Danger Ahead by Dr Mohammad Manzoor Alam (JANUARY 16, 2010)

Foreign Policy Drift-I

India cannot be turned into a military and strategic outpost for US-UK-Israeli hegemony, writes Dr. Mohammad Manzoor Alam.

India is being gradually enclosed in an ever-tightening circle of US-British-Israeli interests, not as an independent player, but as a proxy of these interests. This is a matter of serious concern for the country’s integrity, the cohesion of different segments of the population, its future economic wellbeing and its security and sovereignty.

This is certainly not the foreign policy line that the first Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru had established with great deliberation and forethought, and which was endorsed by the first generation of leaders of independent India. This is the continuation of a small breach opened by the Jan Sanghi component of the Janata Party government, the breach that was widened by the NDA government led by RSS-trained people like Atal Behari Vajpayee, LK Advani and Co.

I am sad to note that instead of reverting to the Nehru line held steady by Indira Gandhi and Rajiv Gandhi, the first UPA government under Manmohan Singh chose to toe the Jan Sanghi line, and has only strengthened it in the second term. We were warned by our left, liberal and secular friends about this danger in the first UPA term itself. They had made the point that with old faithfuls of the Britton Woods network like Manmohan Singh and Montek Singh Ahulwalia in crucial positions we would be firmly in the US-UK-Israeli strategic loop. Those fears were not exaggerated.

Today the results of such mindless alliance have started coming before us. Tomorrow could be even more fearsome. One after the other the country has supported moves that are part of the Anglo Saxon-Israeli military and foreign policy goals and have nothing to do with India’s own vital interests. The Indo-US nuclear deal, which split the first UPA, too, was principally in US interests as it boosted a failing US nuclear-energy industry and widened its strategic net.

Soon after the Chernobyl nuclear disaster in former Soviet Union in the late 80s, the nuclear-power industry of America and Europe went into a sharp decline. It was too dangerous and too expensive as a source of energy. Then there was the perennial problem of disposing of spent nuclear fuel. So far there has not been a truly fail-safe and fool-proof way of doing it. All this had nearly ruined the nuclear-power industry when we decided to buy US technology.

The cost—economic and political—of this deal was so high that it should not have been signed. To begin with, it will produce costlier electricity at a time when cheaper options were available and the wattage of electricity it will produce is merely a small fraction of the power being already produced in India. The political costs, in terms of compromises on sovereignty are enormous. Our reading of the deal is that the US inspection rights will be limited to our non-military reactors, while the Americans insist that it extends to our military reactors as well. When push comes to shove it is the US reading of the agreement that is going to prevail, not India’s.

Being part of the Anglo Saxon-Israeli world has other hidden and not-so-hidden costs. For instance, to remain inside the loop, India has to do what these countries want done, instead of what our core foreign policy doctrine, or our long-term national interest, demands. These countries want India to be part of the pressure group that wants to penalise Iran for its nuclear programme, being dishonest enough not to question Israel’s large nuclear arsenal. If we go by Iran’s declaration, or several independent as well as IAEA reports, its not making a bomb. Still we choose to vote against Iran, which is supposed to be a friend. The latest such vote was cast towards the end of 2009.

Some people are arguing that a nuclear Iran is not in India’s interest. That is a hollow argument, as India’s immediate neighbourhood is bristling with nuclear weapons, none of which belong to Iran. First, there is China with its huge nuclear stockpiles and launching devices, followed by Pakistan with a relatively modest arsenal and missiles. Then we have considerable US nuclear presence in the neighbourhood with nuclear missiles and warplanes on land bases, sea-based nuclear weapons on warships, aircraft carriers, long distance nuclear-capable bomber aircraft and nuclear-warhead-carrying intercontinental ballistic missiles.

It is quite obvious that in such a scenario, eve if Iran makes nuclear weapons it would not make any great difference in India’s security scenario. The only point against it is that the Anglo-Saxon-Israeli foreign policy objectives don’t fit it.

That we are compromising on our sovereignty by playing second fiddle to these interests was evident at Copenhagen Earth Summit late last year. Our reading of the consulting clause is that the United States would work in consultation with us, but their reading is that they would have the right to inspect and verify our compliance to those obligations.

Our playing second fiddle to the Anglo-Saxon-Israeli interest automatically alienates us from a sizeable number of African, Latin American, Asian countries and Arab-Muslim world. By now it is obvious that the Anglo-Saxon-Israeli combine has launched a systematic war against the Muslim world. Any country identifying too closely with the aggressors will be seen as one of the aggressors. This image of India is just the opposite of the image built by the stalwarts from Gandhi to Rajiv Gandhi.

(To be contd.)

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