An Attack on India's Sovereignty


Contents    Previous Chapter   Next Chapter



State Machinery Enmeshed in Imperialist Ties

               (i) Growing US-India-Israel Military Axis

               (ii) Growing internal security ‘co-operation’

               (iii) Making India a link in the US Foreign-Policy Chain

               (iv) India Expansionism

               (v) The Growing Fascist State


During the period of globalisation, and more particularly during the period of BJP rule there has been extensive tie-ups of various sections of the state machinery with the imperialists, particularly the US. These inter-locking relations, both formal and informal, can be seen at the ministerial level, at the top echelons of the bureaucracy, in internal security and intelligence and in the sphere of defence. It is like a spider’s web with thousands of relations, visible and invisible, tying the Indian ruling-classes to the imperialists and their multilateral agencies. While such relations have always existed in semi-colonial India, they have now taken a quantum leap. Much of these are kept secret from public view, and only a small fraction of what exists gets to be known. During the BJP’s rule and the secretive Jaswant Singh-Strobe Talbott talks, followed up by Clinton’s visit to the country, the dependence on the US has increased substantially.

One also sees a greater inter-linking of the State governments directly with the imperialists, best seen by their so-called ‘Vision Statements’ mostly drawn up by imperialist agencies like McKinsey and Co. at huge cost. In fact, it was the ‘Vision Statement’ signed during Clinton’s visit in March 2000 that set the seal for a long-term strategic dependency on US imperialism. This took a major leap after the Sept.11, 2001 attack and the US crusade against so-called terrorism, of which the India’s ruling-classes sought to be a major appendage. This has been particularly evident in the spheres of so-called ‘national security’ of defence and intelligence — spheres that directly impinge on the sovereignty of the country. While yelling itself hoarse about the "nation under threat" against Pakistan, the Indian ruling-classes are quietly handing over not only the entire wealth of the country to the foreign tycoons, but also its entire security apparatus to the imperialists, particularly the US.

The Vision Statement (VS) was the starting point also for the so-called second-generation reforms. But it was not restricted to economic deals, it sought tight political ties as well. It says:

* The VS document envisages a "new century in which India and the US will be partners in peace, with a common interest in, and complimentary responsibility for, ensuring regional and international security .... and strategic stability in Asia and beyond." With this, India obviously hopes for an Israel-like role in South Asia. There is also a tacit acceptance of India’s nuclear programme and its supposed need for minimum deterrence. Also there is a direct US commitment to "bolster joint efforts to counter terrorism." So, the VS, first and foremost, attempts to tie India into US imperialism’s geo-political military strategy. Like the Soviets earlier, the US too is now willing to accept India as a regional hegemon, in return for tying itself totally to US imperialist designs. In other words, an invitation to the US to directly intervene.

* In the realm of polity the VS statement says:

(i) The Prime Minister of India and the President of the US will hold regular yearly "summits" (as is done with Israel). They will also remain in frequent touch on the phone and through letters. In other words, the Indian PM is to get regular instructions from the US headquarters.

(ii) The two countries will hold bi-annual "summits", and also a foreign policy dialogue at the level of external affairs minister of India and the secretary of state of the US. The foreign policy dialogue will encompass not merely bilateral foreign policy matters, but will also institutionalise the on-going Jaswant-Talbott dialogue on security and non-proliferation.

* In the realm of economics both countries have agreed to regularise an economic dialogue, which will entail :

(i) A high-level "Coordinating Group", headed by the Prime Minister’s Office and the White House, which will steer these talks with the support from the ministry of External Affairs and the US State Department. The "Coordinating Group" will also develop a common economic agenda based on extensive inter-ministerial consultations. This, in essence entails involving the US state department, in all economic policy-making of our country. What was earlier done unofficially will now become official policy.

(ii) India and the US will establish an Indo-US Economic Forum. India’s Finance minister and the US Treasury Secretary will head this cell on investments and macro-economic policies. So now, even all planning will be done at the instance of the US Treasury Secretary!!

(iii) A similar platform linking the Commerce ministers will also be created. The Indian Minister of Commerce and the US Commerce Secretary will lead these talks to bring Indian and American communities closer. In other words, India’s trade policies will also be dictated by the US Commerce Secretary.

(iv) The two countries will set up a Joint Consultative Group on Clean Energy and Environment, steered by the US State Department and the Ministry of External Affairs — The US, though it is the world’s largest emitter of green house gasses, it is unwilling to make reductions domestically. Instead it wants the underdeveloped countries to make the reductions under an emission trading mechanism (called the "Clean Development Mechanism) which would show as its own reduction under the Kyoto Protocol.

