Communists Say Indian Government Surrendered to the U.S.

Communist Party: Barack Obama, Hands Off India
Communist Party: Barack Obama, Hands Off India

Referring to the recent visit of U.S. President Barack Obama in India, the Polit Bureau of the Communist Party of India (Marxist) – CPI-M – said Tuesday that the Indian government under Prime Minister Narendra Modi has surrendered on some of the vital interests of the country both, strategic and economic, to U.S. pressures.

Also, six Left parties in India – the CPI, CPI-M, CPI(ML)-Liberation, AIFB, SUCI(C) and RSP – organized a protest against Obama‘s visit in India. They cited a number of reasons for their protest against Obama and his administration.

The “agreement” on the nuclear liability issue sharply indicates this surrender, says CPI-M. The Civil Nuclear Liability Act passed by Indian parliament in 2010 was meant to protect the right to Indian citizens to due compensation and relief in the event of a nuclear accident.

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The liability of the supplier of nuclear reactors and equipment was specifically introduced given the dismal experience of the victims of the Bhopal gas tragedy. The Modi government in order to meet the persistent U.S. demand to nullify such clauses in the law has chosen to circumvent them.

By creating an insurance pool by Indian public sector insurance companies and financial contribution of Indian government together amounting to Rs 1,500 crore, effectively, the supplier’s liability has been transferred entirely onto India and its taxpayers, according to CPI-M.

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Further, to circumvent Sec 46 of the Act wherein victims of a nuclear accident can sue for damages against the operator or supplier, the Modi government has promised to issue a “memorandum of law” to dilute the intent of this clause, which in itself is a dubious step legally. All this is being done to fulfill the promise made by the UPA government to import 10,000 mw of nuclear reactors from the U.S. as a quid pro quo for the nuclear deal.

The Obama visit has also led to a Joint Strategic Vision on the Asia-Pacific and Indian Ocean region. This statement aligns India to the U.S. strategic pivot to Asia. Modi’s Act East policy is now dovetailed to the U.S. strategy to contain China as seen in the references to the South China Sea and the joint statement’s reference to the tripartite alliance between U.S., Japan and India.

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This has to be seen along with the announcement of the renewed Defence Framework Agreement for the next ten years. The details of this renewed Agreement have not yet been made public. There are genuine apprehensions that this pact would bind India militarily closer to the U.S. to the detriment of our national sovereignty and strategic autonomy, according to CPI-M.

In major areas, India has agreed to further open up to U.S. investments for profit maximization. India is now committed to buy US products for nuclear energy. Military equipment and “greener technologies” for limiting carbon emissions to combat climate change.

Further the $ 4 billion pledge by President Obama consists largely of loans to buy U.S. products. Thus instead of “Make in India”, the Modi government is promoting “Made in USA,” says CPI-M.

The Modi government has not succeeded in pressing and accomplishing any gains on the issues concerning bilateral relations. The U.S. has not acknowledged India’s patents and intellectual property regime, the food security policy, or, issuance of visas for Indian professionals and personnel.

In sum, according to CPI-M, the Modi government has set the course for a subordinate relationship with the United States.

Photo courtesy: CPI-M

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Rakesh Raman