US Senators’ Threat Letter to PM: Nuke Deal Noose Tightens
The US Administration and ruling groups have begun tightening the screws on India to sign the Indo-US Nuke Deal on US terms in their characteristic blatant and brash way. The Hyde Act passed by the US Congress had left nothing to the imagination, and made it very clear that signing the Nuke Deal would mean that the US would get to dictate India’s relations with Iran, and also use fuel supply as a stick to keep India in line on other issues as well. Now the US Administration has begun to build pressure on India to sign the ‘123 agreement’ fast, while some Republican and Democratic senators have showed that even before the Deal is clinched, India’s foreign policy and behaviour must satisfy the stipulations of US masters.
US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice called the Prime Minister to ‘all but caution’ him to move ahead with the Deal, warning him that it was ‘now or never’. Subsequently the Indian Foreign Secretary Shiv Shankar Menon was dispatched to Washington to hold talks to take the Deal forward, and it is reported that George Bush too has made a call to Manmohan Singh. Meanwhile eight prominent US senators, including both Republicans and Democrats, sent a letter to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh calling on India to “sever” military ties with Iran and “terminate” all cooperation in the energy sector. The letter declared that “It is difficult for us to fathom why India, a democracy engaged in its own struggle against terrorism, would want to enhance security cooperation with a repressive government widely regarded as the world’s most active state sponsor of terrorism.” The letter objected to “the exchange of visits between high-level officials, enhanced military ties, and negotiations of agreements to establish closer economic relations” with Iran. It demanded that India “publicly declare your intent to refrain from further cooperation with Iran”.
Well, it seems the US Senators need to be told that the Indian people cannot fathom why their Government is coming close to the world’s foremost sponsor of colonial occupation, racist Islamophobia, repression, war and terrorism!
Interestingly, the letter also raps India on the knuckles for a recent case of “illegal procurement of sensitive technology” from a US company Cirrus. Typically the US Senators have chosen to hold the Indian Government, and not the US company itself, guilty of violating US restrictions on peddling this sensitive technology! The letter specifically warns that that the proposed Indo-Iran pipeline “could be subject to US sanctions under the Iran Act” and objects to the visit to India by Commander of Iran’s Navy.
Meanwhile US Ambassador David Mulford has taken it upon himself to tell us “There is an expectation among U.S. companies, the public and the political class that we have helped India, and that the U.S. companies should get a favorable treatment,” adding however that this quid pro quo was not written into the Nuke Deal. Mulford’s remarks came in the context of an exhibition in Bangalore by the world’s top aeronautics companies who are exploring partnerships with local firms and lobbying defense officials.
Executives from 52 U.S. companies (more than ever before) attended the event. Reassuring those who are apprehensive that US defence supplies might be withdrawn in case of US sanctions, Mulford has said “You won’t see 52 (U.S.) companies here if we don’t want to be a reliable supplier.”
So the message is quite clear. Uncle Sam is telling us to behave ourselves, sever ties with Iran, embrace closer ties with US defence corporates, and put on record our willingness to kneel to US dictates – if we want the Nuke Deal. In fact, the orders and threats are now being issued by a bunch of US Senators directly to India’s elected head of Government. The Manmohan regime’s response to such offensive threats has been predictably supine and quiescent, showing full eagerness to go ahead with the Nuke Deal despite all the strings attached.
The entire nation is being kept in the dark about the developments in the Nuke Deal. Unfortunately, however, the Left parties (not to mention the BJP) muted their tones on the issue, and have not demanded transparency or accountability to Indian Parliament. A citizen has meanwhile filed a PIL in the Supreme Court seeking its intervention to appoint a committee to monitor the negotiations for the nuclear deal on a regular basis, and to ensure that no agreement is signed until the people of India and Parliament are consulted and have given their approval.
We must demand that the Indian Government reject the Nuke Deal in toto and express the Indian people’s outrage at the US attempts at bullying. The UPA Government must realise that India will not tolerate a Government that goes ahead with this shameful and humiliating Deal.