Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Dr. Singh’s Victory

With the crucial trust vote win under his belt, Indian PM Dr. Singh has got badly needed political tonic. It will benefit Congress politically. More importantly, chances of Indo – USA Nuclear Accord going forward increase.

The key question is whether India will be able to get IAEA and NSG accords in time for the final approval by American Congress before it becomes ‘lame Congress’ (post election). It is doubtful whether the lame Congress would pass this bill. Somewhere it indicates lack of democratic principles if it requires the lame Congress to pass this accord. This means the best bet is to get it passed before American elections. Considering that around mid September the Congress would adjourn, we are talking only a month effectively for Dr. Singh’s Government to get approval from the two international institutes. With the vigor of today’s win and earlier ground work by his able old hand Foreign Minister Pranab Mukharjee, there are realistic chances of those approvals falling in places by August end. Sticky points are still ‘aggressive and ambiguous’ wordings by India in this proposal. But again, with today’s win Sr. Singh will more have wiggle room to adjust the text.

The other sticking point is the requirement of American Congress needing to be in session for continuous 40 days or so; before the Congressional approval is possible. This is what Sen. Joe Biden pointed out recently. But he was quick enough to point that the Congress may find some way out to approve if India has completed formalities of IAEA and NSG. In fact with the aura of staking his government for this Accord and then by winning it; it now becomes imperative for American leaders to make all the necessary arrangements to pass this bill.

This win by Dr. Singh is of far more strategic importance to India. He has effectively sealed his legacy here. Whichever way one cuts it, Economic Liberalization in the first term under Premiership of Narasinha Rao and strategic nuclear accord with USA in his second term as PM; Dr. Singh has made fundamental, lasting and colossal contributions to Indian Republic. He is wise enough to ignore if many Indians may not recognize his service. It is noteworthy that it is BJP which bursts Nukes, but it is the Congress which makes the peace. Hard choices of war (the way Indira Gandhi won Bangladesh war) or the peacemaker Dr. Singh; it seems there are no political forces as competent as Indian National Congress party to deliver lasting foreign policy contributions. This is big deal.

Congratulations to Dr. Singh and Indian Democracy to withstand narrow minded and misguided political postures and working hard for true national interests. Dr. Singh and Congress Party are entitled to reap political advantages of ‘tremendous aura and good will’ generated among electorates by this win. Congress party may even opt for early elections and hope to improve it’s strength in Parliament, if not big but at least by few extra seats. Mulayam Singh’s SP will be firmly in the ‘lap’ of Congress. This bodes well for UPA coalition with the Congress party as the anchor. All in all it is a positive political development for the Congress party and India with prodigious potential to improve Indo-USA relations further.

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