On Nicholas Burns spent days prior to the Bush visit trying to
squeeze a humiliating deal on nuclear energy out of the Indian establishment.
Due to opposition from sections of the Atomic Energy department
and some top scientists the Americans could not initially get India
to sign as per their demands. Days of arm-twisting by US negotiators
with full support from the ministry of External affairs, did not
work. Then, two days before Bush’s visit Condoleeza Rice, US Secretary
of State, rang up Manmohan Singh saying that “his people” were making
“impossible demands” on the nuclear deal and threatened “India cannot
have conditional safeguards and that if it didn’t agree to permanent
safeguards there would be no deal”. She added there were questions
about India’s future reactors and that it must place all its future
reactors under safeguards. The PM was panic stricken by the threats;
so, breaking all protocol he personally went to receive his majesty
from the airport. As the lord descended at the airport, with his
entourage, the fumbling PM tried to plead with him that there was
no real difference on the nuclear deal, only a difference of language.
Bush ignored him and turned to his valet — India’s National Security
Advisor, M.K.Narayanan — ordering “I want this deal”. Not surprisingly,
within a few hours the deal was struck.
It took the PM five days to present the full deal to the country,
giving the Prime Minister’s Office sufficient time to put the necessary
spin to the agreement and getting the pro-US media hacks to create
the necessary environment. The deal was struck on the day after
Bush landed, March 2nd, while it was declared to the public and
even parliament on March 7th. Sure enough, it had permanent safeguards
mentioned in it! It also said that “future reactors would be placed
under safeguards”. The demagogic CPM, for all their ‘anti-US’ shouting,
said the deal is fine. The CPM is habituated to shouting against
the US generally, but not opposing concretely any of its policies
at the ground level. On March 5th itself Yechuri said they have
no problem with the nuclear deal, their only problem is the attitude
Though the purpose of the Bush visit was to push India deeper into
its clutches in all spheres — economic, political, defence and energy
sources — the nuclear deal was to be the chief focus of this visit,
as this has not only an economic dimension but also a political
and strategic dimensions. In economic terms the nuclear deal is
likely to open the door to US investments of a gigantic $100 billion
in the energy sector of the country. Strategically it will help
draw India away from dependence of Iran, Russia, Venezuela for its
oil and gas — all states that are anti-US to varying degrees.
With the US not even able to lay control of Iraqi oil and with it
ousted from much of Central Asia by Russia, its control of the key
energy source — oil and gas — is likely to falter in the future.
So it is looking for an alternative. Recently the US announced its
new Global Nuclear Energy Partnership (GNEP) to push nuclear energy
worldwide as the alternative. Ironically this is been pushed under
the banner of clearing the earth of green-house gasses and environment
friendliness. In fact it is nothing but a new ‘great game’ for the
control of the energy resources of the world. Not surprisingly this
GNEP involves the recipient country giving up its right to reprocess
spent fuel. The document says “Under the GNEP, a consortium of nations
with advanced nuclear technology would ensure that countries who
agree to forgo their own investment in enrichment and reprocessing
technologies will have reliable access to nuclear fuel”. In the
GNEP India has been put as a recipient country and not one of the
consortium of nations. Sure enough the agreement signed in India
says the same and the PM made a great show that there is a guarantee
clause of supply of uranium.
By not allowing the processing of nuclear material it can defacto
control the country’s nuclear energy needs by making India dependent
on it (or its allies like Australia which has 40% of the world’s
uranium reserves) for its nuclear raw material. It makes little
difference if there is a guarantee of supplying the nuclear fuel
in the agreement or not — it makes sure that India is dependent
on it; and it can any time be used as a lever for domination and
also profiteering (by hiking prices). Earlier, the US had stopped
supplies to the Tarapore nuclear plant. This is the first method
of forcing dependence on the US through this agreement.
The second method of control is by putting as much as 65% of the
nuclear reactors under the so-called international safeguards (in
effect means US supervision). Not only that, the agreement has forced
the newly renovated CIRUS research reactor, situated at the prestigious
BARC, to be closed down and shifted it to a new location in order
to bring it under safeguards. Besides other factors, the huge expenditure
on renovation will go waste. Also all the nine research facilities,
even the Tata Institute of Fundamental Research (TIFR), the Variable
Energy Cyclotron Centre and the Saha Institute of Nuclear Physics,
are all to be put under the safeguard regime. Not only that, all
future civilian thermal power reactors and civilian fast breeder
reactors will have to be placed under the humiliating safeguards.
All these will be “permanent” and not “conditional” as the earlier
Tarapore reactors were. Under conditional safeguards civilian reactors
could be shifted to military and out of safeguards; now this will
not be possible.
