People's Democracy

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


Vol. XXXIII

No. 30

July 26, 200

 

‘Agreements with US Come with More Arm-Twisting’

 

SPEAKING in Rajya Sabha on July 21, 2009 on humiliation meted out to the former president Abdul Kalam by an American airline staff, Sitaram Yechury expressed grave concern and demanded that the operations of the airline concerned should be suspended immediately. He added, “I would also like the government to ascertain whether this action and what has been done to the former president of India has also got something to do with his name, which is Abdul Kalam. If that is the case, then the matter is more serious; the matter is much more serious than a mere slip of the operations that the airline may have conducted. But, I want this matter also to be inquired and an answer given by the government. The first thing which pains us more is that this incident has occurred on our soil. The insult that has been meted out to a person is not just in the capacity of a former president, but he is now the role model of the younger generation across the country. The simplest man, who has proved his capability while he was in office, should not have been treated like this and concealing all the agony we are all having, we would like the minister first to de-list the operator who has been a cause to this and, whoever is responsible, should be taken immediate action against. It is a very sorry incident; we will show our country in a very bad shape for having treated such a great personality like this. He has been treated so badly on our own land.

 

SOVEREIGNTY

COMPROMISED

Intervening in the discussion on the end use monitoring of US defence agreement that has been entered into by India and the USA, Sitaram Yechury said, "I have a very serious objection to this end-use monitoring of US defence equipment agreement that has been entered into by India and the USA. This comes in a stream of measures that totally and completely make India vulnerable and continuously keep surrendering our economic and political sovereignty bit by bit. And this is precisely the apprehension that we had at the time of Indo-US nuclear deal, and each one of our apprehensions is now turning out to be true. Before I come to what this means for us in India, that is the clarification that I want from the minister. This comes in the background of G-8 meeting when the prime minister was present where the G-8 had decided that no ENR technologies, that is, technologies for reprocessing and enrichment will be provided to India unless we become party to the international nonproliferation architecture. Unless we sign the NPT, unless we sign the CTBT and unless we sign the FMCT, such full nuclear cooperation, which the prime minister on earlier occasions standing here had assured us, is not only full, but complete civilian nuclear cooperation. That has obviously been violated. Then you had a compromising position emerging at G-8 with the presence of our prime minister, who made right statements there saying climate change proposals cannot be at the expense of poverty alleviation in countries like India. But what is finally coming to us? That the carbon emissions will be reduced universally and uniformally between the developed countries and developing countries, thus, putting us at a tremendous disadvantage. We cannot, today, be party to such a disadvantage and this will only mean again surrendering our sovereignty. Then comes the question of your Doha round talks. The Doha round talks had collapsed last time, and we were happy that they collapsed because both on Non-Agricultural Market Access and on agricultural safeguards, we had not agreed to the demands of the West. Today the indications are that in the current round of negotiations maybe this impasse would be broken. India is proud to say that it will be broken. Does that mean we are agreeing on it?

On top of all this, comes this end-use monitoring. This endues monitoring means what? It is giving access to the United States of America to visit all our defence installations. It is throwing open all our security installations to their inspections.

