Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Charlatanism for diplomacy and incompetence for leadership

Charlatanism has taken over diplomacy. The latest revelations on the Indo-US nuclear deal have made American interests quite clear. It was never about empowering India, as claimed, but hoodwinking India into the non-proliferation regime. The letter released by House Foreign Affairs Committee Howard Berman confirms this. The said letter was written 9 months ago by the state department in response to questions posed by the Congress, yet we were kept in the dark, lest the Americans lost the deal.
It is difficult to understand Dr. Singh's enthusiasm for the deal when it has been blindingly obvious, all along, that there were many questionable aspects of the deal that needed more disscussion, clarifications and re-negotiation. But Dr. Singh's incompetence made him blind to all this. He placed more trust in the Americans than his own countrymen who time and again warned him against the deal.
So what does the letter clarify? (From the IE link)
[...] the Chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee Howard Berman has released State Department's answers to 45 questions on the deal which indicate clearly differing perceptions on key issues between New Delhi and Washington. (Emphasis added)
Any why was the letter kept under wraps for 9 months -
The answers were considered ‘so sensitive, particularly because the debate over the agreement in India could have toppled the government of Prime Minister Manmohan Singh that the State Department requested they remain secret even though they were not classified,’ according to Washington Post which quoted a spokesman for Berman as saying he had made the answers public because the US Congress must have ‘relevant information’. (Emphasis added)
And what does it say about India carrying out any testing -
In its responses, the State Department has said that as outlined in the 123 Agreement, should India detonate a nuclear explosive device, the US has the right to cease all nuclear cooperation with it immediately, including the supply of fuel.

It also stipulates that US can request India to return items transferred from it including fresh fuel. In addition, the US has the right to terminate the agreement on one year's written notice. (Emphasis added)
And here are the bullet points from Dr. Brahma Chellaney's column on rediff -
  • The US has given no binding fuel-supply assurance to India.
  • No US consent to India's stockpiling of lifetime fuel reserves for safeguarded power reactors.
  • US civil nuclear cooperation is explicitly conditioned to India not testing ever again.
  • The US has retained the right to suspend or terminate supplies at its own discretion.
  • The letter makes clear that the 123 Agreement has granted India no right to take corrective measures in case of any fuel-supply disruption.
  • The Bush administration's letter states that the 123 Agreement fully conforms to the Hyde Act provisions.
  • The letter assures Congress that the 'US government will not assist India in the design, construction or operation of sensitive nuclear technologies.
Spin doctors and media agents did not tire telling us how good the deal was and how good the PM was for negotiating it. The prime minister, Sonia, Rahul Gandhi, Pranab Mukerjee, Kapil Sibal etc. asked all opponents to listen to our hearts. Apparently it was in our national interest and that the future generations would thank us for the deal. However, Dr. Singh has a lot to answer to the nation, after all this amounts to him lying on the floor of our parliament and to the nation.
Update: According to David Mulford, The US did share all the points mentioned in the letter with the Indian government -
"This letter contains no new conditions and there is no data in this letter which has not already been shared in an open and transparent way with members of the Congress and with the Government of India," US Ambassador David C Mulford said in a statement.
Dr. Singh stands completely exposed and cannot feign ignorance after this. He is now a confirmed liar.

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