People's Democracy

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


No. 33

August 16, 200



‘UPA Govt has Given Short-Shrift to CMP Commitment’


Below we publish a freehand and slightly abridged translation (from Urdu) of the intervention made by Mohd Amin in Rajya Sabha on July 30, on the question of India’s foreign policy and the retrograde changes that have recently been introduced into it. Subheadings have been added.

WHEN this country was partitioned, I was 19 years old; I remember these things because I have also been a journalist.

At that time, undoubtedly, Pt Jawaharlal Nehru played an important role in shaping the country’s foreign policy and adopted the path of non-alignment, of the “five principles of peaceful coexistence.” In view of the subsequent developments, we may well say that this policy was totally correct and it did benefit India. We all know that the Soviet Union was then in existence as a big power, and that the Soviet Union extended exemplary help to our country. Once I got a chance to see the Bhilai steel plant and I was astounded to see that in a factory where lakhs of tonnes of steel were produced, a worker had only one task --- to put a switch off and on. The Soviets helped the Indian people by giving us modern technology without any conditionality whatsoever. I don’t see any technology coming to India from any of the imperialist countries in this manner. Whatever the latter do, they attach their own conditions with that. Imperialism requires that other countries should continue to be weak, so that the former’s business goes on unhindered. It is only the socialist ideology that strives to take the whole world forward. It was because of this reason that the foreign policy of non-alignment immensely benefited our country.




Another important factor at that time was the war in Vietnam. It was a war in which the United States of America eventually suffered defeat and had to run away ignominiously. This war continued for 30 long years. Aided by the USSR and the People’s Republic of China, the heroic people of Vietnam won a splendid victory in this war. Now that the Soviet Union is no more there, the working people of the whole world have felt a big shock and suffered a big setback. This, however, does not mean that the basis of the USSR’s creation and existence was wrong. Nothing like that. But the wheels of time always move forward; they don’t know how to go back. Thus, the people of the former Soviet Union, of Russia are bracing themselves for struggles. For, all the amenities they had been enjoyed in the Soviet days are being snatched away from them one by one, and the Americans have been emboldened no end.

There is no parallel, in the history of the world, of what the Americans have done to Iraq and Afghanistan. They invaded Iraq on the false plea that Saddam Hussein was making the weapons of mass destruction. Lakhs of people were massacred and then, subsequently, it came out that no, that charge was baseless. Bush Sahib himself admitted that the accusation was wrong, but what about the hundreds of thousands of people who were killed? Who would be held accountable for all that? Would Mr Bush be tried? While Saddam Hussein was executed, there is no reply to the query as to who would bear the responsibility of such a big massacre.

But whosoever believes that now there is no Soviet Union, that there is only one superpower now, and that therefore our foreign policy should be moulded in line with that superpower, will eventually be at a loss. What was said when the UPA government was formed here in 2004? It is relevant to recall that, in 2004, when the United Progressive Alliance government was formed, its National Common Minimum Programme contained in its foreign policy section the following. I quote:

“The UPA government will pursue an independent foreign policy keeping in mind its past traditions. This policy will seek to promote multipolarity in world relations and attempt all attempts at unilateralism.” It is also significant that on relations with the United States, the National Common Minimum Programme stated: “Even as it pursues closer engagement and relations with the USA, the UPA government will maintain the independence of India’s foreign policy position on all regional and global issues.”          

Then, what was the necessity of this Indo-US nuclear deal at all? Did we think that now there is no Soviet Union, now only the US is there, and therefore we cannot do without the US?




