Volume 7, No. 4, April. 2006

Humiliating Bush Visit:

Pushes India Deeper into the Arms of the US Octopus
— Arvind

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 to Iran.
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.



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