In order not to be misunderstood, I’ve done a brief preamble to this week’s blog on WikiLeaks’ that have put the government in the eye of another dust storm. Here it is in bullet form:
*The US cables relating to UPA’s 2008 confidence vote have done incalculable harm to India’s image abroad;
*The Congress and Prime Minister Manmohan Singh are down in popular esteem;
*The PM’s argument that the UPA victory in the 2009 polls has settled the issue isn’t credible;
*The government must have persons quoted in the Cables probed by an independent agency;
*It must also approach the US for examining or interviewing diplomats and officials who authored the cables;
*Reports based on such inquiries under the supervision of the election commission or another credible authority be published and placed in parliament before next elections.
Other facts, no matter whether they work against the ruling party or the Opposition, need to be similarly investigated to sift the grain from the chaff. One can to some extent understand foreign office mandarins talking to their US counterparts on issues such as Iran, Afghanistan, Sri Lanka, Nepal, Pakistan and even the appointment of Indian PR (Permanent Representative) at the United Nations.
But Hillary Clinton’s lament over Pranab Mukherjee becoming Finance Minister in place of the famously pro-US Montek Singh Ahluwalia demonstrates Washington’s vice-regal objectives in India. In that sense, the US administration treats New Delhi no different from Islamabad where it’s rumored to have intervened to ensure extension in service for the all-powerful Gen Ashfaq Pervez Kayani.
I’ve been reading closely the cables serialized by The Hindu newspaper. The substance of some such notes was borne out by subsequent events. But even then, I don’t think their strike rate is any higher than 50-60 per cent.
Officials in the US embassy are able to achieve that because of unhindered access to our civil servants, whom they often oblige with scholarships and jobs for their siblings in the US or in American trans-national corporations.
Such subversion and compromise of the ruling elite including politicos from across the spectrum —as brought out by L K Advani’s confessions on his party’s feigned opposition of the nuclear deal – has to be stemmed at the earliest.
A good beginning in that direction will be that as a country, we do not place reliance on these cables beyond a point. If played unhindered, the game could prove to be very dangerous for Indian sovereignty and the political system.
One cannot grudge the uproar triggered by India-related cables. But will it not give the CIA spymasters in Langley ideas about destabilizing governments by simply writing cables and leaking them to the local media?
There cannot in fact be a more cost-effective way of creating political ferment against unfriendly regimes. Or at least weaken them through motivated propaganda. Only a close look at the fall-out from these leaks will reveal the tricky part that can cost the country dear in the longer run.