And to bring about all these changes to ensure US control over the
entire nuclear energy programme of the country it will be the Indian
taxpayer who will have to pay the huge amounts entailed in separating
the civilian and military nuclear facilities (which earlier the
scientists said would be impossible in India) in order to bring
it under safeguards — there is no reference even as to who will
bare these massive costs. In every sphere of this nuclear agreement
the Indian rulers have capitulated to US demands and yet the CPM
says it has no problems with this agreement!!! The bulk of the media
too, including those critical of the US, as The Hindu, have also
hailed this deal. In fact The Hindu hailed it editorially on March
10th. Even the chairman of the Atomic Energy commission, Anil Kakodkar,
who was earlier opposing many of the clauses, went out of his way
to publicly hail it (March 9th) as a great victory. Such is the
servility of the Indian ruling elite, including the revisionists.
On the other hand the US is laying the ground for squeezing even
more concessions from the deal (they have left sufficient loophole
in it which can be interpreted in varied ways, and even some details
are to be decided later) saying it will be a hard task to get this
agreement accept-ed by the Congress (necessary in view of the existingnon-proliferation
laws in the US). In the name of “getting it passed” they will no
doubt extract even more later.
But it was not only in the nuclear sphere that the Indian rulers
fell at the feet of the big boss of international finance; they
did so in each and every sphere. Agreements were signed in many
other spheres binding India more tightly with the US imperialists.
This was clear in the joint statement issued.
Particularly there was a big focus on agriculture where a number
of agreements were signed. Firstly it said that the two would expand
cooperation in agriculture by launching the Knowledge Initiative
on Agriculture. Secondly, it said that India would consider changing
the current regulations affecting trade in fresh fruits, vegetables,
poultry and dairy and almonds. Thirdly, they agreed to cooperate
more closely at the Doha Round of WTO trade negotiations (stuck
up primarily in the sphere of agriculture) to take it to its conclusion
— no doubt along US lines.
Then, there were agreements to further tie India’s science, technology
and space research to that of the US science laboratories.
Then there was an assurance to intensify efforts to develop a bilateral
business climate supportive of trade and investments by holding
a public-private Investment Summit in 2006.
Then there were as many as five agreements in the info-tech sector
and the so-called Knowledge Economy, which is already totally tied
to the US.
As already mentioned there are big plans for cooperation in the
energy sector with the possibility of the US investing up to $ 100
billion in the country — this is in a host of areas including oil,
natural gas, coal and civilian nuclear energy.
There were plans for huge sales of defence equipment to India and
deeper ties in the defence sector. They agreed to enhance security
in the maritime domain. They were working to finalise a Logistics
Support Agreement. The joint statement also welcomed increased cooperation
between the US and India in the defence area, since the New Framework
for US-India Defence relationship was signed in June 05. The US
is planning to sell 126 fighters to India. Boeing and Lockheed Martin
are just two companies that have recently set up offices in India.
Boeing expects deals of $15 billion in the next 10 years.
Finally, and most dangerous of all, it was decided that there would
be much greater cooperation in fighting so-called terror — which
would mean greater US involvement in counter-insurgency operations
in India and South Asia. This is a threat not only for the peoples’
move-ments in India, but also in South Asia as it would entail joint
Indian Expansionist and US imperialist operations in South Asia.
Not only here, India is part of the US geo-political campaigns throughout
the world in the name of promoting democracy.
In fact just prior to his visit Bush in his Asia Society speech,
lauded the partnership the US and India had forged to spread democracy
around the world. He has been a great supporter of the “World Movement
for Democracy” which is nothing but a tool for counter-insurgency
and to destabalise not so favourable governments (as has happened
in central Asia with the so-called coloured revolu-tions). It has
its headquarters in the neo-conservative-led National Endowment
for Democracy (NED). In 1999 the NED, with US funding, organised
its first international conference in Delhi!! India became a member
of the “Community of Democracies” during BJP rule. Now under the
UPA government it has joined the US in a “Global Democracy Initiative”.
Over and above all this there was a greater cementing of the relations
between US big business and their comprador counterparts in India
under the auspices of the US-India CEO Forum set up when Manmohan
visited US last year. This Forum, chaired by arch stooge, Tata,
is nothing but a weapon with which to push US/TNC interests in the
country through their comprador business agents. In this Forum are
Tata, Mukesh Ambani, Infosys’s Nandan Nilenkani, Biocon, ITC, Bharat
Forge’s Kalyani amongst others. Bush was accompanied by a mighty
delegation of 50 CEOs of US TNCs, including a big team from the
Wal Mart (to push FDI entry in retail). Through the Forum these
robber barons demanded: greater opening up of the financial service
sectors (particularly banking and insurance) and the retail sector;
development of the infrastructure and removal of bureaucratic delays.