(v) India and the US formalised the formation of an India-US Science and Technology Forum. For the last two years the US has been resorting to much arm-twisting to get such an agreement to promote research in drugs, genetics, etc. In this agreement the US has specifically demanded research in stem cells, bio fuels, agricultural bio-technology and transgenic crops. The Forum will also promote transfer of technology.

Since the VS was signed, it can be seen that ties with the US have been strengthening in all spheres of economic, political and also security matters. In the sphere of ‘security’ the capitulation has been as swift as it has been in the realm of economic enslavement. Let us now look to what extent India has handed over its security to US interests. The seeds, one can say, was laid by the GOI agreeing to the setting up, in mid-1999, of a Delhi office of the US’s top espionage agency, the FBI (Federal Bureau of Investigation) — for the first time ever in post-1947 India. Its role is now being expanded, with the CIA also being brought in.

i) Growing US-India-Israel Military Axis

Military cooperation between India and the US has been taking place surreptitiously for some time (a striking example being the permission to American planes to re-fuel in Mumbai during the Gulf war in 1991), but it took a formal and overt shape in January 1995, during the visit of the then US Secretary of State William Perry. An Indo-US military Co-operation Treaty was signed, and joint exercises between the armies and the navies of the two countries started on a substantial scale thereafter. These were before India’s May 1998 nuclear tests. After the Tests, and several rounds of talks between Jaswant Singh and US Deputy Secretary of State Strobe Talbott, and private assurances that India would sign the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty as soon as domestic politics allowed it, Indo-US military co-operation quietly re-started, and has now gathered momentum. Moreover, Israel’s defence sales to India, which require clearance from the US, have been growing rapidly.

Major developments took place on this front in the first half of 2001 — India’s open endorsement of the US "National Missile Defence Programme" (April 2001), a programme which faced opposition even from US military allies; India’s "strategic dialogue" in June with close US ally, Australia, during which — contrary to normal practice — the two sides’ military officers participated; the first steps to opening Indian military bases to the US military (indicated by Jaswant Singh on his visit to Australia in June 2001); Jaswant Singh’s meeting with the US Defence Secretary in June 2001; the visit of the head of the US Joint Chiefs of Staff in July 2001; and so on.

But the basis for all these later developments was being laid in 2000 itself. In January 2000, Admiral Dennis Blair, Commander-in-Chief of US Pacific Command, visited India for talks on strengthening military-to-military relations. In particular, the talks were to work out details of the military exchange programme for the Indian armed forces under the International Military and Education Training Programme. In September 2000, Blair again visited Delhi, and complained that sanctions against India were hampering Indo-US military-to-military co-operation, adding that "India knows what the US expects to restore full Indo-US military cooperation". Though the US resumed cooperation under its military training programme, meetings of steering groups of the three armed forces on promoting military-to-military cooperation continued to be in suspended animation. It was these that Blair was anxious to revive.

For some time now the United States has been anxious over the growing strength and reach of China’s navy, particularly in Asia. It is interested both in developing ties with the Indian navy and in gaining access to Indian ports. Behind the scenes, such ties were clearly developing. It was reported in March 2000 that Indian naval ships were showing up in US waters.

Since Sept.11 there has been a leap in US-India military relations, which are continuing to this day. In January 2002 there were a stream of US diplomats and top military personnel visiting India to pursue the proposed military alliance between the two countries. Together with this, Israel has been playing an increasing role in the Indian army intelligence.

India and Israel have recently developed an extraordinarily close strategic partnership. Israel has become the second largest weapons supplier (after Russia), selling military technology alone worth $2 billion (Rs 10,000 crores) last year. It now coordinates political strategy and intelligence with India "sharing common interests against adversaries, Pakistan and Islamic terrorism". In addition, three Israeli firms have been testing ground sensors along Kashmir’s LoC and multi-sensor perimeter border fencing for the Jammu border. Israel has also been finalizing deals for protective body armour and mine resistant vehicles. Israeli defence companies, aided by officials of SIBAT (Foreign Defence Assistance and Defence Export Organization) have appointed scores of agents in India, that liaison with undercover Mossad officials stationed at the Israeli embassy at Delhi.

In the third week of November 2001 a 7-delegation team, headed by the Director General of the Israeli Defence Ministry, paid a high-level two-day visit to India. They decided not to publicise the visit. At the meeting between the two defence secretaries, they agreed that India would get training in counter-terrorism, night warfare and surveillance. Both considered integrating a common anti-ballistic missile system. India also decided to buy Barak missiles for the Indian Navy.

