Expose BJP’s Pretence of Resistance to the Nuke Deal

The BJP and NDA are only too happy to be subservient allies of the imperialist USA – their only condition is that they should have the hegemonic status in the subcontinent and be USA’s local cop on the beat in this region. It is well known that Vajpayee as PM had initiated the process of the Indo-US Nuke Deal, and reportedly, Jaswant Singh had congratulated the UPA policy makers who negotiated the Deal on “a job well done”. So, the sole concern on the Nuke Deal professed by the BJP is based on a bomb-based jingoism. For all its ‘bomb-astic’ expressions of nationalism, the BJP’s position on the Deal as well as on all other matters of national interest smacks of servility to the imperialist US.

The BJP has no concern for India’s sovereignty and self-respect

The BJP claims to oppose the Indo-US Nuke Deal because, according to them, it will restrict India from developing its military nuclear potential – i.e, bombs. Its own claim to nationalism is based on Pokhran II – which it projected as a “Hindu bomb” which it tested in defiance of US sanctions.

The truth, however, is rather different.

The fact is that it is Pokhran II which placed India’s neck firmly in the US’ strategic noose – the Nuke Deal pursued by the UPA regime is merely tightening that noose.

The US imposed sanctions on India post-Pokhran, seriously affecting our nuclear programme. If the sanctions were a stick, the offer of relaxing the sanctions became the carrot that the US periodically held out in order to manipulate and induce India to tune its foreign and domestic policies in line with US interests. India had, prior to Pokhran II had a consistent position of refusing to sign the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty (CTBT), on the grounds that the CTBT could not genuinely promote non-proliferation since it was intrinsically unequal. Since the US itself did not adhere to CTBT, this treaty could only be a means of allowing the US to control the behavior of other nations. After Pokhran, the Vajpayee Government began to signal its willingness to sign the CTBT. The Vajpayee Government sent its emissary Jaswant Singh to have a series of secret, behind-the-curtain talks with Strobe Talbott, who had been Deputy Secretary of State in Clinton’s regime. Talbott tells us in his book Engaging India, that Jaswant Singh and he were both part of “a coordinated effort to improve the climate for consideration of the CTBT in India.” If the CTBT had been signed according to Atal Behari Vajpayee’s plans – would India have been ‘free to test’ new bombs, as BJP claims?

The worst was that the Vajpayee Govt was careful to hide its shameful manoeuvres and sell-outs from the democratic knowledge, supervision or consent of the Indian people. All Jaswant Singh’s talks with Talbott were held, neither in the US nor in India, but at various European locations, so as to keep the meetings secret from members of the public of both nations.

And of course, who can forget the shameful spectacle of the NDA Defence Minister George Fernandes subjecting India to humiliation by allowing himself to be ‘strip-searched’ at the US airport! That incident is a symbol of the shamefully subservient, supplicant relationship that the Vajpayee Govt forged with the US.

To sum up: the BJP’s war-cry of ‘we’ll test more bombs’ is hollow because it was willing to sign the unequal CTBT treaty, which would in any case have restricted India’s right to test nuclear weapons. More importantly: More bombs do not mean more freedom and self-respect, rather the opposite. Pokhran II eroded our freedom and paved the way for US intervention in our affairs: more bombs and arms race, even if blessed by the US, would only serve to mire India deeper in the web of the US’ imperialist designs.

The BJP is an ardent advocate of long-term ‘strategic partnership’ with the US (i.e enslavement to the US’ imperialist strategy)

The BJP, during the NDA regime, had proposed a ‘US-Israel-India axis’ – i.e supporting Israel in its occupation of Palestine and the US in its war and occupation of Iraq. Finding their own internal communal fascist policy to be in line with the racist US-led war on terror, the BJP promptly offered India’s services as a ‘natural’ ally of the US in the so-called ‘clash of civilizations’ against Islam and China. Immediately post-Pokhran II, Vajpayee had written to US President Clinton, trying to secure US support for India’s bomb, based on false claims that the Indian bomb would be a useful weapon against US enemies in the region – mainly China!

The Vajpayee regime was quite willing to send Indian troops to offer relief to the US troops occupying Iraq – only nation-wide protests forced them to drop the idea. Today, the US, in return for the Nuke Deal, wants India to help it wage unjust war on Iran.

The BJP, far from opposing the Nuke Deal, initiated the Deal and continues to promise to ‘renegotiate’ it

The BJP has also made it clear that it is not even opposed to the Indo-US Nuke Deal as such. In his 21 July speech in Parliament during the trust vote debate, Advani clearly said that all that he wanted was to renegotiate the deal. The first steps towards this Deal were initiated during the Vajpayee regime. Strobe Talbott, who had been US Secretary of State during the Vajpayee regime, has revealed recently that the Vajpayee regime would happily have settled for even less had the Clinton regime offered it to them. Initially, the BJP in fact maintained a silent and tacit approval of the Deal. Only opportunist compulsions forced it finally to take up a posture of opposition. As recently as in March, PM Manmohan Singh hailed Vajpayee as ‘Bhishma Pitamah’ (grand patriarch of Indian politics) and asked him to support the Deal in ‘national interest.’

Finally, we should all recall one particular striking example of how the BJP backtracked on its ‘opposition’ to Congress’ patronage of US MNC Enron, and how both sold out India’s interests and helped a corrupt US multinational loot India in the name of supplying us with power. The BJP accused the Congress of striking an unprincipled deal with US MNC Enron for its power project at Dabhol, Maharashtra. But the Vajpayee Government, tasting power for just thirteen days in 1996, tried, in those 13 days, to rush through approval of the terms of the Enron agreement by a cabinet decision without the knowledge or approval of Parliament! The BJP-Shiv Sena government in Maharashtra not only approved Phase I of the Dabhol project but also re-negotiated an expanded project with Enron including Phase II. Fuel and power policy were changed to suit Enron, introducing the policy of using naphtha as fuel. Soon after, Enron’s Dabhol Power Corporation began supplying electricity to Maharashtra at a price seven times higher than other electricity costs in India. A huge crisis resulted for the Maharashtra State Electricity Board, which was forced to foot the Bill. Corruption charges crippled Enron in the US later. But even the project was no longer in existence, the plants using naphtha, which had no use any more, had to be discarded.

To sum up: the BJP has no principled opposition either to the unequal and anti-national Nuke Deal nor to the imperialist US, and our anti-imperialist struggle will have to challenge and resist the BJP’s hollow nationalist posturing, communal jingoism and bomb-war-mongering at the same time as we resist the UPA Government’s betrayal of national sovereignty.

No to Strategic and Subservient Slavery to the US!

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