Thursday, January 26, 2006

India discovers no free ride from USA

Last year India, of all nations, surprised everyone, including her own people by voting against Iran in an IAEA resolution for a future referral of the Persian nation to the UN Security Council (UNSC) if she did not step back from her nuclear ambitions.

The resolution was passed but with Russia and China abstaining. And no one would have expected India, as a founding member of the Bandung Conference, and a staunch pillar of the Non-Aligned Movement, to ever take the side of either the West or East, and thus to abstain. What’s more, it has been an India that has not only close ties with Iran but also a US$7 billion dollar deal with the latter.

I lamented in my posting Has India Lost Its Soul? to the Americans, that today’s Indian government seemed to have abandoned that traditional non-aligned posture and deliberately moved over to the side of the USA because of Washington's promise to provide India with advanced nuclear technology.

India dismissed all suggestions that there was anything linked between the two - the anti-Iran vote and the offer of nuclear technology.

Well, now India realises that there is no such thing as a free ride as the USA demands India to support its campaign to firm up that referral to the UNSC about a defiant Iran. The US wants India to vote for the US campaign against Tehran, or the US offer of nuclear technology is off.

The threat was made very publicly by David Mulford, US ambassador to India, who said: “The effect on members of the US Congress with regard to the civil nuclear initiative will be devastating.”

The US State Department quickly came out ot provide some ’face’ for India by suggesting the ambassador’s remarks were merely his analysis of how Congress might react to India’s reluctance to vote against Iran, though it admitted the US would like India to vote alongside her.

Once again India has to put on a brave face and deny her new predicament. Once a champion of the Non-Aligned Movement, India now is in danger of becoming an American toady as she tries to deal with US political coercion that she toes the American line against Iran.

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