With the US, the evolving military alliance has been even deeper, the tone for which was set at the Bush-Vajpayee summit in Washington. At this meeting the Bush administration committed a small amount to transfer appropriate sensors, unmanned aerial vehicles and other technical equipment for counter-insurgency operations. At this meeting Vajpayee virtually fell at the feet of Bush, with the government claiming the summit to be the "most substantive and consequential in the history of Indo-US relations".

Though the government has denied the India Today report Nov.2001of a secret agreement to build a strategic alliance with the US military, all indications seem to be developing along those lines. Within a fortnight of this report being leaked to the press, there were two high-level visits of the US military to India.

In end November 2001, the commander in chief of the US Pacific Command, Admiral Dennis Blair, came on a three-day visit to India, when he met the three chiefs of staff, the defence secretary, Advani, Fernandes, Jaswant Singh, Brijesh Mishra and a host of other top officials. The visit coincided with the mysterious straying of a US helicopter over the Kalpakkam nuclear plant near Chennai without permission from India. Though it was a clear case of the infringement of the country’s air space, both Blair and Fernandes shamelessly denied any wrong. This visit laid the ground for the third meeting of the Defence Policy Group (DPG), which was to begin from Dec. 4. The DGP meeting saw a qualitative leap in the level of military collaboration between the two countries.

This two-day meeting discussed the full spectrum of defence cooperation, including education, training, exercises, and technology transfers and arms sales. Led by, Under Secretary of Defence for Policy, Douglas Feith, the meeting agreed on widespread "common interests". This included, not only political interests in the Indian Ocean and the Asia-Pacific region, not only in the sphere of combating ‘terrorism’, but also in the co-opting of India into the ‘Missile Defence System’ (NMD). India, after denying its acceptance of the NMD, has become one of the first countries to agree to it. The joint statement issued, spoke of the "contribution of missile defences in enhancing strategic stability and discouraging proliferation of ballistic missiles with weapons of mass destruction". Feith commented, "India’s security concerns harmonise with the US on Missile Defence".

The two sides also agreed for "joint military training and exercises to deal with terrorism". They agreed to step up Indo-US defence ties in three spheres — defence trade and technology transfer, military-to-military cooperation, and institutional structures to promote dialogue on strategic assessments and doctrines. The US planed to sell India gun-locating radars, engines and systems for light combat aircraft, radars, multi-mission maritime aircraft, components for jet trainers and high performance jet engines.

In fact, the government reported that this meeting resulted in "giving an unprecedented jump-start to defence ties between the two countries by setting broader political objectives and defining a road map for a robust military partnership". The joint statement issued, stated that India and the US "share strategic interests in Asia and beyond and that their defence and security cooperation can promote freedom, global peace, economic progress, and security".

The meeting was immediately followed by the first ever visit of an American aircraft carrier to an Indian port. The USS Carl Vinson, which has been in the Arabian Sea taking part in military operations against Afghanistan, docked at the Mumbai port. This was immediately followed up by joint naval exercises in the Arabian Sea, involving Indian submarines and American maritime reconnaissance aircraft.

Yet, this was not all. Simultaneous to the DPG meeting, the US’s State Department’s coordinator on Afghanistan, Richard Haass, came on a three-day visit to India. He described Indo-US cooperation on Afghanistan as "extraordinary". He too met a large number of Central ministers and top officials and left the country stating there was total agreement between the two countries in their approach to Afghanistan.

Seen, in an overall perspective,India’s security matters have been sought to be tied to that of the US through two major forums: (i) the Indo-US Defence Policy Group (DPG), whose joint statement on Dec.4, 2001, was the starting point for the big-leap in defence relations, and (ii) the Joint Working Group on counter-terrorism, established in Jan. 2000, which was a bye-product of the Jaswant Singh-Strobe Talbott secret talks, was to link India’s internal security to that of the US in the name of fighting terrorism.

During the beginning of the year 2002 the six-day visit of George Fernandes to the US led to the signing of the General Security Of Military Information Agreement (GSOMIA) between the two countries. This agreement, which had not been signed by India for more than a decade, was the prerequisite for closer military ties and transfer of military technology and equipment to India. The agreement provides for the confidentiality of the supplies by the US. This will be ensured by inspections by US personnel of Indian military installations (which have already begun).

