In a reflection of the changing times, new Foreign Secretary Shiv Shankar Menon visited the CPM headquarters for 45 minutes on Saturday to discuss with Sitaram Yechury the "entire gamut" of Indian's foreign policy.
These included issues on which the Left differs with the government like the Indo-US civil nuclear deal, India's relations with Pakistan and other neighbours and her role in the non-aligned movement.
"We have had differences of opinion on several issues. So we deliberated on them. We have reiterated our position that the government should adhere to the United Progressive Alliance's Common Minimum Programme which promises that India will follow an independent foreign policy. We will not accept any deviation from it," Yechury told reporters after the meeting. Menon, on his part, described his visit as a "courtesy call."
Menon's interaction with the Left comes two days after the government rejected the Left's charge that it has failed to pursue an independent foreign policy.
"The UPA government has not only pursued an independent foreign policy but has, in fact, demonstrated far greater autonomy in decision-making concerning foreign policy and security issues than has been the case in recent years, particularly under the NDA government," it said in a note it gave the Left leaders during the UPA-Left coordination committee meeting on Wednesday.
The note was a point-by-point rejoinder to the issues the communists had raised in their note on June 15.
The Left has been warning the Centre that despite the UPA's bid to get close to the Bush administration, Washington has been acting against India's interests.
This, it said, was reflected in Shashi Tharoor's unsuccessful bid for the top UN post, the delay over the nuclear deal and US stand on Pakistan's support to terrorist activities in India.
Reacting to a query, Yechury denied that the visit of the Foreign Secretary to the party headquarters was "unusual." He said that ambassadors of several countries have visited the CPM office in the past.