One Two Buckle My Shoe

49 Comments

It’s official. You cannot call the honorable members of the House opposing the 123 agreement “headless chickens“. Or ballless cocks for that matter. Cause if you do, prepare for collective clucking sounds, bedlam and hearty flinging of verbal excreta to an extent that would make a chicken farm look clean and orderly in comparison.

As China opens 31 nuclear power reactors making the same concessions to foreign powers that their page-boys in India are frothing about, the divided loyalties of “General Tso’s chickens” has been exposed (if at all there was any doubt about the loyalty of a political party that split on the issue of whether to support China or Russia when India was at war with China) once again. As was evident in Sitaram Yechury’s bumbling interview with Karan Thapar and in statements by other luminaries, the Left’s objection to the nuclear deal has less to do with the deal itself and more to do with its idealogical opposition to strong Indo-US ties, ties which the red-thonged “mother ship” and its subservient “green” vassal state feel more than a bit queasy about. (As an aside, it’s almost Gunda-esque comical to hear the most stringent voices against the Indian nuclear program, the Karats and the Yechuries wax eloquent on national security)

However there is nothing to be surprised about the Left’s stance. Spreading misinformation to the masses (In reply to a question, Mr Basu said the Left parties would go to the people with a campaign against the nuclear agreement, exhorting them that it would put the country’s several internal policies under the US dictat. “We shall make people understand that not only the country’s foreign policy, but also other internal policies, including those regarding agriculture and education, will also be dictated by the US and how this will affect their livelihood,” he said [From here].) and paralyzing the government on every major policy decision, their latest initiative to plunge the country into another general election and destabilize it seems but a logical consequence of their agenda. The fact that their allies in this adventure include Mulayam Singh’s Samajwadi Party, which relies on radical Muslims and SIMI activists for its support-base, is also nothing to be surprised about—for them ties with Iran and the pan-Islamic brotherhood has primacy over India’s national interest.

Of course what has been surprising, and it perhaps shouldn’t have been so, is the BJP’s making common cause with the Left, no doubt motivated by political opportunism, when what the 123 deal represents is nothing but the logical consequence of their policy of going nuclear. In his articles in the Indian Express, Arun Shourie (the most erudite ideologue the Right has in India) expresses his opposition to the bill based primarily on a difference in wording between the 123 Agreement which the US has with China and India.

To gauge the difference, contrast the provision in the 123 Agreement that the US signed with China in 1985. Article 2(1) of that Agreement specifies: ‘Each party shall implement this Agreement in accordance with its respective applicable treaties, national laws, regulations and license requirements concerning the use of nuclear energy for peaceful purposes’ — so far, almost the same as the Indo-US text. But then comes the vital sentence which is missing from the Indo-US agreement: ‘The parties recognise, with respect to the observance of this Agreement, the principle of international law that provides that a party may NOT invoke the provisions of its internal law as justification for its failure to perform a treaty.’

The omission of this line, Arun Shourie argues, means that the US has left open the possibility of unilateral action (i.e. ask for a return of US supplied material in case it deems India to be non-compliant with the treaty). However I fail to understand why India, based on the same principle, also cannot pass its own law and say that it is not bound to return nuclear material obtained. [Now one can argue that the balance of power would always guarantee the primacy of US regulations over Indian domestic laws—-but that stands no matter how you word the deal; the US can always take the upper hand because it can.]

There is no doubt that the 123 Agreement isn’t everything that India has asked for. One would have to be naive to even think that it would—-after all the US is not entering this agreement out of altruism or to make the world a better place but to open up a market for its nuclear infrastructure companies, to send a signal or two to China and to take India out of the Iran camp.

If the overwhelming din in India is about how it has surrendered its sovereignty to the US, in America whatever media attention the treaty garnered has been focussed on how the US has abjectly surrendered to India, handing an unprecedented deal of almost total advantage to it. [Lou Dobbs, the borderline racist, anti-India blowhard on CNN called it “high nuclear technology” gotten in exchange of mangoes] .Pakistan has been repeatedly hankering for a similar deal from the US, with China supporting the claim. There are arguments claiming that the 123 Agreement with India is as (if not less) stringent than the one the US has with China. (in contrast to what Arun Shourie says)

What this means is that the nuclear deal isn’t as bad as we are being made to believe. Like most foreign treaties, it is a strategic compromise with each side complaining that the other holds the upper hand, as opposed to the “abject surrender” opponents on both sides of the Atlantic would like people to believe.

However what is important to consider at the end of the day, rather than a “may” here and a “open to negotiations” there, are the wider ramifications of this treaty with the US.

