A new battle front has opened in the conflict over foreign policy between the Congress and the Left. At the centre of it is the US aircraft carrier Nimitz that is being allowed to dock in Chennai. What has added fuel to the dispute is the fact United States Navy officers have neither denied nor confirmed whether the 1,00,000 tonne carrier is carrying nuclear weapons.
To mark their protest, the CPI-M and CPI are organising their state unit cadres on Monday to hold a protest rally against the docking of the Nimitz. Left-affiliated trade union cadres are likely to join in. The Left has also decided to raise the issue in the monsoon session of Parliament in July.
Last week, the Defence Ministry had categorically said the carrier was not carrying any nuclear weapon. The CPM’s Prakash Karat had said whether the Nimitz was armed with nuclear weapons came later; what was more important was that it had taken part in aggressive posturing off the coast of Iran. The CPI’s D. Raja asked why the government was allowing a ship hat took part in hostile operations in Afghanistan to dock in India.