New Delhi, July 19: The Modi government is getting ready to capitulate to the demands of the Trump administration while taking a public stand that seems otherwise, the CPI-M has said.
“The contradiction between the strategic alliance with the US and India’s national interest is coming to the fore,” an editorial in the CPI-M journal “People’s Democracy” said.
“The Modi government is not going to resolve this contradiction in the national interest. Rather, it is getting ready to capitulate to the demands of the Trump administration,” said the Communist Party of India-Marxist (CPI-M).
On the surface, the public stance adopted by the Modi government on issues such as maintaining economic and trade relations with Iran, or, buying sophisticated weaponry from Russia seems to be in consonance with national sovereignty and independent decision making, it said.
“However, the reality is that this public stance is only a camouflage for the pusillanimous and weak-kneed positions the BJP rulers are adopting.”
While External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj stated publicly that India will accept sanctions only by the UN and not any country against Iran, New Delhi had already started cutting down on oil imported from Tehran, the editorial said.
Iran is the third largest supplier of oil to India. The US has announced it would re-impose sanctions on the Iranian petroleum sector.
The editorial said that on June 28, the Ministry of Petroleum told oil refinery companies to explore alternatives to Iranian oil imports and to prepare for the eventuality of drastic reduction in oil purchases from Iran, or, even zero imports from that country.
The CPI-M berated the Modi government for letting the US ambassador to the UN, Nikki Haley, tell Modi to re-think its relationship with Iran.
“The temerity of a junior US functionary conveying such a peremptory demand to the Indian Prime Minister was an affront which no self-respecting government should have stomached. But the Modi government, which is deeply entrapped in the subordinate alliance with the US, kept quiet.”
It said in June there was a 16 percent cut in oil imports from Iran compared to May. “This was obviously done in preparation for the visit of a US team which is coming to India on July 17.”
At the same time, India was being pressurised to buy more oil from the US, the CPI-M said.
It added that the US was pressing India to sign the Communications Compatibility and Security Agreement (COMCASA). This will enable the installation of high end communication equipment on weapons platforms sold to India by the US.
“The US is making this communication systems agreement conditional for selling high-tech weaponry to India. Such an agreement will further bind the Indian armed forces to the US defence system.
“It will entail opening Indian military bases for US personnel to check the communication systems. It will also enable the US to monitor communications within the Indian military. Further, it will also make Russian equipment incompatible with other weapon systems.”
The editorial said the Modi government had already signed a logistics exchange agreement with the US in 2016 which would allow the US Air Force and Navy to use Indian bases for re-fuelling, maintenance and supplies.
Signing the COMCASA would be another step in undermining the independence and integrity of the Indian armed forces, it said.