Special Correspondent

CPI, CPI(M) give reasons for rejecting nuclear deal; no loss of face for government, says CPI leader Bardhan

Poor argument that Hyde Act does not

concern India: Bardhan

“Approach of Left in the best traditions

of democracy”

NEW DELHI: Apart from negating the consensual declared objective of pursuing an independent foreign policy, a strategic partnership of India with the U.S. has consequent serious implications on India’s defence and security concerns, the Communist Party of India (Marxist) has said.

“Since the first joint statement on strategic partnership released by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and U.S. President George Bush in July 2005, we have been drawing attention to the dangers of India being turned into a supplicant of U.S. imperialism,” the party organ, People’s Democracy, says in an editorial in its latest issue.

Debunks reasons

The editorial sought to debunk reasons being given in support of the India-U.S. civilian nuclear deal, that it would increase power generation capacity and the CPI(M) was opposing it at the behest of China. It said that absurd reasoning of the CPI(M)’s opposition to the deal was being advanced instead of contesting what the party was stating publicly.

On the need to expand India’s capacities to generate more power, the editorial said the moot question was if the nuclear energy expansion was the only option, or, even the best option at the moment.

It said the nuclear power generation in 2005 was 3,310 MW or a mere 2.5 per cent of India’s total power generation capacity. The generation was expected to increase to 10,000 MW by 2015, with only 5 to 7 per cent of the projected capacity generation then.

Compared with gas, nuclear power would be twice as expensive and as compared to coal it would be one and a half times more expensive. “Therefore, by all counts, nuclear power is the most expensive. India has at least 50,000 MW of untapped hydro-electric potential,” it said.

Describing the government’s arguments that the nuclear deal was to augment energy resources and to provide electricity to the farmers as “hollow,” the editorial said: “It appears that as a consequence of this deal, huge commercial orders running into thousands of crores of rupees for the purchase of nuclear reactors would be placed on U.S. and other advanced countries corporations.”

The editorial said the profit bonanza to multi-national corporations was there for all to see with the attendant benefits to sections of corporate India. “Is India then actually going in for this deal to bolster U.S. economic interests?” it asked.

On the Bharatiya Janata Party’s opposition to the deal, the People’s Democracy said the current opposition was a mere posturing and smacked of a ‘hurt’ that such a deal ought to have been concluded under its government and not under the UPA government!

In an article in the party organ New Age, Communist Party of India (CPI) General Secretary A.B. Bardhan said it was a “poor argument” that the Hyde Act did not concern India and it was the business of the United States. “True, a law passed by the American Congress cannot bind India. But it does bind the American side, who are the party to the deal. President George Bush says he regards the provisions of the Hyde Act as only ‘advisory’ and not ‘binding.’ But will the Presidents who follow him take the same view?”

He appealed to all the parties in the UPA to see the reasonableness of the stand taken by the Left parties on the deal. He argued that if a government was sensitive to the public opinion within the country, to the strong view of its supporters, and to the sense of the House, it did not amount to loss of face. “The face of the government depends primarily on the support of the people in the country, and not on what the people abroad think of it,” he said.

While rejecting the charge that the Left parties were trying to destabilise the government supported by them, the CPI leader said that the approach of the Left parties to the deal was in the best traditions of democracy. “There is not one precipitate step that we have taken. But if the UPA leadership adamantly refuses to halt, to pause and to reflect before proceeding further, and, therefore, certain consequences follow, then it is not we who are to be blamed,” Mr. Bardhan said.

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