The communists have decided to stop supporting the Indian coalition government because Prime Minister Manmohan Singh is going ahead with the nuclear agreement with the US, reports the BBC This is good news. At last the Indian government won’t be beholden to communists close to Beijing.
It’s incredible that Indian government policies should be dictated by the Communist Party of India (Marxist), which maintains close relations with China, which has unresolved border problems with India. But the communists have held the balance of power ever since the Congress-led coalition government of Prime Minister Manmohan Singh came into office in May 2004.
The communists have 59 members in India’s lower house of parliament.
BBC reports: Analysts say their pulling out of the governing coalition will leave it with 226 members in the 543-seat parliament, a good 46 seats behind the majority mark.
That is why the government has played along with the communists so long.
But kudos to Singh for standing up to the communists at last and going ahead with the deal under which India will get access to US civilian nuclear technology and fuel. In return, Indian civilian — but not military — nuclear facilities will be examined by International Atomic Energy Agency inspectors.
It’s ridiculous that the agreement he reached with President Bush in July 2005 was stalled all these years because it is opposed by the communists. Communists close to Beijing, which has nuclear missiles targeted at India!
Why the deal is opposed by the Hindu nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party — which has no truck with Beijing — defies explanation. Like the communists, the nationalists claim the agreement undermines Indian sovereignty. But the real reason must be politics. The nationalists are the main opposition in parliament. And their one-point programme is to bring down the government and return to power.
But it looks like they will have to wait.
The BBC reports:
Analysts say the communists’ decision may not lead to a collapse of the government and early elections.
Reports say the Congress party has struck a deal with a regional bloc, the Samajwadi Party.
It has been a traditional political foe of Congress, but has hinted that its 39 MPs could end up supporting the governing coalition on the nuclear deal issue.
Singh confirmed he was going ahead with the deal while speaking to reporters on his way to the G8 summit in Japan.
Communist leader Prakash Karat told reporters that they had sought an appointment with the president “so that we can formally withdraw support tomorrow”.
The deal now needs to be approved by the the International Atomic Energy Agency as well as by the 45-nation Nuclear Suppliers Group, which regulates global civilian nuclear trade.
Then it has to be presented to the US Congress for final approval.