Tuesday, July 29, 2008

The terror attack in Ahmedabad

It is a matter of extreme worry and grief about what happened on Saturday in Ahmedabad. The terror attack was another deliberate and brutal attempt against the innocent populace of this ill-fated country. The nation was glum to observed the empty and feeble stares from the swollen eyes of a gravely wounded little child Yash Vyas, his lips quivering in unbearable pain. The blood tainted hospital floors and patient trolleys, scattered human bodies and body parts, lamenting fathers-mothers-sisters of the poor victims are some of the several images of deep agony flashed live from Ahmedabad. The most alarming part is, for the first time public hospitals were under the attack where hapless victims were rushed for emergency treatments.

As pointed out by a Times of India report, there was a clear design behind the blasts that indicates that the Muslim extremist group planned the malevolent act as revenge to the Gujarat riots of 2002. The bombs were planted in selectively chosen areas those are notably related with Chief Minister Narendra Modi, the Gujarat assembly Speaker Ashok Bhatt and VHP leader Pravin Togadia, the three main faces alleged for stimulating the post-Godhra genocide. Gujarat and its Hindu leaders were always on top of the list of probable extremist targets. The attack was also another terrible failure of the country’s security agencies and the concerning central and state governments. Particularly when a similar attack took place the previous day in Bangalore and the whole country was supposed to be under high alert.

A surprisingly stupid and baseless confidence was prevailing among the government authorities, the ruling party, and the general public in Gujarat that the extremists will not dare to strike a major assault to this state. What was the basis of this confidence? It was the result of a perception widely propagated by the Hindutva forces that in Mr. Modi’s Gujarat, Muslim ‘menaces’ are dealt with an iron hand, whoever may try to break the rules of the Hindu order is appropriately ‘paid back’ here. Gujarat under Mr. Modi is therefore the safest haven for Hindus in India where minorities can survive only when they agree to obey the superior Hindu diktats. This fascistic believe of might was shattered by the weekend blasts which confirmed again that jingoistic method and ideas could never prevent the long reach of terrorism. In the contrary, it subsequently fuels the possibility in a greater extent. This fact has being proven again and again all through the world and now in Ahmedabad, the vibrant Gujarat city.

Who did mastermind the serial blasts in Ahmedabad? A local front for the international Jihadi groups called ‘Indian Mujahideen’, arrogantly describing themselves as "radicals of Islam” has claimed the responsibility through an e-mail send just before the blasts to some television channels under different ID’s. In this e-mail, they have challenged the security agencies to try to foil their future terrorist plans. Earlier this group had similarly claimed responsibility for the serial bomb attacks in Bangalore, Jaipur and Uttar Pradesh and in all the cases their modus operandi was alike. Their rages are particularly aimed against a multi headed socio-cultural nationalist organization of this country. No matter what may be their raison d'être, this group must be immediately nabbed and sternly punished for their horrendous crime against humanity.

Whatever advance security measures are essential to tackle this terrorist surge in India, should be demarcated and immediately acted upon. This is a specialized job and therefore must be handed over to the experts from the respected fields to deal with. Our politicians must ensure to constrain themselves from unnecessarily interfering them. Instead, they should focus more on the social aspects of terrorism. A discriminated society is the perfect breeding ground for terrorism. Would it be possible to resist terrorism by keeping a large number of religious minority people segregated from the mainstream and by treating them as second-class citizens? Certainly not. Our politicians therefore should be more on the go to abolish the dividing wall and work on building social harmony. To ensure peace, unity among the masses is essential.

If the present political bosses of Gujarat and their socio-cultural associates realize this truth, it will be the only positive outcome of the Saturday blasts.

