Monday, June 30, 2008

An Emergency Landing for the UPA Government in India?

IF THE country is going to have a mid-term election later this year, it is surely going to be a crash-landing for the United Progressive Alliance Government led by Dr. Manmohan Singh.

Going by the current situation, it is almost clear that there are very few options for the government as well as the left parties who have declared their intention to part ways after four years of supporting this government.

It does not take much hard speculation as to why the left parties decided to pull the rug at this point. They simply can’t be seen accepting a policy that takes India to the Untied States’ global policy framework, or their global agenda. That would be suicidal because the left parties have always survived on a consistent economic and political line whose axiom remains anti-imperialism. Not that they do not make concessions, compromises or even opportunistic positions. They do and try to accommodate all such compromises within their overall ideological positions. They know private investment and capital is a must, and that capital can only come from the moneybags in the west, because they have been running governments for a long time.

That is why they, in spite of public show of great antagonism to the Chidambaram brand of neo-liberal economic policies, were comfortable with the UPA alliance. They needed to have some expertise in political acrobatics, or the dexterity to adapt to the philosophy of running with the hare and hunting with the dog. They do have these qualities, in abundance too.

But accepting the Indo-US nuclear deal was something different. It meant accepting the US hegemony in our hemisphere, in our own backyard. It also meant discarding the long held convictions of our foreign policy, nurtured and perfected from the days of Jawaharlal Nehru. Though it was officially Congress policy, its primary supporters and beneficiaries were the left forces, as it suited perfectly to their world view.

Then why the Congress abandons their age-old policies of non-alignment, inherited from the days of Nehru, and run to the US arms now?

Because, the world has changed and it has changed beyond recognition. The foreign policy of India was perfected in the days of cold war, when the world was divided into two grand camps, the capitalist US and socialist USSR. Every country, every region and every conflict had been caught up in this larger divide and the two forces were behind one or the other contender in those conflicts.

Now things are different. Te bipolar world is no more and uni-polarity is gone and it seems multi-polarity is the name of game. And naturally, India emerges as a regional player and it has ambitions of being a global power. Its establishment thinks the US is a natural ally because both have complimentary ambitions and can play to mutual benefit.

But how far this could be true?

It is tough to say. But one thing is clear. If India takes itself to the US camp, it would naturally have serious consequences among the Muslims, within the country and globally, especially as and when the US goes ahead with its threatened attack on Iran too. Then there is another possibility too: Of the non-US world, may be Russia, China, Venezuela, Iran and others, joining hands in a grand global alliance against the US and its allies. Then India would find itself woefully alone, its natural allies gone and its new friends not entirely dependable.

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