In reality, this is no ordinary agreement. It is a strategic alliance, a strategic partnership. Two very dangerous things have been incorporated into it. First thing is that, according to this deal, the foreign policy of India must be in line with the foreign policy of the USA, and that the president of the USA would once every year certify before the US Congress whether it is so or not. Just tell me; what can be more shameful than this? Where has our independent foreign policy gone? What has happened to it? Then, when Mrs Hillary Clinton came here after a gap, a joint statement was issued with her, and it said that American experts would do the inspection of whatever the US would give us. They will thus have a say about all the defence installations we have. Another shoddy point about the Indo-US nuclear deal is that India would have to accept whatever reactor the US gives. While we should have been proud of the scientists we have, we have in fact tied their hands. If India begins to manufacture reactors, we can have a very sturdy development; but no, we won’t do that! The reason is that the US has decades old reactors but these have no buyers; so now these would be foisted over India.

Though the US seems very strong ostensibly, it has got hollowed from within. I read the other day that the budget the Obama administration presented this year has a deficit of 1.75 trillion dollars; it is a deficit budget. How will Mr Obama overcome it? By supplying reactors under the Indo-US nuclear deal? Suppose they stop the supply of reactors some time; then our factories would come to a standstill and our dream of having abundant power would become a pipedream. It will never materialise. This is called dependence upon some other country and we have contracted this dependence ourselves. In order to remove poverty, unemployment, starvation from our country, in order to solve the problems of roti, kapda aur makan, we consider one thing essential: A piece of dry chapatti with independence is far better that halwa under slavery. That was why the Left withdrew its support to the government a year ago. We had already warned the government that it must not go in the direction of that deal. We had no narrow consideration in view when we supported the government for four long years. We only wanted something in the country’s interest. We only wanted that you must keep your head high and not kneel down before any other country. Whatever Nature has given to our country, is enough to ensure that we don’t face the problems of roti, kapda aur makan; the only requirement is a just distribution of the available resources. There was a big hullabaloo before the polls that we must bring to the country our immense wealth that is stacked in banks in Switzerland. If it is done, a number of problems would be solved, but this means that you have to lay your hands on some big thieves. Come forward if you have the courage to do so; otherwise stop bragging.

Many other things have made their intrusion into our foreign policy. For example, we are silent over the presence of US forces in Iraq and Afghanistan. The US is resorting to drone attacks in Afghanistan in the name of preventing a Taliban comeback. But the government of India has not protested against these drone attacks either in the UN or elsewhere. Have you ever demanded that the US forces must be called back from Afghanistan or Iraq? People had a lot of expectations when Mr Barak Obama assumed the presidency, but nothing happened finally. The thing to remember is that the same forces have brought Mr Obama to the White House as had backed George Bush, that is, those representing the finance capital of the US. He can never go against these forces. One can understand the US stake in the Iraqi oil, but what is there in Afghanistan? But Obama has doubled the US forces in Afghanistan. However, they would do well to remember that whosoever went to Afghanistan got buried there. It may be that US imperialism suffers the same fate in Afghanistan.




Our foreign policy has no doubt some good aspects, like our participation in the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation and in the BRIC which stands for Brazil, Russia, India and China. These are two good things you have done; I support them. This BRIC means half of the world. Then, there is Latin America where not a wind but a storm of change is raging. Just see; a leftist has been elected president in El Salvador. While Cuba stood alone there for decades, now there are Venezuela, Bolivia and numerous other countries standing by it. People have started saying that now it is a matter of a year or two, and the whole of Latin America would be freed from the USA’s grip. It India stands by these countries, it would be a good thing. We think India needs to play an active role in this context.

As for a permanent seat for India in the UN Security Council, everyone knows that the US is interfering against it.

Now, the last point. Our prime minister made two statements in Lok Sabha in a period of 12 days. One he gave on July 17, in regard to Pakistan, he said that resumption of the composite dialogue must not be dependent upon cessation of terrorism. After 12 days, however, he said yesterday: I have said time and again and I repeat it right now again that it is impossible for any government of India to work towards full normalisation of relations with Pakistan unless the government of Pakistan fulfils it in letter and spirit;” here he was talking of action against the terror groups operating from the soil of Pakistan. But these are two different statements. What was the pressure and from which forces that made the prime minister change his statement. I request him to clarify this point when he replies to the discussion.