Image courtesy: NDTV.com

Sunday, July 27, 2008

The issue of Speaker Somnath Chatterjee

Mr. Somnath Chatterjee has surely established himself as a brilliant Speaker. The son of Sri Nirmal Chandra Chatterjee, a Hindu-Mahasabha leader of Kolkata, Somnath was brought into the party fold in the year 1968 by Pramod Dasgupta, the stalwart leader of The Communist Party of India (Marxist). In 1971 he was elected in Lok Sabha for the first time as an independent candidate supported by the CPI(M). From 1989 onwards, he uninterruptedly won from Bolpur constituency in West Bengal as a CPI(M) candidate and was the party’s leader of parliament. On 4 June 2004, the 14th Lok Sabha unanimously elected him the Speaker of the house which was his 10th term in the Indian Parliament. After being expelled from the party on 23rd of July, Mr. Somnath Chatterjee is receiving a lot of sympathetic support from odd quarters and might have turned into a sort of a hero to the Indian middle-class by defying the party line. All the sympathies are but for the time being only.

But how did he become the Speaker when CPI(M) was not a part of the UPA coalition? The Speaker’s post to Mr. Chatterjee was a reciprocal offering by the UPA and its leading constituent the Congress party to the CPI(M) in return of their support to the UPA coalition government. It was not a show of courtesy but a smart political decision taken by the Congress party think-tank to cement CPI(M) with the UPA coalition. Mr. Somnath Chatterjee was the obvious choice in this political gamble, as he holds a temperate persona among the CPI(M) parliamentarians. That he was never a fierce grass-root leader but a representative of the party in the higher stratum of the society also gave him an added advantage for the unanimous choice.

It is difficult to digest the unfeasible logic propagated by many opinion builders that soon after his party approved him for the Speaker’s job, Mr. Chatterjee suddenly turned an exceptional ‘apolitical’ individual by rubbing out the past forty years of his political life and beliefs in one stroke. How could one forget that before becoming the Speaker, Mr. Somnath Chatterjee was a highly respected member in the CPI(M) and unquestionably was going to continue as the leader of the party in parliament, the post he possessed from 1991? While withdrawing support along with the other Left Front partners the CPI(M) hence included his name in the list of party MP’s which was kept before the President of India. It is to be noted that while Mr. Chatterjee had earlier resigned from the CPI(M) Central Committee after being elected Speaker, he was still holding the primary membership of the party. The party had explained its stand on the Speaker issue by saying that because after withdrawal of support the party will no longer remain a supporter of the government but take the role of the opposition, being a member of the CPI(M) Somnath Chatterjee therefore cannot continue as the Speaker but resign. The Lok Sabha Speaker is never elected from the opposition side.

Surprisingly, Mr. Chatterjee felt miffed by his own party’s act. He refused to vacate his Speaker’s chair because according to his conviction, he is holding an apolitical constitutional position and to preserve the sanctity of his post no longer thinks himself as a party man. Through his conduct, Mr. Chatterjee gave a clear signal to his party that he is deliberately trying to distance himself. The Speaker’s office went to the extent to raise objection even on Mr. Prakash Karat addressing Mr. Chatterjee as “comrade”! Still the party did not take any hasty decision and patiently waited. Mr. Prakash Karat restrained Central Committee members who wanted to expel Mr. Chatterjee before the trust vote and advised them to wait till the vote of confidence on 22nd July was over. Hopes were there that Mr. Chatterjee might change his stand and resign on 23rd of July. When nothing likely happened CPI(M) Polit Bureau announced the expulsion of Mr. Somnath Chatterjee by releasing the following brief statement:

The Polit Bureau of the Communist Party of India (Marxist) has unanimously decided to expel Somnath Chatterjee from the membership of the Party with immediate effect. This action has been taken under Article XIX, clause 13 of the Party Constitution for seriously compromising the position of the Party.

It is clear from the above stated Polit Bureau announcement that in an important political situation, when the party required him the most, Mr. Chatterjee’s decision to defy his party call was a shocking blow and too much humiliating for the party. The Polit Bureau mentioned it as ‘seriously compromising the position of the Party’. The decision to expel him was an internal disciplinary action which is a significant quality of any good organization, certainly for a Communist party. If for arguments sake we consider CPI(M)’s decision as an injustice to Mr. Chatterjee, then why Mr. Chatterjee’s decision cannot be considered unjust for his party? A Central Committee member of CPI(M) has commented that it would have been appropriate if he had resigned from the party membership when the party asked him to step down as the Speaker. But Mr. Chatterjee did not do so and the party was compelled to take this step. Is it not bizarre a situation where CPI(M) is in opposition to the government and at the same time one of its member continues as the Speaker of Lok Sabha with the ruling coalition’s support?

