The visit of US President Barack Obama to India in the first week of November should be viewed with utmost consternation in the light of his statement that he considers India as the “cornerstone of America’s engagement in Asia”.
Today the US is the most predatory power in the world. Its military forces are occupying Iraq and Afghanistan. Its forces carry out regular drone attacks and kill innocent people in areas of Pakistan bordering Afghanistan. The US has been threatening countries such as Iran, North Korea and Cuba to fall in line and accept American political and economic systems or be condemned as “rogue states” and crippled by sanctions and trade embargos until they fall in line. When such a blood-thirsty power considers India as its ally in establishing its dominance over Asia, it has serious repercussions for peace in south Asia. The people of India have to understand the full import of this alliance and take positive steps to strengthen relations between peoples of this region as well as oppose attempts to drag India into a confrontation with other powers in the region in order to maintain “balance of power” and enable the US to continue with its domination in the region.
During his visit to India, the US President discussed ways to get around the restrictions in the new Nuclear Liability Law so that suppliers of nuclear equipment are not liable to pay full damages in the case of nuclear accidents and equipment malfunction. The US defence suppliers negotiated defence purchases worth billions of dollars. At present, the US is the biggest arms dealer in the world and India the biggest arms purchaser. The American business delegation also explored ways to get the Indian government to relax restrictions on entry of FDI in the lucrative Indian retail, higher education and agriculture sector and to open up markets for American exports.
After the fall of the Soviet Union, the Indian rulers have considered the US imperialists as the most reliable ally in their efforts to grow into a big imperialist power. They have supported the American invasion of Afghanistan and Iraq and have been playing a safe game with respect to the American confrontation with Iran. At the same time, the Indian ruling class doesn’t consider itself as a subordinate ally of the US. It is clear about its own strategic goals of being the dominant power in South Asia and advancing its interests in other regions of the world. It has kept its options open and has developed economic and military ties with many other powers. While the US imperialists would like India to be its bulwark in Asia and contain China, the Indian rulers have their own calculations. The recent signing of a Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement with Japan, the proposed signing of the Comprehensive Economic Cooperation Agreement with Malaysia and similar agreements with Thailand and Indonesia, the meeting between the Indian Prime minister and the Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao, are ample demonstrations that the Indian rulers have their own game plan.
The meeting between the US President and the Indian Prime Minister is also being labelled as a meeting between the leaders of the two greatest democracies in the world. In actual fact, the recent American mid-term elections once again revealed that the political process in both these democracies marginalise the masses of people from political power and are fast losing credibility. In both the Presidential system of the US and the Prime Ministerial system of India, in the predominantly 2-party system in the US and the multi-party system in India, there is very little to choose for the people. The political processes in both the countries are dominated by muscle and money power and by political parties of the rich and powerful business houses, financiers, armaments merchants, and speculators. The defeat of Obama’s Democratic Party in the recent elections to the US House reveals the extreme discontent among the people about the present regime. Obama came to power promising a new deal but the continuing war in Iraq and Afghanistan, the huge bailouts of big American banks and financial institutions, high levels of unemployment, and massive balance of payments have exposed him as a big demagogue with nothing to deliver. Taking advantage of the discontent of the people with the Democrats, the Republicans have seized power in the US House. Notwithstanding the claptrap of the Tea Party Movement, giving the illusion to the people that their voice counts, the Republican Party is no better than the democrats, as the earlier Bush regime has tellingly revealed. Likewise there is growing mass discontent and anger against the present UPA regime which came to power on the promise of inclusive growth, but has followed policies that have further widened the gulf between the rich and poor in India.
The high level visit of President Obama to India to strengthen and expand the scope of the Indo-US strategic alliance is not in the interests of the people of India and other peoples of the region. It is bound to aggravate tensions and suspicion in the region. It is bound to exacerbate inter-imperialist rivalries in the region leading to stockpiling of arms and aggressive drives to capture sources of raw materials.
Lok Raj Sangathan calls upon all peace loving and democratic people to oppose Obama’s visit through widespread demonstrations and rallies and do their utmost to stay the hands of the two powers to create tension and rivalry in the region.