of the livelihood of millions of its  people. 

 

Thirdly, the editorial says: “it (India) needs to do a lot more to constrain  its arms race with Pakistan”. It says: “Ms Clinton needs to assure India that Washington will keep pressing Pakistan  to  prosecute suspects linked to the Mumbai attacks  and to shut down  the Lashkar-e-Taiba group of extremists  once and for all.”  In return, India “needs to help allay Pakistan's fears”.  How is this to be done?  While Pakistan is battling with the Taliban, India and Pakistan must proceed with “talks on water and environmental issues” as these “may be an interim way to seek common ground”.  India is being urged to accept the US assurance that it will pressurise Pakistan  to dismantle its cross-border  terrorist apparatus rather than satisfy ourselves.  Surely, once again, this is not in India's national interest! 

 

Clearly, it was such US pressures that resulted in the contradictory positions that emerged in the joint statement between prime minister Manmohan Singh and prime minister Gilani on the sidelines of the NAM summit in Egypt. 

 

Fourthly, India is being asked “to do a lot more” in preventing “global proliferation”.  Towards this, the editorial says that the Obama administration has the “responsibility to do what president George W Bush  never did: push India to stop producing more weapons fuel rather than waiting  for a multinational treaty to be negotiated.”  In other words, bring India into the Non Proliferation Architecture by forcing it to sign  the Non Proliferation Treaty (NPT), the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty (CTBT)  and the Fissile Material Cutoff Treaty (FMCT). All these treaties are discriminatory in  favour of the five nuclear weapon countries and imposes unequal obligations on the others. This is the reason why India continues to not endorse these treaties.  Any reversal of this position will seriously undermine India's sovereignty. 

 

Fifthly, clearly exposing the fact articulated by us in our  opposition to the Indo-US nuclear deal on the grounds of it severely compromising our independent foreign policy, the NYT editorial says: “During the negotiations on the nuclear deal,  the Bush administration managed to persuade New Delhi to grudgingly  support United Nations Security Council sanctions against Iran's nuclear programmes.  India now needs to do more.” 

 

Sixthly, it says: “India wants to be seen as a major world power. For that to happen, it will have to drop its pretensions to nonalignment and stake out strong and constructive positions. President Obama and Mrs Clinton say they consider India a vital partner in building a stable world. Now they have to encourage India to behave like one.”

 

India, thus, is being asked to jettison its independent foreign policy. It has already done this to some extent on the Iran issue under US pressure.  Unfortunately, for India, the Manmohan Singh government seems to be jettisoning our independent positions on vital issues affecting the livelihood and future of our people in order to emerge as a subordinate ally of US imperialism.  The NYT editorial says: “Prime minister Manmohan Singh and his party have a strong mandate.....that means it has no excuses not to do more”  (read: the government no longer needs the Left's support to survive). 

 

On all these issues that are of vital importance for the survival of the vast majority of the Indian people and for a place of pride for India in the international comity of nations, the Indian people must mount strong resistance to prevent India from being reduced to a subordinate ally of US imperialism in today's world.