It is too early to comment on why Mr. Somnath Chatterjee defied his party in such a manner. It could be the result of the brewing generation gap in the party or could be some other paltry reasons, which are now unfolding by some media reports. There are reports those are suggesting that he was expressing his disapproval of the hardliner stand of the party under Mr. Prakash Karat to the CPI(M) leaders close to him. He was also against the withdrawal of support, which he had expressed through a note to the Polit Bureau members questioning the insight of the party voting with the BJP. Media reports has also suggested that Mr. Chatterjee was irked when the party twice refused to nominate him as candidate for the post of President and Vice President for which he had lobbied hard within the party. None of these reports supports his present heroic stature. On the contrary, the reports suggest that Mr. Somnath Chatterjee, at the twilight of his long and impressive leftist political life has deviated from the Left ideology and directing himself on a deplorable path of opportunism.

A lot of his fake well wishers are shedding crocodile tears and making his expulsion a pretext to slam the Communist Party and its policies. For many CPI(M) leaders and party workers, Somnath Chatterjee’s expulsion was genuinely heartbreaking but at the same time inevitable too.

Image courtesy : The Hindu

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Indian Democracy: beyond the trust vote

The majority of the people’s representatives of India, better known as members of parliament have kept their trust on the ability and performance of the Manmohan Singh government. The outcome was broadly expected. For the last couple of days, the Prime Minister, his party, and their allies were exceedingly confident of winning the trust vote. A mysterious uncertainty around the events, created by media speculations was proved to be pointless and inaccurate. Looking at the composition of the Indian parliament before the trust vote, the number counts between the two groups were tight but surely the emissaries of the ruling coalition were much clever than their opponents.

It is now reasonably clear that the ploy of survival were planned many days in advance, long before the Left had withdrawn their support. The alliance with Amar Singh and his Samajwadi Party was also the result of a previously plotted stealthy operation. The logic given by the Congress party that they had sensed the ‘conscience’ amongst the MP’s on the nuclear deal correctly and therefore were so confident about the outcome is utter rubbish. They had cunningly played a calculated political game, with lot of undercover transactions and neatly won the trust vote. In the present appalling quality of Indian political biosphere where ‘money doesn't talk, it swears’, winning a vote inside the parliament house requires high caliber players of similar quality. The Congress party and their crooked friends are flawlessly brilliant in this aspect. Compared to them Mr. Prakash Karat and the Left leaders are greenhorns.

Yesterday was a miserable day for Indian democracy. The whole nation, glued in front of television sets viewed the hideous face of our parliamentary democracy where MP’s from the main opposition party displayed bundles of money inside the house to prove that the ruling coalition was directly offering kickbacks to abstain. We saw rowdy members shouting at each other like a bunch of street urchins. We saw senior politicians regularly disrupting the house procedures in the most indecorous manner. And the people of India have to endure this for the sake of saving a government for eight months!

Had the bright smiling face of an ‘apolitical’, spotlessly clean Prime Minister, coming out from the filthy parliament house uplifting his thumb enlighten the Indian public as if he has conquered a great battle on behalf of his fellow citizens? After the results, the craggy words coming out from the foaming lips of Amar Singh were sounding like a rogue delivering sermon. The people of this country must have forgotten the real issue after watching all these puerile disorders from our honorable men and women for two long days. Let us make them remember the issue. The issue was: should India go ahead for the Indo-US nuclear deal? Nineteen decadent votes have settled it.