It provides a one-time opportunity, brokered by the most pro-Indian US government in recent times, to remove the NPT stick that successive US governments have beaten us to death with and one, make no mistake, a future American president (a Democrat based on current indications) will use with gusto—even more so if the President is a certain Senator Barrack OBama. Not that I am an expert on foreign affairs, but I would say that this is possibly the best deal that Indian can hope for from the US for many years to come. Most importantly, it opens up the door for further military cooperation with the United States and sends an unambiguous message of intent to the China-Pakistan axis, which one should consider to be the clearest and most present danger to the national interest.

Unless of course one is a Politburo member.

[PS: Let me conclude with a statement of the original US-baiter, conjectured by some to be the “coffin”chor neta foresawn by Kanti Shah in “Gunda”, George Fernandes.

Accusing the PM of “betraying” the country by going ahead with the nuclear deal, NDA convener George Fernandes on Thursday said: “If it were China, they would have settled it with one bullet in his head.”

Actually no George. If this was China, it would be you who would have had one bullet in your head for saying that the head of state has “betrayed” his country.]

Advertisements

49 thoughts on “One Two Buckle My Shoe

  1. Couple of points that have been buzzing in my head since this whole controversy started. Initially, I was puzzled about the whole brouhaha. Being at home, I took the liberty of poring over columns and columns published by ‘The Telegraph’ in order to solve the mystery over what exactly the Left seemed to be opposing.

    Sadly, my innermost fears were true. It seemed, like you mentioned, that the Left was opposing the deal purely for the sake of opposing. There seems to be very little weight in their arguments against the civil use of nuclear energy. Any deal with the US, they would seem to say, MUST necessarily be evil and should be viewed as an attempt on their behalf to take over the reigns of power in our country.

    What is even more shameful is the manner in which BJP seems to be making an effort to get as much political advantage out of the situation as they can. I could imagine senior leaders convening at an upscale Delhi residence and rubbing their hands in glee and wondering when they could get their hands on the loot. (I wonder if they would at all have had a different political stance on the deal if they were in power).

    The saddest thing to happen to my dear country would be mid-term polls.

  2. “their allies in this adventure include Mulayam Singh’s Samajwadi Party, which relies on radical Muslims and SIMI activists for its support-base, is also nothing to be surprised about—for them ties with Iran and the pan-Islamic brotherhood has primacy over India’s national interest.”

    And could you imagine that Mulayam Yadav or Amar Singh could be the PM of this country sometime in the next 10-15 years. Their kingmakers now, they could well end up being kings later.

    Arun Shourie, might have a valid point, but I’m sure that if the BJP had pushed the deal through, he wouldnt have written the same article. I know that he’s a BJP member, but then again, the hypocrisy only shows that even he isnt above petty politicisation.

    “Actually no George. If this was China, it would be you who would have had one bullet in your head for saying that the head of state has “betrayed” his country.”……..Just brilliantly put. Well worded!

  3. ENERGY. WE NEED IT.

    Every day at lunch, me and a friend froth from our mouth ranting about these saboteurs.
    Sometimes it feels like they just don’t have any national interest at hand. None of these guys.

    These guys need to die off in the next 5-10 years, en masse. Their ideas are outdated, they’ve proven to not work anywhere, and the sooner they admit it that they were wrong, the better it would be for all the people in India.

    In a country that’s just spreading wings, and is highly dependent on energy, energy needed to reduce our dependency on oil, this is the equivalent of a spanner in the wheels.

    Bastards!

  4. Golwalkar of RSS had gone all out in 1962 supporting the Indian army fighting against China. Nehru was so impressed that the RSS was invited to participate in the Republic day parade for the first and last time (till now) inspite of stiff oppositions from many quarters. And look at the BJP, which does not go to even the loo without permission from of RSS. RSS must be looking forward to participating in the republic day parade when Mulayam comes to power at Delhi. The left parties of India, as correctly pointed out by Greatbong, are known for their loyalties. But BJP is showing its true difference in Chal, charitra and chehra.

  5. Ya the BJP’s behaviour in this drama was quite unexpected. Political oppurtunism is one thing, opposing policies that you yourself initiated without any real ground is jut plain stupidity. People will see through the hypocrisy soon enough. As for the left I have never seen them saying anything that supported our national interests.

    But if this deal is seen by any of the parties as an issue on which the people of the country will vote, then its just wishful thinking. Very few people know what exactly is happening and most dont even care. People are too busy with their lives to even consider things like energy security and nuclear diplomacy.

    BTW.. great post.

  6. Swapan Dasgupta writes

    As things stand today, the only organized section sufficiently agitated by this foreign policy issue are the Muslims. Whether the Left Front has factored this in its calculations — both Kerala and West Bengal have sizeable Muslim votes — is not known. But willy-nilly, the Left will have to bank on Muslim votes to play out its anti-Americanism. It will also have to bank on parties with pre-existing Muslim support, like the Samajwadi Party, to be in the reckoning elsewhere.

