Dec 13: Accusing the Narendra Modi regime of “wilfully ignoring parliament” in finalising the “Major Defence Partner” agreement with the US, the CPI-M on Tuesday said the deal gave rise to apprehensions of the government “compromising Indias sovereignty and strategic autonomy”.
In a letter to Prime Minister Modi, Communist Party of India-Marxist (CPI-M) General Secretary Sitaram Yechury said the agreement, which brings “India to a level at par with that of the United States’ closest allies and partners”, is “significant departure from India’s longstanding policy on defence relations” and has been done “without taking the parliament into confidence”.
“While the US government has placed the details of Â‘Major Defense Partner’ designation for approval of the US Senate as part of FY 2017 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), your government has not even made a statement in the parliament about such a significant deal. The country can see the US side of the deal by reading the 2017 NDAA, but remains ignorant of the Indian commitment as a Â‘Major Defense Partner’ of the United States,” he said.
Referring to Paragraph (E) of Section 1292 of 2017 NDAA, he said the “concessions” made by the government under the deal will “make Indian defence forces open to American scrutiny, and Indian defence production under US control”.
The said paragarph talks about “mechanisms to verify the security of defense articles, defense services, and related technology, such as appropriate cyber security and end user monitoring agreements” for items and technologies sold to India. Paragraph (F) thereafter states that India will align its “export control and procurement regimes with those of the United States”.
Quoting another NDAA proviso, Yechury said “serious apprehensions arise about your government compromising India’s sovereignty and strategic autonomy”.
“Paragraph (I) of Sec. 1292, 2017 NDAA makes the facts amply clear. It explicitly highlights enhanced ” defence and security cooperation with India in order to advance United States interests in South Asia and greater Indo-Asia-Pacific regions.
“This is, sadly, a commitment by your government to become a junior ally of the US in our own neighbourhood. This represents the final nail in the coffin of India’s independent foreign policy,” he said.
“It is particularly galling that all these commitments, as part of the announcement of the A ‘Major Defense Partner’ designation, were made by the Defence Ministry when both the houses of parliament were, and still are, in session. This is in complete contravention of the established norms and practices of our parliamentary system,” he said.
He also said that text of the Logistics Exchange Memorandum of Agreement (LEMOA) signed between the two countries earlier in the year, “has not been placed before either parliament or the standing committee on defence.
“It needs no reminder that the parliament represents the people of this great country and by choosing to willfully ignore parliament, you are disrespecting 1.3 billion Indians,” said Yechury, demanding both be tabled in Parliament and made public immediately.