Manmohan Singh has remarked in his debate speech that Mr. Karat with the other Left leaders has greatly miscalculated the situation while withdrawing their support from the government. He also spoke that he was feeling like a bonded labour under the continuous interference by the Left. Hard words indeed from a crooner! The media immediately jumped upon and persistently started to harp the words. These views are obviously in accordance to the merits of the perceiver. Where is the question of a miscalculation? Did the left really ‘calculate’ anything before taking their decision to withdraw? Honestly speaking, Left’s weakest point is behind their decision there was no calculation.

From the beginning, Left had opposed the nuclear deal from ideological and political grounds. They indisputably believed that the deal was not good for the country. Thus, they tried to resist the stubborn government as a responsible political group. They perceived it as their obligation to the people of India because the UPA government was formed as a result of their support. They tried hard to convince and caution the government not to move ahead with issues which are not included in the Common Minimum Program (CMP), the basis of their support. Was the nuclear deal included in the CMP? When all of their efforts failed, when they clearly understood the obstinate attitude of the government and it’s Prime Minister, they had no other option but to withdraw their support. If they had calculated according to the Prime Minister’s party line, things would have been different.

Was the Prime Minister expecting to strike some sort of a dubious deal with the Left and solve the issue surreptitiously as the Congress party has done with Amar Singh? The Prime Minister was also feeling suffocated like a bonded labour by the constant interference of the Left. This was indeed a truthful confession. How could someone allow such a thing to happen with him when he had long ago merrily enrolled himself as a bonded labour under the US and now resolutely planning to enroll the whole country likewise?

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

The enemy of the people

A few hours later, it will be clear whether the present Indian government loses or wins the trust vote on the Indo-US nuclear deal. Whatever the outcome may be, it remains broadly insignificant. The government, if it wins the trust votes, will anyway rule the country for few more months as the scheduled general election is only 7-8 months away. If the government loses, the only difference will be that the election might take place a few months earlier. The win will give opportunity to a ‘statesman’ Prime Minister who does not understand politics, his party, and allies to spoil the Indian democracy a bit more. If the government loses, the country will pass through a short phase of caretaker governance. By the way, was there any functioning government in India for the last couple of months? This unfortunate country was been governed by a bunch of domestic and international brokers who has made a mockery of the word ‘governance’.

Whatever may happen, have less doubt on the future of the Indo-US nuclear deal. The deal will face absolutely no crisis at all. The US, yesterday has made it clear that they will have no problem to sign the deal even with a minority Indian government. They are adamant to go ahead with the deal and whatever hurdles may come on the way will be simply brushed aside by their power and propaganda. The Indian media, therefore, should not show a worried face to the nation on the future of the deal. The deal is undoubtedly through. The small opposition voices are irrelevant for a major cause concerning the bright, vibrant, and ‘powered with nuclear power and America’ future of India.

Instead of worrying on the deal’s future, the media should now concentrate more on what they are fussily doing all these days. Continue humiliating the Left for every action it takes and degrade them. Thus, they must locate lawyers, bureaucrats, constitutional experts, journalists and politicians’, those who had fossilized their mind in their anti-communist convictions and provide them prime time coverage to spill venom against the Left. The media should build up imaginary half-truth stories to slow poison the viewers and readers mind on any subject that might disgrace the communists. See how the Indian Express (Why Indian? Why not for the sake of freedom of speech, call it the ‘American Express’?) prepared a major yellow story on Bolpur constituency in West Bengal and illustrated how the voters there have actually voted for Mr. Somnath Chatterjee, the nice individual; not for CPI(M), the Stalinist party. If CPI(M) had nominated anyone other than Mr. Chatterjee they would have certainly lost the seat! The energetic ‘American Express’ journalist interviewed two or three from cozy Shantiniketan and surrounding areas, which are insignificantly tiny parts of the entire constituency (obviously, the reporter and his bosses were in a hurry to cash on the situation) and published their opinion as the opinion of the entire electorate. Clearly, Mr. Somnath Chatterjee has suddenly become a national hero only because he has ‘defied’ his own party and decided to immortalize himself by continuing as the Speaker of the house. Mouth watering stories like how the Bengal CPI(M) is shivering to face an early Lok Sabha poll and how sharp differences in the party are oozing out on the issue of voting with BJP are regularly making headlines.

