What many suspected after the Indo-US nuclear deal has finally come true. It is now clear that the Prime Minister Manmohan Singh'sremarks in Washington about Indo-Pakistan-Iran gas pipeline in July were part of the overall deviation in India'sforeign policy after the deal was signed. The UPA government had then brushed aside criticism from the former Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee as unfounded.
It seems now the US has in no uncertain terms conveyed to New Delhi that the fate of the civilian nuclear agreement signed on July 18, would depend on India'sstand on Iran. Bush administration did not make a secret of its concern about India'sfriendship with Iran.
By voting with the US at the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) at Vienna the UPA government has signalled a total departure from the country'shitherto independent foreign policy. The country'sforeign policy approach has always marked conscious adherence to national political consensus. In this round however the government did not take the Opposition into confidence. That is surprising enough. But it did not care to consult its supporting parties-the Left and Samajwadi Party have strongly criticised the government on the Vienna vote. So has the BJP. It now transpires that even the Cabinet, Natwar Singh, the Foreign Minister in particular, was in the dark about this exceptional volte-face.
It is not necessary that the country'sforeign policy should carry the stamp of Left myopia. It is true, in the unipolar world there is little relevance for non-alignment. The Left is suffering from an ideological catharsis after the end of the cold war. Their partial geopolitical understanding has very limited relevance in the contemporary world.
The fact that Tehran did not fall into the Left propaganda trap on the cancellation of the LNG deal with India shows that bilateral relations are based on mutual benefit. If Iran unilaterally cancels the long-term contract to supply natural gas to India, signed in June, there will be others to offer the same deal. That is beside the point.
Understandably Iran is both outraged and puzzled. Traditionally India has friendly relations with that country. It is in our national interest that this relationship is nurtured. Iran is different from other Muslim countries. And it is trying to emerge as a leader of a more sober Islamic community and it has-unlike Pakistan been a dependable ally of India. Naturally Iran expected Indian support at IAEA, especially because India too is a victim of similar nuclear apartheid regime by the West. Our nuclear programme, indigenously developed, which carried out six successful tests had to face unjustified sanctions, though we had declared our intentions as peaceful and only a credible nuclear deterrent against hostile Pakistani designs.
The paranoia of the Nuclear Brahmins about other countries developing the same capability is highly ridiculous and intriguing. US and its allies are the worst violators of nuclear restraint. They nuked Japan, in the Second World War and the Nuclear Club today is controlled by the countries that then constituted the allied forces. They want to keep the nuclear power as their preserve for all time to come. Hence they impose unjustified threats, intimidations and sanction against new entrants to the nuclear power game. And what is the justification in the logic that the bomb is safe in their hands but unsafe with other sovereign countries. It is double standard.
Equally vital consideration for the US is the oil wealth possessed by Iran. Many suspect that President Bush is drumming up a case to repeat an Iraq on Iran. With eye on oil wealth, nuclear non-proliferation concerns are only so much hogwash. America has been following a might is right policy and India is today seen as one of its cohorts. This is typically Manmohanomics jelled into diplomatic delinquency. It has to be condemned.
The Left too is protesting this devious tilt-it is equally fed up with the Government'spro-rich economic policy. They organised nationwide protests on September 29, and if they are sincere, they should withdraw support to UPA and join the opposition ranks. They cannot deceive the people for too long. It is time the Communists made on honest choice.