    Reminds me of this post !! (Go to comment no. 23 and 25)

    Arnab. This Tso’s chicken looks a lot like our infamous “chillii chicken”.

  7. There seems inevitability to the Left back-tracking big time on this issue. They just want a bit of attention, which they are getting. After all, they are headless chickens pursued by other headless chickens, so this issue plays out in the 24-hour media and gives them air-time and column inches and so on and they love it. In the meantime, they must have stepped out of the bubble and figured out they cannot win more seats with this topic even if they include the lies GB alludes to above. My prediction – they will get their debate, claim their concerns have been met and other face-saving stuff, and the deal gets done. Then they go home and continue to celebrate themselves.
    Of course, if none of this happens, then the country is in serious doo-doo.

  8. I fail to understand why communism is even alive in India? What with their long history of supporting the mothership and the wonders they have done to the economies of WB and Kerala. But then in UP Mulayam won 100 seats too even after taking law and order to rock bottom.

    And as of today blasts have taken place in both the cities I live in, Varanasi and Hyderabad.

    Time ‘Soniaji’ will take note and ‘Taiji’ will say something about what is happening in my country.

  9. The commie crooks of India starting with the lite Amartya Sen type thru the N.Rams all the way to the oafs like Karat and Yechuri are to a man dishonest.

  10. @ Ideal boy

    “And as of today blasts have taken place in both the cities I live in, Varanasi and Hyderabad.

    Time ‘Soniaji’ will take note and ‘Taiji’ will say something about what is happening in my country.”

    Rishi’s response:
    Soniaji has taken note and Taiji has said something. That should satisfy you.
    The Ummah has sent the right signals to those Kafir Hindus of Hyderabad for daring to host that ex-Muslim Tasleema.

    The politicians and people alike, have responded with a almost Pavlovian predictability.

    The poor, underpaid security and intelligence agencies will have to take care of the rest, with one had tied behind their backs.

    People (including me) have to do more than just talk about it. If just talking could have changed things, then Tibet would have been a free country by now. (probably there are more bumper stickers reading “free Tibet”, than Tibetans).

    We have to put our money where the mouth is.

  11. @ GB

    Clinical dissection of the issue! Great job…

    @ Rishi
    “The Ummah has sent the right signals to those Kafir Hindus of Hyderabad for daring to host that ex-Muslim Tasleema.”
    For once, I am inclined to agree with you.

  12. “….As was evident in Sitaram Yechury’s bumbling interview with Karan Thapar…”

    Well, to be fair to Yechury, Thapar hardly let him talk, and kept pushing his own rant about bringing down the government. I was genuinely interested in seeing what reasons Yechury would put up for opposing the deal, but came off with a very bad impression, not of Yechury but of Thapar. At least Thapar could have let him talk and make a fool of himself through his outdated Marxist ideas. Contrast this interview with that of Ratan Tata, where he let him have all the time in the world to answer his questions.

    CNN-IBN ran a brief video in which they showed that most of the MPs have no clue about the 123 deal, and just think of it as something to be opposed.

  13. Just till the other day i was really disgusted with BJP’s seeming opportunism; but on second toughts shouldnt there be someone out dere puttig pressure on the govt. for extracting the best terms for india on the deal? now, if the BJP is fighting for a better deal for india (like GB pointed out in arun shourie’s quote) I think finally dere’s some1 who’s doing the right thing for the right reason. But if they are just going all out opposing the deal no matter what (like the left) then my disgust with them continues.

  14. Well, I don’t really remember what was the Left stance when BJP did the Nuclear test but I am sure they would have been against it. And now see their stance !!!

    But I am like so many others am totally disappointed by BJP. They were always the party of an educated middle class nationalistic (I don’t really mean hindu) indian. But that is the vote bank they will loose. Because its stark clear (after reading the whole agreement) that this is the best chance for India to have good relations with the second biggest democracy of the world.

    After being in US for some time, I really beleive that India and US are natural allies. There is no other country that can boast of such diversity.

    And on a side note (as I am just back from watching ‘Chak de India’), its something to be proud of that still India is a stable state surrouned by failed states that have not even 10% of the diversity we have in India. Check this out: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Failed_state

  15. Great Post Arnab.

    It’s high time that the communists start removing their make believe garb and speak in one uniform language. Of course, all this hue and cry about something which even their senior leaders say that they do not have much info about, shows that the anger/resistance is more hysteria than sense.

    Looks like they may be on the road to another ‘historical blunder’.