The Prime Minister looks a relieved person today. And why not? The Indian media is dutifully sharing the extra load of his personal political agenda. They also have vital reasons to do that. Why should they miss the chance to lubricate the bottoms of their American bosses?

The media thus propagates, “What a pity to see a party like CPI(M), the party of Jyoti Basu and Harkishan Surjeet, tolerating the stubborn and egocentric Karat family!” According to their “permanent propaganda policy”, the Indian media therefore continue with their sacred mission to highlight Mr. Prakash Karat and the Indian Left as the enemy of Indian people.

In the mean time, their bosses continue with their assignment: to sell out the country.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Nuclear deal: why America is proactive to ‘help’ India

The Bush administration is visibly working overtime to finalize the nuclear deal with India. There are many indications that president George Bush is personally pursuing the deal to get it pass in the September session of the US Congress. However, there are different voices within the US administration about how much America will benefit from it. There is also the non-proliferation lobby constantly campaigning against the deal. The Bush administration is arguing that the deal will be a foundation of closed strategic relationship with a democratic and ‘economically vibrant’ friendly country that significantly shares its border with China.

Non-proliferation groups are saying that the deal would ruin global efforts to stop the spread of atomic weapons and boost India’s nuclear arsenal. Democratic Representative of Massachusetts Ed Markey, a leading critic of the deal, said that the Bush administration is pressuring the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) and Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG) for quick approval of the deal, which will compromise the integrity of the review process of the deal’s non-proliferation implications.

‘The Economist’ in its 23 August 2007 issue raised alarm on the Bush administration’s readiness, “Among other dangerous loopholes, some of which have widened since Congress gave its conditional go-ahead to the deal in December, India is pointedly not taking on the obligations and practices of the official five. Unlike them, it has refused to sign the test-ban treaty. Unlike them, it declines to end the production of fissile material—uranium and plutonium—for bombs.” It also says, “China, unhappy at America’s coddling of India, is exploring more nuclear cooperation with Pakistan—which in turn threatens to match India, should it step up weapons production or test again.”

The critics say that contrary to the claims of its advocates, the deal fails to bring India further into conformity with the nonproliferation behavior expected of the member states of the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT). Unlike 178 other countries, India has not signed the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty (CTBT).

Then why is the US so eagerly interested? There are two primary reasons.

The business economics of the nuclear deal

American economy in general is looking for greater business opportunities in the ‘liberalized’ Indian economy of today. International Monetary Fund (IMF) has projected a slow economic growth rate for the US economy which is expected to register a growth rate of only 0.5% in 2008, compared to a strong growth rate in India, forecasted to be above 8%. India is one of the fastest growing economies of the world. As the American economy is moving slowly, countries like China and India provides fertile territory for US, the largest economy in the world to invest for high returns. The free market economy is therefore demanding more liberalized procedures in India and any obstacle in this regard is considered negative to the free market notion. Creating a favorable political atmosphere is therefore a necessity in this context. It is understandable why Dr. Manmohan Singh, the ‘chief architect’ of ‘liberalized’ India, a former IMF man, is so dear to Mr. Bush.

The strategic relationship between Delhi and Washington after the Indo-US nuclear deal will result big business for US nuclear suppliers, which would be around $150 billion worth of contracts according to estimates from the U.S.-India Business Council (USIBC). US nuclear companies will be able to sell both reactors as well as nuclear technology to India. The nuclear industry in the US presently is going through a stagnant phase as no new commercial nuclear reactor had come up in the past ten years. For one of the largest nuclear industries in the world, this situation is definitely grave. Therefore, if the Indo-US nuclear deal gets through it will have a stimulating effect on the US nuclear industry, which is expected to gain substantially from the emerging Indian nuclear market. Sensing this money-spinning option, the US nuclear business lobby is applying all their influences and contacts to get a smooth passage for the deal. In 2006, two US business delegations visited India looking to sell Westinghouse nuclear reactors and uranium from South Dakota. In the next year when the largest ever US business delegation visited India, 50 out of 250 delegates among them were nuclear manufacturers. As stated by a Bloomberg News report, “Areva, the world's largest maker of nuclear power stations, and General Electric, are among four companies poised to share $14 billion of orders from India.”

