(Weekly Organ of the Communist Party of India (Marxist)
March 20, 2011
WIKILEAKS INDIAN CABLES
Pre-Script: AS we go to press, further revelations have come in the WikiLeaks India cache relating to the Congress-led UPA-I campaign to buy votes in order to win the crucial vote of confidence after the Left parties withdrew support due to the UPA government’s unilateral decision to go ahead with the Indo-US nuclear deal in July 2008.
These exposures constitute a humongous indictment of the UPA-I government and the desperate depths to which it stooped to ensure the so-called “strategic partnership” with the USA. These exposures represent both, a gross moral degeneration and crass political opportunism of the Congress-led UPA-I government.
This entire episode, seen by the whole country and the world with the display of wads of currency notes in the Lok Sabha, grievously undermines parliamentary democracy itself. The then Speaker of Lok Sabha had constituted a committee to investigate this `cash for votes’. The committee had tabled its report where it is reliably learnt that it had recommended investigation into the criminal culpability of those involved by appropriate agencies. Nothing, however, emerged so far. The WikiLeaks exposures also suggest the active involvement of sections of the BJP with specific reference to the son-in-law of former prime minister Vajpayee. There are direct references to a Congress MP who is “a close associate of former prime minister Rajiv Gandhi considered to be a very close family friend of Sonia Gandhi”. Thus, both the ruling and the principal opposition parties would have been very embarrassed if the investigations proceeded properly. Does this explain why the recommendations of the parliamentary committee were not implemented in right earnest by the UPA government.
The prime minister and the UPA government must be made answerable to the country through the parliament. The UPA government must immediately be forced to urgently investigate the criminal culpability of those whose names have been in the public domain as principal actors in this sordid drama that crippled parliamentary democracy. This is the bare essential needed to restore the credibility of our parliamentary democracy by bringing the guilty to book.
(March 17, 2011)
IF any reconfirmation was ever necessary, it has now come in the exposure of the `Indian cables’ of the WikiLeaks. The 5100 cables containing six million words in this WikiLeaks Indian cache, unambiguously expose the fact that the UPA government under Dr Manmohan Singh was pursuing both a substantive shift in India’s foreign policy in aligning as a `subordinate ally’ of the USA and also increasingly succumbing to US pressures on various issues. This, once again, establishes that the UPA-I government, on the one hand, endorsed the Common Minimum Programme that spoke of India pursuing an independent foreign policy (an issue that was necessary, amongst others, to enlist Left support) and, on the other, deceitfully pursued a policy of strengthening the strategic relationship with US imperialism.
In September 2005, India, for the first time, decisively broke rank with the Non Aligned Movement and the developing world solidarity and voted against Iran at the International Atomic Energy Agency under pressure from the USA. The WikiLeaks cables clearly show the linkage between India’s vote and the US pressures on the fate of the India-US nuclear deal. This is a point that the UPA government continuously denied but this exposure nails the lie. Clearly, the backing off from the India-Iran gas pipeline, which has a tremendous significance for India’s energy security at the most inexpensive cost, was also under such pressure. The cables reveal that while India had no illusions about Iran’s nuclear ambitions, or, its capabilities for nuclear weaponisation, or, its support to terrorism, it, however, subordinated these to pursue a pro-US policy. The September 2005 vote was described in the cables as India’s “most important signal so far of the UPA’s commitment to building a transformed US-India relationship”.
That the USA was not merely interfering but directly influencing vital decisions of the Indian government becomes all the more apparent in the exposures contained in the cables. Following the controversial vote on Iran, there was a cabinet reshuffle in January 2006. In this reshuffle, the then petroleum minister Manishankar Aiyer was shifted on grounds that were widely alleged those days of his active promotion of the India-Iran gas pipeline. The cables explicitly named newly inducted individual ministers with “strong pro-US credentials”. A full two years before the UPA-I’s rupture with the Left parties in July 2008 following its unilateral decision to go ahead with the India-US nuclear deal, the US ambassador to India says in an early 2006 cable, “the undeniable pro-American tilt of the cabinet reshuffle has infuriated the Left, which will view it as a throwing down of the gauntlet and an invitation to open warfare”. The US design was, thus, very clear: consolidate this pro-US UPA government but without the need to seek support from the Left. Its role in snaring up non-Left allies to support the UPA in cementing the nuclear deal will be exposed in future revelations.
The US ambassador, in one of the cables notes: “The UPA inducted a large number of serving MPs …..who have publicly associated themselves with our strategic partnership”. Further, he says: “To ensure that there are no foreign policy ripples before the president’s (George Bush jr) visit, PM Singh retained the critical MEA portfolio and is likely to hold on to it until after the next session of the parliament concludes and Congress has weathered crucial assembly elections in Kerala and West Bengal in May” (2006).
The first installment of these exposures promise a lot more in the coming days on USA’s pressures on India’s foreign policy and domestic affairs. It is, however, already clear that the USA is interfering in very many areas of India’s public life and policy making processes. This is being actively aided by the UPA’s naked desire to be treated as a subordinate ally of the USA.
To many patriotic and well-meaning Indians, these exposures will, surely, come as a shock. These columns, however, have been continuously warning of a rightward shift in India’s foreign policy and a pro-US shift in economic policy matters. These exposures strongly reconfirm such apprehensions articulated by the Left. This UPA-II government must answer to the country and the people on how it is surreptitiously eroding our sovereignty and allowing mighty India to end up as a subordinate ally of the USA.
(March 15, 2011)