Since April 2002 the Indian Navy has been jointly involved with the US Navy in jointly policing the Straits of Malacca. This is to assist the US in policing the seaways for fleeing Al-Qaeda operatives. In a bid to tie India’s defence more deeply with the US the GOI in July 2002 requested that this joint-patrolling be extended to the Straits of Hormuz in the Persian Gulf. This was temporarily refused by the US, due to its enormous strategic significance, with 25% of the world’s oil supply passing through it. No doubt the US will demand more servility, before accepting. What is astounding is that it is not the US that is demanding military acquiescence, but it is the Indian compradors that are themselves cringing before it. So, in October 2002, Indian warships will, for the first time ever, dock at a strategic US naval base. This will be in continuation of the so-called Malabar Exercise from Sept.26 to Oct.4 2002, which will begin off Kochi, and will conclude at Diego Garcia. "The two sides will hone skills for jointly waging anti-submarine warfare. The Exercise will also factor in ‘other encounters at sea’." Diego Garcia was the only naval base for launching air operations during the 1991 Gulf War; it was also used for attacks in the Afghan war. This is the largest ever naval exercise between the two countries, with 4,000 Indian Naval personnel involved. On the eve of this operation, the Chief of Naval Staff, Admiral Madhvendra Singh, went on a lengthy visit to the USA meeting the naval top brass at the Pentagon.

In addition the Indian Air Force, is all set for deep associations with the US, after the IAF Chief’s visit to the US in July 2002. Joint Indo-Us military exercises in Alaska have been planned for October 2002. This will be followed by more exercises in Guam and then again in Alaska. In this, for the first time ever, the IAF will send its own aircraft to the US. The focus of the Indo-US military engagement is "learning to operate together for countering terrorism". In other words, it is training for joint attacks on other countries. Links have so deepened that in July 2002, the IAF participated in the USAF exercise, Cope Thunder, in Alaska, as an observer.

India is also pursuing the early plan of setting up a Missile Defence Shield as a part of the US’s own plans. This is planned to be operational by 2005/06. But to join the US’s missile defence system, India would have to collaborate closely with the US MDA (Missile Defence Agency), such as establishing linkages between its national surveillance grid and America’s worldwide surveillance systems. In other words, a further infringement on India’s security network!! Meanwhile, India has already acquired from the US an early warning system — the advanced Phalcon AWACS (Airborne Warning and Control System). In a recent unprecedented move, the CCS (Cabinet Committee on Security) decided to cancel the huge orders for airplanes put by Air India and Indian Airlines with the European consortium, ‘Airbus’. Saying that such an order would "displease America" and would affect "India’s security interests", they proposed to shift the order to Boeing, whose prices re 12% more expensive. On the Indian Airlines order of Rs 10,089 crores, this would mean an additional expense of rougly Rs 1,200 crore.

Such close tie-ups between the militaries of India with any other country has never been seen in post-1947 India, even at the peak of Indo-Soviet cooperation, and the signing of the Indo-Soviet Treaty. It has very dangerous implications for the future of our country, given the fact that the US imperialists are today bent on pushing wars of aggression throughout the world.

ii) Growing internal security ‘co-operation’

Joint action on terrorism has in fact become the entry point for integrating India’s internal security agencies with US imperialist agencies. In January 2000, the US and India decided to establish a Joint Working Group to "combat terrorism". In early February of that year, the US-India Counter-Terrorism Working Group had its first meeting in Washington, attended by senior US and Indian officials, during which it was agreed that the US would provide "anti-terrorism assistance programmes" to Indian security agencies; joint training of operatives of the two countries would be carried out; and "the two sides would share experience, exchange information, and co-ordinate approaches and action."

During Vajpayee’s visit to the US in September 2000, the Indo-US Working Group’s mandate was expanded to include Afghanistan and "narco-terrorism" (the combination of drug trafficking and terrorism). Thereafter; the Indo-US JWG met again in New Delhi at the end of September; and decided to expand US "assistance" in these fields to "a large number of personnel as well as agencies".

On April 4, 2000, Louis Freeh, the director of’ the US Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), arrived in Delhi to meet the heads of the Intelligence Bureau (IB), the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI), and Research and Analysis Wing (RAW), as well as home ministry officials and national security adviser Brajesh Mishra. The ostensible purpose of the visit was to increase cooperation on counter-terrorism, and Freeh promised "active assistance" in tracking the hijackers of IC 814. On the excuse of enabling "closer cooperation", the FBI was allowed to set up an office in Delhi.

The FBI’s activities in India are shrouded in mystery. In November 2000, when a newspaper attempted to find out about the activities of the FBI office in Delhi, it drew a blank. 1 Even senior officers of the CBI appeared to be in the dark as to its activities, and replied, "it is difficult to give a categorical answer to the query".