There are interests extended by big Indian companies also. According to the Tata Group chairman Ratan Tata, Tata Power is certainly interested in operating a nuclear power plant. Other interested parties are the Anil Ambani-controlled Reliance Energy (Anil Ambani is very close to Samajwadi Party’s Amar Singh who has made a volte-face to announce support for the Manmohan Singh government after the Left withdrew support), the Essar Group and the GMR Group. Anil Kakodkar, the Atomic Energy Commission chairman has already made the Indian government’s plan clear when in 2007 he said that the Atomic Energy Act would be amended very soon to allow private-sector participation. There are also contender companies eagerly interested to provide local support as contractors to US companies for setting up nuclear plants in India. Just look at the following list:

(a) In civil construction: Larsen & Toubro (L&T), Hindustan Construction Company (HCC) and Gammon India;

(b) In boilers: L&T in reactors; Bharat Heavy Engineering Ltd (BHEL);

(c) In boiler feed pumps: KSB, Kirloskar Brothers, Mather & Platt, Jyoti Ltd. and Bharat Pumps;

(d) In heat exchangers: Alpha Laval, GEI Hammon Pipes, Maharashtra Seamless and Ratnamani Metals;

(e) In panels: Honeywell Automation;

(f) In consulting and engineering services: Rolta India.

American hegemony and the nuclear deal

By building a close strategic tie-up with India, Washington will firmly position itself into the heart of the Asian subcontinent. All neighboring countries will soon start sensing the American hegemony from close. Then there are the significant advantages in a perpetuated future conflict by geographically positioning closer to China. India will be more valuable as a friendly nuclear state in this scenario. Washington is continually trying to influence New Delhi to tune its foreign policy with US global strategies; the nuclear deal will work as a wonderful catalyst in this respect. The added advantage will be that in near future the US could greatly increase their influence on economic policies of the Indian government as well. US military’s immediate goal is to start a constructive military cooperation program hosted from Indian soil, jointly with its allies, involving India. The Chinese newspaper ‘People’s Daily’ commented that, “In fact the purpose of the US to sign civilian nuclear energy cooperation with India is to enclose India into its global partners’ camp, so as to balance the forces of Asia.” In September 2005, the Indian Government had displayed its loyalty by voting twice against Iran in the IAEA after the US asked them to do so. Senator Luger of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee praised India’s initiative by stating, “We have already seen strategic benefits from our improving relations with India. India’s votes at the IAEA on the Iran issue last September and this past February demonstrate that New Delhi is able and willing to adjust its traditional foreign policies and play a constructive role on international issues.”

India and the US had already signed a ten year agreement ‘New Framework for India-US Defense Relationship’ earlier on June 2005 where various military issues like joint military exercises, joint planning, joint operations in other countries, and defense procurement between the two countries have been included. It seems likely that the civilian nuclear cooperation pact comes in exchange with this defense agreement. The agreement started rolling with the joint military exercises between the two countries in the Kalaikunda air base in West Bengal. Another agreement called “The Logistics and Service Agreement” will allow refueling and complete access facilities to all US ships and aircraft in Indian waterfront.

Strategic partnership between the two countries would be favorable to counteract China’s strategic capabilities and ‘Chinese hegemony’ in the South Asia region. Ms. Condoleezza Rice had earlier made it clear when she affirmed the strategic partnership as, “a platform of partnerships that will enable America to advance its interests and its values in this dynamic region for years to come.” There is another important aspect — the India-Pakistan relations. As M.K. Bhadrakumar in a recent article has noted,

“From Washington’s perspective, harmonising India-Pakistan relations makes the U.S. the predominant power in South Asia. It has serious implications for Asian security as well as for the Persian Gulf and Central Asia. The fallout on Afghanistan can only be helpful. The U.S. diplomacy will become optimal. It makes a fine legacy.”

