I'd like to extend my most sincere thanks for the Communist Party of India. A few days ago, CPI's leadership threatened to pull out of the Congress Party's ruling coalition if Prime Minister Manmohan Singh continued to pursue its nuclear deal with the U.S.
Indian leftists have traditionally served as a main driver of India's policy of non-alignment. Even though it has made them increasingly unpopular with the Indian public, leftists are sticking to their guns.
Since Monday, CPI has softened its position some and agreed to form a review panel to re-examine India's nuclear independence in terms of the extremely deferential 123 Agreement that has taken shape over the last few months. This may provide them with some cover to abandon their position, but it will at least stay the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty regime's death sentence a little longer.
Before I get a few e-mails excusing me of being 'backward' or a 'China-lover,' I will explain my thinking. If both PM Singh and President Bush think that their nuclear deal will create an opening for a U.S.-India partnership, they are selling an illusion.
The Indian public overwhelmingly supports the deal because they believe the NPT regime is unjust. They also believe that many U.S. policies are equally unjust and offer only tepid support for a strategic partnership that goes beyond nuclear cooperation. The CPI should receive credit for recognizing this fact and approaching the Bush-Singh deal with suspicion.