  16. I guess we are giving early judgement, deal is still not out “rejected”.
    Maybe Left and Congress (perhaps BJP) are doing this to convince people internally as well as externally that not all Indians supported the “agreement” thereby keeping a balance in India’s foreign policy.

  17. “However what is important to consider at the end of the day, rather than a “may” here and a “open to negotiations” there, are the wider ramifications of this treaty with the US.”

    And that is precisely the basis for Left’s opposition – the wider ramifications of this treaty with the US. It is certainly a point of view worth considering that keeping India’s long term interest in view we may be better off building good relations with China rather than hitching ourselves entirely with US. It is quite likely that as a global power, US may be past its peak while China (along with India) are the super powers of the future. If so, then why align with a declining power while at the same time antagonising a future super power in our own neighborhood? Sure, China is friendly with Pakistan, but let’s not forget that so was US not too long ago? If US can ditch Pakistan and align with us, why not convince China to do the same? Sure, China stabbed us in the back in ’62, but then it is not like US has never done such a thing in the past with other countries.

    So maybe all that the communists are saying is let’s be careful with whom we build strategic relationship, because once we get into it, it won’t be easy getting out of it. We made the mistake of aligning with Russian bloc post-independence which ended up on the losing side – let’s not repeat the mistake this time by aligning with US.

  18. @ Mohan

    “So maybe all that the communists are saying is let’s be careful with whom we build strategic relationship, because once we get into it, it won’t be easy getting out of it. “

    Are the communists really saying all that? You are saying that! A very reasonable interpretation of the debates, media coverage, & discussion surrounding the Left’s opposition to the 123 agreement seems to indicate that Left’s problem is purely ideological and an effort to stay relevant. Of course, your point that there needs to be debate is well-taken-But the need for debate arises because it concerns our Nation’s future not because it challenges someone’s outdated ideology.

  19. @ravi: I have not followed every statement/report on the subject, but left has clearly said that their objection is to the strategic alliance with US and the 123 agreement needs to be seen in that context. Here are quotes from just one report:
    —-
    “If you continue with the strategic alliance with the US, it will meet opposition not just from the Left parties,” he [Karat] said.

    “The nuclear deal is not an isolated incident. It is part of a strategic alliance between India and USA,” he said.

    “What is the common strategic goal between India and USA. The USA attacked Iraq and now targetting Iran. Is it the same interest India has?,” he asked.

    Now, is their opposition to such an alliance based on dogma or is it because in their view US is not the right long-term partner for India? I don’t know. I guess it is a bit of both. That last statement for example is valid even as a pragmatic geo-political analysis – US is either already in or soon will be in direct conflict with the entire stretch of muslim countries to our west and their relation with China isn’t quite great either. So by aligning ourselves with such a country aren’t we walking into an Israel-like situation, except on a larger scale – great friends with US, but surrounded by enemies? Now one might argue that we don’t have a choice, we can never have friendly relations with the muslim countries in the west or with China in the east, so we might as well build relations with US. Maybe. But if, like the left parties, you believe that it is possible to have good relationship with our neighbours (after all, we have had good relations with Iran and Iraq in the past and one can make a case that as two upcoming economies India and China have much in common than India and US) then it does make sense to oppose strategic alliances with US. Not just because you hate US, but because you think that such an alliance has more downside than upside.

  20. @ Mohan, who wrote…But if, like the left parties, you believe that it is possible to have good relationship with our neighbours (after all, we have had good relations with Iran and Iraq in the past and one can make a case that as two upcoming economies India and China have much in common than India and US) then it does make sense to oppose strategic alliances with US. Not just because you hate US, but because you think that such an alliance has more downside than upside.

    It’s pragmatism not ideology now. I think the focus has changed, so that They (eg Iran, Iraq etc) should be fretting and striving to have good relations with Us, not the other way round. They, after all, have never done anything for India. When it came to the crunch (the IA hi-jack of a few years ago) They muttered sympathetic words even when They knew who the paymasters were (in UAE, Saudi Arabia, Pakistan) and could have acted accordingly. What is the point if aimless ‘good relations’ if you cannot ask for a favour ? Recently, Iran agreed the gas deal with us…and then – pragmatically – increased the price.

    The USA, on the other hand, clearly has stuff that we need eg technology, a very large market, lots of money. They even speak English. Lots of Indians are there.

    As for China – you cannot reward a country whose ambassador claims publically and contrary to diplomatic etiquette that Arunachal Pradesh (in its entirety no less !) belongs to them. They’ve also done lots of other unfriendly things and haven’t offered a strategic alliance anyway. I would argue that India and China have nothing in common, at all (except the CPI those useful Communist stooges).
    ‘Enlightened self-interest’ seems a far better approach to foreign policy than trying to be ‘non-aligned’ in an increasingly inter-dependent and ‘globalised’ world.

