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Indo-US Joint Statement continuation of pro-US shift: Left parties
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July 21, 2005 18:46 IST

Maintaining that the Indo-US Joint Statement was a 'continuation of the pro-United States shift' in foreign policy, major Left parties on Thursday said the agreement not only 'marks an end' of India's nuclear disarmament policy, but also does not serve its interests in spreading democracy or combating terrorism.

Observing that no 'adequate discussions' were held with United Progressive Alliance partners or the Left parties before the government entered into the latest agreements with Washington, the Communist Party of India-Marxist and the Communist Party of India said Washington also did not make any clear-cut commitment on India's quest for permanent membership of United Nations Security Council.

Maintaining that the announcement of US-India Global Democracy Initiative to strengthen democracy in third world countries 'must be viewed with skepticism', the CPI-M politbureau said in a statement that such a bilateral initiative 'displays the anxiety of India to align with the US at a time when the superpower has become notorious for its unilateralist and anti-democratic activities'.

It would have been better if such initiative was taken through the United Nations, the party said, adding that it would be better if the government realised that a major aspect of global terrorism today was the use of state terrorism and the gross violation of national sovereignty as amply demonstrated in the case of Iraq.

"It does not serve India's interests to applaud the US leadership either for spreading democracy or for combating terrorism", the CPI-M said.

On the nuclear cooperation issue, the major Left party said, "It was incumbent on the government to place their views and proposals for discussion with all the parties concerned before deciding on the course of action. Many security and foreign policy issues were negotiated secretly during the National Democratic Alliance regime through the Strobe Talbott- Jaswant Singh negotiations. The UPA government should not continue the undemocratic practice," the CPI-M said.

Asserting that it had opposed the erstwhile NDA government's nuclear weaponisation programme, it said the Left had consistently supported an independent nuclear policy.

"India had always opposed the discriminatory policies of the nuclear haves and have-nots. It was also committed to nuclear disarmament and making the world free of nuclear weapons. The Rajiv Gandhi plan for disarmament was the last major initiative taken in this regard", the party said.

Charging the NDA regime with having begun the process of 'accepting junior partnership of the US in return for a de facto recognition as a nuclear weapon state without acquiring a legitimate position in the nuclear club', the CPI-M said, "The current agreement marks an end to India's nuclear disarmament policy".

It said there were 'legitimate apprehensions' that restrictions, hampering the pursuit of an independent nuclear technology policy for peaceful purposes, would be imposed. "There is also the question whether research activities for overcoming reliance on import of nuclear fuel will be hampered."

Asking the government to 'carefully calibrate its steps strictly in response to measures taken by the US', the CPI-M said it expected the government 'not to undertake unilateral measures which may compromise national interests'.

On the issues of energy and environment, it said it was the US which had 'refused to sign the Kyoto protocol and is placing obstacles for working towards using cleaner and more efficient technologies'.

The CPI-M also pointed out that the Joint Statement and the various briefings were 'silent about what the US has got in return for offering civilian nuclear cooperation'.

"The government should clarify whether there has been an understanding reached about buying US defence equipment to the tune of billions of dollars," it said, adding that the Left parties had already opposed the purchase of F-16 fighter jets.

In a separate statement, the CPI central secretariat also made similar points saying that Washington had neither supported India's claim for the Security Council seat, nor recognised it has a nuclear weapons power', but merely as a state with advanced nuclear technology.

In return for these ambiguous and limited assurances, India has agreed to continue its unilateral moratorium on N-tests, separate its civilian and military nuclear facilities and open its civilian facilities for international inspection.

"The CPI strongly believes that this Joint Statement is a continuation of the pro-US shift in India's foreign policy that was initiated by the Vajpayee regime and carried forward by the Indo-US Defence Framework", it said, adding that this marked a deviation from the non-alignment policy and the Common Mininum Programme.


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