How the Left learnt to love our bombs
Remember a time when you associated communists, at least of the internationalist variety like those in India, with being against nuclear weapons. Well, the times have changed and today’s comrades are as keen as any other nuko-phile that India gets to do what it wants in the nuclear department without being made to sign any rules by outsiders. We would have welcomed the New Left with open arms and commended them on their newfound common sense were it not for one snag — India’s communists are still a bit confused about its stand on a nuclear India.
Luckily for them, however, the confusion is made to hide behind a show of concern. “Aren’t we being suckered by that hegemon and being made to fritter away our sovereignty in the matters of defence by jumping into the Indo-US deal?” they seem to be asking, perhaps sincerely believing that apart from themselves, the rest of India’s political class harbours a great masochistic desire to be forever at Washington’s beck and call. In Parliament, the Left showed its extreme worry about GoI selling the country for the proverbial 30 pieces of silver if the latter did not negotiate its agreement with the IAEA before the final agreement for transfer of civilian technology was passed. Thus, with furrowed brow, the communists wanted the Prime Minister to make a statement or draft “subscribed by all sides”. Fortunately, the PM pointed out that only the final outcome of the US legislation in September can elicit an Indian reaction.
The Left is also not too happy with India’s reaction to the Israel-Hezbollah conflict. The government’s condemnation of the continuing attacks on Lebanon by the Israeli forces is not enough for our comrades. One does sincerely hope, though, that like some rather extreme elements in the Arab world, Indian communists aren’t keen on driving Israel to the sea. After all, conducting praxis on the theory of the enemy of an enemy is a friend can lead to dangerous and muddling inferences. Coming back to the Indo-US deal, the only people who have earned their right to be upset and oppose the nuclear pact are a few Indian nuclear scientists. That is understandable, as with the legislation allowing international trade in nuclear technology with India, they may find themselves redundant. Or that’s what they seem to be terribly afraid of.