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US was worried about possible Third Front govt formation

Ahead of the 2009 general elections in India, the United States was worried about a possible Third Front coming to power with the Left parties playing a major role in it.

delhi Updated: Dec 19, 2010 09:41 IST

Ahead of the 2009 general elections in India, the United States was worried about a possible Third Front coming to power with the Left parties playing a major role in it.

In an assessment on February 12 that year, the US Embassy in New Delhi had said that while Congress and BJP would not come to power on their own, "the worst scenario for the US-India relationship would be one in which a 'Third Front' forms a government that excludes both the Congress and the BJP.

"Under those circumstances, the Communist parties will likely wield great influence in a coalition," an Embassy cable released by whistle blower web site Wikileaks said.

The general elections were held in April-May, 2009.

The cable, signed by then Ambassador David C Mulford, also noted that both BJP and Congress would support a closer US-India relationship.

But if these two parties forged a coalition with regional parties to form the government, "their ability to move forward aggressively (on Indo-US relations) will be constrained by the disproportionate power of smaller parties, which have narrower agendas that frequently do not extend to foreign policy issues," the cable, meant for then US Special Representative Richard Holbrooke, said.

Observing that the Indo-US nuclear deal and closer strategic relations between the two nations had generated "an extraordinary public debate" in India, the envoy said, "We have won this debate hands down and, as a result, the US-India relationship has a strong foundation on which to grow over the coming decades".

In the same cable, Mulford categorically says that the implementation of the nuclear agreement "requires India to take a number of steps", like bringing its IAEA safeguards agreement "into force and filing a declaration of safeguarded facilities" to initiate civil nuclear cooperation.

"For the United States to fully realise the commercial benefits of cooperation, India must also follow through on its commitment to set aside nuclear reactor park sites for US firms -- as it has already done for France and Russia -- and address other industry concerns, such as patent protection and adoption of domestic liability protection," the cable said.

Successful implementation of the agreement will provide access to an estimated USD 150 billion in commercial opportunities for US firms and lead to the creation of up to 30,000 American jobs over the next three decades, it added.