Congress Government Betrays Election Mandate
The people of India voted in the Congress Government in the General Elections a few months back for a second tenure hoping that not only would they be able to steer the Indian economy through the global economic crisis but also that India's international image and standing would grow as a rising global power. The Indian people had to choose between two second bests as Dr Manmohan Singh was by no means a charismatic national leader. Nor did the Congress Party enjoy an overwhelming lead in national politics. The Congress Government has betrayed the Indian peoples mandate as the common man is reeling under rising prices of essential commodities. In the few months of the second tenure of the Congress Government India's international image stands gravely affected where there is a widespread perception that the Congress Government has outsourced its foreign policy to Washington.
Nothing is more galling for any right-thinking Indian than to be a mute spectator to the way the Indian Prime Minister, Dr Manmohan Singh and his advisors capitulated to United States pressures to accommodate and factor-in in Indian foreign policy formulations, Pakistan's blackmailing demands so that Pakistan makes attempts to assist the United States in its war on Al Qaeda.
The question that arises is as to how Dr Manmohan Singh and his Congress Government are so emboldened to proceed nonchalantly on the course of not electing to forge a bi-partisan consensus on crucial foreign policy issues especially where vital Indian national security interests are involved in relation to USA., China and Pakistan; nor is the Parliament's approval taken on critical issues like resumption of a dialogue with Pakistan without that nation refusing to take any action against Mumbai 9/11 terrorists as was demanded by the Congress Government.
The Congress Government spokespersons take refuge in the argument that there is no provision in the Indian Constitution making it mandatory for the Government to take Parliament's approval on foreign policy issues or any agreements with foreign governments. Technically, they may be correct but it is very much against the conventions set by earlier Prime Ministers who sought to take the Parliament into confidence and attempted a bi-partisan consensus on foreign policy issues.
It is high time that the Parliament is seized of this issue and legislation is brought and passed to make it mandatory to get the Parliaments approval on all vital and critical foreign policy issues and agreements.
Fortunately, Indian public opinion after more than 60 years is no longer without strength potent enough to force the Indian Government in power to reverse its decisions which run contrary to Indian public opinion sentiments. It has happened in the present case too where Dr Manmohan Singh was led to sign the infamous Sharm-al Sheikh Joint Statement where the Indian Prime Minister in his wisdom proceeded to concede that India-Pakistan Dialogue would be resumed without it being made contingent on Pakistan making good on its pledges to bring Mumbai 9/11 terrorists to book.
The public outcry against the Indian Prime Minister's ill-advised concession to Pakistan forced the Congress President and the Congress Government to retreat from the position the Prime Minister had adopted at Sharm-al Sheikh. It has now at various levels declared that the Dialogue cannot be resumed unless India's demands on terrorism are met by Pakistan.
The Congress Government it is hoped would learn the appropriate lessons that Indian public opinion cannot be ignored on critical foreign policy issues pertaining to USA, China and more especially Pakistan.
The Congress Party seems to have misread its mandate in the last General Elections. The Indian people had not given it a blank cheque to run this country. It should have been read as a qualified mandate and that mandate should not have been betrayed by adopting foreign policy stances as per personal predilections but guided by India's national security interests and by Indian public opinion sentiments.
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Dr. Subhash Kapila
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