The NDA government is also forging close ties with Israel (one of the US’s closest military allies, with whom it systematically shares intelligence) in the field of internal security; intelligence, and ‘counter-terrorism’. Indo-Israel ties have existed surreptitiously for a long time, even in the 1970s, but "in the aftermath of Kargil, where Israel went out of its way to assist India with intelligence and military equipment, it has become necessary to come out of the closet". 2 During the Kargil war, "India went on an arms-buying spree in Israel" 3, and sophisticated defence technology, including surveillance technology, was sold by Israel to India. "A friend in need is after all a friend indeed", says the Israeli ambassador to India. India is already Israel’s third largest customer for arms, after China and Turkey.

There appear to be several things in common between India and Israel. Israel too has been engaged in suppressing a popular insurgency, in its "occupied territories" (indeed, it is evident that the Kashmiri youth draw inspiration from, among other things, the Palestinian intifada). Israel too makes use of an extensive informer network and carries out assassinations of its political opponents. Israel’s use of torture on its political prisoners is well known. However, it has superior military technology and more sophisticated commando forces, from which the Indian rulers hope to gain.

When Advani visited Israel in the third week of June 2000, he discussed the procurement of surveillance equipment such as Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs), small guns and protective gear for security personnel involved in ‘counter-terrorist operations’. Accompanied by the home secretary and the heads of the CBI, IB, and BSF, he also held talks with the Israeli intelligence agencies regarding their imparting training to Indian agencies in ‘counter-terrorism’, internal security, and personal protection and installation security.

Apparently, A.P. chief minister Chandrababu Naidu has been pressing for the deployment of UAVs, manufactured by Israel Aircraft Industries, to carry out surveillance in ‘Naxalite-affected’ districts. The Indian government also proposes to use them in Kashmir. Advani toured the Israel-Lebanon border, and concluded that India would now be able to handle its security system on the borders more effectively.

Advani was also briefed by the Israel Military Industries Academy for Advanced Security and Anti-Terror and the Integrated Security Systems Group regarding their specialised courses in close quarter combat, urban warfare, hostage release, operational driving sharp shooting, personal security and installation security. Experts of the Mossad and Shabak agencies made a presentation on their methods of agent recruitment, tailing, eavesdropping, and information processing. Thus the collaboration includes the carrying out of internal repression in India.

After his Israel trip, Advani visited France and the UK as well with the same agenda of ‘counter-terrorism’. According to Advani, "the dividing line between internal security and external security was extremely thin in the case of India, which had been subjected to cross-border terrorism. This had made external cooperation very vital." In September 2000, after a meeting between Advani and the British home secretary; India and the UK set up a Joint Working Group to combat "terrorism, drug trafficking and other issues related to crime".

Prior to Fernandes’s visit to the US, Advani had gone to Washington; and it was the first time that an Indian Home Minister met the CIA and FBI directors. Advani, on his visit to Israel in 2000, had forged a similar security relationship. According to the British defence journal, the Jane Weekly, Israeli security experts have been training Indian security forces in Kashmir in counter-insurgency.

In Jan. 2002 the fourth meeting of the Joint Working Group (JWG) on Terrorism (between the US and India) was held in Delhi, and its agenda was expanded to include discussion on internal security, cooperation in strengthening forensic capabilities in India, and aviation security. Prior to the JWG meeting, a ten-member US team visited J&K. Significantly, it included Vice Admiral Wilson, director of the US Defence Intelligence Agency. The JWG decided to initiate a pilot project for border management that would involve the sale of electronic sensors by the US, to be placed on the border between India and Pakistan in Kashmir. The meeting was followed by a visit of the FBI Chief to India.

In the fifth meeting of the JWG in July 2002, it was decided that the US and India would intensify cooperation and intelligence sharing not only to prevent terrorist acts but also "neutralize terrorist groups". To put this in ordinary language this means that the US can now directly participate in counter-insurgency operations in Kashmir, the North-East and against the ongoing People’s War by the CPI(ML)(PW) and the MCC.

Though imperialist agencies have long since penetrated India’s intelligence apparatus, besides the above overt connections the underhand links would be even more extensive now. In 1996 itself it was discovered that the IB additional director (who was to become director within a few months), was himself on the pay role of the CIA. This man, Ratan Seghal, was earlier joint secretary in the Ministry of External Affairs.

iii) Making India a link in the US Foreign-Policy Chain

As part of tying themselves to US imperialism worldwide, the Indian rulers have been cosying up to US allies and client states — from Australia in the east to Israel and Turkey in West Asia and Morocco in Africa.

The BJP has had long ties with Israel, which sit well with the BJP’s ideology and fanaticism against Muslims, and Advani as well as other BJP leaders paid visits to Israel in the 1990s before coming to power. As mentioned above, Indo-Israel ties took a leap forward at the time of the Kargil war.

