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US's Nimitz is Left's new pet hate

Jul 03, 2007 02:23 AM IST Politics Politics

New Delhi: The trajectory of the Left's objection to the US aircraft carrier Nimitz anchoring off Chennai has followed this path: Firstly, it is not Indian policy to allow nuclear powered vehicles in its territory. Secondly, the Nimitz is on its way to the Gulf where it will threaten Iran. Thirdly, it is armed with nuclear weapons. After being told that as many as 10 nuclear-powered ships have docked in India since 2001 and that the Nimitz is not steaming to the Gulf but returning from it, the US envoy to India has now taken away their most vituperative plank: Nuclear weapons. Undeterred, the Left has articulated a new reason why Indians should hate the Nimitz. "This warship represents US warmongering. So, the visit to Chennai is not acceptable to us," said CPI-M activist Padmanabhan. But what about India's own naval activism? Not only in the Indian Ocean but even in the Pacific, which makes China uncomfortable? And if the Left's anti-nuclear pitch lacked resonance, here's why: They do not object to India's own nuclear weaponisation and the development of a nuclear-powered submarine with the same passion as they show over the Nimitz. So how seriously should the Left be taken? Meanwhile, the Left pitch on Americans being unwelcome in India has embarrassed the ruling UPA. "The ship is stationed there only temporarily and it would be wrong to read too much into it,” said Congress spokesperson Abhishek Singhvi. The Left have been India's thought leaders for decades. But how their changelessness and peculiar notion of national interest reflects on the strategic culture of a rising India is anybody's guess. (With inputs from Sandhya Ravishankar)

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