Don’t bridge the Persian Gulf

Originally at http://www.indianexpress.com/full_story.php?content_id=82236

Why show solidarity with Iran in the name of non-alignment when India has always opposed the NAM consensus on nuclear issues?

When the Devil starts quoting the scripture one has to go back to its text to check it. So when people from whose ideology India was to be safeguarded through the strategy of non-alignment start citing non-alignment as an ideology it is time to checkup on the history of non-alignment so far as India is concerned.

When Jawaharlal Nehru formulated the strategy of non-alignment for India in his first speech as Vice Chairman of the Viceroy’s Executive Council in 1946, he intended it to be an Indian strategy to deal with the two antagonistic blocs of the Cold War era. He never meant it to be an ideology. His successors resisted the Non-alignment movement having a secretariat and becoming a permanent third force with an ideology. When the bipolar world came to an end with the Paris Agreement in 1990 and cessation of Cold War, the non-aligned movement became an anachronism. India became one of the six centers of power in a polycentric world, the other five being the US, European Union, China, Russia and Japan. None of the other five belonged to the non-aligned movement. India today is not non-aligned against any those five powers. In fact it has strategic partnerships with US, Russia and the European Union.

Therefore, it is meaningless to talk of anti-US ideological nonalignment solidarity. The prime minister has emphasised that in this era of globalisation the watchword is engagement. Dr Condoleezza Rice, the US Secretary of State has talked of strategy of engaging China and not confronting that country. In today’s globalised world since there are no two confronting powers against whom will the non-aligned maintain their posture?

Those who talk of non-aligned solidarity with reference to the Iranian nuclear proliferation issue are living in a bygone era which has no relevance to current day realities. Their ignorance about the obsolence of non-alignment in the post Cold War world is matched by their confusion about the interaction between non-alignment and non-proliferation. When the non-aligned movement was relevant during the Cold War era it was for total nuclear disarmament and consequently against the nuclear arsenals of five nuclear weapon powers divided between the two antagonistic blocs. On nuclear proliferation the non-aligned countries, except for India went along with the Non-proliferation Treaty on which both blocs and all the five nuclear weapon powers were agreed.

Overwhelming majority of the non-aligned were members of the NPT. On this issue India and the non-aligned movement were never in agreement. The majority of the non-aligned who were the members of the NPT went along every time in the review conferences with the nuclear weapon powers, the guardians of the NPT, in asking all powers staying out of the NPT including India to join the NPT. Of course India rejected that demand. Where was the non-aligned solidarity on NPT independent of nuclear weapon powers and when was India a part of that consensus?

After the Cold War ended the entire non-aligned membership of the NPT became pawns in the hands US-China-Russia-UK-France nuclear combine. They betrayed the basic non-aligned plank of nuclear disarmament by kowtowing to the nuclear weapon powers and legitimising the nuclear weapons by extending the NPT indefinitely and unconditionally in May 1995. It also meant that the non-aligned NPT members reconfirmed their obligations to the NPT. Iran was one of them. India stayed out of the NPT and did not go along with the non-aligned NPT members. When India opposed the comprehensive test ban treaty on the ground it did not provide for nuclear disarmament the entire non-aligned NPT community including Iran voted against India and on the side of the five nuclear weapon powers.

When India conducted the nuclear tests, this country came in for severe criticism from the non-aligned by Nelson Mandela himself. Therefore on the nuclear proliferation issue there has never been any solidarity at any time between India and the non-aligned. The non-aligned has acted against Indian national security interests on a number of occasions. They did so in 1971 when they voted along with the genocidal Yahya Khan, his supporters, US and China to stop the war to liberate Bangladesh. We found ourselves on the opposite side of them when it came to voting on Cambodia. The non-aligned supported along with US and China genocidal Pol Pot as India sided with Vietnam and Heng Samarin. The non-aligned went along with US and China in the campaign to support the jehadis in Afghanistan when we abstained from voting against USSR.For years this situation continued in the UN. While India lent weight to the non-aligned movement, India never received any support from the non-aligned during its times of trouble. Therefore to talk of non-aligned solidarity is a figment of imagination.

If the non-aligned Non-proliferation standards, which are the same for both the non-aligned and the nuclear weapon powers and their allies are to be observed then Iran has to explain its clandestine proliferation activities from 1987 to 2003 with active support of Dr A Q Khan, Pakistan and China. Pakistan is not a member of the NPT and is not bound by its obligations. But Iran and China are. Pakistan is a member of the IAEA and is obligated to help the IAEA in its investigations of the proliferation in Iran from 1987-2003. Therefore the non-aligned who are all faithful adherents of the NPT should explain why they have failed to hold Iran, China and Pakistan responsible to account for breach of NPT. All those members who abstained on the Vienna vote on 24th September 2005 were not faithful members of the NPT or for that matter of non-alignment.

India, not being a member of the NPT had no obligations to go along with the non-aligned NPT members. Its obligation is only to the IAEA statute and its vote was in conformity with it. In light of the above.It is today not honest to invoke the non-aligned solidarity. The non-aligned were strongly in favour of the NPT except for India and Pakistan and therefore if there is any spirit of non-alignment still left anywhere that should be in favour of the enforcing NPT norms and obligations of the IAEA statute.

Strangely enough whenever US and China were on the same side, support to genocide of Yahya Khan, support to genocidal Pol Pot and support to jehadis in Afghanistan the non-aligned have come out in support of this unholy combination. In the present case too, both China and US have shared interest in shielding the activities of Dr A Q Khan, the arch proliferator. Now it is known through the disclosures of the former Dutch Prime Minister, Dr Lubbers that Dr A Q Khan was an agent of USA even as he proliferated Chinese nuclear technology. When the Left in India advises against Delhi voting in favour of investigation of proliferation in Iran over 18 years carried out by A Q Khan are they worried about US-China proliferation activities through A Q Khan coming out into open? This appears to be the peculiar kind of non-alignment which supported Yahya Khan, Pol Pot and the Afghan jehadis on behalf of US-China-combine

This website is in support of keeping the name Persian Gulf.