  21. Mohan wrote “after all, we have had good relations with Iran and Iraq in the past and one can make a case that as two upcoming economies India and China have much in common than India and US) then it does make sense to oppose strategic alliances with US”.

    Rishi’s response:

    Our so called “good” relationship with Iran and Iraq, was based on our desperation to find a friend in the Islamic world. After some Nehruvian disasters to find Muslim friends in Indonesia and Egypt, we piggybacked on Soviet strategic alliances to find friendship with Iran and Iraq.

    It seemed to work in a bi-polar world of USSR and USA, and our “friendship” with Iran and our blatant support of Khomeini’s Islamic takeover, apparently saved us atleast once in the UN on Kashmir (as a return favour). B Raman, retd-RAW and today’s anti Islamist columnist on rediff was directly involved in supporting the Islamists at that time in Tehran.

    But as a Hindu majority nation, in a unipolar world, the disadvantages for our support to Iran far outweighs the benefits.

    As for China, dont forget the fact that China made a strategic alliance with the US (on its terms) at the drop of a hat, to further its economic and political goals. What our comrades Mr Karat and Yechuri seem to forget, is that in all the anti-US hooplah they create to support the ” red mothership”, the mothership itself has been enjoying Mac-america to the fullest, to poor Taiwan’s and Japan’s chagrin.

    All alliances work when we have self-confidence and vision. Geopolitics is all about vision and sadly we seem to lack that.

  22. In last 3 decades, post Nixon, the Chinese had developed a Cozy relationship with the Yankees.

    With India coming into picture, the Chinese see this as a love triangle. The “other women” India, is obviously disturbing Sino-US love affair and the Chinese are opposing the consummation of their first baby , the nuclear deal, outside the wedlock.

    Yechury and Karat are simply like the spy agents hired by a the suspicious wife to keep the “other women” under the tab.

  23. The devil is in the details of the deal. There was a show on NDTV where Vikram Chandra asked Shourie about BJP’s opposition. Shourie mentioned that since US President is forced to obey the US law, and the governing US law with respect to this deal is the Hyde Act, the US administration will have no option but to stop all nuclear cooperation with India if India tests a nuclear device. Not only that, the Hyde Act also mentions that the US administration will actively work with the NSG so that other NSG countries stop cooperating with India as well. Subsequently the anchor asked Harish Salve, a noted legal expert though admittably not a legal expert on US law, about what Shourie was saying. Salve concurred with Shourie’s opinion although he seemed to be in favor of the deal since he thinks we are probably not going to test in near future anyway.

    The bottomline is that the deal is very much like a legal document. It is true that most middle class Indians are in favor of a constructive engagement with the US. It cannot however be said that most Indians are in favor of the deal because of the simple reason that most of us do not really understand the deal, and very understandably so.

    While the left’s opposition is based on blind anti-Americanism, they are protesting against the naval exercises as well, there is another body of thought who think that some red lines have been crossed while making the deal. I think they seem to be heard to make sure we not being sold a lemon.

  24. Yet another Instance to prove the Political Short sight syndrome..
    I really doubt whether the Yechurys ,karats and Basus of the World have even read a newspaper report on the 123 agreement,leave alone the entire report..
    When India so sorely needs the Infrastructural push it needs to be a superpower,here come the detractors…
    Marx knows when these guys would start opposing the road networks being built..

  25. Dear Rishi,

    Regarding Hyderabad, you are right in saying that we ought to put our money where our mouth is. The choise is to either donate blood or money to help the victims and their families.

    Since I live far away from Andhra Pradesh and am not in a position to donate blood, where can I send a cheque to?

    Thanks,

    Hujur

  26. Dont know of any groups directly aiding terror victims (besides the ex-gratia the govt is paying)

    Try these organizations working at the grass roots to reduce reasons for terrorism in the first place.

    Seva Bharati
    3-2-106, Nimboli adda, Hyderabad- 500 027.
    Phone : 040 -2 4610056
    Website: http://www.SevaBharathi.org

    Seva organizations who serve India in general include:

    Ekal Vidyalaya: http://www.Ekal.org

    AIM for Seva: http://www.AIMforSeva.org

    Vivekananda Kendra: http://www.VKendra.org

    Counter-terrorism awareness/lobbying groups, run by public support
    http://www.factusa.org

  27. Right on (sorry Left on !).
    More than left though I find it really difficult to digest the ‘bottomless’ stand that BJP has taken. They are completely clueless.

    BTW Karan Thapar is really irritating – I don’t agree even slightest to Yechuri but that interview seemed like a monologue.

