CPM mouthpiece does the talking: Blame US for N Korean n-test

Even three days after communist North Korea conducted a nuclear test and joined the nuclear power club, all was quiet in the Left Front. No street corner meetings, no protests, as the CPI(M) had organised when India conducted the Pokhran test in 1998.

CPI(M) leaders were reluctant to comment on the party's position, pointing out that the Politburo would issue a statement in due course. But some like Md Salim, member of Parliament as well as of the CPI(M)'s Central Committee, were more forthcoming. "The US is to be blamed," Salim said. "It was a failure of diplomacy. They were cornered and had to do it." But there was an undercurrent of elation, best expressed in the CPI(M) mouthpiece Ganashakti's comment: "Democratic Korea's nuclear test is a reply to US threats".

The Manmohan Singh-led UPA government at the Centre also got some flak for Defence Minister Pranab Mukherjee's statement. Ganashakti pointed out Mukherjee's lack of credentials since he was speaking on foreign affairs even though he does not hold the external affairs portfolio.

In fact, an editorial in the forthcoming issue of the CPI(M) weekly 'People's Democracy' it was later presented as the official party position on the issue takes a sympathetic view of the North Korean position and actually criticises India's stand that there should not be another nuclear power in the region.

"In 1998, when India conducted the Pokhran tests, the worldwide condemnation was on the same grounds. After declaring itself a nuclear weapon state, India's stand that other countries should not acquire nuclear weapons does not carry much conviction," the editorial says.

If Israel can stockpile 200 plus nuclear weapons, how can India argue against Iran exercising its legitimate right as the signatory of the NPT to conduct uranium enrichment, the editorial asks. It would make more sense if the Indian Government "boldly decides" to initiate and press for a nuclear disarmament agenda and timetable and committing to rollback its own nuclear weaponisation as part of this process, it says.

... contd.

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