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UPA getting into foreign policy trap: Left

CPI-M has upped the ante against the Govt by saying that India shouldn't support any move to refer Iran to UNSC.

india Updated: Feb 10, 2006 23:42 IST
Indo-Asian News Service
Indo-Asian News Service

The Communist Party of India-Marxist on Friday upped the ante against the UPA government, saying it was open to alliances even outside the coalition on economic and foreign policy issues.

For the first time since it began providing crucial legislative support to Manmohan Singh's coalition, the CPI-M accused the government of taking India into "a foreign policy trap" by aligning with the US on matters such as Iran's nuclear programme.

"The politburo decided that on issues such as Iran, FDI in retail trade and so on, the party should actively seek the support of other political parties within and outside the UPA and forge joint platforms with them on such issues," a party statement said.

It added: "The UPA government and the Congress seem impervious to the perception growing in the country about the pro-US orientation of these policies."

It was one of the sharpest attacks on the Congress-led government by the CPI-M.

CPI-M general secretary Prakash Karat told reporters that his party was "not part of any coalition", emphasising that it only lent outside legislative prop to the government. But he stopped short of saying whether the Left would withdraw support to the ruling coalition.

The CPI-M made its opposition clear on three major issues: India's decision to support efforts to refer Iran to the UN Security Council over its nuclear programme, the opening of the retail trade to FDI and the alleged compromises on India's nuclear programme under US pressure.

Karat said India should not be party to any move in the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) to refer Iran to the Security Council.

"The UPA government ... has been pursuing a line of aligning with the US and the EU-3 who are bent upon targeting Iran... It is in India's national interests to maintain its friendly ties with Iran as it has vital stakes in the Middle East."

The CPI-M statement vowed to put the government in the dock in Parliament by seeking a debate on Iran ahead of the March 6 IAEA board meeting.

India has already voted in favour of two US-backed resolutions at IAEA to refer Iran to the UN.

On the issue of civil nuclear cooperation with the US, the party said the government "is getting into a foreign policy trap. The US ambassador to India has made it amply clear that nuclear cooperation will come at a heavy price.

It accused the government of conducting negotiations with the US "in a clandestine fashion".

"The rationale given by the UPA government that the nuclear cooperation must proceed at any cost is illogical and flawed."

The statement went on: "The politburo expressed unhappiness at the way policy matters are being decided by the UPA government. There is widespread opposition to allowing FDI in retail trade."

It said it would put up "an effective resistance to the opening up of retail trade" by mobilising all political parties as well as organisations of traders and merchants.

The CPI-M said it would review the government's "overall performance". It also took the government to task over rising prices of essential commodities, "making the life of ordinary people difficult".

The party said it would organise huge rallies against US President George W Bush when he visits India in March.

First Published: Feb 10, 2006 22:29 IST