Stepping up its campaign against the India-USA nuclear deal, the Committee on Independent Foreign Policy organised a public meeting at Mumbai today. Over 1500 people packed into Patkar Hall in South Mumbai to listen to leaders from the Left parties including Communist Party of India (Marxist) General Secretary Prakash Karat and Communist Party of India General Secretary AB Bardhan. The meeting was supported by local trade union chapters of CITU and AITUC, the Girni Kamgar Sangharsh Samiti and the Peace Mumbai network. Former Mumbai High Court Justice Suresh and Former Finance Secretary SP Shukla also spoke.

The meeting assumed significance in the context of the statement by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh issued 2 days ago where he said that the deal was still on and an agreement with the Left parties will be arrived at sooner or later. Speakers at the meeting asserted that, the Prime Ministers statement notwithstanding, they stood firm in their opposition to the deal. thumb_mumbai1
‘The India – USA nuclear deal is not about nuclear issues alone; it is part of a comprehensive American economic agenda for the country. The strategic partnership with USA will have huge adverse implications for the common people of India in areas such as retail, banking, insurance and agriculture. If the nuclear deal is operationalised it will also mean entry for US multinationals such as Walmart’, said Prakash Karat. ‘Therefore our opposition to the deal is comprehensive– there is no question of compromising on this issue. There has to be explicit parliamentary approval on strategic issues such as this. We are confident that this deal will not go forward’, added Karat
Karat also laid to rest allegations from certain political circles and subsequent reports in the media that the Lefts opposition to the deal was at the behest of China . ‘Even if China supports India at the Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG) we will be steadfast in our opposition. He also said that it was ironic that it was left to the Left to uphold India ’s long cherished principles of non-alignment on foreign policy issues. ‘The present Congress leadership seems to have forgotten history. We would like to remind them that it was the Congress Party under the leadership of Prime Minister Nehru that initiated this policy. This deal is a subversion of that important legacy of our freedom struggle’, he asserted.
‘Our opposition to the deal is on the question of its implications on a progressive vision of India – both domestic and in the developing world’, said AB Bardhan. He added that historically India has had an independent foreign policy which was not dictated by any foreign country. Since aligning with USA on its Global Partnership for Democracy, India has not said anything about the continuing American occupation of Iraq and has antagonized previous allies such as Iran . ‘The left parties have been committed to the anti imperialist struggle and our campaign against the deal is a logical extension of this. We will not allow a partnership with USA that will reverse India ’s standing in the developing world’, said Bardhan.
SP Shukla said that section 102 of the Hyde Act implies that India is expected to isolate, dissuade and sanction Iran . ‘These are open conditionaliites which are unheard of’, he said.
Justice Suresh said that signing strategic treaties such as the nuclear deal without explicit parliamentary approval was an abuse of treaty making powers by the UPA Government and a violation of the Indian Constitution.
Speakers asserted that this was not a question of the Left parties versus the UPA. It was a question of the vision of India that was at stake. A call was given to all progressive forces in the country to join together to stop the deal from going ahead. (Ends)
For more information contact: Jatin Desai at Peace Mumbai 91-9322255812 [email protected]