Doing Business With Bush
India is rapidly growing and needs loads of energy soon to fuel that growth. We cannot (and should not) depend on the unstable Middle-East for our oil, not just because they are repressive and thus unstable regimes but also because of the spiraling cost and long-term environmental problems. Wind, solar and tidal energies are still at a nascent stage and need more time before they can be widespread. And there is stiff resistance in India to large scale hydro electric plants. So the only reliable alternative left is nuclear power. The Indian nuclear establishment for all its talent of working under adverse conditions is still using unstable cold-war era technologies. Added to this is the fact that India has very low reserves of Uranium. We do have huge reserves of Thorium but lack the technology to use it as a nuclear fuel as of yet. So we urgently need access to safe and reliable nuclear technologies and fuel. And who controls this? The US (and other Western powers) of course. So if not today tomorrow we would need this deal. And that I think is the raison d’etre for this agreement. Remember, this deal was asked for by the Indians and not the Americans.
Now with this little setting of context out of the way let us come to Mr. Bush. I do not like him and I think he is perhaps the worst US president in history. He is a war mongerer and I seriously think he is in the pocket of big business. But I do give him certain credit. He has had the courage to change decades of anti-India policies by the US. I know he is not doing this out of love for India, he is doing it from a purely strategic and business point of view but he did something which even Clinton was not willing to do.
So it is a purely pragmatic decision on India’s part to deal with him. When we can directly deal with war mongerers and repressive dictators like Musharraf of Pakistan and Wen Jiabao of China what is wrong in dealing with Bush? Musharraf is even worse than Bush I think. He was directly responsible for the killing of hundreds of Indian soldiers during the Kargil episode and indirectly responsible for the thousands of deaths due to terrorism in Kashmir and beyond. For god’s sake, he blatantly ignores terrorists acting from his own soil! And I doubt if even you will support a totalitarian state like China and the immense human rights abuses it’s ruling government has been party to. So why didn’t anyone (apart from perhaps the far right parties) protest their visit to India? Why didn’t the Left come out in full force and protest the Chinese leadership’s visit sometime back or Musharraf’s continuing support for terrorism? Do you really believe that the Indian left cares for the issues on hand? They are making such a noise only because they have elections coming up in key states where they hold power or have influence. So I don’t see anything really wrong in India doing business with Bush.
Finally, that brings us to the question, what is it that the Indian left wants? Do they even have a vision for India’s future or does it change every time they taste power? Do they want to turn India into a totalitarian communist regime like China? I mean these were the very people who apparently opposed nuclear weapons of any kind when India embarked on a such a program first. Now, it is hilarious to see them getting concerned for the military nuclear program!
Even though my politics lie left of center I’ve never been in favor of the Indian Left parties. They have never done anything that has benefited the poor and have only bothered themselves about staying in power as long as possible.
Let not the above words give you the impression that I support nuclear weapons. Far from it, I wish they had never been invented in the first place. But they exist and will continue to do so. I was disappointed to see India soften its long held stand for the complete eradication of nuclear weapons in the world. However, that is a also a shift based on current reality. India is surrounded by hostile and unstable regimes. From Pakistan to Burma, from China to Bangladesh, we have neighbors who refuse to see reason and are willing to continue on the path of violence and/or brutal suppression of human rights. So we do need a credible deterrent, something that will make them think twice before threatening our national and territorial integrity. In spite of this obvious security fear, India is perhaps the only nuclear power in the world who has imposed on herself a no first-strike policy. Did any of the other other nuclear powers follow India’s example? The answer is a resounding no. And this is where India’s need for nuclear weapons comes from.
(A post that was in response to Tushar’s argument that Bush is a war criminal and therefore it was an insult for him to offer respects at Mahatma Gandhi’s samadhi and that India should not do business with him.)