During his visit in June 2000, Advani made a mysterious remark about Indo-Israel nuclear co-operation. Arab states’ suspicions were aroused, and they registered their protests; Advani tried to downplay the remark, but with little success. (In 1993, just before carrying out its own nuclear tests at Chagai, Pakistan alleged that India and Israel were planning to jointly attack its nuclear installations; this had created a stir in the Gulf states and the Islamic world.) It is as yet not clear what Advani’s remark refers to, but it would suggest cooperation in nuclear weapons, since both India and Israel have nuclear weapons programmes, and are outside the main international treaty regimes regarding non-proliferation and testing. (Since the fall of apartheid in South Africa, Israel has lost an important partner in this regard, and can no longer use South African sites for nuclear tests.)

Jaswant Singh’s visit to Israel in the last week of June 2000, travelled further down the road of collaboration. First, he subtly changed the phrasing of India’s verbal support to the Palestinian cause, in order to jettison support to an independent Palestinian state: now he talked instead of "India’s continued and consistent stance in regard to the inalienable rights of the people of Palestine and for them to have settled internationally-recognised territories within (which) they can reside". This phrasing describes the situation Israel wants, where the Palestinians will merely be shut into some tiny strips of land, with no sovereign political power and no armed forces.

At a seminar during his visit to Israel, Jaswant Singh implicitly linked Hindutva with the NDA’s foreign policy by saying that India’s policies towards Israel in the past were held hostage by the domestic Muslim vote-bank and India’s larger West Asia policies. "This phase is over" he declared, signalling an alliance between the twin ultra-reactionary ideologies of Hindutva and Zionism in the service of US imperialism.

June 2000 was indeed a hectic month for Indo-Israel ties. No less than four leading Indian political figures visited Israel in that month, including Rajya Sabha chairperson Najma Heptullah, home minister L.K Advani, external affairs minister Jaswant Singh, and, most interestingly, (then) West Bengal chief minister Jyoti Basu. (In fact, Basu was scheduled to visit in 1997 and 1998, but on both occasions had to change his plans at the last moment, and in 1999 he sent CPI(M) MP Somnath Chattetji in his place.)

For Israel, India offers both a large market for weapons, an important diplomatic partner, and now a fellow client of the US. There is also a proposal for India to supply thousands of software personnel to Israel.

India’s growing ties with Israel led to the Arab League expressing its misgivings in July 2000. Indian ambassadors in several Arab countries were summoned and concerns expressed, particularly in the wake of Advani’s remarks on nuclear cooperation. However, this did not deter India, and ties with Israel continued to strengthen thereafter.

iv) Indian Expansionism

The Indian ruling classes bargain with the imperialists for regional hegemony in South Asia in return for services to the US’s geo-political strategies throughout Asia. The Indian comprador big bourgeoisie and the TNCs based here, greedily eye the entire South Asian markets. It is they who have been aggressively pushing for so-called free trade within the SAARC countries and the implementation of SAFTA (South Asian Free Trade Association), which is yet to get off the ground due to resistance from the neighbouring countries.

With the build-up of India’s military might, Indian expansionism has become the bulwark of reaction against the entire people of South Asia. It not only continuously threatens Pakistan with war, it has sent troops and arms to Nepal to crush the popular Maoist uprising being led by the Communist party of Nepal (Maoist). It bullies Bangladesh and Sri Lanka and interferes in the internal affairs of all these counties through its espionage network, like RAW (Research and Analysis Wing) and various other outfits.

The Indian rulers are also playing along with certain murky long-term designs of the United States, in particular its preparations to contain China and the latter’s growing penetration into the markets of Asia. The catchword of this plan is "democracy", which India and the US supposedly enjoy, to the exclusion of China. As early as May 1998, immediately after Pokhran-II, Vajpayee had appealed to Clinton to understand that India’s nuclear programme was aimed, not at the US, but at China. By 1999 the US began downplaying its criticism of India’s nuclear tests, and instead praising India’s supposed democracy. "I know", said Clinton in his address to the Indian parliament, "it is difficult to be a democracy bordered by nations which reject democracy." Now, as the US moves slowly towards treating China as an enemy, the Indian compradors are only too eager to cooperate in the various projects of the US Government.

"India was thrilled", the Times of India tells us, "at the idea of being invited to the Community of Democracies meet in Warsaw, a project to strengthen democracies worldwide, initiated and approved by Washington." India in fact agreed to co-convene the meet, held in the last week of June 2000. The other co-convenors were the Czech Republic, the host country Poland, Chile, Mali, South Korea, and of course the US — all acknowledged allies of the US. The US’s main purpose in promoting this new body, attended by over 100 countries, was to set up a parallel body to the United Nations, and to isolate certain states which do not "qualify" to join — the most prominent of which is China. However, at the meet, all did not go according to the US plan as France refused to sign the final document issued at the conference, saying that it "amounted to a diplomatic pledge for the democratic states to act as a group".

