The Polit Bureau of the Communist Party of India (Marxist) has issued the following statement:
An Unequal Relationship
The joint statement issued after the talks between the US President Bill Clinton and the Indian Prime Minister is a confirmation of the Vajpayee government's pro-US stance which has serious implications for India's sovereignty and foreign policy. None of the issues arising out of US policies which affect India adversely have been addressed. Instead, the concerns of the US have been accommodated by the BJP-led government. It is evident from the statement that the United States will continue to exercise pressure on India on the question of nuclear non-proliferation, further opening up of the Indian economy to foreign finance capital and drawing India into the US global strategy. In the statement, India recognises that the US has a significant role to play in regional security which has implications for Indo-Pakistan relations. The Vajpayee government has accorded the USA a major role in meeting the "challenges to regional peace". This is a major shift from the policy of non-alignment.
While in the past India has constantly advocated the cause of universal nuclear disarmament, in this statement it is stated that "India and the US are prepared to work together to prevent the proliferation of nuclear weapons and the means of delivery". This is an oblique reference to the Indian government accepting the need to sign the CTBT, a commitment about which the US President Clinton has written in his article in the media on the eve of his visit.
The declaration that both the countries "will not engage in nuclear and missile arms race" is hypocritical given the fact that the United States is now developing a new theatre missile defence system in East Asia and conducting a joint programme with Israel for developing an anti-ballistic missile defence system.
The Vajpayee government, through the joint statement, has fully endorsed the WTO regime and the American view of the multilateral trading system. The US administration recently reiterated that it will continue to pursue the inclusion of labour and environmental standards on to the agenda of the WTO. The statement endorsing "Opening trade and resisting protectionism…." is what the United States wants India to follow. The quantitative restrictions on imports, removed under American pressure recently, is now approved through this joint statement.
The joint statement officially acknowledges that India will join the American ideological enterprise known as the community of democracies. The Vajpayee government had made this commitment even before the Lok Sabha elections. This is the first time that the Indian government has become part of a US political enterprise to project its version of democracy and free markets.
Nowhere in the statement is there a reference to the continuing US sanctions against India in the technological and economic spheres. The talk of bilateral cooperation in the scientific and technological fields is hollow with such an inequitable system in place.
The joint statement is a clear indication of the BJP-led government's willingness to enter into a strategic relationship in which the dominant partner will be, of course, the United States.