Ignore Comrade Karat's Craftiness
Comrade Karat perhaps believes he is being very crafty. He is being in fact too clever by half. To justify his party's opposition to the Indo-US Nuclear Deal he has spoken of the danger arising from any strategic alliance with the US. He has done this by invoking the cause of the Palestinian people. He said: 'The strategic alliances with the US and Israel are interconnected. To support Palestinian cause it is important to disentangle India from this matrix.'
It is a popular line of argument. It is very clever as theory. It is quite stupid in practice. Theoretically what could be better than India unfettered by international alliances, morally strong, strategically weak, independent and totally non-aligned? Alas, in practice nothing could be worse. Pandit Nehru learnt this the hard way. After the humiliation suffered in 1962 at the hands of the Chinese he confessed in a tremulous voice over radio: 'We had been living in an artificial world of our own creation'. That's right. Now Comrade Karat wants us to live in a cuckoo land of his own perception.
Why is a US-Israel-India axis desirable? Because in the real world there is a US-Israel-China axis. It has dominated global affairs for the past three decades. This scribe has repeatedly described this trilateral alliance as the real axis of evil. Pakistan was the midwife that gave birth to this axis. US-China collaboration over Pakistan blocked the Soviet advance to the Indian Ocean. A nuclear Pakistan became the impregnable sanctuary for anti-Indian insurgents to bleed India and perpetuate Chinese hegemony in Asia. And a US-China alliance broke the Sino-Soviet alliance to change the world balance of power. At that time it made great strategic sense for America.
All round it was a sweet deal. But with the passage of time it began to sour. For decades it appeared so sweet to the US that it overlooked a continuing five to one trade deficit with China. US big business made quick profits by manufacture in China which offered cheap, virtually slave, labor. Now things have changed. Never mind if eighty per cent of China's industry is owned by foreign capital. It is located on Chinese soil. On the ground it is at the mercy of iron fisted Chinese dictatorship. And never mind if most Chinese exports to the US were low tech goods. The bulk of the exporting industry was owned by the People's Liberation Army which used the profits to build and sustain the world's largest army. After three decades of bleeding India through proxy nations now China can afford to flex its muscles against America. So at last the Americans are getting worried. President Bush in his second term, egged on by US security interests, sought to undo the covert damage wrought on democratic India -- the world's only billion strong nation apart from China. As China and Pakistan clandestinely spread nuclear weapons and fomented terrorism, India received a thousand cuts. To all this, America turned a blind eye. Now if powerful sections in America and Israel are beginning to chafe over the results of their past misconceived policies, should India continue to sulk or enhance its own national interest?
Has the US decided to dump China? No way! US investment in China is too big. The potential of China's economy is too great. The US simply wants to redress the balance of power in Asia. It seeks closer ties with India without weakening ties with China. What the Indian government must be very cautious about is the exact opposite of what worries Comrade Karat. The government must remain alert that closer Indo-US ties will not be at the cost of India's interests to the benefit of China. It is entirely possible that there would be elements in the Chinese leadership reconciled to the emergence of India as an equally close ally of the US as China. But the preponderant view in China up till now is to deny India its legitimate space. An Indo-US-Israel axis could help dampen this hegemonic Chinese view.
And finally, there is the question of Israel. Like Pakistan, Israel is an artificially created nation state. Palestine was partitioned by colonial Britain a few months after the partition of India. It is possible that British Zionists welcomed India's partition for creating a precedent that facilitated the partition of Palestine and the creation of Israel. Like Pakistan, Israel's policies during the last six decades are open to serious criticism. Israel has been too heavy handed with the Palestinians. Pakistan has resorted to insurgency and terrorism in Kashmir. On any objective assessment there was no provocation by India against Pakistan similar to what the wronged Palestinians offered to Israel. Like Pakistan, Israel seems obsessed with acquiring more land to ensure stability. In fact both nations will achieve stability only through friendly relations with immediate neighbors. Perhaps both nations are paranoid because of their test tube births. But both Israel and Pakistan have survived through three generations passionately committed to their nations. To contemplate the destruction of either nation in a fast changing world where national sovereignty is rapidly diminishing would be nothing less than insane.
So, does this mean that India should avoid relations with Israel? No. Does it mean that India should abandon the cause of an independent Palestine state? No. It means that India must bend its efforts to defuse crisis situations both in Israel and in Pakistan through just and principled diplomacy. America has deep emotional ties with Israel. Today if the emerging scenario persuades both nations to change their attitude towards India, it should be welcomed. As far as Comrade Karat's objections are concerned, he appeared quite mute while China built its strength with Israeli help. For years Israel with US blessing was the biggest arms supplier to China. Only in recent years has the US started to pressure Israel to curtail military supplies to China. Responsible quarters have identified Israel as the crucial source for China's nuclear breakthrough. Israel's richest businessman, Shaul Eisenberg, a refugee given sanctuary in Shanghai during World War II, is thought to have been the conduit for passing nuclear know-how to China.
All things considered, if America and Israel change attitude to get closer to India, why should that be opposed? It would strengthen India. It would make China amenable to friendly relations with India on the basis of equality. Those who oppose an Indo-US-Israel strategic relationship are either ignorant of the total picture or are subverted. Comrade Karat can best decide in which category his party should be placed.