Here also, money matters has influenced heavily. An estimate shows that India will spend $70 billion in defense procurements in the next five years. India’s long-term purchase plans are highly attractive to the US defense industries. It is not without cause that companies like Boeing were found lobbying the US Congress to smoothen the nuclear deal path. If the deal rolls, Government of India could be influenced further for US defense contracts to push back Russia, who is India's biggest defense supplier today. In future, India may also start launching satellites carrying U.S. components. India has already entered in the business of space launches and satellite fabrication. The availability of high-skilled talent at a lower cost may reduce 30 percent costs of the US space launch programs.


The civilian nuclear cooperation agreement will have a huge overall effect on the economic, political and social life of the country and its people and therefore ought to be studied and analyzed from all possible angles. It is a perilous agreement with hidden dangers which the Left parties tried to explore and explain to the entire nation — not as anti-Americans but as true patriots. The nation is more interested to follow the scrumptious daily developments of political vulgarism and sadly, dedicated to defend the great Prime Minister for holding the nation’s status to an ‘all time high' without knowing the full truth.

Cartoon by Michel Kichka / Courtesy: http://cartoons.nytimages.com/

Saturday, July 12, 2008

The hoax of the IAEA draft

After the ‘great performance’ of our steadfast Prime Minister at the G-8 summit and his declaration to the energized nation that “Our relationship with the US has never been in such a good shape,” the mood of the country is euphoric. When political pulsations in the country are running high, no one except the communists seems to be interested about the complex IAEA draft of the “India Safeguards Agreement”. The Government of India has finally made the text public on the Ministry of External Affairs website after keeping it as a secret and refusing to show it to the Left parties. External Affairs minister Mr. Pranab Mukherjee made a statement on 8 July that according to IAEA procedure the Indian government is treating the document as a classified one and therefore cannot disclose it to a third party. Mr. Mukherjee has also made it clear that the government will not go to the IAEA before facing a trust vote in the Parliament.

In less than 24 hours after Mr. Mukherjee made this statement, media started flashing breaking news around midnight that Government of India has approached the IAEA with the draft of safeguards agreement. In a press release the IAEA also confirmed that at the ‘request of the Government of India’, the text has been submitted to the Board for its consideration. The government on 10 July morning made the draft public on the Ministry of External Affairs website. Mr. Prakash Karat commented in his press conference on the same day that while the government and the Congress party were maintaining that the draft of the agreement was a classified one, IAEA officially clarified that the agency could not restrict India from sharing the text. He also said that “some US websites in the US had put the text up even before the MEA site”. In fact it was the Jeffrey Lewis blog ArmsControlWonk, which put out the “restricted” India-specific safeguards agreement within hours after it was circulated to the members of the Boards of Governors of IAEA in Vienna, the IAEA headquarters.

Thursday, July 10, 2008

How the Left betrayed the Nation!

Chairman of the Congress media committee Mr. Veerappa Moily is a loudmouthed person. Recently he has charged the Left for “joining with communal forces to destabilize the nation against secular forces”. He has also said that “they have not betrayed the UPA or the Congress. They have betrayed the nation” and “they want their personal prestige to have overriding effect on national prestige”. Three times Mr. Moily has used the word ‘nation’ to accuse the Left: destabilizing nation, betraying nation and overriding nation’s prestige. This frequent use of the word ‘nation’ has become a common penchant of the Congress and the Samajwadi Party to justify their politics after the Left has announced to withdraw support to the Manmohan Singh government. Samajwadi leader duo Mulayam and Amar Singh has earlier used the word ‘nation’ to justify their support to the same government.

