This Columnist may not agree with many of the Leftists philosophies on the directions which India must take on its onward march towards greatness but would like to concede that the Leftists do have merit in their objections on the US-India Nuclear Deal. And this especially applies to the objections raised by Shri A P Bardhan, General Secretary of the Communist Party of India i.e. CPI. In marked contrast to his Comrades of the CPI(M) who seem to be on the defensive in their objections, more out of sensitivity to the Congress Party's obsession with pushing through this Deal at any cost their CPI comrades are uncompromising on the issue.
The reservations by this Columnist on the Deal after initially welcoming it as in India's interests seem to find echo in the objections raised by the CPI and Shri Bardhan.
The first major objection of the CPI is that the Congress Party and its Prime Minister have proceeded furtively and secretively without taking the country into confidence during the process of negotiating the Deal with USA. This is a fact and the recent assertion by the Congress President that all political parties were kept in the picture all along does not seem to be borne out by facts. At the most crucial final stage the Text of the Agreement was kept frozen by the Congress Party for a number of days. This belies the assertion of the Congress Party.
The next major objection of the Leftists on the Deal as presently finalized by the Congress Government pertains to the extended dimensions that the Deal has assumed as on today. If it was a Deal solely to cater for India's 'energy security' requirements then it should have been confined to those parameters only and highlighted as such to win over Indian public opinion. It should not have transcended in its dimensions to have assumed the character of being the bedrock of the US-India Strategic Partnership which is an altogether different dimension of India's foreign policy. Since the latter has critical ramifications for India's national security and the overall tenor of India's foreign policy it needed more public debate and consideration by the Indian Parliament.
The Leftists major objection to the transformation of an 'energy security' deal to one of an overall absorption of India in the United States global military strategy as permitted by the Congress Government does not seem to be a coincidence but as a trade-off to get the Deal going at any cost. And there lies the rub not only for the Leftists but also those of the Indian strategic community who maintain that India's rise to global power status should be based on a self-reliant strategy and not piggy-back in a trade-off of quid-pro-quos on vital aspects of India's future strategic options.
The last point that I would like to highlight is a point on which the entire India's political Opposition parties are united including the Leftists. This pertains to the imperatives that dictate that all critical agreements that India enters with foreign countries and especially those having national security ramifications must be debated in Parliament and ratified by the Indian Parliament after a national consensus has been evolved. This aspect is slowly winning more and more support even in Indian public opinion as India's foreign policy cannot be left as a hostage to political parties with slender margins from electoral verdicts arising from fragmented electoral verdicts.
The spin mangers of the Congress Party resentful of the CPI(M)'s threat to withdraw support to the Congress Government gave a spin that this opposition was prompted to further China's strategic interests. What would the Congress spin masters retort on the CPI objections? Are these prompted by serving Russia's strategic interests? Why has the Congress shied away from giving this spin?
Concluding, one would like to make two observations. The first, that the Leftists objections to the US-India Nuclear Deal deserve serious consideration and not dismissed by the Congress Establishment as parochial political posturing. It is a declaratory stand by the Congress Government's biggest coalition partner and the entire Opposition of India's political spectrum is united on it. The Congress stands singularly isolated on this Deal.
The second and most significant observation is that India's Congress Prime Minister has adopted a curious obsession with the US-India Nuclear Deal, and a really obsessive one, on which he seems to be staking his own political future. He forgets that he neither has a strong political personal base to support him nor does the Congress Party has the political numbers to carry through unilateralist foreign policy initiatives. Prudence is the better part of valor and the Congress President and the Congress Party should be alive to it.