Mazdoor Ekta Lehar condemns the visit of US Secretary of Defence Leon Panetta to India in June 2012. This visit was aimed at coordinating the imperialist approaches of the US and India towards China, Iran, Syria, Pakistan and Afghanistan. It also included signing of billions of dollars worth of arms purchases.
Panetta's visit was the third high level visit by a representative of the US government in as many months. In April, the American Assistant Secretary for Political-Military Affairs visited India, followed by the visit of the Secretary of State Hillary Clinton in May. These visits point to the great emphasis being laid by US imperialism to building a close strategic relationship with the ruling class of India.
India is at the present time the world's largest purchaser of military hardware. Already, in just the past one decade, the arms deals between India and the US have grown from practically nothing to $8 billion, and there could be another $8 billion worth of deals in the near future. This provides a boost to the military industrial complex of US imperialism.
The US imperialists see in India a country they define as a "partner". US imperialism wants to egg on the Indian bourgeoisie's imperialist ambitions "eastward", encouraging it to participate as an ally of US imperialism in the encirclement of China. Panetta made it a point during his visit to stress upon the importance of India in the strategy of US in Asia.
Panetta used his visit to further fuel animosity between India and Pakistan. The US imperialists do not want our two peoples to resolve our outstanding problems and live in peace and friendship with one another. Precisely at a time when moves have been made by the Indian and Pakistani governments to ease trade barriers and barriers to the movement of our people, Panetta launched attacks on Pakistan from the soil of India. He accused Pakistan of being soft on terror and spoke about India having a role in Afghanistan's security. He followed it up by an "unscheduled visit" to Kabul, from where he once against attacked Pakistan.
It must be noted that the government and people of Pakistan have condemned the repeated US drone attacks on Pakistan, in which thousands of civilians and military personnel have been killed over the years. Pakistan has stopped the supply routes for American troops to Afghanistan through its territory, as a mark of protest against these drone attacks. The Pakistani government has demanded that the US government apologise for these attacks, as well as announce the cessation of such attacks which violate the sovereignty of Pakistan. It is no secret that each of the drone attacks as well as the targets are personally authorised by none other than US President Barrack Obama. Not only have the US imperialists refused to apologise for the past attacks, they have continued to launch fresh drone attacks on Pakistan. Under such conditions, very few in the ruling circles of Pakistan will dare to accede to the arrogant US demand for opening the supply routes for the US armed forces to Afghanistan.
Panetta's visit has to be understood in the context of the US plan for hegemony as well as the imperialist strategy of the ruling Indian bourgeoisie at this time. The Indian ruling class sees itself as a rising big power in the world. It is exporting its capital and expanding its markets, with ever-increasing demand for sources of energy and raw materials. It regards it as its "right", as a "big power", to exercise hegemony, not just in South Asia but on a wider scale. It considers the entire Indian Ocean region, from Africa to the Straits of Malacca, as its potential sphere of influence. It is willing to tentatively extend its presence even into the South China Sea, while not wanting to get into a direct confrontation with China at this time. To support its imperialist ambitions, it has been feverishly militarising, as well as building alliances with different countries.
US imperialism has been steadily strengthening its domination of Asia. The invasion and occupation of Afghanistan and Iraq have been part of its efforts in this direction. Viewing China, and to a lesser extent Russia, as the major challenge to its hegemonic plans in the region, US imperialism has been trying to strengthen old alliances with countries such as Japan, Australia and South Korea, while actively seeking to develop new “partnerships” with countries like India. It is encouraging India to see itself as a big power in this region and to confront China.
This growing collaboration between India and the US is collaboration between the rapacious monopoly capitalists of both countries, who are seeking to expand their loot and plunder of the labour and resources of their own and other peoples. It enhances the danger of plunging our region into imperialist war.
Like the visit of Hillary Clinton in May, the visit of the US Secretary of Defence Panetta is aimed at strengthening a relationship which is against the interests of our people and the peace and security of the region. Panetta represents the war machine of US imperialism which has inflicted more atrocities on people around the world and in our neighbourhood than any other force in history. The Indian working class and people should, with one voice, denounce this visit and step up their resistance to the dangerous course being followed by the Government of India, in the narrow imperialist interest of a minority of exploiters in our country.