When all is said and done?and so much has already been said and done?in the matter of the 123 Agreement between India and the United States, there is only one question that we need to address ourselves to: Can we trust America? The plain and simple answer is: We can?t.
The US is determined to hold on to two aims: One, to remain the only Super Power on earth, unchallenged and unchallengeable and two, to maintain an economic stranglehold on all countries, especially the developing ones and, most notably, India.
It is no sin on the part of the United States to entertain such vain hopes, only, India does not have to succumb to them, which is exactly what Washington expects Delhi to do. And we have fallen for false promises in a big way.
The record of the United States in the matter of winning trust is abominable and, in this regard, its past history tells it all. It is doubtful whether it would have gone to the succour of even Britain when Hitler started World War II. It joined the conflict only when Japan attacked its Navy at Pearl Harbour. It made friends with the Shah of Iran when it needed him most. When he ceased to be of any use, he was unceremoniously dumped. When it suited its purpose, it gave Pakistan every assistance possible and it couldn'tcare less if that hurt India, described as the single largest democracy in the world. When it suited its purpose again, Saddam Hussain was given full support in terms of arms and equipment. When it didn?t, the US turned against him in full fury and ultimately had him hanged. To keep the Soviet Union out of Afghanistan, the US encouraged Pakistan to help set up the most reactionary forces in Islam, notably the Taliban and Al Qaida and gave liberal economic help to the ISI. As long as Musharraf was agreeable to be a poodle, the US went along with him.
Now, aware of its irresponsibility but unwilling to acknowledge it publicly, it is dead set to attack the very terrorists it once actively supported, irrespective of what Musharraf thinks. America couldn'tcare less for Pakistani sensitivities, forcing Musharraf to say: ?We are not with you if you are not concerned about our sensitivities. We have our inner self-respect. We will take everybody on board. We are not here to play your game. We are here to protect our country.?
Well said, even if it is too late. Washington may finally manage to have him thrown out and he would deserve it. But it is a warning to the UPA government never to trust the United States on matters pertaining to our interests. If Washington thinks it is important and necessary in its self-interest to betray India, it would do so gladly and without the slightest compunction.
Dr Manmohan Singh is warned. US Under Secretary of State Nicholas Burns is reported as saying that Washington will act as India's?shepherd? at the Nuclear Suppliers? Group (NSG) to clear the next hurdle in the way of their civil nuclear deal getting the final approval of the US Congress. Maybe. It is right now in the US interest to befriend India. But let us remember that in the end India has to bow down to a tricky American law?the so-called Ryde Act?that is highly dictatorial in its content and essence. And India has become a supplicant to its disgrace and, worse still, the UPA has not hesitated to engage in an information war against its own citizens by giving selective briefing to a na?ve media.
Even The Hindu (August 6) which editorially supported the 123 Agreement as ?sound and honourable? has felt it necessary to note that ?we must not allow 123 to become new leverage to pull India deeper into the US strategic embrace, especially in the military and political spheres.?
The hidden cost to India is immeasurable. India will be turned into a debtor nation, at Washington'smercy. As A.N. Prasad, a former Director of Bhabha Atomic Research Centre and former Consultant on Safeguards at the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) has noted?and nobody can accuse him of lacking in expertise??there have been overt suggestions in the Hyde Act to the (US) Administration for not only attempting capping (of India'snational security efforts) but also try to eventually roll back our strategic programme and report to the Congress.? Are we to become slaves to an American law? Delhi is warned. Two things must be taken into consideration: One, we should never let down Russia which has come to our help when we needed it, just to get some transient assistance from the US. Two, we have plenty of thorium available in the country and we must make use of it. It may take time, but at least we will not be dependent on the whims and fancies of the US and its self-serving laws.
Writes Shri Prasad: ?The steady progress India is making with the starting construction of the first 500 Mwe Prototype Fast Breeder Reactor (PFBR) is an envy of many in the advanced world.? We should not let our own scientists down. As another writer with long association with India'stechnological establishment but who has declined to be named (obviously he will get into trouble with the UPA government if his identity gets known) writes: ?Moving the nuclear energy cycle to thorium as quickly as possible will vastly reduce our dependence on imports, since thorium is plentifully available in India. This, however, requires a strong R&D effort. Demotivating India'sscientific community through a deal that has little support amongst them is not the best way to go about it.?
The Indian public is being fooled. It was evident in the body language of Dr Anil Kakodkar, chairman of the Indian Atomic Energy Commission when in an interview he said just ?yes? when asked whether he was satisfied with the 123 Agreement as published. What Shri M.E. Narayanan, National Security Adviser said notwithstanding, we are being beguiled and ensnared to sell our long-term interest for short-term gains. It is better to stay away from the US and be a friend than to be a friend only to be futurely betrayed. The Indian Vishwamitra is being enticed by the American Menaka and he is willingly letting himself to be taken for a ride. According to Shri Narayanan what we have got ?is as good a text as one can possibly get? which is poor consolation.
It is better to be careful than clever. Nothing is more damaging than wishful thinking, a point that National Security Advisers would be wise in remembering. Dr Manmohan Singh, Sir: You have been warned of America, beware!