FOREIGN POLICY AND SECURITY ISSUES


FOREIGN POLICY AND SECURITY ISSUES

Congress-led Government Wanted India to be a
Junior Partner of the US

India's foreign policy came out of India's struggle for independence. The policy of non-alignment was not just staying out of military blocks but one of firm support to the anti colonial struggles in various parts of the world – Vietnam, Palestine, South Africa, amongst many others. India's voice in all international fora was an important one as it stood for a world free of imperialism and a just economic order.

Betrayal of CMP Commitment

It is this vision that successive Governments of the BJP and Congress have given up. The BJP led NDA made a decisive shift in India's foreign policy away from non-alignment and towards the US. This pro-US policy was continued under the UPA Government led by Manmohan Singh, despite the specific assurances in the Common Minimum Program of pursuing an independent foreign policy. The CMP, drawn up in 2004, had stated, “The UPA government will pursue an independent foreign policy keeping in mind its past traditions. This policy will seek to promote multi-polarity in world relations and oppose all attempts at unilateralism.” On relations with the United States, the CMP had 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.” There was no mention of strategic ties with the USA because it was evident that such a strategic relationship would go contrary to the main direction of foreign policy proposed in the CMP. The subsequent decision by the UPA government to project the building up of an India-US strategic partnership as the cornerstone of India’s foreign policy was a complete betrayal of the CMP.

India's foreign policy is now increasingly one of becoming a junior partner to the US. The growing military ties with Israel also shows how far India has come from its support to the Palestinian people against the brutal occupation of Palestine by Israel. 

This vision of allying India with the US and Israel was always a part of the Jana Sangh/RSS strategic thinking. In their world-view, Hindus, Jews and Christians should come together against the Muslim world and the socialist countries. Therefore, they had always advocated India aligning with the US, the NATO and Israel. The Indian National Congress today has thrown away its earlier policy of non-alignment and continues with essentially the same foreign policy as the BJP.

The shift in India’s foreign policy is evident from the series of defence agreements with the US, various arms deals with Israel, India aligning with the US on Iran, carrying out numerous joint military exercises with NATO and US forces.

One of the major steps in this relationship with the US was the signing of the 10-year defence pact “New Framework for India-US Defence Relationship” in Washington on June 28, 2005, just before the Manmohan Singh-Bush Agreement of July 18, 2005, thus extending the “Next Steps in Strategic Partnership” signed earlier in 2001 by the BJP-led NDA. This agreement states, “US-India defence relationship derives from a common belief in freedom, democracy, and the rule of law, and seeks to advance shared security interests”. The US invaded illegally Iraq under the bogus claim of bringing democracy to West Asia; India’s entering into this agreement, which talks about a shared belief in “democracy and rule of law” with the US, was a good indication of where India’s foreign policy was going. 

With this agreement, four steps were taken to integrate India with the global strategy of the United States.  
•Collaborating in “multinational” operations in third countries (as in Iraq), even outside of the UN  auspices 
•Joining the missile defence shield along with Japan and Taiwan
•Joining US for patrolling sea lanes and participating in illegal operations under the guise of preventing proliferation of weapons of mass destruction
•Extending defence co-operation to the sale of US weapons and its co-production.

Military Alliance with US

The Defence Framework Agreement is sweeping in its scope, and ties India closely to the US through joint military exercises, joint planning, joint operations in other countries and defence procurement. This defence pact specifically states that India and the US will “conclude defence transactions, not solely as ends in and of themselves, but as a means to… reinforce our strategic partnership.” 

India proposing to buy F 16's, F18’s and other equipment is a consequence of this agreement. India has virtually joined the US, Japan and Australia for a common strategy in Asia and the US policy of containment of China.

The Indian Government tried also to reach a Logistics Support Agreement with the US. It was the Left's opposition that prevented this agreement from being signed. This agreement would have allowed access to Indian facilities for all US warships and airforce. The US navy and planes could bomb any country and then come to India’s ports for rest, recreation and refuelling, before going back for another round of hostilities.

The strategic ties with the US have also resulted in India virtually giving the FBI and the CIA a free run in the country. In the name of fighting terrorism, India is also willing to join the US in its intelligence gathering and other activities in South Asia. This is being done at a time when the US has openly subverted RAW as shown by the defection to the US of a senior officer of RAW, Ravinder Singh with vital intelligence data.

Stand Against Iran

After the Indo-US nuclear deal, the UPA government did a volte face and voted against Iran in the IAEA in September, 2005. It repeated this stand by voting again in February, 2006.  This was cited by the US government as proof that India was cooperating to isolate Iran – one of the conditions set out by the Hyde Act.

Under US pressure, the Congress-led government has virtually abandoned the Iran-Pakistan-India gas pipeline project which would have provided us with essential gas supply. 

Afghanistan

On Afghanistan, the UPA government supports the US-NATO occupation. It is fully backing the Karzai government which is totally corrupt and has no credibility among the people.