The Forum at its meeting in Delhi put forward concrete demands of
the Indian government: the setting up of a $ 5 billion infrastructure
development Fund; make Mumbai a financial hub; facilitate large
number of Special Economic Zones; reforms in the power sector and
in the institutes of higher education. This was stated openly; what
went on secretly will only come to be known when policy changes
actually take place.
So there was hardly any sphere that was left out for tying up the
country further to US interests. But they were not satisfied with
even that. US arrogance went so far that Bush at his public speech
at the Purana Quila openly dictated what India’s policies should
be, while the servile ruling elite quietly looked on. He publicly
launched a tirade against Iran and added that “India and the US
were closer than ever before and that this partnership had the power
to transform the world”. No doubt like in Iraq!! At the Purana Qila
his main theme was that India is a great democracy and must stand
with the US in promoting “democracy” and “freedom” throughout the
world. He added that the people of North Korea, Burma, Syria, Zimbabwe
and Cuba all yearn for liberty from their own enslavement. He further
added that India’s leadership was needed to “open markets throughout
the world” (which it was already doing as indicated by its behavior
at the Doha WTO negotiations). He thanked the Indian Navy of escorting
ships through the Straits of Malacca after 9/11.
Also what was clear this time was that in his visit to Pakistan
Bush totally sided with India on all contentious issues between
the two countries. In so doing he gave a fillip to Indian expansionist
designs in the region. During his Pakistan trip all he did was arrogantly
lecture to the present rulers. Bush openly humiliated Musharraf
at the joint press conference; he demanded that they were not doing
enough to fight terrorism; he refused a similar nuclear agreement
with Pakistan saying they were not to be trusted (sighting the Khan
affair); he demanded that the polls must be held fairly in 2007;
and for the first time ever he refused intervention (or facilitation)
in the Kashmir dispute, saying it was a bilateral affair to be settled
between the two countries. All these stands were music to the ears
of the Indian expansionists.
But while the compradors of both countries were laying out the red
carpet for this international gangster and providing him unprecedented
security, the people of both countries were turning out in lakhs
to oppose the visit.
In India there was a veritable upsurge, particularly by the Muslim
community and also by progressives from throughout the country.
There were mammoth demonstra-tions in Lucknow, Dehli, Mumbai and
Hyderabad and smaller ones all over the country. There were exhibitions,
cartoons, posters, burning of his effigy and many a creative form
of opposition. UP particularly witnessed demonstrations and bandhs
throughout the State including Kanpur, Pratapgarh, Rae Bareilly,
Gorakhpur, Bareil-ly, Lakhimpur Kheri, Meerut, Muzaffar-nagar, Daharanpur,
Basti, Siddhatnagar, Gonda and Mau (No doubt the recent bomb blasts
in Varanasi will help turn anti-US sentiments into Hindu-Muslim
riots). Maoists too joined with progressive forces in many parts
of the country to protest Bush’s visit. People’s anger was so strong
that many ruling class parties had to make a show of protest as
well (while in effect supporting all the policies) as the SP, CPI,
CPM, Janata Dal (S), etc. Many intellectuals also participated in
these protest actions.
In Pakistan rallies shook all parts of the country. On the eve of
his visit a bomb exploded killing a US diplomat. The opposition
boycotted the banquet given in Bush’s honour.
In fact Bush was so panic stricken that the security provided to
him was unprece-dented. In India 800 US intelligence officials descended
on the country well in advance to take control of his entire security.
Most public functions earlier planned were cancelled. The entire
air-waves around his place of residence were jammed. In fact the
only place he visited was Hyderabad to give a fillip to the ruthless
polices of the govern-ment against Naxalites and a pat on its back
for implementing pro-imperialist policies the most faithfully. He
went out of his way to meet a group of rural women to promote the
Self Help Groups which are being portrayed as an alternative to
Maoist people’s assertion in the countryside.
From the nature of the visit it is clear who stand with the imperialists
and this US gangster and who are the genuine patriotic forces of
the country. This imperialist scum would not be able to last in
this country even for a single day if it did not get the collaboration
from their agents and stooges within the country. Their robbery,
their loot, their plunder of our country could be stopped easily
if these collaborators were not there. It is these comprador elements
that are the worst traitors of the country and it is they who need
to be exposed and targeted for what they really are — lackeys of
the imperialists and particularly the US. These top politicians,
bureaucrats, big business, etc are in fact the chief tools through
which the imperialists push their policies in the country. So an
attack against the imperial-ists, particularly the US, is inconceivable
without hitting at their stooges within the country. The time has
come to build a broad and powerful movement by uniting all the possible
forces against imperialism and particularly the US. Let the sparks
ignited during the Bush visit turn into a prairie fire of that will
burn to ashes the imperialists and their stooges within the country.