  28. @satori: Yes, USA seems to have everything we need now – technology, market, money etc. But will it hold good for long term? Here’s one scenario: US gets bogged down with this War on Terror dragging on for decades, their economy tanks, they lose the technological edge, their demographics also adds to the problem and at the same time China’s economy surges ahead, along with Russia, Brazil and Arab world they form an alternative alliance to west which dominates the world in 20-30 years from now. Would it be better for India to be in BRIC Arab camp, potentially leading the alliance, or be stuck in the middle of these new super powers as the sole agent of a declining west?

    Iran hiking the price for pipeline – was it before or after we voted against them in IAEA?
    Chinese ambassador’s statement – it is not like US is known for their diplomatic finesse. Didn’t they threaten one of their own allies in the War on Terror of bombing them back to stone age? Or the infamous “You’re either with us or against us” doctrine. If we can trust US despite all that, I don’t see why we should distrust China based on one statement. In any case, it is not a question of rewarding or not rewarding a country based on statements made by their ambassadors. As you said, it is about self interest. If India’s interest really is in forming long term alliance with China, then we should be prepared to ignore statements and work towards such an alliance.

    @rishi:

    “But as a Hindu majority nation, in a unipolar world, the disadvantages for our support to Iran far outweighs the benefits.”

    Maybe. But it is possible that the world is shifting from unipolar state back to bipolar. One such possibility is the kind of alliance mentioned above.

    I agree with you about vision. Part of the vision requires that you think long term and not just blindly go with whoever seems powerful at the moment.

  29. @ Mohan

    While I agree with your contention that we should align oursleves on the basis of our self interest, I cannot understand the viability of a Brazil – Russia – China – India – Arab axis.

    There are ususally two important factors that are required for an alliance to work. They are:

    1. Common interest (eg common enemies, common goals etc)
    2. Common Values or Attitudes.

    On both these counts India has little in common with either the Chinese or the Arab world.

    The Chinese understand that there can only be one superpower in South Asia and the only country capable of thwarting their desire to be that power is India. Hence their policy has always been one of containment (Support Pakistan, ambiguous stance on the border issue, support for the miliancy in NE, supporting communism in Nepal, wooing Bhutan). We are also their main competitor for energy resources. Therefore we share no common interest. We are a democracy while China is a one party polity. Therefore we also dont share commonality of values. Hence an alliance with China is prima facie untenable.

    As far as the Arab world is concerned, the less said about ideological compatibility and commonality of interest the better.

    That leaves us with Russia and Brazil. Brazil is neither inclined nor capable of forming an alliance to counter the US. Russia’s recent strength is based on oil revenues and it does not possess either an economy or a military that can effectively form a counter weight to the US in alliance with India.

    Therefore at this juncture an alliance with the US is the only tenable way of taking our self interest forward.

    Thanks

    Sunil.

  30. @Mohan.

    Completely agree with your comments, but not with your caution. Projecting the world situation in 20-30 years time is all very well, but the stratgeic deal is being offered now, and serves as India’s Great Leap Forward on the tech front. Besides, if you are projecting, don’t you think all the BRIC nations will be competing against each other in the future ? The spin-offs from this nuclear thing are more important than the deal itself. I mean who cares for nuclear reactors ? It’s laughable to think nuclear energy will replace fossil fuels due to the French and the Germans etc building reactors in 10 or 15 year time. BUT, the deal gives this country’s brains access to technology and resources and opportunities, all of which I’m sure would eventually come along – but the deal puts us on the fast-track. And we need to go faster than our economic growth, our ridiculously fast population growth and the speed with which things are just generally falling apart. Annoying the usual suspects is a small price to pay.

  31. @satori: Yes, we certainly need the west to grow now. But if we can use them for our growth without committing to any deep strategic relationship and then once we have grown to a certain stage, align with China and others to take on the west, that will be ideal. As for the question would the BRIC nations be competing against each other – aren’t US, Europe, Japan all developed nations today and still cooperating with each other? Think of BRIC (CARIB? if you include Arab) replacing them.

  32. Hello Mohan,

    Thanks for the links they contain very useful information. However there are an equal number of webpages (if not more) that enumerate the benefits of an Indo US alliance, hence in this context pasting links is quite futile.

    On your first link:

    A Russia China axis is plausible since China wants to dominate Asia and Russia wants to dominate Europe. Their interests are not in conflict and they are bound by their common antipathy for the US. I cant seem to understand how India fits in to this arithmetic as an equal partner since it’s ambitions are in conflict with China’s and it is not ideologically antagonistic towards the US.

    On your Second link:

    Again, the Russia – China – Iran axis is bound by its common hatred for the US.

