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Spare us the whims and fancies

Unlike practical legislation, resolutions reflect emotion and sentiment, things that ought to be kept in check when dealing with a country?s foreign and security interests.

india Updated: Aug 05, 2006 03:48 IST

There are some good reasons why a parliamentary resolution on the Indo-US nuclear deal is a bad idea. Unlike practical legislation, resolutions reflect emotion and sentiment, things that ought to be kept in check when dealing with a country’s foreign and security interests. Among the not insubstantial obstacles to resolving India’s disputes with China and Pakistan are parliamentary resolutions — of 1962 and 1994. Both are products of eras of weakness, now almost uniformly considered millstones around any government’s neck.

Considering that the government has repeatedly assured Parliament that the proposed nuclear accord with the US will be within the bounds of the July 18, 2006 agreement, the campaign to fan fears that it will be diluted and the country’s interests compromised does no credit to either the BJP or the CPI(M). The answer as to why these parties want to hobble the government is somewhat complex. Only perversity, or a self-destructive impulse, can explain why the BJP, which initiated the process that culminated in the July 18 deal, is opposing the nuclear agreement. The party that boasts of its superior concerns for national security and for the country’s well-being, is now going out of its way to undermine an agreement that will bring far-reaching gains for the country, and has enormous strategic implications for India’s security. On the other hand, the CPI(M) correctly sees that the deal symbolises better ties between India and the country it hates, but which also happens to be the world’s greatest military and economic power. But while national interest informs the Manmohan Singh government’s decision to pursue the deal, the only thing that the CPI(M) seems to be bothered about is its infantile anti-Americanism. So bizarre are the Left’s foreign policy goals that they would have the country align with the Hezbollah and Hamas against the US and Israel.

One of the more remarkable aspects of the governmental transition that took place in 2004 was the smoothness with which the foreign and security policy agenda of the NDA was adopted by the UPA. Whether it was the issue of negotiations with Pakistan and China or economic liberalisation and strategic partnership with the US, the UPA worked along the path set by the NDA. And that is how it must be. Foreign and security policies do not change when governments change, or according to subjective desires. They change because of objective and, often, external circumstances. Clearly, the principal beneficiary of the Indo-US nuclear deal will be India. Consider this: under the agreement, India gets to keep its nuclear weapons status (and the associated weapons-making complex) even while getting Washington to lift what is an increasingly tight technology embargo on India’s civil nuclear programme. In short, the US has turned its decades-old non-proliferation policy on its head. India should be laughing all the way to the bank, instead of being put through the faux emotions of the bankrupt Left-and Right-wings of our political class.