It is now abundantly clear that the United States wants to provoke a diplomatic row with Russia. On top of the visa blacklisting of 60 Russians on the flimsy ground of one custodial death in 2009, Washington has now escalated the row by making demands on the functioning of political parties in the Russian system. In a deliberate move, US has demanded that Moscow rescinds a decision it took 2 months ago to turn down the registration of a newly-formed Russian opposition political party on technical grounds. Imagine, Karnataka chief minister Yeddurappa wishes to defect and form his party on coming Sunday and wants to have a regional party of his own, but the election commission refuses to register his party. It may or may not be the right thing to do to keep Yeddurappa out in the cold. But it is also not for the US state department spokesman to interject at his daily briefing, ‘No, BSY should be allowed to have a party of his own in Karnataka’.
What the US is doing is obviously to create with great deliberation a bad atmosphere in its relations with Russia — a sudden death, as it were — which provides Washington with the alibi to scuttle the famous ‘reset’ and to proceed thereupon to unilaterally deploy the components of the missile defence system in the Black Sea region. The US knows fully well that Moscow won’t countenance such intrusive American conduct vis-a-vis Russian electoral laws, which it will see as an encroachment on Russian sovereignty. But then, US diplomacy characteristically works on inter-connected multiple tracks which draw synergy between one another.
Pakistan is already at the receiving end of similar US diplomatic ploys and has been compelled to fight back on multiple fronts. (The latest ‘tit-for-tat’ is the restriction on the local travel by the US diplomats based in Pakistan.) Although we don’t admit it in as many words, India too faces a similar paradigm in the new NSG guidelines on the transfer of ENR technology. The NSG reportedly released in Vienna on Thursday the detailed guidelines approved by it last month behind closed doors. Contrary to what secretary of state Hillary Clinton sought to convey recently in ambivalent phraseology to the effect that nothing has changed, the NSG ‘guidelines’ as released in Vienna seem to tell a different story. The new guidelines would apparently create problems for India.
Again, the linkage is quite clear. India should amend its nuclear liability law so that the US can garner the multi-billion dollar business that the UPA-I had boastfully offered at the negotiation stage of the nuclear deal. The birds have come to roost now. Conceivably, US wouldn’t want a situation whereby it created the framework of the nuclear deal with India and it is the Russians who garner the nuclear business. So, if India wants the latest NSG restrictions to be set aside, it must also set aside its nuclear liability law in its present form.