While the leader of the Opposition Sushma Swaraj withheld formal comment on the Obama visit on Tuesday, BJP leaders have begun their analysis of it.
The BJP has grudgingly accepted the positive mood after Obama’s address. But, the party brass is wasting no time to pick holes in the Centre’s silence over a “snub” by Obama on Iran and Myanmar.
However, the party is aware that Obama’s comments on Pakistan’s terrorist havens and his support of India’s bid as a permanent UNSC member have enabled the Centre to walk away with credit. The BJP brass is, thus, cautiously looking at ways to embarrass the government.
“There was no response from India on Obama’s comment on our ‘silence’ on Iran and Myanmar, which was a snub before our Parliament suggesting we were not behaving like a responsible power,” said a BJP leader. “The reason for India’s silence was that we have readers and not leaders… the political leadership lacks confidence. At least the Speaker could have set the record straight...”
The BJP member added: “The leader of a country that has supported dictatorships including that of Musharraf snubbed India and the government silently listened.”
One BJP leader questioned the PM’s breaking the protocol to receive Obama: “Protocol is conventional behavior. It... should be respected.” He added that Swaraj not getting an invite for the dinner at the PM’s place was also a breach of protocol.
Referring to the phrase “consistent with India’s national and international obligations” in the joint statement in relation to US firms entering the Indian nuclear sector, a BJP leader said that the Convention on Supplementary Compensation was in conflict with Indian law on the question of supplier liability, and that US firms may insist on the no-liability regime.
However, BJP leaders did admit the symbolic goodwill the visit had generated. “The atmospherics about the visit were good. There was a positive mood,” a BJP leader said.