Strategic Ties with Israel

Along with the pro-US shift of India’s foreign policy, India has been coming closer to Israel in West Asia. India is not only Israel's biggest arms buyer, it also buys more arms from the Israeli arms industry than the Israeli defence forces. India's booming arms trade with Israel sustains its arms industry and therefore subsidises the Israeli occupation of Palestine. We have already seen the unseemly spectacle of Mossad and the Israeli Army personnel visiting Kashmir, supposedly to help India fight “terrorism”. India is jointly developing drones and other missiles with Israel, which are routinely used in Palestine for targeted assassinations. India is launching satellites for Israel, used in its conflict in Gaza and in spying over Iran and Syria.

Even after the Israel Aircraft Industries has been implicated in the Barak missile scam, the government of India is going ahead with a much bigger Rs. 10,000 crore deal with the same party. This shows how deeply the Israeli arms dealers have infiltrated India's defence procurement establishment.

Step by step, from a vote against Iran to much deeper military ties with Israel, India is now becoming a party to the US and US-Israel military misadventures in West Asia.

CPI(M) Stand

The CPI(M) will work for the following:

1.Restore an independent foreign policy and strengthen South-South Cooperation

2.Develop relations with Russia and China and major developing countries like Brazil and South Africa

3.Promote people to people relations between India and Pakistan; Resume Indo-Pak dialogue at a suitable time

4.Give special attention to promote SAARC cooperation and improve relations with all neighbouring countries in South Asia; coordinate efforts with South Asian countries to combat terrorism and  extremism

5.Build close ties with West Asian countries; pursue Iran-Pakistan-India gas pipeline resisting US pressure

6.Abrogate the Defence Framework Agreement with the US

7.Snap military and security ties with Israel; cancel the Rs. 10,000 crore missile deal with Israel Aircraft Industries; extend support to the Palestinian cause

Indo-US Nuclear Deal

Internationally, the India US nuclear deal is seen very much as a part of India's growing strategic partnership with the US. The Manmohan Singh-Bush Agreement in July 2005 on the Civilian Nuclear Deal was not just another energy deal as the UPA Government claimed. It was the centrepiece of this strategy to draw India into the US camp. It was followed immediately by India’s two votes against Iran in the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), making India party to an anti Iran gang-up. The Congress led UPA Government was willing to give up cheap gas from Iran for the benefit of much more expensive nuclear power from US-made nuclear reactors.

The Hyde Act, which was the basis of India-US Nuclear Deal made clear that India’s foreign policy must henceforth be “congruent” to that of the US. It also imposed the condition that India must align with the US on Iran’s nuclear program. India’s record on both these counts show the impact of the Hyde Act and the Nuclear Deal on  Indian foreign policy.   

The public justification given for the Deal was that it was necessary to address India's need for energy. It is now clear that nuclear energy is not going to meet more than 5-6% of India's energy needs. This is also what the Planning Commission has projected in its Integrated Energy Plan. The CAG report has also made clear that the shortage of uranium – given as a justification for the Deal -- was entirely created by the Government and not due to a lack of uranium reserves in the country.  

The CPI(M) and the Left had not only brought out the complete one sided agreement that India was entering into with the US, it had also brought out that the cost of nuclear power from imported nuclear plants would be 3-4 times that from coal fired plants or even Indian nuclear plants. The documents submitted to the US Congress by Bush made it amply clear that contrary to the claims of the UPA Government, the terms of the 123 Agreement between India and the US violate the crucial commitments made by the Indian Prime Minister in Parliament. There is no fuel supply guarantee, the agreement can be terminated at will by the US, thus holding India to ransom, and imposes stringent terms on nuclear supplies made to India. It also does not lift the sanctions on the high technology sector in India, as they are all “dual use”.  The US plants, for which India is in negotiations with US parties – Westinghouse and GE -- are the most expensive in the world, costing around Rs. 28 crore per MW.

India is now entering into negotiations with different parties on civilian nuclear energy. However, the recent agreements that are being negotiated with the Russians and the French are being held in complete secrecy without any disclosure of the cost of electricity from such plants. 

The CPI(M) believes that on the nuclear issue, the following steps need to be taken:

1.No commercial deal with any US supplier till :
(i) The one-sided 123 Agreement is reworked and the clauses harmful to India's interests removed
(ii) Consent to reprocess is given for the Tarapur spent fuel, which India is storing for the last 40 years
(iii) All sanctions and discrimination on import of high technology items are lifted by the US
2.All civilian agreements with any party, including the recent French and Russian agreements should  be done with full transparency
3.These agreements will require to follow the procedures laid down by the Electricity Act, 2003 and its tariffs must be commercially competitive with other forms of electricity generation. The fuel supply assurances must also be made public for any such agreements to be accepted.
4.The safety and other environmental concerns of such plants must be fully addressed with public hearings of the Atomic Energy Regulation Board.
5.The Atomic Energy Act should not be amended to allow private sector and FDI entry into the nuclear energy sector.