January 30, 2006

The USA - Exercising the Right of Interference

David Mulford

The United States seems to be increasingly confident that not only can it be ham-handed in putting pressure on the Indian Government to do its bidding, it can also take things for granted and interfere in the country's internal affairs at will.

The U.S. Ambassador to India, David Mulford has provided two public examples of the new-found U.S. confidence recently.

In the first, he openly warned India that the U.S.-India Nunclear deal under discussion would die unless India went along with U.S. in the vote against Iran. The Indian Government made weak protests.

In the second, he criticised the Left parties for their opposition to the Government's proposal to open FDI in Retail. Not only was this a clear breach of protocol and a brazen attempt to influence public opinion in the country, it also confirmed the strong vested interests of the U.S. Government in ensuring that this proposal went through. There is no reason to believe that the remark of the Ambassador was off-the-cuff or was his own personal opinion. It was apparently made with full prior knowledge of, if not on instructions from the U.S. Government. If indeed, it was his own opinion, it would not be wrong for people to think that he was holding a personal brief for Walmart, who has been trying its best and employing high pressure lobbying to gain entry into India.

Be that as it may, the Ambassador has gone way beyond the requirements of his office and unless the Government presses for his immediate recall from the country, it would be exposing itself as meek and weak in protecting the country's interests and pride.