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Snoop to conquer, sue to get away

The ground that is being prepared for the much-hyped but still-agendaless meeting between Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and the US president Barack Obama at the 68th United Nations General Assembly summit in New York City is bound to become very shaky, or at least would appear to be so, after a bevy of media disclosures on how the US is arm-twisting India into not only diluting its nuclear liability bill, but is also carrying out extensive top-secret surveillance behind its back, jeopardising the country’s security at multiple levels. The latest revelations about the US’ National Security Agency (NSA) targeting the nodal points of Indian global diplomacy – the Permanent Mission of India at the United Nations, New York, and the Indian embassy in Washington DC – for broad-ranging snooping activities, along with other countries, many amongst which are traditional American allies, are, though, not out of ordinary. Nevertheless, they confirm that the United States has been shamelessly two-faced and hypocritical about upping its ‘strategic partnership’ with India, when, in reality, all it has been trying to do is dump its manufacturing  and defence-related rejects into the Indian market. America has long been playing a double game with India, hacking into every kind of sensitive exchange at the highest levels, be it military, governmental, diplomatic, corporate, medical, or other delicate operational details, thereby directly threatening India’s geopolitical interests which might not tow the US-line. According to the report, which the Guardian’s Glenn Greenwald had obtained from former NSA contractor-turned-whistleblower Edward Snowden, electronic snooping had been carried out at all levels at the two ‘location-targets’, with the intention of catching in the fishing net of US intelligence gathering the maximum online traffic emanating from the Indian consular exchanges, including emails, office conversations, digital documents on computer hard drives, mobile and telephone exchanges, among others, thereby revealing the ‘scary scenario of breach of official secrecy of Indian missions and violation of privacy of Indian diplomats.’

When juxtaposed with the earlier report that the US administration is pressuring India into removing or editing the Section 17 (b) of the Civil Liability for Nuclear Disaster Act, 2010, so much so that the state-run Indian nuclear operator NPCIL likely to waive its vital right to recourse in a contract to be signed soon with the US firm Westinghouse, it becomes transparent that the UPA government is doing everything in its capacity to forfeit the country’s sovereignty and security in the hands of its US masters. While Millennium Post first reported how the US firm Westinghouse has a tainted history, and has been the subject of interrogation by the CBI after none other than the US authorities themselves notified the Indian counterparts of the firm’s wide-ranging indiscretions, including bribing Indian officials, to gain entry into fast-expanding Indian defence sector, it has now been established that not only the UPA government wants to sign deals with US companies that have been under the scanner, but it wants to do that at escalated prices, almost double the amount that would require in a similar deal with say Russia or France, thus pointing towards something deeply unsettling driving the current agenda. It is evident that US has set its eyes on flooding the Indian market, whether retail, aviation, telecom, pharmaceutical or defence, with its overpriced, overrated and substandard products, and is, therefore, leaving no stone unturned to turn India into an American dump yard. In addition, with the stubborn refusal to accept liability in case of a nuclear or industrial mishap, and now, as a latest report suggests, demanding the right to sue India abroad, bypassing Indian law and the Supreme Court in case of an ‘investor-state-dispute-settlement’, it is more than obvious that the US’ relation with India is nothing but a great sham, wherein a miniscule Indian elite is bribed into compromising the country’s physical and governmental security. However, these are hardly the issues that are going to top Mutemohan’s agenda with Barack Obama.
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