Leaders ask U.S. diplomats not to read too much into harsh views expressed in foreign policy resolution.
A December 2005 cable, sent by Deputy Chief of Mission Robert Blake, offers the interesting reading that when it comes to foreign policy and India-U.S. relations, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and the Congress are birds of the same feather and the BJP's rhetoric criticising the United Progressive Alliance's ‘subservience' to the United States is “only political rhetoric meant to score points against the UPA.”
The BJP, at its National Executive meeting in Mumbai on December 26 and 27, 2005, criticised the UPA government for adopting a foreign policy that was “subservient” to the U.S. But soon after the party passed this foreign policy resolution, its leaders privately told American diplomats not to read too much into it.
In the cable sent on December 28, 2005 (48692: confidential) Mr. Blake said: “In a private conversation on December 28, BJP National Executive Member Seshadiri Chari urged us ‘not to read too much into the foreign policy resolution, especially the parts relating to the US.' Chari dismissed the statement as ‘standard practice' aimed at scoring easy political points against the UPA. BJP spokesman Prakash Javdekar echoed these statements, saying that the BJP was not really upset about the US/India relationship, but merely wanted the GOI [Government of India] and USG [United States Government] to be more forthcoming about any deal on nuclear policy.”
Mr. Blake came up with this analysis of the BJP's motives and actions: “The regional policy statements are standard BJP boilerplate, but the party adopted a peculiarly harsh view towards US/India relations. BJP insiders assured us privately that the statements were only political rhetoric meant to score points against the UPA. It is not unusual for domestic political considerations to take precedence over foreign policy in India, and the BJP decided there was little risk of negative fallout with the USG.”
He concluded that the BJP out of power was more interested in UPA-bashing than in nurturing the U.S.-India relationship. “There is lingering sensitivity among portions of the Indian electorate regarding possible ‘subservience' to the US, and a nationalist party like the BJP can energize its core membership by asserting Indian independence. BJP leaders do not seem overly concerned about the repercussions of their anti-US rhetoric, convinced that a few well-placed private assurances will mollify the USG.”