It is a matter of great indignation that the Prime Minister, keeping the people and the political parties in the dark regarding the reasons leading to the reversal of India's long established nuclear policy, has chosen to write about the same to the US President even before the second round of tests on May 13th.
There had never been any doubt regarding the capacities of the Indian scientists in developing our indigenous capabilities in the field of nuclear technology. In fact, these tests would not have been possible but for the continuous work during the last 24 years since the first nuclear test.
While recognising India's capacities and our internal strength in this field, successive governments had chosen not to make nuclear weapons but to keep the nuclear option open, without jeopardising our national security, as a commitment to India's long cherished goal for achieving universal nuclear disarmament. The BJP, which all along adopted a strident jingoistic position, advocated inducting nuclear weapons. The BJP-led government, however, assured that such a step would be taken after a comprehensive review of our security concerns. It has now gone back on its own assurance that it made to the Indian people by this unilateral reversal. And this has been done by a government which has a precarious majority and yet to prove its stability.
The earlier policy which stood India in good stead in the past has now been reversed. The BJP led government has to answer to the Indian people as to what dramatic changes have occurred in our threat perception during the few weeks after it assumed office. It is clear that the BJP is pursuing a domestic political agenda of whipping up jingoism. This is more than clear by its call for celebrations and the simultaneous publication (on May 11) of the RSS mouthpiece, Organiser, exhorting India to become a nuclear weapon State.
Such a policy, apart from undermining the long stand independent foreign policy of India, severely jeopardises the ongoing initiatives taken by India towards improving relations with our neighbours. It negates the advances made during the period of the United Front government. At one stroke the BJP-led government has harmed the atmosphere of good relations being built. The strident anti-China campaign reverses the important initiatives for reduction in arms build up and the confidence building measures that the two countries have arrived at after a decade of diplomatic efforts. The consequences of nuclear arms race in the sub-continent will have a disastrous effect on the Indian economy and the livelihood of millions of working Indians.
While mounting an aggressive anti-China campaign in his letter to the US President, the Prime Minister has deliberately ignored the longstanding threat perception of India concerning the US nuclear military base in Diego Garcia. This Indian Ocean island base has been used by the USA in the Gulf war and its weapons have a range that cover India. Such deliberate silence about imperialist military manoeuvres and support to anti-Indian extremist activities reflects the pro-imperialist shift in Indian policy. Increased tensions in South Asia will enable USA to actively intervene in the region.
The Polit Bureau of the CPI(M) strongly protests against the sanctions being imposed on India by the western powers. The nuclear weapon states and others who have all along supported an unequal and discriminatory nuclear order in the world have no right, moral or otherwise, to impose sanctions on India. All sections of the people will unitedly reject any intimidatory tactics directed against India.
The PB of the CPI(M) warns the BJP led government that the people of the country will not tolerate further attacks on their livelihood through further `liberalisation' and opening up of the economy to foreign capital in the name of combating the sanctions. Already the government has announced the decision to offer counter guarantees, like in the case of Enron, to three multinational companies for power projects. Accelerating this disastrous course will not combat the effect of sanctions but on the contrary, will make India more vulnerable to imperialist economic pressures jeopardising the country's economic sovereignty and simultaneously, imposing greater burdens on the working people. The arms race, at the same time, will both divert scarce resources away from compelling economic needs and divert people's attention away from pressing problems.
Using the sanctions, greater pressures will be mounted on India by imperialism to sign the unequal and discriminatory treaties like the NPT and the CTBT. The BJP led government will not be allowed to capitulate on India's long standing consensual decision of not signing these treaties.
The Polit Bureau of the CPI(M) demands that the BJP led government openly declare that it shall not induct nuclear weapons and build a nuclear arsenal triggering a nuclear arms race in the sub-continent. This is not in the interests of the country and the people. Further, the government should categorically assure the Indian people that it shall not submit to imperialist pressures to be party to unequal and discriminatory international treaties.
The Polit Bureau of the CPI(M) calls upon all peace-loving patriots to rally together in carrying forward India's long cherished desire to rid this planet of all nuclear weapons and force the government to adopt positions which will help preserve peace and security in the region and strengthening good-neighbourly relations.
(Hari Singh Kang)
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