It is very clearly actually surrendering the sovereign interests of India to the inspections of the United States of America. And, this is not where it stops. It also says that US business interests will now have priority in Indian policy making because billions of dollars worth of Defence equipment is to be bought from the United States of America; billions of dollars of worth of nuclear reactors are to be bought from there. And, with each of them, if you have this end-use mechanism, every place where you have a US bought installation, they have the right to come and inspect. They have a right to inspect everywhere, all our military installations, and all of us know, in the background of half-a-century's support to Pakistan that US imperialism has given, access to the USA to inspect our military installations will have serious consequences for our security and sovereignty. These agreements, coming in the background of all these developments, and the indications, that have also come, of more arm-twisting that is being done vis-a-vis Iran, we have already shelved the gas pipeline which is very beneficial for us. We can get energy at very cheap prices, but we have given that up under US pressure. Now, with this visit, there are also reports of further arm-twisting on all these issues. Therefore, we would ask the minister to clarify to us that the government must give the assurance that it shall not enter into any commercial agreements with any US corporation, company or government till the assurance of full nuclear co-operation is ensured, that is, no equipment will be bought from them until they clarify that we need not sign NPT, CTBT, and FMCT. If they do not agree to that condition, India must unequivocally state that we will not enter into any nuclear commerce with the USA. Number two, as long as you will not protect India's sovereignty by not permitting US inspections on our military sites, no US defence equipment can be bought, otherwise, under this condition, it should not be done. Thirdly, on the question of climate change, and fourthly, on the question of Doha, this government will not rescind from our known positions. And, that clarification is very important for the sake of India's sovereignty. We, politically, had to take a decision of withdrawing our support from this government on this issue. At that time, they said that we were wrong and they were right. Today, they are doing exactly what we were saying would have happened. And, that is not in India's interest.

 

CLARIFICATION SOUGHT

FROM PRIME MINISTER

The prime minister made a statement in parliament on his visits to Italy from July 8-10 and to France and Egypt from July 13-17.  Reacting to the statement Sitaram Yechury raised two points in Rajya Sabha. He said, “The first one concerns the remarks he made on his participation as the Guest of Honour in the French National Day. Not only all of us, but the whole of India is proud of the recognition that was accorded to India. We are all proud because, I think, modern democracy owes a lot to the French Revolution. In that sense also, it has been very nice to see our prime minister there. In that context, at the end of the paragraph, he said, "President Sarkozy was categorical in asserting that France is ready for full civil nuclear co-operation with India." It is very good. But, we have heard the reports that emanated from the G8 summit that the G8 has put very stringent rules and conditions for transfer of technologies and equipment connected with nuclear reprocessing and enrichment technologies. And this, somehow, runs completely in contradiction with the assurances that the prime minister himself gave to both the houses of parliament and to the country with regard to the Indo-US nuclear deal. We were promised that the Indo-US nuclear deal will give us full civilian nuclear cooperation. But the G8 reports suggest the contrary. So, our apprehensions from the Left are now proving correct as we had told you that such technology transfer will not happen. And, these are now not happening. If that is the case, we also heard a very disturbing report that the G8 is going to take up this matter with the NSG, so that it drafts new rules to make it conditional that only signatories to the NPT and the US's view that only the signatories to both the NPT and the CTBT as well as the FMCT be given or allowed this transfer of technology. If that is the case, the entire basis or the foundations of the Indo-US nuclear deal just collapses. So, we would like to have an assurance from the prime minister on this.

The second issue Sitaram Yechury raised related to the prime minter’s talks with the Pakistan prime minster. He said, “I would like to read out three references to the discussions that the prime minister has had with the prime minister of Pakistan. The first point is the second last paragraph of the statement which I quote. I fully agree with this. It says, "India seeks co-operative relations with Pakistan, and engagement is the only way forward to realise the vision of a stable and prosperous South Asia living in peace and amity." I agree with this observation. But, this observation is preceded by two other observations which I find in contradiction and a clarification would be beneficial to all of us and for the country. In paragraph three at page two of the statement, the prime minister says and I quote, "It has been and remains our consistent position that the starting point of any meaningful dialogue with Pakistan is a fulfillment of their commitment, in letter and spirit, not to allow their territory to be used in any manner for terrorist activities against India."  Underline the words 'the starting point of any meaningful dialogue'. Now, compare it to two paragraphs below. It says, "Action on terrorism should not be linked to the composite dialogue process and, therefore, cannot await other developments". Now, the starting point is a meaningful dialogue on the banning or elimination of cross-border terrorism. If the objective is to seek cooperative relations with Pakistan, then, to say that it should not be linked with the composite dialogue process, gives rise to a lot of conflicting or contradictory position. So, I would like to request the prime minister to clarify on these points.