Obama’s visit to India

No to the strategic partnership with US imperialism!

The visit of US President Obama to India as the chief guest during the Republic Day celebrations mark the further deepening and consolidation of the strategic partnership of the Indian state with US imperialism, which has been in the making for several years. The ruling Indian big bourgeoisie and its spokesmen, without exception, are hailing this as a “breakthrough” visit and as a “great diplomatic victory” for India. In fact, the closer alignment with US imperialism is an act of greatest treachery against the working class and toiling people of India. It poses a very great danger to the peace and security of the peoples of this region and the world.

The big bourgeoisie of this country is hell bent on propelling itself into the ranks of major global powers, through closer integration with global finance capital and through stepped-up militarisation. To achieve this, it is drawing steadily closer to US imperialism. What this visit shows is that to achieve this “partnership”, the Indian bourgeoisie is prepared to accelerate the sell-out of the land and labour of this country, to align itself more closely to the strategic interests of the US in this part of the world, and to sidestep even its own laws and ‘time-tested’ policies to do so.

On its part, US imperialism sees a closer relationship with India as an important factor in its policy of ‘pivoting towards Asia’ or ‘rebalancing’, which aims to extend US hegemony in the Asia-Pacific region and to put pressure on China. It sees India as a major counterweight to the growing power of China in Asia. At the same time, the US imperialists see India as a lucrative field for investment and an important market for American capital in the conditions of continuing economic recession in the capitalist world. It is counting on the Modi government to push through the next set of economic reforms in the direction of further privatisation and liberalisation which would open up India and its resources even more to foreign capitalist exploitation.

The process of forging closer ties with US imperialism has been going on for several years under different governments. But by inviting a US President to be the chief guest on Republic Day for the very first time, and also making a great show of his closeness with Obama, Modi and his government openly showed their contempt for the deep sentiments of the Indian working class and people against US imperialism. The Indian bourgeoisie and its spokesmen, lusting after a closer relationship with the US, are trying to portray the widespread sentiment against US imperialism as something ‘obsolete’ and a ‘hangover from the Cold War era’. But the truth is that all over the world, on all continents, anger and resentment against US imperialism and its aggression is on the rise. The Indian people are very conscious of the dangers posed by US imperialism to peace and the sovereignty of nations, big and small, all over the globe, now more than ever. Barring a tiny minority of big capitalists, our people have nothing to gain from closer ties with such a ferocious power.

A number of deals between India and the US were either finalised or negotiations on them were taken further just prior to and during this visit.

The obstacles in the path of the Indo-US nuclear deal that was first signed in 2005 were at least partially sidestepped. Instead of upholding Indian law which says that nuclear suppliers, whether foreign or Indian, would be held liable in case of a nuclear accident in India, the Modi government has agreed to the setting up of an “insurance pool” by Indian public sector insurance companies and the Indian government, that would take on the liabilities in case of such a catastrophe. In effect, it is the Indian people who would thereby be taking on the burden of liability. The insurance cost would be added to the cost of the reactors, leading to higher prices being paid for them by India.

Under the Indo-US defence cooperation agreement, renewed for another ten years, the trend of steadily increasing cooperation between the military establishments of the US and India will continue, especially in the sphere of maritime cooperation. Already, the joint naval exercise that India conducts with the US navy, codenamed “Malabar”, is the largest of its kind. Furthermore, under the Defence Trade and Technology Initiative (DTTI) which had been concluded earlier, for the first time four projects for joint development and production have been identified. However, the kind of transfer of advanced military technologies that the Indian state wants will probably not take place unless the Indian state agrees to sign more binding agreements, such as the Communications Inter-Operability and Security Memorandum of Agreement (CISMOA) and the Basic Exchange and Cooperation Agreement for Geo-Spatial Cooperation (BECA). In the meantime, the renewal of the Defence Cooperation Framework will open the way for further huge purchases of military hardware from American companies.

The growing cooperation between the intelligence agencies of the US and India will be taken further forward in the name of counter-terrorism, to possibly include joint operations. During the joint press conference held in Delhi, Obama “thanked” India for its role in Afghanistan. It is clear from this that the Indian state will be involving itself more closely in the pernicious US-led strategy in Afghanistan in the coming period, to the great danger of the peace and security of the Indian and neighbouring peoples.

Very significantly, for the first time a joint “vision” document pertaining to maritime cooperation in the Asia-Pacific region was signed by India and the US. The joint pledge to cooperate in maintaining the freedom of navigation and overflight in the region, “especially in the South China Sea”, was clearly a warning to China, and has been understood by China as such. It is now clearer than before that the strategic partnership with the US launched under the previous UPA government has a definite thrust aimed at involving India in the US imperialist strategy to dominate Asia. This will necessarily have an impact on peaceful relations between India and its biggest close neighbour China.

The joint vision document was accompanied by a “Delhi declaration of friendship” which pledged closer, more sustained and regular interaction between the Indian and US leadership. The US reiterated its stand of the last few years supporting the Indian state’s ambition to be recognised as one of the permanent members of the UN Security Council. In addition, it also promised to support India’s membership in four nuclear control regimes.

Apart from these, plans were announced for the US to “assist” India with efforts to develop sources of renewable energy. Media commentators interpreted this as a “concession” by the US, lifting pressure on India to reduce its carbon emissions ahead of the Paris climate change conference. However this announcement would mean among other things fat contracts for US-based companies in the field of solar power and renewable energy.

Two high-level business meetings were organized in Delhi during Obama’s visit, one the US-India Business Council, and another with the top big capitalists of India in the Indo-US CEO Forum. Although the Indian government made lavish promises to ensure “ease of business” for US investors, it is clear that US monopoly capitalists are waiting for the government to push through further reforms in the direction of privatisation and liberalisation. This was the substance of the discussions in these forums.

While the Obama visit and its outcomes testify to a warming up of relations between the Indian ruling class and the US imperialists, it would be wrong to conclude that the Indian big bourgeoisie has allied itself fully with the US and is following its dictate. The Indian big bourgeoisie is pursuing its own class interests, and its goal of becoming a major Asian and global power, in the manner that it judges to be the best. This includes getting the best deals for itself wherever it can, including from a number of other powers. The issue is also not whether India has “subordinated” itself to the US or is an “equal partner” with it. The issue is that the US is a dangerous and aggressive power which is wreaking havoc on the peoples of Asia and the world, and that cosying up to it is a despicable policy, an act of betrayal of the Indian people and of the millions of peoples around the world who are the direct and indirect victims of its depredations. Opposing US imperialism is a matter of principle and of defending the national interests of the Indian people.

While the bourgeois news media in India showed only scenes of “warm welcome” of Obama, the fact is that big demonstrations were organized by a number of political parties and organisations of the working class and people to denounce his visit. It is clear that the task of defending the interests of the Indian people against US imperialism, the most dangerous power in the world today, cannot be left to the ruling class which is united in its desire for closer relations with the US. The Communist Ghadar Party of India denounces the visit of Obama and the strategic partnership with US imperialism as part of its principled opposition to all imperialism and in defence of world peace and the sovereignty of all countries.


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Against Imperialist War    Feb 1-15 2015    Voice of the Party    War & Peace    


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