Ek Saal, Bura Hal

Namo Ka Ek Saal, Gamoh Ka El Saal


One year of Modi Sarkar


On Modi’s Foreign Policy

Prime Minister Narendra Modi had visited 18 countries in his first 12 months in office – that’s an average of one country every 20 days! No wonder apologists of BJP and Modi are trying to project ‘foreign policy’ as the government’s biggest achievements. But, peeling through the layers of ‘event-management’ that accompanied these visits, one can easily find that the ‘core’ of the government’s foreign policy is ‘rotten’, if not empty.

Some of the major trends in foreign policy of the current BJP government are – increasing proximity towards the US, further strengthening of relation with Israel at the cost of traditional solidarity with the Palestinian cause and steadily moulding our policy towards ‘containment of China’.

Closer Ties with the US: The one year of BJP rule saw a further inclination of Indian foreign policy to suit the strategic goals of the US. It is ironical that for the first time in our independent history, the president of the US, a country which is in war with other countries 93 percent of the time since its independence, was asked to be the chief guest of our Republic Day parade. The visits of Modi to US and Obama to India were used to reassert the strategic relationship between India and US. In the joint-statements released by both the heads of the State, it is clear that the BJP government had succumbed to the pressures of the US and further laid open our country’s economy and resources for exploitation.

The BJP government, in its eagerness to please the US, has discarded the independent foreign policy of our country that once was appreciated by all developing countries. Defense cooperation with the US got further deepened with the Indian government already approving the purchase of US attack and heavy lift helicopters. US has, thus, become India’s largest supplier of arms in the past five years, overtaking Russia. The BJP government cemented this relationship with the US by signing for an extension of the US-India Defence Framework Agreement (DFA) for another ten years, i.e., till 2025. The US is unashamedly clear in its needs for ensnaring India into its embrace: “We want a friend in 2020 that will be capable of assisting the US military to deal with a Chinese threat. We cannot deny that India will create a countervailing force to China”.  The DFA was designed to facilitate this Pentagon aim.

Through the new DFA, the United States succeeded in enlisting India for a long term military collaboration which includes joint military exercises, multinational missions abroad, missile defense cooperation, defense trade purchases and ensuring interoperability between the two armed forces. The Malabar joint naval exercises with the US have now become an annual event. Similar exercises with other wings of the armed forces – army and air force are steadily expanding. The result of this subservience is, the US had the largest number of military exercises with India compared to any other country.

The moot point is, our country was forced into this unequal relationship with the US by our government, without accruing any net gains from the bargain. A set of new projects announced under the Defense Technology & Trade Initiative (DTTI), underscore that this relationship is heavily one-sided, favouring the US. India is not getting the expected dividends, either strategically or in terms of advanced technology.

The US-India Joint Strategic Vision for the Asia Pacific and Indian Ocean Region, explicitly states that both the countries share common interests in the South China Sea. The ‘Asia pivot’, doctrine pushed by Obama, clearly states that the US intends to station 60 percent of its navy in the region, so that it can intervene in the region and control the trade routes, to contain China. A commentator in the Washington Post (September 28, 2014) clearly spelt out the reasons for US interest in India: “In strategic terms, there are few countries more important to Washington than India, the dominant power in the Indian Ocean region and, with Japan, the most important US partner in Asia seeking to limit Chinese assertiveness in the region”. It is to serve these interests of the US that the current BJP government is eagerly entering into its embrace, extending its ‘political support for spreading democracy’. How the US spreads democracy can easily be seen in Iraq, Libya, Syria and now Yemen. Shamelessly, the BJP government has committed our country to this bloody enterprise.

The BJP government was even ready to sign agreements willing to share classified information and sensitive technology with the US. This was in fact agreed by the earlier BJP government lead by Vajpayee, but could not materialise as it lost power before the nitty-gritty could be worked out. The presence of Left in the UPA coordination committee during its early years in office, forced these agreements to be shelved. Now that the BJP is back with a majority of its own, it is eager to bring them back to life, unconcerned about the fact that world-over there is widespread resentment against the US spying and snooping on governments and citizens. Moreover, it wants to hand over such information on a platter, without giving the US any further necessity to spy or snoop.

Joining hands with Israel Another significant ‘achievement’ of the BJP government in its first year in office is deepening of ties with another ‘thug’ in West Asia, who blatantly violates all the UN resolutions – Israel. India has now become the largest purchaser of Israeli armaments in the world and thus, the largest financier of Israeli military attacks on the Palestinians! Modi has openly and enthusiastically embraced the Jewish state. When Modi was unwelcome to many countries for his role in the 2002 Gujarat riots, it was Israel that had invited him. Now that he is the PM, it is pay-back time.

The pro-Israeli stance of the BJP can be traced to its Hindu fundamentalist ideological roots, which see a favourable example of a religion based nation in Israel, akin to their own dream of the Hindu Rashtra, and are on the same wavelength with the Zionists in terms of fanaticism, ultra-nationalism and anti-Islamic feelings.

Never has the Indian foreign policy lost its face more, than at the time when Israel launched its most brutal 7-week long attack on the Gaza Strip in July-August last year, killing 2200 Palestinians including 550 children. India, which had stood by the Palestinian cause, right from our days of freedom struggle, for the first time failed to unreservedly condemn the Israeli attack. The Foreign Ministry statement expressed its concern over “cross-border provocations resulting from rocket attacks” targeting Israel which is a complete about-turn from the past official declarations that had denounced Israeli actions. The BJP government rejected a parliamentary resolution seeking to condemn Israel over the attack on Gaza.

The pro-Israeli stance of the BJP can be traced to its Hindu fundamentalist ideological roots, which see a favourable example of a religion based nation in Israel, akin to their own dream of the Hindu Rashtra, and are on the same wavelength with the Zionists in terms of fanaticism, ultra-nationalism and anti-Islamic feelings.

The foreign policy of the BJP government is more about event-managements and NRI events rather than pursuing a strategic vision of deepening our relations with the developing countries, strengthening our bonds with our neighbours and standing against the bullying tactics of the imperialist countries.

The recent statement of the defence minister (terrorists to fight terrorism), does neither help in combating terrorism nor in building better relations with our neighbours. The aggressive fundamentalist, communal rhetoric raised by the ruling party members and the ‘sangh parivar’ is further aggravating tensions in the region. This does not augur well for maintaining peace in the region.

India, was always looked at as a champion of the interests of the developing countries, either in the negotiations on climate change or on trade related to agriculture and other allied products. But with the BJP government in power and eager to open the country for foreign capital, never before have the developing countries lost their faith on our country, thanks to the subservient foreign policy pursued by the current dispensation.