    The premise that India should forecast which country will be a super power in the next 30 odd years and align itself to that country is as speculative as the notion that the Demise of America is a certainty. In my opinion foreign policy should not be dictated by speculation but by a pragmatic appraisal of the ground situation. Such a pragmatic appraisal in today’s geopolitical context makes it very apparent that India’s self interest lies in aligning with the US. This doesnot preclude that India should have its ears to the ground and move out of such an alliance should the ground situation change significantly, but till that happens (and if that happens) we would do well to ally ourselves with the US.

    Thanks

    Sunil.

  33. Sunil,

    First of all thanks for keeping the discussion civil. Doesn’t always happen here.

    Point of providing those links was not to suggest that China-Russia-India axis is more beneficial than Indo-US alliance. I just wanted to show that such an alliance is not in the realm of fiction, that it is plausible and people have suggested and analysed the possibility of such an alliance. If the three governments went to the extent of organizing a summit and coming up with a joint statement, one would think that they certainly consider such an alliance within the realm of possibility.

    As for speculation, any planning or strategising has to involve some amount of speculation. You look at possible scenarios, assign probability/cost/benefit for each scenario and pick a plan of action which maximises your expected benefit.

    In any case, I just wanted to show that one can make a case that opposing strategic alliance with US can be in India’s national interest and not necessarily driven by outdated ideology or allegiance to China or whatever. You obviously think that in the present scenario India’s interest lies in aligning with the US and I am fine with that. But all I am saying is, it is churlish to dismiss any opposition to alliance with US as anti-national because it can also be argued that not getting into a strategic alliance with US serves India’s national interest better.

  34. Hello Mohan,

    Fully agree. Every alliance whether with the US or China should be looked at through the prism of expected cost benefit analysis. Unfortunately none of the current protagonists have come up with constructive and logical arguments to justify scuttling the deal and their opposition to the deal is entirely based on obfuscations and half truths. Under these circumstances their motivation for opposing the deal becomes suspect thereby making them susceptible to charges of treason.

    Unfortunately I still think the probability of this scenario is negligible enough to be purely speculative:

    “Here’s one scenario: US gets bogged down with this War on Terror dragging on for decades, their economy tanks, they lose the technological edge, their demographics also adds to the problem and at the same time China’s economy surges ahead, along with Russia, Brazil and Arab world they form an alternative alliance to west which dominates the world in 20-30 years from now.”

    Thanks

    Sunil

  35. @Mohan wrote :
    “As for the question would the BRIC nations be competing against each other – aren’t US, Europe, Japan all developed nations today and still cooperating with each other? Think of BRIC (CARIB? if you include Arab) replacing them.”

    Co-operating or colluding ? The international system is run by the above. Europe bought into the system via the Marshall Plan and the Bretton Woods Agreement that set-up the World Bank and IMF. Japan got nuked and ended up paying for its own reconstruction so that the Americans benefited commercially (a familiar pattern). The UK only just paid off the Americans the money that was owed from WW2 (I think the final payment was last year). The BRICs don’t have much in common, not culturally, barely politically and not much economically either until Russia joins the WTO and a true BRIC thing can happen (eg with the Doha talks, the so-called ‘development round’). Going back to the Deal – it gives the country competitive advantage which, at the moment, seems to be what gloablisation is about. A strategic alliance doesn’t mean we’re married to them.
    Having been rabidly anti-American in the past, I can’t believe I support this deal, but the US is desperate, it’s giving away stuff they would never have considered giving away a few years ago. I think we should take it !

  36. @Pijush: Thanks

    @Rishi: Indeed it is.

    @Shekhar: It would be. And as projections go, the Left stands to lose and the BJP stands to lose if they bring down the government on this issue. Of course they still have the recourse of lies to convince the people that the nuclear deal was all about taking their jobs.

    @Rohit: My bet for PM is on Mayawati, the queen of orkut.

    @Sriram: Hmm

    @Bhopale: Yes they are.

    @Indiaholic: Most politicians have no idea of whats going on. And this deal is so abstruse that it can be spun any way and noone would know the difference.

    @DV: I love chilli chicken !

    @Satori: All I can hope for is that crores are not spent to contain the fallout (midterm elections) of this fiasco.

    @An Ideal Boy: Why Communism is alive in India? Yes I wonder why too.

    @kaangeyaa : Amartya Sen may be left-leaning but I wouldnt call him a Communist per se.

    @Whatsinaname: Thanks

    @Ravi Ivaturi: Thanks

    @ Ravi: I accept that Karan Thapar’s USP is not letting the other guy talk. But in this case, I dont think he was unfair to Yechury who was repeatedly trying to sidestep his question. Thapar was just insisting he answer his question.