From the above it becomes quite clear that the Indian state machinery is getting even more deeply enmeshed in ties with the imperialists, particularly the US. Besides, India is being drawn into the geo-political designs of US imperialism worldwide — at both a diplomatic, and also at military level. Indian expansionism is taking on a more aggressive and vocal role. No, doubt there is contention for this control from rival imperialist powers — like the EU and Russia — but, at present, the contention is relatively weak. Though earlier too the Indian state-machinery was never free and acted at the behest of one or the other imperialist powers, now, the extent of dependence and control by the imperialists, particularly US imperialists, has increased enormously. At the rate at which this dependence is growing, even the limited sovereignty that may have existed will totally vanish.

v) The Growing Fascist State

The increasing exploitation of the masses during the period of globalisation, and with it, the rising discontent of the masses, is resulting in the fascitisation of the State. Globalisation entails a conscious policy of maximization of profits by the TNCs and their comprador agents. There is now no pretense of appeasing public sentiment through reforms, concessions, etc. In fact whatever little existed is being snatched away. The extent of deprivation and untold suffering we will see in a later section. In addition the acute crisis in the economy and the resulting social tensions in life, is intensifying all contradictions — between various sections of the people amongst themselves, between the oppressed nationalities and the Centre, between the Centre and the States, and between various ruling-class groups and lobbies etc.

This entire scenario is fraught with heightened instability and ‘order’ can only be sustained through the iron heel of the State. The sponsors of globalisation were well aware that this would be the result of their new policies, and began preparations towards an increasingly fascist state at the very inception of the process. While the main aspect of this has been heightened repression and increasing infringement of even the limited civil liberties that existed; the other aspect has been the systematic whipping up of Hindu chauvinism, big nation chauvinism, anti-Pak hysteria and minority-bashing (particularly Muslim), to divert attention and whip up fratricidal hatred amongst communities. While the latter point we shall look at in another section {Chapter XIV; (iv)}, here we shall look at the growing repressive policies and fascist terror of the State machinery.

As India never went through a democratic revolution the state in India after 1947 had all the trappings of the colonial past and the autocratic structures of a semi-feudal reality. The fruits of the bitter struggles of the freedom movement, though betrayed by the Congress leadership, resulted in the extraction of certain civil liberties, trade union rights, etc. But, as the tempo declined, repression was stepped up and reached a peak in the massacre of naxalites in the late 1960s and early 1970s, and during the Emergency in the mid-1970s. This resulted in an upsurge of democratic opinion in the post-Emergency period, which, once again began to wane in the 1980s.

It was during the last days of Indira Gandhi herself that the seeds of a systematic introduction of anti-democratic measures together with Hindu chauvinism were planted. It was also the beginning of the first SAP after taking the first IMF loan. During Rajiv’s rule both anti-democratic policies and Hindu chauvinism advanced considerably. And the first steps at opening out the economy began. Both these took a gigantic leap after the second IMF loan in 1991, together with the inauguration of economic reforms.

As we have already seen, in the decade of the 1990s (official) expenditure on both police and defence quadrupled. This does not include the vast expenses to the intelligence services (IB, CBI, RAW, and a host of other clandestine organizations at both the Central and State level) nor the hidden expenditure on defence, which is not shown under the category of ‘defence’, but is related to it. Today, the only job available to the youth is in the police or military!!

In addition we see the mushrooming of unofficial armed gangs, vigilante units, and neo-fascist forces. The enormous growth in such forces was clearly evident in the 1990s, particularly in areas of armed struggle.

To take just one example, in Kashmir alone over 1,000 surrendered militants are being used, since 1995, as assassins, spies and organized into vigilante units. According to a July 1996 report of civil rights organisations (researched by the People’s Rights Organisation, New Delhi) some of such units are: Muslim Liberation Army (the oldest), the Ikhwan-ul-Muslimoon (the most ruthless, led by Kukka Parry), the Muslim Mujahideen (operating in Anantnag area), the Al-Ikwan (hq. in Anantnag town, operated by BSF), Indian Al-Baraq (small loose group acting as a shield for the security camps at Kupwara and Ganderbal), the Hussaini Commandos (a lumpen force of Shia Muslims in the Budgam district supplied by the BSF), the Kashmir Liberation Jehad Force (BSF created outfit, of the Shivpora rehabilitation center). All these forces are totally lumpen, who loot, rape, murder, rob, plunder, etc, together with assisting the armed forces against militants.

