In service of the imperialist drive of the Indian big bourgeoisie
Prime Minister Narendra Modi visited the US in the last week of September. The entire visit was covered by the electronic and print media of our country in such a manner as to make out that the whole of America was on its feet, cheering and saluting the arrival of India’s Prime Minister. In particular, it was made out that the Indian-American community was rapturous over his visit and his government’s policies. The entire Indian media controlled by the monopolies deliberately blanked out any coverage of the massive protests by Indian Americans against the growing communal and fascist terror in India, and the Indian state’s policy of unabashed state terrorism. The protestor’s denounced the Indian state’s role in Punjab, the 1984 genocide of Sikhs, the Gujarat genocide of 2002, and the complete violation of the human rights of the Kashmiri and other peoples.
Modi’s US visit was meant to coincide with the 70th Session of the UN General Assembly. For nearly two decades, the Indian state has been canvassing for becoming a permanent member of the UN Security Council. For this purpose, India, along with Germany, Japan and Brazil constituted themselves into a grouping called G-4 to lobby for permanent membership of the UN Security Council for all four countries. During this visit, a meeting of leaders of G-4 countries was held after 10 years to push forward their claims.
The peoples of the world and many states dearly want the restructuring of the UN on the basis of its founding principle of the equality of all nations big and small, and affirmation of the principle of the right to self-determination of every country. Democratisation of the UN is the demand of all those in the world who want to establish a world order in which every country, big or small, has the right to have its own economic and political system, free from outside interference; wherein the relation between countries is on the basis of mutual benefit, and no country has the right to violate the sovereignty of others on any pretext.
The stand of the Indian State and the other members of the G4 is the opposite of this. Far from fighting for democratization of the UN, these G4 states are fighting to be sitting at the same high table with the US and other veto power states to dictate over other countries of the world. Prime Minister Modi justified India’s claim to being a permanent member of the UN Security Council on the basis of being “largest democracy in the world”. He justified the claims of Germany, Japan and Brazil on the basis of their being “economic engines of growth”. All such claims are self serving and are nothing but a fig leaf to cover the imperialist ambitions of these G4 powers.
The Indian state has a record of systematic violation of human rights of its own people. It has a record of organising genocides against different sections of the people. Entire regions of the country are under the jackboots of the armed forces. Fascist laws are routinely used to incarcerate innocent people and crush the struggle of different sections of people for their rights. The right to conscience is blatantly violated by this state. The Indian state does not respect the sovereignty of the nations and peoples within the Indian Unionor the sovereignty of other countries. It is indeed ironic that such a state declares itself to be the “largest democracy in the world”, and lays claim to becoming a permanent member of the UN Security Council with veto powers on this basis!
The Indian state is not trusted by even countries in their own neighborhood. This is a result of their historical track record. For instance, India’s smaller neighbours, such as Pakistan, Bangladesh, Nepal, Sri Lanka and Maldives have deep distrust for and resentment against the Indian state’s hegemonic attitude towards them. Instead of setting an example of establishing friendly relations of mutual benefit on the basis of non interference in each other’s internal affairs, the Indian state has repeatedly done the opposite. Right now, it has carried out an unofficial blockade of Nepal, to create a crisis in that country. Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his Foreign Minister Sushma Swaraj used every possible occasion in the UN, to attack Pakistan as a terrorist state, to justify state terrorism in Kashmir, as well as the refusal to address the outstanding issues with Pakistan.
It is acknowledged that the Security Council gives unequal power to some member states. The five permanent members of the Security Council — US, Russia, Britain, France and China — have special veto powers. Even one among them has the power to overturn what the overwhelming majority of the members of UN General Assembly vote for. For instance, the UN General Assembly has been voting with an overwhelming majority year after year for an end to the blockade of Cuba by the US. However this has made no difference as far as ending the blockade is concerned, as the US has used its veto power on the issue.
The existence of a Special body called a Security Council with permanent members having veto powers, who are not elected or accountable to the General Assembly, is both an anachronism and a threat to peace and sovereignty of the peoples. Life experience has confirmed it. Therefore, far from being enamored by the idea of India getting its “rightful place” in the UN on account of its population, the Indian people need to discuss what kind of UN the world needs today. We should demand that the Indian state fight for the democratization of the UN, by eliminating the veto power along with permanent membership of the Security Council.
Wooing American capital
The Prime Minister also used the visit to lay out the red carpet, on behalf of the Indian big bourgeoisie, for the biggest multinationals of the US. He met the CEO’s of top multinationals in three groups — the financial sector, the media industry, and the manufacture and infrastructure industry. Later on, he met the CEO’s of top Silicon Valley companies in the IT Sector. With each of them, he made a pitch for increasing investment in India. He promised that his government would make it “easy to do business”. The leaders of the multinationals urged the Prime Minister to speed up “reforms” that would allow them “flexibility” in hiring and firing workers, opening and shutting down plants, to make changes in taxation laws to enable them to reap maximum profits, etc. Ignoring the massive opposition of India’s working class to the ongoing reform program, Prime Minister Modi promised faster reforms in this direction.
The visit of PM Modi was also an occasion to bolster India-US military ties. Modi had discussions with the chairperson of defence equipment manufacturer Lockheed Martin, which has a facility in partnership with Tata in Hyderabad. Just before Modi’s visit, the Indian state approved the buying of attack helicopters and heavy lift choppers from Boeing, worth $ 3 billion. The Indian government has announced plans to spend $ 150 billion in purchasing military equipment by 2027. India is one of world’s largest buyers of military equipment and the US is currently the biggest supplier of military hardware to India.
During the visit, the US pushed once again for India to join the military alliance of US, Japan and Australia with the aim of encircling China. The ongoing Malabar naval exercises off the coast of Kerala, involving Indian, Japanese and US naval warships, is another step in this direction.
Clearly, Modi’s visit to the US was aimed at advancing the imperialist ambitions of the Indian big bourgeoisie, by strengthening its strategic alliance with the US, by further opening the doors of India to finance capital. The push for a permanent seat in the Security Council is an expression of this imperialist ambition. The imperialist ambitions of the Indian bourgeoisie are completely against the interests of our people and of peace and security of the region.