The Communist Party of India (Marxist) is carrying the torch for China by opposing the Indo-US nuclear deal.
Anyone who thinks otherwise should read Bill Emmott’s column in the Washington Post. The former Economist editor, who left the magazine two years ago to write a book about the “power struggle between China, India and Japan”, hits the nail on the head. He writes in his column:
The deal makes a huge exception of India, endorsing its status as a nuclear-weapons state and granting it a more lenient regime of inspections… by the International Atomic Energy Agency than is normal. Why? The answer is China.
Neither the U.S. nor the Indian government wants to say so, but the basic reason to make India an exception and to bring it closer to the United States is the desire to balance the rising power of China in Asia. (My italics here and below.)
Such a balance is in both countries’ clear interests. Yet until now the three-year-old deal has been held up by India’s complicated politics. Prime Minister Singh’s government lacks a parliamentary majority and has relied on communist parties’ votes to govern. Those parties are instinctively anti-American…
At long last, Singh and his party leader, Sonia Gandhi, have summoned the nerve to dump the communists and get support instead from a small regional group representing low castes and Muslims. The Samajwadi Party is losing ground in its state, Uttar Pradesh, to another low-caste party and needs help. With national elections due by next May, both Singh and the Samajwadi Party felt they had little to lose by working together — and much to gain.
That decision deserves to be rewarded by a strong American effort to persuade the International Atomic Energy Agency and the members of the global “nuclear suppliers group” to endorse the deal…
The US Congress should approve the deal even if India wants to buy natural gas from Iran and is visited by President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, says Emmott:
Using the nuclear deal to try to force India to align with the U.S. policy on Iran would be a big mistake. Thanks to its colonial history, India is fiercely protective of its autonomy; it is never going to sign up for a full Japanese-style alliance with the United States.
As Emmott says:
The U.S.-India nuclear deal is that rare thing, a foreign policy move by the Bush administration that could look strategically smart to future historians.