Similar gangs exist in the North East and in areas where the Maoists have a powerful presence. Besides these, there are the systematically organized storm-troopers of the fascist RSS, like the Bajran Dal, Shiv Sena and a host of other such outfits, which have grown exponentially since the BJP took power. They are openly given military training, in places like Lucknow, Agra, and elsewhere.

In the 1990s, there has been a steep rise in counter-insurgency forces/expenses on bodies like the Rashtriya Rifles, border Security Force, CRPF, and the newly formed India Reserve Battalion. The cost on these counter-insurgency operations is estimated at a massive Rs 12,000 crores, 4 and this keeps rising each year. In addition to this there are the various state forces also involved in counter-insurgency (special police forces and also units of the State police). And all this does not include the gigantic amounts spent on intelligence by both the Centre and the States. If all this were put together the amount spent on "internal security" (i.e. counter-insurgency) would near about Rs 20,000 crores today. If to this we add the total expenditure on the local police, of Rs 22,624 (in 2000) the total spent comes to a gigantic Rs 42,600 crores. — i.e. Rs 2,200 per year for every family in India (on health it spends Rs 1). In addition to all this is to be added two-thirds of expenditure on defence (one-third of it is involved in counter-insurgency and included above).

But this is not all. We see all wings of the State — legislature, executive and the judiciary — becoming increasingly fascist and anti-people. We have already seen the host of undemocratic laws passed. Even without these, we find the frequency with which even peaceful protests are being brutally crushed has reached such high levels that any meaningful legal action has been virtually disallowed. And this has not been merely limited to lathi-charges, and whole-sale arrests, but also to police firings with unexpected consistency. One has just to look at the past major struggles of the masses, in the 1990s, to understand how limited is the democratic space today. And added to all this have been the so-called anti-terrorist laws, TADA/POTA and the Preventive Detention Acts at the State-level, which have, in essence, turned dissent into a crime.

In addition, from the late 1980s we witness an enormous rise in the acts of state terror on the revolutionary and nationality movements in the country. The list of arrests, inhuman tortures, rapes, extra-judicial killings, disappearances, etc. during this period, would put to shame the most vile tin-pot dictators of the world. Portrayed as the biggest democracy in the world, the Indian ruling-classes would compare well with the Suhartos, Fujimoris and Marcoses of the world. However, having mastered the Chanakya style of duplicity, a false image is created. They could well teach Goebbells a lesson or two.

Now, if we turn to the judiciary, here too, in the 1990s particularly, we witness its venom and hostility towards the masses in general, and mass movements in particular. Here, we can just sight a few examples, of which there are hundreds: the decision on the Babri Masjid demolition; decision on the eviction of over 50,000 slum-dweller families from Mumbai; the eviction of one lakh small-scale industries from Delhi; decisions on the Narmada dam; decision on contract labour in PSUs; the decision against dalits on reservations for the ‘creamy layer’, the latest judgement upholding the BJP’s communalisation of education, and so on. There is hardly any sphere of civil society where they have not poked their dirty nose in the past decade — and invariably on the side of the moneybags against the people.

Finally, as far as the Executive goes, we find that particularly under the BJP dispensation, the earlier informal relation between the ministry, big-business and the military establishment, has been cemented into formal bonds. The BJP has set up a number of bodies tying in big-business, and their associations ( CII, FICCI, Assocham), with the various ministerial departments and even the office of the Prime Minister. Simultaneously, similar relations have bound together the top echelons of the ministry to that of the top brass of the armed forces. What has therefore emerged is a growing structural nexus between the Executive, big business (including the TNCs) and the military chiefs. And this gangster-combine has got increasingly enmeshed in a web of ties with imperialism in general, and the US/Israeli AXIS in particular.

So, on the whole, we see that in this period of globalisation, there is a systematic institutionalization of an increasingly fascistic and repressive state apparatus. This process has been an integral part of the globalisation process. And as economic reforms are being pushed through even further, that too with increasing speed, resulting in greater impoverisation and discontent of the masses, the fascist terror of the state is only bound to increase. And given the world environment after Sept.11, the rulers will get full backing from the imperialists for it. Ofcourse, all this will be carried out in the name of democracy, Chanakya-style.



1. Asian Age; Nov. 26, 2000

2. Economic Times; June 28, 2000

3. Frontline; July 21, 2000

4. EPW; May 21, 1999



Contents    Previous Chapter   Next Chapter


Home  |  Current Issue Archives  |  Revolutionary Publications  |  Links  |  Subscription