We have discussed the ‘national prestige’ issue in a previous post. Let us now see how the Left has ‘betrayed the nation’. The main accusation is that the Left has joined hands with the communal forces to destabilize and betray the secular fabric of the nation. This is a ridiculous and obnoxious charge floated by the Congress against the Left, which had supported them for government formation in 2004 on the one and only issue: to prevent the communal forces from power. The basis of the Left’s support to the UPA can be found from the document ‘Report on Political Developments’ adopted by the Central Committee of CPI(M) on July 30-August 01, 2004 just after the Lok Sabha elections:

Sunday, July 6, 2008

The isolated Left

After the volte-face of Mulayam Singh in the pretext of ‘country’s interest’ and resolving the age-old enmities with the Congress party, the politics in New Delhi has become throbbing again. Mulayam has announced that communalism is far more dangerous than imperialism, Advani is far more dangerous than Bush. What a perceptive politician that he is! This mood is reflecting in the electronic media where experts have already started to highlight who are the winners and losers in this whole drama. Everyone is sure of one thing. Prakash Karat, the leader of the Left is the foremost loser. A secret deal termed as the ‘master stroke’ has isolated the Left, made them irrelevant now in the national politics. Many hawks are jubilant. Manmohan Singh can now march ahead to finalize the nuclear deal without any more hindrance because everyone except the anti-American Left has cleared their conscience; the deal is good for the country.

And why not? Abdul Kalam has assured the knowledge-seeking politicians how India will benefit from the deal. The depressing part of this country’s scientific psyche is, Abdul Kalam is highly esteemed as the undeniable authority to all scientific issues in India. The former President, phrased by the Indian media as the ‘People’s President’, is considered by the establishment as the topmost living scientist while this man is in fact more a technocrat than a scientist, who began his career as a technology professional. He is the brain behind India’s guided missile program and “regards his work on India’s nuclear weapons program as a way to assert India’s place as a future superpower”. He was the Scientific Adviser to the Defence Ministry who believes that “.....peace is ensured by strength. Missiles were developed to strengthen the country.” and “Only strength respects strength”. The ideological moorings of Kalam were never in conflict with the jingoistic trend propagated inside the collective psyche of modern India by the authorities. Who can imagine that this man would ever advice the sly politicians against the nuclear deal?

Friday, July 4, 2008

India and the Nuclear Deal

The Indian media space is buzzing with the one and only issue: the Indo-US Nuclear Deal. According to the media pundits, a better way of telling will be the ‘Spoilsport Left and the Indo-US Nuclear deal’! The media is overwhelmed and glad to finally discover a firm and will powered prime minister who recently went aloof from his official and political duties for days. We were told that this was his ‘Gandhian’ way to show anger, courage and determination against the ultimatum issued by the left to withdraw support if the government advances for signing the deal. It was also a message to some of the UPA allies who were against an early election. His act therefore, is a stern warning to the detractors that he will not budge to whatever pressure comes on his way to sign the deal even if the government falls. Is it not a humiliation if India backtracks now? Should not the Indian people line behind the Prime Minister and support him on this issue to safeguard the prestige and shining future of the country? The print and electronic media in a motivated manner is consistently trying to explain to the people of India in simplistic terms about the goodness of the deal and its legal framework officially known as Henry J. Hyde United States-India Peaceful Atomic Energy Cooperation Act of 2006 or ‘The Hyde Act’. Any sincere opposition to this act is viewed as sabotage to India’s vital interests.

It is interesting to note that in his four years in office, Dr. Singh never found this boldness and determination to address various national issues. It seems that he was holding the chair only to augment the process of a wide strategic alliance with his former employer, the United States. The fact remains that in the pretext to meet India’s nuclear energy needs, the Indo-US Nuclear Deal is actually a close strategic and military tie up covering political, economic and military cooperation with Washington. Through the deal, India will line up as a global partner with the evil designs of Washington in Asian subcontinent. The promises of this alliance came as a first hand proof when the Indian government surprisingly voted against Iran twice in 2005 in the International Atomic Energy Agency. Therefore, only fools and opportunists will believe that America’s eagerness for the deal is for the benefits of India.