    @Vinay: As I said, put pressure for what? Sufficient pressure was put on the government, there were negotiations based on that, and some of them were handled. This is deal…the other side is not going to concede everything.

    @Atul: They are more natural allies than China and India most certainly.

    @Anirban: The historical blunder was Jyoti Basu not being able to become the PM and get some national level contracts for son Chandan.

    @Sam: And what end does that serve?

    @Mohan: Unless the Left has a crystal ball stuffed somewhere else, there is no way of knowing what will happen next. Right now the US is still strong enough to justify extensive military cooperation with it, especially in the light of a common enemy, pan-Islamism and China. China, with dreams of superpowerness, will never tolerate another wannabe in its geographic zone which is why it has sought to, as a matter of policy, engage India’s rivals Pakistan. The Left supports China simply because of the idealogical fascination and perhaps some other more corporeal considerations may also play a factor.

    @Turrtle: Shucks…what to say.

    @Kaunteya: Nixon and Kissinger brought China back into the US fold—but its hardly been a love affair. There has been much heartburn over Chinese trade practices (the human rights abuses of course US gives two hoots for)…

    @Paapi: Thanks

    @Ankit: If India tests a nuclear device is a big if. Now lets assume we dont have the deal—we do not have any cooperation in any case even when we are not testing. So what do we have to lose?

    @Kailas: I am sure they have. Karat and Yechury are intelligent people.

    @Ishit: Hmm

  37. GB, I see assumptions there – that China is an enemy, that they will never tolerate another superpower in the region etc. Based on those assumptions, it makes sense to align with US. Similarly, based on another set of premises (US power is on the wane, China’s is on the rise and we can have friendly relations with them and make a powerful combine to take on the west etc.) it makes sense not to dive headlong into a strategic relationship with US. All I am saying is the latter argument is not so totally without merit that we have to assume that anyone making that argument has either lost his mind or is doing so with some ulterior motive.

  38. “Actually no George. If this was China, it would be you who would have had one bullet in your head for saying that the head of state has “betrayed” his country.]”
    One bullet! and then some for those coffins.
    -anshu

  39. @ Mohan

    I am quoting from an article in Rediff. Hopefully this should clarify Left’s motives.

    “Unrelenting in his opposition to the deal, CPI general secretary A B Bardhan said the country should debate whether the generation of 40,000 MW of nuclear power after 20 years was more important than the “complete subjugation of India’s foreign policy to imperialist powers.”

  40. Anshu wrote – “Actually no George. If this was China, it would be you who would have had one bullet in your head for saying that the head of state has “betrayed” his country.]”
    One bullet! and then some for those coffins.

    Actually no Anshu. If this was China we would not have a head of state so completely devoid of dignity and a spine like WoMAN-MOHANi.

    And of course killed soldiers should not be brought back in special and expensive coffins befitting their dignity. Of course George should be shot for saluting the sacrifice of soldiers who gave their lives for India & it’s ungrateful Anshus. Murdered soldiers should be dumped in to gummy bags & sent home by bullock-cart.

    The money thus saved can be used to cook free beef biriyani on free Haj pilgrimages.

    Yum yum.

  41. Pingback: Rama Rama at Random Thoughts of a Demented Mind

  42. GB: There is an interview with Edward De Bono in today’s ET.


    Q: How can India become one of top three economic super powers?

    De Bono: If India can partner China, they can be a real superpower in a short time. Alternately, if India and China form a coalition bringing other developing countries in their fold, it will beat all other world superpowers.

    Exactly what I had been suggesting above.

  43. Hi Mohan,

    EDB is undoubtably one of the greatest management thinkers of our times. His “6 hat thinking” technique is a cornestone of modern management strategy.

    However, some of his theories are less than inspirational. His solution for solving the Mid-East problem was sending jar loads of Marmite (a funny tasting bread spread) there.

    His logic was, Jews & Muslims eat kosher bread, which has no zinc. Lack of zinc causes aggression. As Marmite has zinc, it will solve the whole problem in a jiffy!! Hey Presto!!

    Similarly, while the Chinese people are exceptionally friendly, their establishment views India in the manner vampires eye large people. Pieces of meat. Especially when the Indian establishment acts with such complete supine inferiority.

    If there ever is to be rapproachment between the two, there needs to be a paradigm shift on at least side; either China gains a conscience, or India surgically inserts a spine and starts standing up tall enough to be respected.

    Neither seems likely. So until then, we should doubt & fear the Red Menace. If you thought the colonial gora viewed India with disdain, you cannot even beging to gauge the jaw dropping superciliousness of the Middle Kingdom.

Have An Opinion? Type Away

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s