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CPI(M) objects to defence agreement with U.S.

Sunday 3 July 2005

Special Correspondent

"India being drawn into U.S. missile defence shield"

NEW DELHI: The Communist Party of India (Marxist), which had objected to the framework agreement on the U.S.-India defence relationship, has said that the United Progressive Alliance Government had taken a major step in tying up with the United States to serve the its strategic goals in Asia.

"If this agreement is carried forward, India will be placing itself in the same category as Japan, South Korea and Philippines - all traditional military allies of the U.S. ," the CPI(M) Polit Bureau said in a statement.

Violation of CMP

It said there was no mention in the Common Minimum Programme of a security and defence partnership with the U.S. nor had the Manmohan Singh Government seen whether the move was in consonance with the commitment to pursue an independent foreign policy and promote multi-polarity in international relations.

In 1995, the P.V. Narasimha Rao Government had signed the first agreement on defence relations that provided for joint exercises and trading programmes. In the present agreement, it was stated that both defence establishments would "collaborate in multinational operations when it is in their common interest." There is no mention if it would be under the auspices of the United Nations. By this clause, India had agreed to participate in U.S.-led military operations. Further, it is well known that in such "multinational operations," troops from other countries were under U.S. command.

Missile defence

"It is surprising that the UPA Government has continued with the Vajpayee Government’s policy with regard to missile defence. The agreement states that both sides will expand collaboration relating to missile defence. It is well known that the U.S. is actively trying to draw certain countries into its missile defence shield. Japan has already agreed to be part of the system. India is now being drawn into it under the cover of the U.S. providing the Patriot missile system," the statement said.

Various other clauses were aimed at integration of the structures of the two armed forces and to enhance "inter-operatability." There was a promise for co-production of defence equipment, which the CPI(M) said, was meant to lure India to buy F-16 fighter planes and open the market for U.S. weaponry. However, there was no specific commitment for lifting the curbs on supply of high technology.

"It is unfortunate that the Indian Government does not view security issues in Asia as those which can be discussed and resolved among the Asian countries, but seeks to advance U.S. interests in the region ," the party said.

See online : The Hindu

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